While the EURUSD's recovery post Europe's close seemed to modestly support stocks, the USD is still up from Friday's close as ES (the e-mini S&P 500 futures contract) closes marginally in the green against the direction of FX carry, Treasuries, commodities broadly, and credit. The volumeless (and gravitationally unchallenged) push from post-Europe dip lows this afternoon were generally ignored by VIX, investment grade, and high-yield credit markets, after the morning was a relatively significant amount of selling pressure in HYG (the increasingly significant high-yield bond ETF) to pre-NFP levels only be bough all the way back and some more into the close. Average trade size and deltas had a decidedly negative feel on every algo-driven push higher from VWAP to unchanged but the divergence between Brent and WTI dragged the Energy sector over 1% higher (as every other sector lost ground with Financials and Materials underperforming. Treasuries rallied well from the Europe close and closed just off low yields of the day as commodities all ended lower from Friday's close with Copper and WTI underperforming and Silver just edging Gold as they hovered around USD's beta for the day. VIX dropped modestly after the cash close but ended higher on the day with a notably low volatility of vol from mid-morning onwards (and the late-day vol compression seemed index-driven as implied correlation also fell commensurately). A quiet day in European sovereign and financials along with the disastrously low volume day in ES and on the NYSE really don't feel like signs of broad participation as Greek events slowly but surely unfold along the path of known resistance.
We are struggling for superlatives (or whatever the antonym for superlatives is). Today's NYSE volume is as low as we could find on Bloomberg data. It is the lowest non-holiday trading day volume in over a decade. This is 26% below last year's post-Superbowl trading day volume. ES, the e-mini S&P 500 future contract, which has tended to be the most liquid and heavily traded instrument reflective of the equity markets, traded around 1.19mm contracts versus a 50-day average of 1.83mm (down 35%) and also we were struggling to find a non-holiday trading day with lower volumes (lower even than on the Thanksgiving Friday of last year's volume). Using our trusty Birinyi ruler and extrapolating the trend since the March 2009 crisis lows, we see No-Volume-Day (NV-Day) as being celebrated on the NYSE in September 2015 (we assume valuations are being adjusted on financials and exchanges as we speak).
It has only been a week since we discussed the San Francisco Fed's research group admitted that water was wet Fed policy will be unable to impact unemployment since the cyclical changes are more structural leading to jobless recoveries as fat is removed from the system. The powerless Fed now has another well-researched problem. As Daniel Wilson of the FRBSF sheepishly admits (having spent several thousands in taxpayer cash to fund the latest Fed 'white paper') with regard to the impact of fiscal stimulus: It is an inconvenient reality that this literature provides an enormous range of multiplier estimates, ranging from –1 to +3. Critically he notes that the benefits of fiscal stimulus vary with the business cycle and are strongest during recessions. So, given that the US is decoupling and that we are not in a recession, we assume the multiplier effect of the Fed's much-desired fiscal stimulus requests will be at the lower end of the range - either negative or inconsequential?
In other words, for the Fed to get its desired fiscal stimulus from the government they had better engineer, using only the monetary policies up their sleeves, a recession.
Presenting The "Rise Of The HFT Machine" - Visual Confirmation How SkyNet Broke The Stock Market On US Downgrade DaySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/06/2012 - 15:27
Zero Hedge has not been focusing much on the topic of our broken equity markets recently because if by now, following over three years of coverage, someone is not aware just how fragmented, manipulated and largely broken the market truly is, they never will. Yet every now and then it worth reminding readers who may have stumbled on this blog recently, just how bad things are in graphic format. Our friends at Nanex, who are by far the best forensic analysts of everything that is busted with the US stock market, have completed a masterpiece analysis showing the churning (packet traffic) in the various fragmented US market venues, from the NYSE to the Nasdaq to BATS and so forth, on a daily basis beginning in January 2007 and continuing through today. While the "rise of the HFT machine" over the past 5 years, following the adoption of Reg NMS, will hardly be a surprise to most, what is stunning is the first animated confirmation of the market terminally breaking on August 5, 2011, the day the US was downgraded, an observation that first was made right here on Zero Hedge. Which begs the question: what really happened in the stock market on August 5, 2011 when the US was downgraded to AA+, when everything literally broke, who is intervening constantly in the stock market, and why are they doing so via various HFT intermediary mechanisms?
