Just when we thought centrally-planned markets could no longer surprise us, here comes last night's superspike in the USDJPY which has moved nearly 100 pips higher in the past few trading days and moments ago crossed 105.000. The reason for the surprise is that while there was no economic news that would justify such a move: certainly not an improving Japanese economy, nor, for that matter, a new and improved collapse, what the move was attributed to was news that Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who has been advocating for the GPIF to reduce allocation to domestic bonds, may be appointed the Health Minister when Abe announces his new cabinet tomorrow: a reshuffle driven by the fact that the failure of Abenomics is starting to anger Japan's voters. In other words, the GPIF continues to be the "forward guidance" gift that keeps on giving, even if the vast majority of its capital reallocation into equities has already long since taken place. As a result of the USDJPY surge, driven by a rumor of a minister appointment, the Nikkei is up+1.2%, which in turned has pushed both Europe and Asia to overnight highs and US equity futures to fresh record highs, with the S&P500 cash now just 40 points away, or about 4-8 trading sessions away from Goldman's revised 2014 year end closing target.
Capitalism gets into deep trouble when the price of financial assets becomes completely disconnected from economic reality and common sense. What ensues is rampant speculation in which financial gamblers careen from one hot money play to the next, leaving the financial system distorted and unstable - a proverbial train wreck waiting to happen. That’s where we are now.
Eating out for the weekend brings home the idea that food and restaurant costs are only going up on the whole...
Gold Lock Down Despite Aggressive Plan To Ban Russia From SWIFT, Terrorism & War Risk; Palladium At Multi-Year High Over $900Submitted by GoldCore on 09/01/2014 16:14 -0400
The 13 year anniversary of the 911 attacks in 2001 looms next week and given developments in recent days and weeks, one must be wary of new attacks in the UK , U.S. and other western nations. The UK has raised the country's terror threat level from substantial to severe, its second highest level. MI5 and MI6 said there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.
- Off balance sheet vehicles? Check
- Conflicted bank "research" recommending muppets buy stock while soliciting banking fees from same stock? Check
- Hoping to sell debt on to muppets? Check
- Chinese corruption? Check
- State bailout of failed bank? Check
Does the use of leverage (properly defined) and derivatives (properly defined) create trading risks that wouldn’t be there if you just bought the Vanguard 60/40 fund and called it a day? Sure. But we believe risk-balancing strategies mitigate far more dangerous risks to a public pension portfolio – particularly an over-reliance on equity markets. Public pensions are complex entities whose liability structures are often many times greater than the size of their investment portfolios. The common practice to resolve this dilemma has been to pursue an equity-dominated asset structure that has greater chances of achieving the required return to make the entire structure work. The problem is that equities are themselves leveraged, but it’s hidden leverage and thus hidden risk.
Perhaps in order to celebrate its manufacturing PMI dropping from 53.9 to a below expectations 52.8, refuting the "growth story" promoted by its definitionally re-revised GDP (where the long overdue boost from hookers and blow is finally leading the country to new and improved Keynesian growth curves), moments ago Spain joined the likes of Canada, Caterpillar and Goldman and just issued, for the first time in its history, 50 Year bonds in a private placement. From Bloomberg:
- SPAIN SELLS EU1B 50-YR BONDS
- SPAIN TREASURY SELLS FIRST-EVER 50-YR BONDS, COUPON 4%
And since there is no hope that Spain will ever repay this bond, whose rate is dictated by anything - mostly the ECB's monetary policy - but the fundamentals it is functionally equivalent to Spain raising new equity without a maturity date and a 4% dividend.
Gold Bears Have Wind at their Backs as Technicals likely to fail to downside over Near-Term.
Nowhere was the humor of central planning better exhibited than in Brazil was a clear outperformer with the BOVESPA (+10%) posting its best monthly performance since January 2012. Why? Because Brazil just entered a recession. Perhaps the reason why the joke that global thermonuclear war will send futures limit up is funny, is because it's true...
- Putin Suggests Statehood for Southeast Ukraine as Sanctions Loom (BBG)
- Ukraine accuses Russia of 'open aggression' as rebels advance (Reuters)
- Ruble Hits New Record Low Against Dollar (WSJ)
- Further Russia Sanctions Seen `Almost Inevitable' (BBG)
- Europe holds nerve as Russia-Ukraine warnings ratchet up (Reuters)
- China manufacturing slowdown ripples through region (Reuters)
- Brazil enters recession in election blow to Rousseff (Reuters)
- Disruptive Hong Kong protests loom after China rules out democracy (Reuters)
- Coal Miners See Signs of Recovery as Prices Stabilize (WSJ)
If last week's disappointing global economic data, that saw Brazil added to the list of countries returning to outright recession as Europe Hamletically debates whether to be or not to be in a triple-dip, was enough to push the S&P solidly above 2000, even if on a few hundreds ES contracts (traded almost exclusively between central banks), then the overnight massacre of global manufacturing PMIs - when not one but both Chinese PMIs missed spurring calls for "more easing" and pushing the SHCOMP up 0.83% to 2,235.5 - should see the S&P cross Goldman's revised year end target of 2050 (up from 1900) sometime by Thursday (on another few hundreds ES contracts).
If Japan’s results and programs hold any true difference, it is only that they are further down the same road than the rest of us. As Japanification continues in the US and Europe, we are gaining good observations about what lays ahead until the political will to use that same textbook time and time again is exhausted, or, more likely, removed.
This seems to be the biggest question in financial markets for me right now because the math just doesn`t add up any way you slice it.
A dispassionate discussion of the technical condition of the dollar.
Asset managers are long, while dealers, hedge funds, and other buy side investors are short. Using alternative positioning indicators, we assess where we can give credence to the CFTC data, and where there is more to the picture than the CFTC data reveals.... The clearest position concentration is short USTs (Figure 1). As the grey shaded squares indicate, the short has increased materially over the last 3 months. Equally importantly, there is an absence of corresponding longs in any client group to balance these shorts. Together that points to the prospect of even lower UST yields.