The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for June, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $360.2 billion, a decrease of 0.5 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month
Heh, that’s not so good. Ex-autos sales were down -0.15%, implying what we’ve already seen reported: auto sales have gone in the tank.
But that’s not the only place we found bad news. Building materials were down about 1%, and, interestingly, so were food and beverage stores (about 1/2%.) Gasoline sales were down 2%, while clothing stores, general merchandise and electronics were up slightly.
All in all not a disastrous report – but definitely not a strong one either. The market reaction was immediately negative, although the move (about 1/2% southbound) wasn’t dramatic.
The evidence continues to mount that the economy is, indeed, slowing once again.
On January 5th the durables report for November was ‘released’.
It showed a 0.2% increase. I didn’t write on it at the time, as it didn’t appear to be particularly consequential. The report, of course, came in the middle of the first-week January market rally.
But now, in the dark of night, the number has been revised – to a decrease of 0.7%. The reason is a claimed "statistical error."
This, by the way, should have been obvious from the retail sales report, which I did write on.
Here’s the ugly – the Census’ link to the report is now listed as missing (that is, intentionally removed!) and what’s worse the link they refer you to, the "Historical M3 Releases" does not have the corrected November data – it only has releases through October on it.
That is, November’s report has disappeared.
No, the "historical" tab doesn’t have it either. Attempting to retrieve it off the link in Google’s search returns a "not currently available, see historical" message – but it’s not there.
You would think that such an "error" would result in an immediate press release by Census identifying the cause of the error and a corrected report, along with CNBS and the rest of "ToutTV" talking about how this "mistake" happened and alerting investors to the fact that they had made decisions based on "mistaken" information and in fact durables had suffered a second sequential decline.
YOU WOULD BE WRONG.
Are we now down to rank fraud in "data releases" from our government, revised in the dark of night without public notice or press release, with the agencies claiming "statistical error"?
Folks, honest errors are immediately admitted to when discovered and disseminated to all of the people who the government or agency knows relies on these figures for economic decisions.
But when "errors" are less than honest the person or agency committing them attempts to hide the evidence instead of admitting to and publicly exposing their mistake.
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
With the FOMC meeting now ancient history and the UK surviving potential dismemberment, the focus today was on Alibaba (BABA) and Quadruple Witching volatility. BABA rose 38.07% in its first day of trading, and the expirations trading volume was huge (the fourth largest of 2014). But market volatility was mild. The S&P 500 had an intraday range of 0.63% from its post-open high to its early afternoon trough, which is at the 41st percentile of the 181 trading days of 2014. The index closed with a fractional loss of 0.05%, but it was up 1.25% for the week.
The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.59%, down 4 bp from yesterday's close. It is down 3 bps for the week.
Hopefully this will end the debate about US corporate "deleveraging", which is really leveraging whose proceeds are used to fund pervasive stock buybacks and raise the S&P 500 in what is nothing short of a massive, creeping MBO of the entire market, once and for all.
From Citi's Stephen Antczak
Who is Levering Up?
"Pretty much everybody. We calculate leverage for the IG universe today and three years ago (leverage ratio on the Y axis, names on the X axis and ordered from most to least levered). In gross and net terms there has basically been a parallel shift upward."
Grgurich formulated his article after reading "an intriguing piece just published in Foreign Affairs, Brown University political economist Mark Blyth and London-based hedge fund manager Eric Lonergan argue the Fed could have done better by pursuing a far different type of grand policy experiment."
Investors are dumping shares in Yahoo, sending the stock down 5.0% to $40.08 after shares in Alibaba made their debut on the floor of the NYSE just before midday. Shares in BABA for their part initially traded up to a high of $99.70, a near 47% increase over the IPO price of $68.00. Typically, one would expect put options that are 5% out of the money with roughly 4-hours left to trade to see waning implied volatility. But, at the start of the trading session and ahead of the first trade for BABA, the Sep 19 ’14 40.0 strike put options were trading with 271% volatility or $0.30 per contract amid uncertainty as to how the start of trading for Alibaba would take shape.
Administradora de Fondos de Pensiones Provida S.A. (PVD) shares will not be trading on the NY Stock Exchange after today. Tomorrow, shares will be harder to sell. Strangely, I wasn't able to find information on the internet, but Paul just sent me a copy of the email he received from Interactive Brokers.
We're selling PVD out of the Virtual Portfolio today at $87.18.
From: Interactive Brokers dated July 18, 2014
Holders of AFP Provida S.A. American Depository Receipts (ADR) are advised that the Company has elected to terminate the Deposit Agreement effective 2014-09-18.
Although the stock market displayed weakness last week as I suggested it would, bulls aren’t going down easily. In fact, they’re going down swinging, absorbing most of the blows delivered by hesitant bears. Despite holding up admirably when weakness was both expected and warranted, and although I still see higher highs ahead, I am still not convinced that we have seen the ultimate lows for this pullback. A number of signs point to more weakness ahead.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-r...
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Despite the various opinions on Bitcoin, there is no question as to its ultimate value: its ability to bypass government restrictions, including economic embargoes and capital controls, to transmit quasi-anonymous money to anyone anywhere.
Opinions differ as to what constitutes "money."
The English word "money" derives from the Latin word "moneta," which means to "mint." Historically, "money" was minted in the form of precious metals, most notably gold and silver. Minted metal was considered "money" because it possessed luster, was scarce, and had perceive...
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Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely. From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.
First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices. Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment. Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer. For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...
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