A yuuge surge in stocks - amid collapsing earnings and GDP expectations - appears to have enabled a modest bounce off 2-year lows for consumer confidence. The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence increased to 96.2 in March from 94 a month earlier - but still below January's levels. The bounce was driven purely by "hope" as expectations for the future rose and current conditions dropped to 4-month lows. At the same time Gallup's consumer confidence survey plumbes new depths to its lowest since 2015.
With Europe back from Easter break, we are seeing a modest continuation of the dollar strength witnessed every day last week, which in turn is pressuring oil and the commodity complex, and leading to some selling in US equity futures (down 0.2% to 2024) ahead of today's main event which is Janet Yellen's speech as the Economic Club of New York at 12:20pm, an event which judging by risk assets so far is expected to be far more hawkish than dovish: after all the S&P 500 is north of 2,000 for now.
After a quiet start to the week, data flow picks up into the Easter weekend.
At the same time as the PBOC was cautioning about the dangers of excess debt (just as it injected a record amount of loans into the financial system), China's central bank warned about dangers from a stock market bubble, and perhaps just to assure the bubble gets even bigger, at the same time China eased on margin debt limits, in the process sending Chinese stocks soaring higher by 2.2%, and pushing the Shanghai Composite over 3000 for the first time in months as China now appears set to attempt another housing bubble "soft landing" while at the same time restarting its housing bubble.
But, but, but - low gas prices, high stock prices... everything is awesome. It appears not even the average joe American consumer is fooled by the latest manufactured rally in stock prices as UMich confidence tumbles to 5-month lows (90 vs 92.2 exp) with future expectations "hope" perfectly anti-correlated with the surge in stocks...
With the ECB and the Fed policy meetings now behind us, all eyes will turn back to economics and earnings. Unfortunately, neither one of those are particularly supportive at this juncture.
"On the negative side, the forward inflation targets were downgraded substantially, ECB didn’t address the issue of capacity constraints, and the shift in focus away from facilitating further currency depreciation will, in our view, end up being a negative for region’s equity market. Overall, we believe the latest package is far from a game changer."
“I thought the Depression was going to go on forever. For six or seven years, it didn’t look as though things were getting better. The people in Washington DC said they were, but ask the man on the road? He was hungry and his clothes were ragged and he didn’t have a job. He didn’t think things were picking up.”
Mario Draghi better put up or shut up at the next ECB meeting as the market is more-than-pricing-in a very significant deposit rate cut (deeper into NIRP). In fact, at -56bps, 2Y German bond yields are the most "priced in" since 2011 (and bear in mind he disappointed in December).
Today's deflationary report, the worst since the start of Europe's QE, virtually assures another substantial round of policy easing from the European Central Bank on March 10. The question is what the ECB will reveal. Here are the options.
Global Stocks, Oil Continue Streamrolling Shorts On Last Minute Hopes For G-20 Stimulus AnnouncementSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/26/2016 08:00 -0400
With the conclusion of this weekend's G-20 unknown, and many still expecting a major stimulus, the squeeze will likely continue into the close of trading ahead of the weekend when nobody will want to be caught short into what may end up being another global coordinated intervention to prop up markets. “With a lot of policy events coming there is a fair chance of more stimulus plans so the markets can squeeze higher,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG. "The big reversal shows that there is some expectation building up into those events."
The size and scope of the political, economic and financial problems that now challenge the relative stability and tranquility of developed societies are unprecedented. Negative interest rates combined with the eradication of cash appear as a desperate attempt to control global private wealth. Should the war on cash prove unsuccessful in its early stages, banks could be closed for long periods.
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.