Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he is willing to consider asking for a bailout and the markets respond by buying two year Spanish debt and European stocks. Reality is that Rajoy's statement means nothing because Spain is already de facto bankrupt. Bankrupt means that Spanish banks, provinces and the government not repay debts. Tax collections are lower than government spending. Rajoy knows help really means that Germany would control Spain's purse strings. Is that likely to happen? Spain will leave the Euro before that happens. Moreover, if Spain accepts German help, would that happen anytime soon? No way that happens in less than a year, by which time Spain's economy is in the same condition as the Midwest cornfields.
I can only see three reasons why the Euro and European stocks would go up on such nonsense that Spain might ask for help. The first one is that a lot of amateur shorts ran for cover, particular in the short Euro position. Second, most money managers are too dumb to understand that absolutely nothing will be happening anytime soon in Europe regardless of what is said by the Central Bankers and politicians. The third is that money managers cynically buy on statements like Rajoy's that keep kicking the can down the road, and then they will sell when the can stops moving. Or perhaps all three.
The other idiotic reason for U.S. and global stocks to go up was Friday's estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 163,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were added in July. That piled more hope on top of the hope that Europe will fix itself. Notice I said 163,000 seasonal adjusted jobs were added. The actual number of jobs dropped by 1.2 million from June to July. To get 163,000 more jobs being added in July, the BLS subtracted 990,000 seasonally adjusted jobs from June and added 377,000 seasonally adjusted jobs to July.
Several other points about why the initial BLS jobs report is nothing more than a wild ass guess. First the BLS numbers are extrapolated from a partially complete monthly survey of 141,000 private and public employers, which is less than 10% of total employers. Second, here a viewer commented: "As Controller of a construction company, I submitted data for this (BLS) report every month. It was absolutely my lowest priority, the information they (BLS) wanted was cumbersome to accumulate, and when pushed for it, I simply guessed.
Forget the BLS nonsense. We estimate its initial July number will probably be revised over the next six months to around the 115,000 we estimate. We come up with our estimate of 115,000 new July jobs by looking at the daily pattern of withholding tax payments.
Our analysis says that nominal wage and salary growth year over year has been right around 3% since April. That is down from about 3.5% between November and March and around 4% growth last summer. In other words, even after several trillion dollars in government stimulus, nominal wage and salary growth is flat-lining, not improving. And they are likely to keep declining, particular with the added pressure from the slowdown in Europe and emerging markets.
Hope springs eternal-- particularly in today's stock market. Several additional items today. It is truly obvious that many in the financial media must be under instruction to focus on anything that points to a recovery. A recovery in their ratings, not the economy. Only one thing guarantees higher ratings for CNBC and the other financial media-- and that is new highs in stock prices. Believe it or not, the market is only about 10% below the October 2007 peak.
Second point, for the record, on October 22, 2007 TrimTabs Weekly Liquidity Review turned neutral from having been mostly bullish for several years. I then turned bearish the following week. Since 2000 we had been accurate as to market direction 80% of the months prior to 2009. To complete the record, I stayed bearish too long and admit to totally missing the impact of the Fed's stock market rigging between April and October 2009.
Third, as of today the Biderman Market Picks model portfolio is virtually unchanged since its May 29 start, despite being 32% short and 19% long. And yes that includes losing 20% on the 1% Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) position.
Finally, at the end of 2007 I sold a minority interest in TrimTabs Investment Research to Goldman Sachs, their prop trading desk was our biggest customer. Goldman Sachs sold back to TrimTabs their entire equity holding this April for a fraction of the original purchase price.