WTI Crude oil prices tumbled to a $75 handle this morning as Saudi oil minister al-Naimi dismissed claims of a price-war as having "no basis in reality" noting that "Saudi oil policy has remained constant for the past few decades and it has not change today," suggesting expectations of a supply cut at the looming OPEC meetings are overdone. This comment comes after Qatar said it "may" cut output by 500k barrels/day.
The relentless regurgitation of the only two rumors that have moved markets this week, namely the Japanese sales tax delay and the "surprise" cabinet snap elections, was once again all over the newswires last night in yet another iteration, and as a result the headline scanning algos took the Nikkei another 1.1% higher to nearly 17,400 which means at this rate the Nikkei will surpass the Dow Jones by the end of the week helped by further reports that Japan will reveal more stimulus measures on November 19, although with US equity futures rising another 7 points overnight and now just shy of 2050 which happens to be Goldman's revised year-end target, the US will hardly complain. And speaking of stimulus, the reason European equities are drifting higher following the latest ECB professional forecast release which saw the panel slash their GDP and inflation forecasts for the entire period from 2014 to 2016. In other words bad news most certainly continues to be good news for stocks, which in the US are about to hit another record high (with the bulk of the upside action once again concentrated between 11:00 and 11:30am).
With the USDJPY repeatedly hitting 116.00 as a result of the same pair of headlines hitting either Reuters, the Nikkei or Sankei every 6 or so hours for the past 3 days, namely that Japan will delay its sales tax hike by almost two years, and that Abe is preparing early elections, perhaps the algos realized they were pricing in the same event about 4 times in one day, and unable to break the 7-year-high resistance level, slid dropping nearly 100 pips to just over 115 at least check, which may well be today's "tractor" level, which in turn has also dragged down both European stocks and US futures. But the thing that made the vacuum tubes really spark is that at a press conference yesterday in Beijing, Abe was quoted as saying that he "has never made any reference to the dissolution of parliament", this came after the chief cabinet secretary Suga saying that the decision on whether or not to go to the polls would be Abe’s only.
Gold and crude oil have been in a slow motion free fall of late, even as U.S. equities rally but ConvergEx's Nick Colas looks at the value of each asset class relative to the other two and assess their historical relationship. For example, you currently need 1.72 ounces of gold at $1178 to “Buy” one S&P 500 index at 2032. That is cheap to the 30-year average of a 1.86x ratio, putting fair value on U.S. stocks 8% higher. Separately, it currently takes 25.1 barrels of crude to buy the S&P 500, versus the 30-year average of 27.8, making stocks look cheap by 11%. Closing out this analytical triangle: you need 14.5 barrels of oil to buy an ounce of gold, but the 30-year average is 16.6. Bottom line using these long-term ranges: U.S. stocks look mildly cheap to oil and gold, but drops in those commodities would erase the difference just as easily as a further rally in stocks. Gold looks cheap relative to oil and should be $170 higher, or oil should trade closer to $71.
- No Sign of Thaw in Obama’s Brief Encounters With Putin (BBG)
- Japan Lawmakers Prepare for Snap Elections as Abe Mulls Tax (BBG)
- Global stocks rise, Brent crude hits four-year low (Reuters)
- U.S., China to Drop Tariffs on Range of Tech Products (WSJ)
- ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Rule Would Raise Bar for Bank Capital (WSJ) ... and mean even bigger taxpayer bailouts
- Pot in New York: $100 Ticket. No Charges. No Record. No Nothing (BBG)
- Microsoft unveils first Lumia smartphone without Nokia name (Reuters)
- Davos-Man Ackermann Lured to Cyprus Bank by Billionaires (BBG)
- Alibaba, Apple Talks on Payments Tie-Up Focused on China (WSJ)
Following Friday's sticksave, where the usual 3:30 pm ramp brigade pushed futures just barely green into the close despite a miss in the payrolls report which the spin brigade did everything in its power to make it seem that the hiring a few hundred thousand young female waitresses was bullish for the economy, overnight we have seen a listless session, dominated by more USD-profit taking as increasingly more wonder if the relentless surge higher in the Greenback is massively overdone, especially considering that stocks are screaming "worldwide recession" excluding the US, if only for now, because as Goldman explained soaring USD means plunging Oil, means tumbling E&P capex, means lower GDP, means less growth, means lower corporate profits, and so on. That said, we expect the now trivial Virtu JPY momentum-ignition algos to activate shortly, pushing the USDJPY and its derivative, the S&P500, higher in the coming minutes, and certainly before the US market opens in under 3 hours.
