Morning Report: Dragon tail risk 1/5/16

Stocks are lower this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat

The ISM New York ticked up to 62 from 60.7 in December.

House prices rose 0.5% month-over-month and are up 6.3% year-over-year, according to CoreLogic. Home prices remain 7.3% below their April 2006 peak. Note the FHFA House Price Index has recouped its post-bubble losses.

“Dragon tail risk” is the new moniker for China risk. Overnight, the government signaled that restrictions on selling in their stock market will remain in place after they expire this week. Even if the Chinese economy “only” grows 4%, it will have effects on the global economy, particularly Asia. It would probably lop a half of a point worth of GDP from the US as well. UBS gamed out the scenario and they predict it would slow the Fed’s pace of tightening, but not stop it.

The bigger question for China is what happens when their real estate bubble bursts. If that happens, 4% GDP growth may be optimistic. The reverberations will almost certainly be felt in the US real estate market, especially at the high end in the big pricey urban markets like NYC, SF, and Seattle.

After the weak ISM numbers yesterday, the Atlanta Fed took down their estimate for Q4 GDP growth from 1.3% to 0.7%.

Byron Wein’s predictions on 2016: Another down year for the S&P, the 10 year holds below 2.5% and Hillary defeats Ted Cruz. Oil stays in the 30s, and the Fed only hikes once, in March.

29 Responses

  1. Frosty fristy! It’s all of 17 degrees here at the moment. Hope you guys up north of me are staying warm!

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    • After a very warm December the global warming has finally subsided and we’re at typical January temps (though not the teen and single digit temps of my youth, when the schools made you stay outside until the bell rang . . .)

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  2. It was 9 when i got into my car this morning

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  3. Somebody was listening to me yesterday when I suggested cutting power to the buildings being occupied by the yahoos in Oregon:

    The armed militiamen occupying a federal building in rural, eastern Oregon won’t have power there for long, according to a Tuesday morning report in The Guardian.

    An anonymous source in Washington, D.C. told The Guardian that federal authorities planned to cut power at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the small town of Burns, Oregon.

    “It’s in the middle of nowhere,” the unnamed government official told The Guardian. “And it’s flat-ass cold up there.”

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  4. Burns: Look at them, smug and secure in their finery mocking us.
    Homer: They’re just snowmen, Mr. Burns.
    Burns: Ah, snowmen have peepers. Peepers to watch- to watch for a moment of weakness. And then, baf, comes the knock on the head, and we’re down! –
    Burns: What do we do?
    Homers: Oh, wouldn’t you like to know?

    S8E12

    http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Mountain_of_Madness

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  5. Interesting observation that may bode well for Trump:

    “He’s building an audience. In 2016, that may be enough. Political alienation is a genuine phenomenon. It has been in development for decades. “Government is not the solution,” said Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” In reality, government is the only product of politics. Alienate people from their government and you alienate them from their politics, and vice versa. All that’s left is the show, and people will gravitate to the superior show.”

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a40952/trump-rally-massachusetts/

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    • “Government is not the solution,” said Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.”

      I would note that Reagan’s actual quote, consistently decontextualized by the left, is “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

      Meaning that the state of the government at the time of Jimmy Carter’s exit was “the problem”, not that the existence of government at all in any form was the problem.

      As it stands, I think it would be just as accurate to argue that “politics isn’t the solution, it’s the problem”. The political process is generating candidates no majority, even within the parties, is excited by. Trump as got some excitement and so does Sanders, but if either of them win the nomination it’s not going to be with a majority of Republican or Democratic voters, just a majority of those interested enough to show up.

      While the left has wrung its hands over Citizens United and super PACs, I think they confused causality. The Tea Party was not an artificial phenomenon created by the Koch brothers, it was a real, grass-rooty phenomenon which fell together from everywhere in an environment where any YouTube video can go viral and blog posts can get a million shares on Facebook and non-politicians can get a campaign funded with crowdfunding. The big money moved to where the action was already happening, it did not make it happen. Without Citizens United, we’d have noisy Tea Party types primary-ing RINOs and Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump all the same. The left should never have worried about Citizens United, they should have been worried about crowd funding and Facebook and YouTube. And, of course, the politics-as-usual establishment that ignores both its constituents and its campaign promises.

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  6. Kevin: (bringing thread forward)

    I listened to a number of [Obama’s] pre-presidential run speeches and he sounded easily as far left as Bernie, if not more so, but does not really appear to me to be how he has governed.

    Do you think that is because he isn’t really as far left as you thought, or because he has been constrained by the political reality of the both the US and the government in which he serves? I think Obama is, ideologically, quite far left, perhaps even the most far left politician to ever even get a whiff of the White House. But he is practical in that he knows how much of his ideology he can and can’t achieve given the environment he finds himself in, and what he has to do/say in order to maximize his ideological desires. And one of those things is to downplay the extent of his ideology. Hence his constant self-promotion as a “pragmatist” who just wants to do “what works”.

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    • @Scottc1: “Do you think that is because he isn’t really as far left as you thought, or because he has been constrained by the political reality of the both the US and the government in which he serves?”

      I think he’s constrained by political realities, but I also think he wanted to leave a legacy, he wanted to be seen as a uniter (not that he wanted to be one, but he wanted to be seen as one, I think). I think he would also want to pick his battles, and it’s one thing the campaign on running the DoD and the CIA and the Pentagon from the Oval Office and another thing to try and do it.

      I don’t doubt for a minute we’d all be paying a new home utility tax plus a carbon tax plus some sort of VAT tax if he had been given a supreme ruler’s carte blanche. Even so, I think he’s been as constrained by the image he’s wanted to project and the legacy he has wanted to cultivate as practical realities.

