Japan growth cut in half, Europe growth cut by more than half, but none of that matters: today it will be all about the coronation of QEeen Yellen, who testifies before the Senate Banking Committee at 10am. Not even Japanese finance minister Aso's return to outright currency intervention warnings (in addition to the BOJ's QE monetary base dilution), when he said that Japan must always be ready to send signal to markets to curb excessive and one sided FX moves and it is important that Japan has intervention as FX policy option, which sent the USDJPY back up to 100 for the first time since September 11 made much of an impact on futures trading which after surging early in the session following the release of Yellen's prepared remarks, have now "tapered" virtually all gains. Certainly, the follow up from Europe doing the same and also warning it too may engage in QE, has been lost. Which is odd considering the entire developed world is now on the verge of engaging in the most furious open monetization of virtually everything in history.
As DB notes, it appears that markets continue to steadily price in a greater probability of a December taper judging by the 2bp increase in 10yr UST yields, 1.2% drop in the gold price and an edging up in the USD crosses yesterday. Indeed, the Atlanta Fed’s Lockhart, who is considered a bellwether within the Fed, kept the possibility of a December tapering open in public comments yesterday. But his other comments were quite dovish, particularly when he said that he wants to see inflation accelerate toward 2% before reducing asset purchases to give him confidence that the US economy was not dealing with a “downside scenario”. Lockhart stressed that any decision by the Fed on QE would be data dependent - so his comments that the government shutdown will make coming data "less reliable" than might otherwise have been, until at least December, were also quite telling. The dovish sentiments were echoed by Kocherlakota, a FOMC voter next year. In other words, an Oscar-worthy good-cop/bad-cop performance by the Fed's henchmen, confusing algotrons for the second day in a row.
While chart analogs provide optically pleasing (and often far too shockingly correct) indications of the human herd tendencies towards fear and greed, a glance through the headlines and reporting of prior periods can provide just as much of a concerning 'analog' as any chart. In this case, while these 3 pictures can paint a thousand words; a thousand words may also paint the biggest picture of all. It seems, socially and empirically, it is never different this time as these 1936 Wall Street Journal archives read only too well... from devaluations lifting stocks to inflationary side-effects of money flow and from short-covering, money-on-the-sidelines, Jobs, Europe, low-volume ramps, BTFD, and profit-taking, to brokers advising stocks for the long-run before a 40% decline.
The Nasdaq and Trannies closed green, Dow and S&P red (the latter pinned to VWAP thanks to some late-day JPY ignition dragging it off the lows). Volume was 'average and into the close VIX was bid as stocks clung to VWAP. Treasury yields limped higher from yesterday's small rise (30Y +1bps on the week, 5Y +4bps). The USD index would suggest a quiet day (practically unch of the week) but dispersion with EUR strength and AUD and JPY weakness was notable. Credit markets continued to slide notably. The biggest moves of the day were in commodity land with silver -3.5% on the week and gold and oil pinned to each other (petrogold?) -1.5% on the week, and copper -1% on the week. Today was all about POMO (as usual) and dueling Fed speak (Lockhart talked us down and Kocherlakota saved the day).
