US Existing Home Sales Plunge -22.64% YoY In February As Fed Withdraw … For The Moment (Median Prices Decline -0.2% YoY)

I have good news bad news for you.

The good news? US existing home sales SOARED in February. Up 14.5% MoM in February to 4.58 million units SAAR sold.

The bad news? On a year-over-year basis, existing home sales plunged -22.64%.

And the median price of existing home sales declined slightly to -0.2% YoY.

Dr. Jill Biden gets a professional clothing designer to rate her wardrobe.

No Mystery To Me! US Banks on Bumpy Path as First Republic’s Troubles Persist (Senator Warren Calls For Investigation Into Banking)

Its no mystery to me that San Francisco’s First Republic Bank is hurting. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is calling for hearings into the banking meltdown. Hey Liz, look at San Francisco’s First Republic Bank as a case study.

The infamous Covid surge in M2 Money supply (green line) produced a big surge in bank price stocks, thanks in part to the insane spending that Congress made following Covid (I’m looking at you, Liz!). But now The Fed is slowing M2 Money growth and banks like First Republic are paying the price.

As The Fed tightens, earnings per share for First Republic (red line) have crashed and burned. Along with its stock price.

So, its not mystery to me what happened. Bernanke and Yellen’s “too low for too long” monetary policies were suddenly taken away to fight inflation (partially caused by Biden and Congress’ spending spree).

Since The Fed has been removing the punch bowl to fight inflation, the S&P 500 index and the KBW bank index have gotten crush. Since February 2nd, the S&P 500 index is down -6.3% while the KBW Bank index is down -31.4%.

In short, banks take in short-term deposits and lend long, earning the spread. But when rates start to rise, watch out!!

Bad Sign! What Interest Rates Are Telling Us (US 10Y-2Y Curve Inverts To -80 Basis Points, Euro 10Y Yields Falling, Fed Funds Rate Priced At 2.301% By January 2024)

What interest rates are telling us is a bad sign.

With an impending railroad strike that can torpedo the US economy (but if that is possible, why is the Biden Clan vacationing in Nantucket for Thanksgiving weekend when Joe should be talking with railroads and the unions to not let this happen?), let’s see what interest rates are telling us.

First, the US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve continues to descrend into the abyss (now at -80 basis points).

Second, the latest Fed Dot Plot (from September, new one will be issued during December) show that The Fed thinks that their target rate, while rising in 2023, will likely start falling again in 2024.

Third, since it is Thanksgiving Day, US bond markets are closed. But in Europe, the 10-year sovereign yields are falling, a sign that the ECB is reversing course by increasing monetary stimulus and/or a European are slow down.

Fourth, US mortgage rates have cooled since peaking (locally) at 7.35% on November 3, 2022 and now sit at 6.81%, a decline of 54 basis points. A clear sign of cooling.

Fifth, how about Fed Funds Futures data? It is pointing to a peak Fed Funds Target rate of 4.593% at the June FOMC meeting. Then a decline in rates to 2.301% by January 2024.

Now, go and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family (up 20% since last year), courtesy of Jerome Powell, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

FTX Collapse Blame Game! Now Its Tom Brady’s Fault(?), Cathy Wood Sticks To Bitcoin Target Of $1 Million (Didn’t ANYBODY Look Under The Hood Of FTX/Alameda Research??)

Again, why did people with professional investment managers not look under the hood, so to speak, when touting FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried’s scam? Or why didn’t Washington DC politicians like Maxine Water (D-CA) look into what was going on with their second largest donor after George Soros?

According to CBS News Miami,

Former FTX Trading CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, NFL quarterback Tom Brady, supermodel Gisele Bundchen and comedian Larry David are among a celebrity-studded list of people accused of defrauding investors who lost money in the cryptocurrency exchange’s sudden collapse.

A proposed class-action filed in federal court in Florida late Tuesday names those four, along with other athletes and entertainers, as defendants in the case. All promoted FTX, one of the world’s largest crypto trading platform exchanges before it declared bankruptcy on November 11, with the company now under investigation for possible securities violations.

