Garth at Greater Fool delivers what amounts to a "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech; apparently he's been onset by end-of-the-world doomers. His previous post mentions the fall in Canadian retail sales; it was big, a 2.0% drop, wiping out almost all the previous month's gain, and US home sales in May dropping to a record low - down 33%, to 300,000 units/year annualised, the lowest number on record. And that's vs. April's revised lower sales (down to 446,000 from 504,000); apples to apples, you're looking at a 40% drop. I think we can safely consider the "demand pull-ahead" theory of the housing tax credit stimulus validated now. (Data courtesy CitizensBank Foreign Exchange Newsletter, archived here, but the housing numbers are here.) This was, frankly, a much bigger drop than even the bears were expecting.
At Marketwatch, Mike Holland says that US financial reform is basically worthless, but still insists it will make credit more expensive and much harder to get, and pushes "trial lawyer" buttons. Karl Denninger is holding off a full opinion until the bill is law, but thinks that it demonstrates regulatory capture is still in full effect but that so far he thinks the bill is a mild net positive, despite FreddieMac/Fannie Mae being left out of the bill.
Deutschebank says US financial conditions are collapsing again - not bad to the post-Lehman bankruptcy lows, but into crisis territory, near the 1982/2001 lows. Significant numbers of banks are missing TARP payments, some -about 10% - are missing multiple payments.
The GOP teamed with Ben Nelson to block the Democrats' job bill in the Senate, which included the renewal of extended unemployment benefits. Senator Collins of Maine said earlier she's willing to support an extension of those considered separately, which would allow the Democrats to break filibuster and pass that, but if that doesn't happen, it will be interesting to see headline (U3) unemployment start to drop rapidly even as employment rates remain unchanged. Unemployment claim four-week average is remaining steady at 460,000.
Zero Hedge sees the "BP is Too Big to Fail" propaganda ramping up.
The Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) Leading Economic Index has fallen sharply to -6.9%, indicating significant contraction in economic activity. This may be a repeat: the Philly Fed Business Index slowed significantly from 21.4 to 8.0 in June, still indicating growth but a sharp dropoff in the rate. Despite all this, UMichigan Consumer Confidence rises to 76.
First-quarter GDP figures have been revised downwards to 2.7% annualised, from 3.2% annualised. Durable goods orders in May sound awful - down 1.1% - but take out transportation and it's up 0.9%, which actually makes it not so bad. One of Karl's personal leading indicators is warning, tho':
Communications orders were down a fair bit on shipments but have effectively collapsed on new orders, down 9.4% m/o/m... communications new orders are below the May 2009 levels. That's an early warning - and one that I track very closely. Communications orders are, as I have repeatedly noted, an excellent indication of forward intentions to hire.Mish has an interesting note about muni bonds, long seen as safe havens, and notes that investors are not being compensated to the degree of risk they're taking, which is well above zero. Illinois is considered more likely to default now than is Portugal or California. Zero Hedge looks at state and local budget problems in depth here.
There are rumours that the US Federal Reserve is about to go on a printing/buying spree of US$2.6trillion with a T. Karl Denninger rolls to disbelieve and wants sources named.
And something nobody's watching lately: Baltic Dry Index numbers have fallen through trendline and support. Dry bulk shipping is falling down.
Sorry this isn't more coherent; US markets are up on agreeable financial reform. Ca$ is up against US$. Have a good weekend!