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.
When is the U.S. banking system going to crash? We can sum it up in three words. Watch the derivatives. It used to be only four, but now there are five "too big to fail" banks in the United States that each have more than 40 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives.
Three are four developments in the fixed income markets that represent a clear and present danger for stocks.
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.
Do you have a friend who consistently borrows 30% of his income each year, is currently in debt about six times her annual income, and wanted to take advantage of short-term interest rates so that he needs to renegotiate with his banker about once every six years? Well, if Uncle Sam is your friend you do!
"Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the Cold War" - President Obama, August 2014
"China will never support or join recently imposed sanctions against Russia" - China President Xi Jinping, September 2014
If yesterday the bombardment, no pun intended, of bad news from around the globe was too much even for Mahwah's vacuum tubes to spin as bullish - for stocks - news, then tonight's macro economic updates have so far been hardly as bombastic, with the only real news of the day has Germany's IFO Business Climate reading, which dropped from 106.3 to 105.8, declining for the 5th month in a row, missing expectations, and printing at the lowest level of since April 2013! (More from Goldman below) Net result: Bunds yields were once again pushed in the sub-1% category, even if stocks today are higher because the European data is "so bad it means the ECB has no choice but to do (public instead of just private) QE" blah blah blah.
Any system that has no way to measure, much less prioritize opportunity costs (i.e. what else could have been done the capital, labor and resources) and maximization of utility is not just flawed - it is terribly misguided and structurally destructive.
Just over a year ago, we warned on the very real concerns about corporate bond liquidity drying up and the potentially huge problems associated with that, if and when the Fed ever pulls the rug out from the one-way street of free-money injections. It appears, as Bloomberg reports, having realized, we suspect, that they can't get out of their positions, the world’s largest money manager, Blackrock, believes the corporate bond market is "broken" and in need of fixes to improve liquidity "before market stress returns." Ironically, as we have also explained in great detail, it is this 'broken' market that has enabled corporations to borrow cheap enough to buyback half a trillion dollars of their stock in 2014. As Blackrock concludes, rather ominously, "the risk posed by investors trying to dump bonds after the Federal Reserve raises interest rates is “percolating right under” the noses of regulators."
European stocks, U.S. equity index futures fall after Euro area PMI for Aug. missed ests., while bond yields for German, Spanish, U.K. debt fall. Copper rises with positive Chinese PMI data, while oil gains as OPEC discusses output cut. European health care stocks among largest underperformers as U.S. plans tighter rules on tax inversion M&A.
So with regards to BABA’s $230 billion market cap at week’s end, you can say this: None dare call it price discovery! What it shows is that Wall Street is well and truly off it rocker. The Chinese swindlers behind BABA didn’t even have to tap their home market. These preposterously over-valued shares were sold overwhelmingly to Wall Street - to the gamblers, speculators and robo-traders that have occupied what was once a reasonably honest capital market. So why did Wall Street capitalize an opaque mass merchant operating in a precarious economy at 27X sales? The answer is that Wall Street is a momentum driven casino that is now over-valuing everything that moves and all that stands still. That’s the ultimate evil of monetary central planning. Having destroyed honest price discovery in the financial markets, the Fed now “accommodates” the speculators one meeting at a time - in deathly fear of a hissy fit.
More than 70 per cent of the country’s coal miners were losing money and had cut salaries. Translated: widespread wage deflation, in a country where M2 is expected to grow at a double digit pace. And the really bad news: "About 30 per cent of the industry’s miners had not been able to pay their employees on time and a further 20 per cent had cut salaries by more than 10 per cent, the Economic Information Daily, a Xinhua-affiliated newspaper, reported on Monday."
There is a "hard way" of doing, as in fixing, things and then there is... the European way. Below we show how Italy's debt/GDP for 2013 just was "reduced" by 5% making the country appear far more "sustainable" and attractive to debt investors (the ECB?). As Bloomberg reports, Italy’s 2013 public debt was revised to 127.9% of GDP from a previous estimate of 132.6% of GDP, the country’s statistics agency Istat says in report.
While some were wondering if last night's sudden, commodity-liquidation driven selloff would last, most were not, expecting that the perfectly predictable levitation in the USDJPY around a round "tractor beam" number would provide a floor under the market .Sure enough, starting around midnight eastern, the USDJPY BTFDers emerged, oblivious to comments from former BOJ deputy governor Iwata who late last night said the obvious, and what we have been saying since January 2013, namely that a weak yen puts Japan at recession risk, and that a USDJPY in the 90-100 range reflects Japan fundamentals. And, as expected, the 109 level is where the algos have hone in today as a strange FX attractor, which also means that ES has reverse sharper overnight losses and was down just 7 points at last check even as the poundage in the commodity sector continues over rising fears of a sharp Chinese slowdown driven by its imploding housing sector (most recently observed here) without an offsetting stimulus program, following several comments by high-ranked Chinese individuals who poured cold water on any hopes of an imminent Chinese mega-QE or even modest rate cut.
Since it is almost impossible to win against guerrillas by only attacking from the air, "boots on the ground", as The Pentagon and military have advised, are needed to effectively fight IS. Obama and the American people - as a result of the Afghanistan and Iraq debacles — vehemently veto that idea. However, inserting U.S. military personnel for fighting or training locals likely would be also be counterproductive and would once again paint a big, red bulls-eye on the United States. The best option is for the U.S. government to do nothing.