Traditional banks were built to gather deposits. Their design and infrastructure is geared towards that; they are maladapted to today’s interest rate environment. P2P platforms and other non-bank lenders are eating their lunch. Absent some radical rethinking of their operations model, they are about to go the way of the dodo. Of course, markets are not efficient; it will take time for competitors to move in. Traditional banks, however, have few weapons to fend them off: their brands (much less valuable for loan-origination than for deposit-gather purposes) and their (hugely expensive) legacy infrastructure. It took almost a century for the dodo bird to become extinct.
While global equity markets hover near record-er highs, global GDP growth expectations have erased their February dead cat bounce hopes and tumbled back towards cycle lows. This is all confirmed by the latest data from Goldman Sachs whose Global Leading Indicator remains mired in "contraction" for the 4th month in a row...
Unlike yesterday's vertigo-inducing overnight session, today has been a smooth sea by comparison even if one which has flowed from the top left to the bottom right for now, with futures erasing all of the last minute surge which was HFT programmed to sticksave the S&P just green for the year and then some. It is difficult to pinpoint the catalyst that will be today's market narrative although with NFP in just over 24 hours, falling on a holiday which will allow S&P futures just 45 minutes of trading after the BLS report hits before closing for the day, and with the weak ADP not to mention the 0.0% GDP, the "whisper" expectation is for a NFP print that will be well below consensus, somewhere in the mid-100,000s if not worse now that the bartender hiring spree is over. The fact that March payrolls have missed on 6 of the last 7 reports probably adds to the dollar weakness, even if a huge miss tomorrow may just be the catalyst Yellen needs to launch the QE4 trial balloon.
It has been another whiplash, rollercoaster, illiquid session which saw US equity futures tumble early overnight driven by a bout of USDJPY and Nikkei selling, only to regain all losses as European, and BIS, traders walked in, and promptly BTFD. In fact at last check, it was as if all the fireworks that took place just a few short hours ago and sent the ES as low as 2037, and below what has become the key support level, the 50-DMA never happened.
Following yesterday's proof-positive that "everything is awesome," today (and overnight) we find, everything is not so awesome. Following the unleashing of The Warsh on CNBC, markets are starting to turmoil. Crude has erased all its late-day ramp and then some dropping back to a low $47 handle. German Bund yields just hit a new record low (2Y at -25.7bps!). US equity markets have erased all of yesterday's post-open gains, and US Treasury yields are dumping as the Euro surges...
Did stocks window dressing come one day early in this volatile, bipolar, stop-hunting, HFT-infested market? Looking at futures this morning, which are down about 12 points already on yet another surge in the USD which has sent the EURUSD just above 1.07, the lowest since March 20 , and the USDJPY back under 120 now that the "strong dollar is bad for stocks after all" algo seems to be back from vacation, all those hedge funds who chased risk higher yesterday because their peers did the same, may find they are all selling on the way down. It will be oddly ironic if all of yesterday's widely touted gains evaporate comparably in the first 10 minutes of trading today, and lead to an end in the longest streak of quarterly increases in two decades.
Why is the assertion that “all markets are manipulated” generally greeted with scorn and derision?
With the rest of the developed world's central banks waiting for the Fed to admit defeat for one more year and delay its proposed rate hike (or launch NIRP/QE4 outright) it was all about China (the same China which a month ago we said would launch QE sooner or later) and hope that its central bank would boost asset prices, when over the weekend the PBoC governor hinted that more easing is imminent to offset the accelerating drag after he admitted that the nation’s growth rate has tumbled "a bit" too much and that policy makers have scope to respond. How much scope it really has now that its bad debt is rising exponentially is a different question. It got so bad, Shanghai Securities News leaked a false rumor earlier forcing many to believe China would announce an unexpected rate cut as soon as today, in the process sending the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.6%.
"The Risks Are Very High" Swiss Billionaire Warns "Global Financial Markets Have Never Been This Distorted Before"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/29/2015 20:15 -0400
"Global financial markets are more distorted than ever before and accordingly, the risks are very high... All equity and currency markets are pretty extended, at present; and many of the bond markets are as well... We know that the longer a distortion prevails, the more investors get used to it and it becomes the “new normal” to them. That’s where the problem lies! I see three potential threats..." - Felix Zulauf
"How many rich people do you know today that are poorer than they were at the peak in 06/07 (apart from Dick Fuld), I don't think I know any.. QE has been distributive to the rich... but now that the world has started this policy it is unable to end it... the next recession will be a hard one because the tools in the toolbox are not there to avert a severe downturn... where are the liquidity worries at the moment? Equities would be the toughest to exit.. it's like a 5-lane highway going in and goat trail coming out... Brazil is great example"
After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.
After three days of unexpected market weakness without an apparent cause, especially since after 7 years of conditioning, the algos have been habituated to buy on both good and bad news, overnight futures are getting weary, and futures are barely up, at least before this morning's transitory FX-driven stop hunt higher. Whether this is due to the previously noted "blackout period" for stock buybacks which started a few days ago and continues until the first week of May is unclear, but should the recent "dramatic" stock weakness persist, expect Bullard to once again flip flop and suggesting it is clearly time to hike rates, as long as the S&P does not drop more than 5%. In that case, QE4 is clearly warranted.