- China Pledges Greater Role for Market in Economy (WSJ), China vows 'decisive' role for markets, results by 2020 (Reuters)
- China expected to cut growth target to 7% (FT)
- World Trade Center Tower Debuts in Manhattan Leasing Test (BBG)
- Job Gap Widens in Uneven Recovery (WSJ)
- Khamenei’s conglomerate thrived as sanctions squeezed Iran (Reuters)
- Swiss referendum on wages of high earners stirs debate (FT)
- Obama to Nominate Massad to Head CFTC (WSJ)
- Japan readies additional $30 billion for Fukushima clean-up (Reuters)
- Target Fills Its Cart With Amazon Ideas (WSJ)
- Shadow banks reap Fed rate reward (FT)
Following a brief hiatus for the Veterans Day holiday, the spotlight will again shine on treasuries and emerging markets today. The theme of higher US yields and USD strength continue to play out in Asian trading. 10yr UST yields are drifting upwards, adding 3bp to take the 10yr treasury yield to 2.78% in Japanese trading: a near-two month high and just 22 bps away from that critical 3% barrier that crippled the Fed's tapering ambitions last time. Recall that 10yr yields added +15bp in its last US trading session on Friday, which was its weakest one day performance in yield terms since July. USD strength is the other theme in Asian trading this morning, which is driving USDJPY (+0.4%) higher, together with EM crosses including the USDIDR (+0.6%) and USDINR (+0.6%). EURUSD is a touch weaker following a headline by Dow Jones this morning that the Draghi is concerned about the possibility of deflation in the euro zone although he will dispute that publicly, citing Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung who source an unnamed ECB insider. The headline follows a number of similar stories in the FT and Bloomberg in recent days suggesting a split in the ECB’s governing council.
Isn't it intriguing that with the cash bond market closed, every other risk-asset-class in the world dies a horrible death of volume-less list-less price action? Today's only activity - bearing in mind the absence of the bond-market's almost ubiquitous POMO leveraging idiocy - was from the US open to the European close. From that point on FX markets (JPY crosses) and stocks went dead-stick pinned to VWAP (but managed new highs in the Dow). There was some divergences... HY credit (via ETFs) dropped rather notably to its lowest in almost a month; VIX was banged back under 12.5% - its lowest in almost 3 months; and crude oil prices jerked higher. Treasury futures indicate a 1-3bps yield rise on the day, the USD leaked lower (led by EUR strength), and PMs went nowhere fast treading water with modest losses. Stocks closed at record highs as the dash-for-trash remains front-and-center: "most shorted' names have tripled the market's 1.4% gain in the last 2 days!
It seems like the last 2 days have been a massive NASDAQ-TWTR pairs trade... Today saw broad stock indices best day in a month despite the early "good news is bad news" sell-off as newly minted TWTR heads towards its first bear market threshold off the highs. The Dow managed to get back to a record high close by the end of the day. Treasury prices were clubbed like a baby seal with yields jumping their most in over 4 months. Shorts were grossly squeezed today ("most shorted +2.9% vs Russell +1.1%). Gold was down 1.4% on the day (oil and copper flat) and 2% on the week. VIX was banged back under 13% and the JPY weakness sparked by the taper-on-driven USD strength kept carry traders alive. All in all - only equity markets reacted "positively" to the good news with a panic-buying-frenzy in the last 30 minutes as rates, FX, and precious metals all shifted in a "taper-on" trend...
Ben Bernanke is participating in an IMF panel with Larry Summers, Ken Rogoff, and fromer Bank of Israel chief Stan Fischer... Full speech below...
While today's big event is the October Non-farm payrolls print, which consensus has at 120K and unemployment rising from 7.2% to 7.3%, there was a spate of events overnight worth noting, starting with Chinese exports and imports both rising more than expected (5.6% and 7.6% vs expectations of 1.9% and 7.4% respectively), leading to an October trade surplus of $31.1 billion double the $15.2 billion reported in August. This led to a brief jump in Asian regional market which however was promptly faded. Germany also reported a greater trade surplus than expected at €20.4bn vs €15.4 bn expected, which begs the question just where are all these excess exports going to? Perhaps France, whose trade deficit rose from €5.1 billion to €5.8 billion, more than the €4.8 billion expected. Of note also was the French downgrade from AA+ to AA by S&P, citing weak economic prospects, with fiscal constraints throughout 2014. The agency added that the country has limited room to maneuver and sees an inability to significantly cut government spending. The downgrade, however, was largely a buy the EURUSD dip event as rating agencies' opinions fade into irrelevance.