      I think we see the degrees of his leftism in his Supreme Court nominees, which seem consistent with his pre-presidential-run assertions that the constitution is a flawed document, “missing” the positive rights that should be in there.

      I also think a more unified and craftier Republican majority could have pushed him further to the right but . . . we will never know!

      I’m expecting a fairly liberal last few months in office, including some sort of executive order imposing limits on gun ownerships or gun shows and expanded background checks (as we have seen with recent executive orders; I feel like he’s given up trying to been seen as anything but starkly polarizing) out of both true belief and going out on a high note as far as liberals are concerned, as even if his executive orders were overturned by the next president, he’d still be seen as having “done the right thing” and that will no doubt help future foundation appointments and speaking fees (and former presidents make their way into the super wealthy riding that train).

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      • I also think a more unified and craftier Republican majority could have pushed him further to the right but . . . we will never know!

        I think that in spades. He was so eager for compromise that instead of stonewalling him, when Rs took the Congress, they could have moved him rightward. However, the net result of stone walling vs. pushing him rightward might have been about the same and then the Rs would have been accused of selling out by their right wing. This played out in the Boehner Chronicles.

        But they definitely could have pushed him to the right, once they controlled Congress.

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        • Mark:

          He was so eager for compromise that instead of stonewalling him, when Rs took the Congress, they could have moved him rightward.

          What makes you think he was eager for compromise?

          It seems to me the tone was set early by Obama himself when he not only rammed thru a D-controlled congress the biggest, most expansive and transformative piece of legislation in a generation on a strict party-line vote without any input from R’s, but did so via the use of an obscure legislative tactic, reconciliation, precisely in order to avoid negotiating with Republicans. It is certainly true that once the R’s recaptured the House Obama would be forced into compromise if he ever wanted to get anything through congress, but at that point the well was already poisoned, and even then he used Harry Reid and his D majority in the Senate in order to block any House legislation he didn’t like, again blunting a potential avenue of compromise with R’s.

          He also had “a pen and a phone” and proved on more than one occasion that he was willing to use it in a totally non-compromising fashion. I just don’t understand what evidence there is for any “eagerness” to compromise on the part of Obama.

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    • I guess I would have to say, even though nobody asked (lol), that I believed his pragmatic speeches and I honestly thought he wasn’t that far left, except maybe for health care, and even then I had a skewed opinion of what would work. I admit it!

      I actually believed he would be able to work with Republicans to accomplish something with healthcare, my signature issue, and in a way I guess he did, although it didn’t end up being exactly my prescription of what needed to be done. I was, and probably still am, to the left of everyone re healthcare and gun control but otherwise, I’m just not that impressed with the federal government and how they operate!!!

      I’d much rather let the states decide a number of issues………and IMO they still do to a certain extent, which is one reason why I live in CA…….LOL

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      • lms:

        I actually believed he would be able to work with Republicans to accomplish something with healthcare, my signature issue, and in a way I guess he did, although it didn’t end up being exactly my prescription of what needed to be done.

        Well, he did get something done, although he definitely didn’t work with R’s to do it.

        I’m just not that impressed with the federal government and how they operate!!!

        We agree. One reason why I am totally opposed to the feds trying to control the health care industry.

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    • @Scottc1: “What makes you think he was eager for compromise?”

      I think he was when he believed he could be a “unifier”, as many presidents do (including Dubya and Clinton). Certain things would have been off the table, as they always are, but I think he was eager for compromise for the sake of compromise. I think that ship sailed a while back, but during his first term . . . yeah, I think he would have been happy to compromise ala Clinton or Dubya on many things. Of course, neither side would have seen those compromises as a good thing.

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      • KW:

        I think he was when he believed he could be a “unifier”…

        Why do you think he ever actually believed this? Certainly while campaigning he claimed he would be, but that is just standard campaign cant. What has he done that leads you to believe he was serious about it?

        I think his actions upon taking office with a veto-proof majority belie the notion that he ever desired to be a “uniter” or was ever eager to compromise with his political foes. The time to prove a commitment to “unifying” and “compromise” is when you aren’t already forced to do so by circumstances. And it seems to me he proved precisely the opposite with his approach to his political foes from day 1, particularly with regard to his signature legislation.

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  7. Like

    • In the modern day, it’s always stupid. And doomed. Lots of other mechanisms to redress your grievances, so armed rebellion is generally inappropriate in a Democratic Republic. The sentences the ranchers got certainly seem unjust to me.

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      • KW:

        Lots of other mechanisms to redress your grievances, so armed rebellion is generally inappropriate in a Democratic Republic.

        What if, like the US, it is mostly a DRINO?

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        • Primary candidates, ala the Tea Party. Form foundations. This isn’t revolutionary France. There are a ton of options, and armed rebellion should be the last of the hundreds of choices, not the first. Start a crowd funded project to sue the government or even file harassment suits against individuals. Buy TV time. Get the story out there. Make a documentary film. Make your argument in clear and simple terms. Run for office. Not playing the game because it’s not fair and the playing field isn’t level is not a strategy I can support.

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  8. Like

  9. Random book recommendation – if you like Douglas Adams style work and/or comedy with a religious theme, I recommend the following book which I read in about three days.

    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal
    by Christopher Moore

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb:_The_Gospel_According_to_Biff,_Christ's_Childhood_Pal

    http://www.amazon.com/Lamb-Gospel-According-Christs-Childhood/dp/0380813815

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    • This is a very funny book and avoids Christopher Moore’s major problem of having the last quarter of his novels just keep getting more and more outlandish.

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    • After I read Scott’s recommendation of “The Righteous Mind”, I’ll read that one……….it might be awhile though……….I started it today and it seems like a long read and I feel like I’m back in my Psych classes a million years ago…LOL

      I think I’ll be ready for a bit of humor after this one!!!

      Like

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