“It is still very difficult to comprehend that just one company defrauded more than $11 billion dollars from consumers, all from our backyard here in Miami,” Adam Moskowitz, the attorney leading the class action, said in an email.The suit seeks unspecified damages and is the first filed against Bankman-Fried and his companies since FTX filed for bankruptcy protection. BECAUSE MR MOSKOWITZ, NOBODY LOOKED UNDER THE HOOD.

Other current and former athletes named in the suit are NBA star Stephen Curry; NFL quarterback William Trevor Lawrence; baseball player Shohei Ohtani; tennis player Naomi Osaka; and broadcaster and former basketball player Shaquille O’Neal. Kevin O’Leary, a host of “Shark Tank,” is also named in the complaint, which was filed Nov. 15 in the Southern District of Florida.

The exchange shuffled customer money between affiliated entities, using new investor funds and loans to pay interest to the old ones in an attempt “to maintain the appearance of liquidity,” Moskowitz alleged, adding that FTX used public figures to give the operation an air of credibility.

Larry David, Trevor Lawrence and Naomi Osaka got stung by SBF like Tom Brady and Step Curry in a fraud scheme. True, celebrities should have excercized caution with dealing with SBF (I would love to see SBF’s investor presentation, but there may not have been one).

Or did SBF show this Bitcoin chart with Fed tightening? Or did ARK’s Cathy Wood look at this chart?/

Despite the recent FTX-fueled crypto market collapse, Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of Ark Invest Management, stood by her prediction that Bitcoin would reach $1 million by 2030.

$16,500 to $1,000.,000 by 2030? In 8 years??

“FTX were geniuses at public relations and marketing, and knew that such a massive Ponzi scheme — larger than the Madoff scheme — could only be successful with the help and promotion of the most famous, respected, and beloved celebrities and influencers in the world,” he said.

FTX did not reply to a request for comment.

FTX’s creditors will be first in line to get whatever assets a bankruptcy judge deems appropriate to distribute as the company seeks to restructure as part of its Chapter 11 filing. Investors in the Bahamas-based company, which had raised some $2 billion in venture capital, come next.

That means FTX account holders, who used the platform to trade bitcoin, ethereum and other digital currencies, may have to wait years to get their money back – if they ever do.

And so it goes. I doubt that Maxine Waters House Financial Services Committee will do anything constructive. The hearing will be a battle cry for more regulation and perhaps even paint SBF as victim of volatility.

The really sad part of this story is that SBF is still trying to raise money to do it all over again. But there are always investors who want to buy a piece of the blue sky, or a bridge in Brooklyn.

Litecoin is up big … again.

Fed Is Losing Billions, Wiping Out Profits That Funded Spending (Agency MBS Prices Falling While Duration And Convexity Soar)

As I told my Chicago, Ohio State and George Mason University finance and real estate students, repeatedly, “Watch out when The Fed begins to tighten monetary policy. It will be a bloodbath for taxpayers.”

Well, here we are. I argue that Biden’ green energy knucklehead policies are driving inflation, or it could be the insane level of Federal spending that Obama economist Larry Summers warned us about, or rising wages (in part due to Federal spending) is to thank for inflation. Or all of the above.

Regardless of the cause, the bond market is enduring its worst selloff in a generation, triggered by high inflation and the aggressive interest-rate hikes that central banks are implementing. Falling bond prices, in turn, mean paper losses on the massive holdings that the Fed and others accumulated during their rescue efforts in recent years.

Rate hikes also involve central banks paying out more interest on the reserves that commercial banks park with them. That’s tipped the Fed into operating losses, creating a hole that may ultimately require the Treasury Department to fill via debt sales. The UK Treasury is already preparing to make up a loss at the Bank of England.

The Reserve balance has crashed into negative territory.

And Fed losses are skyrocketing.

Agency MBS prices are up today, but are down since August 2022. But risk measures duration and convexity are zooming upwards.

