Something Is Wrong With This Chart: US Jewelry Imports Drop By Most On Record

Either our copy of Excel has a bug, or the BLS hasn’t gotten to seasonally adjusting its less than A-grade time series yet, or perhaps there has been an unprecedented and undocumented surge in jewelry artisans in the past five years, or simply people are now celebrating Bernanke’s centrally-planned economic renaissance by wearing bones and tattoos, or men and women now just say no to such superficial trinkets as watches and rings, but whatever the reason, according to the BLS, US jewelry imports in the month of October inexplicably just posted their biggest annual drop. On record.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/xUkff-FAGOk/story01.htm Tyler Durden

War On Sell Side Wall Street – Apple Edition: To $1,000 & Beyond!

This is a video follow-up to the post I did a couple of weeks ago after the Apple earnings announcement titled “Again, The Sell Side Analysts (Even The Rock Star Analysts) Don’t Seem To Understand The Mobile Computing Wars“.

Initially, I was going to go the PC (as in politically correct) route and treat Mr. Munster with kids gloves, but we’re all adults here and I want everyone to realize that this is not a form of character assassination, a personal or professional attack, libel, slander or even my just being rude. Gene Munster is a professional, and a seemingly intelligent one at that. It’s just that he is wrong, dead wrong, and has been wrong for some time. Despite his extreme inaccuracies regarding Apple and its share price, he is the go to guy for the financial press and mainstream media, not to mention the Apple-centric blogosphere for all things Apple investment related – despite his being wrong as hell. 

First reference this quick 3 minute video…

 

Now reference the following graphic illustrating a search on Mr. Munster’s Apple price targets…

Munster in the media Apple 1000 and beyondMunster in the media Apple 1000 and beyond

Click here to subscribe or purchase this update. Paid subscribers click here: File Icon Apple 4Q2013 preliminary update. As we wait for my elfin magicians and presdigitation analysts to finsih up on the updated valuation numbers, I’m quite comfortable in recommending subscribers adhere to the latest set of valuation numbers proffered in the last Apple update. 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven’t read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn’t Understand About Apple – It’s Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call – October 2012, the month of Apple’s all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made – Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/fQtaMDvpuU0/story01.htm Reggie Middleton

War On Sell Side Wall Street – Apple Edition: To $1,000 & Beyond!

This is a video follow-up to the post I did a couple of weeks ago after the Apple earnings announcement titled “Again, The Sell Side Analysts (Even The Rock Star Analysts) Don’t Seem To Understand The Mobile Computing Wars“.

Initially, I was going to go the PC (as in politically correct) route and treat Mr. Munster with kids gloves, but we’re all adults here and I want everyone to realize that this is not a form of character assassination, a personal or professional attack, libel, slander or even my just being rude. Gene Munster is a professional, and a seemingly intelligent one at that. It’s just that he is wrong, dead wrong, and has been wrong for some time. Despite his extreme inaccuracies regarding Apple and its share price, he is the go to guy for the financial press and mainstream media, not to mention the Apple-centric blogosphere for all things Apple investment related – despite his being wrong as hell. 

First reference this quick 3 minute video…

 

Now reference the following graphic illustrating a search on Mr. Munster’s Apple price targets…

Munster in the media Apple 1000 and beyondMunster in the media Apple 1000 and beyond

Click here to subscribe or purchase this update. Paid subscribers click here: File Icon Apple 4Q2013 preliminary update. As we wait for my elfin magicians and presdigitation analysts to finsih up on the updated valuation numbers, I’m quite comfortable in recommending subscribers adhere to the latest set of valuation numbers proffered in the last Apple update. 

Subscribers, download the Q3 2013 valuation reports (click here to subscribe).

The update from two months ago is also of value for those who haven’t read it. It turns out that it was quite prescienct!

See also:

What Sell Side Wall Street Doesn’t Understand About Apple – It’s Not The Leader Of The Post PC World!!!