The last week has offered an amusing display of the difference between the cheerleading corporate mainstream media, lying Wall Street shills and the critical thinking analysts. What passes for journalism at CNBC and the rest of the mainstream print and TV media is beyond laughable. Their America is all about feelings. Are we confident? Are we bullish? Are we optimistic about the future? America has turned into a giant confidence game. The governing elite spend their time spinning stories about recovery and manipulating public opinion so people will feel good and spend money. Facts are inconvenient to their storyline. The truth is for suckers. They know what is best for us and will tell us what to do and when to do it.... The drones at this government propaganda agency relentlessly massage the data until they achieve a happy ending. They use a birth/death model to create jobs out of thin air, later adjusting those phantom jobs away in a press release on a Friday night. They create new categories of Americans to pretend they aren’t really unemployed. They use more models to make adjustments for seasonality. Then they make massive one-time adjustments for the Census. Essentially, you can conclude that anything the BLS reports on a monthly basis is a wild ass guess, massaged to present the most optimistic view of the world. The government preferred unemployment rate of 8.3% is a terrible joke and the MSM dutifully spouts this drivel to a zombie-like public. If the governing elite were to report the truth, the public would realize we are in the midst of a 2nd Great Depression.
The MF Global Trustee has just released their preliminary report on the progress in uncovering where the vaporized cash went. Bloomberg notes:
- MF GLOBAL DIDN'T ALWAYS RECORD CASH MOVEMENTS, TRUSTEE SAYS
- TRUSTEE SAYS MF HAD SHORTFALL IN COMMODITIES FUNDS START OCT 26
- MF BROKERAGE TRUSTEE TRACED $105 BLN IN CASH MOVEMENT
- MF COMPUTERS COULDN'T TRACK VOLUME IN FINAL DAYS, TRUSTEE SAYS
Of course, we know that MF Global is the only company to not follow Fiduciary Principles 101 (client cash commingling) but also Accounting 101 (T square, debits, credits, and all that boring and apparently irrelevant in a time of uber-kleptocracy, stuff) leaving us wondering just how much of that unrecorded cash may be found in unrecorded suitcases in unrecorded bank vaults.
Bernanke's recognition of his penalizing savers with low rates as an 'issue for people' sparked an interesting note from the WSJ on how sensible and stoic savers are being herded (unsafely) into risky investments. Bernanke's insistence that "our savers collectively have to hold all the assets of the economy and a strong economy produces much better returns in general" must be juxtaposed with comments from a money manager that "I don't think that's a fair-trade" for money intended to be invested safely. By removing the last shred of hope for a rise in savings rates anytime soon, the Fed is once again creating the potential for major unintended consequences as the 30% drop in interest income for US savers from the 2008 peak forces them to extend duration (TSYs), lower quality (corporate bonds), and/or increase leverage/risk (equities). One only has to look at Treasury yields, Muni yields, investment-grade bond yields, and now high-yield bond yields for how tempted investors (retail and professional 'insurance/pension' assets) have become to take their safest net worth asset (low risk liquidity) and expose it to the business/credit cycle and all its myriad event risks. While reducing the rate of savings might seem sensible for the short-term from the Fed perspective, it leaves a wholly unsustainable recovery (or bubble in who knows which asset class next) and as Nordea notes this week, based on their models, a considerably higher savings rate will be needed going forward (for any sustainability) even as 'saved money' is rotated into risk or spent on quality-of-life maintenance. Perhaps it is time for many to listen to the sensibilities of the WSJ's last (75 year-old) interviewee who notes "At my age, I can't be a risk-taker anymore" as maybe it is time to consider the reality of the recent good US data in relation to coinciding elements such as inventory build-up, plummeting household savings, and lower gas prices when adding to that risky investment.
USS Enterprise Holding Drills To Attack Made Up 'Faux Theocracy' Shahida States And 'Pesky Garnetians'Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/06/2012 - 13:13
A few days ago we presented some speculation on what the final deployment of the 50 year old USS Enterprise aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea may mean from a strategic standpoint, today we get to hear it from the US Navy itself. And just when we thought we had heard it all, we now get confirmation that the farcism that has defined capital markets for the past 3 years is slowly migrating to military planning. "The carrier and its entourage of support ships are in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere east of Florida, with land completely out of sight. But for the purposes of the drill, they’re cruising near the fictitious Treasure Coast. Maps displayed on the bridge’s monitors show the contours of the Eastern Seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico and a good chunk of the Midwest, but all state borders have been removed and replaced with a handful of countries that come with their own boundaries and political allegiances. Enterprise and its strike group are focused on Garnet and North Garnet, countries that support terrorism on the Treasure Coast. They’re fundamentalist Shahida states — a faux-theocracy — and they want to reunite with Pyrope, one of the nine other made-up countries. On Enterprise, intelligence analysts evaluate the situation, fighter squadrons plan sorties, and the ship’s newspaper, “The Shuttle,” prints an extra section that details the international political situation. It’s a novella set at sea that grows more complex as hours past. “Those pesky Garnetians,” strike group commander Rear Adm. Walter Carter Jr. told sailors after a day packed with maneuvers, launches and landings."
