Readers may recall that in our commentary to yesterday's Chicago PMI disappointment we had a simple prediction "What this means for the ISM is not exactly clear due to the long-running tradition of baffle with BS, but on the surface it is hardly optimistic... which likely means ISM will explode higher." Sure enough, to no surprise at all, it just did with the headline ISM manufacturing print for July exploding from 50.9, trouncing expectations of 52.0 with the biggest beat in two years, and hitting 55.4, driven mostly by a surge in production which rose from 53.4 to a ridiculous 65.0, the highest since 2004. And while virtually all of the key subindices in yesterday's Chicago PMI dipped, today it is the opposite, with New Orders (+6.4), Employment (+5.7) and Deliveries (+2.1) all posting increases. Humorously, while Chicago PMI said Prices Paid exploded, today the ISM refuted that and indicated Prices Paid dropped to lowest in a year. One just has to laugh at the Chinazation of US economic data.
One of the unpleasant side-effects for the Fed's forecasting (insert laughter here) abilities, is that following today's GDP revisions, H1 annualized GDP is now 1.4%. It means that there is no way that the economy can grow fast enough in the second half (especially with such early disappointments to the second half as the just released Chicago PMI miss) to meet the Fed's forecast growth of 2.3%-2.6%. Which, in turn, means more egg on the face of Bernanke and the FOMC's 2013 forecasts. Which is precisely what Goldman just said.
So much for that "priced in" strong start to the second half. All those expecting a major move higher in the Chicago PMI after its June plunge from 58.7 to 51.6 will have to defer their hopes for one more month, following the headline print of 52.3, which missed expectations of 54.0. However, the headline number doesn't do the PMI full justice, because while the growth was driven by all the wrong reasons, namely margin crushing Prices Paid surging from 59.9 to 63.3 - the largest two month jump since 2010 - the much more important trifecta of New Orders (54.6 to 53.9), Production (57.0 to 53.6) and Employment (57.8 to 56.6) all dropped. What this means for the ISM is not exactly clear due to the long-running tradition of baffle with BS, but on the surface it is hardly optimistic... which likely means ISM will explode higher.
As readers are well aware by now, at 8:30 am today we get to see the rewriting of US GDP history back to 1929 with the revisions from the BEA. It’s a big last day of July with the Fed meeting coming after the GDP release. For GDP, real growth is expected to be as low as 1.0% in Q2. Opinions vary widely on today’s GDP number with one major US investment bank’s estimate as low as 0.2%, a number of bulge bracket banks at 0.5% while there are also plenty of economists above 1.5%. It is not news to anyone that nominal GDP is very low at the moment - especially in a world of nosebleed high debts - and today could see this have a 1-handle YoY (and at best a 2-handle) - a level not even normally seen at the depths of most recessions.
After a slow start in the week, there is a substantial pick up with announcements from the FOMC, ECB and BOE (as well as monetary policy updates from the RBI, RBA, Israel, and Czech Republic) with the possibility, if not probability, of a Fed update on tapering expectations. On Wednesday we get the much expected wholesale GDP revision which will boost "growth data" all the way back to 1929 and is expected to push current GDP as much as 3% higher, and on Friday is the "most important NFP payroll number" (at least since the last one, and before the next one), where the consensus expects a +183K print, and 7.5% unemployment. All this while earnings season comes to a close.
Hopes that Kuroda would say something substantial, material and beneficial to the "three arrow" wealth effect (about Japan's sales tax) last night were promptly dashed when the BOJ head came, spoke, and went, with the USDJPY sliding to a new monthly low, which in turn saw the Nikkei tumble another nearly 500 points. China didn't help either, where the Shanghai Composite also closed below 2000 wiping out a few weeks of gains on artificial hopes that the PBOC would step in with a bailout package, as attention turned to the reported announcement that an update of local government debt could double the size of China's non-performing loans, and what's worse, that the PBOC was ok with that. Asian negativity was offset by the European open, where fundamentals are irrelevant (especially on the one year anniversary of Draghi FX Advisors LLC "whatever it takes to buy the EURUSD" speech) and renewed M&A sentiment buoyed algos to generate enough buying momentum to send more momentum algos buying and so on. As for the US, futures are indicating weakness for the third day in a row but hardly anyone is fooled following two consecutive days of green closes on melt ups "from the lows": expect another rerun of the now traditional Friday ramp, where a 150 DJIA loss was wiped out during the day for a pre-programmed just green closing print.
No surprise in today's most important economic report: just as we predicted first thing this morning, "In keeping with the tradition of Baffle with BS, we expect the ISM to come in well above expectations to offset the major Chicago PMI disappointment." Just as expected, the headline June ISM just printed at 50.9, a beat of expectations of 50.5, and up from May's 49. And just to make sure everyone is completely baffled with unbelievable BS, while the New Orders number rose from 48.8 to 51.9, and Production (+4.8), Prices (+3), Inventories (+1.5), and Deliveries (+1.3), all rose, it was the time of Employment Index to drop from 50.1 to 48.7: the first sub-50 print since September 2009. In other words, just as every week/strong economic report is offset by a matchin strong/weak economic report a few days later, expect this Friday's NFP to come in blistering and to deny the ISM weak jobs number especially since Goldman is now warning of a "disappointment" to consensus (and with that put the Taper tantrum back front and center).