 The short call – October 2012, the month of Apple’s all-time high and my call to subscribers to short the stock:  Deconstructing The Most Accurate Apple Analysis Ever Made – Share Price, Market Share, Strategy and All


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/fQtaMDvpuU0/story01.htm Reggie Middleton

That Mega "Black Friday" Sale? It's Just The End Of The Mega"Pre-Black Friday" Mark Up

The silliness of it all is that the original price from which the discount is computed is often specious to begin with,” sums up the seemingly obvious “retail theater” that plays out every Black Friday in mall after mall across America. As the WSJ reports, the common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don’t sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn’t typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want. Buyers don’t seem to mind. What they are after, especially in such a lackluster economy, is the feeling they got a deal, “I don’t even get excited unless its 40% off.” The manufactured nature of most discounts raises questions about the wisdom of standing in line for the promotional frenzy that kicks off the holiday shopping season. It also explains how retailers have been able to ramp up the bargains without giving away the store – until now.

 

 

Because no one needs a thing this bad…

 

Via WSJ,

“A lot of the discount is already priced into the product. That’s why you see much more stable margins,” said Liz Dunn, an analyst with Macquarie Equities Research.

 

 

The number of deals offered by 31 major department store and apparel retailers increased 63% between 2009 to 2012, and the average discount jumped to 36% from 25%, according to Savings.com, a website that tracks online coupons.

 

 

Stores also field loss leaders, true bargains that pinch profits but are aimed at getting customers into their stores. Most deals, however, are planned to be profitable by setting list prices well above where goods are actually expected to sell.

 

Retailers could run into legal trouble if they never try to sell goods at their starting price. Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with the practice.

 

 

Penney, which made a disastrous attempt to move away from discounts…  But first it has to adjust its prices.

 

“We must and will compete to win,” Mr. Ullman said last week on a conference call with analysts. “That means initially marking up our goods to sufficient levels to protect our margins when the discount or sale is applied.”

 

 

Here’s how it works, according to one industry consultant describing an actual sweater sold at a major retailer. A supplier sells the sweater to a retailer for roughly $14.50. The suggested retail price is $50, which gives the retailer a roughly 70% markup. A few sweaters sell at that price, but more sell at the first markdown of $44.99, and the bulk sell at the final discount price of $21.99. That produces an average unit retail price of $28 and gives the store about a 45% gross margin on the product.

 

Retailers didn’t always price this way. It used to be that most items were sold at full price, with a limited number of sales to clear unsold inventory. That began to change in the 1970s and 1980s, when a rash of store openings intensified competition and forced retailers to look for new ways to stand out.

 

 

Another tactic involves raising selling prices ahead of the holidays before the discounts kick in. In an analysis for The Wall Street Journal, price-tracking firm Market Track LLC looked at the online price fluctuations of 1,743 products in November 2012. Prices climbed an average of 8% in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving for 366, or about a fifth, of the products; the items were then discounted on Black Friday. Toys and tools had the biggest pre-Black Friday price increases—about 23%.

 

 

Retailers are supposed to offer items at regular prices “for a reasonably substantial period of time” before marking them down, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

 

Retailers, having trained customers to shop for deals, are stuck with the strategy for now. Macy’s tried to cut back on coupons in 2007.

 

“Customers stopped shopping,” said Chief Executive Terry Lundgren, “so we knew that was a bad idea.”

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/QHh4huYCPZw/story01.htm Tyler Durden

That Mega “Black Friday” Sale? It’s Just The End Of The Mega”Pre-Black Friday” Mark Up

The silliness of it all is that the original price from which the discount is computed is often specious to begin with,” sums up the seemingly obvious “retail theater” that plays out every Black Friday in mall after mall across America. As the WSJ reports, the common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don’t sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn’t typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want. Buyers don’t seem to mind. What they are after, especially in such a lackluster economy, is the feeling they got a deal, “I don’t even get excited unless its 40% off.” The manufactured nature of most discounts raises questions about the wisdom of standing in line for the promotional frenzy that kicks off the holiday shopping season. It also explains how retailers have been able to ramp up the bargains without giving away the store – until now.

