Beige Book

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Central Bankers Next Test Of Omnipotence May Be Coming





Here we are, just barely into our first earnings season without the incessantly added fuel provided by QE and the markets are stumbling. At times on Friday the indexes were hovering near the possibility of posting 2% losses going into the weekend. In today’s media mindset of “everything is awesome.” That’s near – unthinkable. No Fed speaker saved the day; no HFT-induced ramp came to the rescue... Maybe it’s because all ammo (and there has been no silver bullet more powerful of late than a Central Banker press conference) is being reserved for a much larger crisis looming on the horizon (i.e. Greece and all its tenuous implications calling for an “All hands on printing presses deck, battle stations” response).

 
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With Futures On The Verge Of A Major Breakout, Greece Drags Them Back Down; German 10Y Under 0.1%





Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible.  The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.

 
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71 Mentions Of "Weather" In The Latest Fed Beige Book





There were the usual trite, forgettable highlights in the just released beige snow book, which as summarized by Bloomberg, had the following highlights:

FED: ECONOMY EXPANDED IN MOST REGIONS MID-FEB. TO END-MARCH;  HIGHER RETAIL SALES REPORTED BY MAJORITY OF REGIONAL FED BANKS; BEIGE BOOK: LABOR MARKETS STABLE OR SHOWED MODEST IMPROVEMENT; REGIONAL FEDS NOTED MODEST UPWARD WAGE AND PRICE PRESSURE;

One can ignore all of the above, because the only word that matters in the latest beige book was one: "Weather"

 
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Key Global Events In The Coming Week





While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.

 
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China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar Surge





If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v

 
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What Goldman's Clients Are Most Concerned About





The answer, straight from the horse's mouth.

 
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Euro Slides, Futures Flat Ahead Of Mario Draghi's Press Conference And Q€ Cheat Sheet





It has been a while since we have seen the USDJPY rampathon push US equities higher, so in a day dominated by central banks (first the BOE momentarily), and then the ECB's much anticipated announcement of the actual QE launch at the Draghi press conference at 1:30pm CET (taking place, ironically enough, in the place that was the blueprint for the Eurozone's capital controls, Cyprus), it only makes sense that after weeks of stage fright, the USDJPY algos reminded the world they are alive and well, and proceeded to ramp the key FX pair above 120, even though the currency that everyone will be talking about today is the Euro, hugging 1.10 as of this moment, but the real question is what happens after Draghi gives the asset buying green light: has all of Q€ been priced in already in FX, and will the EURUSD resume its surge higher, or is parity next stop?

 
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The Only Notable Thing About Today's Beige Book Release...





...is that while nobody actually cares about its contents, when the flashing red headlines hit, they set off a firestorm of HFT algo buying in WTI on the day of the biggest inventory build in...forever.

 
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Frontrunning: March 4





  • RBS to cut up to 14,000 jobs in investment banking unit (FT)
  • Doctors, patients scramble ahead of high court Obamacare decision (Reuters)
  • Rajan Cuts India Rates After Modi Agrees to Inflation Target (BBG)
  • Russia’s Putin Makes First Public Comments on Killing of Boris Nemtsov (WSJ)
  • House breaks impasse, passes security funding without provisions (Reuters)
  • How a 25-Year-Old Investor Spurred Lumber Liquidators’ Plunge (BBG)
  • Jeff Immelt’s Overhaul of GE Impeded by Falling Oil Prices (WSJ)
  • Sahara India Defaults on Luxury Hotel Loans From Bank of China (BBG)
 
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Market Wrap: Futures Slide Despite Latest Central Bank Easing Blitz





Just like yesterday, it has - so far - been mostly about Asia in the overnight session, where as reported previously, we got the latest central bank engaging in an "unexpected" rate cut, after Reserve Bank of India Governor Rajan cut rates in an unscheduled move days after the government agreed for the first time to give the central bank a legal mandate to target inflation. This was India's second rate cut in 2 months, and yet despite the Sensex surging to a all time high over 30,000, it subsequently ended up closing red on the day, down -0.7%, despite the Indian currency sliding 0.4% to 62.1463 to a dollar. Is the half-life of thany incremental rate cut in an unprecedented barage of global central bank easing now less than a day?

 
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Market Wrap: Futures Unchanged Despite Latest Chinese Rate Cut





With key economic data either behind us (with the downward revised GDP), or ahead of us (the February payrolls on deck), and the Greek situation currently shelved if only for a few days/weeks until the IMF payment comes due and the farce begins anew, stocks are focuing on the widely telegraphed 25 bps Chinese rate cut over the weekend, which however has so far failed to inspire a broad based rally either in Asia (where the SHCOMP closed up 0.8% after first dipping in the red) or across developed markets. In fact, as of this moment futures are hugging the unchanged line as the USDJPY attempted another breakout of 120.000 but with numerous option barrier expiration stop at that level, it has since retracted all the overnight gains and is back to the Sundey lows, even as the EURUSD has seen a powerful breakout from overnight lows and is currently at the highest level since the US GDP print, following the release of the final European February PMI data, as a result of USD weakness since the European open.

 
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Four Key Themes From Q4 Earnings: From Dollar Headwinds To Management Over-Confidence





By reviewing the earnings transcripts from the companies of the S&P 500, Goldman Sachs notes 4 key themes emerge from the maelstrom of double-speak, bravado, and actual data (GAAP or non-GAAP). Without question the US Dollar strength is a drag on multinationals and CEOs are resolute in that (despite mainstream media prognostications that 'king dollar' is "unequivocally good") but what CEOs and CFOs seems just as resolutely positive about is that while macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties still exist in Asia and Europe, they expect solid US economic growth in 2015. It appears - given the data - they will be disappointed.

 
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Initial Jobless Claims Surge Above 300k, Highest Since June 2014





Tumbling retail sales and now surging jobless claims... perhaps the "low oil is awesome" narrative is not true after all. Initial Jobless claims surged to 316k (smashing expectations of 290k) and has not been higher since June 2014.  The BLS reports no unusual activity - so economists can't hust shrug this one off. Details on state-by-state job losses are lagged a week so we will not know if this is Shale Oil region-related but yesterday's Beige Book and day after day of announced job cuts by the energy sector suggest it is.

 
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