The biggest news this morning is the talk that Spain's Rajoy will discuss 'how to shore up' his banking system with the EU officials this weekend. As SocGen noted earlier, EURUSD managed a 30 pip bounce and then promptly sold off - 'That says it all really'. A 'bailout' of Spanish banks poses a lot more questions than it answers. Specifically that this crisis began with Greece and now has spread to Spain. Will the focus move on again? The market believes that European officials have yet to put in place contingencies that will stem contagion and stress on other European countries. Hence the anemic response from currencies. What is clear is that Greece, and now Spain, have set the dismal example for their peers: 'Crush the banks, then get bailed out' which leaves only one course of action it seems, banks will be shorting themselves to force action from their overlords in Berlin and Brussels. If we get a risk-on bounce in Italian banks, on any weekend 'interim' resolution for Spanish banks, then shorting into that strength seems more than appropriate (or long credit, short equity as burdens are shared).
Dear German readers: please avert your eyes.
While the ever-present analogs to the last few years of crisis-response-improvement-complacency (CRIC), as Morgan Stanley so clearly described, have provided a clear picture of what to expect, the treja vu is now starting to fade in one very important market indicator. As BofA notes, the forward expectations of Fed Funds rates have finally started to shift from an endless string of 'hope' for growth and reflation just around the corner and rate hikes any quarter now (despite the Fed's 'exceptional' chatter) to a much less sanguine pit of despair that rates will indeed stay low for 'ever' reflecting a stagnating deleveraging economic reality. At some point they will be right as the Japanization of rates around the fiat world becomes the new normal and 'smart/fast-money' traders appear hope-less.
Perhaps some novel solution is found but this is not the muddling along kind of thing at all. This is the changing of charters kind of thing, the changing of national banking regulations kind of thing; the ceding of power to Europe kind of thing and anyone who thinks that this can all be accomplished in a matter of days is out having tea with Cinderella’ fairy godmother. Yet equities have rallied and bond spreads stopped widening on just this kind of hope but I predict that this will all be short-lived because, on its face, it is irrational. There is nothing wrong with having hopes and prayers but to base investment decisions on irrational interventions of some Divine power where there is not even a door for the Divinity to enter is just poor judgment by this name or any other you may concoct. It is no longer a case of “Risk on/Risk off” but of “Reality on/Reality off” and I advise you to keep pressing the “Reality on” button!
Crazy Pills: Here Comes The Refutation Of The Rumor Of The Conference Of The Bailout Of The Broke... And ConsultantsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/08/2012 - 07:21
Just as we expected earlier, when we suggested that Spain is waiting to see Germany's preliminary response to its (re)newed push for a bailout, Spain has seen the outcome, and does not like it.
- SAENZ SAYS KNOWS OF NO `TECHNICAL' MEETING ON SPAIN
And another just brilliant headline:
- Consultants, IMF to Determine Spain Banks’ Needs
That economic data out of Europe was disappointing overnight should come as no surprise to anyone. That Spain is broke, and there is no money to bail it out under the existing framework (and that Germany is unwilling to come up with a new bailout scheme), should also be no surprise. And yet they somehow manage to stun the market... each and every day. Which is why overnight action has now boiled down to a simple algorithmic exercise: is there a short covering squeeze: if yes, then rip, aka Risk On. If not, then Risk Off. So far, the squeeze has not been initiated which is also to be expected, following the biggest short covering squeeze in up to two years. This too may change if repo desks decide to pull borrow as they tend to do during regular hours, to give the impression that the latest and greatest bailout plan is "working." And in other news, which is completely irrelevant, here is the actual news.
