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The Market Sell-Off Is Accelerating: The Spending Crunch Is Official And Global Growth Slowdown Confirmed By Caterpillar, Housing Starts And Homebuilder Sentiment Starting To Decline, And 800,000 Set to be Unemployed by Government


The Market Sell-Off Is Accelerating

Dow

13,965 -71 0.50%
 
Nasdaq

3,180 -34 1.05%
 
S&P 500

1,518 -13 0.85%
 
GlobalDow

2,104 -13 0.61%
 
Gold

1,566 -38 2.38%
 
Oil

94.85 -1.74 1.80%

The Spending Crunch Is Official: “We Are Confident There Is An Issue With The Consumer”

Think the Walmart “disastrous” sales memo was a one-off event, which net of Walmart’s damage should be completely ignored (something the market has been perfectly happy to oblige with)? Then listen to a separate perspective on the US consumer, this time from a very different angle: that of Town Sports International which operates such gyms as New York Sports Club, and specifically its CEO David Gallagher, who in last night’s conference call just confirmed what everyone knows: “As we moved into January membership trends were tracking to expectations in the first half of the month, but fell off track and did not meet our expectations in the second half of the month. We believe the driver of this was the rapid decline in consumer sentiment that has been reported and is connected to the reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January.

UH-OH: Industrial Bellwether Caterpillar Just Posted Some Ugly Sales Stats

Double-digit declines in North America and the Asia/Pacific regions.

From the SEC Filing:

 

caterpillar

SEC via Yahoo Finance

Caterpillar Sales Latest Cratering Confirm Global Growth Slowdown

 

 

Housing Starts Miss Estimates, Fall 8.5% In January

Housing starts fell to 8.5 percent to 890,000 – missing expectations of a slighter drop to 920,000 – from last month’s 973,000.

Homebuilder sentiment, considered a leading indicator for housing starts, declined to 46 in February. This would lead us to think that housing starts should slow.

We Just Got Two Weak Housing Numbers In A Row

 

Oil Is Getting Crushed On Heavy Volume As Commodities Get Massacred

Oil Is Getting Crushed On Heavy Volume As Commodities Get Massacred

WTI crude oil futures are getting slammed in today’s session. Right now, they’re down over 2.2 percent, and a big part of the drop came in just the last 20 minutes.

Metals like gold, silver, palladium, copper, aluminum, etc. are all tanking today as well.
800,000 Set to be Unemployed by Government

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had the unenviable job today of informing hundreds of thousands of his civilian employees that they could be furloughed if the sequester takes effect on March 1.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had the unenviable job today of informing hundreds of thousands of his civilian employees that they could be furloughed if the sequester takes effect on March 1.

In a letter to the entire DoD workforce, Panetta warned that “should sequestration occur and continue for a substantial period, DoD will be forced to place the vast majority of its civilian workforce on administrative furlough.”

This could impact as many as 800,000 civilian employees, which Panetta argued “will result in a serious erosion of readiness across the force.”

 

 

Spain: The System Is Blowing Up Again!! 

At this point it is clear that Europe is totally finished. The house is burning. It’s just a matter of time before it collapses.

Indeed, we get a clear signal of this from Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who just announced the following: “It is not enough, there are no green shoots, there is no spring.”

To understand the significance of this statement, you need to know a bit …

 

BREAKING: Fed Officials Divided on Future of QE

Federal Reserve policymakers remain divided on the future of the central bank’s bond buying program, according to minutes of the January meetingof the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee released Wednesday. Some believe that the program may need to end prior to the achievement of the Fed’s announced goal of improvement in employment.

Fed officials announced on January 30th that they would continue to buy mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month and longer-term Treasury securities at a pace of $45 billion per month, a policy popularly known as quantitative easing. The Fed hasn’t said when these asset purchases will end. Instead, it has said that the purchases will continue if “the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially.”

 

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