A dispassionate overview of the investment climate and what to expect this week.
When one steps back from all the frustration, all the confusion, all the failures both in the rollout and the mass behavioral experimentation, and the fact that the math just doesn't work, the primary stated purpose behind Obamacare was simple: to provide uniform, affordable (the A in ACA) healthcare for all Americans. But especially to those who are currently uninsured. At least such was the utopian, egalitarian vision behind its conception. Which is also why, stripping away the political posturing, the html coding errors, the funding issues, the biggest failing of Obamacare would be if it opened, and none of America's uninsured came. Sadly, this last nail in Obamacare's coffin, has just been confirmed with a just released Gallup poll which found that a tiny 18% of uninsured Americans - the primary target population for the exchanges - have so far attempted to even visit an exchange website.
European monetary policy/monetary conditions are too tight and, Citi's FX Technical group explains, the EURO is too strong thereby exacerbating the effects of the internal devaluation in Europe (as we noted here). Looser monetary policy and a weaker currency are becoming increasingly necessary conditions for the Eurozone to recover/survive. The present period in the Eurozone, Citi adds, where the financial architecture is coming apart at the seams is not remotely unprecedented and in fact offers a very compelling historical perspective for significant devaluation of the EUR in the years ahead.
Whether it is the conference board, Gallup, Bloomberg, or pretty much any other measure of the economic confidence or consumer comfort in the US, the numbers have been falling (or plunging) despite the incessant rise of US equities. The reason this is of particular note, as we have discussed previously, is that this pattern of exuberant highs in stocks with fading confidence-inspiration has ominous overtones for future performance... (especially for those hoping for moar multiple expansion). The UMich data this morning merely confirms the trend with the lowest print since Dec 2011 (3 misses in a row). This is the biggest miss since Feb 2006!
Milliseconds after the release of the jobs report this morning, the 'supposedly' most liquid bond market in the world - US Treasury futures - were halted for 5 seconds. As Nanex notes, this has happened before... What is also evident, as seen below, is Gold's premature plunge (who knew what when?) So while yesterday was the turn of the OTC equity market, today we see fixed income markets 'break'...
While today's big event is the October Non-farm payrolls print, which consensus has at 120K and unemployment rising from 7.2% to 7.3%, there was a spate of events overnight worth noting, starting with Chinese exports and imports both rising more than expected (5.6% and 7.6% vs expectations of 1.9% and 7.4% respectively), leading to an October trade surplus of $31.1 billion double the $15.2 billion reported in August. This led to a brief jump in Asian regional market which however was promptly faded. Germany also reported a greater trade surplus than expected at €20.4bn vs €15.4 bn expected, which begs the question just where are all these excess exports going to? Perhaps France, whose trade deficit rose from €5.1 billion to €5.8 billion, more than the €4.8 billion expected. Of note also was the French downgrade from AA+ to AA by S&P, citing weak economic prospects, with fiscal constraints throughout 2014. The agency added that the country has limited room to maneuver and sees an inability to significantly cut government spending. The downgrade, however, was largely a buy the EURUSD dip event as rating agencies' opinions fade into irrelevance.
Once upon a time, a few deluded individuals held hope that quantiative easing may actually do something to improve the plight of the common person instead of simply transferring wealth from the poor to the rich at an ever faster pace. Five years of failed monetary policy later, which has done nothing to stimulate the economy and everything to stimulate unprecedented non-risk taking that makes even the epic asset bubble of 2007 pale by comparison, this naive assumption has been thoroughly destroyed. However, for all those who don't splurge on yachts, mega mansions, and private jets, the pain is just starting. The latest evidence of this comes from Japan where according to a survey by the Bank of Japan released today, the share of Japanese households with no financial assets rose to a record as falling incomes forced people to dig into their savings. According to Bloomberg, as a result of Abe's disastrous "reflation at all costs" policies, the proportion of Japanese households without financial assets reached 31 percent up from 26 percent a year earlier and the highest since the poll began in 1963.
What inventory boosts give in the current quarter, inventory lack of boosts take from future quarters. At least that is what Goldman's Jan Hatzius just stated in his note summarizing not only the just released Q3 GDP, but his first Q4 tracking forecast, which he cut from 2.0% to 1.5%. To wit: "GDP grew more quickly than expected in Q3, but the surprise came mainly from a larger-than-expected inventory contribution and a smaller-than-expected decline in government spending. Consumer spending and business fixed investment were less strong. Initial jobless claims declined as expected with no special distortions noted by the Labor Department. We started our Q4 GDP tracking estimate at 1.5%."
