One day after stocks were this close from hitting new all time highs on what have been either ok earnings, if looking at non-GAAP data, or atrocious earnings, based on GAAP, and where any oil headline is now immediately translated as bullish by the oil algos, so far futures are relatively flat, while European stocks were at their moments ago in anticipation of the latest ECB announcement due out in just one hour. However, unlike last month's "quad-bazooka", this time the market expects far less from Draghi. “Having pulled put the monetary bazooka in March, the market is sensibly expecting no further policy measures from the ECB,”
The biggest catalyst for overnight markets, first reported on this site, was the announcement by Kuwait that its oil workers had ended their strike which disrupted oil production in the 4th largest OPEC producer for 3 days cutting it by as much as 1.7 mmb/d, and had served to offset the negative news from the Doha debacle. Kuwait Petroleum also added that it would boost output to 3m b/d within 3 days, which in turn has pressured the price of oil overnight, and the May WTI contract was back to just over $40 at last check, sliding 2%. Not helping things was a very dejected Venezuela oil minister Eulogio Del Pino who said at a conference in Moscow that he sees oil prices returning to lows in 3-4 weeks if oil producers can't make a deal. For now the algos - and central banks - disagree.
If asking traders where stocks and oil would be trading one day after a weekend in which the Doha OPEC meeting resulted in a spectacular failure, few if any would have said the S&P would be over 2,100, WTI would be back over $40 and the VIX would be about to drop to 12 and yet that is precisely where the the S&P500 is set to open today, hitting Goldman's year end target 8 months early, and oblivious of the latest batch of poor earnings news, this time from Intel and Netflix, both of which are sharply lower. We expect that after taking out any 2,100 stops, the S&P will then make a solid effort to take out all time highs, now just over 1% away.
"You bring long-term rates down, and the price/earnings ratios in the equity markets go up, which is exactly what they planned to do and it's happened that way..."
Hedge fund manager shares his investment idea to profit from the large scale pessimism in European stocks today.
Your view of the broader significance of this weekend's failed Doha summit directly relates, in all likelihood, to your pre-existing view on asset markets.
Morgan Stanley's results were quite ugly: total revenue of $7.8 billion barely changed from the previous quarter, and was down 21% from Q1 2015, however due to the sharp drop in consensus estimates in recent months, revenues was a "beat" to the $7.76 billion expected. Earnings likewise were ugly, tumbling by 53% from $2.4 billion to $1.1 billion, or $0.55 per share. This too was a beat as a result of a sharp plunge in Q1 EPS expectations in recent months.
Following yesterday's OPEC "production freeze" meeting in Doha which ended in total failure, where in a seemingly last minute change of heart Saudi Arabia and specifically its deputy crown prince bin Salman revised the terms of the agreement demanding Iran participate in the freeze after all knowing well it won't, oil crashed and with it so did the strategy of jawboning for the past 2 months had been exposed for what it was: a desperate attempt to keep oil prices stable and "crush shorts" while global demand slowly picked up. And whether it is central banks, or chronic BTFDers, just 12 hours after oil opened for trading with a loud crash, the commodity has nearly wiped out all losses, and both brent and WTI were down barely 2%, leading to both European stocks and US equity futures virtually unchanged on the session.
Good news is still bad news after all. After last night's China 6.7% GDP print which while the lowest since Q1 2009, was in line with expectations, coupled with beats in IP, Fixed Asset Investment and Retail Sales (on the back of $1 trillion in total financing in Q1) the sentiment this morning is that China has turned the corner (if only for the time being). And that's the problem, because while China was a good excuse for the Fed to interrupt its rate hike cycle as the biggest "global" threat, that is no longer the case if China has indeed resumed growing. As such Yellen no longer has a ready excuse to delay. This is precisely why futures are lower as of this moment, because suddenly the "scapegoat" narrative has evaporated.
We all know why equity markets are zooming. The Bernanke put is standard operating procedure: globally. Whatever is out there’s got central bankers spooked. To use the cliche, they’ve decided we can’t handle the truth. But it’s impossible to fight a manticore you can’t see.
In an oddly-timed-release, just a day after her 'unusual' meeting with President Obama (and sandwiched between two "emergency Fed meetings"), Janet Yellen's seemingly legacy-protecting narrative-confirming interview with TIME magazine proclaiming once again that "we are focused on Main Street, on supporting economic conditions - plentiful jobs and stable prices - that help all Americans." So now you know - it's all for you America - the bank bailouts, the deflationary-glut-creating ZIRP, the money-printing, and the "confusing and confounding" messaging. Now stop your complaining and Vote Hillary!
In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.
With oil losing some of its euphoric oomph overnight, following the API report of a surge in US oil inventories, and a subsequent report that Iran's oil minister would skip the Doha OPEC meeting altogether, the global stock rally needed another catalyst to maintain the levitation. It got that courtesy of the return of USDJPY levitation, which has pushed the pair back above 109, the highest in over a week, as well as a boost in sentiment from the previously reported Chinese trade data where exports rose the most in over a year, however much of the bounce was due to a favorable base effect from last year's decline. Additionally, as RBC reported, the 116.5% y/y increase in China’s reported March imports from HK likely reflects the growing trend of "over-invoicing", which is merely another form of capital outflow.
"The catalyst for a balance sheet crisis is rarely the affordability of interest rates, so a 25bp rise in Fed rates is neither here nor there. Credit market risk is about assessing the likelihood of getting your money back. As such asset prices (i.e. equity markets) and asset price risk (i.e. equity volatility) are far bigger concerns. So all you need for a balance sheet crisis is declining equity markets, a phenomenon the Fed appears desperate to avoid. Now we know why."