Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. consumer confidence rose 15 points to 56 in November – the largest gain since 2003.

  • Standard & Poor's lower ratings on 37 banks and their subsidiaries. Among U.S. banks, Wells Fargo & Co. had its rating lowered to A+ from AA, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. both had their A+ ratings cut to A, and Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. both had their A ratings cut to A-.

  • According to S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. home prices fell 0.6% in September. YoY the home price slide was 3.6%.

  • No recovery in sight for U.S. housing, says Yale's economist Shiller.

  • Hungary’s raised its base rate by half of a percentage point to 6.5%.

  • All measures of the money supply in the Eurozone contracted in October with drastic falls across parts of southern Europe, raising the risk of severe recession over coming months.

  • American Airlines and its parent company are filing for bankruptcy protection.

  • Weak growth, continuing Eurozone woes and an absence of safe havens will ensure a tough year for investors in 2012, according to a new report from Merrill Lynch

  • YoY Sweden's GDP rose by 4.6% in Q3.

  • Japan's unemployment rate stood at a 4.5% in October
  • According to the OECD's twice-yearly Economic Outlook report, despite planned tax hikes and spending cuts, Japan will see government debt rise to 230 % of GDP in 2013, meaning the nation's public finances, already the worst in the industrialized world, are set to worsen further.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quick Overview

  • (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are planning more drastic means - including a quick new Stability Pact - to fight the euro zone sovereign debt crisis, Welt am Sonntag reported on Sunday.

  • Italian bond yields rose above 8%.

  • Hungary’s credit rating is cut to junk status.

  • China's domestic rating agency downgraded Portugal's rating from BBB+ to BB+ with a negative outlook.

  • A poorly received German 10-year-bond auction forced the Bundesbank to pick up the slack to bring the sale to a planned €6 billion.

  • (FT) A number of large institutional investors have threatened to stop buying bonds issued by Santander after Spain’s biggest bank offered to exchange some of its existing debt into new instruments at what they consider punitive terms.

  • (MW) U.S. “defense” spending (in 2011 dollars): Vietnam War $526 billion, Pearl Harbor $352 billion...this year $695 billion

  • Former US president George Bush and his former counterpart Tony Blair were found guilty of war crimes by The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal which held a four day hearing in Malaysia. The five panel tribunal unanimously decided that Bush and Blair committed genocide and crimes against peace and humanity when they invaded Iraq in 2003 in blatant violation of international law.

  • HSBC’s preliminary China manufacturing survey dropped to a 32-month low in November -- adding to growth worries in Europe and the U.S.

  • Australia proposed a marine reserve in the Coral Sea that covers a total area of around 990,000 square kilometers off the north-east coast of Australia.

  • India is opening up its retail market to foreign direct investment

  • (FT) The US is refusing to sign off on a flagship global climate fund, as already fraught negotiations intensify ahead of next week’s UN climate summit and carbon prices plummet to an all-time low.

  • Germanys Ifo institute said its business confidence index rose to 106.6 points this month from 106.4 points in October.

  • Food inflation in India fell to 9.01% for the week ended Nov. 12, compared with 10.63 % the previous week.


Friday, November 25, 2011

It is not inevitable that the EU – or democracy – will survive this mess  Pessimism always has the best tunes, and I remain instinctively an optimist. I still cheer when I see democracy's shrivelled hordes assert themselves in the street. My brain may be with technocracy, but my heart is with the majority, hoping that the two can resume consummation. But we should remember Schumpeter's warning, of capitalism's tendency to self-destruction and socialism's to fascism. Both, he said, were history's "jokes of questionable taste".

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Poll: Fox News Viewers Are Less Informed Than Those Watching No News.

  • Why has no one at MF Global nor Corzine been charged by powers that be with any crime? More than $1.2 billion of customers' funds have so far gone missing from “supposedly” segregated accounts.
  • And this about the CME’s position transfer: They didn't seem to understand what short/long option value means and how you net them out. We couldn't believe it," said one senior executive with a major futures commission merchant. "Criticism is starting to surface of the CME leaders. It's really hurting the credibility of the exchange."
  • Reuters: JP Morgan to buy $MF Global stake in LME (Where is Glass Steagall?)

