European equities are seen making modest gains at the midpoint of the European session; however underperformance is observed in the FTSE 100, with the UK economy falling back into a technical recession with an advanced Q1 GDP reading of -0.2%. Data from the ONS has shown that the UK’s weak construction sector weighed down upon the relative strength in services and manufacturing, pushing the economy into contraction during the first three months of the year. Following the UK GDP release, GBP/USD spiked lower by around 40 pips and the Gilt moved around 30 ticks higher, with GBP remaining weak as the US comes to market. Elsewhere, the Bundesbank held a technically uncovered 30-yr Bund auction, with the German Debt Agency commenting that the results reflect volatile and uncertain market conditions. Following the results, the Bund printed session lows and remains in negative territory. Looking ahead in the session, participants look forward to the FOMC rate decision, and the Fed’s projections release.
Trading in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s gold ETF in India surged almost 11 fold, leading an advance in gold securities, as investors bought gold to mark the auspicious Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya. Volumes in GS Gold BeEs, India’s biggest exchange-traded fund backed by gold, was 937,816 units on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. at 4:54 p.m. in Mumbai, up from 85,376 units yesterday and more than the 101,914 average daily volumes in the last six months through yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This is significant volume. Each unit represents about 1 gram of physical gold and therefore 937,816 units is the equivalent of some 29,170 ounces of gold which at today’s prices is some $47 million of daily volume for just one gold ETF in India. The Goldman Sachs India gold ETF is just one of many new ETFs in India. Trading in Kotak Gold ETF jumped more than eightfold to 226,032 units. Gold demand in India, the world’s biggest importer, may climb as much as 25% to 15 metric tons on Akshaya this year, according to Rajesh Exports Ltd., the country’s biggest gold-jewelry exporter. Assets held by local gold funds reached a record 98.9 billion rupees ($1.87 billion) at the end of March, according to the Association of Mutual Funds in India. GS Gold BeEs had assets worth 29.6 billion rupees (some $563 million (USD)) as of March 31, data from the association showed. Trading in UTI-Gold Exchange Traded Fund climbed more than fivefold, while volumes in Reliance Gold ETF, the second-biggest fund, was up more than sixfold, data shows.
- Merkel Pushes Back Against Hollande Call to End Austerity Drive (Bloomberg)
- ECB's Draghi throws crisis ball back to governments (Reuters)
- Greek Bank Chief Warns of a Possible Euro Exit (WSJ)
- China’s Wen Says Economy Will Maintain Robust Expansion (Bloomberg)
- North Korea's nuclear test ready "soon" (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Peg Architect Says Convertible Yuan `Long Way Off’ (Bloomberg)
- Hollande seeks wider EU fiscal pact (FT)
- Gavyn Davies: Why UK GDP continues to lag the G7 (FT)
- U.S. Lost AAA on Danger of Liquidity Crisis, S&P’s Kraemer Says (Bloomberg)
S&P threatening to downgrade India... UK double dipping... Germany having a failed auction. It is all irrelevant, for the great fruit has spoken and people are buying iGadgets at record levels, which can only mean that once the great credit spree ends, Apple will likely be forced to use its $110 billion cash hoard to start an in house "Acceptance Corporation" vendor financing purchases of its products directly. And while the AAPL earnings beat has become a contrarian bet, now that even Gartman has said he is turning bullish on stocks, here is a summary of what happened and what will happen. In a nutshell, just like Apple was the only thing that mattered yesterday, today it is only the Fed and the subsequent press conference that matter, with the market likely to only take away whatever it wants to take away.
Earlier today, the Bundesbank tried to sneak through some EUR3 billion in long-dated (30Y) paper. It didn't quite succeed, because if one excludes the retention by the German bank which already has its hands full with TARGET2, the auction was technically a failure. As Newedge points out, without Buba retention, the launch of new 30-yr bund would have been undersubscribed which is just a polite way of saying the above. What happened is that the German debt agency sold EUR2.405b of new 2.5% 30Y Jul-44 Bund, at an average Price 101.93 and average yield of 2.41%. Of this, the Bundesbank retained 595 million as the total target was for EUR3 billion in issuance; Total non-Buba based bids were a "weak" EUR 2.747 billion. The bid/cover was modest 1.142x; with the auction tail 18 cents “further underpinning the weakness of demand." Finally, per Newedge, the new paper looked rich vs previous rolls ahead of today’s auction, “explains the sluggishness of today’s demand.” Of course, with the now daily bipolar market, had this auction taken place on Monday when Europe was again imploding, it would have been a stunning success. Instead, today is one of those risk on days. But for anyone who bought into the "safety" of German paper 48 hours ago, today they are being carted out legs first. Until, of course, the attention shifts to the disaster that is the PIIGS, and as of earlier today, the UK once more.
For anyone who may have been concerned that the BOE was serious in its recent "admission" that it just may not ease further, or engage in more QE for that matter, we have good news: the UK economy just double dipped for only the first time since the 1970s, following a stunning Q1 GDP release which came in far weaker than expected at -0.2% while the consensus was looking for a 0.1% rise. In other words, the UK has just followed such other pristine example of economic success as Spain and Greece into double dipping. Bloomberg economist Niraj Shah brings even more bad, pardon good, news: 2Q GDP may also contract as a result of additional bank holiday in June. Construction output knocked 0.2 ppt off of quarterly GDP growth. Per Shah, the BOE may point to drop in construction as a possible aberration in data, concerns will remain over the strength of the service sector as output there rose only 0.1% Q/Q. The U.K. has contracted 9 quarters since first falling into recession in 2Q 2008. All in all this is great news for those desperate for bad news and explains why futures, and the EURUSD are spiking.