Following the Friday plunge in the ISM-advance reading Chicago PMI, it was a night of more global manufacturing data, which started off modestly better than expected with Japanese Tankan data, offset by a continuing decline in Chinese PMIs (which in a good old tradition expanded and contracted at the same time depending on whom one asked). Then off to Europe where we got the final print of the June PMI which continued the trend recent from both the flash and recent historical readings of improvement in the periphery, and deterioration in the core. At the individual level, Italy PMI rose to 49.1, on expectations of 47.8, up from 47.3; while Spain hit 50 for the first time in years, up from 48.1, with both highest since July and April 2011 respectively. In the core French PMI rose to a 16-month high of 48.4 from 48.3, however German PMI continued to disappoint slowing from 48.7, where it was expected to print, to 48.6. To the market all of the above spelled one thing: Risk On... at least until some Fed governor opens their mouth, or some US data comes in better than expected, thus making the taper probability higher.
A devastating 49.0 in April, a surge to 58.7 in May, and then a crash right back to 51.6 in June, far below the expectation of a 55.0, and just above the lowest economist forecast of 51.5. This was the biggest monthly crash in over 4 years. What's another name for this hilarious data series? Why the Baffle with BS Index of course, or Chicago PMI for short. What many saw as definitive proof of an industrial rennaissance in the May number (which only led to a huge ISM disappointment), will mean the economy stasis continues which should at least be good for the market. And since Baffle with BS must continue, look for the Mfg ISM, for which Chicago is a leading indicator, on Monday to be a solid beat. As for the PMI, fear not: it's the weather's fault.
Overnight newsflow (which nowadays has zero impact on markets which only care what Ben Bernanke had for dinner) started in Japan where factory orders were reported to have risen the most since December 2011, retail sales climbed, the unemployment rate rose modestly, consumer prices stayed flat compared to a year ago, however real spending plunged -1.6% significantly below the market consensus forecast for +1.3% yoy, marking the first yoy decline in five months. This suggests that households are cutting utility costs more so than the level of increase in prices. By contrast, real spending on clothing and footwear grew sharply by 6.9% yoy (+0.6% in April) marking positive growth for a fourth consecutive month. Simply said, the Japanese reflation continues to be limited by the lack of wage growth even as utility and energy prices are exploding and limiting the potential for core inflation across the board.
Lots of sellside squeals this morning following the epic bloodbath in China, where in addition to what we already covered hours ago, has seen at least five companies (China Development Bank, Shanghai ShenTong Metro, China Three Gorges Corp., Doosan Infracore China Co. and Chongqing Shipping Construction Development) delay or cancel bond offerings as the PBOC's admission of capital "misallocation" is slowly but surely freezing both bond and stock markets. And while the plunge was contained first to China, then to Asia, then to Europe (where the Spanish 10 Year once again surpassed 5% as expected following the carry trade unwind), with the arrival of bleary-eyed US traders the contagion is finally coming home. In a redux of last week, 10 Year yields are shooting up, hitting as high as 2.63% a few hours ago, while equity futures are now at the lows of the session. It could turn very ugly, very fast, especially if the Hamptons crowd were to actually read the stunning BIS annual report released on Sunday, which not even Hilsenrath explaining "what the BIS really meant" will do much to change the fact that the days of monetary Koolaid are ending.
"Recent bouts of positive correlation between equities, bonds and commodities suggest that the Fed’s stimulus inflated prices of financial assets, and removal of the stimulus could create a tail event in which prices of most of assets could go down. To reduce this risk, investors could diversify ‘safe haven’ assets away from treasuries and into other assets that are at lower risk in case of tapering. For instance, investors could increase allocations to equity index put options.... we think that the quick increase of net margin debt, and high ratio of margin debt to S&P 500 do point to an increased probability of a market correction and volatility increase in the second half of the year." - JPMorgan
All traders walking in today, have just one question in their minds: "will today be lucky 21?" or the 21st consecutive Tuesday in which the Dow Jones has closed green.
All else is irrelevant.
Worried that manipulated official data is the only thing one has to "predict" on a day to day basis in a world drenched with "Baffle with BS", where China expanding and contracting at the same time is perfectly normal, and where Chicago PMI soaring by an 8 sigma beat to multi year highs precedes by one day the lowest US manufacturing print in 4 years? Turns out that's not all - in addition to everything else, one should also realize that key market moving data continues to be disseminated ahead of its official release time to those who have the "funds" and the interest in trading on early leaks. Take today's key economic data point: the Manufacturing ISM. As Nanex shows, trading in SPY exploded at 09:59:59.985, which is 15 milliseconds before the ISM's Manufacturing number released at 10:00:00. Activity in the eMini (traded in Chicago), exploded at 09:59:59.992, which is 8 milliseconds before the news release, but 7 milliseconds after SPY. Surely someone decided to perform a massive headfake and like a plunging goaltender during a penalty kick just happened to guess the direction right. That, or the clock on the CQS tape is just a little off. Oh, and this is merely today's example of early distribution of data to those who have the means(and the funds) to trade on it. Everyone else - well, the saying involving a sucker, a poker table and confusion, is quite applicable right now...
So much for the Chicago PMI 8 Sigma renaissance. Moments ago the Manufacturing ISM came out and confirmed that all those "other" diffusion indices were correct, except for the "data" out of Chicago (yes, shocking). Printing at a contractionary 49.0, this was a drop from 50.7, well below expectations of 51.0 (and far below the cartoonish Joe Lavorgna's revised 53.0 forecast). More importantly, this was the worst ISM headline print since June 2009, the first sub-50 print since November 2012, while the New Orders of 48.8, was the worst since July 2012. Both Production and Backlogs tumbled by -4.9 and -5.0 to 48.6, and 48.0 respectively. In brief, of the 11 series tracked by the ISM, only 3 posted a reading over 50 in May. This compares to just 2 out of 11 that were below 50 in April. Oh well, so much for this recovery. But the good news for the market is that today is really bad news is really good news day, and stocks have soared as according to the vacuum tubes, the result means no taper. The farce must go on.