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.
While this week sees the peak of Q1 earnings season, it will be a generally quiet week on the macro economic front for both EM and DM, with the emphasis on the latest seasonally adjusted manufacturing sentiment surveys, US durables and Japan trade.
Initial Jobless Claims Miss By Most In 2 Months, Continuing Claims Collapse To Lowest Since Dec 2000Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/16/2015 08:39 -0400
After last week's plunge to cycle lows, initial jobless claims jumped 12k from a revised 282k to 294k, back above the average for the year. The trend of falling claims has now ended as it appears the end of government fiscal year and QE3 signalled the end of the claims collapse.
Just as the S&P appeared set to blast off to a forward GAAP PE > 21.0x, here comes Greece and drags it back down to a far more somber 20.0x. The catalyst this time is an FT article according to which officials of now openly insolvent Greece have made an informal approach to the International Monetary Fund to delay repayments of loans to the international lender, but were told that no rescheduling was possible. The result if a drop in not only US equity futures which are down 8 points at last check, but also yields across the board with the German 10Y Bund now just single basis points above 0.00% (the German 9Y is now < 0), on its way to -0.20% at which point it will lead to a very awkward "crossing the streams" moment for the ECB.
While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.
After the abysmal March payrolls number, there were expectations in the whisper forecast of today's initial claims that there would be a sizable jump in initial unemployment claims, one that may break the streak of 4 consecutive prints under 300K. It did not happen, and in fact the number which was released moments ago by the BLS indicated continued strength in the US labor market, where there was 281K initial claims in the past week, just under the 283K expected and higher than the revised 267K from last week. This is the lowest level for this average since June 3, 2000 when it was 281,500. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 285,500 to 285,250.
As noted several hours ago, the main story overnight is not that Greece once again narrowly averted a Grexit when it was reported it would make its scheduled payment to the IMF today (adding that next month is a "different story") a development that was met with yet another ultimatum by its "partner", the Eurozone, but the dot com bubble deja vu-esque move in Hong Kong stocks, where the Chinese, seemingly tired of pushing up their local market into the stratosphere have turned their attention southward and are desperate to buy up every single Hong Kong stock.
A dispassionate look at the drivers of the investment climate in the week ahead.
Unlike yesterday's vertigo-inducing overnight session, today has been a smooth sea by comparison even if one which has flowed from the top left to the bottom right for now, with futures erasing all of the last minute surge which was HFT programmed to sticksave the S&P just green for the year and then some. It is difficult to pinpoint the catalyst that will be today's market narrative although with NFP in just over 24 hours, falling on a holiday which will allow S&P futures just 45 minutes of trading after the BLS report hits before closing for the day, and with the weak ADP not to mention the 0.0% GDP, the "whisper" expectation is for a NFP print that will be well below consensus, somewhere in the mid-100,000s if not worse now that the bartender hiring spree is over. The fact that March payrolls have missed on 6 of the last 7 reports probably adds to the dollar weakness, even if a huge miss tomorrow may just be the catalyst Yellen needs to launch the QE4 trial balloon.
After last week's initial jobless claims drop - which nevertheless held the 4-wk average above 300k - this week saw the number drop once more. Against expectations of 290k, claims printed 282k, leaving the 4-week average at 297k, conveniently below the 300k mark. This means that since the end of QE3, initial jobless claims are unchanged as the trend of improvement has clearly stalled.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.
If it was the Fed's intention to slow down the relentless surge in the dollar with yesterday's "impatient" removal which blamed the dollar strength on the "strength" in the US economy, it promptly failed after algos and a few carbon-based traders looked at the Atlanta Fed and realized that a 0.3% Q1 GDP print is anything but "strong." As a result the EURUSD, after soaring by nearly 400 pips yesterday in a market reminiscent of a third-world FX pair's liquidity especially following the previously noted USD flash crash, the dollar has recoupped nearly all losses, and the DXY is once again on the way up and eyeing the resistance area of 100.
This week's main event will be the FOMC announcement on Wednesday at 2:00 pm and the subsequent press conference, the conclusion of the March 2-day Fed meeting, in which it is widely expected that Yellen will announce the end of the Fed's "Patience" with an economy in which resurgent waiters and bartenders continue to skew the job market even if it means consistently declining wages for 80% of the US labor force. Here is a summary of what else to expect this week.
Despite a 36k drop week-over-week, the less noisy four-week average initial jobless claims remains above 300k for the 2nd week in a row - something we have not seen since in 6 months. At 289k, initial claims beat expectations of 304k but continuing claims printed higher than expected at 2.418 million. Shale state claims remain below the peak levels of January but well above average. The trend remains 'changed' from the QE3 regime.