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JT Taylor: Rubio & Trump Team Up On Cruz & The McConnell Stonewall

Takeaway: What to watch on the election 2016 campaign trail.

Below is a brief excerpt from Potomac Research Group Chief Political Strategist JT Taylor's Morning Bullets sent to institutional clients each morning.

TOE TO TOE IN TEXAS:

 

JT Taylor: Rubio & Trump Team Up On Cruz & The McConnell Stonewall - cruz 23

 

Tonight's debate in Houston is the final, critical chance for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to redefine the narrative over the next five days before the Super Tuesday contests. Some Rubio donors and establishment types have been reluctant to take on Donald Trump, fearing that he may suffer a similar fate to Jeb -- but if he wants to win, Rubio can't sit by and let Trump dictate the terms and tenor of the debate.

 

Look for him and Trump to tag-team against Cruz, capitalizing on his newly-exposed and unexpected crisis of character. Cruz and his campaign are clearly on the ropes, and we hear a sense of panic is starting to set in among his team -- we wouldn't be surprised if he comes out jabbing, but is limited to counter-punching the whole night. 

SUPREME STONEWALL:

 

JT Taylor: Rubio & Trump Team Up On Cruz & The McConnell Stonewall - mcconnell

 

Majority Leader McConnell's decision to deny President Obama a chance to fill the late Justice Scalia's seat raised just a few eyebrows in the Republican caucus, but he has strung together a nearly-united front and the Republican base appears appeased -- for now. McConnell now owns the narrative, and Democrats -- at some point -- will label their opposition with the obstructionist tag, and tie it into their other theme that Republicans can't govern effectively.

 

We see this as a clear and looming danger for vulnerable candidates up for re-election in swing states, but McConnell and the Judiciary Committee are unlikely to budge. We wonder if their calculus changes now that the White House is floating Republican Gov Brian Sandoval's name, or in the event Hillary Clinton is sitting on a big lead in the months closer to the general election. 


Cartoon of the Day: Run! It's Abenomics!

Cartoon of the Day: Run! It's Abenomics! - Abenomics cartoon 02.25.2016

 

Global central planners remain the world's biggest risk.


3 Reasons Why Financials Are ‘Getting Mercy Crushed’

In this brief excerpt of The Macro Show earlier today, Hedgeye Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale and Commodity analyst Ben Ryan discuss our Macro themes and why we told clients to be underweight Financials heading into 2016.


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Recession? Yes. 4 Cartoons Lay Out Our Call

Our Macro team continues to highlight the increasing likelihood that the U.S. slips into recession sometime in the next three quarters. The Fed, Wall Street economists and most investors are missing the mark on this risk.

 

Below are four cartoons from our cartoonist Bob Rich compiled since we started warning subscribers about this risk late last year, accompanied by analysis from Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough .

 

Click here to receive our daily cartoon for free.

 

1. Ebenezer Screwed (12/24/2015)

 

Recession? Yes. 4 Cartoons Lay Out Our Call - Recession yet to come cartoon 12.24.2015

 

"Given that they called neither the cycle peaking nor #GrowthSlowing to begin with, Consensus Macro seems to be unbelievably precise in telling you what the “probability of a US recession” is."

 

2. Recessionary Rumblings (12/22/2015)

 

Recession? Yes. 4 Cartoons Lay Out Our Call - recession cartoon 02.04.2016

 

"Those growth bulls were delivered a big blow this week with US Consumer Confidence making a lower-low at 92.2."

 

3. Recession Risk Rising (2/4/2016)

 

Recession? Yes. 4 Cartoons Lay Out Our Call - recession cartoon 02.22.2016

 

 

"Calculating a precise percentage “chance of a recession” is poppycock. What matters to markets and your returns are expectations and rates of change." 

 

4. Recession Knocking? (2/22/2016)

 

Recession? Yes. 4 Cartoons Lay Out Our Call - recession cartoon 12.22.2015

 

"As critical rates of change continue to slow (see Consumer Confidence, Corporate profits, Jobless Claims), the probability of a US #Recession continues to rise."


Initial Claims | 99 Problems

Takeaway: Weakening labor data coupled with compressing yield spreads is a poison pill for lenders.

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims1 normal  2

 

Below is the breakdown of this morning's labor data from Joshua Steiner and the Hedgeye Financials team. If you would like to setup a call with Josh or Jonathan or trial their research, please contact 

 

99 Problems

Buried like an Easter egg at the end of each of our weekly claims notes are a few charts showing the 2-10 yield spread quarterly back to 2008. For anyone not paying attention, the spread has been compressing steadily since its 4Q13 peak of 2.41%. As of today, the spread stands at 99 basis points (the 1Q16TD average is 113 bps).