- Obama Seeking Ally on Europe Finds Merkel a Tough Sell (Bloomberg) - but he has an election to win
- China rate cut sparks fears of grim May data (Reuters)
- China faces stimulus dilemma (FT)
- Papademos warns of Grexit vortex (FT)
- China’s Shipyards Fail to Win Orders as Greek Owners Shun Loans (Bloomberg)
- Rajoy Holds Bank Talks With EU Leaders as Fitch Downgrades Spain (Bloomberg)
- Capital Rule Is One Size Fits All (WSJ)... now the modest question of where to get the $3.9 trillion in capital
- Merkel Pokes at Cameron With Backing for Two-Speed Europe (Bloomberg)
- City safeguards set Britain at odds with EU (FT)
- Bernanke says Fed to act if Europe crisis deepens (Reuters)
Just as we noted minutes earlier, following the Spanish (re)submission its (still rumored) bank bailout application, the ball was in Germany's court. And sure enough, Germany has just come out with the token response, which was the worst possible outcome for the insolvent country, which may force it pull the unofficial bailout request for the second time. From MarketNews: "The German government on Friday reaffirmed that the European bailout funds were ready to support Spain, if Madrid applies for aid and accepts the conditions tied to it. “The decision is up to Spain. If it makes it, then the European instruments for it are ready,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a regular press conference here. “Then everything will run under the usual procedure: a state makes a request, it will be liable and it accepts the conditions tied to it.” Seibert declined to comment on rumours of a possible Eurogroup teleconference this weekend to consider an aid request from Spain that might be forthcoming." Translated: the framework is in place. As in, no new bailout instruments are being contemplated.
If it seems like it was just yesterday that Spain officially requested a bank bailout, it is because it was. Recall: "Spain Caves, Admits It Needs European Bailout" from June 5. What happened next is confusing, but it essentially appears that Spain retracted the course of action as it was unhappy with two things: i) the market's response to the announcement, and ii) Germany's response to the request for aid. The first, because as ZH first showed, did not soar as there would obviously not be enough money embedded in the current system to fund a full bailout of Spain, and the second, because Germany is not exactly delighted with having one more country on the dole, and has yet to clarify under just what conditions it will save Spain (in retrospect naive rumors that it has dropped all conditionality notwithstanding). Which brings us to this morning, when we are expected to forget that all of this already happened, and to be shocked that Spain is officially requesting a bailout for the first time./.. again... kinda, sorta... Reuters reports: "Spain is expected to request European aid for its ailing banks at the weekend to forestall worsening market turmoil, becoming the fourth and biggest country to seek assistance since the euro zone's debt crisis began, EU and German sources said. Four senior EU officials said finance ministers of the 17-nation single currency area would hold a conference call on Saturday to discuss a Spanish request for an aid package, although no figure had yet been set. The Eurogroup would issue a statement after the meeting, they said. "The announcement is expected for Saturday afternoon," one of the EU officials said." So now we have rumors of statements of conferences of bailouts. Lovely. At least our Belgian caterer long is doing great to quite great.
"Risk on, risk off" might be the most essential hallmark of the current market, but just focusing on the day-to-day whims of capital markets ignores longer term changes to investor risk preferences. Nic Colas, of ConvergEx looks at the topic from the vantage point of gender-specific investment choices. For example, more women are participating in deferred compensation (DC) plans, and the data from millions of 401(k) accounts tells a useful story. Their retirement accounts still lag those of their male counterparts in total value and they remain a bit more risk-averse. But for the first time in at least a decade they are more likely than men to contribute to a retirement account and are contributing a greater percentage of their earnings. You’ll never see pink or blue dots on the “Efficient Frontier” of academic models, to be sure. However, both empirical data and psychological studies do point to subtle – but notable – differences in how men and women consider the classic risk-reward tradeoff inherent in the challenge of investing. Nick suggests it may make sense to reconsider the notion that continued money flows into bonds and other safe haven investments are really "Risk off" market behavior. At least a piece of it may well be "Risk shifting," driven by the demographic and psychological factors as assets controlled by women are clearly increasing. "Risk off" may well be "risk shift."
Update: Gold and Silver are extending losses now.
Asian markets have been open for an hour or two now and markets have done nothing but extend the late-day derisking from the last hour of the US day-session. S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) are down around 8pts from the close, Treasury yields are 5-7bps off their intraday highs now (3-4bps lower than where they closed), JPY is strengthening (carry-off - even though Noda is scheduled to speak), AUD is weakening (carry-off - almost back to post Aussie jobs print levels), and Copper & Oil are tumbling (WTI back under $83). Gold and Silver are falling off quicker now (having suffered during the day session and stabilized a little) as it seems markets are playing catch up to their signals (still around unch from 5/28 closing levels while WTI is down almost 9% and Copper -3.5% from those swing equity highs). Broadly speaking risk assets are increasing in correlation and ES is getting dragged lower.