First existing, now new home sales: 276K (yes a record low) on expectations of 330K, and a revised prior of 315K - a drop of 12.4% MoM. And, even worse, prices are dropping as deflation rages: the Home Price Index down 0.3% on expectations of a 0.1% increase (and previously at 0.5%). Months of supply: 9.1. Stick a fork in it.
So you're saying there is a chance for a crash? "There are deep correlations across the asset classes and what U.S. equity investors should probably pay attention to is the fact that the Nikkei is down to levels prevailing on April 30 of last year when the S&P 500 was trading at 870; and the 10-year T-note yield is back to where it was on January 20, 2009, when the S&P 500 was sitting at 805." All this, and much more truthiness from Rosenberg inside...
Debt/GDP ratios are too backward-looking and considerably underestimate the fiscal challenge faced by advanced economies’ governments. On the basis of current policies, most governments are deep in negative equity. This means governments will impose a loss on some of their stakeholders, in our view. The question is not whether they will renege on their promises, but rather upon which of their promises they will renege, and what form this default will take. So far during the Great Recession, sovereign (and bank) senior unsecured bond holders have been the only constituency fully protected from partaking in this loss. It is overly optimistic to assume that this can continue forever. The conflict that opposes bond holders to other government stakeholders is more intense than ever, and their interests are no longer sufficiently well aligned with those of influential political constituencies....Investors should be prepared to face financial oppression, a credible threat against which current yields provide little protection. - Arnaud Mares, Morgan Stanley
GMO's James Montier Explains Why To Shun Speculative "Churn-And-Burn" Trading And To Focus On Dividend StrategiesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2010 - 09:05
"Touch-screen technology and person-less check-ins at airports haunt my nightmares. Perhaps I am just a man from a different time. Given these predilections, it is little wonder that I often sit and stare at the farce that passes for modern day investment. The churn and burn of an 8-month average holding period is anathema to me. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to focus on the things that matter, both in life and in investing...To those who charge around in markets trying to guess the next quarter’s make-believe earnings number, the concept of dividends seems wholly irrelevant. However, to those with an attention span measured in longer than milliseconds – who are few and far between, to judge from today’s markets – dividends are a vital element of return." - James Montier, GMO
Another day, another record, this time in European capital flows out of "Europe" and into Switzerland, as Phillip Hildebrand is already one foot out of his Bern office, resignation firmly in hand, as he has lost all control of the EURCHF which for the first time ever dipped below 1.30. So as the world prepares for another round of wax, er, risk off, and major capital flows away from everywhere else and into the US, here are how the FX heatmaps look this morning.
Durable goods orders widely miss expectation, coming in at +0.3%, on a consensus of +2.8%, with the previous -1.2% drop revised to just -0.1%. Durable goods ex transportation came in at -3.8%, on expectations of 0.5% (previous -0.9% revised to 0.2%). And the kicker - non-defense capital goods ex. aircraft came in at -8.0% M/M versus expectations of 0.4% (with the previous print of 0.2% revised far higher to 3.6%). The 10 Year has hit 2.439% on the news. Goldman is pretty laconic: "This report is weak and much worse than expected." Pretty much game over for the reflation scenario. Check to you Bernanke - the only option left is the nuclear one.
2s10s Under 200 Bps For First Time Since April 2009, Curve Collapse Adds Fuel To Fire Of Macro Fund Implosion RumorSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2010 - 08:14
The 10 Year continues to burrow ever deeper inside 250 bps, last seen at 2.46% or 8 bps tighter on the day, as now the Greek-Bund spread has blown up: did the fake stress tests buy Europe all of one month of time? A country fully backed by the faith and credit of the ECB is once again imploding - what can we say about the "faith and credit" of the ECB then? The only thing keeping the EUR from plunging at this point is the expectation that the Fed will (soon enough) print another cool $2-3 trillion. And the kicker, for Julian Robertson and whatever the macro hedge fund rumored to be liquidating (aside from the TRS which we pointed out yesterday), the 2s10s has just crossed inside 200 bps, the tightest the spread has been since April 2009. Since at least half the market players are still stuck holding on to steepeners, and are now about 30% underwater from the top 4 months ago, add 10x TRS-based leverage, and you can see why whatever fund is blowing up now won't be the last.
