In a world devoid for the past two weeks and certainly for foreseeable future of most US economic data (this week we get no CPI, Industrial Production and New Home Sales among others), markets are now reliant on China for an indication of how the economy is doing, which is why this weekend's weaker than expected Chinese exports (ignoring the fact that China trade data is largely made up) and higher than expected consumer price inflation (driven by higher vegetable prices), even as new yuan loans soared to CNY787 billion, well above the CNY675 billion estimate despite broader M2 slowing from 14.7% in August to 14.2% in September, means the Chinese economy is once again in a vice and following the summer's liquidity driven boost, is set to roll over. Which in turn means that once again the PBOC is flying blind: unable to inject more liquidity without risking broader inflation, while most indicators are already rolling over. In short, ugly and certainly rolling over Chinese economic indicators for the market to mull over on Columbus day, even though all this will be promptly forgotten once the Washington debt ceiling song and dance resumes and the now traditional 10:30 am surge grips the algotrons as the latest set of "imminent deal" rumors is unleashed.
A lack of news on deal progress in thelast 24-36 hours was not enough to stall an epic ramp in stocks to take 'most' indices back into the green on the week. The Russell is within a hair of all-time highs again (bouncing 4.6% off Wednesday's lows) but the Nasdaq closed the week -0.27% - breaking a 5-week winning streak. All equity indices are green post-shutdown but we note in sectors, the homebuilders are still -1.6% (and Discretionary with a small gain). Treasures ended the week modestly higher in yield (with Bills ignoring equities and notably higher in yield). Gold was slammed -3%, Oil and Silver -2% and Copper -1% (as the USD gained a mere 0.3% - driven by a 1% dump in JPY). VIX underperformed equity exuberance on the day but closed lower. The close saw a mini-melt-up in stocks taking us back to the highs.
Despite stock (not bond) euphoria yesterday that a DC debt ceiling deal was sealed leading to the second largest risk ramp of 2013, last night was spent diffusing the excitement as one after another politician talked back the success of a "non-deal" that Obama rejected, at least according to the NYT. As a result, with both retail sales data and the PPI not being released (and the only data of note the always leaked UMichigan consumer confidence) markets will again be at the behest of developments on Capitol Hill, with some talk from Republicans suggesting a deal as early as today could be possible in an effort to reopen government on Monday. It is entirely possible that talks could continue over the weekend though, which would ensure a gappy open to Asian markets on Monday.
Once upon a time there was a conflict that was based upon ethnic origins in Darfur.
As reported previously, the latest meme surrounding the D.C. impasse is that Obama is suddenly willing to compromise on a short-term, supposedly six-week funding and debt ceiling extension, on the verge of his latest talks with republicans at the White House scheduled for this morning, as previously floated by the GOP. Throw some additional headlines such as "Ryan steps up to shape a deal" (in line with what we predicted yesterday) and "The ice breaks; fiscal talks set", by The Hill, and "GOP quietly backing away from Obamacare" from Politico, and one can see why futures are in breakneck soaring mode this morning, driven as usual by the two main JPY cross (USD and AUD), the first of which is less than 100 pips now away from being Stolpered out. So will a compromise deal finally emerge 7 days ahead of the first X-Date, or will a last minute snag once again derail the (non)-negotiations? We will know quite soon.
As headline after headline was regurgitated and used a momentum igniting ammo in stocks, the S&P managed to get back to post-Yellen-news highs before dumping into the close on the back the Fidelity "Sell" news. S&P futures closed perfectly at VWAP (and green) but the Russell and Nasdaq closed red. The Dow bounced off its 200DMA and set the lows for the day. USD strength across the board was not rotating into stocks or bonds or PMs as we suspect cash is the friend of the repo-angst deleveraging ahead. Copper and Oil are -2.3% on the week, Gold -0.4% and Silver remains positive +0.5% on the week. Treasury yields limped higher to +2bps or so on the week. VIX fell back on the day from spike high levels of 2013.
Yellen is in; nothing is resolved in DC; and there's no news on the wires - so it makes perfect sense that once again as the 830ET period ticks by that commodity prices - especially gold, silver, and copper enter what many in the business call "free fall." All sarcasm aside, this is becoming far too ubiquitous - but of course with the CFTC closed for business, while the cat's away the algos will play.
For all expectations of a big jump in US futures overnight on the largely priced in Janet Yellen nomination announcement which is due at 3 pm today, the move so far has been very much contained, as expected, with a modest 90 minute halflife, as the markets' prevailing concern continues to be whether the debt ceiling negotiation will be concluded by the October 17 deadline or if it would stretch further forcing the government to prioritize payments. There is however some hope with Bloomberg reporting that some possible paths out of the debt impasse are starting to emerge with less than a week before U.S. borrowing authority lapses after Obama said he could accept a short-term debt-limit increase without policy conditions that set the terms for future talks. Whether this materializes or just leads to more empty posturing and televized press conferences is unclear, although as Politico reports, the stakes for republicans are getting increasingly nebulous with some saying they are "losing" the fight, while the core GDP constituency is actually liking the government shutdown.
The 4.3% drop from recent highs in the S&P 13 days ago is the largest drop over that period since mid November 2012. The S&P broke its 11-month uptrend and closed below its 100DMA having fallen 11 of the last 14 days post Un-Taper. VIX broke back above 21% briefly (almost its highest level of 2013). Homebuilders were ugly as were the rest of the high-beta momo stocks. Equity markets tracked FX carry (AUDJPY mostly) on the day but the USD ended the day modestly higher (albeit amid wide dispersion). Treasuries were mixed with the short-term battered (1w to 1m Bills +10-15bps!!!!), 2Y +5bps on the week, 30Y -2.5bps (which is notable in that it is not tracking stocks implying some angst over TSY ownership). Gold, Silver and Copper were pushed lower as stock fell but the PMs remain bid on the week. Stocks dived into the close with no VIX monkey-hammering to help; The Dow is now 5.9% off its highs and testing its 200DMA for the first time this year.
