May 3rd, 2012

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More Than Half Of Retailers Miss April Sales Estimates

This is not the way to start a new GDP quarter in which consumer expenditures are supposed to pick up following a weak Q1 GDP driven higher by inventory accumulation and record hot weather. From Bloomberg: "Just over half of the retailers reporting April comp. sales trailed ests., led by misses in department stores and discounters.  11 of 20 cos. reporting April sales fell short of ests.; 4 of 6 dept. stores, 3 of 4 discounters missed." As a reminder, missed expectations means it was worse than expected: something quite stunning in a world where every other data point has hedonic, seasonal or birth/death adjustments.


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David Einhorn Explains Why Only Gold Is An Antidote To The Fed's Destructive "Jelly Donut Policy"

David Einhorn who crushed it this week with huge profits on his short positions in both Herbalife and Green Mountain, finally takes on the ultimate competitor: the Federal Reserve, likening its "strategy" to a Jelly Donut policy, and explains what everyone who has been reading Zero Hedge for the past 3 years knows too well: "I will keep a substantial long exposure to gold -- which serves as a Jelly Donut antidote for my portfolio. While I'd love for our leaders to adopt sensible policies that would reduce the tail risks so that I could sell our gold, one nice thing about gold is that it doesn't even have quarterly conference calls." Or, as Kyle Bass said last year, "Buying Gold Is Just Buying A Put Against The Idiocy Of The Political Cycle. It's That Simple!" Not surprisingly, it is only the idiots out there who still don't get what these two investing luminaries are warning about.


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A Tide In The Affairs Of Man

There are two forthcoming dates which will set the direction and strength of the tide and certainly have a marked affect upon the ventures. They are this Sunday, May 6, when both the French and Greek populace will decide on who is running their government and then on May 31 when the Irish have their refrendum. At the least one must be thankful that there are Democracies that are working and that no group of Generals or some thug is making the decisions. Forthcoming we visualize many Socialist demands such as Eurobonds being made and Germany standing alone in the corner and refusing to fund which will make for all kinds of volatile markets. The bigger crisis though, we fear, will be when Germany says no to funding some grand Socialist idea. The problem is the size of the economy. The German economy is 25% of the American economy and it is going to get down to a matter of capital and what Germany can afford without being downgraded and a European Union without a AAA rated Germany is a very different affair both for the EU’s debt structure and for the Euro. In June the Fed’s Operation Twist comes to an end. There is no new stimulus plan on the table in either America or in Europe now. This means that the last four years of monetary easing and living off of that which has been printed is coming to an end. The consequences of this, historically, have been declines in the equity markets.


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Initial Claims Finally Beat Expectations As Prior Number Revised Higher As Usual

Well, we were half right earlier when we predicted a miss in claims coupled with a material upward revision in the prior number. We did get the revision from 388K to 392K for the week ended April 21, but the current week, which was expected to print at 379K, came at a far better 365K, a drop of 27,000 from the revised number, which happens to be the biggest percentage drop since July 2011, and the biggest expectations beat since July 2009. In other words, baffle them with bullshit as economic doctrine continues: will NFP beat tomorrow, won't it? All depends on when Bernanke feels like launching the NEW QE. In other words, the number came in good (for the first time in 6 weeks), which of course is horrible news for a market which continues to levitate higher on hopes of more monetary heroin.


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Live Webcast Of ECB's Press Conference

ECB's preliminary announcement was a big snoozer as expected. Much more hope rests in the Mario Draghi press conference that begins in minutes, and where the former Goldmanite is expected to at least hint at some more conditional easing. Follow it live below.



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David Bianco Is Back, Realizes That The Market Is Not The Economy

After his ignominious departure from Bank of America in September of 2011, many were wondering if everyone's favorite permabull was lost to the world forever (speaking of, where is Jim Caron these days?). Rejoice, for we come bearing great news: last night Deutsche Bank's latest addition, who in conjunction with Joe LaVorgna and Binki Chadha, has formed the terrifying "Trinity of of Perma Bull" issued his first report. And dare we say it, Bianco appears to be almost.... bearish? "We expect a 5-10% dip this summer..." Unpossible: what have you done to the Bianco and his tender 18,000 Hz overtones we all love so dearly. Oh wait, there is a second half to the sentence: "...but a dip that most likely should be bought." Ah, that's more like it.


