If U.S. stocks have stabilized – granted, a big 'IF' - you can thank the fact that markets don’t believe the Federal Reserve’s outlook on interest rates. Bad news will keep the doves “Fed” (yes, a pun… it’s Friday) and the hawks at bay. A spate of good U.S. news while the rest of the developed world slows is the worst potential outcome in this narrative.
For those curious why the Russell 2000 has completely ignored this week's broader market rout and is in fact higher now than last Friday, the answer comes from a recent technical note from Bank of America which says that as of the first week of the month, the "Russell net short positioning largest since 2008 after fifth consecutive week of selling."
If the last three days all started with a rout in futures before the US market open only to ramp higher all day, today it may well be the opposite, when shortly after Europe opened it was the ECB's turn to talk stocks higher, when literally within minutes of the European market's open, ECB's Coeure said that:
- COEURE SAYS ECB WILL START WITHIN DAYS TO BUY ASSETS
Which was today's code word for all is clear, and within minutes US futures, which until that moment had languished unchanged, soared by 25 points. So will today be more of the same and whatever early action was directed by the central bankers will be faded into a weekend in which only more bad news can come out of Ebola-land?
"There is nothing good to say about the state of Venezuela’s economy, and this isn’t helping," warns Danske's Lars Christensen as tumbling prices for Venezuela’s oil are threatening to choke off funds (oil is 95% of exports) needed to pay debt.. and that is clear from the collapse of bond prices. The Maduro government desperately needs a rise in oil prices, but Saudi Arabia has so far rebuffed calls for an emergency meeting as it pursues a strategy of waiting out higher cost competitors. OPEC does not plan on meeting until Nov. 27. That is an eternity for a country that is beginning to unravel.
One would think: i) French + ii) economist + iii) Nobel prize winner = the French version of Paul Krugman, which immediately means someone who exists in a permament state of eternal hubris and confused shock at the endless stupidity of all those others who (have a functioning frontal cortext and thus) fail to recognize his brilliance (hence, are capable of rational thought), whose only explanation for the failure of all his promoted policies is that not enough, never enough of them was attempted, and that, like a good socialist, the only thing better than a massive government apparatus is an infinite government apparatus, coupled with 10 Princeton economists sitting in a circle, chanting and micromanaging the world, the economy and the capital markets.
One would be wrong.
In 2008, various liquidity facilities, designed by the Fed, unclogged broken capital markets and helped avert economic and financial disaster. The Fed’s (subsequent) QE and ZIRP policies have enabled fiscal stalemate, turbo-charged wealth inequality, and arguably led to financial asset bubbles. For these reasons, we believe they have become counter-productive. New tactics, should they be needed, would therefore be welcomed. The Fed claims it will turn to “macro-prudential” polices, but as Kevin Warch told The IMF, "macro-prudential policies are vital, but we have no idea what they are." We have a theory for what the Fed does next... and holders of capital (who have been so richly rewarded) will be badly hurt.
Equity markets live and die on several well-established conventions, according to ConvergEx's Nick Colas, noting that these are the rules that investors use as the bedrock of their fundamental analysis. The volatility of the last few weeks shows that some of these paradigms are now under attack. Chief among the question marks: “Do central banks always have the power to tip the balance between growth and recession?” Another rising concern: “Can stocks constantly shrug off recessionary signals from commodity and fixed income markets?” Lastly, “How many exogenous, if largely unpredictable, global events can equities ignore before their collective weight halts a bull market?” Bottom line: the debate on these topics isn’t over for October or the balance of the year.
Just when you think the selloff couldn’t get any scarier, it did. The last hour of trading took over 1% out of the S&P 500 in rapid fashion, reportedly on fears of an Ebola check at a major U.S. airport. Today we offer up a “Top 10” list of specific markets and indicators to watch for signs of a near term market bottom. They include the CBOE VIX Index (key levels at 26 and 32), the action in small cap stocks and crude oil, and the dollar. Less quantifiable issues – but important nonetheless – are headlines related to Ebola (probably getting worse before better), 10-year Treasury bond yields (2.0% and 1.5% possible here), and European policymakers addressing a host of difficult monetary and fiscal policy issues. Bottom line: this is unlikely to be a dramatic “V-bottom” low given the range of issues of concern to investors. Look for the majority of our “Top 10” to stop going down before calling a bottom.
Futures Euphoria Deflated By Latest Batch Of Ugly European News: Germany Can't Exclude "Technical Recession"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/14/2014 05:47 -0500
So far the overnight session has been a mirror image of Monday's, when futures languished at the lows only to ramp higher as soon as Europe started BTFD. Today, on the other hand, we had a rather amusing surge in the AUDJPY as several central banks were getting "liquidity rebates" from the CME to push the global carry-fueled risk complex higher, only to see their efforts crash and burn as Europe's key economic events hit. First, it was the Eurozone Industrial Production, which confirmed that the triple dip is well and here, when it printed -1.8%, below the expected -1.6%, and far below last month's 1.0%. This comes in the month when German IP plunged most since 2009, confirming that this time it's different, and it is Germany that is leading Europe's collapse into the Keynesian abyss not the periphery. And speaking of Germany, at the same time Europe's former growth dynamo released an October ZEW survey of -3.6%, the 10th consecutive decline and well below the 0.0% expected: first negative print since late 2012!
What if there was some degrees of freedom in the centrally planned capital markets that rational, non-emotional and non-ideologically-laden thinking could shed light on ? Here is such an attempt
"The audience in the ballroom of the Hotel Derek included engineers for shale drillers such as Marathon, Continental and Rice. Pamela Allen, a senior reserves coordinator for Marathon, raised her hand and told Lee that she was worried that using outsized forecasts in public presentations would run afoul of the SEC and “come back to haunt us.” Singhania, the Marathon spokeswoman, said she was unable to comment on Allen’s remarks without seeing a transcript. “If a lot of people get burned -- and I think a lot of people can and will be burned -- by these numbers in the investor presentations, there may be a push by investors to get the SEC to do something about it,” Lee said during the workshop."
And just like that. everything is crashing. Whether it is Asia, Europe, or even US futures, an entire generation of traders are waking up to something few have seen in the past 6 years: a very rare sea of red only this time with the main difference that the perpetual backstop of all risk, the Fed and/or "Edward Quince", may not be there to halt the collapse.
As American stock markets become CYNK'd with ever shorter horizons and ever greater aspirations of 'getting rich quick', we thought it fascinating that none other than E*Trade - that bastion of once day-trading prowess and now investing-for-retirement Type-E expertise - has been busted by the SEC for failing in their gatekeeper roles and improperly engaged in unregistered sales of microcap stocks on behalf of their customers. Remember, as the baby explains, "making a big investment is as easy as a single-click..." and so it was that E*Trade sold billions of penny stock shares for customers during a four-year period while ignoring red flags.
Regarding the two violent selloffs this week: there is no mystery. Recall that Deutsche Bank warned late in the summer this would happen for one simple reason: there are just three more weeks of POMO left after which the Fed's balance sheet flatlines, and with it, the S&P500. The only question is whether those who "sell ahead of everyone else", manage to take the S&P far below "unchanged", as prior QE ends have done, proving once again that it is all about the flow not the stock, and as a result the Fed will once again have to resort to even more QE.
As The FT's Capital Markets Editor mockingly retorts, the next financial apocalypse is imminent because...