Markets are so obsessed by developments with the US debt ceiling, that absolutely nobody noticed that the Japanese Current Account (JPY152Bn, Exp. JPY520bn), Industrial Outuput in Spain (-2.0%, Exp. -1.6%), Factory Orders in Germany (-0.3%, Exp. +1.2%), Trade Balance in Germany (€13.1bn, Exp. €15.0 bn) and that the Jan-Aug tax revenue in Greece below expectations by 5.7%, all missed horribly, and that for all the talk of a European recovery (which was merely driven by a brief surge in Chinese credit spending making its way into the European pipeline) is once again fully and entirely premature. But with Congress on everyone's mind, even increasingly China and Japan, who cares about fundamentals: after all there is a Federal Reserve to mask the fact that nothing but liquidity injections matters. Even if that means a complete collapse in the actual economy as those separated from the Fed by one or more layers of banks, crash and burn.
Overnight trading over the past week has been a bipolar affair based on algo sentiment about what is coming out of D.C. But which the last session was optimistic for some inexplicable reason that a deal on both the government shutdown and the debt ceiling out of DC was imminent, today any optimism is gone in the aftermath of the latest comments by Boehner on ABC, in which he implied that a US default is not unavoidable and that it would be used as more political capital, as it would be once again blamed on Obama for not resuming negotiations. As a result both global equities and US futures are down sharpy in overnight trading. And since the government shutdown, better known as a retroactively paid vacation, for everyone but the Pentagon (whose 400,000 workers have been recalled from furlough) continues it means zero government economic statistics in today's session with the only macro data being the Fed-sourced consumer credit report at 3 pm. This week also marks the unofficial start of the Q3 reporting season in the US with Alcoa doing the usual opening honous after the US closing bell tomorrow. JPMorgan’s and Wells Fargo’s results on Friday are the other main ones to watch to see just how much in reserves are released to pretend that banks are still making money. As usual, expect disinformation leaks that send the market sharply higher throughout the day, which however will only make the final outcome that much more painful, because as during every US government crisis in the past, stocks have to plunge so they can soar again.
- Troops Forage for Food While Golfers Play On in Shutdown (BBG)
- Police suspect dental hygienist Miriam Carey was behind the wheel of Capitol chase (WaPo)
- Italian Senate committee starts Berlusconi expulsion process (Reuters)
- Swiss Regulator Probing Banks Over Foreign-Exchange Manipulation (WSJ)
- GOP Begins Search for Broad Deal on Budget (WSJ)
- No Jobs Report Means Economists Chew on Football Instead of Data (BBG)
- U.S. default seems unthinkable but investors have options (Reuters)
- Citigroup fined $30 million after analyst sent report to SAC, others (Reuters)
- FBI Snags Silk Road Boss With Own Methods (BBG)
- Recession Warnings Found in Asset Price Falls (BBG)
- Bank of Japan warns of severe global impact from U.S. fiscal standoff (Reuters)
With the government shutdown stretching into an improbable 4th day (and with every additional day added on, the likelihood that the impasse continues even longer and hit the debt ceiling X-Date of October 17 becomes greater), today's monthly Non-Farm Payroll data has quickly become No-Farm Payroll. However, just like on day when Europe is closed we still get a ramp into the European close, expect at least several vacuum tube algos to jump the gun at 8:29:59:999 and try to generate some upward momentum ignition in stocks and downward momentum in gold. In addition to no economic data released in the US, President Obama announced last night he has cancelled his trip to Bali, Indonesia, to attend the APEC conference and instead to focus on budget negotiations back at home - which is ironic because his latest story is that he will not negotiate, so why not just not negotiate from Asia? Ah, the optics of shutdown.
Stocks have fallen for 9 of the last 11 days since the Un-Taper and the S&P has falen 3.7% from its highs. Volume today was above average (as we note CBOE SPY options volume set an all-time record yesterday) and thanks to a 1% or so rally off the lows on the back of a restatement that Speaker Boehner doesn't want to see carnage, the S&P managed to scramble back above the 50DMA. A late-day collapse (what no VIX pumpathon today?) closed us below that crucial level for the first time in a month. VIX rose 1 vol to 17.6% by the close (off its highs). Treasuries rallied in general (but the 30Y ended the day unch as the curve steepened notably). The USD fell some more (-0.65% on the week) as JPY and EUR strength didn't help but gold and silver closed unch, oil and copper down 1%.
Despite the president's tongue-in-cheek warning to Wall Street that this time it's different, and it that "it should be concerned", that same Wall Street continues to roundly mock his attempts to talk it lower on the third day of America's "shutdown", knowing very well that if things ever turn bad, Mr. Chairman, aka the S&P chief risk officer, will get to work, and rescue everyone from that pesky thing known as losses. Whether the offsetting optimism was driven by made up China non-manufacturing PMI rising from 53.9 to 55.4, the highest in six months, or just as made up non-core European PMI data which also beat expectations despite Germany Services PMI continuing to telegraph a weakness, dropping from 54.4 to 53.7, is unknown and once again not important. So while futures are modestly lower if only until such time as the daily 3:58pm VIX slam takes place just before market close, do not expect any major moves in stocks until either the GOP finally folds and lets Obama have his way, or bundles all shutdown legislation into the debt ceiling negotiation, and careens the US right into the debt ceiling deadline on October 17 without any legislation in place.