‘Fragile’ Treasury market is at risk of ‘large scale forced selling’ or surprise that leads to breakdown (Fed tighening to fight Bidenflation as a recession becomes imminent, Dow Futures UP 770 Points For Monday)

Things are getting interesting in DC, to say the least. The US is 100% likely to face a recession in the next 12 months while The Federal Reserve is on its crusade to fight inflation caused by … The Federal Reserve, Biden’s green energy shenanigans and massive, irresponsible Federal spending that even Former Obama economist Lawrence Summers warned would cause inflation. So what will The Fed do? Lower rates and expand their assets purchases to fight the impending recession OR keep tightening to fight Bidenflation? But where we are now is that the fixed-income market could be in big, big trouble.

According to MarketWatch, the world’s deepest and most liquid fixed-income market is in big, big trouble.

For months, traders, academics, and other analysts have fretted that the $23.7 trillion Treasuries market might be the source of the next financial crisis. Then last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged concerns about a potential breakdown in the trading of government debt and expressed worry about “a loss of adequate liquidity in the market.” Now, strategists at BofA Securities have identified a list of reasons why U.S. government bonds are exposed to the risk of “large scale forced selling or an external surprise” at a time when the bond market is in need of a reliable group of big buyers.

“We believe the UST market is fragile and potentially one shock away from functioning challenges” arising from either “large scale forced selling or an external surprise,” said BofA strategists Mark Cabana, Ralph Axel and Adarsh Sinha. “A UST breakdown is not our base case, but it is a building tail risk.”

In a note released Thursday, they said “we are unsure where this forced selling might come from,” though they have some ideas. The analysts said they see risks that could arise from mutual-fund outflows, the unwinding of positions held by hedge funds, and the deleveraging of risk-parity strategies that were put in place to help investors diversify risk across assets.

In addition, the events which could surprise bond investors include acute year-end funding stresses; a Democratic sweep of the midterm elections, which is not currently a consensus expectation; and even a shift in the Bank of Japan’s yield curve control policy, according to the BofA strategists.

The BOJ’s yield curve control policy, aimed at keeping the 10-year yield on the country’s government bonds at around zero, is being pushed to a breaking point.

Well. Bidenflation certainly isn’t helping, but Statist Economist and Cheerleader Janet Yellen can’t bring herself to blame green energy policies, rampant Federal spending or irresponsible Federal Reserve policies for the crisis.

You will note the differences between today and the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The financial crisis gave us a massive surge in government securities liquidity thanks to then Fed Chair Ben Bernanke imitating Japan’s Central Bank and buying US government securities. Fast forward to today and the liquidity index hasn’t budged much since 2010 (except for a little blip around the Covid Fed intervention of early 2020), but we are now seeing near 40-year highs in inflation and a barely declining Fed balance sheet. And M2 Money YoY (mostly commercial bank deposits) are crashing.

I am guessing that The Fed will pivot given that stock futures are way up for Monday. The Dow Jones mini is up 770 points and the S&P 500 mini is up 88.75 points.

Bond market futures (specifically the US Ultra Bond) is down for Monday, meaning yields will be climbing.

While perusing MarketWatch, I noticed this headline from the uber-attention whore Nouriel Roubini: “New Yorkers are ‘stupid’ for moving to Texas, Florida: Wall Street’s ‘Dr. Doom’.” Seriously? Nouriel, you aren’t talking to friends in a Bleeker Street bar. Like Bernanke.

I remember giving a speech at The Brookings Institute in Washington DC. Talk about stranger in a strange land. One person who I was debating got frustrated and said “You are such a … Republican!!!” As if that was the worst slur he could throw at me.

This One’s Going To Hurt You! US Dollar Continues To Rise, Hurting Investors (US Dollar UP 25.2% With Bidenflation)

This one’s going to hurt you for a long, long time.

Over the past year, the dollar has been on a tear: The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of foreign currencies, is up 18%. And up 25.2% under 80-year old US President Joe Biden (well, he will be 80 in November).

For tourists, a strong dollar is great news. It means you get more for your money abroad.

But for investors, a beefed-up buck is decidedly bad news.

When the dollar strengthens, that means foreign revenues are going to translate into fewer dollars. Those earnings are going to come in lower and any overseas investment you own is going to hurt you in a rising dollar environment.

