There has been a bevy of negative news in the past 48 hours which perhaps explains why futures are fractionally in the green as of this moment.
Despite surging stock prices in April, UMich's final Consumer Sentiment print slipped to 89.0 (from 89.7 prelim and 91.0 previous) notably below expectations and the lowest since September 2015. Under the covers though, it was "hope" that really plunged, as Consumer expectations dropped to 77.0 - the lowest since September 2014. However, worst of all for The Fed is that medium-term inflation expectations tumbled back to 2.5% record lows.
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.
Less than one week after the BOJ floated a trial balloon using Bloomberg, that it would reduce the rate it charged some banks which set off the biggest USDJPY rally since October 2014, we are back where we started following last night's "completely unexpected" (for everyone else: we wrote "What If The BOJ Disappoints Tonight: How To Trade It" hours before said "shock") shocking announcement out of the BOJ which did absolutely... nothing. "It’s a total shock,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney- based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors told Bloomberg. "From currencies to equities to everything -- you can see the reaction in the markets. I can’t believe this. It’s very disappointing."
Fed Removes "Global Risk" Alert But Keeps Monitoring "Global Economic And Financial Developments" - Full Statement RedlineSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/27/2016 14:02 -0400
Since Yellow-Yellen's March dovefest, stocks have rallied, China has stabilized, and while economic data has been weak in general - jobs and inflation (which is what The Fed claims to care about) have been positive. So how does The Fed make June a live meeting, tilt hawkish, and still protect the narrative of recovery and the sanctity of their equity market (which is all that really matters)...
- *FED REMOVES REFERENCE TO GLOBAL EVENTS POSING RISKS TO OUTLOOK
- *FED SAYS LABOR MARKET IMPROVED EVEN AMID SIGNS OF SLOWER GROWTH
- *FED REPEATS ECONOMIC SITUATION WARRANTS ONLY GRADUAL RATE HIKES
So "risks" are "balanced" and The Fed is "data depedent" again - rate-hikes are back on the table, however here is a key change: instead of monitoring "inflation developments" the Fed is now "monitoring inflation indicators and global economic and financial developments" which is effectively the same as the struck language on "global economic and financial developments."
Whether you support him or not, my guess is that most middle-aged Americans are very surprised about Bernie Sanders' popularity. However, it shouldn’t be a surprise given the economic stress many Americans face. The four charts below capture the essence of what I’m talking about...
The April FOMC gathering headlines a crowded economic events calendar this week. The post-meeting statement, released Wednesday afternoon, should continue to strike a cautious tone. There will be no press conference and updated economic and financial forecasts will not be released. Few expect the FOMC to add the “balance of risks” sentence back into its communiqué at this point. Doing so would be quite bearish for risk assets as it would definitely open the door for a June rate hike.
Following yesterday's OPEC "production freeze" meeting in Doha which ended in total failure, where in a seemingly last minute change of heart Saudi Arabia and specifically its deputy crown prince bin Salman revised the terms of the agreement demanding Iran participate in the freeze after all knowing well it won't, oil crashed and with it so did the strategy of jawboning for the past 2 months had been exposed for what it was: a desperate attempt to keep oil prices stable and "crush shorts" while global demand slowly picked up. And whether it is central banks, or chronic BTFDers, just 12 hours after oil opened for trading with a loud crash, the commodity has nearly wiped out all losses, and both brent and WTI were down barely 2%, leading to both European stocks and US equity futures virtually unchanged on the session.
Good news is still bad news after all. After last night's China 6.7% GDP print which while the lowest since Q1 2009, was in line with expectations, coupled with beats in IP, Fixed Asset Investment and Retail Sales (on the back of $1 trillion in total financing in Q1) the sentiment this morning is that China has turned the corner (if only for the time being). And that's the problem, because while China was a good excuse for the Fed to interrupt its rate hike cycle as the biggest "global" threat, that is no longer the case if China has indeed resumed growing. As such Yellen no longer has a ready excuse to delay. This is precisely why futures are lower as of this moment, because suddenly the "scapegoat" narrative has evaporated.
While the market is still enjoying the post-NFP weekly data lull, economic data starts to pick up again in the coming days, alongside the start of the reporting season. Below are this week's key events.
In a quiet start to the week following last week's surprisingly strong rebound which followed a stronger than expected jobs report (perhaps to demonstrate that good news is once again good news), Japan stocks continued to sink as the USDJPY dropped to fresh lows, while commodities declined for a fifth day as the supply glut from crude to copper weighed on prices, dragging down commodity currencies. European equities rose, rebounding from a one-month low.
For Japan, the post "Shanghai Summit" world is turning ugly, fast, because as a result of the sliding dollar, a key demand of China which has been delighted by the recent dovish words and actions of Janet Yellen, both Japan's and Europe's stock markets have been sacrificed at the whims of their suddenly soaring currencies. Which is why when Japanese stocks tumbled the most in 7 weeks, sinking 3.5%, to a one month low of 16,164 (after the Yen continued strengthening and the Tankan confidence index plunged to a 3 year low) it was anything but an April fool's joke to both local traders.
The last few weeks have seen Hong Kong's Hang Seng index surge over 14% which - if one believes the mainstream media - must mean renewed confidence in world economic growth and that everything is awesome. However, that narrative just got destroyed as Hong Kong retail sales in February just crashed by the most since 1999 as fewer Chinese tourists visited the city during the Lunar New Year holiday and as one analyst warned, sales will "continue to fall for the rest of 2016 as all the negative factors won’t be solved in the near term."
We are shaving about a half percentage point off of our estimate for first half US real GDP growth. We estimate Q1 GDP increased at a 1.2% annualized pace (down from 2.0%), and we project Q2 GDP growth at 2.0% (down from 2.25% prior). The downward revision to Q1 follows a string of softer source data, starting with the February durable goods report and punctuated by the downward revision to January real consumer spending.
At the end of the day, it was all about the dollar and the reason for this morning's stock surge around the globe, as we noted last night, is absurdly delightful: Yellen signaled "weakening world growth" and "less confidence in the renormalization process." In other words, the "bad news is good news" mantra is back front and center.