Wall Street's Wishful Thinking - Debunking The "Abundance Of Strong Data" Meme

Having flirted with recession and escaped that fate, the mainstream assumes that 'it' is all over and that prior expectations should only resume. This binary arrangement has clearly colored recent analysis, and as such it has led to really unhinged commentary...but "abundance of strong U.S. economic data" is pushing very close to wishful blindness.

Amazon To Issue Student Loans To New "Prime" Shoppers

In Amazon's latest attempt to entice shoppers into its premium Prime program, Wells Fargo will cut half a percentage point from its interest rate on student loans to Amazon customers who pay for a "Prime Student" subscription, which provides the traditional Prime benefits such as free two-day shipping and access to movies, television shows and photo storage.

As Hillary Polls Slump, Even Michael Moore Says "Trump Is Going To Win

As Hillary Clinton prepares for the Democratic National Convention next week, the latest poll shows she is now tied with Trump (losing a 7 point lead from before FBI Director's Comey's decision). While the DNC will likely provide a bounce (Trump at 7 week highs), if outspoken liberal filmmaker Michael Moore's comments are anything to go by, the best is behind Hillary... "I think Trump is going to win. I'm sorry,"  Moore said, "people are in denial of this, but the chance of winning is really, really good."

Wall Street Is Confused By Elon Musk's Master Plan - "Credibility Is Challenged... How Do They Fund It?"

As we said last night when reviewing Elon Musk's "Master Plan", Part Deux, "it's one of those thing you read twice, three times, and then look at those around you to see if you somehow missed the deep message." Judging by the litany of responses by the sell-side this morning, we weren't the only ones confused. As the following reactions from Wall Street analysts, the confusion was far-ranging.

Existing Home Prices Hit Record High As Sales Growth Slowest In 4 Months

Despite a better than expected 1.1% MoM rise in June (thanks to notable downward revisions), existing home sales growth is the slowest since February. Of course, NAR's Larry Yun gloated of "sustained job growth" driving an "impressive streak of sales gains," although he cautions " it's unclear if this current sales pace can further accelerate." Median home prices soared to new record highs driven by soaring demand for condo/co-ops (+3.2% vs just 0.8% for single-family homes).

European Banks Soar As Draghi Hints At "Public Backstops"

If ever there was a reason for more European nations to 'exit' the sinking ship, Mario Draghi just spewed one. Having sent European bank stocks sliding with earlier calls for reforms, Draghi's wishful-thinking sent bank stocks soaring (especially Italian banks) after he noted a "public backstop is a measure that would be very useful and should be agreed with the Commission according to the existing rules." We can only imagine Herr Schauble's face when he heard this... and what about the Dijsselblom "template"?

Arrested HSBC FX Trader Had Been Cleared In Bank's Own Internal Probe

One day after news hit that a prominent HSBC FX trader was arrested, we find that the bank conducted its own investigation three years ago into a $3.5bn currency trade that US prosecutors now believe was criminally fraudulent and found nothing wrong with the transaction. The HSBC review was led by an external lawyer and found no breach of its code of conduct.

Could This Rally Be A Head-Fake?

If there's nothing supporting this rally but euphoric sentiment arising from orchestrated buying, any eruption of reality will reveal the rally as a head-fake.

10Y Bund Yield Falls Back Under 0% After Draghi Leave QE Program Unchanged In Less Dovish Announcement

Earlier we previewed the prevailing consensus which expected Draghi to announce some easing if not in monetary policy, then in the bank's QE program to make more German securities eligible. However, that did not happen and instead Draghi said that the ECB did not have enough information to take decisions in regard to altering the current QE programme, with no attention paid to specific instruments.

Philly Fed Slumps To 6-Month Lows As National Activity Index Jumps To 6-Month Highs

In the first wave of macro data today, initial claims beat expectations, dropping to 253k near record lows (but remains wildly divergent from tumbling consumer confidence). Following June's rebound in Philly Fed, July missed expectations tumbling to six-month lows, back to a contractionary -2.9 (against expectations of a flat print of +4.5). Finally, Chicago Fed's National Activity Index surged unexpectedly to six-month highs (+0.16 vs -0.20 exp) but the smoother 3-month avg remains in contraction for its 17th straight month.

Mario Draghi's "Whatever-er It Takes"-Promising ECB Press Conference - Live Feed

While sovereign and corporate bond markets might suggest 'all is well', the collapse of European consumer confidence indicates "whatever it takes" has failed and while Mario Draghi kept rates unchanged and maintained his global QE buying program, we suspect the need to offer another banal bone of hope for an artificial market running on fumes will overhwhelm any rational thought left in the former Goldman banker's mind.

ECB Keeps Rates Unchanged

As widely expected from the formulaic statement issued by the ECB ahead of Draghi's press conference, the central bank announced moments ago that it kept all three of its interest rates unchanged as follows:

  • ECB keeps main refinancing rate unchanged at 0.00%.
  • Leaves deposit facility rate unchanged at -0.40%
  • Keeps marginal lending rate unchanged at 0.25%

Now attention turns to Draghi in 45 minutes where his press conference is expected to give some additional color on how the central bank will address the issue of rapidly disappearing collateral.

Frontrunning: July 21

  • Global stocks nurse nine-month highs before ECB meeting (Reuters)
  • Kuroda Says No Need and No Possibility for Helicopter Money (BBG)
  • As Republican Party tries to heal wounds, discord rules at convention (Reuters)
  • GOP Divided as Cruz Snubs Trump (WSJ)
  • Trump Chooses War With Cruz at Convention Aimed at Unification (BBG)

What To Expect In Today's ECB Announcement: "Time To Send Another Dovish Signal"

Following the previously noted fireworks from Kuroda, who in a BBC interview said that there is "no possibility" of helicopter money (which however the WSJ quickly added was based on an interview conducted in mid-June which supposedly means there is possibility now) In under an hour the market will turn its attention to the ECB's latest statement, where as SocGen's Anatoli Annenkov writes, it is "time to send another dovish signal."

Yen Soars, Stocks Slide After Kuroda Says "No Need Or Possibility For Helicopter Money"

In a surprising rejection of Ben Bernanke, BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda said that there will be no helicopter money in Japan, amid increasing speculation over monetary and fiscal policy in the world’s third-largest economy. Given the current institutional setting, there is "no need and no possibility for helicopter money," Kuroda said in a BBC Radio 4 program that was broadcast Thursday. “At this moment, the Bank of Japan has three options with quantitative and qualitative easing with negative interest rates."