Bond

Peak Debt - Why The Keynesian Money Printers Are Done

Self-evidently, all the major economies are saturated with debt. Accordingly, central bank balance sheet expansion has lost its Keynesian magic entirely. Now the great sea of freshly minted liquidity simply fuels the carry trades as gamblers everywhere load up with any asset that generates a yield or short-run capital gain, and fund these bloated positions with cheap options and repo style finance. But here’s the obvious thing. Central banks can’t normalize interest rates - that is, allow the money markets to rise off the zero-bound - without triggering a violent unwind of the carry trades on which today’s massive asset inflation is built. On the other hand, they can no longer stimulate GDP growth, either, because the credit expansion channel to the main street economy of households and business is blocked by the reality of peak debt. Yes, the era of Keynesian money printing is over and done. But don’t wait for the small lady at the Fed to sing, either.

The Escape Velocity Delusion: Running Out Of "Next Year"

The bull case is not the recovery or the economy as it exists, it is the promise of one and the plausibility for that promise. Under that paradigm, the market doesn’t care whether orthodox economists are 'right', only that there is always next year. Other places in the world, however, are running out of “next year.” The greatest risk in investing under these conditions is the Greater Fool problem. Anyone using mainstream economic projections and thus expecting a bull market will be that Fool. That was what transpired in 2008 as the entire industry moved toward overdrive to convince anyone even thinking about mitigation or risk adjustments that it was 'no big deal'. Remember: "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so." - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, June 9, 2008.

 

High-Yield Credit's Worst Week In 15 Months Sends Stocks Sliding

This week's 35bps rise in high-yield credit spreads (or ~10%) is the worst since at least June of last year and anxiety spread through other asset-classes appropriately as cheap-buyback-funding and liquidity concerns weighed on all equities - most aggressively small caps. The Russell 2000 is down around 4% from FOMC (and for the year) even with today's buying-panic this afternoon trying to rescue yesterday's losses. Much of today's moves were thanks to The Bill Gross Effect - Treasury short-end sold (2Y-5Y +5bps, 30Y unch), corporate bond spreads jumped wider (HY +20bps, IG +4bps), and European bonds (and German stocks) lurched lower. Markets recovered some of the early move but 2Y closed at 2014 yield highs. The USD closed 1% higher for the 11th week in a row to June 2010 highs. WTI crude close +1.5% on the week, gold unchanged, and copper and silver lower. VIX jumped 22% on the week, closing above 14.5.

Bill Gross Quits PIMCO, Which He Co-Founded, Joining Janus

After co-founding PIMCO in 1971, Bill Gross has called it quits...

*WILLIAM H. GROSS JOINS JANUS CAPITAL
*JANUS:GROSS TO START MANAGING FUND,RELATED STRATEGIES OCT.6,'14

“I look forward to returning my full focus to the fixed income markets and investing, giving up many of the complexities that go with managing a large, complicated organization,” said Mr. Gross. Full Bill Gross, Dick Weil statements...

"You Can't Fire Me, I Quit" - PIMCO Was Preparing To Fire Gross

With more than $65 billion pulled from PIMCO's funds since May 2013, Bill Gross' firm had been struggling amid spotty performance and it seems, according to The Wall Street Journal, PIMCO (not Allianz) was set to fire the 70-year old bond king this weekend. It seems clear that Mr. Gross move was pre-emptive as sources cite his "increasingly erratic behavior" and ultimatums as factors in the move. Assumptions about Mohamed El-Erian returning to run the company have been denied. Some have estimated PIMCO could see a further 10-30% in fund outflows on the back of Mr. Gross' departure.

The Bill Gross Effect: German Stocks, European Bonds, & US Credit Markets Are Plunging

Black Swan? Having seen liquidations of a relatively small fund yesterday send the NASDAQ down 2% and credit reeling, world bond and stock markets are reacting aggressively to Bill Gross' move from PIMCO. German stocks (PIMCO's parent Allianz is the 7th largest stock in DAX) are tumbling, European peripheral bond spreads are pushing wider (major holdings of PIMCO) and US credit markets are getting smashed (PIMCO is a major player in CDS markets and obviously a huge holder of US corporate debt) and concerns spread of redemptions triggering the kind of liquidity suck out we described yesterday.

