Bank of America
Remember the "great rotation"? Neither do we, because the bank that year after year coined the term to prepare investors for a renormalization of the economy as bond yields rise alongside stocks (something that happens in any normal, non-centrally planned banana world), that would be Bank of America for anyone confused, just reported that in the latest week, EPFR data showed inflows to all fixed income funds of $16.04 billion – the highest on record going back to at least 2008. On the "other side of the spectrum were stocks that had $5.52bn of outflows, down from a $1.62bn inflow in the prior week." And just like that, it's a bond-pickers' market, even as central banks trade with each other in various dark pools to keep global equities, and thus confidence, stable even as the capital tsuniami screams deflation for years to come.
- RadioShack files for bankruptcy; Sprint to take over some stores (Reuters)
- Kansas To Issue Bonds and Invest Proceeds to Boost Pension Returns (WSJ)
- Merkel to Make Last Push With Putin as Pessimism Prevails (BBG)
- Islamic State in Syria seen under strain but far from collapse (Reuters)
- Texas Swagger Fades Fast as Oil Town Squeezed Hard by OPEC (BBG)
- SEC probes Blackberry options trading ahead of Reuters report about Samsung talks (Reuters)
- Spanish Bonds Underperform Italy’s as Podemos Gains Popularity (BBG)
- Steelworkers Union Rejects Offer From Refiners (WSJ)
- Brazil January Inflation at Fastest Pace in Nearly 12 Years (BBG)
Six years on from the financial crisis and central banks are still hacking away at interest rates. Australia and Romania's did this week and while Poland and India held off, both are expected to prune rates later in 2015.
"It's a man-made tragedy, and the men who made it won’t fix it." So it turns out Lenin wasn’t just right that the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. It’s also the best way, as Venezuela can tell you, to destroy the socialist one.
What Denmark has just done is "back-door QE", because as some forget, there are two ways to push the price of an asset higher (thus pushing its yield lower in the case of a bond): increase demand, which is what conventional QE does when central banks buy bonds, or reduce supply. Which is what Denmark just did by completely cutting off all Treasury issuance "until further notice". As a result, paradoxically, increasingly more speculators are betting that the "Trade of 2015" could be doing precisely the opposite of what the Danish central bank is hoping will happen: i.e., shorting the EURDKK (or going long the DKKEUR) in hopes that when the Danish peg finally does break, it too will result in long Swiss France-type profits.
Yields on Belarussian bonds exploded from 12% to 25% in the space of a few minutes this morning following reports that President Alexandr Lukashenko raised the prospect of restructuring the former Soviet republic’s external debt. As Bloomberg reports, the 2018 bonds collapsed from over 90c to 65c even as Lukashenko said Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared to provide $500 million of aid if the situation gets “very difficult.” However, two hours later - following the collapse in bonds - Lukashenko clarified his remarks... "Please calm down," he said, "Belarus has enough money to pay its debts in full." It turns out he meant refinance... not restructure.
The most cautionary episode to today was the 62% drop in oil prices from November 1985 to July 1986, although the Hamilton measure is much smaller. Similar to today, most believed this would prove to be a boost to GDP growth. Indeed, the consensus was forecasting average 2.3% GDP growth to increase 0.3pp, but it actually fell 0.9pp (based on the as reported GDP data, third release). This downward surprise continued for three quarters.
“Poor performance will be most acutely felt by small hedge fund firms,” Sandy Kaul, global head of business advisory services at Citi. “These funds simply did not generate enough performance-fee revenues in 2014 to cover their gap.” In other words, "small" hedge funds, those who tried valiantly for 1, 2 or more years to generate alpha, and failed, well they can continue to manage "small" amounts of money, however it will be of the paper variety. Which they are welcome to do on the one venue which has taken over for Yahoo Finance as the sole place where everyone pretends to not only trade but certainly never have even a single losing day: Twitter.
