UPDATE: S&P says an impasse will not prompt an immediate downgrade - ramp-on (perfectly to VWAP and faded)
The Dow just breached 13,000 to the downside and S&P 500 futures are bleeding lower (catching down to a more anxious credit and Treasury market). Now well below VWAP, we worry that the plethora of headlines about to be unleashed on the investing world will create chaos in the markets (most likely futures first given liquidity). AAPL used the rampathon to get to Boxing Day's closing VWAP for a heavy dump. Will the meeting (which started at 1510ET) end after the day-session close allowing futures traders to play? who knows...
On December 26, 2012 at 11:02:59, the market suddenly exploded with activity (SPY dropped below 141.88 - a low set 12 days earlier on December 14). Approximately 3,800 March 2013 eMini futures contracts (S$P 500) were sold during that second. Nanex thought the sudden explosion in activity warranted a closer look. What they found was fascinating. It appears the entire market-wide move may have been carefully orchestrated. One thing for certain is that our regulators will never be able to see the big picture if their analysis tools (MIDAS) only looks at equity data. Analyzing price moves in futures and options is crucial to understanding market-wide moves in equities, and visa versa. The sad truth is that 'momentum ignition' events such as this occur all the time. See this page more details, including an animation that shows where and when these events have occurred since 2007.
In the spirit of the holidays and hope for a more prosperous 2013, we thought readers might appreciate a little humor to partially offset the relentless 'cliff' doom and gloom. So please, don’t take this too seriously. But if you happen to stumble across a ‘paperbug’ or two over the holidays, perhaps you could share some of the points made here. Humor sometimes helps people realize just how hopelessly misguided they are... Quantitative easing changes nothing. Remember, the PhDs are in charge of our economies and they know exactly how much our money should be worth. Those of us concerned that our money might lose purchasing power are just being paranoid. Choice is dangerous. Think Adam and Eve and you’ll get my point. Those arguing in favour of monetary freedom, of choice in money, of repealing legal tender laws, they’re just like that nasty snake Lillith in the Garden of Eden, the source of all trouble I tell you. ‘Tis the season to borrow and spend folks, as indeed it has been since 1971.
As we reported previously, today Iran decided to launch a rather impromptu "massive" naval drill dubbed the Velayat 91, which will take place in the Oman Sea, North of Indian Ocean, in the Persian Gulf and East of Strait of Hormuz, and will cover an area of one million square kilometers right in the sweet zone of the US 5th Naval Fleet's AOR, where in addition to other resources, both the Stennis aircraft carrier and Peleliu amphibious warfare ship group are located. As PressTV reports, "On the first day of the drills, ships and submarines, will go to their locations and get ready for the tactical stage of the maneuvers. Forces in shores will also get ready for the tactical phase of the drills. In addition our 23rd fleet will be deployed to the high seas to protect commercial ships and oil tankers and to counter piracy in Gulf of Aden." All this will be taking place within kilometers of both the busiest seaborne transit corridor of crude oil in the world, as well as the headquarters of the US 5th Navy in Bahrain. What could go wrong.
Sometimes, taking a break from the mainstream view of the world is healthy for our sheep-like tendencies to follow the herd. To wit, Robert Shiller can't understand the enthusiasm for the long-term recovery outlook of the housing market. With rentals rising and home-ownership dwindling, Shiller, in this Bloomberg TV clip, questions the positivity noting that the outlook is 'fuzzy' at best; and in fact in the short-term is negative as MoM things have deteriorated modestly (though seasonally). He note that the focus has been on multi-family residences and "if you are sitting in a suburban single-family house - what is your outlook? Highly uncertain - It's Risky!" And in one of the most prescient comments of recent weeks, Shiller admits something that many others should try: "[the outlook] could be up; but I don't see how anyone knows?" adding that another plausible outlook for the next five years is that "housing stays right where it is now," adding that Zillow's 1.3% annual real growth expectation could be too optimistic.
In a just aired Bloomberg TV interview, Senator Max Baucus provided the most succinct summation of the state of our nation now and for most of 2012, as well as the winningest trading strategy of the past year:
there is "a lot of hope and faith" in the 3pm White House Meeting.
UPDATE: An hour later, Volatility and stocks have converged down to HYG...
It seems that while the volatility, equity, and interest rate markets are moving in a risk-on direction (admittedly on dreadful volumes); that HY credit is not enojoying the uncertainty. HYG is now at lows of the day (after filling its gap from a few days ago). What is also more evident from the chart is equity (and vol)'s relatively high beta today to any and all headlines...though it is now anchored at VWAP.
We are happy to announce that starting today, and going forward every week, as part of a new feature dubbed, appropriately enough, FleeceBook, we will introduce our readers to one, previously largely unknown member of the ruling banker aristocracy: an individual who is as far from the glamor of the daily media headlines as possible: just the way they like it, and just the way the co-opted media will agree to have it. We hope that by the end of the series, these individuals - all of them perfectly law abiding citizens of their various jurisdictions, at least under conventional legal terms - will form a tapestry of what really happens behind the scenes, especially in a context such as that presented yesterday, where we found that no matter how guilty beyond a reasonable doubt a member of the political-financial elite is, hell would have to freeze before any legal action is taken (for reference, please see the very underrated movie The International). For our inaugural edition on FleeceBook, which will compile various public profiles already posted elsewhere, we present Benoît Gilson, Head of Foreign Exchange & Gold, which he describes as "a really special place to work because it is a link between the markets and the central banks." In other words if confused why gold is imploding on any/every given day, and/or why the EUR is soaring on news of a failed ECB sterilization, now you know who to thank.
