Spreads compressed for the second day in a row modestly outperforming stocks as the big volume day from yesterday saw very little activity today as the path of least resistance appears higher for now. Intraday ranges today in credit were very narrow as what two-way flow there was seemed more concentrated in HY than IG for a change...Our super-short-term trading pivot is still long credit (from 111.5bps and 593bps for IG and HY respectively), stops never hit today and we would inch our stop to 110bps in IG and 590bps in HY but we get the sense that tomorrow's action will be early and extreme based on the NFP print. 112.25bps and 600bps are entry levels for the short credit should we run so not much room given the recent vol - and anxiety levels high into a long weekend. HY, IG, and the S&P all now closed above their 50-day averages so that offers some support for now but has offered little critical insight in recent weeks.
Until I send a more complete market overview tomorrow, there are a few things I want to point out: The market data is atrocious and yet we fail to accelerate lower. I have highlighted the past two weeks how the 1,040/1,050 are should provide strong support here and so ar so good. We remain core short from 1,126 but feel rather pleased to be out of tactical positions so the chopping around the lows does not give us any headaches. I still believe we should see 1,085/1,100 at the minimum before selling off more aggressively.
In a day in which volume surged to one of the highest total days in all of August, if not the summer, the FRBNY's Brian Sack can claim victory: Dow closed above the ridiculous 10K level, which for some ungodly reason everyone in the administration sees as the Maginot line of the depression. And despite the spike in volume, the market closed virtually unchanged on the day, even as futures go nuts after hours where it has once again become a felony to sell or put on shorts. Confirming that the market is totally, irrevocably broken, the HY index closed at the day's wides, as futures closed at the highs. Calling this robotic farce a shitshow is an insult to shit and to show. And will the last guy out at Liberty 33 please turn off the "buy everything" program currently raging in the AUDJPY. We got the memo: the FRBNY is in charge.
Cisco misses and stock drops 5%. In the meantime, futures are now plumbing the day's lows after hours. And the most troubling development from CSCO, worse than the top line miss, is the catch courtesy of Bloomberg's Adam Johnson that Days Sales Outstanding surge from 27 to 41 days. Customers incrasingly refuse to pay on time. We wonder how that will be spun favorably.
Earlier we highlighted a very sternly worded anti-US essay on the front page of the primary communist party daily. Some thought it was merely yet more posturing. Alas, they may have been very wrong. Associated Press reports that Google has now been completely blocked from mainland China access, with few if any details coming from Google itself, meaning this was another unilateral muscle flexing exercise by China. However, as far as Google is concerned, and judging by BIDU stock after hours, it may well be game over for the great Chinese decoupling experiment.
BOJ Intervention Picks Pockets Of Speculative Trend Chasers Everywhere As Yen Plunges, Futures Rip HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/19/2010 23:43 -0500
Insomniac market observers everywhere are watching with stunned horror at what is going on in Yen crosses, and thus futures markets. Per preliminary market rumors, the JPY is plunging following BOJ FX intervention, and picking the pockets clean of trend speculators everywhere. Unlike the SNB, which specs have grown to love and ridicule, as every €10 billion CHF intervention attempt is neutralized in the span of hours if not minutes, the BOJ is a far more reputable, and deadly opponent. And with implied cross-asset correlation at 1.000, and the only driver of all risk on or off being the YENXXX carry cross, the plunge in the Japanese currency is forcing a massive squeeze in futures, which were halfway to the moon at last check. This will prove especially painful for those who shorted the market on IBM's and TXN's misses after hours, and went to bed, only to wake up and find themselves with a several million dollar hole to fill, a barrel-sized vat of vaseline to make the pain a little more bearable, and an IOU to the BOJ. Bloomberg was kind enough to share some insight: "The yen declined for a second day against the dollar on speculation Japanese authorities may intervene to weaken the nation’s currency after it climbed to a seven-month high last week. “The strengthening of the yen has added to pressure on the BOJ to implement more reflationary policy,” said Mitul Kotecha, Hong Kong-based global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Credit Agricole CIB. “The risk is for a shift higher in dollar- yen in coming sessions from oversold levels.”
Even as stocks continue to ignore the broader economic decline, and trade exclusively to kneejerks on one-time items such as Goldman's settlement and BPs pressure tests, the far more liquid and rational bond market is hunkering down. Today, the 2 Year hit an all time low yield, even as the 2s10s tightened by yet another 6 bps to 240 bps. The impact of today's curve flattening alone will have a far more profound impact on Goldman EPS than the latest SEC wristslap farce. And as we pointed out previously, the spread between the S&P and the 10 Year yield continues to diverge. In fact, it is now so wide, that in the latest John Noyce piece, the Goldman Strategist says: "As in mid-June, the S&P looks very overvalued relative to yields. Yields are also beginning to decline again as equities stall." Sure enough the reverse is also true, and bonds may be rich to stocks, but either way, we reiterate our observation that the short stocks-short bonds trade will eventually converge (luckily with the yield on the 10 Y so low, the carry is marginal and the repo rate will likely be a greater burden until the spread recouples).