 

 

Because no one needs a thing this bad…

 

Via WSJ,

“A lot of the discount is already priced into the product. That’s why you see much more stable margins,” said Liz Dunn, an analyst with Macquarie Equities Research.

 

 

The number of deals offered by 31 major department store and apparel retailers increased 63% between 2009 to 2012, and the average discount jumped to 36% from 25%, according to Savings.com, a website that tracks online coupons.

 

 

Stores also field loss leaders, true bargains that pinch profits but are aimed at getting customers into their stores. Most deals, however, are planned to be profitable by setting list prices well above where goods are actually expected to sell.

 

Retailers could run into legal trouble if they never try to sell goods at their starting price. Otherwise, there’s nothing wrong with the practice.

 

 

Penney, which made a disastrous attempt to move away from discounts…  But first it has to adjust its prices.

 

“We must and will compete to win,” Mr. Ullman said last week on a conference call with analysts. “That means initially marking up our goods to sufficient levels to protect our margins when the discount or sale is applied.”

 

 

Here’s how it works, according to one industry consultant describing an actual sweater sold at a major retailer. A supplier sells the sweater to a retailer for roughly $14.50. The suggested retail price is $50, which gives the retailer a roughly 70% markup. A few sweaters sell at that price, but more sell at the first markdown of $44.99, and the bulk sell at the final discount price of $21.99. That produces an average unit retail price of $28 and gives the store about a 45% gross margin on the product.

 

Retailers didn’t always price this way. It used to be that most items were sold at full price, with a limited number of sales to clear unsold inventory. That began to change in the 1970s and 1980s, when a rash of store openings intensified competition and forced retailers to look for new ways to stand out.

 

 

Another tactic involves raising selling prices ahead of the holidays before the discounts kick in. In an analysis for The Wall Street Journal, price-tracking firm Market Track LLC looked at the online price fluctuations of 1,743 products in November 2012. Prices climbed an average of 8% in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving for 366, or about a fifth, of the products; the items were then discounted on Black Friday. Toys and tools had the biggest pre-Black Friday price increases—about 23%.

 

 

Retailers are supposed to offer items at regular prices “for a reasonably substantial period of time” before marking them down, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

 

Retailers, having trained customers to shop for deals, are stuck with the strategy for now. Macy’s tried to cut back on coupons in 2007.

 

“Customers stopped shopping,” said Chief Executive Terry Lundgren, “so we knew that was a bad idea.”

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/QHh4huYCPZw/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Consumer Confidence Misses (Again), Tumbles To Lowest In 7 Months

No matter what measure of confidence, sentiment, or animal spirits one uses, the consumer is not encouraged by the record-er and record-er highs in the US equity market. The Conference Board's consumer confidence data missed for the 2nd month in a row – its biggest miss in 8 months – as it seems in October consumers were un-confident due to the government shutdown… but in November they are un-confident-er due to its reopening. As we have noted in the past a 10 point drop in confidence has historically led to a 2x multiple compression in stocks (which suggests the Fed will need to un-Taper some more to keep the dream alive). Ironically, more respondents believe stocks will rise of stay the same over the next 12 months even as the 'expectations' sub-index collapsed to its lowest in 8 months.

 

 

Once again we remind that it's all about confidence and hope appears to be fading…

As we have noted previously – this move in confidence is key…

But, it's all about confidence… investors will not be willing to pay increasing multiples unless they are confident that the future streams of earnings are sustainable and forecastable… And simply put, the current levels of Consumer Sentiment need to almost double for the US equity market tp approach historical multiple valuation levels…

 

 

 

and the cycle appears to be shifting…

Via Citi,

Is consumer confidence set to turn?

