Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will soon announce an agreement to reopen the government and avert default on U.S. debt, Politico reports, according to several sources familiar with the talks. Here is what that "stunning reversal for the speaker" deal looks like. In short: the can has been kicked for three months, to early February.
While the debt ceiling fracas has done nothing to stymie the demand for high-beta equity lottery tickets, it has decimated the demand for the most leveraged trade an American tends to make... home purchases. While real data is few and far between, we thought that the cracking of yet another foundational pillar of the US economic "recovery" was worthwhile noting although it is squeezed to the back pages as the mainstream media focuses on rumor after rumor to juice equities ever higher. With the hedgies having turned from marginal buyer to marginal seller, it seems the demand for mortgages for home purchases has collapsed to its lowest level in 2013 - even as rates have dropped notably from the year's highs.
As we count down to doomsday or not (and equity investors pile their last cash on the sidelines into stocks), we thought some reflection on an interesting analysis of the last debt ceiling debacle was worthwhile. In a few brief minutes, William Spaniel shows the payoffs and decision trees that led to the decision to compromise on what was close to the Gang-of-Six middle ground when the stuff hit the fan last time. Crucially, while the process is similar this time, it appears to us that the lack of middle-ground this time shifts the optimal path increasingly to a 14th Amendment possibility. Nevertheless, his process may provoke some thoughts on just how this "game" is played even as Boehner exclaims "this ain't no game."
- No decision yet, House Republican aide tells Bloomberg’s Phil Mattingly, speaking on condition of anonymity
- Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, tells Bloomberg Television, he doesn’t know if House will vote first on any Senate agreement on govt shutdown, debt ceiling.
Obligatory Bazooko circus clip below
The USD is bid; Treasury Bonds are being abandoned; the 10/24/13 Bill remains lost though; but stocks are entering escape velocity. S&P 500 has screamed 15 points higher (no surprise given Nanex noted that S&P 500 futures had the lowest liquidity of the year for this time of day prior to the rumor) and the Russell 2000 has broken back to new all-time highs (why not). Of course JPY-crosses are largely responsible for the knee-jerk move and we wait to see if this becomes a sell the news moment (or for Boehner's denial)... Commodities are not moving much for now.
Per Sen sources, Boehner has agreed to take up the Senate's plan and allow it to pass with Dem votes.
— Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO) October 16, 2013
Equity investors can't buy enough this morning. The latest rumor - that the House Republicans are willing to consider voting first on an emerging Senate proposal - provided some fillip to an opening selloff. As Politico reports, this move could expedite bipartisan legislation developed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. If the House passes the bill first and sends it to the upper chamber, it would eliminate some burdensome procedural hurdles in the Senate and require just one procedural roll call with a 60-vote threshold needed to advance the bill toward final passage in the Senate. Of course, the big question here is "If" the House passes the bill...
While stuff like soaring Bill yields, the threat of Money Market funds breaking the buck, and the gradual phase out of near-term money equivalent collateral thanks to the complete dysfunction in Congress which has managed to breach the repo market into "good" and "bad" Bills, may be too arcane to the various JPY-correlating, ES-ramping algos, those who care about real signals, now that the US flirtation with the X-Date is hours ago may be interested to know that according to ICAP, as reported by Stone McCarthy, overnight General Collateral, the key rate in the determination of collateral pricing for trillions worth of assets, just exploded once again and in following the surge in Bill cash rates, hit 0.32%, the highest since December 7. Indicatively, at 0.32%, GC is now well above both overnight LIBOR (10.69 bps) and the Fed Funds rate (10 bps).
While the specter of the debt ceiling debate continues to haunt the halls of Washington D.C. it is the state of retail sales that investors should be potentially focusing on. While the latest retail sales figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis are unavailable due to the government shutdown; we can look at other data sources to derive the trend and direction of consumer spending as we head into the beginning of the biggest shopping periods of the year - Halloween, Thanks Giving (Black Friday) and Christmas. The recent downturns in consumer confidence and spending are likely being exacerbated by the controversy in Washington; but it is clear that the consumer was already feeling the pressure of the surge in interest rates, higher energy and food costs and stagnant wages. As we have warned in the past - these divergences do not last forever and tend to end very badly.
