Three months ago many were angry and surprised (or not at all, as realistically this was a perfectly logical move), when Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH and the richest man in socialist France, decided he had had enough, and would move to Belgium to avoid Hollande's punitive taxes on France's wealthiest. The indignant media's mocking response in France was fast and furious, with many delighted to see the billionaire leave. We wonder how the media will respond as more and more wealthy Frenchmen decide, now that the seal has been broken, to do just that and leave France to its grassroots movement where it is only "fair" that those who have more income and/or wealth, pay more than everyone else to keep the myth of the ponzi scheme formerly known as the welfare state alive and well. Such as one of France's most popular actors, Gerard Depardieu, who is the latest high profile departure to leave his native country and go to Belgium to avoid the second coming of the "fairness doctrine" (the first one of course, doing less than spectacularly with that whole USSR thing).
Surprisingly stable Risk. BTPs shot down in style. Italy? Down. Chinese data? Partially weak. Japan? In recession. French data? Weak. German data? Strong. Wow! Better have Friday’s PMI numbers really good. Analysts having to reinvent themselves once more as political experts to glare into a smoky crystal ball… Italian contagion contained, for now. Uh…Uh…!
"Uh...Uh - Bingo Bongo " (Bunds 1,30% unch; Spain 5,54% +9; Stoxx 2598 +0,0%; EUR 1,293 -20)
Shuffle Rewind 03-07 Dec " Only When I Sleep " (The Corrs, 1997)
This week in review (compared to Fri 30 Nov COB):
Click on day for related post, on title for song.
Hmmm… Need to find another way to kill time until Year End. Morning highs, lunch time lows and then trailing the US. EGBs on the stronger side with augurs seeing a weakening Germany and calls for lower rates putting the EUR under pressure. Ok, Germans: now work! Somebody has to pay the bills!
"Bruttosozialprodukt " (Bunds 1,3% +1; Spain 5,45% -1; Stoxx 2597 -0,3%; EUR 1,295 -20)
Strong start in Risk to take out new 2012 highs in Equities and trying to retrace near 2012 Credit lows, too. Core EGBs cool. Bunga Square’s rug pulling scuttled all that easy living by noon, weighting on the Periphery and boosting Core EGBs. ECB gloomy. Equity – bond divergence not a flyer yet, though… US sideways and Risk Watchers back to scanning European politics. EUR falling of the carpet.
"Magic Carpet Ride" (Bunds 1,29% -6; Spain 5,46% +8; Stoxx 2605 +0,6%; EUR 1,297 -100)
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Over and over. Europe doing about fine on its own and with an urge to test higher risk levels, in absence of negative news. Spanish BONOs feeling sad… US look more fickle. Is the fruit getting bad? Question of Muppets getting nervous out of boredom, or what?
"Furry Happy Monsters" (Bunds 1,35% -4; Spain 5,38% +15; Stoxx 2589 +0,1%; EUR 1,307 -10)
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Europe doing about fine on its own and with an urge to test higher risk levels, in absence of negative news. US more fickle on FCDRE. If this goes on until year-end… If it wasn’t for a bit of FCDRE… Tick. By. Tick. Movements. Equities high. Soft Core closing on historic lows.
"11 O’Clock Tick Tock " (Bunds 1,39% -2; Spain 5,23% -1; Stoxx 2587 +0,3%; EUR 1,308 +20)
Fiscal Cliff Discussion Risk Event still very much alive. Spain maths on budget. Italian maths, French… Bah… Still feels like things are a bit out of touch with reality here (equities vs. bonds). And that Greek buy-back looks really, really generous. Outwordly. Then again, best way to get rid of private ownership. After the OMT, the OPM… Obviously, other people’s money. PMI paint a slightly less bleak picture, but on rock bottom levels.
"Out Of Touch" (Bunds 1,41% +3; Spain 5,24% -6; Stoxx 2580 unch; EUR 1,306 +50)
“The euro has profound economic advantages and is the most powerful symbol of European integration,” said 11 EU foreign ministers. What were they smoking?
Hey, this was cuddle time-week! A big Hug for everyone: Bonds, Equities, Periphery, ah, Periphery bonds! Greece…
As Super Mario said himself on Friday, albeit in a different context: “We were living in a Fairy World”. Cute way of spelling it out.
Fairies, rainbows, wonderful world… Let’s put IZ on the case!
"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" (Bunds 1,38% -6; Spain 5,30% -30; Stoxx 2580 +1,1%; EUR 1,301 +50)
Europe rather direction-less on its own. Equities still rather firmer than not; with Bonds just the same. Macro data generally rather bleak, although expectations have been put so low lately that anything about palatable will do. Peeking over the Pond to see whether Fiscal Cliff discussions could scuttle things. Here late valuations are such that numbers should be really good to get things going. So: Drifting. Chatting. Checking.
"What's Up?" (Bunds 1,38% +1; Spain 5,3% -2; Stoxx 2580 unch; EUR 1,301 +30)
Looks like yesterday put into practice: Let’s thank everyone to turn around markets, when they sink. Nothing to break the barn stomp in Periphery bonds (but themselves). Italy brilliantly stuffed its primary dealer at a 2-year low. Core EGBs holding quite steady, given ROn in Risk and Periphery. Strong US GDP revision – but, as expected anyway. Given the actual level in Risk, good numbers are seen as given. Nothing weak, no more, never. Swimming in a Sea of (Risk) Love. Watch the Event / Headline risk on FC (& Greece. The math still seems quite odd…). Hard Periphery (especially Spain) slap-back in the afternoon, though.
"Sea Of Love" (Bunds 1,37% unch; Spain 5,32% +1; Stoxx 2579 +1,3%; EUR 1,298 +50)
Once more, not much own stuff to chew on Europe’s own. Drifting. EGBs very strong on (relative) equity weakness. Periphery starting to glow like the ZZ Top Eliminator. In absence of any strong lead, need to start thanking everyone for input and support (Mario, Ben, Angie, Chrissie… Anyone working on the Fiscal Cliff. Mariano & Mario. Wolfie...). New paradigm put into practice: nothing will ever be weak again, nothing. And watch out for FC Ping-Pong! And I Thank You!
"I Thank You" (Bunds 1,37% -6; Spain 5,31% -20; Stoxx 2547 +0,4%; EUR 1,293 unch)
Ok. It’s not that the Greek deal is nothing. But then again, third strike. Eventually expected, or at least hoped for. Hence, lack of concrete follow-through. So, now it’s there. And now what? You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet? What is there to see??? Pitch the markets some input, something concrete, something to feed off, something to see!
"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" (Bunds 1,43% +2; Spain 5,51% -9; Stoxx 2538 -0,2%; EUR 1,293 -30)
Hard pressed to find anything remotely exciting today. Equities losing a little shine, but understandable given last week’s 5% rush (and 14% tightening in Credit). Bonds stuck in range. Fiscal Cliff hailing back (in yet rather timid manner, though). Waiting on Greek rescue revelations. Yawn!
"Sailing" (Bunds 1,41% -3; Spain 5,6% unch; Stoxx 2542 -0,4%; EUR 1,296 unch)