Q3 earnings for financials show that the interest rate risk created by the Fed after years of zero rates is very real indeed
JPM's "flows and liquidity' expert Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, who last week spotted the "most extreme ever excess liquidity" bubble, has just noticed yet another indication that not even corporations believe in further equity upside. Simply said, this means that that for the first time since the Lehman crisis, non-financial corporations within the entire developed, G-4 (US, Europe, Japan and UK) world, have shifted from net buyers of stock to net sellers, as net "equity withdrawal" have just turned positive.
Bond markets may be closed today for Veterans' Day, but equities and far more importantly, FX, are certainly open and thanks to yet another overnight ramp in the ES leading EURJPY, we have seen one more levitation session to start off the week, and an implied stock market open which will be another record high. There was little overnight developed market data to digest, with just Italian Industrial Production coming in line with expectations at 0.2%, while the bulk of the attention fell on China which over the weekend reported stronger Industrial Production and retail sales, while CPI was just below expectations and additionally China new loans of CNY 506 billion (below est. of CNY 580bn) even as M2 in line, should give the Chinese government the all clear to reform absolutely nothing. That all this goldilocks and goalseeked data is taking place just as the Third Plenum picks up pace was not lost on anyone.
Having watched Mike Maloney's "Secrets Of Money" series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 here), Chris Martenson discusses the critical aspects of the must-watch episodes. Crucially, as we enter a period of apparent Nirvanic equity markets (and dystopian 'real' economics), Martenson's points on the "unnecessarily complex monetary system" that we have today are summed up by his statement that "there is nothing more important that understanding how our money system operates... and why it will fail us."
To many institutional investors, buying the Russell 2000 is merely the highly levered bet with which the bulk of institutions (recall that almost all hedge funds, and a majority of mutual funds, are underperforming the S&P for a 5th consecutive year) seek to make up for losses in their portfolios by chasing high (and even higher with leverage) beta. Which is why as the next chart below shows, in a furious scramble to catch up by year end, the institutional Russell net futures (i.e. levered) positioning just hit a record high: the biggest investors are now all-in the smallest names. So is the massively overbought small cap sector due for a correction? With these manipulated, centrally-planned markets, nobody has any idea. However, for those who have once again bet all in, which just happens to be most plain vanilla dumb money, it may be time to reevaluate.
It seems like the last 2 days have been a massive NASDAQ-TWTR pairs trade... Today saw broad stock indices best day in a month despite the early "good news is bad news" sell-off as newly minted TWTR heads towards its first bear market threshold off the highs. The Dow managed to get back to a record high close by the end of the day. Treasury prices were clubbed like a baby seal with yields jumping their most in over 4 months. Shorts were grossly squeezed today ("most shorted +2.9% vs Russell +1.1%). Gold was down 1.4% on the day (oil and copper flat) and 2% on the week. VIX was banged back under 13% and the JPY weakness sparked by the taper-on-driven USD strength kept carry traders alive. All in all - only equity markets reacted "positively" to the good news with a panic-buying-frenzy in the last 30 minutes as rates, FX, and precious metals all shifted in a "taper-on" trend...
Whether it is the conference board, Gallup, Bloomberg, or pretty much any other measure of the economic confidence or consumer comfort in the US, the numbers have been falling (or plunging) despite the incessant rise of US equities. The reason this is of particular note, as we have discussed previously, is that this pattern of exuberant highs in stocks with fading confidence-inspiration has ominous overtones for future performance... (especially for those hoping for moar multiple expansion). The UMich data this morning merely confirms the trend with the lowest print since Dec 2011 (3 misses in a row). This is the biggest miss since Feb 2006!
