Europe's leaders, we assume under pressure from Washington, appear to be making a big weather-related bet with their taxpayers' lives this winter. As they unleash funding sanctions on Russia's big energy producers, Europe has pumped a record volume of natural gas into underground inventories in an effort to 'outlast' Russia and mitigate any Napoleonic "Winter War" scenario. The plan appears to be to starve Russian energy firms of cashflow - as flows to Europe are already plunging - and remove their funding ability, potentially forcing severe hardship on Russia's key economic drivers. There appears to be 3 potential problems with this plan...
With the Alibaba roadshow kicking off this week, ConvergEx's Nick Colas reviews the second-order implications of this historic transaction. Over the next two weeks investors will have to consider important issues, such as which stocks money managers will sell to fund their BABA purchase and what securities (stocks and ETFs) hedge funds may short to pair against an Alibaba long position. And consider: "Do big IPOs signal a market top?" Also, with an estimated $7 billion in fresh cash and a valuable public stock post-IPO, BABA will also be able to play the M&A game aggressively. Just consider its corporate North Star: "Our mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere" (the first line of the S-1 summary). In short, Colas concludes Alibaba really is a big deal (at 27.3x trailing EV/EBITDA).
After being solidly ignored for weeks, suddenly the Scottish independence referendum is all anyone can talk about, manifesting itself in a plunge in the GBPUSD which ha slide over 100 pips in the past 24 hours, adding to the slide over the past week, and is now just above 1.61, the lowest since November 2013. In fact, the collapse of the unionist momentum has managed to push back overnight news from Ukraine, major Russian sanction escalations, Japan GDP as well as global trade data on the back burner. Speaking of global trade, with both China and Germany reporting a record trade surplus overnight, with the US trade deficit declining recently, and with not a single country in the past several month reporting of an increase in imports, one wonders just which planet in the solar system (or beyond) the world, which once again finds itself in a magical global trade surplus position, is exporting to?
The FT reports from a leaked copy, Europe's latest sanctions round will boldly go where Europe has never dared to go before, and impose sanctions on the big three: Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Transneft.
Think CDS were the scourge of humanity, think again. As Pension360 reports, several Wall Street firms are selling securities backed by longevity risk - the risk that retirees receiving benefits will live longer than expected (and thus incur a higher cost on their retirement plan). As Ted Ballantine notes, 'no one ever said Wall Street wasn't creative'; but one wonders just how the banks are mitigating this risk...
Market reversions, when the occur, are extremely rapid and tend to leave a rather brutal "scar" on investment portfolios. There is clear evidence that economic growth is being impacted by deflationary pressures on a global scale. This suggests that the sustainability of current and projected growth rates of profits is questionable given the magnitude to which leverage has been used to boost margins through share repurchases. Here are three things to consider that may help you question your faith.
It has been a while since Tepper warned of "nervous time" and told his hedge fund pals "don't be too freakin' long." Since then the manipulated equity market bubble has gone straight up with every single dip bought massively by the algos, in the process surely eliminating any nervous thoughts Tepper may have had. So in a world starved for pundit philosophy, Bloomberg just reported that the bond market bubble is about to pop, at least according to the folicularly challenged billionaire. The reason, paradoxically enough, the ECB's decision to monetize private assets and cut rates.
Heading into the North American open, the bulk of the morning’s price action has been provided by news that Ukrainian President Poroshenko said that he reached an agreement with Russia's Putin on a "permanent cease fire" in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. This saw an immediate spike higher in European equities with the DAX future rallying and breaking above its 100DMA seen at 9644.50, thus extending earlier gains that stemmed from the strong performance in Asia-Pacific equities, while the e-mini S&P once again printed a fresh record high. However, these moves staged a partial reversal amid comments from Russia’s Putin that he denied that such an agreement had been reached as Russia is not a party to the Ukraine conflict. In stock specific news, Russian exposed Raiffeisen Bank outperforms Europe (+7%) in reaction to the geopolitical developments, while Hugo Boss have underperformed throughout the session following a share placement which came in at the lower end (-5.3%).
The Central Bank policies of the last five years have damaged the capital markets to the point that the single most important item is no longer developments in the real world, but how Central banks will respond to said developments.
- Ukraine Shifts to Defense Against Russian Incursion (WSJ)
- U.S. forces carry out operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia (Reuters)
- Bond Markets Tilt Toward Frankfurt as Draghi Negates Fed (BBG)
- Another "unexpectedly" - Swiss Economy Unexpectedly Stalls as Euro Area Takes Toll (BBG)
- Japan's 'Abenomics' feared in trouble as challenges build (Reuters)
- Germany Imposes Nationwide Ban on Uber's Cab-Hailing Service (WSJ)
- Japan's 'forward guidance', the GPIF, has "already begun a highly anticipated portfolio reshuffle" (WSJ)
- Detroit Brings Bankruptcy Plan to Court With Billionaires (BBG)
- Burger King has maneuvered to cut U.S. tax bill for years (Reuters)
- Off balance sheet vehicles? Check
- Conflicted bank "research" recommending muppets buy stock while soliciting banking fees from same stock? Check
- Hoping to sell debt on to muppets? Check
- Chinese corruption? Check
- State bailout of failed bank? Check
We believe Fed’s actions would be more appropriately described as permitted cancerous beliefs to spread throughout the financial system, thereby killing Democratic Capitalism which is the basis of the capital markets. Today we’re going to explain what the “final outcome” for this process will be. The short version is what happens to a cancer patient who allows the disease to spread unchecked (death).
The popular view concerning the Fed is that it is apolitical. Anyone who considers the timing of the Fed’s actions knows this is false. However, for the vast majority of Americans, including financial professionals, the Fed is thought to be an apolitical entity focusing exclusively on economic and financial matters.
Dispassionate overview of the week ahead, with thoughts about September.
It is clearly not in the interests of the long-standing members of the EU to escalate a 'sanctions and financial conflict' with Russia. This is why politicians are walking on eggshells, paying lip-service to America and the scared Eastern fringe members of NATO while hoping this goes no further. So long as this is the case it is clear that NATO members are powerless to stop Russia from wresting control of all or parts of Ukraine from the government in Kiev. Putin knows this; unfortunately it is not clear to us that the American government does. All in all it seems likely that after a period of slow-burn as Putin dictates the pace of developments, the political situation in Ukraine will deteriorate with some unhelpful nudges from Russia.