The last 12 days have seen the S&P 500 surge 7.5% - this is the fastest run since the co-ordinated global intervention that started Thanksgiving 2011. The overnight gap open never looked like being tested and volume remained average at best all day (until the 1400ET vert-ramp took us instantaneously above the previous all-time high close - running stops on the way - and pushing volume well 'below' average). Interestingly, the sectors did not enjoy the smash higher that the indices did and all pretty much trod water from open to close (with builders best all day). All indices are handsomely green from the 6/19 FOMC statement and only Materials and Builders are red (-1% from 6/19 FOMC). The same pattern was seen in gold, silver, copper, and bonds (overnight surge higher and then flatline for the day). The long-end of the TSY complex underperformed (-2bps vs 7Y -8.5bps) and as the stock indices exploded to highs, credit markets were not following along (and nor was VIX which dramatically diverged from stocks' exuberance).
The only story this morning remains Bernanke's after hours speech, which solidly trumped the FOMC minutes in market impact, and which, in addition to ramping US equity futures to just about new all time highs, sent the EURUSD soaring by almost the same amount (+300 pips) as the actual QE1 announcement on March 18, 2009. Such is the power of verbal currency warfare, when Bernanke hasn't acutally done anything and merely hinted the Fed is as confused as ever about what to do. Of course, as Commerzbank notes this morning, the U.S. economy would have to lose a lot of momentum for the Fed to cancel tapering, and the central bank would only expand the purchase program if the economy collapses, but none of that matters to the "wealth effect" for the 1% where economic destruction simply means more wealth.
Equity futures markets (US and Asian) and AUD are sliding off overnight highs amid the worst YoY exports performance in China since October 2009. The 3.1% drop (compared to expectations of a 3.7% gain) is the biggest miss in a year and the first negative print since January 2012 - making the second big miss in a row as the 'fake' trade data driven by the shadow-banking-arbitrage is unwound out of historical data.
- ICE's NYSE to determine the rate used by key competitor CME: NYSE Euronext to Take Over Libor (WSJ)
- Japan slams China over maritime disputes (FT)
- The Twinkie Returns, With Less Baggage (WSJ)
- Pentagon Workers From Pennsylvania to Ghana Hit by Cuts (BBG)
- Why Prostitutes Aren't Enough to Deprive the World of Eliot Spitzer (BBG)
- Groups gather in Turkish protest park after night of clashes (Reuters)
- Apartment Rents Rise, But the Pace Is Slowing (WSJ)
- Asiana Seen Saving Millions With Tactic to Bar U.S. Suits (BBG)
- Bin Laden's life on the run revealed by Pakistani inquiry (Reuters)
- Fracking Firms Face New Crop of Competitors (WSJ)
Overnight news began in China where the CPI came in 2.7% versus consensus of 2.5% although PPI continues to decline at a faster pace than expected (-2.7% v -2.6%). While nobody believes the actual print, that the PBOC is telegraphing an inflationary "leak" shows its willingness to continue with pro-tightening measures which is why despite an Alcoa "beat", the SHCOMP was up only 0.37%. Elsewhere in China, Bloomberg news quoting Xinhua said that some district governments of Ordos of Inner Mongolia is struggling with finances and had to borrow money from companies to pay salaries of municipal employees. Ordos is the infamous "ghost town" spurred by the mining boom in Inner Mongolia. The Bloomberg article noted that Ordos local government entities have CNY240bn of debt versus CNY37.5 billion of revenue last year. And while the Alcoa "beat", helped handily by a hilariously "tapered" consensus into reporting day, did little for China it was the catalyst that pushed global stocks higher worldwide.
The central bank "reason" goal-seeked for today's US overnight ramp - because it sure wasn't fundamentals with both German exports (-2.4%, Exp. +0.1%) and Industrial Production (-1.0%, Exp. -0.5%) missing - was the weekend Spiegel story that despite the unanimous decision by the ECB last week to keep rates unchanged, ECB chief economist Peter Praet and Mario Draghi himself had insisted on a 25 bps rate cut. They were, however, stopped by seven council members from the northern euro states, including Weidmann, Knot and Asmussen. As a result, Draghi was steamrolled in the final vote. Yet somehow this is bullish for risk, pushing equity futures higher and peripheral debt spreads lower, even as the EURUSD has drifted higher. Of course, one can't have an even more dovish ECB as a risk on catalyst alongside a rising Euro, but who cares about news, fundamentals, or logic at this point. All that matters is that US futures are higher, which was especially needed following yet another rout in the Shanghai Composite which dropped 2.44% back under 2,000 following news that China's Finance Ministry has told central government agencies to cut expenditures by 5% this year, and a 1.4% drop in the PenNikkeiStock225 on a weaker USDJPY. Remember: all is well in the global economy (whose forecast is about to be cut by the IMF) if the US is generating a record number of part-time jobs.
The market remains confused. The better-than-expected headline jobs data prompted USD strength (Taper-on), gold/silver weakness (Taper-on), Homebuilder stocks drop (Taper-on), Bond yields surge (Taper-on), and credit market widening (Taper-on); but the good-old trusty US equity market was not having any of that. After dumping 25 points from its post-NFP highs, S&P 500 futures gapped and jerked up to VWAP, ran stops at the highs of the day, dropped back to VWAP, then surged into the close. The Dow ended up 150 points. Treasury yields rose the most in 2 years - an impressive 22bps. Despite a late surge, high-yield bonds had their worst day in 2 weeks. Gold and silver down 2.3% and 3.5% respectively and copper dumped 3.2% (not exactly the growth-exhibiting factor that everyone suggests is driving stocks up and bonds down). Meanwhile, WTI topped $103 for its highest close in 14 months.