  • U.S. Q3  GDP growth cut to 2.0% from 2.5%

  • In October, U.S.  employers took 1,353 mass layoff actions involving 118,689 workers. Mass layoff events decreased by 142 from September, and associated initial claims decreased by 34,540

  • The supercommittee appears ready to throw in the towel on getting debt-deal done.

  • Spain’s private Banco de Valencia, bank #3, is taken over by the state because of RE problems.
  • Spain’s unemployment rate is 22.6% and 46% for youth.

  • The National Association of Realtors on Monday said sales rose 1.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million from 4.9 million in September.

  • (NZH) Steven J. Baum P.C., a foreclosure law firm that was criticized for a Halloween party that mocked the homeless and people in danger of losing their homes says it will lay off at least one-third of its employees.

  • (Bloomberg) Dismissed as a “nobody” by Japan's nuclear industry, seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi spent two decades watching his predictions of disaster come true: First in the 1995 Kobe earthquake and then at Fukushima. He says the government still doesn’t get it.

  • Egypt’s death toll reaches 35 on third day of violent protest crackdown.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Self-serving myths of Europe’s neo-Calvinists

The hallmark of fiscal integration is mutualisation – a greater pooling of budgetary resources, joint debt issuance, a common backstop to the banking system, and so on. Tighter rules are not so much a path to mutualisation, as an attempt to prevent it from happening.

This course of action is more likely to precipitate the euro’s disintegration than its survival.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quick Overview

  • U.S. leading indicators rose 0.9%, the most since February

  • (SBMRY) SabMiller the brewer reported that fiscal first-half net income rose 23% on 12% higher revenue.

  • Moody's downgraded the ratings on debt and deposit of 10 German public-sector banks

  • Ed Hansberry: Microsoft's license agreements cover 53% of Android's share. Getting somewhere between $5 and $15 for each handset sold, Microsoft is making a ton of money off of Google's platform.

  • U.S. crude oil stocks decreased by 1.1 million barrels in the week ending November 11, gasoline stocks declined by 1.0 million and distillate stocks decreased by 2.1 million barrels. Ethanol production rose by 5 million to 916 million barrels. Stocks rose 0.7 million to 17.1 million barrels

  • (BBC) Radioactive cesium found in Japans rice.

  • U.S. new housing starts fell 0.3% in October -- YoY Housing starts are up 16.5%

  • Women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover them up under Saudi Arabia's latest tyrannical measures.

  • S&P upgrades Brazil's sovereign credit rating from BBB- to triple B

  • The new Greek coalition government submitted the 2012 draft budget, forecasting an ambitious budget deficit cut to 5.4 % of GDP next year from this year's 9.0 %

  • Central Bank gold buying of 148.4 tonnes is a 40 year high.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick Overview

  • MoM U.S. October Retail Sales rose 0.5%;
  • MoM U.S. PPI fell 0.3% in October and 5.9% YoY

  • Canada: Manufacturing Shipments rose 2.6% in September

  • Japan back to growth as GDP rises 1.5%.

  • NY Police evict OccupyWallStreet protesters. With his action Bloomberg is making OWS stronger!

  • (Bloomberg) -- China’s imports of corn and wheat may rise as state reserves boost stockpiles and expanding livestock production spurs use of feed grain, a state-owned market forecaster said.

  • Texans allowed to show gun permits but not student ID’s at voting booth.

  • Can Cain find Libya on a map?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A limitless power source for the indefinite future

Some background: By 2030–40, the projected annual electrical energy consumption will be a staggering 220 trillion kiloWatt hours, double the consumption in 2010 — and four times more by 2090–2100

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Pritchard: The ECB is under intense pressure to step up purchases of Italian bonds after premier Silvio Berlusconi finally relinquished power, clearing the way for Mario Monti to form an emergency government of technocrats.
  • Pritchard: Italy's gentle saviour is tougher than he looks. Mario Monti is a free-marketeer who disguises Thatcherite views and a steel will behind a cloak of unflappable good manners.
  • Pritchard: Europe's scorched-earth policies have begun in earnest. The inherent flaws of monetary union have created a crisis of such gravity that EU leaders now feel authorized to topple two elected governments.

