Update: Trichet announces two fixed rate LTRO tender operations, one 12 month in October, and one 13 month in December, very much as expected. In other words, the ECB will repo even more crap than it has already.
Update 2: Trichet announces CBPP2 - a new €40 billion Covered Bond Purchase Program, i.e. a new €40 billion QE program as the ECB will purhcase covered bonds in primary and secondary markets.
A historic press conference is about to unfold, in which the current ECB president, in a state of complete denial about the imminent implosion of his continent, will mumble for 45 minutes one last time and attempt to preserve his "legacy" after which he will hand over the "printer" briefcase and secret codes to none other than Goldman's Mario Draghi. And Goldman, as is well known to Zero Hedge readers, is certainly not nearly as shy as ole' Tricky to print when needed. Expect some vague promises of more liquidity, possibly the reopening of a 1 or 2 year repo line in which the ECB will accept even more used banana peels and sexual prophylactics in exchange for euros, and an overall deflationary bias. It doesn't matter. It is too late. More importantly, today's "shot rules" are a shot of Jager every time the words "price stabeeleetee" are uttered. Trichet's full prepared remarks transcript can be found here.
In early European trade risk appetite was again the dominant theme following the higher equity closes in Asia overnight. Particular focus came upon comments from EU’s Barroso who said the EU Commission is proposing coordinated action by member states to recapitalise banks. This comment was also followed the European Banking Authority who said that they were reviewing bank capital positions with no new round of stress tests scheduled. This spurred the equity markets across Europe with financial stocks gaining an immediate boost alongside the EUR currency which climbed against the USD sharply. Bunds have been weighed by the general risk-on sentiment, with additional pressure observed following successful bond auctions from both Spain and Italy with lower yields across all six taps today. The Spanish 10-year cash bond yield trading below the key 5.00% mark. In the forex markets the CHF weakened dramatically across the board following the release of the SNB forex reserves data which showed an increase on the previous month, before the fast money move quickly reversed. Elsewhere, all attention focused on the Bank of England key rate decision in which the benchmark rate was kept unchanged, however the Bank announced a further GBP 75bln of QE. This caused extravagant moves in UK related assets with Gilts spiking higher by 100 ticks and GBP/USD falling 150pips. Looking forward Trichet’s last press conference looms large following the ECB keeping its rate unchanged. In terms of economic data there will be the weekly unemployment claims data from the US with Operation Twist conducting its first selling of securities.
Where is that beef?
What do MS CDS and S&P Futures have in common? Everything AND Nothing. MS CDS and ES (E-mini S&P Futures) are clearly correlated. As MS CDS tightens, S&P futures rally, and vice versa. That is pretty clear. They are also the two most talked about things all day long lately. That is where the differences become blatantly obvious. I have to admit that I am sick of listening to talk about MS CDS when so much of the conversation addresses issues like volumes, liquidity, transparency, depth, counterparty risk, etc., when all of those issues could be, and should have been, addressed by regulators. The focus should be on whether or not there is value in MS credit at these prices/spreads not whether the prices/spreads are merely an illusion. I suspect that if we had all the same transparency that exists for stocks, MS CDS and bond spreads would be exactly the same as they are now, but at least we could be focused on the real problems and issues at MS.
There is only one word to describe the opinion that the U.S. dollar is in a multi-year uptrend: heresy. Understanding why this is so may well be critical to understanding market action in the 2011-2016 timeframe. Embracing the contrarian viewpoint offers little joy, because heretics are constantly being hounded by devotees of orthodoxy seeking their conversion to the one true faith or their crucifixion as mortal threats to the orthodoxy. Why is this so? For two simple but profound reasons. The human mind strongly prefers certainty to uncertainty and simple, fixed explanations over complex, contingent explanations. The human mind has a second, superglue-like quality: Once a viewpoint has been plucked from the swirling chaos of beliefs and explanations, then the mind quickly solidifies that view, resisting any future modification. Very little energy is devoted to questioning the position, while enormous energy is devoted to defending it.
