When Europe Stumbled

Paul Krugman:

When Europe Stumbled: Doing some homework on the European economy...

... What was happening in 2011-2012? Europe was doing a lot of austerity. But so, actually, was the U.S., between the expiration of stimulus and cutbacks at the state and local level. The big difference was monetary: the ECB’s utterly wrong-headed interest rate hikes in 2011, and its refusal to do its job as lender of last resort as the debt crisis turned into a liquidity panic, even as the Fed was pursuing aggressive easing.
Policy improved after that... But I think you can make the case that the policy errors of 2011-2012 rocked the euro economy back on its heels...
Oh, and America might have turned European too if the Bernanke-bashers of the right had gotten what they wanted.

NXP Semi: Minor Disappointment With Hidden Upside

NXP Semi reported solid Q1 numbers that were a minor disappointment from original post merger expectations. The company is aggressively buying stock again despite forecasts that aren't so positive. The stock is a bargain with some hints that the company is low-balling the upside potential. While NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) generated Q1 results that exceeded analyst estimates, the

ConocoPhillips – Cash Flow Neutral Isn’t Bullish

ConocoPhillips reported a large Q1 loss, but the market was impressed with the earnings beat.  The independent E&P is still struggling towards reaching cash flow neutral as the debt load soars.  The company lacks a credible plan for lower oil prices with a focus on flat production and keeping a dividend.  My last article remained neutral on ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) from a prior bearish

Schedule for Week of May 1, 2016

The key report this week is the April employment report on Friday.

Other key indicators include April vehicle sales, the April ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes, and the March trade deficit.

----- Monday, May 2nd -----

ISM PMI10:00 AM: ISM Manufacturing Index for April. The consensus is for the ISM to be at 51.5, down from 51.8 in March.

Here is a long term graph of the ISM manufacturing index.

The ISM manufacturing index indicated expansion at 51.8% in March. The employment index was at 48.1%, and the new orders index was at 58.3%.

10:00 AM: Construction Spending for March. The consensus is for a 0.5% increase in construction spending.

2:00 PM ET: the April 2016 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices from the Federal Reserve.

----- Tuesday, May 3rd -----

Vehicle SalesAll day: Light vehicle sales for April. The consensus is for light vehicle sales to increase to 17.3 million SAAR in April from 16.6 million in March (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

This graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967. The dashed line is the March sales rate.

----- Wednesday, May 4th -----

7:00 AM ET: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

8:15 AM: The ADP Employment Report for April. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 193,000 payroll jobs added in April, down from 200,000 added in March.

U.S. Trade Deficit8:30 AM: Trade Balance report for March from the Census Bureau.

This graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum, through February. The blue line is the total deficit, and the black line is the petroleum deficit, and the red line is the trade deficit ex-petroleum products.

The consensus is for the U.S. trade deficit to be at $41.4 billion in March from $47.1 billion in February.

10:00 AM: the ISM non-Manufacturing Index for April. The consensus is for index to increase to 54.7 from 54.5 in March.

10:00 AM: Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders (Factory Orders) for March. The consensus is a 0.6% increase in orders.

----- Thursday, April 5th -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 262 thousand initial claims, up from 257 thousand the previous week.

----- Friday, April 6th -----

8:30 AM: Employment Report for April. The consensus is for an increase of 200,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in April, down from the 215,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in March.

The consensus is for the unemployment rate to decline to 4.9%.

Year-over-year change employmentThis graph shows the year-over-year change in total non-farm employment since 1968.

In March, the year-over-year change was 2.80 million jobs.

A key will be the change in real wages.

3:00 PM: Consumer credit from the Federal Reserve.  The consensus is for a $15.8 billion increase in credit.

Procrastinating on April 30, 2016

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Over at Equitable Growth: Must-Reads:


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Worth Reading

bradford-delong.com: Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand… 2016-04-30 16:38:23

Must-Read: Ben Thompson: Antitrust and Aggregation: "With zero distribution costs and zero transaction costs...

...consumers are attracted to an aggregator through the delivery of a superior experience, which attracts modular suppliers, which improves the experience and thus attracts more consumers, and thus more suppliers in the aforementioned virtuous cycle. It is a phenomenon seen across industries including search (Google and web pages), feeds (Facebook and content), shopping (Amazon and retail goods), video (Netflix/YouTube and content creators), transportation (Uber/Didi and drivers), and lodging (Airbnb and rooms, Booking/Expedia and hotels).... All things being equal the equilibrium state in a market covered by Aggregation Theory is monopoly: one aggregator that has captured all of the consumers and all of the suppliers.

This monopoly, though, is a lot different than the monopolies of yesteryear.... Consumers are self-selecting onto the Aggregator’s platform because it’s a better experience. This has completely neutered U.S. antitrust law, which is based on whether or not there has been clear harm to the consumer... it’s why the FTC has declined to sue Google for questionable search practices....

Once competitors die the aggregators become monopsonies — i.e. the only buyer for modularized suppliers. And this, by extension, turns the virtuous cycle on its head: instead of more consumers leading to more suppliers, a dominant hold over suppliers means that consumers can never leave, rendering a superior user experience less important than a monopoly that looks an awful lot like the ones our antitrust laws were designed to eliminate....

There was one remedy from the European Commission settlement with Microsoft that actually worked out quite well: Windows was required to document interoperability protocols for work group servers, which while designed for the benefit of established competitors like Sun, was actually more important for the open-source Samba project. Samba made it possible for non-Windows PCs and servers to be fully compatible with Windows-based networks, making it viable to use a Mac or Linux machine in corporate environments, or (more importantly) in corporate data centers, one of the first areas where the Windows monopoly started to come apart. Of course Windows remained dominant on the desktop thanks to its application lock-in.... Both of these approaches — interoperability and API disclosure — could be solutions when it comes to defusing the market power of aggregators...

https://stratechery.com/2016/antitrust-and-aggregation/

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