RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 04/08/11
For all those wondering if Bernanke has given himself the permission to go ahead with QE3 (which is the only permission that matters, coming courtesy of his bosses at Goldman of course), here is the chart that confirms it. Priced in the anihilated "value" of dollar, the S&P is now almost back to Jackson Hole levels. It is also down 8.6% for the year. As for that far more prosaic chart of the market priced in gold, we won't even go there: basically the entire rally since the March 2009 low has now been wiped out.
The Dow is down more than 500. The S&P is down 60. The VIX surges 35% to 32 the highest since June 2010. Implied correlation surges to the highest since last summer. ES volume surges to the highest since the flash crash. Europe is opening in 12 hours. Margin debt is near record high levels, and mutual funds have record low cash. Liquidations galore. Did we miss anything?
For the sake of John Paulson, we sure hope he sold his BAC holdings which are now well below his cost basis. For the sake of everyone else, we also hope they sold their BAC stakes, if any. That said, we can't wait for the Fairholme Capital's conference call with Bank of America's Brian Moynihan on August 10 from 1 to 2:30 pm in which they explain to the market why it is oh so wrong on the most insolvent bank in America.
Here is a chart of what could well be the biggest concern for the market, and one we have been highlights for a long time: mutual fund cash levels, which as ICI indicates were 3.4% in June, is the lowest ever. A 4% drop in the absolute value of mutual fund investments, effectively wipes out the capital buffer of most. Enter liquidations.
As A Reminder, Market-Wide Circuit Breakers Are Now Off And Only A 3,600 Drop In The DJIA Will Halt TradingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/04/2011 - 14:29
Sometimes it is worth reminding our vacuum tube-based readers that after 2pm only a 3,600 point in the DJIA will force a market close for the day, unlike the FTSE MIB and the Liffe where a 4% drop is sufficient.
The Gloomy Prediction Of The Day Comes From.... Joe LaVorgna, Who Says An NFP Print Greater Than 9.2% Is Quite PossibleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/04/2011 - 14:22
When looking for super bullish expectations on the economy, everyone knows where to turn to: Deutsche Bank's Joe LaVorgna of course. However, many readers probably did not know that when looking for worse than consensus expectations about the future, including those cautioning about heightened recession worries, one should turn to... Joe LaVorgna?! That's right, in a just released note to clients, the CNBC staple "pundit" has just said that tomorrow's NFP may not only be 9.2% but may in fact exceed it. He also adds that "Weak income growth, falling stocks will have "damaging effect on business confidence" and make "managers even more hesitant to spend on either labor or capital" His conclusion: "‘If the unemployment rate were to spike, investors would become even more worried about a recession, because unemployment tends to go up sharply just ahead of the onset of recession." Judging by Joey L's predictive track record it may really be time to mortgage that first born and buy everything that is not nailed down.
For those who didn't get their share of laughs listening to Barton Biggs yesterday on CNBC, and his prediction of a 7-9% rally in three weeks (make that 9-11% as of today), here is your repeat chance to do just that as he has a 3:00 pm appearance on Bloomberg TV today. Incidentally, Barton will be absolutely correct if next Tuesday the Fed announces that QE3 is starting. Of course gold will be at $2000 to celebrate the Fed pushing its balance sheet over $4 trillion. Otherwise, the outlook is not so rosy...
QE2 is dead. Long live QE3! Markets rebounded yesterday when Ben Bernanke’s BFF at the WSJ Jon Hilsenrath published an article that quoted senior officials at the Fed as saying that they would give “very serious consideration” to a new round of bond purchases, aka QE3. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I published a note back on February 2nd called Go All In On Bernanke’s Weak QE3 Hand where I said, “The problem the Fed and Chairman Bernanke now face is that the so-called wealth effect of the rising stock market has been dependent on the existence of QE2 and removing that punch bowl could cause the party to end and reverse the gains, both economic and market, that we have seen in the last 5 months.” At the time, you’ll recall, the market was solidly convinced that QE2 would be the last and final round of QE from the Fed. I disagreed. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look like I was right. However, as a long-time buyer of gold and silver, I have to admit that these never ending rounds QE are a gift from the (finance) Gods. But why should the market get excited about a policy that’s essentially failed, twice, to do anything except temporarily juice stocks higher? I think it’s very simple, the Fed cannot afford to be seen as helpless, they must do something, anything. Otherwise, why have them as Ron Paul might ask? And besides, at this point in the game, what else can they do? Lower rates? Nope, zero-bound already. Lower reserve requirements? Not likely, our TBTF banks are already scraping by with mark-to-model accounting on real estate assets that are currently worth less than they were in 2008 yet still somehow are marked at or close to par. Lowering reserve requirements would likely cause the banking panic currently growing in Europe to quickly jump the pond and land on our shores. Which leaves us with QE3/asset purchases.
