Whether this week’s disaster was human error or not, the larger certainty is that the system has been chronically starved of capital. But the solution is not for a bankrupt government in Washington to pour more money down the Amtrak rat hole in the name of “infrastructure investment”, as the big spenders are now braying in the wake of this week’s disaster in Philadelphia. Instead, Amtrak should be put out of its misery once and for all. Otherwise its longstanding hazard to the taxpayers is likely to be compounded by even more public safety disasters like this week’s tragic event.
"... some stressed more than others about it but all concluded that the last few weeks in rates were eye-opening. No-one really knew how to hedge or price for it in a world where you need to hit short-term performance targets. This supports my view that liquidity premiums will never be properly priced in this cycle and investors will stay in assets too long in order to maximise short-term performance.... when this cycle does end there is likely to be savage moves in markets where either investors need to sell or where they are able to sell."
It has gotten to where just the lack of a rout in Bunds or any other government issue is enough to activate the "bullish" outside stop hunting algo, which is probably why ES has jumped overnight in another illiquid, newsless session. Curiously, Bunds shave not sold off even though the EUR has jumped sharply by almost 100 pips overnight to a 3 month high also on no news (with some amusing acrobatics by the USDJPY alongside) traditionally a bearish indicator for the Dax and thus the S&P. Perhaps the algos are just late, or maybe the "weak dollar is good for stocks" thesis has been activated, but in any event this morning's ramp higher in the ES will continue until all upside stops are hunted down by Virtu and crushed mercilessly.
China has officially entered the realm of "unconventional" monetary policy, joining the Fed, the ECB, the BoJ, and a whole host of other global central banks in an attempt to bring the supposedly all-mighty printing press and the unlimited balance sheet that goes with it to bear on subpar economic growth. We suspect the results will be characteristically underwhelming (at least in terms of lowering real interest rates, although in terms of boosting risk assets, the results may be outstanding) meaning it's likely only a matter of time before LTRO becomes QE in China just as it did in Europe.
Looking for signs that the country's largest asset management firms believe a market meltdown may be on the horizon? Look no further than Vanguard and several other large ETF providers who have set up billions in credit lines with banks to guard against the possibility that a wave of redemptions could wreak havoc on illiquid credit markets.
It is perhaps an emblematic description for our current bubble age; QE doesn’t work but “we” can’t wait for more. Maybe that is just the logical evolution of monetary magic, since QE was brought on with almost mythical properties that were going to cure a lot of financial and economic ills (Bernanke the former). Now resignation (Bernanke the latter) has left it with only the hope that it can just save us from the worst downside, even without any real expectation of a true upside in the economy. In other words, markets hope for the QE zombie, where the economy is kept from death by it, with full recognition now that it will never regain full life either.
Following an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform plan aimed at closing a $100 billion funding gap, Moody's downgrades Chicago to junk, giving the city the dubious distinction of being the only major city "in recent history" to carry such a low rating other than Detroit. Chicago now faces accelerated payments to creditors of more than $2 billion.
Following yesterday's turbulent bond trading session, where the volatility after the worst Bid to Cover in a Japanese bond auction since 2009 spread to Europe and sent Bund yields soaring again, in the process "turmoiling" equities, today's session has been a peaceful slumber barely interrupted by "better than expected" Italian and a German Bund auction, both of which concluded without a hitch, and without the now traditional "technical" failure when selling German paper. Perhaps that was to be expected considering the surge in the closing yield from 0.13% to 0.65%. Not hurting the bid for 10Y US Treasury was yesterday's report that Japan had bought a whopping $23 billion in US Treasurys in March, the most in 4 years so to all those shorting Tsys - you are now once again fighting the Bank of Japan.
We have called this a tale of two graphs. But what it really describes is a clear and present danger to American capitalism fostered by an unelected monetary politburo in thrall to its own lust for power and mesmerized by its own doctrinaire group think. The tragedy is that nothing can stop them except the thundering crash of the gargantuan bubble they have single handedly enabled.
As a diversification, art has some merit but only as a small part of an overall portfolio. For those of us who cannot afford a Picasso - as the great heritage of western art continues to be shuttered away in private Xanadus - gold remains an accessible and ideal store of value.
The last time AOL was involved in a mega merger was January 2000, when AOL acquired Time Warner for $182 billion in what was the mega deal of the last tech bubble, creating a $350 billion behemoth. Fast forward 15 years and here is AOL again in yet another period-defining if far, far smaller transaction once again, when moments ago Verizon announced that it would acquire AOL for $50/share, a deal value of $4 .4billion. And with that the golden age of digital (and in many cases robotic) content, has now been top-ticked.
It all started again in Asia, although not in China where the berserker mania bid for stocks has returned and the SHCOMP is now up nearly 5% in the past two days following the PBOC's latest easing, but in Japan where once again the massively illiquid JGB market, of which the BOJ owns roughly a third as of this moment, is going through yet another shock period (if not quite VaR yet) with last night's 10 Year JGB auction seeing the lowest Bid to Cover since 2009. This was the beginning, and promptly thereafter bond yields around the globe spiked once more, with 10-year Treasury yields climbing to a five-month high, as the global rout in debt markets deepened. The biggest casualty so far is the Bund, which having retraced some of the flash crash losses from two weeks ago is once again in panic selling mode, and while not having taken out the recent 0.8% flash crash wides, traded just shy of 0.75% this morning.
"It was, at least in theory, simple enough in the old days," wrote a wistful W. Randolph Burgess, head of the New York Federal Reserve, in 1938. "In the present strange new world, where the old gold portents have lost their former meaning, where is the radio beam which the central banker may follow? What is the equivalent of gold?" The men of his era and of the late nineteenth century understood the meaning of such a question and, more importantly, why it is one that must be asked. But theirs was a different world, indeed — one without "QE," ZIRP," or "Unknown Knowns" as fiscal policy. And there were no helicopters, either.
For many reasons the answer to the question: “will the commodity price rally continue?” is particularly important at this juncture, and the answer from Barclays is 'no' - it will prove very tough to make further significant gains in commodity prices from here unless supply/demand conditions improve very fast indeed. There are a multitude of factors but what erks them the most is the huge disconnect between price action in physical markets where differentials are signalling oversupply and futures markets where all looks rosy. The risks for a reversal in recent commodity price trends are growing, and with fewer market makers to absorb the shocks, potentially, a period of high volatility could lie ahead.
Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.