Portuguese and Italian sovereign bond spreads have risen for four weeks in a row now (with Portugal +29bps this week alone and near 2013 wides) but the close today was unusual in its agression. Portugal had been blowing wider since yesterday, but minutes before the close today, Spain and Italy were slammed higher in yield/spread and lower in price (BMPS unwinding?) Of course European stocks didn't care - Greece up 5.6% on the week, Spain +3.3%, Italy +3%... "fixed"
This is the first consecutive monthly drop in 14 months and the largest miss vs expectations on record. Printing at 76.8 (against an expectation of 82.0), this is the lowest in 5 months and points to the picture we have been painting of a consumer increasingly affected by rising rates and soaring gas prices amid stagnant incomes. As Citi notes below, this is the exact same pattern we have seen play out in the last 2 cycles and suggest significant downside risk to US equities. The economic outlook sub-index collapsed to its lowest since January.
No surprises here: Silver and Gold are the best, Banks and Greece - worst.
Yesterday's record Verizon bond offering, which to some had an eerie sense of deja vu to the TXU 2007 mega-LBO just before the market blew up, caught many by surprise: not only did the underwriters have no problem obtaining over $100 billion in orders to oversubscribe demand for the $49 billion offering, but following the break the bond immediately proceeded to trade a whopping 40-70 bps tighter implying yield pricing could have been done well lower, but the CDS also ripped 11bps tighter. Because nothing says less default risk like $49 billion more in debt. But where did all this demand come from? Did accounts simply have $100 billion in cash lying around? The answer is no, and as the following breakdown of the post-break action in VZ from Deutsche demonstrates, what happened yesterday was a great rotation into the NSA-favorite company and the Telecom space in general, and out of virtually every other credit in the market.
Stanley Druckenmiller's World View: "Catastrophic" Entitlement Spending, "Bizarre" & "Illusory" Asset Markets, & Beware The TaperSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/11/2013 21:50 -0400
During an extended interview with Bloomberg TV, billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller provided a seemingly fact-based (and non-status-quo sustaining, commission-taking, media-whoring) perspective on a very wide variety of topics. The brief clips below touch the surface, with the detailed annotated transcript below providing details, as Druckenmiller opines on the looming catastrophe in entitlement spending "when you hear about the National debt being $16tn; if you actually took what we promised to seniors and future taxes, present value to both of them, that number is $200tn," why the Fed exit will be a big deal for markets, "it is my belief that QE has subsidized all asset prices and when you remove that, the market will go down," and his changing views on Obama "I was drinking the hope and change Kool-aid... in hindsight, he probably needed more experience for this job." Looking back to the financial crisis, he warns, "...a necessary condition to have a financial crisis, in my opinion, is too loose monetary policy that encourages people to take undue risk and go on the risk curve and do silly things. We should have shut this down in 1998, 1999. The NASDAQ bubble, we should have raised rates, we didn’t. Then we got the implosion."
Just a little excess liquidity sloshing out there. Here is the full breakdown of the just priced, 8-part $49 billion deal, the largest ever.
Smashing the previous record $17 billion deal from Apple which is doing so badly (in yield and spread terms), Verizon - in order to fund the mega deal with Vodafone - is launching an 8-part $49 billion deal done at what appear reasonable spread levels (though spreads are dramatically wider than a month ago as one would expect for such a releveraging). With the bulk of the deal ($36 billion) maturing 7 years or longer, it would appear that (and desk chatter confirms) demand was relatively high and BofAML also notes that Verizon will now have a huge $69 to $79 billion of index-eligible bonds. This will make Verizon the 4th largest issuer in the US high-grade market index, right up their with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Amid all this exuberance though, something odd popped up:
- *VERIZON POSTPONES EUROPE INVESTOR MEETINGS ABOUT VODAFONE DEAL
Reuters is reporting that with a $101 billion order book already, it appears they had no ned to shop the deal in Europe. Amazing what ZIRP repression will do...
Despite earlier comments from Obama on Tuesday night, who called for a pause in authorizing military strikes on Syria, which led to another drop in crude prices overnight, the drop has since reversed and both WTI and Brent Crude contracts are trading in the green. Whether this is the result of a note by Goldman analysts who noted that the Brent crude sell-off was overdone and that they see no improvement regarding the conflict in Libya which is constraining oil production, or because Russia is once again throwing hurdles in the international process to force Syrian disarmament, is unknown. The lack of any key catalysts and no USDJPY levitation, led to most global markets unchanged, and futures currently trading sideways. What is not trading sideways is Apple which is down over 2% to just over $480 as all hopes of a China Mobile deal fall apart, coupled with pervasive critical panning of the new iPhones which, aside for the commodity version, is just the old iPhone with an extension that allows the NSA's new fingerprint database to be filled in record time.