Futures Rebound Following Yesterday's Rout

It was all up to the Japanese banana market to fix things overnight: after the biggest tumble in US equities in months, and Asian markets poised for their third consecutive weekly drop, the longest streak since February, Japan reported CPI numbers that despite still surging (for example, in August TV prices soared 9.5%, but "down" from 11.8% the month before), when "adjusting" for the effects of the April tax hike, missed across the board. As a result the USDJPY was at the lows and threatening to break the recent parabolic surge higher which has helped move global equities higher in the past few weeks when the usual spate of GPIF-related headlines, because apparently the fact that Japan will and already has begun sacrificing the retirement funds of its citizens just to keep Abe's deranged monetary dream alive for a few more months has not been fully priced in yet, sent the USDJPY soaring yet again.

Why Blackrock (And Every Other Bondholder) Is Freaking Out (In 1 Simple Chart)

Just last week, we explained why Blackrock - the largest asset manager in the world - is gravely concerned about the 'broken' corporate bond market. Simply put, thanks to The Fed's continued presence in the Treasury market has left the corporate bond market a liquidity-starved ticking time-bomb if faith in the stability of defaults ever falters (with firm balance sheets at record high leverage) and "selling" begins. As the following chart from Deutsche Bank highlights, the current level of liquid assets as a proportion of total HY assets is about as low as it has been tracking data back around 25 years. In other words, the massive (and likely levered) positions The Fed has forced the world to take on by its repression face a dramatic liquidity risk cost if they are ever to 'realize' any gains from the Fed's handouts (by actually selling). That's what every bond manager 'knows'...

"The Gig Is Up"

For investors, Fed stimulus has trumped all other factors.  It has lowered risk premia and inflated asset prices.  The gig is soon up, but investors have yet to adequately adjust. Unfortunately, they will attempt to do so with significantly compromised market liquidity.  The path to normalization is made even more challenging, because Japan and Europe are in recession, and China is slowing.

No More Foreplay: Russia Threatens European Gas Supply Disruptions

It appears Vladimir Putin is willing to hit'em while they're down. Early European equity weakness (and safe-haven flows) on asset-freeze threats have accelerated as Bloomberg reports, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak threatens gas supply disruptions if the EU continues to re-export Russian gas to Ukraine. 3Y German bond yields have plunged to -4.1bps, a record low close and European stocks are closing on their lows of the day.

Frontrunning: September 25

  • Apple CEO Cook Goes From Record Sales to IPhone Stumbles (BBG)
  • Deal With Saudis Paved Way for Syrian Airstrikes (WSJ)
  • Drone delivery: DHL 'parcelcopter' flies to German isle (Reuters)
  • Tory Burch Hires Ralph Lauren Veteran as Co-CEO (WSJ)
  • Apple releases iOS 8 workaround to fix dropped cell service (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Probes Ex-Minister Over $3 Billion Russian Bond (BBG)
  • Goldman Sachs-Led Group Near Deal to Buy Messaging Startup Perzo (WSJ)
  • U.K. Seeks to Criminalize Manipulation of 7 Benchmarks (BBG)

Equity Futures Unchanged As Dollar Surges To Fresh 4 Year Highs

It has been a relatively subdued session, with not much action in either stocks or bonds - European stocks rise for the second day on US market momentum from yesterday; Asian stocks are mixed advance while metals decline with Brent, WTI crude, U.S. equity index futures. The biggest highlight in overnight action, however, was once again the Dollar whick climbed to a fresh 4-year high, on pace to strengthen for 2 straight months for first time since March. The reason: ongoing sentiment that there will be a major dispersion between central banks, with the USD tightening just as other central banks join the liquidity fray. To wit, ECB data showed that lending decline in Europe slowed to -1.5% y/y in Aug. vs -1.6% in July and the latest statement from Draghi who said in Lithuania that economic reform possible without devaluing currency.