  • (WSJ) Telefonica's (TEF) third-quarter revenue rose 3.7% to EUR15.79 billion, even though sales in the Spanish unit fell 8.8% in the period. This was mainly offset by a 18% rise in Latin American sales, where Telefonica now gets almost half of its revenue.
  • The Spanish economy experienced zero growth in Q3

  • California’s unfunded pension liabilities have been estimated at between $240 billion and $500 billion.

  • With bond market vigilantes beating the drum for ever-more belt tightening, much of the developed world is charging ahead with austerity plans that will drag on the world economy.

  • Asia-Europe rates fell last week by 6.5 % to US$573 per TEU, the single biggest week-to-week decline this year, according to the latest Shanghai Containerised Freight Index.

  • Hong Kong's 10% quarterly export decline blamed on Euro debt crisis

  • YoY India's industrial production slowed down to 1.9% in September on monetary tightening

  • MoM Japan's Industrial Production fell -3.3%.

  • Japan’s September Capacity Utilization down -3.6%

  • Arlan Suderman: global Corn stocks as a percent of annual usage continue to trend lower; currently sitting at 38-year lows.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dispelling An Enduring Myth With One Image

If the Earth’s temperature was the same year after year, then the effects of increasing greenhouse gases would be very easy to spot. Unfortunately, Mother Nature rarely makes things that easy to figure out. Besides the daily and seasonal cycles, we also have decadal temperature swings caused by the sunspot cycle and ocean/atmospheric oscillations. This tends to confuse non scientists, and fools many into believing claims that global warming has stopped. The Heartland Int. in Chicago (political think tank) has long been a major purveyor of this silliness.

Quick Overview

  • YoY U.S. intermodal traffic rose 3.5% for the week ended Saturday

  • The Greek Unemployment rate in August 2011 was 18.4% compared to 12.2% in August 2010

  • The EU is now projected to stagnate until 2012. Growth for 2012 is forecast at ½%. By 2013, a return to slow growth of about 1½% is projected.

  • YoY German CPI rose 2.5% in October

  • Korea held its policy interest rate at 3.25%

  • MoM U.S. Foreclosure activity rose 7% in October

  • MoM Italian Industrial Production fell 4.8% in September
  • 10-Year Italian government bond yields at 7.3% on Thursday

  • China's trade surplus less than expected at $17.0 billion

  • MoM Japan's core machinery orders fell 8.2% in September

  • (BBC) Mr. Murdoch, I think you must be the first mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise' - Tom Watson MP

  • Nvidia (NVDA) YoY Q3 profit at 29 cents a share, compared to 15 cents a share

  • Walt Disney (DIS) Q4 profit rose 30%

  • The latest bond sale went well in Italy

  • U.S.unemployment benefits dropped by 10,000 to 390,000 in the week ending November 5

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Bonuses were paid to MF Global ‘s UK staff just hours before the company filed for bankruptcy protection in New York.

  • (Bloomberg) A kilogram of polysilicon, the basic material in solar panels, dropped from $475 in February 2008 to less than $35 Oct. 31... Great for the environment.

  • Qualcomm (QCOM) announced that it has acquired substantially all of the technology and other assets of HaloIPT, a provider of wireless charging technology for electric vehicles.

  • U.S. consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in September, offering some positive sign to the weak recovery.

  • MoM Germany's industrial output slumped 2.7% in September

  • Japan's benchmark coincident composite index fell 1.4 points in September.

  • L.M. Ericsson (ERIC) is forecasting a tenfold increase in mobile data traffic over the next five years, mainly driven by video.

  • Vodafone declared an interim dividend of 3.05 pence, up 7% YoY, and said it would pay a special dividend of 4 pence following its recent deal with Verizon. VOD reported a 11% fall in first-half net profit due to higher cost of sales and a bigger tax bill than a year earlier, but raised its annual operating profit guidance.

  • China imported a record 56.9 tonnes of Gold in September, a six fold increase from 2010

  • Credit Suisse will hand over details of wealthy Americans with hidden Swiss accounts to the Swiss government, bringing U.S. authorities one step closer to obtaining names of alleged tax cheats.

  • German reinsurer Munich Re says its net profits more than halved in the third quarter because of exchange rate volatility and the fallen value of Greek government bonds.