As European Spreads Blow Out Post The Irish Downgrade, One Bank Continues To Use the Fed's FX Swap LineSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2010 - 08:03
As we earlier predicted, the S&P downgrade of Ireland has thrown all of Europe a curve ball: CDS spreads are wider across the board. Also in cash land, the Irish-Bund spread hits the widest since early May at 335 bps (+17), and its CDS leaking to 315 (+8 bps) while Portugal is slowly starting to catch up, hitting 316 bps in spread to Bunds. Portugal also auctioned off €1.3 billion in bonds maturing 2016 and 2020. The auctions were disappointing with yields continuing to leak wider:the 4.2% €0.628 bn due 2016 closed at 4.371% compared to 4.128% previously, and a 2.1 bid to cover, in line with the previous 2.0, while the 4.8% €0.672 bn due 2020 closed at 5.312% and a 1.8 bid to cover, also closing wider than the previous of 5.225%. Yet the most Yet the most underreproted, and most troubling news, continues to be that one solitary bank persists in taking advantage of the Fed's FX swap line: today it bid for $40 million in a 1.18%-fixed rate USD-based tender. This is an increase from last week's $35 million, meaning that while most banks are still finding themselves in a EUR shortage (3M Euribor was once again wider), one bank has gone completely against the grain and will not benefit from the traditional ECB liquidity boosting measures.
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 25/08/10
Given that bubbles are classically associated with the pursuit of prosperity, is there such a thing as a bubble in conservatism? When individuals are scared about their prospects they act conservatively by saving and paying down debt. Can a massive wave of conservatism, such as the one we’re experiencing today, hit a threshold that forces it to reverse (i.e. the ‘bubble’ pops)?
Some stunning bearish commentary from the staple CNBC goto analyst (Joe Lavorgna as if the clarification is needed) when worthless permabullish commentary is required. "We expect Q2 real GDP growth to be revised down sharply from +2.4% to +1.0% because of lower inventories (-$25B) and construction (-$4B) as well as a larger trade deficit (+$15B)." In other news, Zero Hedge still calls, and has for about 4 weeks now, a final Q2 GDP of under 1%, and under -3% when the impacts of the stimulus are excluded.
Jan Hatzius Presents His List Of Anticipated Fed Action Items Through November 2-3: None; Time To Sell On No Imminent QE2?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/24/2010 - 22:11
Goldman's Jan Hatzius explains why while he is still convinced that the Fed will ultimately have to undergo QE2, he presents the case why the Fed's hands are now most likely tied through its November 2-3 meeting (and why the J-Hole meeting will be a snoozer), at which point it will be too late for the market to benefit from monetary stimulus. The implication: very bearish for stocks, as Obama's only option for pumping up stocks in advance of the elections (monetary easing) is eliminated. With no means to implement a stock run up into the election (which would become a prompt self-fulfilling prophecy), the market is likely about to tumble.
Illinois Teachers' Retirement System Enters The Death Spiral: AIG Wannabe's Go-For-Broke Strategy Fails As Pension Fund Begins LiquidationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/24/2010 - 20:44
Two few months ago we disclosed how the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) was doing all it can to become the next AIG. In addition to, or maybe precisely due to, its deplorable fundamental condition, which can be summarized as being 61% underfunded on its $33.7 billion in assets, with a performance record of down $4.4 billion in 2009 and 5% in 2008, the fund, courtesy of a detailed analysis by Alexandra Harris of the Medill Journalism school at Northwestern, was found to be on its way to trying to become a veritable self-made TBTF: as was described then, "TRS is largely on the risky side of the contracts, selling and writing OTC derivatives, including credit default swaps, insurance-like contracts that guarantee payment in the event of a default." In other words, TRS was selling substantial amounts of derivatives, which held the fund's other assets as hostage in case the collateral calls started coming in, as should the market broadly decline, the value of the downside derivatives would "increase" and the seller (in this case TRS) would need to pledge ever more collateral against these wrong way bets. Not only that, but the Fund is currently getting annihilated on its curve exposure: "TRS appears to be betting that long-term Treasury yields will greatly increase" we wrote back then. So as a result of i) its massive underfunded fundamentals and ii) a bet that the market would turn bullish, i.e., spreads would drop (they are rising), and treasuries would plunge (we all know where they are today), which was supposed to happen by now but isn't as the economy is now officially double dipping, the fund has basically thrown in the towel and is proceeding with liquidations. The problem there is that due to its derivative exposure, liquidations now become self-reinforcing, as more cash needs to be pledged as collateral in a declining market, and the AIG death spiral we all know and love, follows. The only thing missing is for Goldman to raise its overnight variation margin requirements and it's game over, as we get a brand new AIG on our hands. And since Goldman is among the 60 or so asset managers that actually decide how the fund invests its meager assets, it is fully aware of its precarious position, and it is a sure bet that Goldman is currently deciding when to pull the plug on the TRS life support.
David's daily musings are as usual a treat, although we are very confused by how his call, that we are in a derpression, made a splash on CNBC - after all the man has been saying this for months now. Or is CNBC not allowed to utter the dreaded D and Double D words, unless the market has dropped by more than 5% in a week? Either way, the most applicable excerpt from today's piece was David's recommendation to "get small" as inspired by the Japanese, who have now lived an entire generation in a deflationary cycle. Alas, this very prudent advice will be lost and most certainly never work in the American culture, where bigger is always better, and living beyond one's means is the rule, not the exception, no matter the cost, or the credit card bills.