The epic blow out accelerates with the widely followed (by the administration) DJIA dropping by over 400 points at last check. And as we warned earlier, the liquidation sell offs in PM, to no small part driven by rumors of yet another CME margin hike, are picking up pace, with silver tumbling from over $42 to just $38.50. We are very concerned we may see another Flash Crash, or Crash Crash as it would be better known assuming there is no imminent bounce back. As such we urge readers to immediately put limit buy prices across the entire S&P that are 19.99% down, as down 20% is the magical border below which the exchanges cancel all trades. Just in case, with circuit breakers at 10% for the top 1000 stocks, a 9.99% limit buy may be a better deal.
The U.S. remains hopeful that QE3 is coming. The tone of messages I get seems to be of people caught long (possibly recently) trying to show that market isn't really that weak. We tried the "Europe has gone home rally" and it pushed SPX cash all the way up to 1229, but since then we have faded. I think people will get more and more nervous about NFP as we head into the close. It is not just the number tomorrow that people are worrying about, but possibly massive downward revisions. Is it possible we get a 10% unemployment rate print tomorrow? Probably not, but given the price action, the fact that too many people still seem to be hoping for QE3 (I was one of those overnight and early today), and the NFP revisions fear, I think we will see a new low today before we close.
As readers may have noticed Zero Hedge has been down for about an hour. We apologize for the downtime which was due to a surge in traffic unseen since the May 6 flash crash, resulting in one of our servers (located naturally offshore) to literally explode. We hope to have remedied the situation, at least for the time being. Readers may experience intermittent access but we hope to have everything running back up and normal shortly. And now we return you to your regularly scheduled melt down, which can be followed tick for tick with every single spike in HFT quite stuffing as seen on the below proprietary indicator from our friends at Nanex. Indeed, as we suspected yesterday, packet stuffing is just the weapon someone would use if they wanted to bring down the market enough to where QE3 was not only palatable but required.
For months we have been warning that the only thing that can allow QE3 to proceed is a 25% drop in the S&P. Of course, algos and their idiot Ph.D. creators would force the robots to gobble up every drop due to beyond inane mean reversion and BTFD triggers. Well, today that realization is finally dawning (as hundreds of 19 year old quants suddenly find themselves out of a job). As the chart below shows, however, the market still has a long way to go to the downside, so for all those buying here and the market will promptly soar on hopes QE3, disappointment seems guaranteed. In the meantime technicals still rule, with the ES now at November 2010 swing highs, which will likely be taken out soon, and will tumble to the December swing lows, just above 1150, after which it is rough sailing down to the 1000 level of Jackson Hole at which point the market will be begging for QE3. Of course, all this assumes that Bank of America does not blow up in the meantime, as everyone has been warning. With its CDS 18 bps wide to just under 200 bps today, unlike Ben Bernanke, we certainly can not promise that.
As expected, the massive global rout is shifting to the best performing asset: gold, which courtesy of pervasive repo desk margin calls (which are merely trying to preserve capital for their TBTF holding companies) is seeing liquidations to satisfy collateral margin requirements. It will be interesting if the only real dip worth buying will see buyers come out of the woodwork or if gold will proceed to plunge alongside everything else.
News Just Keeps Getting Worse: Spain To Cancel August 18 Auction As Bundesbank President Says Opposes ECB Bond BuyingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/04/2011 - 10:45
The newsflow just keeps getting worse. Via Dow Jones we have learned that Spain, not Italy, has decided to pull its August 18 auction and will instead launch its 5 year auction on September 1. Once again, Zero Hedge being just a little prescient with our 7 am commentary that we "look for Spain to follow Italy in a self-imposed bond market exile." And in far worse news, we now get a schism within the European banking authority itself after Bloomberg reported that the Bundesbank's Weidmann is said to be opposed the resumption of ECB bond buying, at least two bouts of which already took place earlier, most likely in Italian and Portuguese bonds. "Weidmann was not the only Governing Council member against the move, according to an official speaking on condition of anonymity because the ECB policy meeting is not public. Bundesbank spokeswoman declined to comment." The last thing that that the market needs to see now is uncertainty. That the market will see idiocy is a given, but at least keep the idiocy constant. That someone may be a voice of reason only sends shudders of terror through the spine of billions of vacuum tubes around the world which have no idea how to predict the future at this point.