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ECB: No Change



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ECB (In)Decision Preview

Today the ECB is expected to do absolutely nothing, although many have their hopes up that at the post announcement press conference Mario Draghi may possibly hint at some more easing (with what collateral we wonder, and with what Germany) to bring some spring into the step of a continent that has milked $1.3 trillion in 3 year repo/discount window borrowings for all their worth and then some. And instead if the ECB cuts its rate below the psychological barrier of 1% today, or at any time over the next several months, it will make Hugh Hendry once again that much richer. Recall as of November: "He’s made bets that he says will deliver a 40-to-1 return if the ECB cuts rates below 1% next year." Below is a full rundown of what to expect, and not to expected, from the former Goldmanite, now head of the central bank for the world's biggest economic region.


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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: May 3

European equities are trading higher at the midway point, with modest risk appetite observed ahead of the ECB rate decision and subsequent press conference. A large volume of corporate earnings has helped European stocks from the open, with the large cap names such as SocGen and BMW posting a strong set of results. A smooth set of auctions from both Spain and France have helped tighten the European government 10-yr bond yield spreads against Germany. The French results saw a reduction in borrowing costs and solid demand across all lines, with the Spanish auction selling to the top of the indicative range, albeit with an increase in yields. Elsewhere, Services PMI data from the UK has disappointed to the downside, however the figure still indicates growth in the services sector with the figure coming in at 53.3. A breakdown in the data has shown that clients do remain cautious, but optimism is on an upward trend. Looking ahead in the session, market focus will be on Barcelona as ECB’s Draghi prepares for his press conference at 1330BST/0730CDT.


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Frontrunning: May 3

  • Chinese dissident seeks exile, strains U.S.-China ties (Reuters)
  • Sarkozy and Hollande lock horns on TV (FT)
  • UK in furious rejection of EU bank plan (FT)
  • EU Fails to Reach Deal on Capital (WSJ)
  • China energy use may be capped for 2015 (China Daily)
  • Buffett Trails S&P 500 for Third Straight Year (Bloomberg)
  • King admits failing to ‘shout’ about risk (FT)
  • Obama promises 110,000 new summer jobs for youth (Reuters)
  • China sturdy enough for reforms: Geithner (Reuters)
  • Geithner repeats call for stronger yuan (Reuters)

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Overnight Sentiment: Bad News Means Green Futures

Welcome to another morning which saw weak news out of Asia (Chinese Services PMI declining to lowest level since January), weak news out of the UK (Services PMI down to 53.3 from 55.3 previously), and weak news out of Europe where a Spanish auction once again paid well into the unsustainable levels to give the market the illusion that it is well funded. Completing the picture is the ECB which announced that yesterday banks deposited for the first time since early March a total over €800 billion (primarily as Northern European banks see their holdings of Southern paper mature and not get rolled over), or €803 billion to be precise, a €14 billion increase overnight, as one can make the argument that liquidity is once again starting to freeze up. However, despite all the ugly news, US futures are of course up, with the only question the headline scanning algos care about is whether initial claims will once again miss the consensus of 380K solidly (thus making sure tomorrow's NFP print is QE enabling). Our guess it that last week's print of 388K is revised as usual upward, into the low 390K region, with the number missing Wall Street forecast but posting a "decline" from last week's revised number. After all this scheme has worked for so long, why end now?


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Mixed Results As Spain Sells More Bonds Than Expected, But Pays Up As Yields Again Spike - Analyst View

Traders were watching Spain cautiously this morning which at around 4 am Eastern sold €2.52 billion of three- and five-year government bonds, in its first bond auction since Standard & Poor's cut its sovereign rating by two notches last week. The results were mixed because while more than the maximum range of €2.5 billion was sold (on solid total demand of €8.07 billion) or €2.52 billion, Spain paid up for the privilege, with yields rising across the board, reaching just why of 5% for the 2017 bonds and more importantly pricing with tails to secondary market prices, confirming that the trend in rising yields at primary issuance is very much unsustainable. This in turn caused the EURUSD to get spooked and slide to overnight lows, a move not mimicked by broader equity futures which this morning are again in a world of their own, and now simply await to see if the Initial Claims number later will be far worse than expected in order to soar.


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