In recent weeks Chinese stocks remained relatively resilient, levitating quietly day after day. That all changed overnight when the Shanghai Composite plunged by 6.4% with the drop accelerating into the close. This was the biggest drop in over a month and was big enough to almost wipe out the entire 10% rebound from the January lows in one session.
On Monday, everyone was giddy that the rally is back on. Less than two days later, the dour fatalism of some HFT algo stop hunting price action and a few comments by the Saudi oil minister, and the markets have remember than nothing has changed and that nothing has been fixed. But at least the biggest shorts squeeze in 5 years is finally over.
Driven by a collapse in 'hope' - future expectations dropped to 78.9, the lowest since Feb 2014 - The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence headline dropped from 97.8 to 92.2, the weakest since July 2015. Amid the so-called best jobs market in decades, near-record low gas prices, and a resurging stock market, it appears the 'everyday American' is not amused as all the 'increases in animal spirits' since QE3 have evaporated.
- Risk rally fades as stocks, oil slip back into the red (Reuters)
- Syrian govt. accepts halt to 'combat operations' in line with U.S.-Russian plan (Reuters)
- Earliest Chinese Data Signal Slowdown Hasn't Bottomed Out Yet (BBG)
- The Trickle of U.S. Oil Exports Is Already Shifting Global Power (BBG)
- Greek police remove migrants from Macedonian border as more land in Piraeus (Reuters)
- Clinton, Sanders race takes on angrier tone after Nevada (Reuters)
The biggest question on all traders' minds will be whether the bear market short squeeze that sent the S&P higher by 130 points in 6 days, is finally over - with most global market rolling over and with US equity futures unable to find their solid early morning footing, it may finally be time to cash out of the bear market rally which so many predicted, and which GSBank yesterday may have top-ticked with perfection.
The OPEX game is back in full swing and brought back hope amongst signs of bullish capitulation everywhere.... but there is plenty of bad (and even ugly) to consider.
"Get back to work, Mr.Draghi..."
When last we checked in on Norway, we documented the country's currency conundrum which is keeping the krone from depreciating as much as the Norges Bank would probably like in the face of flagging economic growth. On Tuesday we get the latest data out of the country and sure enough, GDP growth has flatlined. A rate cut next month is now virtually assured.
"We have never seen the country's companies in such a dire state"...
- Theme 1: US economy appears insulated from global weakness
- Theme 2: Strong domestic consumer demand persists
- Theme 3: Managements remain devoted to share repurchases
- Theme 4: Outlook for China is positive despite recent turmoil
Oil prices around USD 30/bbl mean that an increasingly significant volume of future oil projects no longer make sense. Although Deutsche Bank does not expect US crude inventories to reach capacity, rising US inventories and high US crude imports may heighten downside pressures to push prices closer to marginal cash costs of USD 7-17/bbl for US tight oil, with few plausible scenarios for a strong price recovery in the short term,
Following the Fed's disappointing "dovish, but not dovish enough" statement which effectively admitted Yellen had committed policy error by hiking just as the US economy "was slowing down" which in turn lowered the odds of a March rate hike to just 18%, it was up to oil to pick up the correlation torch, and so it did, rising in an otherwise mixed session which has seen European stocks slide on continued weakness surrounding Italian banks, many of which have been halted limit down, while Asia was treading water following news of the resignation of Japan’s "Abenomics" minister Akira Amari to over a graft scandal, and yet another day of Chinese stock dropping.
In concert with denial and obfuscation, pride and hubris may be clouding the image the Chinese have of themselves and their economy. What they are trying very hard NOT to communicate is how much pain their Ponzi debt burden has put them in. It’s not even fully clear to what extent Xi himself is aware of this, but he knows at least enough to keep his mouth shut on the topic. It’s quite possible that some of his top aides dare not reveal the real tally to their boss for fear of their jobs and heads. Beijing might solve some of these problems by devaluing the yuan by 30%, or even 50%, but it would invite a large amount of other problems in the door if it did. Like a full-blown currency war. Still, it’s just a matter of time till Xi and Li either do it voluntarily or are forced to by ‘the market’.
"Nobody is really sure where we go from here, and nobody is brave enough to make the call,” Peter Dixon, Commerzbank AG’s global equities economist in London told Bloomberg. “Corporate earnings season won’t provide much of a support - markets may find a floor if the Fed is extremely dovish tonight. At least investors will have time to think and reassess valuations."