Notes From Underground: After the FOMC, Do Payrolls Mean Anything?

February 2, 2017

This week has presented us with THREE central bank meetings. The results of the BOJ, FED and BOE meetings were no change to the current policies. So, with inflation on the rise and equity markets close to all-time highs for the U.S. and multi-year highs for Europe, the overseers of credit feel no need to tighten monetary conditions. Chair Yellen and her fellow decision makers are evidently comfortable that the wheels of legislation grind slowly and will wait until there is some evidence of fiscal stimulus and tax reform before applying the brakes to a possibly overstimulated economy. The BOJ was cautious ahead of Prime Minister Abe’s meeting with President Trump. To understand the domestic politics of Abe’s possible bilateral deal with the U.S. I am linking to an article from the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal by Tobias Harris (my progeny).

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Notes From Underground: FOMC Decision Day Is Upon Us

January 31, 2017

Janet Yellen and the FED take center stage tomorrow and the consensus is for NO CHANGE. The market believes the FED will be on hold until March. BUT I OFFER THIS: If I was the FED chair I WOULD RAISE RATES 50 BASIS POINTS to take some of the risk out of the U.S. equity markets. The S&Ps are virtually unchanged since the December FOMC meeting but the market’s enthusiasm for anticipated tax cuts, regulatory relief, and possible currency intervention means the FED cannot wait to let the economy run “hotter for longer,” especially because of the 4.7% U3 unemployment level. If Chair Yellen wishes to burst the TRUMP exuberance it is time to move aggressively to stem the rise of a potential inflationary threat.

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Notes From Underground: Another FRA Podcast

January 29, 2017

Tonight I am posting the latest episode from the Financial Repression Authority (click on the blue link to listen). I do these for no remuneration as I think the information flowing out of this group creates great conversation and can generate some very profitable investment opportunities. Yes, it’s 34 minutes long but it is more LEARNATIVE than the network news. So pour a stiff whisky and listen while doing other reading. I share this with, you readers because I am honored to be a part of this great dialectical process. One of the key points in tonight’s post is the development of a narrative in which to analyze the world of Trump. It is not a partisan narrative but one I am developing as I attempt to discern the unfolding global dialogue being put forward by Team Trump.

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Notes From Underground: Putting Perspective To Our Narrative

January 24, 2017

Let’s be clear about the unfolding political and economic landscape: It is the desire of the Trumpians and the anti-Trumps to control the political dialogue. The media is putting President trump and his appointees under a microscope, which is what the press should always be doing. (My apolitical belief for the fourth estate is that a free press should be responsible in pursuit of the “facts,” but if they have a bias it should be “to afflict the comforted and comfort the afflicted.”) In my opinion, during the past 20 years the U.S. press has devolved into a sycophantic mob as everything becomes about access to those with the greatest celebrity status, which usually means wealthy. The financial media especially bows to the rich because if you are a billionaire your views go unchallenged for fear of being shunned as it  undermines the concept of, “if you’re rich, they think you really know.”

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Notes From Underground: The World Is Digesting Trump and About Europe Grow

January 22, 2017

The inauguration is over. Davos is behind us. Let’s start examining the impact of policy and politics as we move forward. The first three weeks has brought stasis for equity markets as the S&Ps have not set new highs since the December exuberance. Investors are beginning to comprehend that the slow-moving legislative process will impede Trump’s efforts for an expedited deregulation and tax reform program. But, if you follow the proliferation of stories about a possible dissolution of the EU, my prediction with Rick Santelli about Europe being the main focus of 2017 is coming to fruition. One wonders what was discussed in the backrooms of Davos that led so many global executives to suddenly express concerns about the increased populism in the Netherlands, France and even Germany. It seems that the Dutch elections have gained a prominent position as a severe test for Brussels-based eurocrats.