Consumer Confidence is once again following a dynamic where we see it move higher for 4 years and 4 months before beginning to collapse

  • Moves higher from 1996-2000 with a smaller dip halfway through in October 1998
  • Moves higher from 2003-2007 with a smaller dip hallway through in October 2005
  • Moves higher and so far tops out in June 2013. Also sees a small dip halfway through in October 2011.

 

Higher yields do not help confidence…

 

A sharp rise in mortgage rates has a negative feedback loop to consumer confidence. For those families and individuals that were now looking/able to enter the housing market, the recent spike in rates acts as a headwind.

 

In addition to the economic backdrop, there is plenty of tail risk as we head into the end of the year. Oil prices have been rising since the summer began (and in reality since the Summer of 2012), partially due to geopolitical risks which are very much “top of mind.” A bigger spike due to a supply shock would choke the economic recovery.(In our view)

In the US, the appointment of a new Fed Chairman and the upcoming budget/debt ceiling debates are likely to bring added volatility. Tapering itself can also induce concern as the “Bernanke put” is being removed from markets.

In Europe, many of the structural problems related to the single currency union have not actually been addressed and the peripheral countries could still create turmoil going forward (see Fixed Income section focusing on Italy in particular for more on this). There has also been little concern with both the German elections and the German Court decision on the constitutionality of the OMT program. A surprise in either of these could be cause for concern.

Emerging Markets are still not out of the woods yet as growth has been weak relative to expectations and countries with current account deficits are beginning to feel pressure in their FX and Bond markets. This is an issue we believe is only starting to develop which we will continue to expand on at later dates.(We have also looked at this in our EM FX section this week)

Overall, the weak economic backdrop, poor housing recovery and potential for tail risk events over the next few months suggest that we have topped out in Consumer Confidence, a warning sign for equity markets.

 

The relationship between Consumer Confidence is clear, and IF June did mark the high and Confidence continues to decline, then we would expect to see that translate to weakness in the equity markets. The removal of the “Bernanke put” only adds to this concern.

A major turn has taken place in equity markets on average four months after Consumer Confidence turns, which would point to a decline beginning around September-October. As we have previously expressed, we remain of the bias that a correction in equity markets on the order of 20%+ is likely this year/ into 2014 and the current dynamics support such a move.

Should we see a decline of that magnitude, it is almost certain that yields would move lower in a rush to safe assets.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/NXXS92XIVCE/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Believe It Or Not: Japan To Reopen Soccer Facility In Fukushima For 2020 Olympics

Below we present a twitter exchange we had with a Japanese media outlet overnight on Twitter. It needs no commentary.




    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ckTNdbe3SFc/story01.htm Tyler Durden

RealtyTrac: "Institutional Investor Housing Purchases Plummet Nationwide"

Concluding the trifecta of today’s housing data, we present perhaps the most authoritative report on what is actually going on in the market, that by RealtyTrac. What RealtyTrac has to say is in direct contradiction with both the Permits and Case-Shiller data, both of which are now openly reliant on yield-starved institutional investors dumping cash into current or future rental properties. In fact it’s worse, because if RealtyTrac is accurate, the great institutional scramble for any housing is now over – to wit: “Cash Sales Pull Back From Previous Month, Still Represent 44 Percent of Total Sales Institutional Investor Purchases Plummet Nationwide…  Institutional investor purchases represented 6.8 percent of all sales in October, a sharp drop from a revised 12.1 percent in September and down from 9.7 percent a year ago. Markets with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases included Memphis (25.4 percent), Atlanta (23.0 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (22.2 percent), Charlotte (14.5 percent), and Milwaukee (12.0 percent).” And plunging.

Some other observations from RT’s October 2013 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, which makes one thing clear – while prices may still be going up, transaction volumes have cratered:

Despite the nationwide increase, home sales continued to decrease on an annual basis for the third consecutive month in three bellwether western states: California (down 15 from a year ago), Arizona (down 13 percent), and Nevada (down 5 percent).

