US equities suffered their biggest drop in 2 months today, with the S&P 500 closing a glaring 30-point divergence with high-yield credit markets which also sold off dramatically. The S&P 500 broke (and closed) below its 50DMA (as did the Nasdaq, Dow Industrials, and Transports). Russell 2000 dropped to beyond 4-month lows (-4.4% in 2014). Early USD strength gave way as stocks started to leak lower and closed unchanged (+0.5% on the week) led by JPY and EUR strength. Treasury yields plunged 4-6bps on the day (led by the long-end) with 10Y testing the critical 2.50% handle once again. VIX broke above 16, its 4th biggest rise of the year. Gold rose as stocks lost ground but silver, oil and copper slipped lower. HY Credit spreads closed at 8 month wides. Investors also piled into safe-haven short-squeeze 'camera-on-a-stick'. Stocks closed not "off the lows."
ISIS, it appears, does not have a monopoly on 'executions'. As Amnesty notes, while there were no executions reported in Europe and Central Asia last year, executions were recorded in 22 countries during 2013, and increased 15% over 2012 (excluding the thousands of people executed in China that go unreported). Common to almost all executing countries was again the justification of the use of death penalty as an alleged deterrent against crime; but, as Amnesty believes, this position is becoming increasingly untenable and discredited. For once USA is 'happy' not be #1 (though 5th in the world, above Somalia and Sudan, still seems high).
While the saying "cash on the sidelines" is patently wrong as all cash represents is a form of risk, asset and liquidity preference (and yes, for every buyer of stock there is a seller: repeat as many times as necessary until it clicks), we are confident the fact that the world's record number of billionaires, 2,325 in 2014 up from 2,170 a year ago, holding a record $7,291 trillion in assets or a little under half of the US GDP, have a record $600 million in cash on average, up from $540 million the year before.
What's the opposite of government efficiency? In a double-take-instigating headline, the federal government’s Obamacare enrollment system has cost about $2.1 billion so far, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of contracts related to the project. BGOV’s analysis shows that costs for both healthcare.gov and the broader reform effort are far greater than anything publicly discussed. However, that pales into insignificance when considering health reform has cost American taxpayers $73 billion in the last four years... and counting.
Beneath the surface wealth of bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the one gripped by a deepening social depression. Japan is the global bellwether in social depression, and we can already see the same symptoms and official panic to mask these symptoms in Europe, China and the U.S.
It appears Vladimir Putin is willing to hit'em while they're down. Early European equity weakness (and safe-haven flows) on asset-freeze threats have accelerated as Bloomberg reports, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak threatens gas supply disruptions if the EU continues to re-export Russian gas to Ukraine. 3Y German bond yields have plunged to -4.1bps, a record low close and European stocks are closing on their lows of the day.
Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama became president on a platform of pacifism, and withdrawal from America's numerous conflicts. 6 years later, he is where Dubya was a decade ago, only on the other side, according to the latest Economist cover (and story).
- ISLAMIC STATE CELLS PLOTTING US, FRANCE ATTACKS, ABADI SAYS
- TARGETS VIEWED MAY INCLUDE SUBWAYS, ABADI SAYS
- IRAQI PRIME MINISTER ABADI SAYS HE GOT INFORMATION THIS MORNING
- ABADI SAYS INFO FROM CAPTURED FIGHTERS IN IRAQ SEEMS CREDIBLE
- U.S., FRANCE INFORMED BY IRAQ, ABADI SAYS
And now, for the best news of the day, we go to NPR which reports that Eric "Too Big To Prosecute" Holder is resigning. From NPR: "Eric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress."
A "huge" institutional sell order, covering almost 200 individual stocks, is rumored to have been responsible for getting this morning's weakness across stocks going as equity indices catch down to bonds and credit. The S&P 500 broke key support at its 50-day moving-average (for first time in 2 months) and is back at 6 week lows. The Russell 2000 is now down 4.25% from the FOMC meeting last week...
As we have reported since May 2013, when we explained the role of Commodity Funding Deals in Chinese "trade" and especially in the laundering of hot money flows, and most recently when we followed up on the first revelations that unknown amounts of physical commodities had been corizined in China's port of Qingdao, one of the key uses of monetary commodities in China is for purposes of "trade" in the form of FX loans, and especially to artificially boost exports by way of fake trade invoicing. Well, like a recovering junkie addicted to fabricated data, China finally admitted it has a problem when overnight it "uncovered almost $10 billion in fraudulent trade nationwide as part of an investigation begun in April last year, including many irregularities in the port of Qingdao, the country’s currency regulator said today." “Some companies used the trade channel to bring in hot money,” said Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. SAFE’s investigation “will likely further cool down hot money inflows and commodity imports could slow as banks will likely conduct more careful checks on documentation.”