  • Herman Cain “I’ve never acted inappropriately with anyone --- ever --- period” Really? No kidding? WOW!!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Quick Overview

  • (Washington Post) Wall Street firms — either independent companies or the high-flying trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They’ve made more profit in the first 21 / 2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the entire Bush administration, industry data show.

  • You now can download one Kindle book a month, with no due dates, free, if you’re an Amazon Prime ($79) member and a Kindle owner. This in addition to free 2 day shipping and thousands of free movies -- WHOA

  • CME Group said it was changing its margin requirements for customers of collapsed brokerage MF Global, cutting the size of any margin calls when positions are transferred to another brokerage.

  • German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer (BAYRY) said Sunday it has boosted its cash reserves five-fold to some 3.8 billion Euros as insurance against any unexpected downturn in the economy

  • "Ten years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs," runs a sour joke that has been doing the rounds since Silicon Valley lost its most famous son. "Now there's no cash, no hope and no jobs."

  • The death toll from Thailand's floods rose above 500 as the seemingly unstoppable waters crept deeper into Bangkok.

  • Papandreou said he will step down once agreement is reached on new coalition

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Quick Overview

  • Mario Draghi made his debut as head of the ECB with a surprise interest rate cut from 1.5% to 1.25%.
  • Mario Gabelli: Greece has about as much impact as Maryland

  • Qualcomm’s (QCOM) Net income rose 22% YoY

  • Kraft (KFT) net revenues for Q3 rose 11.5%

  • Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) reported futures volume in October rose 21%
  • The CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) said that October 2011 total trading volume and average daily volume rose 88%.

  • Molson Coors Brewing Co.'s Q3 profit fell 23%

  • Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange lost his appeal against extradition to Sweden to answer sex crime allegations, but said overnight he would consider whether to take his protracted fight to Britain's highest court

  • MasterCard's Q3 profit rose 38 %

  • A rare case of people being infected with both swine and seasonal flu has been documented in Cambodia.

  • Lenovo reported a nearly 88 % YoY surge in Q3 net profit

  • A string of earnings reports showed that global coal demand is stronger than analysts anticipated.

  • New census data shows nearly one in 15 Americans—more than 20 million people—are now so poor they live at least 50 percent below the official poverty level. The figure is the highest ever recorded. Forty states and the District of Columbia have had increases in the poorest of the poor since 2007. The District of Columbia ranked highest, followed by Mississippi and New Mexico.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Revenge of the Sovereign Nation When the history books are written, I think scholarship will be very harsh on the handful of men running EMU monetary policy over the last three to four years. They are not as bad as the Chicago Fed of 1930 to 1932, but not much better.

Quick Overview

  • Greece’s referendum is dead. But the governments future is in doubt.

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. detected signs of nuclear fission at its crippled Fukushima atomic power plant in northern Japan, raising the risk of more radiation leaks. The situation is under control, officials said. (Of course!)

  • (Reuters) MF Global violated requirements that it keep clients’ collateral separate from its own accounts.
  • MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection Monday -- more problems for the largely invisible network of ties among institutions around the world? 

  • The planet's population has now passed 7 billion.

  • The U.S. says its cutting off funding for UNESCO because of the Palestinian membership vote.(Reuters) Israel’s Netanyahu decides to speed up settlement construction in parts of West Bank.

  • Taiwan Smartphone maker HTC says its Q3 earnings grew 68% YoY, with shipments reaching 13 million handsets.

  • YoY AIA Group’s new business rose 53%

  • Britain’s GDP grew 0.5% in Q3 of 2011

  • CME's Q3 earnings rose 29 %.

  • Bullish reversal on corn.Goldman Sachs To Be Tried By People's Court in Zuccotti Park
  • Goldman Sachs will be tried this Thursday, November 3, for crimes against the American public. Cornel West, noted civil rights activist, and Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winner, will be among those presiding, and testimony for the prosecution will include individuals who have been directly affected and harmed by the actions of Goldman Sachs. The trial is open to the public, and if you can't make it? Tune in to WBAI (99.5 FM in New York) or online at www.wbai.org this Thursday, from 10 AM to 12 noon, where it will be broadcast live. If the government won't do it? We'll take it into our own hands.