Draghi's 'surprise' rate cut has sent every correlated asset soaring this morning. Aside from the EUR crashing over 150 pips instantaneously, S&P 500 futures snapped 10 points higher to 1775; Treasury yields dropped 3bps; Silver and Copper jerked 0.5% higher (but quickly reverted in the former as the USD strengthened); European equities (especially Spain and Italy) popped 2%; and peripheral bond yields moved to new multi-year lows with spreads dropping 10bps or so. With Draghi now at ZIRP effectively, who's next top pass the easing parcel to (not the Chinese). What is interesting is that US equities, Treasury yields, and commodities are all fading just a little off that kneejerk - even as EUR presses lower.
When it comes to US equities today, the picture below summarizes it all... the only question is whether the NYSE breaks to celebrate the year's overhyped social media IPO.Aside from the non-event that is the going public of a company that will likely not generate profits for years, if ever, the overnight market has been quiet with all major stock indices in Asia trading modestly lower on the back of a modestly stronger dollar, although the main currency to watch will be the Euro (German Industrial production of -0.9% today was a miss of 0.0% expectations and down from 1.6% previously), when the ECB releases its monthly statement at 7:45 am Eastern when it is largely expected to do nothing but may hint at more easing in the future. On the US docket we have the weekly initial claims (expected at 335k) which now that they are again in a rising phase, have been the latest data item to be ignored in the Bizarro market, as well as the latest Q3 GDP estimate, pegged by consensus at 2.0%.
On a below average volume day, there were three intriguing divergences across asset classes today. Thanks to CVX (and a few others including MSFT) the megacaps of the Dow Industrials lurched to new record highs as the Transports dropped their most in a month and the momo names (led by TSLA) took high-beta NDX and RUT down on the day. Another divergence was oil (which surged notably) and copper (which was pummeled) as gold and silver limped higher (on weaker USD ahead of tomorrow's rumored 'no cut' ECB meeting). The last notable divergence was in the Treasury complex where the long-bond continues to push higher in yield while 'forward-guidance' belief is dragging the front-end lower in yield (5s30s now 10bps steeper on the week). The short squeeze of the "most shorted" names into last night's TSLA earninsg appears to have imploded and today saw "most shorted" names dropped the most in a month...
- Christie Sets Himself Up for Run in 2016 (WSJ)
- De Blasio Elected Next New York City Mayor in Landslide (WSJ)
- Hilsenrath: Fed Study: Rate Peg Off Mark (WSJ)
- MF Global Customers Will Recover All They Lost (NYT) - amazing what happens when you look under the rug
- Virginia, Alabama Voter Choices Show Tea Party Declining (BBG)
- Explosions kill 1, injure 8 in north China city (Reuters)
- Toyota boosts full-year guidance as weak yen drives revenues (FT)
- Starbucks wants to recruit 10,000 vets, spouses to its ranks (Reuters)
- U.S. Economy Slack Justifies Stimulus, Top Fed Staff Papers Show (BBG)
- Israel set to become major gas exporter (FT)
It was the deep of illiquid night when the momentum ignition trading algos struck. Out of the blue, a liftathon in all JPY crosses without any accompanying news sent the all important ES leading EURJPY surging by 50 pips, which in turn sent both the Nikkei up over 1% in minutes, and led to an E-Mini futures melt up of just about 8 points just when everyone was going to sleep. All of this happened completely independent of the actual data, which was chiefly European retail sales which missed (-0.6%, Exp. 0.4%, prior revised lower to 0.5%), Eurozone Service PMI which dropped (from 52.2 to 51.6) but beat expectations of 50.9 (notably the Spanish Service PMI of 49.6, up from 49.0 saw its employment index drop from 46.5 to 45.3, the lowest print since June), and finally, German Factory Orders which surged from last month's -0.3% to +3.3% in September. And while all this impacted the EUR modestly stronger, it had little if any residual effect on the ES. The bigger question is whether these slightly stronger than expected data point will offset the ECB's expected dovishness when Mario takes to the mic tomorrow).