Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bad Data Continues to Be Ignored by Equity Investors

In the continuing saga of the "recovery which refuses to jibe with reality," some data points delivered this morning shook things up for a while, though the declines were hardly notable.

Well before the opening bell, the monthly ADP Employment Report, which measure the change in private payrolls, came in well below expectations of 170,000, printing at a mediocre 119,000 for April. The survey, which serves as a precursor to the monthly BLS non-farm payroll report (due Friday) is forecasting a poor showing from the government's "official" report. As it is, the forecast for 162,000 net new jobs is just barely enough to keep pace with new entrants to the labor force (roughly 125,000), so any number below that on Friday will be a major blow to the proponents of sustained recovery.

Whether investors (or the machines actually doing 84% of the trades these days) will pay any heed is doubtful, though after April's sub-par showing, stocks put in their worst month in the past seven, so maybe somebody is paying attention to facts instead of relying on instinct and animal spirits.

At 10:00 am, March factory orders were announced at -1.5%, though expectations were for worse data, -1.8%, so this actually could have been seen as a win for equity participants (or their muppet clients).

Adding to the absurdity of economic data, another official figure showed oil stockpiles increasing by 2.840 million barrels, after last week's rise of 3.978 million. That data took oil prices lower by a mere 94 cents, though the price of a barrel of light, sweet crude continues to hover near 12-month highs, despite continuing slack demand. Chalk it up to corporate greed, excessive speculation and a Washington crowd that simply cannot afford to upset one of its main donor groups by actually clamping down on absurdly high prices at the pump.

In effect, the lower and middle classes of Americans now pay an additional tax in the form of these higher fuel prices, all the while oil drilling and recovery continues to be robust in North America. Perhaps the biggest insult to the American people is that oil currently being drilled in North Dakota and elsewhere in the states will more than likely be shipped abroad, where the oil cartel can fetch even higher prices.

So much for all the talk of energy independence and security. The empty suits in the nation's capitol don't deserve even a single vote in this November's elections, though a large number of Americans, stuck in their narrow world of cognitive dissonance with a healthy dose of normalcy bias, still believe in the two-party lie and will cast their votes for the lesser evil this fall, as if their individual votes actually counted (Hint: since 2000 they haven't.).

Days like today are tough on financial reporters, especially those who toe the official media line that all is well and things are getting better, when the evidence - and most public opinion polls - clearly displays the opposite. For those of us who like our facts served cold without garnishments, the temptation to break things or convulse in a spasm of disbelief is hardly bearable.

Come Friday, when the April non-farm reveals a bit more of the truth (though one can count on the BLS and their various fudging mechanisms to completely distort any data they can), perhaps the markets will begin to reflect what's really going in America: the complete and utter annihilation of the middle class and the remaining civil rights that haven't already been denied or abused by an oligarch government that's been off the rails for more than a decade.

Maybe, some day, when fewer than half the registered voters show up in the fall, the ruling class will get a hint that their reigns of power are not derived from the electorate, though it's doubtful they will even care.

Dow 13,268.57, -10.75 (0.08%)
NASDAQ 3,059.85, +9.41 (0.31%)
S&P 500 1,402.31, -3.51 (0.25%)
NYSE Composite 8,124.32, -39.71 (0.49%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,832,346,375
NYSE Volume 3,784,334,250
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2707-2890
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 187-66
WTI crude oil: 105.22, -0.94
Gold: 1,654.00, -8.40
Silver: 30.64, -0.29

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