 

This is a problem for banks. First, this is far and away the tightest spread environment seen in the post-crisis period so it simply hurts in absolute terms. Second, in RoC terms, if we hold the current 99 bps flat through quarter-end, the 1Q16 average spread will be down ~28 bps vs the 4Q15 average, which will be the second fastest rate of compression since 2011. Banks obviously feel the pain, even if it flows through on a lag. The point is that with global macro pressures growing, expect spreads and the read through to US and Global banking businesses to continue compressing/darkening.

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims15 normal  1

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims16 normal

 

The Labor Market

The Labor Data is again less good this week. Seasonally adjusted claims rose 10k week over week to 272k, while claims continue to grow year-over-year in energy states, as the following three charts show.

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims12 normal  2

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims13 normal  2

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims14 normal  2

 

The Numbers

Initial jobless claims rose 10k to 272k from 262k WoW. The prior week's number was not revised. Meanwhile, the 4-week rolling average of seasonally-adjusted claims fell -1.25k WoW to 272k.

 

The 4-week rolling average of NSA claims, another way of evaluating the data, was -6.7% lower YoY, which is a sequential improvement versus the previous week's YoY change of -2.8%.

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims2 normal  3

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims3 normal  3

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims4 normal  3

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims5 normal  3

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims6 normal  3

 

Initial Claims | 99 Problems - Claims7 normal  3

 

 

Joshua Steiner, CFA

 

Jonathan Casteleyn, CFA, CMT

 

 

 


The Big Bang Theory: What Happens When The Central Planning Edifice Collapses?

Takeaway: Economic gravity continues to best central planners.

The Big Bang Theory: What Happens When The Central Planning Edifice Collapses? - planet

 

A quick question for perma-bulls. After 600-plus rate cuts globally, what do we truly have to show for it? Sluggish growth, deflating asset prices, and a central planning edifice on the brink of collapse? 

 

That sounds about right. 

 

Here's another question. What happens when it all implodes?

 

We're getting a glimpse of that now in Japan. In late January, the BOJ announced it would pursue negative interest rates. Macro markets didn't like that. In direct opposition to the BOJ's intent, the Yen has strengthened 5.2% and the Nikkei has fallen -5.3%.

 

Whoops!

 

The response from central planners is getting a little desperate. Last week, then came BOJ members calling for “greater cooperation among G7 partners in order to ‘soothe’ market jitters.” That's unlikely. The ECB added that it “is ready to do its part” while Fed officials have been making the media circuit rounds parlaying the idea that "all is well."

 

Nope. 

 

What does this all mean? Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough has been grappling with this same question, about what happens when the last ounce of central-planning credibility is finally exhausted. In the Early Look this week, McCullough wrote:

 

"We have a social “science” experiment (or ideology) called central-market-planning (or QE)… which could easily implode if the #BeliefSystem that humans can bend and smooth economic gravity crashes."

 

Here's what the Fed's crashing credibility looks like via analysis from our Macro team sent to subscribers this morning:

 

"Gold loves nothing more than down dollar and interest rates. With consensus positioned for a stronger USD and a series of rate hikes into 2016, gold has sniffed out growth slowing data and market turmoil. In consequence, Gold and Silver are leading CRB divergences YTD at +16.6% and +10.3% YTD against a weaker USD (-1.3% YTD).

 

The 10-Year Treasury yield continues to price in slower growth, backing off -51bps on the year, at 1.74% this morning. While the Fed continues to play hardball on the direction of policy in 2016, the market trades skeptical."  

 

Take a look at the significant compression of the 10yr-2yr Treasury yield spread (i.e. #GrowthSlowing):

 

The Big Bang Theory: What Happens When The Central Planning Edifice Collapses? - 10yr 2yr spread

 

... Or (crashing) market-based measures of future inflation expectations (i.e. macro markets don't believe Fed rhetoric that #Deflation is "transitory"):

 

The Big Bang Theory: What Happens When The Central Planning Edifice Collapses? - 5yr forward inflation expec

 

No matter. We're sticking with our process and we'll continue to front run the Fed's and Wall Street's delusional forecasts.

 

While we're on the subject, here's an excerpt of Keith on The Macro Show...


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