The latest data makes us wonder: is the Chicago manufacturing snapshot no longer an accurate indication of what to expect from the US manufacturing sector, or, the real question, is one of these two data sets not not seasonally-adjusted enough. (that's of course rhetorical: everyone knows that it is the worse data that always needs more seasonal adjustments).
Remember China's 6% crash last week? It is now a distant memory made even more remote thanks to the latest batch of ugly data out of China, coupled with hints of even more liquidity injections, which led to the latest surge in the Shcomp, an index that has put most pennystocks to shame. In Europe, the big story remains Greece, and as everyone expected, the doomed country and its creditors failed to make a deal on Sunday. This is after Greek Officials were said to have prepared a draft agreement, which was expected to be announced on Sunday. Not helping things, Greek PM Tsipras came out in fully defiant mode and accused bailout monitors of making “absurd” demands and seeking to impose “harsh punishment” on Athens. A bunch of final PMI number showed a modest improvement in the periphery at the expense of Germany whose deterioration is starting to be a concern.
Following Milwaukee ISM's plunge to 15-month lows this morning with a plunge in new orders (missing for 4 of last 5 months), Chicago PMI printed a disappointing 46.2 (against expectations of a slight rise to 53.0 from 52.3 last month) - lower than the lowest economist estimate. After last month's modest (dead-cat) bounce back from winter's collapse to 6 year lows, this re-collapse is hardly the kind of Q2-recovery-reinforcing data the mainstream wants. With the level now back at the same when Lehman hit, New Orders, Production, and Employment all contracted in May.
The most prominent market event overnight was once again the action in China's penny-index, which after tumbling at the open and briefly entering a 10% correction from the highs hit just two days ago, promptly saw the BTFDers rush in, whether retail, institutional or central bankers, and after rebounding strongly from the -3% lows, the SHCOMP closed practically unchanged following a 2% jump to complete yet another 5% intraday swing on absolutely no news, but merely concerns what the PBOC is doing with liquidity, reverse repos, margin debt, etc. Needless to say, this is one of the world's largest stock markets, not the Pink Sheets.
While yesterday most markets were closed and unable to express their concerns at the very strong showing of "anti-austerity" parties in Spain's municipal election from Sunday, then today they have free reign to do just that, and as a result European stocks are broadly lower, alongside the EURUSD which dripped under 1.09 earlier today, with Spanish banks among the worst performers: Shares of Banco Sabadell, Bankia, Caixabank and Popular were down 1.8 to 2.3% earlier this morning, and while the stronger dollar was a gift to both the Nikkei and Europe in early trading, after opening in the green, Spain's IBEX has since slid into the red on concerns of what happens if the Greek anti-status quo contagion finally shifts to the Pyrenees.
With US markets closed for the Memorial Day holiday, and some of the key European markets likewise shuttered for public holiday including the UK, Germany and Switzerland, it is difficult to find where one can observe or trade the weekend's newsflow, which is once again centered on developments in Europe, where on Sunday Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years while Greece continues to threaten with default 5 some years after it should have officially pulled the plug.
Economic events and data in the week ahead.
The last two months have been nothing if not a lesson in the disater that is the economic-forecasters of the world. With a 3-sigma beat followed by a 5-sigma miss, hope abounds that April will be the 'goldilocks' print - just cold enough to leave the Fed on hold and just hot enough to 'prove' growth remains. Goldman expects nonfarm payroll job growth of 230k in April, in line with consensus expectations. While labor market indicators were mixed in April, the employment components of service sector surveys were strong and better weather conditions should provide a boost. In addition, they see some upside risk to the forecast from a calendar effect, and expect the unemployment rate to decline by one-tenth to 5.4% and average hourly earnings to rise 0.2%.
Holidays in Europe and Asia left things quiet overnight after some traders used the last day of April to frontrun the old "sell in May and go away" market adage. Market closures also kept the Chinese day trading hordes from using a tiny beat on the official manufacturing PMI print as an excuse to pile more money into the country's equity mania, while Japanese shares ended mostly unchanged as investors fret over when the BoJ will deliver the next shot of monetary heroin. In the US we'll get a look at ISM manufacturing and the latest read on consumer confidence as we head into the weekend.
Following ISM Milwaukee's major miss this morning (and income and spending data weakness), and 2 months of significant misses, Chicago PMI printed 52.3 (handily beating expectations of a bounce to 50.0). Employment rose at a faster pace in April but Prices Paid tumbled at a faster pace.
When all else fails, pre-emptively blame the weather...
Now we can see the real tragedy of negative interest rates: they not only have the perverse effect of reversing the flow of time, but they demonstrate that borrowers are not acting with the good faith incentives normally associated with someone who needs money. Rather than paying forward, borrowers are paying backwards because they are effectively trying to return something they don’t want. Such an arrangement renders it impossible for an economy to grow. By destroying the temporal and moral structure of money, negative interest rates destroy the economy. When tomorrow cannot be paid, the current regime must fail. The only question to be determined is the form that failure will assume. This may sound like philosophy but it is cold, hard reality.
It has been another whiplash, rollercoaster, illiquid session which saw US equity futures tumble early overnight driven by a bout of USDJPY and Nikkei selling, only to regain all losses as European, and BIS, traders walked in, and promptly BTFD. In fact at last check, it was as if all the fireworks that took place just a few short hours ago and sent the ES as low as 2037, and below what has become the key support level, the 50-DMA never happened.
Despite the hockey-stick-like expectations of all the clever economists, Chicago PMI failed to bounce back from its total carnage in February. Printing 46.3 against expectations of 51.4, the index remains at near six-year lows. Must be the weather... oh apart from the massive surge in Midwest pending home sales...?