"The reality is that business and investment spending are the true leading indicators of the economy and the stock market. If you want to know where the stock market is headed, forget about consumer spending and retail sales figures. Look to business spending, price inflation, interest rates, and productivity gains." The Skousen index suggests that the current economy is significantly weaker than headline statistics state.
Chinese Stocks Tumble In Close Of Trading "Causing Panic", US GDP To Be Revised Higher On Seasonal AdjustmentsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/30/2015 06:54 -0400
We start off the overnight wrap up with the usual place, China, where in a mirror image of Wednesday's action, stocks once again started off uneventful, then gradually rose in the afternoon session and meandered near unchanged territory until the last half hour, when out of the blue they tumbled to close near the day's low, some 2.2% below yesterday's closing level. What caused it? One possible catalyst came from Reuters which reported that that Chinese banks were investigating their exposure to the stock market via wealth management products and loans backed by stock as collateral.
On a day when market participants will care about only one thing - how hawkish (or dovish) the FOMC sounds at 2:00 pm (no Yellen press conference today) - Chinese stocks provided the usual dramatic sideshow and traded unchanged or modestly negative for most of the day despite the latest $100 billion injection, the close of trading on Wednesday was a mirror image of what happened in the last hour on Monday, as various Chinese "plunge-protection" mechanism went into a furious buying frenzy and government-backed funds rushed to buy anything that trades in the last 60 minutes of trading in what may be the most glaring example of banging the close yet.
The Conference Board just reported that US Consumer Confidence, having bounced in June, has collapsed in July (and saw the bounce revised drastically lower). At 90.9, this is the lowest since September 2014 and is below the lowest economist estimate. More worrying is the crash in "hope" - as consumer expectations plunge from 92.8 to 79.9 (lowest since Feb 2014). This should not be a surprise since Gallup has been indicating fading confidence in its weekly survey for a while. 57% of Americans believe the US economy is "getting worse," which has left Gallup's Economic Confidence Index tumbling to its lowest in 10 months.
For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw a coordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday's losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.
Last week was a complete dead zone for US macro, however with the peak of Q2 earnings season there was more than enough commotion for everyone. This week US macro starts to pick up again, with Durable Goods on Monday, followed by Case Shiller, Q2 GDP, the Chicago PMI, various consumer confidence indices, and of course, the July FOMC meeting on Wednesday.
It all started in China, where as we noted previously, the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.5% in closing hour, suffering its biggest one day drop since February 2007 and the second biggest in history. The Hang Seng, while spared the worst of the drubbing, was also down 3.1%. There were numerous theories about the risk off catalyst, including fears the PPT was gradually being withdrawn, a decline in industrial profits, as well as an influx in IPOs which drained liquidity from the market. At the same time, Nikkei 225 (-0.95%) and ASX 200 (-0.16%) traded in negative territory underpinned by softness in commodity prices.
With two-thirds of companies still set to report, and as the second quarter earnings season continues and assures the first revenue and EPS recession since 2009, the question on everyone's lips is just how bad will/can it get. The answer will be determined largely by any/all of the following three "C"s which continue to define the ugly face of non-GAAP corporate earnings for the past 3 quarters which appear set to persist for the foreseeable future.
Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort index slipped lower once again this week back to six-week lows but the most notable aspect within the survey data was a sudden burst of consumer confidence among Democrats... one wonders why?
A slow week devoid of virtually any macro news - last night the biggest weekly geopolitical event concluded as expected, when Greece voted to pass the bailout bill which "the government does not believe in" just so the ECB's ELA support for Greek depositors can continue - is slowly coming to a close, as is the busiest week of the second quarter earnings season which so far has been largely disappointing despite aggressive consensus estimate cuts, especially for some of the marquee names, and unlike Q1 when a quarterly drop in EPS was avoided in the last minute, this time we won't be so lucky, and the only question is on what side of -3.5% Y/Y change in EPS will the quarter end.
Despite the absence of bad weather, good weather, port strikes, and snow, The National Retail Federation today slashed its retail sales forecast for 2015 from 4.1% growth to just 3.5%. Sales grew at a 2.9% pace in the first half of 2015 and hope remains that the next 5 months show growth of 3.7% (with same store sales growth revised lower). The excuse reason for this markdown..."spending has been hampered by lackluster growth in our economy. Much of that blame can be shifted to Washington where too much time has been spent crafting rules and regulations that almost guarantee negative consequences for consumers and American businesses alike."
Today's action is so far an exact replica of Friday's zero-volume ES overnight levitation higher (even if Europe's derivatives market, the EUREX exchange, did break at the open for good measure leading to a delayed market open just to make sure nobody sells) with the "catalyst" today being the official Greek repayment to both the ECB and the IMF which will use up €6.8 billion of the €7.2 billion bridge loan the EU just handed over Athens so it can immediately repay its creditors. In other words, Greek creditors including the ECB, just repaid themselves once again. One thing which is not "one-time" or "non-recurring" is the total collapse in commodities, which after last night's precious metals flash crash has sent the Bloomberg commodity complex to a 13 year low.