Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 02/10/16

Today is Ash Wednesday in the Roman Catholic Church. I am no longer a member of any religion so I don't need to attend church services. My sarcasm never went over well during prayers anyway.

Europe wants the G20 to target growth. Got it. One continent's finance people want the world's leading finance people to decouple global growth from China as quickly as possible. Panic is not yet in the air. The real panic comes when the world's bifurcated economies - one for financial flows, one for real goods - trend down together. The rest of the world (ROW, in money manager parlance) can't get China off its balance sheet fast enough.

Coal power plant cleanliness gets a breather, so to speak. The charred, hard carbon miners have taken a beating for years thanks to the world's zeal for lower emissions. I don't see how the world can substitute for metallurgical coal and coke in making steel. China's crashing demand has put the lid on steel demand anyway, so even coal's industrial use faces dark days. It would take a lot more backyard barbecues for charcoal demand to make up for declining coal power.

Gold prices respond positively to the Federal Reserve's interest rate hints. Gold traders and retail investors view the Fed's experiment as a mistake, proving they are a reactive audience. The Fed's "layer cake" message tastes bitter to gold bugs stuck in old views of monetary tightening. The new era of a ginormous Fed balance sheet that constricts traditional stimulus means gold traders missed the news about what normal interest rates now mean. A normal situation is where the FOMC makes any change, in any direction other to zero.

Tesla Motors lost money again but its shares kept rising. The more cars they sell, the more money they lose. Investors are really stupid to think that a money-losing car company will be worth more. There is something very wrong with Tesla's inability to control both its fixed costs and variable costs. Software entrepreneurs need a whole new set of skills before jumping over to hardware.

I would like to start a religion that celebrates Cash Wednesday. It would be an opportunity for me to stand up and wave cash around to the applause of my congregation.