Ok, we get the hint. End the foreplay already and file finally. From Bloomberg: "Greece’s Prime Minister Lucas Papademos requested the country’s Finance Ministry to prepare a document on the implications of a Greek default, Panos Beglitis, spokesman for the socialist Pasok Party said. The Prime Minister yesterday told the leaders of the three political parties supporting his interim government that he asked the Ministry “to record accurately and realistically all the consequences of the country’s exit from the euro zone,” Beglitis said today in an interview with Radio 9, according to a transcript of his comments e-mailed from the Athens-based offices of Pasok." And yes, the market initially rallied just after Lehman filed. It didn't last long, because guess what, it was priced in... incorrectly.
With the impending March 20th maturity GGBs trading at 1400% yield (or 36% of par), EURUSD trading at 1.31, and European financials (and Greek financials explicitly) all up considerably, one could be forgiven for confusion as to what is priced in and what is not. As Bank of America (BAML) noted earlier in the year, believe it or not, Greece remains a blind spot and that risks from Greece are not fully priced in. Summarizing the deep cuts that Greece is expected to make - the Troika is demanding fiscal measures of 2% of GDP in 2012 - BAML points out that while they believe a common ground can be found, the asymmetric risks of a disorderly default could weaken the EUR well below their projection of 1.25 in the first half of the year. Certainly, while Greek sovereign bond markets seem priced for inevitable default (as real cashflows still count in the credit markets), FX and equity markets seem to be jumping-the-shark of the crisis - Europe will be stronger without Greece and Fed will backstop inevitable crisis - and missing the interim crisis conditions (Lehman-moments) that will occur as tail-risk scenarios and social unrest (that LTRO seems to have assuaged for now in people's minds) could return rapidly across the entire region. With frustration growing between an impatient Troika (that faces total humiliation, moral hazard, and ugly precedents for others) and a stubborn April-election-facing political class in Greece (along with the inability of the PSI to get done for all the reasons we have discussed in the past - foreign law bonds, basis traders, hedged positions, hedge fund sovereign litigation arbs) it seems the Troika has the most to lose for now seemingly holding a gun to their own head (as once again a massive ECB intervention might be needed with all its knock-on effects on the Fed's balance sheet expansion).
On Friday, Zero Hedge presented an extensive refresh on the one latent hotbed of troubles that everyone has conveniently forgotten about, yet which is getting worse by the day: the Mediterranean region, in "What Lies In Store For The "Cradle That Rocks The World" - A History Lesson In Crisis" and specifically Egypt -that most populous Arab nation, which last time we checked, is still Israel's neighbor (and which still controls the Suez canal). Still, for some of our more attention troubled readers who may have passed on the Friday piece, here is a much shorter version from Art Cashin which focuses on just one of numerous variables in play - the relationship between the controlling military and the resurgent Muslim Brotherhood. In other words, in deposing of Mubarak, the US has once again done its bull in a china shop approach to foreign relations and replaced one quite predictable dictator with a bevy of far more dangerous unknowns. Cashin's conclusion is traditionally cryptic and ominous: "The most populous Arab nation on the Earth and Israel’s closest neighbor is on the verge of something dramatic and potentially very, very dangerous. Watch carefully and constantly."
Luckily they are easy to spot: the demagogues, the manipulators and the hired claqueurs. Unfortunately, there is no lack of media willing to provide a platform to perform their insidious game. “We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap. And the wrong-headed, ill-informed obsession with debt is standing in its way.”How can a Nobel-prize carrying economist, who is presumably smart, write such nonsense? “He knows better”, says Jim Rickards (author of “Currency Wars”). And that makes Krugman so dangerous. Decision makers will reference his “debt does not matter” mantra over and over again – until it’s over. Thank you, Mayfly. You really understand debt – and how to make others believe it doesn’t matter.
Following the endless collapse in the Baltic Dry, it was only a matter of time before the shipping industry one-upped the Chairsatan, and was the first to introduce, dum dum dum, negative rates. That's right: you are now paid to hire a ship.
- GLENCORE HIRES SHIP AT MINUS $2,000 A DAY, GMI SAYS
- GMI TO CONTRIBUTE $2,000 A DAY TO GLENCORE'S FUEL COSTS
- GLOBAL MARITIME'S U.K. MD STEVE RODLEY CONFIRMS DEAL BY PHONE
Why is this happening? Perhaps because ships have to be kept seaworthy and in motion or else they become scrappage in as little time as 3 months. Think sharks. Needless to say, this will play havoc with shipping company (and affiliated entities') liquidity, as the biggest default wave in the history of the industry is about to be unleashed and tens if not hundreds of billions of European secured loans are about to be "impaired."