The Fed seems to be facing two major risks: first, premature tapering disrupting markets and triggering global turmoil across asset classes, thereby threatening the fragile economy recovery; second, delayed tapering further fuelling asset price bubbles, which could burst eventually and do major damage. UBS' Beat Siegenthaler notes the September decision suggested a Fed more worried about the fragile recovery than about the potential for asset bubbles and other longer-term problems associated with extended liquidity injections. Whereas it had originally assumed that a gradual tapering would result in a gradual market reaction, Siegenthaler explains it is now clear that the situation is much more binary; and as such, the hurdles for tapering might be substantially higher than originally thought.
Readers should consider carefully the fundamental difference between a “real economy” and a “financial economy.” In a real economy, the debt and equity markets as a percentage of GDP are small and are principally designed to channel savings into investments. In a financial economy or “monetary-driven economy,” the capital market is far larger than GDP and channels savings not only into investments, but also continuously into colossal speculative bubbles. It would seem to me that Karl Marx might prove to have been right in his contention that crises become more and more destructive as the capitalistic system matures (and as the “financial economy” referred to earlier grows like a cancer) and that the ultimate breakdown will occur in a final crisis that will be so disastrous as to set fire to the framework of our capitalistic society.
While attention was focused on the #winning (TWTR) and #failing (NASDAQ and TSLA and so on)... the fact is that the S&P 500 futures market saw its largest collapse from high to low intraday since June 24th. While the told-you-so dance seems so inappropriate, equity markets' dump - seemingly triggered by more than one levered JPY carry trader getting a tap on the shoulder after Draghi's surprise - merely catches down to credit market's lack of exberance for the last 2 weeks (though there is still more room to drop). Stocks are at 12-day lows by the close with very litle BFTATH'ers stepping in as VIX broke back above 14.00% (highest close in over 3 weeks). FX markets were insanely volatile with early USD strength obliterated by JPY and EUR strength in the afternoon. Commodities slid lower on the day and bonds rallied - with 30Y outperformance unwinding some of the week's steepening. Stocks closed on their lows with the best volume in a month.
With everyone's attention focused on TWTR's release and following this morning's insta-lift from Draghi's surprise, US equity markets are falling fast (led by Nasdaq weakness on moar momo failures) - reverting all the gains and some. While we fully expect more "self-help" declarations as the day wears on, IB has already released a statement that Pink Sheet stock market data will be unavailable until further notice... and that NASDAQ has disable direct routing for TWTR... what a mess...
Another day, another collapse in a measure of the 'peoples' confidence. Despite the animal spirits of euphoric dot-com bubble betting that is the new-normal US equity markets, it seems both rich and poor are not loving it. Bloomberg's consumer comfort index dropped to -37.9 - its lowest since October 2012 having dropped for the 6th week in a row. The last time we saw a collapse of this size, the Fed saved us all with QE3... what this time?
When it comes to US equities today, the picture below summarizes it all... the only question is whether the NYSE breaks to celebrate the year's overhyped social media IPO.Aside from the non-event that is the going public of a company that will likely not generate profits for years, if ever, the overnight market has been quiet with all major stock indices in Asia trading modestly lower on the back of a modestly stronger dollar, although the main currency to watch will be the Euro (German Industrial production of -0.9% today was a miss of 0.0% expectations and down from 1.6% previously), when the ECB releases its monthly statement at 7:45 am Eastern when it is largely expected to do nothing but may hint at more easing in the future. On the US docket we have the weekly initial claims (expected at 335k) which now that they are again in a rising phase, have been the latest data item to be ignored in the Bizarro market, as well as the latest Q3 GDP estimate, pegged by consensus at 2.0%.
Even though a meager 3 of 70 economists actually expected Mario Draghi to announce some sort of rate cut at tomorrow's ECB press conference, moments ago MarketNews reported that according to "sources" a rate change tomorrow is unlikely even amid a dip in Europe's inflation.
ECB SOURCES: RATE CHANGE THURSDAY UNLIKELY EVEN AMID INFLATION DIP - MNI
The flashing red headline, as this non-news was picked up by the algos, was enough to send the EUR, and naturally the all important EURJPY spiking by another 40 pips, and taking the correlated US equity markets, right along with it.