Explaining US equity prices in one simple chart...
The good news: companies are beating earnings estimates by the widest margin in four years. The bad news: this has very little to do with strong corporate earnings and quite a lot to do with buybacks and analysts cutting estimates. In fact, bottom-up EPS estimates fell by 8.2% in Q1, nearly double the 1-, 5-, and 10-year averages and the largest decline since 2009. Meanwhile, repurchase authorizations hit a record in April and are now set to climb to an all-time high in 2015, providing a wonderful frontrunning opportunity for everyone from retail investors to the SNB.
While the US is waking up in anticipation of what is once again said to be the "most important nonfarm payrolls number" at least since the last most important such number, because anything 250,000 and above puts the June rate hike right back on the Fed calendar, while a collapse in this lagging indicator will be explained away with harsh rain showers in April, and send stocks soaring due to yet another delay in tightening expectations despite Yellen's outright warning of overvalued stocks, the UK has been up all night following a dramatic election, whose outcome has been largely the opposite of what the experts predicted, with Conservatives set to win an outright majority, resulting in embarrassment for Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP, both of which have already seen dramatic changes in their leadership, and moments ago both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage announced they would stand down as party leaders.
"... part of the problem today is that over the last 15-20 years, capitalism has been propped up every time it’s about to go through one of the cyclical creative destruction phases. Compounded up that's left us with a big mess to clear up across the globe and a lot of sub optimal resource allocation. So across a lot of the Western World we're left with too much debt, too much inequality, low real wage growth, limited conventional tools to help the economy to de-lever, QE and ZIRP and a political backlash against the mainstream."
The UK General Election will be held tomorrow. The polls close at 10 pm. We should have a pretty clear picture of the overall seat count by 5 to 6 am on Friday morning. The result, as SocGen notes, is almost certain to be a hung parliament. Then the fun will really start. However, at the macro level the implications of the election may be less pronounced than many anticipate. Monetary policy has been de-politicised through the BoE’s independence, the formation of a coalition government is likely to involve convergence towards centrist positions, and a minority administration that pursues policies outside the mainstream would be unlikely to survive given its fragile parliamentary basis. In either case, the political system is unlikely to deliver radically different macroeconomic outcomes.
"If you were to ask me, since we’re making forward-looking statements, what will the second quarter look like in Las Vegas? Weak. Do you hear me? Weak. So I’m trying to lower expectations here. This notion of a big recovery is a complete dream," Steve Wynn says, underscoring not only the weakness in gaming revenue from the Vegas strip to Macau, but also the fact that there simply is no economic recovery in the US.
"Deutsche Bank’s illegal conduct involved nearly a decade of lying, cheating, and stealing. This criminal conduct was pervasive and widespread, involving dozens of employees from Deutsche Bank offices including New York, Frankfurt, Tokyo, and London. Deutsche Bank’s traders engaged in a brazen scheme to defraud Deutsche Bank’s counterparties and the worldwide financial marketplace by secretly manipulating LIBOR. The conduct is appalling. It was a complete criminal fraud upon the worldwide marketplace."
- SEC Commissioner Kara Stein
The cumulative three-month net flows into, or rather out of equities, is now the largest on record. So, again, we ask: just who is "buying" stocks? Because the greatest rotation is here, and as far as non-central bank participants are involved, it is into bonds and out of stocks.
Greenlight's David Einhorn has come out swinging at the Fed-fueled fracking frenzy and, after pointing out facts that are extremely widely known, and have been explained innumerable times here, sent Shale stocks tumbling... led by the so-called "MotherFracker" - Pioneer Natural Resources... Einhorn concludes, "Either way the frackers are fracked."
Futures Levitate Following Worst Chinese Mfg PMI In One Year, Brent At 2015 Highs; Bund Slide ContinuesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/04/2015 06:45 -0400
The best news for stocks is twofold: volumes continue to be lethargic with both the UK (May Day bank holiday) and Japan closed until Thursday (Golden Week), while the bulk of the S&P500 has now exited the stock buyback quiet period. As such, ignore record equity outflows - all the matters is that corporate CFOs, flush with brand news bond issuance cash, will tell their favorite Wall Street trading desk to buy stocks at just the right inflection point sending the market surging just as shorts once again test the downtrend and the 50 DMA.
Deutsche Bank's LIBOR settlement likely should have landed the bank on the SEC's "bad actor" list, but thankfully, the CFTC was willing to write language into its settlement with the bank which effectively allows the German lender to skirt Dodd-Frank, proving yet again that it's good to be TBTF.
Greek deposits fall €2.5 billion in March to the lowest level since 2005 as the cash crunch intensifies ahead of looming payments to government employees and the IMF. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank sees a referendum on a "reluctant" reform agreement as the most likely "solution" (although most Greeks reportedly oppose such a step) but says the chances of a less favorable outcome are still at least 30%.
Today we get a two-for-one algo kneejerk special, first with the Q1 GDP release due out at 8:30 am which will confirm that for the second year in a row the US economy barely grew (or maybe contracted depending on the Obamacare contribution) in the first quarter, followed by the last pre-June FOMC statement, in which we will find out whether Janet Yellen and her entourage of central planning academics will blame the recent weakness on the weather and West Coast port strikes and proceed with their plan of hiking rates in June (or September, though unclear which year), just so they can push the economy into a full blown recession and launch QE4.
Take note, Gold is officially money for the most powerful entities in the world. They are not only accepting Gold as collateral but are openly trying to insure that they have their own Gold in safe custody.
In the Common Knowledge Game, fundamentals – whether they are of the stock-picking sort or the macroeconomic sort – don’t matter a whit, and your personal view of those fundamentals matters even less. The only thing that matters is whether or not the QE-works lesson has been absorbed by the learning process of investment professionals, and that’s driven by the lesson’s transformation into common knowledge by Missionaries (like Deutsche Bank's Torsten Slok).