It has been a quiet start to the week, with US equity futures and European stocks mostly unchanged with all eyes on what progress (if any) will be made between Greece and the Eurogroup, where the press conference is scheduled for 7:00 pm GMT (expect significant delays) in what is otherwise expected to be a relatively subdued day with the US away from market and a light macroeconomic calendar.
After six month so soaring confidence, UMich consumer confidence tumbled from 11 year highs by the most since October 2013 in January (despite the low gas price stimulus), printing at 93.6, missing expectations of 98.1 by the most on record. It appears survey-based 'hope' is catching down to hard-date-based reality of spending habits as the sheer idiocy of the low-gas-price meme is destroyed once again. The drop was led by a plunge in Current Conditions from 109.3 to 103.1 and towards teh future, fewer now expect higher incomes and those who have favorable business expectations plunged from 70 to 58 with a surge in people expecting "bad times" over the next 12 months.
Who would have thought all it takes for Eurozone Q4 GDP to print above expectations, even if by the smallest of possible margins - one which even the Chinese goalseek-o-tron bows its head down to in respect - which at 0.3% Q/Q was above the 0.2% expected and above Q3's 0.2%, was for Europe to admit it has finally succumbed to deflation. Oh, and for the ECB to admit the situation has never been more serious by launching Q€. Oh, and add the "estimated contribution" to GDP from hookers and drugs. Put all that together and on an annualized basis, the European economy grew by 1.4%. Whatever the reason, Q4 GDP was the best print since Q1, even as Germany blew not only consensus of 0.3%, but the highest GDP estimate of 0.6% out of the water when it reported that courtesy of a spike in spending, its economy grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, up from the near-recessionary 0.1% in Q3. That, together with QE and ZIRP now raging across the continent, was enough to push the DAX above 11,000 for the first time ever.
Two weeks ago we reported that "the next victim of crashing oil prices has been identified: housing", particularly non-residential construction among the energy producing regions, where the capex collapse reality is already being felt far and wide. Eventually, once the overall economy of these same oil producing regions is impacted sufficiently, the pain would spread to residential housing as well, as the energy boom that kept the local economies humming for years, turns to a bust. But while the US patiently, and nervously, awaits the outcome of the crude crash, one place is already starting to suffer the consequences of the price collapse is Canada's energy Mecca, Calgary, where as the Financial Post reports, "the stage has been set for a massive correction in the oilpatch."
The bottom line is that unfortunately for the BTFDers, with the Fed no longer giving explicit buy signals with the "considerable time" language struck, and with an implicit economic upgrade suggesting a rate hike is still on the table, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to frontrun the Fed's "wealth creation" intentions.
While all the algos are programmed and set to scan today's FOMC statement for whether both "patient" and "considerable time" are still there (as it did last time when it supposedly sent a pseudo-hawkish message while telling Virtu and Getco to buy, buy, buy), the market is torn between the trends observed in recent days: on one hand finally succumbing to the adverse impact of USD strength, which overnight also saw the Singapore Dollar admit defeat in the ongoing currency wars, is crushing both revenues and EPS, as well as outlooks, for the bulk of US companies, even as millennials - long since given up on buying a house - allocate their meager savings to the annual incarnation of Apple's flagship product as seen in yesterday's record, blowout numbers by AAPL which is up 8% in the premarket and sending Nasdaq futures soaring compared to the stagnant DJIA or S&P. And then there is Europe where the mood is decidedly sour this morning, with Greece imploding on fears Tsipras really means business and concerns the Greek "virus" may spread to other peripheral nations whose bonds have also seen a lack of a bond bid this morning.
"Can Fed policy ever be local again?" asks Bloomberg's Richard Breslow ahead of this week's meeting, as there are plenty of things to focus on if you want to be worried about the world...
Despite stagnant wages, surging jobless claims, and global geopolitical anxiety, US consumers have not been this exuberant since August 2007... a month before the great quant fund blow-up and the top of US equities... But it's different this time, we're got money-printing and low oil prices... right? Texas confidence plunged from 119.4 to 111.9 (led by a huige crash in expectations from 95.8 to 83.5). Finally, expectations for higher incomes in the next 6 months surged higher - almost at record levels of hope - despite the slump in hourly average earnings.
