Following last week's dip back towards record lows, initial jobless claims rose very modestly this week to 297k (slightly worse than expected). This leaves initial jobless claims practically unchanged for the last 6 months, despite the surge in JOLTS that we saw in recent months. Rather oddly, continuing claims rose by their most in 6 months last week to 2.265mm.
It has been a mostly quiet overnight session with Europe solidly green on another bout of Greek hope even as Bundesbank's Weidmann warned that Greek insolvency risks are rising and Greece reporting that its unemployment rose once more from 26.1% to 26.6% in Q1, in which we got two more rate cuts by New Zealand (which sent the Kiwi crashing the most since 2011) and South Korea (the Won initially dipped only to rebound) but China stole the stage with its latest report on retail sales, industrial production, and fixed investment all of which showed a modest bounce from multi-year lows suggesting the PBOC's attempts to shock the economy into growth may be starting to work (which is bad news for the market).
For once Mario Draghi was right. A day after the European central bank head warned of a spike in volatility, volatility did just that, with markets everywhere from China to Europe seeing volatility explode.
With the biggest miss to expectations in 6 weeks, initial jobless claims rose to 282k (against 270k exp). For context this means jobless claims have gone nowhere since the end of QE3. The smoothed average ticked up very modestly but hovers near 15-year lows. Continuing Claims rose 11k to 2.222 million, missing expectations for the first time in 6 weeks.
Courtesy of central planning, virtually every single capital market has become an illiquid penny stock, with wild swings from one extreme to the other, the latest example of this being the Shanghai Composite, which after soaring 10% in the past ten days, crashed 6.5% overnight tumbling 321 points to 4620 after it briefly rose just shy of 5000. This was the biggest drop since January 19 when the Composite dropped 7.7% only to blast higher ever since. Putting the "plunge" in perspective, now the SHCOMP is back to levels not seen in... one week.
Initial claims rose very modestly this week but the smoother 4-week average hit fresh cycle lows at 271k - just shy of the lowest level since 1973. Continuing claims also fell to new cycle lows at their lowest since 2000. It appears, as we have noted previously, that peak job-related cost-cutting has been achieved. However, it's not all unicorns and ponies... as Chicago Fed National Activity Indicator printed a disappointing -0.15, the 4th month in a row of contraction.
The big news overnight was neither the Chinese manufacturing PMI miss nor the just as unpleasant (and important) German manufacturing and service PMI misses, but that speculation about a rate hike continues to grow louder despite the abysmal economic data lately, with the latest vote of support of a 25 bps rate increase coming from Goldman which overnight updated its "Fed staff model" and found surprisingly little slack in the economy suggesting that the recent push to blame reality for not complying with economist models (and hence the need for double seasonal adjustments) is gaining steam, and as we first suggested earlier this week, it may just happen that the Fed completely ignores recent data, and pushes on to tighten conditions, if only to rerun the great Trichet experiment of the summer of 2011 when the smallest of rate hikes resulted in a double dip recession.
As the economic calendar slowly picks up following the NFP lull, we are looking at a busy week both globally and in the US, where an army of Fed speakers culminates with a Yellen speech on Friday at 1pm in Rhode Island.
It has gotten to where just the lack of a rout in Bunds or any other government issue is enough to activate the "bullish" outside stop hunting algo, which is probably why ES has jumped overnight in another illiquid, newsless session. Curiously, Bunds shave not sold off even though the EUR has jumped sharply by almost 100 pips overnight to a 3 month high also on no news (with some amusing acrobatics by the USDJPY alongside) traditionally a bearish indicator for the Dax and thus the S&P. Perhaps the algos are just late, or maybe the "weak dollar is good for stocks" thesis has been activated, but in any event this morning's ramp higher in the ES will continue until all upside stops are hunted down by Virtu and crushed mercilessly.
Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.
BOND SELLOFF DEEPENS; GERMAN 10-YR YIELD JUMPS 17 BPS TO 0.76%
SPANISH 10-YEAR BOND YIELD CLIMBS TO 2%; HIGHEST SINCE NOV. 24
ITALIAN 10-YEAR BOND YIELD CLIMBS ABOVE 2%; 1ST TIME THIS YEAR
10Y TREASURY YIELD CLIMBS 6BPS TO 2.31%, HIGHEST SINCE DEC. 8
U.K. 10-YR BOND YIELD CLIMBS 8 BPS TO 2.06%; MOST SINCE NOV. 24
JAPAN 10Y YIELD UP 7.5 BPS, SET FOR BIGGEST RISE SINCE MAY 2013
Quickly looking at the potential market moving events this week, US payrolls on Friday will be the clear focus. In terms of expectations, our US colleagues are expecting a +225k print which matches the current Bloomberg consensus, while they expect the unemployment rate to drop one-tenth to 5.4%. Elsewhere, Thursday’s UK Election will be closely followed while Greece will once again be front and center.
The biggest overnight story was neither out of China, where despite the ridiculous surge in new account openings and margin debt the SHCOMP dipped 08%, or out of Japan, where the Nikkei dropped 2.7%, the biggest drop in months, after the BOJ disappointed some by not monetizing more than 100% of net issuance and keeping QE unchanged, but Europe where for the second day in a row there was a furious selloff of Bunds at the open of trading, which briefly sent the yield on the 10Y to 0.38% (it was 0.6% two weeks ago), in turn sending the EURUSD soaring by almost 200 pips to a two month high of 1.1250, and weighing on US equity futures, before retracing some of the losses.
For the second week in a row, initial claims were worse than expected and increased year-to-date, While still below the magic 300k levels, claims printed 295k against expectations of 288k confirming the stagnation of the job market since the end of QE3 and the government's fiscal year. California and New York saw the biggest rise in initial claims with only Illinois seeing a drop; notably Texas saw layoffs across various sectors as it seems it ius not as 'diverse' as Richard Fisher propagandized. After 4 straight weeks of decline, continuing claims rose this week by the most in almost 3 months (but remains close to 15 year lows).
Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.