In what is certainly a clear sign of the apocalypse, at least for Wall Streeters, there is now speculation that the holiest of holys, none other than Golman Sachs, may be planning to no bonuses this year following a third quarter which now everyone expects will be the worst for the company in recent history (which is to be expected with the firm's prop trading operation several crippled, although still marginally operational in various other guises). According to The Australian: "Goldman Sachs is planning to slash bonuses to almost zero amid growing expectations that the Wall Street bank is about to slide into the red for only the second time in its history. The market meltdown that began in August has hammered the revenues of all the big global investment banks. Analysts have been slashing their forecasts for Goldman's third-quarter results, due on October 18, with most now expecting it to report a loss." And don't tell Morgan Stanley this but... "Morgan Stanley, its closest rival, could also fall into the red." This means no mas dinero at Times Square-o either. Yet this is nothing compared to the media reaction when mainstream journalism figures out just how many partners and MDs at both Goldman and MS are underwater on loans they have taken out from the company itself in exchange for unvested stock struck at prices anywhere between 50 and 100% higher. Oops.
Risk averse trade was observed in early European trade following the news over the weekend that Greece were to miss budget deficit targets set by the Troika with the Asian markets closing sharply lower into the beginning of the European session and consequently fixed income markets being heavily supported. Focus remained on the banking sector following reports that consultations are underway regarding the nationalisation of Belgian bank Dexia with further comments from ECB’s Noyer on the dependence of French banks on USD funding. At the Equity open Dexia opened down 12% with the French banks underperforming heavily, however as the session progressed risk sentiment did begin to creep back into the markets with the Euro-area manufacturing PMI’s generally being higher than expected. This was allied with the ECB’s Securities Market Programmed rumoured to be buying in the Spanish and Italian curves with significant tightening observed in both countries 10-year government bond yield spread over Bunds. Looking forward in the North American session focus will be on the Eurogroup meeting due to start at 1600BST where discussions on EFSF leveraging will be on the agenda. In terms of data there will be the ISM manufacturing report for September and the start of Operation Twist, alongside the latest Outright Treasury Coupon Purchases.
With the weekend full of on-again-off-again comments from various European, Asian, and US politicians and central bankers with regard the chances of various incarnations of the EFSF solving all of our ills (or not), Nomura's Fixed Income Research team has what we feel is one of the most definitive analyses of the various options. We have discussed the self-exciting strange attractor nature of the endgame that will be a leveraged EFSF many times recently. The Nomura team, however, does a great job of breaking down various scenarios, such as Structural Weaknesses of EFSF 2.0, Proposals for an EFSF 3.0 (and their variants), Leverage-based options, and EFSF 2.0 as TARP and how these will result in one of three final outcomes: fiscal union, monetization, or major restructurings risking the end of the euro, as everyone searches for a steady state solution to the 'problem' of the eurozone.
While the most elegant solutions have no official sanction, we think the necessary political resolve is yet to be forthcoming, and the technical issues are challenging if not insurmountable for many of the legal workarounds, resulting in the need for yet another round of parliamentary approvals. Consequently, we see a significant risk that the market, looking for large headlines and enhanced flexibility, will be disappointed at least in the short run.
The clock has been turned back to 1989 and the stock market briefly cheered the temporal transformation, although credit markets have remained far less sanguine. With Europe on everyone's collective mind, rumors of an expanded European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) acting akin to the early version of U.S. TARP had many hoping that a true resolution had finally been found. Of course, the first plan (the one sold to Congress) for TARP was to act as a resurrected Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), so the markets are reaching back to the late 1980's for guidance on how to "successfully" contain banking contagion.