"Prospects For A Home Run In 2015 Aren’t Good" - November Case-Shiller Confirms Ongoing Housing Market SlowdownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 09:40 -0500
In a day of furious disappointments, the Case-Shiller housing report, albeit looking at the ancient economic picture as of November, confirmed what most had known: that the growth in housing prices slowed down yet again on not only a Year over Year basis, which rose just 4.31%, the lowest annual increase since October 2012 but also dropped by -0.22% decline on a monthly basis, which may not sound like much, but was the worst monthly drop since February 2012!
Market Wrap: Futures Tumble On Spike Of "Strong Dollar" Earnings Disappointments And Profit WarningsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 07:25 -0500
Following yesterday's earnings disappointments, most notably from Microsoft which is down 7% this morning following the usual after-the-fact downgrades from JPM, Citi and Nomura, futures were already on a the back foot heading into this morning - no doubt impacted by the deja vu ridiculous move in the EURCHF noted earlier - when the latest batch of earnings just hit, of which Dow component Procter and Gamble stood out and which missed the top and bottom line. But the punchline, and in direct refutation of what Jack Lew said previously about a strong dollar being good for the US economy, was this:"The outlook for the year will remain challenging. Foreign exchange will reduce fiscal 2015 sales by 5% and net earnings by 12%, or at least $1.4 billion after tax." In other words, P&G will "offset" the surge in the USD with more layoffs. So when Jack Lew said "good" he really meant "bad."
This morning both the SNB stunner from two weeks ago, and the less than stunning ECB QE announcement from last Thursday are long forgotten, and the only topic on markets' minds is the startling surge of Syriza and its formation of a coalition government with another anti-bailout party - a development that many in Europe never expected could happen, and which has pushed Europe to the bring of the unexpected yet again. And while there is much speculation that this time Europe is much better positioned to "handle a Grexit", the reality is that European bank balance sheets are as bad if not worse than in 2014, 2013, 2012 or any other year for that matter, because none of ther €1+ trillion in NPLs have been addressed and the only thing that has happened is funding bank capital deficiencies with newly printed money. You know what they say about solvency and liquidity.
Market Wrap: Chinese Stocks Crash As Financials Suffer Record Drop; Commodities Resume Decline; US ClosedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/19/2015 07:12 -0500
Following last week's Swiss stock market massacre as a result of a central bank shocker, and last night's crack down by Chinese authorities, it almost appears as if the global powers are doing what they can to orchestrated a smooth, painless (as much as possible) bubble deflation. If so, what Draghi reveals in a few days may truly come as a surprise to all those- pretty much everyone - who anticipate a €500 billion QE announcement on Thursday.
While a record amount of ink has been spilled praising the benefits of plunging crude price on the US consumer, so far this has manifested merely in soaring consumer confidence, if not in an actual boost to retail sales. Less has been written about the adverse side-effects of plunging oil, even though by now even the most “undisputed” permabulls have been forced to admit that the imminent collapse in capital spending is truly “unprecedented”, a phrase Goldman uses in the chart below. So what does plunging CapEx actually mean for the economy, aside from a major haircut to 2015 GDP, and what other areas of the economy will be affected by the Saudi Arabian scorched earth war on the US shale industry?
It is important to remember that the supportive underpinnings are deteriorating. Valuations are elevated, bullishness and complacency are high, and deviations are at extremes. The combination of these ingredients has never led to a profitable conclusion and expecting a different outcome this time will likely lead to excessive disappointment.
Same slide, different day, as the crude crash continues, with both WTI and Brent tumbling to multi-year highs, below $49 and $52 respectively. This happened despite the news overnight that China is accelerating 300 infrastructure projects valued at 7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year, suggesting that China will focus more on fiscal policy than monetary easing, which in turn led to much confusion in the SHCOMP, which fluctuated up and down for the day several times before finally closing unchanged. There was no confusion about the stops slamming USDJPY, and its Nikkei225 derivative which tumbled 3%, sending Japanese Treasury yields to fresh record lows. Record low yields were also seen in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, France (and many other places), which in turn forced the US 10 Year to finally dip back under 2.00%. In fact, taken together, the average 10Y bond yield of the U.S., Japan and Germany has dropped below 1% for the first time ever, according to Citi.