what will make the Ukraine restructuring fascinating is if the "activist" bondholder investors, aka vultures, aka holdouts, are not your usual hedge funds, but none other than the Kremlin, which after accumulating a sufficient stake to scuttle any prenegotiated, voluntary transaction can demand virtually anything from Kiev in order to allow the country to make the required adjustments on its bonds to avoid an outright sovereign default. Because who else can't wait for Putin Capital Management LP?
Gold has been flashing red this morning that something is happening. Bonds started to crack and then the 30Y TIPS auction tailed... and bond yields are smashing higher. And now stocks are being sold on heavy volume as VIX rolls over... what did Janet say to do now? We need another press conference...
Argentina's attempt to work around SCOTUS decision in favor of the 'holdouts' was rejected (under anti-evasion orders) last night leaving Argentina no alternative but to threaten to default on its debt. The government called it "impossible" to pay bond service due on June 30, because payment to holders of restructured bonds could not be made unless the 'holdouts' were paid $1.33 billion at the same time (and Argentina's economy minister argues could be up to $15 bn) which the distressed country clearly does not have. For the first time in 12 years, Argentina has agreed to negotiate with the 'holdouts' (has renegged on that negotiation) who refused to participate in two restructurings that followed Argentina's 2002 default but it seems increasingly likely that an even of default looms for Argentina. One good thing may come from the victory of the 'hold-outs': the government will find it difficult to rack up more debt.
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- Ukraine forces battle separatists after truce 'refused' (Reuters)
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- American Apparel ousts CEO; source says Dov Charney 'will fight like hell' (LA Times)
- House Panel Is Subpoenaed as Trading Probe Heats Up (WSJ)
- GM Officials Ignored Alert on Car Stalling (WSJ)
- Russia’s $20 Billion Bond Void Filled by China to Mexico (BBG)
She came, she spoke, and she sent stocks to a new all time high. That is perhaps the simplest summary of what Janet Yellen did yesterday when, as a result of her droning monotone, she managed to put the VIX literally to sleep, which closed at the lowest since 2007 and the resulting surge in the S&P was a fresh record high, because despite the "concerns" Fed member have about record high complacency, all they are doing is adding to it. And now that apparently the Fed has a market "valuation" department, and Yellen can issue fairness opinions on whether the S&P is overvalued, the only question is whether today, as a follow through to yesterday's "buy everything, preferably on leverage, sincerely - the Fed" ramp, the VIX will drop to single digits today.
Yellen has got to be the most dovish Fed chairperson going into the most important policy initiative withdrawal phase ever to be recorded since the inception of the Federal Reserve!
Moments ago, Janet Yellen was asked if there is something out of place with the S&P hitting all time highs at a time when even she (not to mention numerous other Fed presidents) discuss froth in the bond markets. Her answer: no. Specifically, based on some "model" the Fed watches to get a "feeling" for valuations, she concluded the equity valuations are not out of historical norms. In other words, "no bubble here."
And here is what JPM had to say about that.
Having been told that there's no bubble in low quality credit, valuations are 'normal' in stocks, low volatility does not mean complacency, and there's no inflation (it's all noise you idiot); VIX was monkey-hammered to new cycle lows back to a 10-handle (lowest since Feb 2007). This smashing of vol led to a surging of "most shorted" stocks with the S&P hitting new all-time record highs. Post-FOMC, the S&P 500 rose 10 points, 10Y -4bps, 2Y unch, gold was unch, and the USD was -0.1%.
After 2 days of weakness following the SCOTUS decision against them, Argentina unveiled a plan to restructure their debt - swapping existing foreign law debt to local law (more manipulatable and less legally enforceable) bonds, though Citi warns "implementing [the swap] may be technically challenging.". This 'voluntary swap' action is not a clear 'default event' but CDS spreads surging to over 3000bps and longer-dated bond prices tumbling once again suggest the market believes the path is clear as holdouts will once again hold out. As we explained here, there are five main scenarios and it appears, given these actions - that Argentina is playing hardball and will restart negotiations over the debt exchange. As Jefferies warns, "there's a high chance of default," but Argentina's economy minister Kicillof explained "everyone stay calm, the reconstruction of Argentina is not jeopardized." This plan was then ordered in violation of the anti-evasion policy SCOTUS set in place.
Nine minutes after the release of the new 'most important' data of the year, The Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath has unleashed a briefer than normal 530 word summary of what "common knowledge" we should understand from Janet Yellen's latest statement. While the Fed is a little less optimistic about the outlook for economic growth in the short-term, Federal Reserve officials nudged up their projections for short-term interest rates in 2015 and 2016 in a modestly hawkish manner. Taken together, the Fed's new interest rate forecasts imply slightly more aggressive credit tightening plans taking shape in the next two years than previously thought.
With modest positive growth adjustments expected, a continued taper (of $10bn), and no "rate-hikes-are-imminent" warnings, the FOMC statement provides more dovish confidence...
- FED REPEATS LOW RATE LIKELY FOR CONSIDERABLE TIME AFTER QE ENDS
- FED SAYS HIGHLY ACCOMMODATIVE POLICY `REMAINS APPROPRIATE'
- FED TAPERS BOND BUYING TO $35 BLN MONTHLY PACE FROM $45 BLN
- FED: 2014 GDP GROWTH OF 2.1%-2.3% VS 2.8%-3.0% IN MARCH
So everything's fine, taper is on... but we are slashing growth this year dramatically. Pre-FOMC: S&P Futs 1933, Gold $1271, 10Y 2.62%, 2Y 0.46%
Now where have we seen this before? Who could have guessed that the weather-induced rebound exuberance would be slowly but surely reduced? US Economic Forecasting - where New Year's hopes go to die...
The clock is ticking on the "Europe is fixed" narrative. It's only a matter of time before the banking crisis resurfaces.
"Simple Jack" is back. Yesterday it was the 4x oversubscription for Kenyan debt at 7% yield; today we see bailed-out Cyprus (yes that Cyprus - in "emergency situation" and still with capital controls) managed to sell EUR 750 million of 5 year maturity debt at a 4.85% yield. As Reuters reports, this is the fastest comeback to the public markets of any bailed-out European country. "People are searching for yield," said of Martin Wilhelm, founder of IfK, a German Kiel-based bond boutique, which runs a bond fund with Acatis; and that is clear as Cyprus just issed at a cheaper cost of funding than Greece (4.95% 2 months ago). In the understatement of the day, Michael Leister, senior strategist at Commerzbank. said "the risk is that valuations and primary market dynamics aren't related to fundamentals anymore." Cyprus economy is expected to contract 4.2% this year. Like Greece's deal in April, the buyers are expected to largely British- and U.S.-based hedge funds.
it is suddenly not fun being a Fed president (or Chairmanwoman) these days: with yesterday's 2.1% CPI print, the YoY rate has now increased for four consecutive months and is above the Fed's target. Concurrently, the unemployment rate has also dipped well below the Fed’s previous 6.5% threshold guidance, in other words the Fed has now met both its mandates as set down previously. There have also been fairly unambiguous comments from the Fed’s Bullard suggesting that this is the closest the Fed has been to fulfilling its mandates in many years. Finally, adding to the "concerns" that the Fed may surprise everyone were BOE Carney’s comments last week that a hike “could happen sooner than the market currently expect." In short: continued QE here, without a taper acceleration, merely affirms that all the Fed is after is reflating the stock market, and such trivial considerations as employment and inflation are merely secondary to the Fed. Which, of course, we know - all is secondary to the wealth effect, i.e., making the rich, richer. But it is one thing for tinfoil hat sites to expose the truth, it is something else entirely when it is revealed to the entire world.