It has been a scorching August for the continental US, with the government predicting, for the first time on record, that every square inch of all 50 states is forecast to see above-average temperatures for the next three months. However, that is nothing compared to what is taking place in the blistering bond market, where new bond issuance is on pace to blow away all records.
One of the biggest “lies” in the financial world is that if you just invest your money in the markets over the long-term, you will average 7, 8 or 10% a year. Asset-gatherers don't give enough credence to the long-term effects of the “when” you start your investing cycle. The primary problem is that investors DO NOT have 100-years to invest BEFORE their disbursement cycle begins. Unfortunately, with stock valuations pushing the second highest level in history, forward return expectations (before inflation, taxes, and expenses) are extremely low.
As expected, the Bank of England unanimously cut rates by 25 bps to a record low 0.25%. However in a somewhat surprising move, the BOE also expand its QE by £60 billiion to £435 billion in a 6-3 vote, of which up to £10 billion will be in the form of corporate bond purchases, as we previewed last night. Overall a very dovish decision, with Mark Carney providing more monetary stimulus than many had expected, sending sterling plunging and the FTSE100 surging.
In a mostly quiet session, European and Asian stocks rose, pushed higher by financial stocks and the USDJPY which initially dipped on some hawkish comments by BOJ deputy governor Iwata, only to rebound later in the session, lifting the Nikkei 1.1%, while the Stoxx 600 rose 0.4% led higher by the banking sector. S&P futures are unchnaged after yesterday's last hour ramp. The key event is the BOE decision due in half an hour.
Last night, President Obama took a victory lap for his economic achievements while in office. With the 2016 Presidential Election fast approaching, this was one of the final chances the President will have to try and divert attention away from Hillary’s “trustworthiness” problem following continued revelations surrounding Benghazi, email scandals and the Clinton Foundation which is now under investigation by the IRS.The question is whether the majority of the voting public will agree with the President’s message? Let’s take a look at some charts...
The crucial thing to understand about credit bubble dynamics is that borrowing money from people desperate to lend and using the proceeds to overpay for assets requires only monkey-level intelligence. So while a bubble is inflating it’s impossible for most of the media, banking and political communities to tell the legitimate operators from the hopelessly corrupt and/or extremely stupid. That’s the world we’ve created by handing monetary printing presses to governments, and by extension to corporate CEOs.
Following yesterday's Fed decision and ahead of tonight's far more important BOJ announcement, European stocks have posted modest declines, Asian shares rise toward 9-month highs, while U.S. equity index futures are fractionally in the green in the aftermath of Facebook's blowout earnings. The dollar has extended on losses after Yellen reiterated a gradual approach to raising interest rates, and was down 0.5% in early trading.
The Fed is expected to stay on hold today. Given the Fed’s dovish reaction to the weak May employment report, SocGen expects that officials are likely to be reluctant to commit to any particular path just yet (despite the longest streak of economically positive surprise in US history). In the absence of any signal regarding the next hike, attention will fall on their characterization of the economy. Here are five things to watch in the statement...
At the same time that the Nikkei released its latest "market response" trial ballon, where it posted an article around 2am local time clearly meant for US market consumption according to which BOJ officials "were said to be leaning more toward easing", the same Nikkei also published a preview of what Japan's helicopter money may look like. There is just one problem: at first read, and judging by the market's reaction, it appears to be rather underwhelming.
After breaking a multi-year stretch of 9 daily record highs in the Dow Jones, overnight global markets saw some early weakness with Asian stocks retreating after BOJ chief Kuroda dashed hopes for so-called helicopter money, triggering yen’s steepest rally in a month and pulling the Nikkei lower by 1.1%. This however did not last long, and around the European open the traditional ramp in the USDJPY helped European equities shrug off early downside, while US equity futures have already recovered half of yesterday's losses.
After a head-scratching S&P500 rally - which not even Goldman has been able to justify - pushed stocks to new all time highs with seemingly daily record highs regardless of fundamentals or geopolitical troubles, overnight US equity futures dipped modestly, tracking weak European stocks as demand for safe haven assets including U.S. Treasuries and gold rises. Asian stocks outside Japan fall. Crude oil trades near $45 a barrel.
With global rates at zero to negative, money will continue to chase U.S. Treasuries for the higher yield. This will continue to push yields lower as the global economy continues to slow. What would cause this to reverse? It would require either an economic rebound as last seen in 50’s and 60’s or a complete loss of faith in the U.S. to pay its debts such as a collapse of the Government and the onset of the “zombie apocalypse.” We no longer have the drivers of manufacturing, demographics or credit expansion for the former, so I am ready for the latter.