Category Archive: 5.) Alhambra Investments

It’s Not About Jobless Claims Today, It’s About What Will Hamper Job Growth In A Few Months

You’ve no doubt heard about the jobless claims number. At an incomprehensible 3.28 million Americans filing for unemployment for the first time, this level far exceeded the wildest expectations as the economic costs of the shutdown continue to come in far more like the worst case. And as bad as 3mm is, the real hidden number is likely much higher.

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No Further Comment Necessary At This Point

I would write something snarky about bank reserves, but why bother at this point? It’s already been said. If Jay Powell doesn’t mention collateral, no one else does even though it’s the whole ballgame right now. Note: FRBNY’s updated figures shown below are for last week.

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Three Short Run Factors Don’t Make A Long Run Difference

There are three things the markets have going for them right now, and none of them have anything to do with the Federal Reserve. More and more conditions resemble the early thirties in that respect, meaning no respect for monetary powers. This isn’t to say we are repeating the Great Depression, only that the paths available to the system to use in order to climb out of this mess have similarly narrowed. That’s what’s ultimately going to matter the...

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Regime Change

Stocks took another beating last week as the scope of the coronavirus shutdown started to sink in. The S&P 500 was down 15% last week with most of that coming on Monday after the Fed’s emergency rate cuts. Our accounts performed much better than that, but were still down on the week as corporate and municipal bonds continued to get marked down.

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Stagnation Never Looked So Good: A Peak Ahead

Forward-looking data is starting to trickle in. Germany has been a main area of interest for us right from the beginning, and by beginning I mean Euro$ #4 rather than just COVID-19. What has happened to the German economy has ended up happening everywhere else, a true bellwether especially manufacturing and industry.

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Is GFC2 Over?

Is it over? That’s the question everyone is asking about both major crises, the answer is more obvious for only the one. As it pertains to the pandemic, no, it is not. Still the early stages. The other crisis, the global dollar run? Not looking like it, either.

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What Happens When Central Banks Buy Stocks (ETFs)? Well, We Already Know

Can we please dispense with all notions that monetary policy works? Specifically balance sheet expansion via any scale asset purchase programs. Nowhere has that been more apparent than Japan. Go back and reread all the promised benefits from BoJ’s Big Bang QQE that were confidently written in 2013. The biggest bazooka ever conceived has fallen short in every conceivable way.

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(Almost) Everything Sold Off Today

The eurodollar curve’s latest twist exposes what’s behind the long end. To recap: big down day in stocks which, for the first time in a while, wasn’t accompanied by massive buying in longer maturity UST’s. Instead, these were sold, too. Rumors of parity funds liquidating were all over the place, which is consistent with this curve behavior.

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Low Rates As Chaos, Not ‘Stimulus’

Basic recession economics says that when you end up with too much of some commodity, too much inventory that you can’t otherwise sell, you have to cut the price in order to move it. Discounting is a feature of those times. What about a monetary panic? This might sound weird, but same thing.

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Is this the Beginning of a Recession?

As I sit here Monday evening with the Dow having closed down 2000 points and the 10-year Treasury yield around 0.5%, the title of this update seems utterly ridiculous. With the new coronavirus still spreading and a collapse in oil prices threatening the entire shale oil industry, recession is now the expected outcome. Most observers seem to question only the potential length and depth of the coming downturn.

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Like Repo, The Labor Lie

The Federal Reserve has been trying to propagate two big lies about the economy. Actually, it’s three but the third is really a combination of the first two. To start with, monetary authorities have been claiming that growing liquidity problems were the result of either “too many” Treasuries (haven’t heard that one in a while) or the combination of otherwise benign technical factors.

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Take Your Pick of PMI’s Today, But It’s Not Really An Either/Or

Take your pick, apparently. On the one hand, IHS Markit confirmed its flash estimate for the US economy during February. Late last month the group had reported a sobering guess for current conditions. According to its surveys of both manufacturers and service sector companies, the system stumbled badly last month, the composite PMI tumbling to 49.6 from 53.3 in January.

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The Greenspan Moon Cult

Taking another look at what I wrote about repo and the latest developments yesterday, it may be worthwhile to spend some additional time on the “why” as it pertains to so much determined official blindness, an unshakeable devotion to otherwise easily explained lunar events.

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A Day For Rate Cuts

Well, that wasn’t he had in mind. The whole point of a rate cut, any rate cut let alone an emergency fifty, is to signal especially the stock market that the Fed is in the business of…something. The public has been led, by and large, to assume that something good happens when the Fed Chair shows up on TV.

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Economy: Curved Again

Earlier today, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI) confirmed the country’s economy is in recession. Updating its estimate for Q4 GDP, year-over-year output declined by 0.5% rather than -0.3% as first thought. On a quarterly basis, GDP was down for the second consecutive quarter which mainstream convention treats as a technical recession.

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Schaetze To That

When Mario Draghi sat down for his scheduled press conference on April 4, 2012, it was a key moment and he knew it. The ECB had finished up the second of its “massive” LTRO auctions only weeks before. Draghi was still relatively new to the job, having taken over for Jean-Claude Trichet the prior November amidst substantial turmoil.

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Was It A Midpoint And Did We Already Pass Through It?

We certainly don’t have a crystal ball at the ready, and we can’t predict the future. The best we might hope is to entertain reasonable probabilities for it oftentimes derived from how we see the past. Which is just what statistics and econometrics attempt. Except, wherein they go wrong we don’t have to make their mistakes.

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Time Again For Triple Digit Dollar

Being a member of the institutional “elite” means never having to say you’re sorry; or even admit that you have no idea what you are doing. For Christine Lagarde, Mario Draghi’s retirement from the European Central Bank could not have come at a more opportune moment. Fresh off the Argentina debacle, she failed herself upward to an even better gig.

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European Data: Much More In Store For Number Four

It’s just Germany. It’s just industry. The excuses pile up as long as the downturn. Over across the Atlantic the situation has only now become truly serious. The European part of this globally synchronized downturn is already two years long and just recently is it becoming too much for the catcalls to ignore. Central bankers are trying their best to, obviously, but the numbers just aren’t stacking up their way.

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US Sales and Production Remain Virus-Free, But Still Aren’t Headwind-Free

The lull in US consumer spending on goods has reached a fifth month. The annual comparisons aren’t good, yet they somewhat mask the more recent problems appearing in the figures. According to the Census Bureau, total retail sales in January rose 4.58% year-over-year (unadjusted). Not a good number, but better, seemingly, than early on in 2019 when the series was putting out 3s and 2s.

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