Recent market actions, the rapid decline in interest rates, earnings deterioration and plunging energy prices have made many less comfortable being long the market. While the "buy and hold" crowd suggests this is all rubbish, it should be worth remembering that every single one of that group never saw the corrections in 2000 or 2008 until it was far too late. Their only excuse was "no one could have seen it coming." The truth is that many did see what was coming. Paying attention to what is happening at the margin leads to an understanding of when the "tides" begin to shift.
Global markets face three risks, according to Edwards: bearishness in the U.S. government bond market, a flawed confidence that the U.S. is in a self-sustaining recovery and undue faith in the relationship between quantitative easing (QE) and the equity markets. “It doesn’t matter how much QE is spewing out of the US,” he said. “The markets will lose confidence that the policymakers are in control of events, just as they did in 90's Japan. They lost faith that the policymakers were in control. This is the biggest risk out there.”
The stealth LBO of the S&P 500 will not only continue in 2015 but accelerate, with another 2% of the entire market cap converted into debt, thanks to a whopping $450 billion in net corporate inflows, $35 billion more than the $415 billion in corporate inflows in 2014.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
If all it took to push stocks to ever recorder(est) highs, granted on no volume, but recorder(est) highs nonetheless, was for correlation algos to pick a carry FX pair trade du jour which to push the Nikkei, or the Dax, or - most frequently - the S&P higher, then all equity indices would already been in scientific digit territory. And since they aren't, it is only logical that prosperity through currency debasement can only "work" for so long.
But how long? Well, when it comes to the primary carry pair du jour, the Dollar-Yen, the answer may be just a few hundred pips more, before it all comes unglued for Japan's Prime Minister whose first stint in the role ended in a prophetic bout of epic diarrhea, Shinzo Abe.
"Gold Is A 6,000 Year Old Bubble" - Citi's Dutch Strategist Throws Up All Over Gold, Days After Dutch Gold RepatriationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/27/2014 17:40 -0500
"Gold is the world’s most persistent bubble: 6,000 years old and going strong" - Citigroup's Willem Buiter.
Dear Willem, thank you for that valiant effort. After reading a few thousands words of shallow propaganda we understand your "confusion": our advice, if you want to understand what gold really is, read the following from Kyle Bass: "Buying gold is just buying a put against the idiocy of the political cycle. It's That Simple." Because if there is a bubble that is even bigger and longer than the "6000-year-old gold bubble" it is that of human corruption, greed, and idiocy. And that doesn't even include the stupidity of those who don't grasp this simple truth.
Fear Of "Surge In Debt Defaults, Business Failures And Job Losses" Means Many More Chinese Rate CutsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/23/2014 10:40 -0500
The PBOC, which cut rates for the first time in two years on Friday, will have its work cut out for it. And in the worst tradition of "developed world" banks, Beijing will now have no choice but to double down on the very same bad policies that got it into its current unstable equilibrium, and proceeds with a full-blown policy flip-flop, leading to a full easing cycle that reignites the bad-debt surge once more. And sure enough, today Reuters reports citing "unnamed sources involved in policy-making" (supposedly different sources than the unnamed sources Reuters uses to float trial balloons used by the ECB and the BOJ), that "China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions" due to concerns deflation "could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making." In other words, China has once again looked into the abyss once... and decided to dig a little more.
"The People's Bank of China decided to cut financial institutions RMB benchmark interest rate loans and deposits with effect from November 22, 2014. The one-year benchmark lending rate down 0.4 percentage points to 5.6%; one-year benchmark deposit rate down 0.25 percentage point to 2.75%, while the combination of market-oriented reforms to promote the interest rate, the upper limit of the floating range of interest rates on deposits of financial institutions by the benchmark deposit 1.1 times the adjusted interest rate is 1.2 times; other grades adjusted accordingly benchmark interest rate loans and deposits, and to make appropriate benchmark interest rate maturities degenerate."
The bad news: every central-planner is now all in. The good news for the liquidity addicts, is that the S&P futures are now 12 points higher on what is clearly the only growth strategy left in a centrally-planned world, and are approaching 2070 and just 30 points away from Goldman's 2015 year end target.!
In the first of three interviews with Merryn Somerset Webb, Hugh Hendry, manager of the Eclectica Fund, talks about what it takes to be a good hedge fund manager – and how he learned to stop worrying and love central banks. As he notes, the world is "guilty of the misconstruing of a bull market in equities, for what is actually the ongoing degradation in the soundness of the fiat monetary system."
"My premise hasn’t really changed since I published my paper explaining why I had become more constructive towards risk assets this time last year. That is to say, the structural deficiency of global demand continues to radicalise the central banking community. I believe they are terrified: the system is so leveraged and vulnerable to potentially systemic price reversals that the monetary authorities find themselves beholden to long only investors and obliged to support asset prices. However, I clearly confused everyone with my choice of language. What I should have said is that investors are perhaps misconstruing rising equity prices as a traditional bull market spurred on by revenue and earnings growth, and becoming fearful of a reversal, when instead the persistent upwards drift in stock markets is more a reflection of the steady erosion of the soundness of the global monetary system and therefore the rise in stock prices is something that is likely to prevail for some time."
Washington’s ability to rig markets has allowed Washington to keep its economic house of cards standing. The extent of financial corruption involving collusion between the mega-banks and the financial authorities is unfathomable. The Western financial system is a house of cards resting on corruption. Can it stand forever or are there so many rotted joints that some simultaneous collection of failures overwhelms the manipulation and brings on a massive crash? Time will tell.
"Most Important Chart For Investors" Updated: Edwards Sees USDJPY 145 Next And "A Tidal Wave Of Deflation Westward"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/13/2014 09:38 -0500
What happens next? Here, straight from the horse's mouth that got the first part of the rapid Yen devaluation so right, is the answer. As Edwards updates with a note from this morning, "the yen is set to follow the US dollar DXY trade-weighted index by crashing through multi-decade resistance - around ¥120. It seems entirely plausible to me that once we break ¥120, we could see a very quick ¥25 move to ¥145, forcing commensurate devaluations across the whole Asian region and sending a tidal wave of deflation westwards."
While hardly a surprise, the spin for the latest round of overnight BOJ USDJPY-buying exuberance, which sent the pair higher by another 100 pips to a fresh 7 year high of 114.500 and just over 500 pips from the Albert Edwards "line in the sand" 120 and pushed US equity futures higher with it, has been the Republican sweep in the midterm elections which not only solidified GOP control of the House but also gave Republicans outright control of the Senate.
Back in late September, we posted what Albert Edwards thought at the time was "The Most Important Chart For Investors" which was quite simply, a chart of the USDJPY. Considering the BOJ's overnight move, he was absolutely correct. So for all those who missed it, here it is again, because it explains not only where the Yen is headed next, but why, sadly, this could well be the end of Japan and the mirage of a recovery that has had everybody hypnotized for the past 6 years.