When it comes to the very simplest axiom on modern Keynesian economics, it seems one can't repeat it enough times: have leverage, have growth... don't have leverage, don't have growth. That is the reason why in early summer, China tried to conduct a mini-taper of its own to streamling its monetary pipeline which had been so filled with bad and non-performing credit, that the PBOC effectively pulled the switch on new liquidity for over a month. What happened almost immediately after, when rates on ultra short term funding soared to 20%+, nearly destroyed the domestic banking system and resulted in a major slowdown in the Chinese economy. "Luckily" for China, its close encounter with the taper was brief, if quite painful, and following a period of shock, the Chinese central bank had no choice but to resume injecting banks with their daily dose of monetary morphine all over again. This in turn, has brought us to square one: nothing in the local banking system has been fixed, and what's worse, while China has bought itself a few months respite, the dominant old problem of a collapsing credit impulse, as decribed before, in the country with the largest corporate credit bubble in the world, is about to come back with a bang in a few short months. In short: China just did what the US has boldly done so many times before - kicked the can.
From the open of yesterday's US day session, Treasuries had been selling off as risk-on flows encouraged by Syrian 'compromise' and apparent good data from Asia (China crude imports lowest in 11 months and Japanese GDP miss). It seems that hope-fueled trend continues its momentum run this morning in stocks but once the JOLTS data hit and showed the 'recovery' for what it really is, it appears Treasuries are well bid on slow-growth (and not un-Taper) flows...
- Obama Shrinking Second-Term Hastened by Syria Opposition (BBG)
- Obama says Russian proposal on Syria a potential 'breakthrough' (Reuters)
- Poll Finds Support Fading for Syria Attack (WSJ)
- France to Introduce Resolution Aimed at Dismantling Syria's Chemical Arsenal (WSJ)
- Apple to Unveil IPhones Seeking End to Year of Struggles (BBG)
- Verizon Plans Largest Debt Sale Ever: Proceeds From Deal, Expected to Raise $20 Billion, Would Fund Venture Buyout (WSJ)
- Shipping Rates Seen at 2010 High on Record Ore to China (BBG)
- Ads coming to Twitter: Twitter makes its largest acquisition, a mobile ad company (FT)
- Houses on fire as fighting erupts in southern Philippines (Reuters)
- Banks Seen at Risk Five Years After Lehman Collapse (BBG)
JPMorgan Warns: Increasing Rates Have "Reduced The Remaining Refinance Opportunity By More Than 50%"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/09/2013 19:57 -0400
About an hour ago, Bank of America served the latest indication that the US housing "recovery" (also known as the fourth consecutive dead cat bounce of the cheap credit policy-driven housing market in the past five years) may be on its last breath. Namely, the bank announced that it will eliminate about 2,100 jobs and shutter 16 mortgage offices as rising interest rates weaken loan demand, said two people with direct knowledge of the plans and reported by Bloomberg. In some ways this may be non-news: previously we reported, using a Goldman analysis, that up to 60% of all home purchases in recent months have been, which of course shows just how hollow the "recovery" has been for the common American for whom the average home has once again become unaffordable. However, judging by an update presentation given earlier today by the CFO of none other than JP "fortress balance sheet" Morgan, things are rapidly going from bad to worse for the banking industry as a result of the souring mortgage market for which, absent prop trading, loan origination is the primary bread and butter.
Instead of bitching about the man, educate yourself on how the NSA does what it does. It's biggest weapon, the ignorance of the mass media consuming tech enduser.
In the US, retail sales on Friday will be the main data release. In addition, Congress will return from its 5-week recess on Monday and will likely keep their focus on Syria this week. Finally, San Francisco Fed President Williams (who does not vote on FOMC policy this year) will speak on Monday. Last week, Williams argued that the FOMC should maintain its focus on the unemployment rate, despite its limitations. After Friday's employment report saw the unemployment rate drop again due to falling participation, this issue is likely to resurface. The Fed's communication blackout period begins on Tuesday so Williams will be the last FOMC speaker before the September meeting ends on the 18th.
One of the most underreported sentiment shifts of the past week was JPM's announcement late on Friday, that the firm quietly went long commodities - specifically base metals and copper (in addition to energy) - and the firm also closed it "sell" (i.e., underweight) in precious metals. This is not surprising: we had noted the ongoing purchasing of gold by JPM over the past two month (in part to restore its depleted gold vault inventory) when the yellow metal not only stabilized but promptly entered a bull market, returning 20% in a short period of time. And as gold was rising, JPM was advising its clients to sell. It seems JPM now has more than enough gold stashed away, and as the September shock is set to unwind, even JPM may be seeking the safety of gold, and the usual other hard asset suspects, if and when events escalate out of control, resulting in another "risk off" phase.