RanSquawk notes market talk that JPM is behind the latest uptick in EU equities, and reports talk of a EUR currency buying program in place ahead of cash close. As everyone knows JPM is merely the proxy for the FRBNY. So once again, it is not surprising that global central banks refuse to permit stocks to even consider having a downtick on a day that was supposed to be a blowout courtesy of Intel (which in turn is seeing record selling into earnings strength, which has pushed the stock from being up 8% after hours to just 3% higher now).
Whoah! Mercer's little Alaska problem is going to end up costing them $500 million!
On a day like today, when the entire CNBC fast momo brigade said it was buying into the close (we would show you the clip of just how worthless intraday trading advice on CNBC is, if only the propaganda station had not pulled the episode), there was just one way for the marker to close: below 10,000. The fight over the 10k barrier, which the traders over at Liberty 33 find important for some reason, was fast and furious, but in the end, reinforced by a deteriorating euro, the bears won, closing at 9974.4, further plunging after hours. The Dow is now at the lowest close of the year, with the only times the Dow has closed under 10k being in a three day brief period between February 5 and 7th. Also, looking at the EUR panel, things are going from bad to worse. Absent China lifting every other offer, which would be confusing in light of SAFE's earlier negative announcement on European bond holdings, we could easily see a 1.20 handle by tomorrow morning, which would solidly push the S&P on its way well into triple digit territory.
Zero Hedge's own Bruce Krasting has an excellent piece ("The Swiss Did It?") from last week commenting on the interventionist bent the Schweizerische Nationalbank or Swiss National Bank (hereinafter the central bank of Switzerland or the "SNB") has been demonstrating in the face of the recent crisis. Of course, this particular behavior is not at all new on the part of the SNB, but it bears examining in a bit more depth why and how Switzerland's monetary authority acts in the face of global crisis.
Big picture I keep my long term target of 380 on the S&P 500. Broken record but I stick to my guns one this one. Short term we are still advising to be short but moving in on key supports. Fundamentally my view is that the inventory rebuilding/federal spending is absolutely not anything organic and sustainable we can build a long term growth outlook on. We have renewed balance sheet deflationary forces at work which have triggered a relapse of credit markets and this time sovereign debt is on the table too. There are measures that have been put in place in terms of liquidity but so far the impact on markets has been null with disruption in the funding markets still building up. At this point we think the solution will be for the Fed to step in and reactivate the liquidity facilities they let expire, but that will come only after a heavy political battle. Politicians are slowly finding out that maintaining artificially a market that is bankrupt in every possible way without printing money is quite tricky and they have not found the answer to that riddle yet. An overleveraged system supported by a structurally weak economy can only be maintained by a flooding of central bank liquidity combined with austerity. It will take a solid decade to get balance sheets in good health at the consumer/sovereign level without masive wave of defaults, pick your poison. - Nic Lenoir
The medium term trend, and I want to clear about this, remains down. I have argued for this for a while now, and risk appreciated so much from March 2009 until April in the case of US equities that the correction will run for a lot longer than this. I ultimately think we will see new lows in equities and I stand by my target of 380 for the S&P (I came up with that one in 2007, I looked stupid then, I still look stupid now, just a little less).
Lars Schall of MMNews Germany has recently interviewed many outspoken critics of the inner workings of our global financial system including former Federal Housing Commissioner and Solari Inc. President Catherine Austin Fitts and Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri,Kansas City (UMKC) William K. Black. Below is my recent interview with Mr. Schall.
First the fun stuff: gold hit an all time record today. To those who have had the foresight to realize that in the currency devaluation race to the bottom, the only winners will be non-dilutable precious metals (and not industrial gimmickry and bets on China's excess capacity like copper), we salute you. In fact, so does the market: the S&P is now down 8% year to date when expressed in ounces of gold. Because while central banks can monetize, sterilize (whatever that means), and dilutize that last remnant of the dying Keynesian religion, the FRN and its equivalents around the world, gold is untouchable, and increases in value with each desperate attempt to save a failed economic system. Yet the bandwagon is once again getting heavy: the EUR is getting killed after hours, approaching $1.25 and is about to break the E-mini critical 117 yen support once again. Should central bank buyers not materialize, hello gravity. Which would also mean freefall for the ES. The bailout plan is now null and void, and in need of a bailout plan itself. The French banks won: we expect their FX traders to make a killing this year. We hope their contract demands bonus payment in gold.