The big news this morning, aside from the relatively strong economic data out of the US (of course, we’ll have to wait for the downward revision on jobs to see the real number, which is an ongoing statistical aberration for the record books but anyway) is the news that the German parliament overwhelmingly passed the measure to support the EFSF. In reality, this wasn’t really that newsworthy as passing this particular legislation had been expected since Germany originally agreed to the deal in principal earlier this summer. This was not the leveraged, CDO^2 like structure that failed NY Federal Reserve President cum Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had been pitching recently in Europe. No, that idea has been dismissed out of hand and Mr. Geithner properly ridiculed for recommending that the already over-taxed European people be further Major Kong-style strapped to the ticking atom bomb that is the European banks’ leveraged balance sheets.
In case you haven’t noticed lately, the market doesn’t move on good or bad earnings or economic data, it moves on political rumors and innuendo about government’s willingness to continue the TARP/cheap money/QE lifeline to the terribly over-leveraged banking sector. It’s especially troubling when you consider the faith most members of Congress place in Ben Bernanke and the other Oracles of Delphi at the Fed. One area that’s going to come home to roost very soon is the zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) that has been in place since late ‘08/early ’09.
Once again equities are responding to events with more excitement than the credit markets. Yes, Germany approved the changes to EFSF first announced back in July. That was fully expected and a No vote would have been a shocking disaster at this stage. The level of cynicism has hit a new high. I have heard a lot of chatter that now that Germany has jammed this through, they can stop pretending that they are against levering up the funds. I am not a fan of the politicians or political process, but betting money that Schaeuble and Merkel made such bold-faced lies seems like an act of desperation. The risks from pursuing the leveraged EFSF strategy are real and high - downgrades of all the top European countries and inability to stop any renewed selling pressure in the future. Germany has the sense not lose their rating in a futile attempt to defend a perimeter that can no longer be defended.
Citi's Economics team downgraded global growth expectations once again, expecting 3.0% this year (versus 4.0% last year) with more aggressive downgrades next year to only 2.9% (from 3.2% expectations last month and 3.7% two months ago). Growth revisions were downgraded for every major global economy as expectations move with Goldman's coincidentally-timed discussion of stagnation (also tonight) with advanced economies cut more than developed though Eastern Europe saw the most significant reductions. They note that 'the recent pace of GDP forecast downgrades is among the greatest of the last ten years' and extends the recent run of lower forecasts to four months-in-a-row. In a secondary note, Willem Buiter and team also pour cold water on market expectations for the EFSF pointing out, as we have done for a few weeks now at every suggestion, that all the different options have their shortcomings and are unlikely to be implemented quickly.
Step Aside BBC "Trader": Head Of UniCredit Securities Predicts Imminent End Of The Eurozone And A Global Financial ApocalypseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2011 09:05 -0400
Either the YesMen have infiltrated Italy's biggest, and most undercapitalied, bank, or the stress of constant, repeated lying and prevarication has finally gotten to the very people who know their livelihoods hang by a thread, and the second the great ponzi is unwound their jobs, careers, and entire way of life will be gone. Such as the head of UniCredit global securities Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy, and former Chairman of the Hungarian stock exchange, who has written an unbelievable oped in the Hungarian portal Index.hu which, frankly, make Alessio "BBC Trader" Rastani's provocative speech seem like a bedtime story. Only this time one can't scapegoat Szalay-Berzeviczy "naivete" on inexperience or the desire to gain public prominence. If someone knows the truth, it is the guy at the top of UniCredit, which we expect to promptly trade limit down once we hit print. Among the stunning allegations (stunning in that an actual banker dares to tell the truth) are the following: "the euro is “practically dead” and Europe faces a financial earthquake from a Greek default"... “The euro is beyond rescue”... “The only remaining question is how many days the hopeless rearguard action of European governments and the European Central Bank can keep up Greece’s spirits.”...."A Greek default will trigger an immediate “magnitude 10” earthquake across Europe."..."Holders of Greek government bonds will have to write off their entire investment, the southern European nation will stop paying salaries and pensions and automated teller machines in the country will empty “within minutes.” In other words: welcome to the Apocalypse...