To put this in the most basic terms: registration and restriction equals revolution. Count on it. It is not a matter of what we "want", it is a matter of what is necessary. Without a citizenry armed with weapons of military application, we lose our last deterrent to tyranny, and thus, we lose everything. When backed into a corner, a victim has two options: he can lie down and die, or, he can fight regardless of the odds. Sadly, this is where we are in America; fear, servitude, subservience, or civil war.
EURUSD remains bid on every dip but has been more choppy this week as the world realizes the implications of desperate repatriation (see failed ECB sterilization). Spanish stocks bucked the trend this week and are down 2% - more than double the losses of the rest of Europe's stocks. European sovereign bonds are bleeding gently higher in yield and spread (Spain/Italy +10bps or so). Just as we saw in the US, it appears today's under-the-surface anxiety (that very few in the mainstream comprehend) has led to a bid for protection as Europe's VIX has jumped 2.5 vols to 20.75% - its highest in 6 weeks.
Much has been made of newly appointed uber-easer Abe's plans to weaken the JPY by any means possible. Since the global financial crisis began in early 2008, USDJPY has tracked remarkably closely with the ratio of Federal Reserve assets to Bank of Japan assets - as the currency wars escalated. Assuming the Fed proceeds with its planned QE3/4 $1tn expansion, then BoJ assets would need to expand by around JPY100tn to meet this target. The current BoJ holdings of JGBs just crossed JPY100tn - so this new printing is double the current holdings and considerably more than double the planned JPY44tn purchases for the year. Good luck with that given the expected JGB issuance this year is only around JPY44tn and good luck persuading anyone that the BoJ is not directly funding the government in the ultimate reacharound. As the Fed monetizes 1 year of Treasury issuance so the BoJ has to monetize over 2 years of JGB issuance - sustainable?
Was it just yesterday that this efficient market rallied on Boehner's return and news that Obama will propose a scaled back Democratic Plan B (subsection ii, para (a))? Perhaps - or did we dream it? Anyway, stocks are beholden to nothing but the next flashing red headline and so - a 7 point ramp in the S&P 500 is warranted for no news whatsoever of any consequence:
- *OBAMA TO MEET WITH CONGRESS LEADERS AT WHITE HOUSE TODAY
- *OBAMA SAID TO PLAN OFFER OF SCALED-BACK BUDGET PACKAGE TODAY
- *OBAMA PLAN SAID TO AVERT SOME OF TAX AND SPENDING CHANGES
While coming to some agreement over living within America's means now seems hopelessly beyond the ability of Congress, at least the Senate can agree on one thing:
- U.S. SENATE HAS ENOUGH VOTES TO RENEW WARRANTLESS WIRETAP LAW - BBG
- WIRETAP LAW LETS U.S. GOVERNMENT MONITOR E-MAILS AND CALLS
In other words, when it comes to spying on its citizens, the US government is quite united. It will also be unanimous when it has to vote its annual COLA salary increase to keep up with the true 10% inflation.
If there was any good news in today's Chicago PMI, it is that the headline number beat expectations of 51.0, rising from November's 50.4, to 51.6, leaving the two months of sub 50 prints in September and October in the past, or so the ISM institute would like us to believe. Because a casual glance at the data reveals that things are actually getting worse, with the Employment index plunging from 55.2 to 45.9, the lowest print in three years, while the all critical Capital Equipment buying policy plunged to a new 28 month low. So much for that CapEx spending. In fact the only indicator that posted an increase in today's release was the New Orders index which jumped to 54.0 while Order Backlogs, Supplier Deliveries, and Prices Paid all dropped. And for those hoping that in Q4 that inventory glut will finally clear itself, we have news: it won't -the Inventory index posted yet another jump, from 47.1 to 49.8. And while the data was ugly, perhaps the saddest, or funniest blurb, came from one of the respondents, which probably captures business sentiment in America with absolute precision: "We are on a hiring freeze in Q4, waiting to assess the outcome of the fiscal cliff deliberations. We are also planning cutbacks due to increased healthcare costs and Obamacare related expenses." Nuf said.
Another Flashing Red Light: Euro Liquidity Shortage Leads To First ECB Sterilization Failure Since November 2011Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/28/2012 - 09:35
The ECB's original bond monetization program (the SMP) may now be defunct, having been replaced with the mythical OMT which will work as long as it never has to be used (see Spain), but its aftereffects linger on. Specifically, the aftermath of the SMP manifests itself in the weekly sterilization of accrued SMP bond purchases, which at last check amounted to some €208.5 billion. Why do we bring this up? Because a few hours earlier, the ECB failed, for the first time, to find enough demand and interest to sterilize the full amount of rolling peripheral bond purchases, and was instead able to find only enough bidders, 43 of them or the lowest in a year, to "sterilize" just €197.6 billion of the total weekly allottment. The last time the ECB failed in a sterilization action? November 29, 2011, one day before the coordinated global central bank bailout of 2011.