While the skeleton crew of market participants are still digesting yesterday's uber-dovish, "forward guidance" conversion by the BOE and ECB, driven in response to the Fed's increasingly tight (at least relatively) monetary policy, they now have month's biggest economic and market catalyst to look forward to. In a day which promises to be rife with illiquidity as the bulk of US market participants are within 100 feet of a sandy beach, we are about to get the number that will shape the market's mood for the next month: will the Fed's tapering planes be strengthened in response to strong NFP, or not. As Deutsche accurately points out, the curveball to throw in is that June-August numbers have tended to be seasonally weak over the whole period we have data (back 70+ years) and again over the last 10 years. Today's number is therefore going to be fascinating. A number between 150-200k is unlikely to change anyone’s opinion on the Fed whereas a number below might start to build a case for a taper delay. Above 200k and the September taper momentum will build. Such a high number (especially in a weak seasonal period) is unlikely to be great for markets but the ECB/BoE might have cushioned some of the hawkish blow for now. For the record the market is expecting 165k on payrolls and 7.5% (DB same) for unemployment. A full NFP preview post is coming shortly.
When the official Chinese PMI printed a few days ago we noted the 'odd' fact that several of the key sub-indices were 'missing'. While most put this down to some 'hiccup' or aberration, we wondered at the time what this might mean in a nation that has seemingly gone out of its way to baffle with Schrodinger bullshit for much of the last few 'recovery' years in the face of collapsing electricity production, copper/cement/steel prices, fake trade invoices, and a shadow-banking system so re-hypothecated that even the PBOC has decided enough is enough. Well, as Bloomberg reports, it turns out it wasn't an aberration, but new policy from China's Federation of Logistics and Purchasing which has now officially suspended the release of industry-specific data from the monthly survey of manufacturers. As one analyst put it, "the random absence of official data is disorienting," which is likely exactly the plan.
This does NOT open the door to more QE now. If the Fed tapers QE in the future then yes, it might engage in more QE later down the road. But the idea that the Fed will increase QE when it’s already running $85 billion a month is misguided.
- Egypt on the edge after Mursi rebuffs army ultimatum (Reuters)
- Inside China's Bank-Rate Missteps (WSJ)
- Obama Urges Morsi to Respond to Protesters' Concerns (WSJ)
- How Fed’s 7% Jobless Avoids Deterring Bondholders Is Mystery (BBG)
- Obama Joins With Political Foe Bush at End of Africa Trip (BBG)
- China may introduce deposit insurance by year-end (China Daily)
- China’s Slowdown Could Slam Hong Kong (BBG)
- Government 'to ask Rothschild to advise on RBS split' (Telegraph)
- Martin Feldstein: The Fed Should Start to 'Taper' Now (WSJ)
The volatility of recent weeks is but a mere small taste of the volatility in store for all markets in the coming months and years. The global debt crisis is likely to continue for the rest of the decade as politicians and central bankers have merely delayed the day of reckoning. They have ensured that when the day of reckoning comes it will be even more painful and costly then it would have been previously.
We appeared to go from good is good (but the underlying macro data this morning also provided some bad is good news) to good is bad by the close. The Discretionary sector almost reached back to unchanged from the FOMC statement but that appeared to be the short-term-top as it faded back by the close. Interestingly with bonds rallying notably from overnight high yields, bond-like stocks actually suffered today (great un-rotation?). Credit markets were entirely unimpressed by the early excitement in stocks and as we entered the last hour stocks began to sink and credit rally for the divergence. Gold and Silver diverged this afternoon with the yellow metal holding gains and coupling with WTI for a 1.5% gain on the day (and gold's best 2 days in over 4 years) while Silver slipped this afternoon to end -0.3%. The USD slow-leaked all day (-0.2%) amid AUD strength and modest JPY weakness (that provided some support for risk-assets early on). Volume was awful - around 30% below average. VIX fell on the day but rose notably more than stocks would imply into the close as hedgers grabbed on but stocks were sold as the Egyptian situation escalated.
Following the drubbing in commodities in Q2 it is was only a matter of time that the pendulum swung the other way. At least that is the view of JPMorgan's commodities team led by Colin Fenton who says to "go overweight commodity indices now." JPM's summary: "It’s our first OW call on commodities since September 2010… we turned underweight commodities as an asset class in November 2011, shortly after it became apparent that Europe and Australia had entered manufacturing recessions and commodities were likely to underperform equities and bonds over the following 6 to 12 months, likely yielding negative returns in 1H12. Over the past year, we have grown more positive on the asset class, as energy has improved, expected menaces in bulks and metals have arrived, and sentiment across commodities has belatedly soured. However, our strategies have sought to be directionally neutral. Now, we move to recommend a net long, overweight exposure for institutional investors for the first time in more than two years, based on ten fundamental factors we quantify in this note." Yes, that includes gold, although as a hedge JPM adds: "Liquidity could fall quickly in summertime. Buy 25-delta puts in oil, copper, and gold to protect a core position in commodity index total return swaps."
Think gold and silver were the worst performing financial asset in June? Think again: that dubious distinction falls to the Bovespa, the Shanghai Composite and the Greek stock market index, all of which tumbled more than the precious metal complex did in the past month. Yet what an odd month for hard assets - on one hand WTI, Corn and Brent were the best performing assets, while gold, silver, copper and wheat tumbled.