It is no secret that unlike other banks who, while directly intervening in the bond market only manipulate equity prices in relative secrecy (usually via HFT-transacting intermediaries such as Citadel), the Bank of Japan has historically had no problem with buying equities outright, traditionally in the form of REITs and equity-tracking ETFs. Which explains why overnight it was revealed that in order to boost the stock market, pardon, economy, the Bank of Japan is preparing to purchase exchange-traded funds based on the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 as an "option to boost the impact of unprecedented easing," according to people familiar with BOJ discussions.
Brussels, we have a problem. As we warned 6 weeks ago, Espirito Santo International SA - is in a "serious financial condition" according to a central bank driven external audit by KPMG identified "irregularities in its accounts." Sure enough, the 'ponzi-like' maneuvers have left the bank unable to pay its bonds as Bloomberg reports bonds plunged to record lows after a parent company delayed payments on short-term notes. More importantly, given the divisively dependent nature of the domestic sovereign bond market (and hence the health of the EU) and its banking system, it is noteworthy that Portuguese bond risk has surged to 4 month highs with the biggest 2-day spike in a year. As one analyst noted, “The bigger question is whether the government will have to get involved,” leaving the EU taxpayer on the hook once again (for fear of M.A.D. threats) as most critically, it "will have to step in to prevent systemic repercussions?"
While the situation between Israel and Gaza continues to escalate, pulling the markets' attention away from the recent developments in Iraq (as for the Ukraine civil war, forget it), the big news overnight came out of Chine which reported another contraction in consumer prices, which both declined to 2.3% and missed expectations of a 2.4% print (down from 2.5%). Producer Prices had another negative print, the 28th in a row, and have remained negative since 2012. This led to the Hang Seng Index falling at the fastest rate since late June to erase all YTD gains. However, as has now become the norm, macro news hardly impacted US equity futures, which are driven exclusively by the Yen carry trade, which unlike yesterday's pounding, has traded rangebound between 101.6-101.7 keeping US equity futures just barely in the green. We expect the momentum ignition algo to kick in at some point, for absolute no fundamental reason beside the NY Fed trading desk issuing a green light, sending the USDJPY surging, taking the Spoos with them, and helping stocks forget all about the weak Asian session.
Many seem to believe that if we worked our way out of debt problems in the past, we can do the same thing again. The same assets may have new owners, but everything will work together in the long run. Businesses will continue operating, and people will continue to have jobs. We may have to adjust monetary policy, or perhaps regulation of financial institutions, but that is about all. I think this is where the story goes wrong. The situation we have now is very different, and far worse, than what happened in the past. We live in a much more tightly networked economy. This time, our problems are tied to the need for cheap, high quality energy products. The comfort we get from everything eventually working out in the past is false comfort.
"US lending to businesses is reaching record levels but banks are privately warning that the activity should not be seen as evidence of an economic recovery." And the stunner: "Much of the corporate lending is going to fund payouts to shareholders, finance acquisitions and fuel the domestic energy boom, bankers say, rather than to support companies’ organic growth."
FDIC: “the largest positive contribution to the year-over-year change in earnings came from reduced loan-loss provisions..."
Will investing based on fundamentals eventually find favor once again with investors? The problem is that market participants no longer view the financial markets as a place to invest savings over the "long term" to ensure future purchasing power parity. Today, they view the markets as a place to "create" wealth to offset the lack of savings. This mentality has changed the market dynamic from investing to gambling. As Seth Klarman warned, "There is a growing gap between the financial markets and the real economy. Not surprisingly, lessons learned in 2008 were only learned temporarily. These are the inevitable cycles of greed and fear, of peaks and troughs." Simply put, fundamentals will matter, but only after the fact.
If there was any doubt which way the market was leaning if not in stocks, then definitely in bonds, it was promptly crushed moments ago when the US sold $27 billion in 3 Year paper. The When Issued, which was trading at just shy of 1%, or 0.998% to be precise, suggested we could have our first 1% bond auction pricing since May of 2011. That however was not meant to be the case today when as a result of surprising demand for the short end, the Treasury sold TSYs at a high yield of 0.992%, stopping through the when issued by 6 bps, even if the final yield was still the highest in over three years.
History suggests that previously sound assumptions about financial security and recession-proof sectors may not apply in the next recession.
"People who take short cuts, are political, prioritize themselves above others, take excessive risks for personal gain, don’t value capital, or are unethical are outright cancers. These types of people will not only flourish in the next crisis, but most probably they will cause it."
European bank stocks are down over 6% in the last 3 days to 5 month lows - the biggest such drop in 13 months. The combination of Draghi's "no QE", Austrian bank contagion concerns, and rumors of German banks about to be 'BNP'd by US regulators has removed all the exuberant recovery chatter (confirmed by economic data itself collapsing too). Remember all those oh-so-positive PMIs? European peripheral bond spreads surged around 10bps and individual stock markets plunged (Portugal -3% today, Italy -2.5%, Spain -1.8%)
As is now well-known, following the news broken first by Zero Hedge in May, Belgium, or rather "Belgium" (because clearly someone is using Belgian-based Euroclear as a front to cover their insatiable appetite for US paper) has emerged as the biggest buyer of US Treasurys in 2014, close to surpassing even the Federal Reserve as the biggest monetizer of the US deficit. But what about other countries in the world, such as for example France: a country whose economy virtually everyone admits is in shambles and yet whose bond yields have followed the rest of the world to slide to near record lows of 1.70% most recently. Here is the answer.
Every US equity index is now in the red post-"great" jobs report on Thursday. Bond yields have plunged and stocks have caught down to that weakness. USDJPY appears the main culprit for now as chatter of JPY repatriation over Super-Typhoon concerns sends USDJPY back to 101.50 and below all key technical levels. Whocouldanode that stock exuberance last week was over-done? On a side note, it's small caps that are getting slammed from yesterday's opening... and it's Tuesday!!
Poor algos: after they got no love on Monday from the overnight USDJPY selling team which took the all important pair back to the 200 DMA, today, inexplicably (it is a Tuesday after all, and if one can't frontrun a rigged market surging higher on Turbo Tuesday may as well throw in the towel on free money and learn about fundamental analysis) the same overnight USDJPY selling team has pushed the key carry pair to below the 200 DMA, and has dragged US equity futures lower with it for the second day in a row.
EURUSD drop may have further to go given that the relative policy outlook would push Fed/ECB balance sheet ratio lower before long. Citi's Valentin Marinov believes, relative data surprises as well as forward looking cyclical gauges like bank stocks are starting to favor USD over EUR and he points out that leveraged accounts could start adding to shorts again as real money continue to sell EUR.