Q4 Shaping Up As Worst Quarter In Years: Aggregate Revenues And EPS Have Missed By 1.2% and 0.4% So FarSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2015 16:20 -0400
In aggregate, companies are reporting earnings and revenue below expectations to date. The aggregate dollar-level earnings reported by these 37 companies is 0.4% below the aggregate dollar-level earnings estimated for these 37 companies. The aggregate dollar-level revenue reported by these 37 companies is 1.2% below the aggregate dollar-level revenue estimated for these 37 companies. As a result, even though more companies have beat earnings and revenue estimates to date than missed earnings and revenue estimates, the surprise percentage (which reflects the aggregate difference between actual results and estimated results) is negative for both earnings (-0.4%) and revenue (-1.2%). This means that Q4 is shaping up as the worst quarter since 2012, perhaps even the start of the great financial crisis in 2008/2009.
As we detailed previously, the first USD-denominated Chinese corporate bond default last week - of developer Kaisa Group - signals considerably deeper problems in China's economy as one manager noted, "everyone is rethinking risk right now." As Bloomberg reports, Chinese companies comprised 62% of all U.S. dollar bond sales in the Asia-Pacific region ex Japan last year, issuing $244.4 billion and that huge (and illiquid) market "has been too complacent," according to one credit strategist who warned, investors would be “rational to adopt a cautious approach in view of the fact that anything can happen, anywhere, anytime. It would be irrational to continue thinking that after Kaisa none of the companies will see a similar fate."
While a record amount of ink has been spilled praising the benefits of plunging crude price on the US consumer, so far this has manifested merely in soaring consumer confidence, if not in an actual boost to retail sales. Less has been written about the adverse side-effects of plunging oil, even though by now even the most “undisputed” permabulls have been forced to admit that the imminent collapse in capital spending is truly “unprecedented”, a phrase Goldman uses in the chart below. So what does plunging CapEx actually mean for the economy, aside from a major haircut to 2015 GDP, and what other areas of the economy will be affected by the Saudi Arabian scorched earth war on the US shale industry?
The 30 Year U.S. Treasury bond yield hit 2.35% yesterday. Long term interest rates are not controlled by Yellen. They reflect the economic prospects of the country. When they are rising it means the economy is doing well. When they are plummeting to all time lows, the economy is either in recession or headed into recession. Take your pick. No amount of government data manipulation, feel good propaganda spewed by the captured mainstream media, or Ivy League educated Wall Street economist doublespeak, can change the fact this economy is in the dumper and headed much lower. The Greater Depression is resuming its downward march toward inevitable war.
One day after the SNB stunner roiled markets, overnight global markets have seen - as expected - substanial downward pressure, with the Swiss market slide resuming post open, while European stocks have seen some pressure despite what is now an assured ECB QE announcement next week. However, the one trade that can not be mistaken is the global rush into the safety of government paper, with every single treasury yielding less today than yesterday (the Swiss 10Y was trading below 0% at last check), except for Greek 10Y which are wider on deposit run fears. That said, with capital market liquidity absolutely non-existent even the smallest trade has a disproportionate effect on futures, and expect to see much more rangebound trading until the damage report from the SNB action is fully digested, something which will take place over the weekend.
Following disappointing results from JPM and Wells Fargo yesterday, it was Bank of America's turn to "surprise" investors with its disclosure just how bad its quarter was. And with the bank reporting a 50% collapse in its sales and trading from Q3, down $600 million from a year ago to just $1.7 billion in Q4, it should come as no surprise that the bank just reported Net Income, before the usual spate of amusing addbacks, of $0.25 well below the $0.31 expected. And while one may argue whether ot not BofA's EPS deserve non-GAAP adbacks, it was the Revenue of $18.96 billion, which missed expectations of $21.03 billion by over $2 billion (!) and down $2.7 billion from a year ago, that was truly a showstropper and shows that without the Fed's visible hand manipulating markets every day, banks are a ticking time bomb just waiting to blow.