If Greece does indeed end up exiting the common currency or if the intractable nature of debt negotiations end up triggering an "accident" that plunges the country into social unrest and years of unprecedented economic hardship, no one wants to be "the one holding the murder weapon."
Amid too close scrutiny in the equity markets, it appears the "spoofing" machines have turned their attention to the Soybean complex. As Nanex's Eric Hunsader exposes, a series of 200-lot sell-order-spoofs has sparked a pump-and-dump roundtrip in Soybean futures today. Oat futures have been monkey-hammered down almost 10% today and ripped back higher.
Despite all of Dick Fisher's promises, The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook had collapsed in the last 4 months (and is down for 6 months in a row - the longest losing streak in history) and April did not disappoint. Against expectations of -12, Dallas Fed printed -16 (the 5th large miss in a row). Silver-lining enthusiasts will note this is a slight rise from 2-year lows at -17.4 in March but remains close to 6-year lows. Of the 15 sub-cmponents only wages and employment were positive (sure why not) as capacity utilization and new order growth rates slowing further. Prices Paid are at their most negative since Lehman and "hope" collapsed. It appears low oil prices are not a net positive to the Texas economy after all.
Dollar weakness continues (after weak US Services PMI) which has sent stocks to new record highs but it is the China-QE-driven commodity complex (along with Aussie and Canadian Dollar) that is in outright vertical panic mode...
After 3 months of somewhat surprising strength (given the background of disastrous hard data), US Services PMI dropped in April by the most since December, missing expectations by the most on record. Against serial extrapolators' expectations of a rise to 58.9, PMI fell to 57.8 with cost inflation jumping to a six-month high and the biggest rise in the jobs index suggests to Markit that "the FOMC to consider starting the process of normalising monetary policy sooner rather than later at its meeting later this week.."
It appears the 'containment' of Greek FinMin Varoufakis has sparked exuberance in Greek bond markets. 10Y GGB yields are down over 60bps (and 3Y -275bps!) on the news. The machines appear to have decided now is the time to dump dollars en masse.. and that has smashed crude oil and silver prices higher. Stocks have shrugged it off for now...
It appears the ammunition for another leg higher in bond yields and small cap stocks is running dry quickly. As BofAML notes, speculators added to Russell 2000 positions for the 5th of the 6 weeks, reducing small cap shorts to smallest in a year. Spec buying of crude continues unabated with the 4th week in a row lifts net long to highest since August. The bond complex is at extremes everywhere: large specs bought 2Y bonds for the 7th week in a row, lifting the 2Y bond net long to a 2-year high; but levered funds have never been more short the long-bond. Finally, VIX Spec shorts have soared to one-year highs. All-in-all positions are extreme to say the least.
On the heels of highly contentious (and largely unsuccessful) negotiations in Riga on Friday, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is "reshuffling" his negotiating team in an effort to jumpstart talks with creditors. As Reuters reports, the well-liked deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will now coordinate the team and will "have a more active role in face-to-face talks from now on." Meanwhile, Yanis Varoufakis hates "boring dinners."
Following The Guardian's report that ISIS leadder Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi had received serious "life-threatening" injuries during a US-led airstrike in March; in what could deal a severe jolt to the extremist organization, Radio Iran has claimed that the ISIS caliph has died.
There are two main events in the coming week: the (second in a row disastrous) Q1 US GDP and the April FOMC.
- Nepal earthquake toll crosses 3700 (Reuters)
- Greeks Add Pressure on Tsipras to Compromise as Talks Resume (BBG)
- With No Deal on Greek Bailout Aid in Sight, Some in Europe Suggest ‘Plan B’ (WSJ)
- BOJ Shouldn’t Ease Further; Yen Fell Enough: Business Lobby Head (BBG)
- Clinton Foundation admits making mistakes on taxes (Reuters)
- Here’s the Old Nemesis Starting to Spook Bond Traders Again (BBG)
- Deutsche Bank to Trim Investment Banking (WSJ)
- China’s Stocks Rise to Seven-Year High on SOE Merger Speculation (BBG)
Nearly two months ago we explained "How Beijing Is Responding To A Soaring Dollar, And Why QE In China Is Now Inevitable" in which we said that "once China, that final quasi-Western nation, proceeds to engage in outright monetization of its debt, then and only then will the terminal phase of the global currency wars start." We may not have long to wait because just hours ago, MarketNews first among the wire services hinted at what we suggested was the endgame: PBOC DISCUSSING DIRECT PURCHASES OF LOCAL GOVT BONDS: MNI
It has been a story of two markets so far, with China's Shanghai Composite up another 3% in today's continuation of the most ridiculous, banana-stand driven move of the New Normal (and there have been many ridiculous moves in the past 6 years) on the previously reported hints that the PBOC is gearing up to start its own QE, while Europe and the Eurostoxx are lagging, if only for the time being until Citadel and Virtu engage in today's preapproved risk-on momentum ignition, on Greek jitters, the same jitters that last week were "fixed"and sent Greek stocks and bonds soaring. Needless to say, neither Greek bonds nor stocks aren't soaring following what has been the worst week for Greece in months.
With the USDJPY's ascent to 125, 150 and higher having seemingly stalled just under 120, with concerns that the BOJ may not monetize more than 100% of its net debt issuance suddenly surfacing, the BOJ and the Nikkei would take any help they could get. They got just that an hour ago when Fitch downgraded Japan's credit rating from A+ to A, citing lack of sufficient structural fiscal measures in FY15 budget to replace deferred consumption tax increase.