Chinese Stocks Soar To 4 Year High On Stimulus Hopes As Japan's Economy Implodes; US Futures ReboundSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2014 07:08 -0500
One group of Federal workers that is definitely not taking the day off, is the trading desk located on the 9th floor of the New York Fed, responsible for such things as preserving the "fair" value of the bond and the stock market and avoiding any sharp downward moves. Because if there is one thing on the "national security" agenda that must be avoided at all costs, it is a drop in the S&P in today's trading session - after all now is when the official Santa rally begins and judging by the futures, which after a steep selloff in the last minute of trading on Wednesday have restored all their losses and then some, we may finally hit Goldman's year end target of 2100, for 2015.
WTI Crude is down over 3.5%, dropping back towards $55 - dismissing yesterday's dead-cat-bounce deja vu - as EIA inventory builds more than expected at 7.27 million barrels (biggest build in 2 months to 6-month highs). This is the largest inventory for the time of year since records began. Of course, while energy stocks are fading broad equity indices do not care at all...
The ability of oil exporters to trigger a short-term collapse in price does not automatically translate into an ability to control the financial conflagration such a crash ignites.
Today's early close across markets likely means that the blow-off top multiple-expansion mania phase (because forward EPS estimates over the past couple - that means 2 to Janet Yellen fanatics - weeks have in fact declined) of 2014 may be coming to an end. However with already abysmal volumes literally grinding to an early halt at 1:15 pm Eastern today, and with a market as boring as this one, where any news is immediately interpreted as good, not matter how bad it actually is or how "revised" or "goal-seeked", we may see futures, which already are trading some 4 points above fair value, successfully levitate by another 20 points and hit Goldman's 2100 year end target - year-end for 2015 that is - one year ahead of time.
As the following snapshot from January 2009 shows, the 12 month, $25 contango back then was without precedent, and as a result there was an epic scramble by hedge funds, banks and various other speculators to store about 100 million barrels on tankers with the intention to sell later. Since the contango was so wide one could easily lease any number of VLCCs and still be profitable on the trade. In fact, a big reason for the renormalization of the crude curve back then was because so many funds jumped on this arb. Fast forward to today, because the "risk-free" contango trade is back.
A form of society could undoubtedly exist powered by nuclear, wind and shale gas. But it would be a society supported by the state with far larger numbers working in the energy industries than now, producing lower surpluses, the energy production part perhaps running at a perennial loss. Those losses have to be covered by either higher price or via the taxation system. Either way, the brave new world that awaits us will be characterized as the time of less that will be in stark contrast to the time of plenty many of us enjoyed during the 20th Century.
In the last couple of months, the sharp reversion in oil prices has certainly caught the world’s attention. While the majority of economists and analysts continue to expect incorrectly that falling oil prices are a positive input to economic growth, the reality is that it is not. The negative impact to economic growth from the decline in oil prices are quite considerable when you consider that almost 40% of all the jobs created since 2009 have been in energy related industries. While the economists and analysts are hopeful for a sharp recovery in oil prices, the current decline in oil prices is nothing more than a return to historical normalcy.
ConvergEx's Nick Colas quarterly review of “Off the grid” economic indicators tells a story somewhat less sanguine than the typical government data. Confidence is returning, yes. But consider just how low it got: the top 3 Google autofills for “I want to sell my …” featured “kidney” for the first 3 quarters of this year. It was replaced in the current quarter with “Laptop”. Progress, of a sort...
As the year winds down, a Gordian knot tying Russia, oil prices and China together is receiving a great deal of attention. Let's see if we can unravel some of the confusing twists and turns.
We turn first to China's offer of assistance to Russia. The idea that Russia could activate its CNY150 bln (~$24 bln) currency swap line with China is capturing the imagination of many.
With the wind down of the record 2014 trading slump now in its final days (although judging by volumes throughout the year one may have a difficult time noticing just when the holidays began and ended), the already entertaining zero-liquidity market moves are sure to provide further amusement today in the context of the US economic data bonanza on deck, which includes Durable Goods, GDP, Personal Income and Spending, Richmond Fed, UMich, and New Home Sales. Beat or miss, all of the above are guaranteed to send the S&P to higher recorder highs because in the multiple-expansion euphoria blow-off top phase nobody cares about such trivia as fundamentals or the economy, especially when Japan and Germany are about to monetize all of their gross issuance. Just remember to occasionally keep an eye on the preferred rigging correlation pairs: the USDJPY and the VIX, whose every illiquid jerk will be followed by Citadel & NYFed's algos tic for tic.
"People should not be worried," explained Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in a TV address over the weekend, "we have a plan in place if oil prices are $40 per barrel." Kazakhstan, the second largest ex-Soviet oil producer after Russia, explains "there are reserves which could support people, preventing living conditions from worsening." However, if A. Gary Schilling's reality check of $20 oil being possible comes to fruition, as he explains, what matters are marginal costs - the expense of retrieving oil once the holes have been drilled and pipelines laid. That number is more like $10 to $20 a barrel in the Persian Gulf... We wonder who has a plan for that?
Having exuberantly reached its highest level since September 2013 last month (despite the total collapse in mortgage applications), it appears the ugly reality of the housing market has peeked its head out once again. As prices rose, existing home sales plunged 6.1% - the most since July 2010 (against an expected 1.1% drop) to 4.93mm SAAR (the lowest in 6 months). As usual there is an excuse for this carnage... NAR's Larry Yun blames the stock market (and rising home values). Quite a conundrum for the Fed...