Spoiler alert: it's not the Fed, even though the portfolio rebalancing channel courtesy of a $4.5 trillion Fed balance sheet certainly assured that the artificially inflated bubble in stocks, as a result of the Fed's own purchases of bonds, is unlike anything seen before (and to all those debating whether the bubble is in bonds or stocks, here is the answer: it is in both). The answer, according to Goldman's David Kostin is the following: "From a strategic perspective, buybacks have been the largest source of overall US equity demand in recent years."
We often hear that if there is not enough oil at a given price, the situation will lead to substitution or to demand destruction. Because of the networked nature of the economy, this demand destruction comes about in a different way than most economists expect–it comes from fewer people having jobs with good wages. With lower wages, it also comes from less debt being available. We end up with a disparity between what consumers can afford to pay for oil, and the amount that it costs to extract the oil. This is the problem we are facing today, and it is a very difficult issue.
"What I’m describing here is a sea change in investor attitudes that has profound implications for the rest of the market. What you do with that information is up to you."
What if global capitalism is not about to collapse? What if the sun rises next week, and the great apocolypse called for and predicted does not materialize yet, what then for the dollar?
Two days ago we quoted an ex-CIA officer who warned that the "Saudis Have Good Reason To Be Concerned" as a result of what appears to be a redirection of ISIS tactics, and attacks, toward the one country which has, at least for public consumption purposes, been - together with the US - at the forefront of the anti-ISIS campaign in the middle east. End result: a crackdown by the Saudis to prevent any future attacks by alleged Jihadists, and as Al-Arabiya reported earlier, overnight authorities in Saudi Arabia arrested 33 people with reported links to the al-Ahsa killings, disrupting plans of another attack by the same cell, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Today, with little fanfare, Russia's president Putin - whose economy is said to be reeling as a result of a plunging currency, paradoxically something Japan would love to be able to achieve on such short notice - told the media ahead of his visit to the Asia Pacific Economic Conference on November 9-11, that Moscow and Beijing have agreed many of the aspects of a second gas pipeline to China, the so-called western route, or as some already are calling it, the "second holy grail." “We have reached an understanding in principle concerning the opening of the western route,” Putin said. "We have already agreed on many technical and commercial aspects of this project laying a good basis for reaching final arrangements,” the Russian President added.
European shares fall, reversing earlier gains, with the banks and tech sectors underperforming and basic resources, oil & gas outperforming. Companies including ArcelorMittal, Allianz, Swiss Re, Richemont released results. The Spanish and Italian markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is stronger against the dollar. Japanese 10yr bond yields rise; German yields increase. Furthermore, the pullback in the USD-index from overnight highs has also provided the commodity complex with some upside and thus has seen basic materials and energy name outperform to the benefit of the FTSE 100. Elsewhere, Allianz’s (+4.9%) impressive pre-market report has helped halt the move to the downside for the DAX which trades with modest gains of 0.3%. Fixed income markets continue to hold fire (albeit in marginal negative territory) with volumes exceedingly thin ahead of key risk events. And with that, all eyes move to today's Nonfarm payroll expected to print at 235K, after last month's 248K. Something to keep in mind: the average seasonal adjustment to the October data is almost exactly 1 million, so yet again the fate of the US and global economy, will be determined by an Arima X 13 "fudge factor."
Yesterday higher oil prices were the catalyst for higher stock prices. Today lower prices - after OPEC slashed growth expectations - were "unequivocally" positive for Americans and sent Trannies soaring. Of course, it was Draghi's promise that there's more to come that sustained USDJPY's levitation and thus stocks. Treasury yields slid 2-4bps higher on the day as the USDollar surged to +1.2% on the week after Draghi's chatter slammed EURUSD below 1.24. Gold and silver were flat (despite USD strength) as oil prices dipped to $78. HY credit diverged notably after EU closed as managers appeared to protect bond positions into the jobs data. VIX pumped then dumped and cracked back to a 13 handle as stocks closed at record highs (right before the uncertainty of tomorrow's NFP).
Saudi Arabia’s move to cut the cost of its oil to US customers has injected fear into the oil markets, bringing the price of OPEC crude below $80 and suggesting to some observers that the cartel is preparing for a global price war.