As we said yesterday, traders could have just slept through the entire day, ignored headlines about mad cows, auctions of European bonds maturing in a few weeks, speculation of Europe's alleged falling out favor with austerity which is very much irrelevant as all that matters is what German taxpayers/voters say, and the SEC's latest laughable scapegoating attempts, and just woken to the 4:30 pm announcement of iPhone sales in China. As expected, the entire world is now reacting. Here is Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid with the global response to the world's ongoing fascination with aspirational cell phones.
While images of car-chases and Gene Hackman's pork-pie hat may be conjured, the tough new reality that has emerged this week in Europe's rising tensions is the decisive development in France as the election proved a strong showing for both far-right and far-left political parties at the same time. Somewhat surprisingly these extremes are in agreement on critical economic policies: they both want to restrict free-trade and the labor market, and also want to subjugate the ECB. Together with the Socialists and even most Centrists, the extremes clearly converge on a very strong consensus for anti-growth structural policies and massively lax fiscal (fair estimate might be 60% of the voters) and monetary (ditto, perhaps 90% of the voters) policies. This means that France has given up its ambition to become anything like economically similar to Germany. Instead, they have reverted towards joining their natural economic allies in the Eurozone: Italy and Spain. Perhaps this is why French spreads/yields have risen over 40% in the last few weeks as the politically pragmatic Anglo-Saxon spirits are starting to seize the enormity of what is happening: France is no longer any form of supporter of ally of Germany. The idea that somehow, pragmatic voices will stop this political groundswell is entirely misplaced: this destructive belief set has started to run its course. It is now in the Continental blood and the healthiness of economies over the pond is deteriorating fast.
Economic Debunker Steve Keen is interviewed by outspoken Irish journalist Vincent Browne and no holds are barred as he describes the Maastricht Treaty as a suicide pact of critically poor central-planning design of a supposed market-economy, based on financial crises never occurring, locking European governments into an austere path when stimulus is required. "Ultimately the Euro has to fail and the longer we continue the farce of believing we can make it function the larger the ultimate crash will be" is how Keen portrays the situation and describes the foreign-exchange, fiscal policy, and monetary policy shackles that have created and exaggerated the situation. This leads into a longer discussion of the state of the World and its inability to 'export into the ponzi' like Japan could from 1990 to 2010 since the entire developed world is trying to do the same thing and "there is no ponzi scheme on Mars that we can export to" leaving the globe without Japan's initial way out. The must-watch 10 minute interview goes on to discuss the endgame (a break in the political compact based on austerity pressures and military or political coups) as Keen sums up "it's amazing to see us repeating the same mistakes that were made during the 1930s but we are doing just that." ending with some potential solutions noting that there is no easy way out of this.
Leading neoconservative (read “closet Trotskyite“) commentator Charles Krauthammer’s latest Washington Post editorial pays homage to the glory days of NASA and the retirement of the space shuttle Discovery. Titled “Farewell, the New Frontier,” the piece evokes mental images of Uncle Sam losing his international prestige as President Obama scales down NASA’s space exploration endeavors. Contrary to Krauthammer, NASA has never represented America’s collective vision of frontier exploration. It has been just another bureaucratic black hole for Washington to throw dollars at in hopes of buying reelection. Because one of the main tenets of economics is considering the unseen, then it can be assumed that space exploration would very well be advanced far beyond what we see today if it was left completely out of the hands of the state. If Krauthammer truly wished the human race capable of traveling into the new frontier of the stars, he would welcome NASA cuts rather than lament. How ironic then is today's news of Planetary Resources as investor and avowed anarchist Doug Casey thoughtfully observes on the inefficiency of NASA: "We should have colonies on the moon by now, and more: We should be mining the asteroids and developing real estate on Mars."
"Europe is in big trouble, and the trouble is getting worse - much worse" is how Charles Biderman begins his latest missive. The diatribe focuses on the shortcomings of both the left (the existing political structure of government-dominated economies) and the right (a German-style austerity program of slashing spending and raising taxes) of inane politicians in Europe as the two main issues of over-spending and declining economic activity come home to roost. Starting from the Euro's inception and its implicit permission to allow each country to borrow as much as they want without regard to what was going on in their local economy is just as pernicious as the cradle-to-grave welfare state that is the prevailing mantra "everyone deserves to be taken care of". Therein lies the crux of the matter as borrowing (excessively) to support the people's supposed 'deserved' welfare is viewed as 'just-and-fair' whereas in reality, simply put, "the economies of most of Europe do not work." The Bay-Area bad-boy does offer reasoned solutions that offer hope for growth as opposed to just austerity for the sake of it as, among other things, he suggests eliminating red-tape to create a more entrepreneurial environment but ultimately he sees the probability of this as low and suggests being short via EUO (the double-levered Euro short) and EFZ (short non-USD developed - mostly Europe - markets).
And here they are:
APPLE 2Q REV. $39.19B, EST. $36.87B
APPLE 2Q EPS $12.30, EST. $10.02
APPLE SOLD 35.1 MILLION IPHONES IN QTR, EST. 31.2M
APPLE 2Q IPOD UNITS SOLD 7.7MLN , DOWN 15%
APPLE 2Q IPAD UNITS SOLD 11.8MLN
APPLE 2Q GROSS MARGIN 47.4%, EST. 42.8%
APPLE 2Q MACINTOSH UNITS SOLD 4MLN , UP 7%
- APPLE SEES 3Q REV. ABOUT $34B, EST. $37.49B
- APPLE SEES 3Q EPS ABOUT $8.68, EST. $9.96