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Notes From Underground: Now Starring in the Music Man … Mario Draghi as Professor Harold Hill

January 19, 2017

Oh yes, we got trouble right here in Frankfurt City! It rhymes with T and starts with G and is spelled Germany. Today (and of no genuine market surprise), the ECB made no adjustments to its current QE and negative rate policy. The press conference was where all the potential market moving “tweets” would take place, but Professor Mario Draghi danced around the very fine questions from the European financial cognoscenti. Draghi was sharp as he insisted that “we need lower interest rates to get higher rates.” Also, when one inquisitor asked if the ECB was ready to DO LESS if inflation reached close to the MAGIC 2% level, President Draghi admitted that we only considered doing more QE (never LESS). Thus, the ECB allowed us a look at the asymmetric BIAS of all central banks. The ECB is far more worried about low growth, low inflation that the main concern is always more. And Draghi’s ultimate fallback position for the construction of counterfactual policy formation is the ongoing deleveraging process in Europe.

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Notes From Underground: The Rallying Cry Remains, “Pepper Spray Davos”

January 16, 2017

We at Notes From Underground have published more than 1,000 posts during the last seven years. I have voiced my displeasure about the annual gathering in Davos for the past five years (last year’s Davos post is below). My battle cry was (ans continues to be): PEPPER SPRAY DAVOS, a response to the heinous police overreaction to the pepper spraying of University of California–Davis students in November 2011. The police POURED pepper spray onto student protesters, a contemptible act of police brutality. I thought if the UC–Davis students were subjected to such a police response for blocking a sidewalk the crony capitalists of global monopolies are surely worthy of such a contemptuous action. The corporate chieftains and their political sycophants, who exchange “insider views” for large speaking fees (and of course a hope to secure a job after leaving political office), have badly damaged the world.

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Notes From Underground: Financial Repression Authority Podcast With Peter Boockvar

January 8, 2017

Yes, the talk of the weekend has been the 0.4% increase in the average hourly earnings embedded in the jobs data. The Fed had three members speak after the data release and all noted that the wage gains may mean that we are at full employment. Jeffrey Lacker was the most concerned about the FED being behind the proverbial curve. My analysis will be later in the week but first I wanted to share the FRA podcast as it includes the wisdom of Peter Boockvar of the Lindsey Group. Enjoy and I look forward to your comments as they will be answered and hopefully provide substance for an upcoming post.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Notes From Underground: First Friday Of The New Month, You Must Be ‘Jobbing’ Me

January 5, 2017

I’m still nursing a New Year’s hangover. It takes a long time for the mind to rid itself of all the news the mainstream media deems fit to read. But as the third rock keeps spinning, markets will keep moving and we will strive to untangle the ball of confusion. After today’s tepid ADP data the market has settled into a consensus for 175,000 nonfarm payrolls. Again, I would love to see a number greater than 250,000 just to test the recent market action. BONDS rallied, currencies rallied against the DOLLAR, precious metals are showing early year strength and commodities have held support levels in the age of TRUMFLATIONARY EXPANSIONARY EXPECTATIONS.

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Notes From Underground: Setting the Tone For the New Year

December 27, 2016

Every step I take, every move I make, I’ll be watching the DOW hit 20,000. As I’ve said before, it is insignificant as we enter 2017, the year of political uncertainty with massive amounts of global debt. The Financial Times published an article today titled, “6.6 Trillion of Debt Issuance, Borrowing Levels Beat 2006 Mark.” The world has been taking advantage of the ultra-low borrowing rates that the ECB, BOJ, BOE and the Fed have so thoughtfully accommodated the global financial system. Corporates and sovereigns have been issuers while pension funds, insurance companies and central banks have been buyers of the poorly valued risk. If U.S. rates actually sustain a rise in yields, the headwinds from bloated balance sheets will hampered the slow-growth global economy. This will be a theme that is far more important than the slow grind of the U.S. legislative process, which will impede the Trump express. The Democrats will fight rearguard actions to prevent Trump’s plans for tax cuts and deregulation from coming to fruition.

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