In the first sign that, just in time for winter, the tentative European jawboning alliance against Russia is collapsing (since the "costs", sanctions and other economic means inflicted upon the Kremlin ended up backfiring and pushing Europe into a triple-dip recession instead), earlier today Poland announced that it will move thousands of troops toward its eastern borders, i.e., Ukraine, in what AP dubbed a "historic realignment of a military structure built in the Cold War."
“Keep in mind that even terribly hostile market environments do not resolve into uninterrupted declines. Even the 1929 and 1987 crashes began with initial losses of 10-12% that were then punctuated by hard advances that recovered about half of those losses before failing again... The 2007 top began with a plunge as market internals deteriorated materially, increasing day-to-day volatility, and a tendency for large moves to occur in sequence." Investors should interpret recent market strength in its full context: we’ve observed a fast, furious advance to clear an oversold “air-pocket” decline.
Copper prices are surging this morning (in the face of Goldman's recent warnings of a plunge), jumping 4 handles apparently on the heels of a WSJ story in which LME admits that a single buyer has snapped up more than half the copper held in London Metal Exchange warehouses, giving it control over a crucial source of supply and raising concerns among traders about the potential for higher prices. What is more remarkable is, as WSJ reports, on several occasions in the last month, this buyer held as much as 90% of the world’s copper stored in LME-licensed warehouses. Though no confirmation has been given traders suggest the firm cornering the copper market is Red Kite Group, a London hedge-fund manager that focuses on metals trading.
The United Nations' Secretary-General stated that returning workers from Ebola-stricken nations should not be mandatorily quarantined. President Obama expressed his displeasure at mandatory quarantines and "concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science." So, the news that "Army troops returning from Ebola zones will be held in isolation for 21 days," will likely raise Obama's ire. The somewhat pathetic and stunning spin here is that Senior Pentagon officials say it is not a "quarantine," but rather "controlled monitoring."
The US stock market is open... so at least one exchange must be broken. Sure enough, as Nanex notes, NYSE Arca and BATS had "issues" this morning as 338 symbols stopped reporting trades between 1018ET and 1028ET. The stocks included AAPL, FB, FOXA and FSLR (HFT darlings). In addition S&P 500 e-mini futures liquidty was the 4th lowest ever during this morning's trading.
The conventional view tacitly assumes the global economy is dealing with one problem: recovering from the Global Financial Meltdown of 2008-09. Stimulating a "recovery" has been the focus of central banks and states everywhere. However, the additional sets of problems added as "solutions" only guarantee that the third and final crash of asset bubbles just ahead will be far more devastating than the crashes of 2000 and 2009.
It never gets old... Stocks have spiked - leaving all other asset classes in the dust - as Reuters unleashes their latest rumor:
ECB STIMULUS MAY LACK DESIRED SCALE, QE AN OPTION ACCORDING TO SOURCES: REUTERS
Reuters adds that the ECB plan to buy private sector assets may fall short and pressure is likely to build for bolder action early next year. So to sum up - Reuters first leaks the possibility of Corporate bond QE.... we do the math showing it is idiotic... and now Reuters confirms its source was enitrely wrong; we were right, and ECB has to do what everyone though it would do anyway.
According to an ECB-leaked spreadsheet (now confirmed), the impotent omnipotent central bank bought a mere EUR1.7 billion of covered bonds last week (which was largely expected) according to Bloomberg. This somewhat inglorious start to the ECB's efforts to engorge its balance by another trillion or so is supported by precedent as it has been the sovereign purchase programs that made the big difference in the past. Under pressure to "front-load the purchases" as one analyst notes, the results from last week suggest, as we have warned, there simply is not enough quality unencumbered assets lying around in Europe to make a dent in the ECB's efforts to greatly rotate taxpayer-backed free money on to bank balance sheets.
In a sudden reversal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that the state will release the quarantined American nurse who had been confined in a hospital isolation tent upon arrival from West Africa despite showing no signs of Ebola. As USA Today reports, Kaci Hickox, 33, was the first person pulled aside at Newark Airport on Friday under Christie's new strict mandatory quarantine-for-21-days rules. It appears, as Reuters reports, Christie got a tap on the shoulder as The White House has told states that have imposed mandatory quarantines for some travelers from Ebola-hit West Africa that the policy could impede the fight against the disease. Additionally,Hickox plans to sue.
Less than a week after the NAR reported September existing home sales which surged at a 5.17 million annualized pace, the highest since September 2013, rebounding from the August drubbing which was also the worst miss in 2014, today the NAR flip-flopped and disappointed sellside expectations of a 1.0% rebound following the August -1.0% decline, rising a modest 0.3%, and less than half the 2.2% expected increase from a year ago, rising only 1.0% Y/Y. This was the third miss in the series in the last 4 prints.
It appears the cleanest dirty shirt may need some laundering. For the 4th month in a row, US Services PMI has dropped (hitting 6-month lows) and missing expectations by the most this year. The excuse for this weakness - oh that's easy -"there are clearly many concerns, ranging from worries about the impact of Ebola, the Ukraine crisis, the ongoing plight of the Eurozone , signs of further weakness in emerging markets and the Fed starting to tighten policy."
For those who follow the Fed's daily intervention in the stock market, today is a historic, if bittersweet day: this is the day when the Permanent Open Market Operations (or POMO) as a result of the QE3 program launched in December 2012, finally die (at least until they are reincarnated yet again). Today, at 11:00 am, the NY Fed's market desk will conclude its 933rd POMO since August 25 of 2005, when it will inject just about a $1 billion in the stock market in the form of a $0.85-$1.05 billion buyback of long-end bonds. And with that, Simon Potter's open market operations desk located on the 9th floor of Liberty 33, will be put on temporary hiatus.
Despite the ban on short-sales - which has never worked in the past to do anything but instil fear in traders' holding long positions - Italian banks are in free-fall following the utter failure of Draghi's stress tests to encourage confidence in the European banking system.
INTESA, UBI, UNICREDIT, MONTE PASCHI SUSPENDED IN MILAN, LIMIT DOWN
Given the post-"whatever-it-takes" world of domestic sovereign bond-buying, it is no surprise that Italian govvie risk is jumping higher and the FTSEMIB is plunging.
While large shifts in positioning precipitated a sell-off in oil prices that far exceeded the actual weakening in fundamentals, Goldman Sachs' confidence in a 2015 oversupplied global oil market has increased. As a result, they have brought forward their medium-term bearish oil outlook (WTI crude oil forecast is $75/bbl for 1Q15 and 2H15 (from $90/bbl previously)). WTI just broke below $80 back to June 2012 levels once again as Goldman also downgraded the entire oil service space (happily buying up muppets' positions as they sell).