Courtesy of central planning, virtually every single capital market has become an illiquid penny stock, with wild swings from one extreme to the other, the latest example of this being the Shanghai Composite, which after soaring 10% in the past ten days, crashed 6.5% overnight tumbling 321 points to 4620 after it briefly rose just shy of 5000. This was the biggest drop since January 19 when the Composite dropped 7.7% only to blast higher ever since. Putting the "plunge" in perspective, now the SHCOMP is back to levels not seen in... one week.
"Japanese day traders, colloquially and collectively known as 'Mrs Watanabe', are buying the yen as it nears eight-year lows," Nikkei reports. For their part, private equity firms are cashing out at what they figure may be the top for Japanese stocks.
The Man in the Moon studies the pathology of Earth’s global economy and markets from a distance where there’s no gravitational pull towards empiricism or consensus. His findings: 1) the global economy is over-leveraged, fragile, stagnating, and increasingly centrally managed; 2) capital markets and asset performance have been captured by the perception of the ongoing value of money, and so; 3) unconventional investment analysis is prudent.
"We begin then by saying without equivocation that we have changed our mind again regarding equities... Hence in our retirement funds here we reduced very slightly our long position in Apple directly and then wrote near-the-money calls against the remaining position. Further, we sold just out-of-the money calls against the “tanker” shares we owned, and we used the money taken in from those calls to buy more derivatives sufficient to take us back to market neutrality."
It had been a painfully quiet session in Asia (where Chinese levitation continues with the Shanghai Composite up another 0.6% oblivious of yesterday's rout in the US, because as we explained for China it is now critical to blow the world's biggest stock bubble) and Europe, where the only notable news as that for the first time in months the ECB had not increase the Greek ELA, keeping it at €80.2 billion on conflicting reports that Greek deposit withdrawals had halted even as Kathimerini said another €300MM had been pulled just yesterday, suggesting the ECB has reached the end of its road when it comes to funding nearly two-thirds of what Greek deposits are left in local banks. But the punchline came moments ago when Bloomberg reported that "Greece will likely miss a deadline for a deal with creditors by the end of the week as the two sides have made little progress during talks in recent days."
Bond yields are collapsing and US equity markets are not happy this morning. The Dow Industrials are now up only 1.2% year-to-date, and over 350 points from last week's record highs (as Trannies are down over 8% YTD).
While yesterday most markets were closed and unable to express their concerns at the very strong showing of "anti-austerity" parties in Spain's municipal election from Sunday, then today they have free reign to do just that, and as a result European stocks are broadly lower, alongside the EURUSD which dripped under 1.09 earlier today, with Spanish banks among the worst performers: Shares of Banco Sabadell, Bankia, Caixabank and Popular were down 1.8 to 2.3% earlier this morning, and while the stronger dollar was a gift to both the Nikkei and Europe in early trading, after opening in the green, Spain's IBEX has since slid into the red on concerns of what happens if the Greek anti-status quo contagion finally shifts to the Pyrenees.
With US markets closed for the Memorial Day holiday, and some of the key European markets likewise shuttered for public holiday including the UK, Germany and Switzerland, it is difficult to find where one can observe or trade the weekend's newsflow, which is once again centered on developments in Europe, where on Sunday Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years while Greece continues to threaten with default 5 some years after it should have officially pulled the plug.
At the end of every quarter there is a scramble by the financial public to peek at what the biggest hedge fund holdings were as of 45 days ago. And yet, one wonders why: as Goldman notes, "the low dispersion market continues to challenge stock-pickers as the average hedge fund lags the S&P 500 for the seventh straight year (2% vs. 4% YTD)." In fact, even the barbarous relic known as gold has outperformed the average hedge fund YTD. Then again, as we have said since 2012, the only informational value comes not from looking at hedge fund longs, but their biggest shorts, since short squeezes remain perhaps the only source of major outperformance. So for all those curious, here are the biggest hedge fund shorts as of March 31, 2015.
Chinese Stock Bubble Frenzy Returns; US Futures Flat Ahead Of Today's Pre-Holiday Zero Volume Melt UpSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/22/2015 06:51 -0400
The highlight of the overnight newsflow may have been the BOJ's preannounced statement that it is keeping its QE unchanged (which comes as no surprise after a few weeks ago the BOJ adimitted it would be unable to keep inflation "stable" at the 2% in the required timeframe), but the highlight of overnight markets was certainly China, where the Banzai Buyers have reemerged, leading to another whopping +2.8% session for the Shanghai Composite which has now risen to a fresh 7 years high.
We have all read the latest crop of media articles challenging gold’s investment relevance. The typical approach to bearish gold analysis is to attribute hypothetical fears to gold investors, and then point out these concerns have failed to materialize. Sprott believes the investment thesis for gold is a bit more complex than simplistic motivations commonly cited in financial press. We would suggest gold’s relatively methodical advance since the turn of the millennium has had less to do with investor fears of hyperinflation or U.S. dollar collapse than it has with persistent desire to allocate a small portion of global wealth away from traditional financial assets and the fiat currencies in which they are priced.
With equities having long ago stopped reflecting fundamentals, and certainly the Eurozone's ever more dire newsflow where any day could be Greece's last in the doomed monetary union, it was up to gold to reflect that headlines out of Athens are going from bad to worse, with Bloomberg reporting that not only are Greek banks running low on collateral, both for ELA and any other purposes, that Greece would have no choice but to leave the Euro upon a default and that, as reported previously, Greece would not have made its May 12 payment had it not been for using the IMF's own reserves as a source of funding and that the IMF now sees June 5 as Greece's ever more fluid D-day. As a result gold jumped above $1230 overnight, a level last seen in February even as the Dollar index was higher by 0.5% at last check thanks to a drop in the EUR and the JPY.
Gold surged through its 100-day moving average at $1,210 per ounce like a knife through butter on Wednesday after the poor retail sales number. Silver’s nearly 7 per cent gains means that it is set for its biggest weekly gain in two months.