Capital Markets

Europe Agrees To Disagree Over New Russian Sanctions

As usual, Europe is talking out of both sides of its mouth (or other orifices). On the one hand, we are told:

  • EU foreign ministers failed to agree new sanctions against Russia at a Brussels meeting

And on the other hand:

  • Dutch minister says EU imposing new sanctions on officials over Russia

So - which is it Europe?

Why One Big Bank Is "Worried That The Market Is Stretched And Could Correct Rapidly"

We show that equity markets are stretched (e.g., more than 80% of the S&P rally since last year is due to re-rating), but we also find that the fixed income market has become quite rich (we have been overweight European peripherals for more than a year on valuation grounds, we show that this argument no longer holds), and the same is true of the credit market. Second because capital has been flowing rapidly into risky assets, we document that argument and here too find evidence that the market might be ahead of itself. We read the market reaction last week to the Portuguese news as a sign that the market is indeed too complacent and could correct rapidly.

With Two Weeks Left, Argentina Starts Taking (Bondholder) Names

The Argentina default battle is in its final fortnight, with a July 30 grace period expiration looming, one which would result in a second bankruptcy in 13 years to formally be written down in the history books, and which could spoil the serene glow all global capital markets have found themselves in thanks to the central bankers' soothing words. As a result, Argentina has resorted to a last ditch strategy to ferret out the full list of holdout creditors (the hedge funds led by Elliott, Aurelius and various other known and unknown bondholders) as well as get a full list of the restructured bondholders (those who are perfectly happy to clip whatever coupon Argentina will pay them instead of seeing their payment stop altogether if and when CFK announces an official default). The logic behind the ruse: to circumvent the court and pay the restructured debtholders in the 11th hour.

China's "Secret Money Laundering" Story Goes Mainstream; Is Promptly Censored

When we broke the story of China's "secret" money laundering into US real estate scheme, we said "So what happens next? Assuming there is the anticipated resulting backlash and crackdown on Chinese banks, which will finally enforce the $50K/year outflow limitation, this could well be the worst possible news not only for Chinese inflation, which suddenly - no longer having a convenient outlet for the unprecedented liquidity formed in the country every month - is set to soar, but also for the ultra-luxury housing in the US. Because without the Chinese bid in a market in which the Chinese are the biggest marginal buyer scooping up real estate across the land, sight unseen, and paid for in laundered cash (which the NAR blissfully does not need to know about due to its AML exemptions), watch as suddenly the 4th dead cat bounce in US housing since the Lehman failure rediscovers just how painful gravity really is." What we forgot to add is that virtually every other financial mainstream outlet would promptly pick up on the story even as the original source back in China took its secrets to the grace. Metaphorically speaking, we hope...

US Foreign Policy In Shambles: Global Crises Worst Since 1970 As Obama Golfs

If one were so inclined, one could imagine that the relentless barrage of domestic scandals plaguing Obama have been orchestrated with a simple reason: to divert attention from the worst US foreign policy in four decades. And sure enough, even a casual glimpse of all the raging international crises, in which the US is currently embroiled, is enough to make one wonder if the next global crisis will be fought not in the capital markets but in the actual battlefield. As the WSJ recounts, "a convergence of security crises is playing out around the globe, from the Palestinian territories and Iraq to Ukraine and the South China Sea, posing a serious challenge to President Barack Obama's foreign policy and reflecting a world in which U.S. global power seems increasingly tenuous. The breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn't been seen since the late 1970s, U.S. security strategists say, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, revolutionary Islamists took power in Iran, and Southeast Asia was reeling in the wake of the U.S. exit from Vietnam."

Goldman Admits Market 40% Overvalued, Economy Slowing, So... Time To Boost The S&P Target To 2050 From 1900

Recall that it was Goldman's David Kostin who in January admitted that "The S&P500 Is Now Overvalued By Almost Any Measure." It was then when the Goldman chief strategist admitted there was only 3% upside to the bank's year end target of 1900.  Well, that hasn't changed. In his latest note Kostin says that "S&P 500 now trades at 16.1x forward 12-month consensus EPS and 16.5x our top-down forecast... the only time S&P 500 traded at a higher multiple than today was during the 1997-2000 Tech bubble when margins were 25% (250 bp) lower than today. S&P 500 also trades at high EV/sales and EV/EBITDA multiples relative to history. The cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio suggests S&P 500 is now 30%-45% overvalued compared with the average since 1928." And this is where Goldman just goes apeshit full retard: "we lift our year-end 2014 S&P 500 price target to 2050 (from 1900) and 12-month target to 2075, reflecting prospective returns of 4% and 6%, respectively."

Wait, what???

Is It Time To Sell The "Old Guy At A Club" Market?

It’s time to think like a contrarian. Why? Because capital markets seem as bulletproof as one of those up-armored military personnel carriers you see in war zones. So what could really rattle stock, bond and commodity markets over the next 3-6 months? The go-to answer, steeped in history, is geopolitical crisis, where the logical hedges are precious metals, volatility plays, and possibly crude oil. Look deeper, however, and other answers emerge.

"Waiting For Armageddon" - Say It Isn't So?

Brent Johnson, of Santiago Capital, provides a brief but broad overview of the state of the state in the world's precious metals markets (and monetary policy implications). Often accused of "waiting for armageddon", Johnson is quick to note that he would love to be wrong... "If I thought it possible to carry out the next 40 years the same as the last - by sticking to the status quo - I'd do it." But it's not... and no matter how many "say it isn't so" you hear from the mainstream, it is inevitable (when not if). Simply put, he warns, if you do have to have capital markets exposure - make sure you have insurance - you need it now more than ever.

Frontrunning: July 11

  • Carl Icahn says 'time to be cautious' on U.S. stocks (Reuters)
  • Banco Espirito Santo Lifts Lid on Exposure to Group (BBG)
  • Slowing Customer Traffic Worries U.S. Retailers (WSJ)
  • Insurgents enter military base northeast of Baghdad (Reuters)
  • Obama tells Israel U.S. ready to help end hostilities (Reuters)
  • Japan economics minister warns of premature QE exit, sees room for more easing (Reuters)
  • Greek Banks See Quadrupling of Housing Loans by Next Year (BBG) ... to fund buybacks like in the US?
  • Piggy Banks Being Raided Signal Swedish Housing Dilemma (BBG)
  • London Seeks New Spenders as Russians Skip $719 Champagne (BBG)