On a day when market participants will care about only one thing - how hawkish (or dovish) the FOMC sounds at 2:00 pm (no Yellen press conference today) - Chinese stocks provided the usual dramatic sideshow and traded unchanged or modestly negative for most of the day despite the latest $100 billion injection, the close of trading on Wednesday was a mirror image of what happened in the last hour on Monday, as various Chinese "plunge-protection" mechanism went into a furious buying frenzy and government-backed funds rushed to buy anything that trades in the last 60 minutes of trading in what may be the most glaring example of banging the close yet.
Last week was a complete dead zone for US macro, however with the peak of Q2 earnings season there was more than enough commotion for everyone. This week US macro starts to pick up again, with Durable Goods on Monday, followed by Case Shiller, Q2 GDP, the Chicago PMI, various consumer confidence indices, and of course, the July FOMC meeting on Wednesday.
It all started in China, where as we noted previously, the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.5% in closing hour, suffering its biggest one day drop since February 2007 and the second biggest in history. The Hang Seng, while spared the worst of the drubbing, was also down 3.1%. There were numerous theories about the risk off catalyst, including fears the PPT was gradually being withdrawn, a decline in industrial profits, as well as an influx in IPOs which drained liquidity from the market. At the same time, Nikkei 225 (-0.95%) and ASX 200 (-0.16%) traded in negative territory underpinned by softness in commodity prices.
Since January's exuberant peak, UMich consumer sentiment has drifted lower. Expectations for July's preliminary data was 96.0 but the 93.3 print is the biggest miss since 2006. Both current and future "hope" conditions dropped markedlywith details showing American sless certain about retirement, less confident about income growth outpacing inflation, and businesses considerably less confident.
After weeks of overnight turbulence following every twist and turn in the Greek drama, this morning has seen a scarcity of mostly gap up (or NYSE-breakding "down") moves, and S&P500 futures are unchanged as of this moment however the Nasdaq is looking set for another record high at the open after last night's better than expected GOOG results which sent the stop higher by 11% of over $40 billion in market cap. We expect this not to last very long as the traditional no volume, USDJPY-levitation driven buying of ES will surely resume once US algos wake up and launch the self-trading spoof programs. More importantly: a red close on Friday is not exactly permitted by the central planners.
Markets have begun seizing up as sellers overwhelm the system. The China Securities Regulatory Commission, has described market participants as being “irrationally” driven by “panic sentiment” despite there having been no rational basis for the run up in Chinese markets before they peaked last month.
At the open, Europe looked in the abyss, and with no help coming from China, it did not like what it saw: And then the answer came from the Swiss National Bank, which stepped in to prevent the collapse just as Europe was opening. Because seemingly out of nowhere, a tremendous bid came in to life the EURCHF, buying Euros (against the CHF and the USD) and selling Europe's last left safety currency. We now know that it was the SNB, the same central bank which is the proud owner of well over $1 billion in Apple stock.
UMich consumer sentiment spiked from 90.7 to 96.1 (well above the 94.6 preliminary print) just shy of 2015 highs (which are also the highest since 2004). The spike is driven by a surge in "Current Conditions" as hope for the future rose only modestly as inflation expectations dropped. However, notably fewer people see now as a good time to buy a house. We assume UMich survey respondents are "invested" in stocks since higher gas prices and lower affordability in housing seemed to weigh Gallup's economic confidence down to its lowest since 2014.
Following yesterday's furious market drop in Chinese stocks, just before the overnight open, Morgan Stanley came out with a much distributed report urging investors "Not to buy this dip", and so they didn't. As a result, the Shanghai Composite imploded, at one point trading down 8% while the Chinext and Shenzhen markets crashed even more. This was the single biggest Shanghai Composite one-day drop since 2007, and with a close at 4192.87 the SHCOMP is now on the verge of a bear market, down 19% from its June 12 highs. China's second largest market, Shenzhen, is now officially in a bear market.
And it started off all so well: the market, blissfully ignoring what we wrote just yesterday in Why The IMF Will Reject The Latest Greek Proposal In Just Two Numbers, was in full blown levitation mode overnight when it sent Japanese stocks to their highest close since 1996 (pre dot com) and with the Chinese central bank doing its best to keep levitating local stocks away from the abyss, pushing the SHCOMP up another 2.5%. Euro Stoxx 50 went from flat to down 1% and is bouncing. As BBG's Richard Breslow adds, predictably, the market is taking this as a ploy, not an end game. Of course, this is precisely the "Bear Stearns is fine" conventional wisdom that Cramer was spewing days before Bear failed because nobody could fathom how anyone can conceive of a worst case scenario. Only it isn't nobody: we reported before of a Goldman's "Conspiracy Theory" Stunner: A Greek Default Is Precisely What The ECB Wants.
today is Friday taken to the nth degree, with the markets having already declared if not victory then the death of all Greek "contagion" leverage, following news that a new Greek proposal was sent yesterday (which as we summarized does not include any of the demanded by the Troika pension cuts), ignoring news that Greece had again sent Belgium the wrong proposal which the market has taken as a sign of capitulation by Tsipras, and as a result futures are surging higher by nearly 1%, the German DAX is up a whopping 3.1%, on track for the biggest one day gain in three years, Greek stocks up over 8%, German and US Treasurys sliding while Greek and peripheral bonds are surging.