October 13: Daily Contrarian Reads

Recession Fatigue And Then Some

This is recession fatigue in action, blaming otherwise social constructs for economic results because nobody (in the mainstream) was willing to suggest Ben Bernanke was wrong not just about “stimulus” but that the Great “Recession” might actually deserve the quotation marks. And so in the years since, it is always, always something else.

Hedge Fund Guru Ray Dalio Says Try Gold—–Stock & Bond Returns Will Be Miserable Going Forward

With bond-stock correlations reaching record highs (and broad risk parity fund performance deteriorating rapidly), Ray Dalio’s $150 billion Bridgewater Associates managed modest gains across its main strategies last month – even as macro funds have suffered amid policy and political uncertainty. However, the manager of the world’s largest hedge fund warns “Investment returns will be very low going forward,” in his latest investor remarks, suggesting that betting on gold could prove preferable. 

Channel Stuffing Anyone? Apple Mac Shipments Plunge

Worldwide PC shipments fell 3.9% in the third quarter from a year ago, according to IDC, thus continuing the long methodical decline of the entire ecosystem. But beneath the surface: shipments of the boring uncool brands rose worldwide and soared in the US, as shipments of cool Macs plunged.

The Donald Lives!

Donald Trump turned in perhaps the most effective performance in the history of presidential debates on Sunday night….Tasting blood, the media were in a feeding frenzy. Trump is dropping out! Pence is bolting the ticket! Republican elites are about to disown and abandon the Republican nominee! Sometime this weekend, Trump made a decision: If he is going down to defeat, he will go out as Trump, not some sniveling penitent begging forgiveness from hypocrites who fear and loathe him.

Oh, Those Dastardly Russians!

Rather than answer the question about her two-faced approach, she again launched into what can only be described as an unhinged tirade about those evil Russians. Think about this: have we ever had a presidential election in which one candidate is accusing the other of being in league with a foreign power? Not that I can think of. It’s unprecedented, at least in modern times. And they accuse Trump of being a “demagogue”!

Please Take Assume Your Crash Positions

This confidence that the market will be on cruise control into the November post-election rally is the ideal set-up for a crash to SPX 1,850. While we can argue technicals all day, the fact is gaps get filled, usually sooner rather than later. There are two big open gaps in the S&P 500 around 2.040 and 1,860 that have been begging to get filled for months

A $7 Trillion Moment of Truth in Markets is Just Three Days Away

Not since the financial crisis of 2008 has Libor, to which almost $7 trillion of debt including mortgages, student loans and corporate borrowings, is pegged — experienced such a surge. The three-month U.S. dollar Libor rate has jumped from 0.61 percent at the start of the year to 0.87 percent currently — a 42 percent rise — ahead of money market reform that’s due to come into effect on Oct. 14.

China Cities Face End of Fairy Tale as Default Risks Rise

Finance firms that help keep cash flowing to China’s towns, cities and provinces face rising risks of landmark bond defaults just as they turn to global markets for funds.

China’s economic slowdown is weighing on revenue at regional governments, hampering their ability to support the 5.3 trillion yuan ($789 billion) of outstanding onshore notes from local-government financing vehicles, which have yet to suffer nonpayments. Such issuance fell 18 percent last quarter as regulators curbed sales, forcing some to seek funds overseas.

“Oops!”—A World War!

Over the past week or so I’ve been receiving a steady stream of emails demanding to know whether an all-out nuclear war is about to erupt between the US and Russia. I’ve been watching the situation develop more or less carefully, and have been offering my opinion, briefly, one on one, to a few people’s great relief, and now I will attempt to spread the cheer far and wide. In short, on the one hand, all-out nuclear annihilation remains quite unlikely, barring an accident. But, on the other hand, such an accident is by no means impossible, because when it comes to US foreign policy “Oops!” seems to be the operative term.

Subprime Car Loans Hit Highest Delinquency Rate In Six Years

Subprime borrowers are falling behind on their car loan payments at the highest rate in more than six years, and some bonds backed by these loans are vulnerable to getting downgraded, according to S&P Global Ratings……Competition has spurred lenders to loosen standards and resulted in more delinquencies and default by people with weak credit, the ratings firm said. Subprime borrowers were behind by more than 60 days on about 4.85 percent of auto loans in August, the highest level since January 2010.