 

The national median sales price of all residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed sales — was $170,000, unchanged from September but up 6 percent from October 2012, the 18th consecutive month median home prices have increased on an annualized basis.

 

The median price of a distressed residential property — in foreclosure or bank owned — was $110,000 in October, 41 percent below the median price of $185,000 for a non-distressed property.

 

“After a surge in short sales in late 2011 and early 2012, the favored disposition method for distressed properties is shifting back toward the more traditional foreclosure auction sales and bank-owned sales,” said Daren Blomquist,vice president at RealtyTrac. “The combination of rapidly rising home prices — along with strong demand from institutional investors and other cash buyers able to buy at the public foreclosure auction or an as-is REO home — means short sales are becoming less favorable for lenders.”

 

More in the full report


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/sN66tKt5WFg/story01.htm Tyler Durden

RealtyTrac: “Institutional Investor Housing Purchases Plummet Nationwide”

Concluding the trifecta of today’s housing data, we present perhaps the most authoritative report on what is actually going on in the market, that by RealtyTrac. What RealtyTrac has to say is in direct contradiction with both the Permits and Case-Shiller data, both of which are now openly reliant on yield-starved institutional investors dumping cash into current or future rental properties. In fact it’s worse, because if RealtyTrac is accurate, the great institutional scramble for any housing is now over – to wit: “Cash Sales Pull Back From Previous Month, Still Represent 44 Percent of Total Sales Institutional Investor Purchases Plummet Nationwide…  Institutional investor purchases represented 6.8 percent of all sales in October, a sharp drop from a revised 12.1 percent in September and down from 9.7 percent a year ago. Markets with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases included Memphis (25.4 percent), Atlanta (23.0 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (22.2 percent), Charlotte (14.5 percent), and Milwaukee (12.0 percent).” And plunging.

Some other observations from RT’s October 2013 Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, which makes one thing clear – while prices may still be going up, transaction volumes have cratered:

Despite the nationwide increase, home sales continued to decrease on an annual basis for the third consecutive month in three bellwether western states: California (down 15 from a year ago), Arizona (down 13 percent), and Nevada (down 5 percent).

 

The national median sales price of all residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed sales — was $170,000, unchanged from September but up 6 percent from October 2012, the 18th consecutive month median home prices have increased on an annualized basis.

 

The median price of a distressed residential property — in foreclosure or bank owned — was $110,000 in October, 41 percent below the median price of $185,000 for a non-distressed property.

 

“After a surge in short sales in late 2011 and early 2012, the favored disposition method for distressed properties is shifting back toward the more traditional foreclosure auction sales and bank-owned sales,” said Daren Blomquist,vice president at RealtyTrac. “The combination of rapidly rising home prices — along with strong demand from institutional investors and other cash buyers able to buy at the public foreclosure auction or an as-is REO home — means short sales are becoming less favorable for lenders.”

 

More in the full report


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/sN66tKt5WFg/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Baffle With BS Continues As House Prices Beat And Miss At Same Time; Detroit Home Prices Go Parabolic

It’s a full-on “Baffle with BS” onslaught this morning. On one hand, the Case-Shiller Top 20 Composite Index rose by 13.3% Y/Y, better than the 13.00% expected, and the highest annual price increase since 2006. Unfortunately, the ramp is coming to an end, especially since the touted NSA data shows that monthly price increases have slowed for the fifth consecutive month, and stood at just 0.7%. At this rate the sequential price change in October will be negative. This is further reinforced by today’s “other” housing report: the September FHFA House Price Index, which unlike Case-Shiller rose 0.3%, below expectations and in line with last month. So on one hand home prices are better than expected, on the other: worse. Clear as mud.

 

But one thing is certain: the surge in the housing market of bankrupt Detroit has never been stronger, and the Y/Y price change just picked up once again, rising to a 3 month high of 17.2% compared to last year.

Perhaps all US cities should just file bankruptcy and see their home prices go through the roof?


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/XWedj0_Zvhg/story01.htm Tyler Durden