It's gotten beyond silly: with less than a day to go until the first X-Date, beyond which if Jack Lew is correct (he isn't) all hell will break loose if the US doesn't have a debt deal in place, stocks couldn't care less, Bills continue to sell off, carry traders only care how big the central banks' balance sheets are, all news are generally shunned and yet stocks have soared 600 DJIA points on Harry Reid's relentless optimism a deal will get done, even though so far none has. Today, as we observed on Monday, we expect more of the same: stocks and futures will ignore the reality that the midnight hour will come and go with no deal in place, but will continue to explode higher as Harry Reid's latest set of "optimism" headlines hits the tape in low volume trading. We expect the first big hope rally around POMO time, then shortly after Senate comes back in Session, around noon. Then for good measure, another one just before market close. Why not: it's not like the "market" even pretend to be one anymore. Keep an eye on today's 4-Week bill auction before noon. It should be a far bigger doozy than yesterday's longer-dated bills.
Update: Sure enough, NO HOUSE VOTE TONIGHT ON FISCAL IMPASSE PLAN, LAWMAKER SAYS
In a repeat of the Sequester farce, in which Boehner was unable to even get the needed votes to pass the House Republicans' version of their own bill, the debt ceiling impasse is becoming a sequester sequel deja vu when McConnell and Joe Biden had to hammer out a deal over the impotent political corpse of John Boehner. The reason, as various beltway journalists report, in this case the NRO, that House Republicans are now set to postpone tonight’s vote on their plan to end the fiscal impasse is that "The votes aren’t there," says a leadership aide. "We’ve been amending the bill all day, but we’ve been unable to get people around this strategy." As the NRO's Robert Costa adds, this development leaves Speaker John Boehner with few options as Thursday’s debt-ceiling deadline nears, and it throws the action back toward the Senate, which has been working on a bipartisan package.
So what exactly did Reid know and when?
- *UNITED STATES' AAA IDR RATING MAY BE CUT BY FITCH :3352Z US
- FITCH SAYS PUTS U.S. ON RATING WATCH NEGATIVE AS U.S. AUTHORITIES HAVE NOT RAISED FEDERAL DEBT CEILING IN A "TIMELY MANNER
- *FITCH STILL SEES U.S. DEBT CEILING TO BE RAISED SOON :3352Z US
- *FITCH SEES RESOLVING US RWN BY END OF 1Q '14 AT LATEST
- *FITCH STILL SEES U.S. DEBT CEILING TO BE RAISED SOON :3352Z US
- *FITCH SEES U.S. ECONOMIC GROWTH REVERTING TO 2.25% AFTER 2017
And a surprise encore guest lecture...
Understanding the complexities of the sovereign CDS market is tricky... so we are constantly bemused by the mainstream media's constant comment on it as if they have a clue. The fact is that the USA CDS market is indicating a higher risk of imminent technical default now than in 2011. As we explained in painful detail previously, you cannot compare a 71bps (+8 today) 1Y USA CDS spread to a 1200bps JCPenney CDS spread - they are apples and unicorns. Having got that off our chest, the fact that the cost of 1Y protection is at 2011 extremes (implying around a 6.5% probaility fo default) and has been higher (inverted) relative to 5Y now for 3 weeks is a clear indication that investor anxiety is very high this time (just look at T-Bills!).
The market is rapidly adjusting from imminent default to pricing in the risk of a debt ceiling debacle in February. 10/17 Bills are unchanged, Oct/Nov Bills are improving, but Feb 2014 Bills are now slamming higher in yield +5bps to 9bps for now... How much longer can the powers that be keep the ever inflating balloon under water?