Another day, another collapse in a measure of the 'peoples' confidence. Despite the animal spirits of euphoric dot-com bubble betting that is the new-normal US equity markets, it seems both rich and poor are not loving it. Bloomberg's consumer comfort index dropped to -37.9 - its lowest since October 2012 having dropped for the 6th week in a row. The last time we saw a collapse of this size, the Fed saved us all with QE3... what this time?
A day of fireworks that started with the stunner by Goldman's head of the ECB has just gotten its second wind following the preliminary announcement of Q3 GDP, which roared from 2.5% to 2.84%, far above expectations of a 2.0% annualized number. On the surface this was a bad number for Taper watchers, as it may mean the Fed will actually have to moderate its monthly flow precisely at the time when the ECB was forced to do "whatever it takes" in its fight with inflation, however a quick look at the internals shows that once again there is much more than meets the eye: because while the headline print was the strongest since Q3 2012, the core driver of economic growth, Personal Consumption, grew 1.5% below the expected 1.6%. Specifically, of the 2.84% number, PCE was just 1.04%, the lowest since Q2 2011!
- Twitter's IPO to Make Market Debut (WSJ); Twitter Raises $1.82 Billion, Pricier Value Than Facebook (BBG)
- Worried Senators Press Obama on Health Law (WSJ)
- Greenspan Says Yellen Was His Guide to Economics Research at Fed (BBG)
- European Central Bank seen holding rates despite inflation tumble (Reuters)
- Wall St. Bonuses Over All Are Predicted to Rise 5 to 10% (NYT)
- Cautious consumers seen curbing U.S. economic growth (Reuters)
- China Grants U.S. Investors Indirect Access to Its Stock Markets (WSJ)
- Higher Tax Rates Give Top U.S. Earners Year-End Headaches (BBG)
- Iran Loses Nuclear Leverage as World Ignores Export Drop (BBG)
- NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in the running for JPMorgan job (Post)
When it comes to US equities today, the picture below summarizes it all... the only question is whether the NYSE breaks to celebrate the year's overhyped social media IPO.Aside from the non-event that is the going public of a company that will likely not generate profits for years, if ever, the overnight market has been quiet with all major stock indices in Asia trading modestly lower on the back of a modestly stronger dollar, although the main currency to watch will be the Euro (German Industrial production of -0.9% today was a miss of 0.0% expectations and down from 1.6% previously), when the ECB releases its monthly statement at 7:45 am Eastern when it is largely expected to do nothing but may hint at more easing in the future. On the US docket we have the weekly initial claims (expected at 335k) which now that they are again in a rising phase, have been the latest data item to be ignored in the Bizarro market, as well as the latest Q3 GDP estimate, pegged by consensus at 2.0%.
Move Over FX And Libor, As Manipulation And "Banging The Close" Comes To Commodities And Interest Rate SwapsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/06/2013 13:20 -0500
While the public's attention has been focused recently on revelations involving currency manipulation by all the same banks best known until recently for dispensing Bollinger when they got a Libor end of day print from their criminal cartel precisely where they wanted it (for an amusing take, read Matt Taibbi's latest), the truth is that manipulation of FX and Libor is old news. Time to move on to bigger and better markets, such as physical commodities, in this case crude, as well as Interest Rate swaps. And, best of all, the us of our favorite manipulation term of all: "banging the close."
It was the deep of illiquid night when the momentum ignition trading algos struck. Out of the blue, a liftathon in all JPY crosses without any accompanying news sent the all important ES leading EURJPY surging by 50 pips, which in turn sent both the Nikkei up over 1% in minutes, and led to an E-Mini futures melt up of just about 8 points just when everyone was going to sleep. All of this happened completely independent of the actual data, which was chiefly European retail sales which missed (-0.6%, Exp. 0.4%, prior revised lower to 0.5%), Eurozone Service PMI which dropped (from 52.2 to 51.6) but beat expectations of 50.9 (notably the Spanish Service PMI of 49.6, up from 49.0 saw its employment index drop from 46.5 to 45.3, the lowest print since June), and finally, German Factory Orders which surged from last month's -0.3% to +3.3% in September. And while all this impacted the EUR modestly stronger, it had little if any residual effect on the ES. The bigger question is whether these slightly stronger than expected data point will offset the ECB's expected dovishness when Mario takes to the mic tomorrow).
European unemployment hits a new record high. China's see-saw taper no taper talk. And the beginning of US Housing Bust 2.0