10 Year Treasury
Spoiler Alert: It's NOT a rate hike!
On Dec 16, Federal Chair Janet Yellen announced the Fed was raising the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. She will have to take it back.
The Fed seems to have been operating on the theory that their own views on the economy determine its path. But recently the Fed has taken the principle to an extreme never seen. Yellen may well have just hiked rates expecting, hoping, that the mere act of showing confidence in the economy would produce an economy worthy of confidence. The Fed has dominated the narrative for years now, investors and traders hanging on every word. Last week that started to change, the market repudiating the Fed’s outlook over a 48 hour period that must have produced some second guessing at the Fed.
The Fed has worked overtime since the 2008 crisis to produce a stability, a sense of normalcy in the economy and markets. It is a stable equilibrium now but almost any minor shock could change that dynamic for the worse and quickly. Widening credit spreads, Treasuries and gold outperforming stocks indicate that some parts of the market are already preparing for the storm. Stocks are about the only asset yet to batten down the hatches. If this is the calm before the storm, stock investors are about to get swept overboard.
Goodbye to "fat fingers" being blamed for flash crashes, and welcome to the Heisenberg uncertainty market: you can have your 1 cent bid/ask spreads... but you can't have any real market depth at the same time.
The 30 stocks of the Dow Jones Industrial Average currently trade for an average of 14.8x next year’s consensus earnings. But... Everyone knows Wall Street analysts are always too optimistic, so what if we just look at the lowest estimate for each company? The driver of market pessimism sits at the top of the income statement – the Street’s worst case revenue estimates call for a decline of 1.7% in 2016. Now, Q3 earnings season is unlikely to provide much comfort here; why should corporate managements go out on a guidance limb when their stocks are down on the year? All this points to further volatility in October, and with a bias to the downside.
The short squeeze into 10Y auctions never fails.
Every Federal Reserve Chair since 1979 has faced a notable challenge in the first 12-20 months of their tenure – something akin to capital markets “Bullies” hazing the new kid at school. Paul Volcker had the 1979-1980 Iranian oil shock/recession, Alan Greenspan the 1987 Stock Market Crash, and Ben Bernanke the 2007 Financial Crisis. Their responses shaped market perceptions about Federal Reserve priorities and set the stage for the remainder of their tenures, from Inflation-Fighting Volcker to Save-the-World Bernanke. Now, it is Chair Yellen’s turn...
The dance of the zombies goes on... During the 10 years between 2005 and 2014, these four retailers spent $34 billion on stock buybacks and dividends. But, alas, their cumulative net income during the period was only $13 billion. So they pumped 2.6X more into the casino than they earned! Last week’s tepid retail reports were not only a reminder that QE and ZIRP have by-passed main street entirely. The faltering department store sector is also a reminder that the monumental amount of Fed confected cash pooling-up in the canyons of Wall Street is breeding debt-laden zombies throughout the length and breadth of the land.
The week's weakness started with the surprise yuan devaluation, but the moves in everythingfrom crude oil to U.S. government debt signal that investors and traders are telling the Fed to hold off for now. Will U.S. policymakers listen? Make no mistake: the Fed marches to its own data-dependent drum. These indicators will only tell you if the central bank has the right tempo to support markets.
The US stock market may be in shambles and the Mahwah Stock Exchange is offline for nearly 2 hours now, but that had no impact on demand for US paper, in fact moments ago the US Treasury just sold $21 billion in 10 Year paper without a single hitch. With a When Issued of 2.233%, the bond priced 0.8% through at 2.225% showing that when one can't buy anything else, one buys what one can, in this case 10 Year paper.
It’s the breakdown of jobs by age that really screams out. It is a known fact that people in the 45 to 54 age bracket are in their prime earning and spending years. In the last year the number of employed 45 to 54 year olds has DECLINED by 67,000. It DECLINED in May by 51,000. It has DECLINED by 187,000 since February. It is a known fact that people over 55 dramatically reduce their spending as they approach and enter their retirement years. The Boomers have added 824,000 jobs in the last year, or 28% of all the new jobs added.
The world’s financial system is saturated with speculations fostered by nearly two-decades of central bank credit inflation. Just since 2006, the footings of central bank balance sheets have expanded from $6 trillion to upwards of $22 trillion. That’s all combustible monetary fuel that cannot be recalled; it can only be liquidated in the course of a monumental meltdown in the casino. So, yes, after the carnage of the past few days the global sovereign bond index has lost $625 billion since the bond bubble peak in late March. Call that spring training.
It is almost too coincidental to be a coincidence: on the day Ben Bernanke, who until a year ago was the biggest fixed income portfolio manager in the world courtesy of the Fed's $4.5 trillion in assets, joins Citadel as an advisor, the massively levered "market-neutral" hedge fund which as we showed earlier has $176 billion in regulatory assets, "loses" its global head of fixed income, senior managing director Derek Kaufman. Well not exactly loses. The reason for his "voluntary" departure: according to Bloomberg Kaufman is leaving Citadel not because he is about to be replaced by the former Fed chairman but because last year he lost $1 billion "in a variety of trades."