There has been a bevy of negative news in the past 48 hours which perhaps explains why futures are fractionally in the green as of this moment.
March's dead-cat-bounce in Chicago PMI (like January's) has died again as the business barometer drops to just 50.4 (from 53.6) missing expectations of 52.6. This barely-above-contractionary level was driven by an 11-point collapse in Order backlogs to the lowest since Dec 2015, and as MNI reports, "order patterns continued to be plagued by a lack of large orders and absence of international demand, purchasers said."
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.
Unfortunately, when central-planners "drag forward" future consumption today, you leave a "void" in the future that must be filled. That future "void" continues to expand each time activity is dragged forward until, inevitably, it can not be filled. This is currently being witnessed in the overall data trends as seen in the deterioration in corporate earnings and revenues. The only question is whether Central Banks can continue to support asset prices long enough for the economic cycle to catch up. Historically, such is a feat that has never been accomplished.
For Japan, the post "Shanghai Summit" world is turning ugly, fast, because as a result of the sliding dollar, a key demand of China which has been delighted by the recent dovish words and actions of Janet Yellen, both Japan's and Europe's stock markets have been sacrificed at the whims of their suddenly soaring currencies. Which is why when Japanese stocks tumbled the most in 7 weeks, sinking 3.5%, to a one month low of 16,164 (after the Yen continued strengthening and the Tankan confidence index plunged to a 3 year low) it was anything but an April fool's joke to both local traders.
Following its demise into contraction in February, Chicago PMI jumped back to 53.6 (expansion) in March which is better than expected but remains below January's 55.5 highs. The last 12 months have seen quite unprecedented noise in this economic barometer and MNI reports respondents saying the recovery is "slow and steady... fuelled by warmer weather."
On the last day of an extremely volatile first quarter, following the latest torrid push higher in risk assets over the past two days following Yellen's dovish Tuesday comments, today has seen a modest pull back in risk, whether because the market is massively overbought, because someone finally looked at what record multiple expansion that has taken place in Q1 as earnings are set to collapse by nearly 10%, or simply due to fears that tomorrow's payrolls number will show an abnormal amount of minimum wage waiters and bartenders added.
- The US sees the release of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report this week after last month’s stellar job numbers but downbeat average hourly earnings
- After a long weekend, European data is relatively light with highlights including CPI readings from Germany and the Eurozone, as well as German unemployment
Despite ongoing Central Bank interventions which boost asset prices and acts as a huge wealth transfer tax from the middle class to the rich, corporate earnings are a direct reflection of what is happening in the actual economy. Wall Street has always extrapolated earnings growth indefinitely into the future without taking into account the effects of the normal economic and business cycles. This was the same in 2000 and 2007. Unfortunately, the economy neither forgets nor forgives.
While many investors may be breathing a sigh of relief thanks to the bounce off the February low, with the S&P up 11% since the start of February – it’s still not all lollipops and rainbows out there in market-land. There’s some worrying undercurrents that could spell more trouble ahead...
"...it is not wise to dismiss recession risk." Despite the ongoing “hopes” of the always bullish media, the recent rally has not changed the slope, or scope, of current market dynamics. The current “bear market” is not over just yet.
Following the weakness in global PMIs, and yesterday's Chicago PMI collapse, US Markit Manufacturing PMI dropped to cycle lows at 51.3 from 52.5 (very slightly better than expectations of 51.2) with job growth at 5-month lows, production at slowest in 28 months, and work backlogs tumbling to the lowest since Sept 2009. Then ISM Manufacturing hit, hovering at its weakest in 7 years rose modestly to 49.5 but remains in contraction for the 5th month in a row (longest streak since 2009). As Markit concludes, "the February data add to signs of distress in the US manufacturing economy."
* US nonfarm payrolls report is the notable highlight out of the US this week, with Chicago PMI, ISM Manufacturing and non-Manufacturing data also scheduled for release.
* Focus may fall on China once again, with the Manufacturing PMI data coming in tandem with the latest NPC meeting.
Following the biggest beat on record in January jumping to 55.6, Chicago PMI collapsed in February to a stunning 47.6 - below the lowest estimate from economists. The entire report is a disaster with New orders tumbling, production sharply lower, and employment contracting for the 5th month in a row - to its lowest since March 2009. As one respondent warned, business was just "limping along at the moment with little promise in sight."
The week was supposed to start off quiet on the macro news front, but the PBOC spoiled that with an unprecedented Monday, Feb 29 RRR cut, its fifth since the start of 2015. In any case, it slowly builds up to the week's biggest event on Friday, when the BLS reports February payrolls and will be hard pressed to find all the seasonal adjustments it needs to cover for not only the lost jobs in the devastated energy sector but, as we reported over the weekend, the sudden dramatic air pocket in Silicon Valley jobs.