- Because it just gets funnier: UK speed trader arrested over role in 2010 'flash crash' (Reuters)
- ... and funnier: Mystery Trader Armed With Algorithms Rewrites Flash Crash Story (BBG)
- Presidential hopeful Rubio reaches out to gay Republicans (Reuters)
- Varoufakis Sees Differences Narrowing in Creditor Talks (BBG)
- China Debt Mess Brings Out the Yin and Yang in Policy Makers (BBG)
- Hedge Fund That Made 18% on Dollar Strength Now Bets on Drop (BBG)
- Whistleblower Jim Marchese Scores Millions in Payout—Again (WSJ)
- Release of Benghazi Report on Hillary Clinton Likely Pushed to Election Season (BBG)
Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.
Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price war is with the investment banks and the stupid money they directed to fund the plays. It is also with the zero-interest rate economic conditions that made this possible. Saudi Arabia intends to keep oil prices low for as long as possible.
After last week's smaller than expected API and DOE inventories data (which was merely average when considering the massive build from the prior week), it appears the machines have realized that everything is not awesome again in the crude complex. For the 15th week in a row, invenrtories rose - this time by more than expected at 5.5mm bbl (against a 2.5mm bbl expectation). Crude prices are slipping lower...
Baker Hughes has increased the number of jobs it plans to cut from 7,000 to 10,500 and will close 140 facilities worldwide citing a need to "reduce the cost base and resize [the company's] footprint" in the face of challenging market conditions. Meanwhile, JPM reminds Richard Fisher that "the only thing dropping in the Texas economy is the number of jobs."
Explaining the catalysts that move the "market" overnight has become so farcical it is practically an exercise in futility and absurdism.
"The outlook for Chinese demand, in contrast to optimistic forecasts of producers, is skewed heavily to the downside," BNP says, in a new note warning of further deflationary pressures and protracted weakness in iron ore prices. For those who still think a "hard landing" can still be avoided, look no further for evidence to the contrary.
For the 2nd day in a row, WTI crude prices are falling (back below $55) after Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said production in the world's biggest crude exporter would stay near record peaks around 10 million barrels per day in April. The investment community remains divided over the future (perhaps more a reflection of time horizons): BofA notes Large Speculators bought crude contracts for the 3rd consecutive week - the longest streak since June 2014; but Blackstone (among other private equity firms) have stayed on the sidelines (despite plenty of cash to put to work) as public markets have exuberantly filled the void so far this year: Oil producers have been able to “raise a lot of debt and, in some cases, equity publicly at values that we wouldn’t touch."
It is only fitting that the next business day following a headline that "Global Futures Slide China Tumbles On Short Selling Boost" we would see China, in an apparent panic, not only cut its RRR by 100 bps to 18.5% - far more than expected and the most since 2008 - but, more importantly, hinted that the Friday regulatory decision to encourage short sales and tighter margin rules on "umbrella trusts" was in no way meant to pop that the Chinese stock bubble, ridiculous as it may be. End result: after Chinese futures crashed by up to 6% on Friday after the Shanghai close, overnight the SHCOMP was down just 1.64%, erasing the bulk of the futures loss. More importantly, US equity futures have seen a strong bid this morning in yet another attempt to defend not only the Apple Sachs Industrial Average from going red on the year but the all important 100 DMA technical levels.
Energy companies “biding their time in the hopes they don’t have to face the music.”
After trending sharply higher in recent months, the US dollar has entered a consolidative range against most of the major currencies.