After yesterday's "Hillary rally" in the US, the overnight's session has seen more risk-on sentiment as European stocks advanced, ignoring weakness in Asia as investors followed every twist of shares of beleaguered lender Deutsche Bank, whose CEO last night assured Bill readers that the bank is not seeking a bailout, which however was contradicted by a Zeit article this morning reporting that Germany may seek as much as s 25% "bailout" stake in a worst case scenario.
Just days after Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort index plunged to its lowest since 2015, The Conference Board reports a spike in Consumer Confidence to 104.1 - the highest since Sept 2007 (right before the market topped out).
A rally in global risk that started during last night's first presidential debate on the market's take that Hillary came out on top fizzled, following news that the DOJ is assessing how big a criminal fine it can extract from Volkswagen (-3.8%) over emissions-cheating "without putting the German carmaker out of business", while Iran's oil minister Zanganeh told reporters Iran is ununwilling to freeze output at current levels. Deutsche Bank dropped to a new all time low while its default risk hit fresh record highs.
The week ahead is striking in the sheer number of central bank speakers, but with the Fed on hold until December and the BoJ’s new framework now revealed, focus turns squarely from central banks to US politics. The first US presidential debate at the start of the week will be a key focus.
While today's biggest event for both markets and politics will be tonight's highly anticipated first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary, markets are waking up to some early turmoil in both Asia and Europe, with declines in banks and energy producers dragging down stock-markets around the world, pushing investors to once again seek the safety of government bonds and the yen.
After Wednesday’s policy statements by the Fed and Bank of Japan, a harsh light is being shined on the incredible nature of their communications. It would be wise in the current environment to structure investment portfolios with a pro-volatility bias.
Unwittingly, the Fed has now become co-dependent on the markets. If they move to tighten monetary policy, the market sells-off impacting consumer confidence and pushes economic growth rates lower. With economic growth already running below 2%, there is very little leeway for the Fed to make a policy error at this juncture. Therefore, the Fed remains trapped between keeping the financial markets happy and trying to resolve their monetary dilemma. The problem is that eventually something has to give and it will likely not be the outcome the Fed continues to hope for.
Central banks will take center stage this week, with the Boj and Fed within hours of each other, then also the RBNZ and Norges all delivering policy decisions. Of the four however, the BoJ will likely steal the spotlight, especially as we expect no changes in policy from the other three.
Stocks across the board, and US equity futures are broadly in the green this morning as markets shrug off the terror-related events in the NYC area over the weekend. There wasn’t a single positive “reason” for the green price action but fears about the bond “tantrum” appear to be fading while a stronger dollar helped push oil and the commodity complex higher.
On the current path, the world is experiencing the largest artificial asset allocation in modern history, one that is driven by a misguided interest rate regime that has lost its efficacy and is producing more harm than good. Yet the fear of withdrawal pain is keeping central bankers from doing the inevitable: Quit. The response is predictable: "I need the drugs!"
"The time for treating the EUR-peg as a taboo may soon be past us, and an open discussion become the dominant narrative, in pursuit of a long-term durable solution to economic stagnation, in an attempt to save the European Union, so to orderly drive the process as opposed to end up being overwhelmed by the trending course of events."
“Buying equities will put additional pressure on corporate CEOs to cut expenses and to postpone investments, fostering even greater Main Street resentment toward the financial elite. Consumer confidence won’t rise as consumption and economic growth stagnate. Having so clearly sided with owners of capital, rather than the employees of capital, global central banks are likely to become an easy target for populist ire.”