today is Friday taken to the nth degree, with the markets having already declared if not victory then the death of all Greek "contagion" leverage, following news that a new Greek proposal was sent yesterday (which as we summarized does not include any of the demanded by the Troika pension cuts), ignoring news that Greece had again sent Belgium the wrong proposal which the market has taken as a sign of capitulation by Tsipras, and as a result futures are surging higher by nearly 1%, the German DAX is up a whopping 3.1%, on track for the biggest one day gain in three years, Greek stocks up over 8%, German and US Treasurys sliding while Greek and peripheral bonds are surging.
There are large signs of stress now present in the credit markets. You might not know it from today's multi-generationally low interest rates, but other key measures such as liquidity and volatility are flashing worrying signs. While some may hope that rising yields are signaling a return to more rapid economic growth, or at least that the fear of outright deflation has lessened, the more likely explanation is that something is wrong and it’s about to get... wronger.
Strong Conviction + Low Volatility + High Levels/Low Costs of Leverage [irrespective of Dodd-Frank] + More Absolute Capital at Risk + Increased Concentration of “At Risk” capital + “Doing the Same Thing" = combustible market cocktail.
"I am utterly amazed at how the Federal Reserve can play havoc with the market," Ron Paul exclaimed on CNBC's "Futures Now" referring to Thursday's surge in stocks, warnings that he sees it as "being very unstable." As Paul rages, "the fallacy of economic planning" has created such a "horrendous bubble" in the bond market that it's only a matter of time before the bottom falls out. And when it does, it will lead to "stock market chaos."
European shares remain higher, close to intraday highs, with the autos and travel & leisure sectors outperforming and basic resources, utilities underperforming. Meeting of finance officials to reach a deal over Greek aid ended in frustration, forcing leaders to call for an emergency summit for Monday. ECB plans to hold an emergency session of its Governing Council on Friday to discuss a deterioration in liquidity at Greek banks, three people familiar said. German airwave auction raises $5.7b to top 2010 sale. Bank of Japan leaves monetary policy unchanged as forecast. Shanghai Composite Index capped its worst weekly decline in seven years.
For the 2nd time in a month, China's Shanghai Composite entered a correction, plunging 10% from local highs as headlines of delayed IPOs and large-scale steel 'dumping' at a loss combined with global monetary policy fireworks and European event risks. The rest of the more highly sensitive and manic Chinese equity markets are also plunging with CHINEXT and CSI-300 down over 7% in the last month (and 17% from the highs in the case of the former). Chinese stocks have gone nowhere in a month...and are now in fact notably lower in June.
All those saying the Fed will never be able to raise rate are looking particularly smug this morning, because if the market needed a green light that despite all the constant posturing, pomp and rhetoric, the US economy is simply (never) ready for a rate hike, it got it late last night when Goldman is pushing back its forecast for the first Fed rate hike from September to December 2015 saying that "in large part this reflects the fact that seven FOMC participants are now projecting zero or one rate hike this year, a group that we believe includes Fed Chair Janet Yellen. We had viewed a clear signal for a September hike at the June meeting as close to a necessary condition for the FOMC to actually hike in September, but the committee did not lay that groundwork today."
"The Fed is allowing the [market] tail to wag the [monetary policy] dog... The Fed's credibility itself is at stake... they have backed themselves into a very tight corner... the tightest ever... The hope today is that the current era of easy monetary policy will have no deep economic ramifications. Such thinking, though, may prove to be naive... All retirees’ security is thus at risk when the massive overvaluation in fixed income and equity markets eventually rights itself."
"...excluding Energy and rate sensitive sectors such as Telecom and Utilities, which have been bringing down the average, most sectors continue to show very strong breadth. In particular, Healthcare, Consumer Discretionary and Financial stocks continue to show very strong uptrends."
The last time the Fed tried to exit a period of massive balance sheet expansion coupled with ZIRP - back in 1937 - its strategy completely failed. The Fed tightening in H1’37 was followed in H2’37 by a severe recession and a 49% collapse in the Dow Jones. This is the ghost of 1937 and it is about to make a repeat appearance.
Another day of constant Grexit chatter, and this time the futures are really starting to react as what was seen as mostly impossible for the past 4 months is now almost inevitable. The first tremors emerged when Greece announced it would not present a new proposal to the Eurogroup to unlock aid, relying instead on what has already been submitted and which the Troika said was inadequate. Then, confusing matters, a new GPO poll posted on Greece's Mega TV showed that increasingly more, or over 56% at last count, of Greece would prefer a "bad" deal with creditors than being kicked out of the Eurozone putting the future of Tsipras' cabine tin jeopardy. And then, hinting that the endgame is officially here, the FT reported that "Eurozone officials discuss holding emergency summit on Greece", suggesting a second Lehman weekend may be just around the corner.
European shares remain lower, close to intraday lows, with the banks and autos sectors underperforming and food & beverage, retail outperforming. Tsipras hardens Greek stance after collapse of bailout talks. The Italian and Swedish markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; Spanish yields increase. Commodities decline, with copper, nickel underperforming and natural gas outperforming. U.S. Empire manufacturing, net TIC flows, NAHB housing market index, industrial production, capacity utilization due later.
"We have a problem with this, and that is central bank hubris. They now think that they are omnipotent, because, essentially the government has said we are going to pass over all control of the economy to the central banks, they say to everybody else including financial market participants that “you don’t know, you don’t understand, we have our models and they are right”. And that kind of hubristic approach is when you sow the seeds of your own destruction."
For a sense of what is driving sentiment this morning look no further than the Athens stock market which exploded higher yesterday on a Bloomberg story based on "two sources" that Germany was willing to compromise, only to close just as the IMF pulled a classis bad cop and announced it was halting work on Greece, and before further news from Bild that Germany was preparing for a Greek default while Europe had given Greece 24 hours to submit a final, workable proposal. As a result, it tumbled promptly at the open even as optimism persists and since the opening plunge, Greek stocks have continued to climb and are now back to yesterday's euphoric opening levels.
While we are now well aware of the unpatriotic-ness of tax inversions, Goldman Sachs raises the red flag on another corporate action that is about to become highly politicized - share buybacks. The last (and only) pillar of buying left in the US equity markets is set to draw political attention and likely to gain prominence, particularly ahead of the 2016 election.