Fed Fireball! Fed Swaps Lean Toward Back-to-Back Three-Quarter-Point Hikes After Red-hot September Inflation Report (75 Basis Point Hike For Next 2 FOMC Meetings)

Fed Fireball!

* Fed Swaps Lean Toward Back-to-Back Three-Quarter-Point Hikes
* Hotter-than-expected September inflation data spark shift

(Bloomberg) — The market for wagers on the Federal Reserve’s policy rate is leaning toward pricing back-to-back 75 basis point rate hikes in the next two central bank meetings after consumer prices rose more than forecast in September.

The rate on the November overnight index swap contract rose to 3.86%, more than 75 basis points above the current effective fed funds rate, while the one referring to December climbed to 4.50%. A total of 142 basis points of rate hikes are now priced in for the next two policy meetings, just short of consecutive three-quarter-point hikes.

Prior to the inflation data, OIS markets were leaning toward the central bank cooling the pace of tightening to a 50 basis point move in December. At Wednesday’s close, swaps priced in around 130 basis points of hikes over the remaining of the year, which is equivalent to 55 basis points for December.

The market also priced in a higher eventual peak for the policy rate, with the March 2023 contract touching 4.864%.

The CPI data was “clearly a shock for the markets and the markets are off because of it,” Seth Carpenter, chief global economist at Morgan Stanley said on Bloomberg television. “There is persistence, particularly in the services side of inflation.”

Excluding food and energy, the Consumer Price Index increased 6.6% from a year ago, the highest level since 1982, Labor Department data showed Thursday. From a month earlier, the core CPI climbed 0.6% for a second straight month.

The Fed has raised its policy rate five times since March, most recently to a range of 3%-3.25% in September, after dropping the lower bound to 0% two years earlier at the onset of the pandemic.

The Fed Funds Futures data is pointing further Fed rate hikes with a turnaround in March 2023.

And with that awful inflation report and the likely Fed counterattack, the two year US Treasury yield has risen to 4.4361%, the highest since The Great Recession and banking crisis.

Fed Fireball! Comin’ at ya!!

Biden and Powell should appear on Saturday Night Live as the joint Debbie Downer. Or Democrat Downer.

Movin’ On Up To The Dark Side! US Core Inflation Rises To Highest Level (6.6% YoY) Since 1982, Bond Volatility Now Highest Since Covid Lockdown (REAL Weekly Wage Growth Declines To -3.8% YoY)

The US is movin’ on up, to the dark side, while DC elites live in deluxe apartments in the sky. The US is movin’ on up to the dark side, we finally got a piece of the Banana Republic pie. … And its tastes horrible!

Today, the BLS released its inflation data. And it was terrible.

To begin with, headline inflation remains high at 8.2% YoY while CORE inflation (headline less food and energy) rose to 6.6% YoY.

Meanwhile, REAL average weekly earnings growth YoY further declined to -3.8% YoY.

On the bond front, the Bank of America ICE bond volatility index rose to Great Recession/banking crisis levels (also achieved during the Covid government shutdowns).

But back to the low-ball BLS inflation data. The biggest gain in price is … fuel oil at 33.1% YoY. Food at home rose 13.0% while gasoline rose 18.2%. Rent, according to the BLS, rose 6.6%.

Biden has probably been told by Ron Klain and Susan Rice that this is a good report.

Wipe Out! $32 TRILLION In Stock Value Wiped Out (US Core Deflator Rises To 4.9% Prompting Taylor Rule Fed Target Rate Of 9.65%, We Are Currently At 3.25%)

Wipe out!

$32 TRILLION of global stock value has been wiped out since December 2021.

Today’s core PCE deflator reading of 4.9% YoY shows that the inflation surge is not over. With a core PCE deflator of 4.9%, the Taylor Rule suggests that The Fed Funds Target Rate should be at 9.65%, far below its current level of 3.25%. So, IFF The Fed is following any sort of rule, rates should continue to soar.

And if we use headline inflation of 8.30% YoY, the Taylor Rule suggests hiking the target rate to 14.75%.

After yesterday’s dismal Q2 report of -0.6%, I fully anticipate a recession. Ain’t this a kick in the … head.