Futures are treading water once more now that Ukraine has stormed to center stage from the backburner after everyone was convinced Putin would let the situation cool off after annexing Crimea. Guess not. Adding the renewed geopolitical jitters to what has already been a beta stock bloodbath into a holiday shortened week assures some high volatility fireworks. Cautious sentiment was observed over in Asia (Nikkei 225 -0.36%) amid renewed fears that geopolitical tensions in Ukraine will flare up again following reports of exchange gunfire with pro-Russian militants. This sentiment carried over into the European session with stocks lower across the board (Eurostoxx50 -0.71%). EUR is lower after ECB’s Draghi said any further strengthening of the EUR would warrant further action by the ECB, including non-standard measures such as quantitative easing - it is amazing how frequently and often the Virtu algos still fall for Draghi's jawboning trick which has now become all too clear will never be implemented and certainly not if he keeps talking about it daily, as he does.
Read Seymour Hersh’s devastating account of Obama’s Red Lines and Rat Lines and weep for the Republic. It is no more.
We hear a lot about climate change, especially now that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently published another report. At the same time, oil is reaching limits, and this has an effect as well. How do the two issues fit together? Unfortunately, the real situation is that the laws of physics, rather than humans, are in charge. Basically, as economies grow, it takes increasing complexity to fix problems, as Joseph Tainter explained in his book, The Collapse of Complex Societies. Now we are reaching limits in many ways, but we can’t - or dare not - model how all of these limits are hitting.
"The current levels of investor complacency are more usually associated with late stage bull markets rather than the beginning of new ones. Of course, if you think about it, this only makes sense if you refer back to the investor psychology chart above. The point here is simple. The combined levels of bullish optimism, lack of concern about a possible market correction (don't worry the Fed has the markets back), and rising levels of leverage in markets provide the "ingredients" for a more severe market correction. However, it is important to understand that these ingredients by themselves are inert. It is because they are inert that they are quickly dismissed under the guise that 'this time is different.' Like a thermite reaction, when these relatively inert ingredients are ignited by a catalyst they will burn extremely hot. Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly what that catalyst will be or when it will occur. The problem for individuals is that they are trapped by the combustion an unable to extract themselves in time."
"We can't help thinking that as it becomes ever clearer that the Fed is pretty much fixed in its determination to stop QE late this year, the oxygen that has fuelled the 5 year bull market is slowly draining out of the market. Clearly the Fed is still buying a significant amount of bonds and thus providing a lot of liquidity but clearly only for a few more months."
- Deutsche Bank
JPM Misses Top And Bottom Line, Slammed By Collapse In Mortgage Origination, Slide In Fixed Income TradingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/11/2014 07:45 -0400
Moments ago, JPM reported Q1 earnings which missed across the board, driven by the now traditional double whammy of collapsing mortgage revenues - the lifeblood of any old normal bank - and fixed income trading revenues - the lifeblood of new normal banks. Specifically, JPM reported revenues of $23.9 billion, well below the expected $24.5 billion, matched by a reported earnings miss of $1.28, down from $1.59 a quarter ago (and down $0.02 from Q4, 2014), also missing consensus estimates of $1.38. The breakdown was as follows.
After a selloff as violent as that of last night, usually the overnight liftathon crew does a great job of recovering a substantial portion of the losses. Not this time, which coupled with the sudden and quite furious breakdown on market structure, leads us to believe that something has changed rather dramatically if preserving investor confidence is not the paramount issue on the mind of the NY Fed trading desk. Nikkei 225 (-2.38%) suffered its worst week since March'11 amid broad based risk off sentiment following on from a lower close on Wall St. where the Nasdaq Biotech index suffered its largest intra-day decline since August 2011. Negative sentiment carried over into European session, with stocks lower across the board (Eurostoxx50 -1.17%) and tech under performing in a continuation of the recent sector weakness seen in the US. JP Morgan (JPM) due to report earnings at 7:00AM EDT and Wells Fargo (WFC) at 8:00Am EDT.
In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn how to think for ourselves. The foundations of our society are crumbling, our economic system is failing and the blind are leading the blind. If we do not learn to make our own decisions, we are just going to follow the rest of the herd into oblivion. In addition, we all need to start taking a long-term view of things. Just because the economic collapse is not going to happen this month does not mean that it is not going to happen. When you step back and take a broader view of what is happening, it becomes exceedingly clear where we are heading. Sadly, most Americans will never do that.
Just over a year ago, people across Cyprus went to bed thinking everything was just fine. They woke up the next morning to a brand new reality: their government AND their banking system were flat broke. Cash withdrawal limits were imposed. Funds transfers were curtailed. Cypriots were even forbidden from doing something as simple as cashing a check. These destructive tactics are called capital controls. And one year later they’re still in place. Naturally, since this is an “emergency situation” in their view, they have to impose these “restrictive measures” in order to safeguard “public order and public security”. In other words, capital controls are for your own good.
With all eyes fixed on any mention of the length of time post-taper before rate hikes, stocks and bonds slid gently in the last few minutes before the minutes release - and sure enough...
- *SEVERAL FED OFFICIALS SAID FORECASTS OVERSTATED RATE RISE PACE
In other words, we are way more dovish than you thought we were... Weather was blamed for any slowdown and the pace of tapering appears set. Bear in mind these minutes reflect a discussion that took place - at least from a chronological standpoint - before Janet Yellen's "six months" statement.
For the first time since the bailout/restructuring, Greece will issue long-term debt to the public markets. These 5 year-term English Law bonds (which is entirely unsurprising given the total lack of protection local-law bonds suffered during the last restructuring) are expected to yield between 5 and 5.25%. That is modestly higher than Russia, below Mexico, and one-sixth of the yield investors demanded when the crisis was exploding. The secondary market has rallied to this entirely liquidity-fueled level leaving onlookers stunned (and likely Draghi et al. also). Greece must be 'fixed' right? Just don't look at the chart below...
Remember CDOs? Murky, illiquid investments, backed by bulge-bracket firms that offered lots of yield over similar-rated corporates - just don't ask questions. As SCMP's Shirley Yam reports, China's so-called "trust" products, promise high returns with big-name backing, but a scheme touted at Ping An Bank highlights just how murky the world of mainland investment offerings is. After reading this, we suspect, that last trace of faith that the PBOC has the Chinese shadow banking system under control (and a growth renaissance is due any moment) will be eviscerated.
Employment is a function of demand by customers on businesses. As opposed to many economists and politicians, businesses do not hire employees to be "good samaritans." While such a utopian concept is fine in theory, the reality is that businesses operate from a "profit motive." The problem is quite clear. With the consumer heavily leveraged, the inability to "spend and borrow" is reducing aggregate demand. As stated, the current level of aggregate demand simply isn't strong enough to offset the rising costs of taxes, benefits and healthcare (a significant consideration due to the onset of the Affordable Care Act) associated with hiring full-time employees. Therefore, businesses initially opt for cost efficient productivity increases, and only hire as necessary to meet marginal increases in customer demand which has come from population growth.
There is a reasonably quiet start to the week before we head into the highlights of the week including the start of US reporting season tomorrow, FOMC minutes on Wednesday and IMF meetings in Washington on Friday. On the schedule for today central bank officials from the ECB including Mersch, Weidmann and Constancio will be speaking. The Fed’s Bullard speaks today, and no doubt there will be interest in his comments from last week suggesting that the Fed will hike rates in early 2015.