All you need to know about Citi's $1.09 beat of $0.96 consensus EPS: "Citigroup’s total allowance for loan losses was $34.4 billion at quarter end, or 5.4% of total loans. The $2.0 billion net release of credit reserves was 37% higher than the prior year period as credit quality continued to improve during the second quarter. More than half of the net credit reserve release was attributable to Citi Holdings. Consumer loans that were 90+ days delinquent, excluding the Special Asset Pool (SAP), fell 46% versus the prior year period to $9.9 billion, or 2.3% of consumer loans, while corporate non-accrual loans fell 56% to $4.8 billion and consumer non-accrual loans fell 39% to $8.4 billion." Translated: the "improvement" in mortgage loan standards (despite the ongoing foreclosure moratorium) is what "urged" the bank that it should provision less, and drive EPS higher. In other words of the $4.3 billion in pretax net income, almost half came from loan loss reserve releases. Since Q2 2009, loan loss reserve changes have reduced pretax income by $5.6 billion and added to pretax income by $11.2 billion. And that is what in the New Normal, is called "Income".
A week earlier, we presented Moody's proposed take on which banks are at risk of failing Europe's Stress Test version 2 (which is nothing but another huge waste of time), the results of which are due to be announced later today. The event will likely be market moving although we expect it will be at most 3 months before a bank that passed the test fails in spectacular fashion, laying the groundwork for next year's Stress Test part 3: the most stringent of all, and so forth. Below is RanSquawk's comprehensive take on what to expect from today's announcement. "Last years stress test results indicated that despite a modest capital shortfall of EUR 3.5bln, overall, the EU banking system was well capitalised and that there was no major risk stemming from sovereign exposure. However, policy makers suffered a massive credibility blow after Ireland was forced to seek monetary assistance after Irish banks lost access to capital markets following revelations of massive financing gaps which in turn endangered the country itself. As such, this year’s stress tests, which have been carried out on 90 banks, have been designed to be more stringent in nature and should provide market participants with some degree of relief."
A dramatic video that shows precisely what happens in the fragmented market place each time an order to buy or sell stock is placed.
Key highlights from the just released JPM results:
- JPMorgan 2Q adj. EPS $1.27 vs est. $1.21; rev. $26.78b vs est. $24.91b
- CEO Jamie Dimon sees card losses improving next quarter, sees mortgage taking some time to resolve issues, possible we will incur additional costs along the way
- 2Q reserves $29.1b, release of $1.3b vs release of $2.6b in 1Q, coverage ratio 3.83% vs. 4.1% in 1Q
- I-banking: rev. $7.31b, down 11% Q/q, up 16% Y/y
- Fixed inc/equity mkt rev. $5.5b, down 16.7% Q/q, up 19.6% Y/y
- I-banking fees $1.9b, up 37% Y/y
- Hired more than 10,000 employees year-to-date
Gold has risen to new record nominal highs at $1,594.45 per ounce and silver has surged another 3% to over $39 per ounce after yesterday’s 6% rise. Today’s London AM Fix gold fix was $1,592.50 £987.54 and €1,119.04 – all of which are new record nominal highs. European stock markets are lower after Asian equity markets were mixed overnight with the Nikkei falling 0.27%. European debt markets are under pressure this morning with Spanish and Italian bond yields rising towards 6% again. Ireland’s 10 year and 2 year yields spiked to new record highs at 14.13% and 20.9% prior to sharp falls which had the hallmarks of sovereign intervention - possibly the ECB or China. The U.S. had its Aaa bond rating placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody’s which cited the “rising possibility” that the debt limit won’t be raised on a timely basis. U.S. treasuries have also been sold this morning. Concerns that QE3 and the printing and electronic creation of hundreds of billions of dollars and Obama’s walkout from debt ceiling negotiations is not helping dollar and bond market jitters and has led to the record dollar gold price.
Recently I compared the 2007 equity topping pattern to that of the current market. The premise being today as in 2007 the US economy is quite possibly entering economic recession. Long gone are the days of equity markets being forward looking as proven in 2007 when they peaked just two months before contraction began. A similar pattern is also playing out in the 10 year treasury. I suspect a topping market is more a function of psychology and less technicals or macro data. The money making bull is slowly dying while the bears are eager for their turn to shine. The result of this clash of views and buying power is dictated more by emotional, whipsawing action where convictions in one's position and volatile price action make coexistence difficult if not impossible.
While it is by now clear that despite a few headfakes, the economy largely sputtered in the second quarter, with the only positive data point coming from a major inventory build up that led to a better than expected manufacturing ISM, the question now is how did the global weakness over the past 3 months translate into corporate earnings. Next week we will start finding out as 4% of the S&P500 companies report, but the peak of reporting will hit in the 3 weeks following when 83% of all companies hits the tape. Oddly enough, while there has been a material number of downgrades, especially in the financials sector, preannouncements have once again been largely missing, especially in the industrials space. As Dylan Grice pointed out, the game whereby analysts lower EPS forecasts for companies only so hey can beat by about a cent has started in earnest. The biggest question is whether the "farce that is reporting season" will simply be a modest drop in EPS even as the government resumes its corprate friendly approach, or, with advance indicators now tumbling, is this the inflection point? Recall that corporate margins have now peaked: the only saving grace for the corporate sector will be if companies are once again laying off people in droves and cutting overhead (an event which should lead to massive layoffs at ADP for example). Anyway, here are some observations from JPM and Goldman on what to expect and how to fade the big banks' calls on what is coming.
The Coming "New World Order" Revolution: How Things Will Change In The Next 20 Years - A Kondratieff Cycle PerspectiveSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2011 21:20 -0500
SocGen has published a fantastic, must read big picture report, which compares the world in the 1980/1985-2000/2005 time period and juxtaposes it to what the author, Veronique Riches-Flores predicts will happen over the next two decades years, the period from 2005/2010 to 2025/2030. Unlike other very narrow and short-sighted projections, this one is based not on trivial and grossly simplified assumptions such as perpetual growth rates, but on a holistic demographic approach to perceiving the world. At its core, SocGen compares the period that just ended, one in which world growth was driven by an expansion in supply, to one that will be shaped by an explosion of demand. And, unfortunately, the transformation from the Supply-driven to the Demand-driven world will not be pretty. Summarizing this outlook: "Over the last three decades strong growth in the working-aged population across Asia and the opening-up of world trade have led to considerable expansion in global production capacities. These factors created a highly competitive and disinflationary environment of plentiful supply, which was characterised by low interest rates, a credit boom and, in the financial markets, exuberant appetite for risky assets. As the demographic cycle progresses, we are seeing the emergence of an aging population, which is less favourable to productive investment. Meanwhile the rise in living standards among the emerging population heralds an unprecedented level of growth in demand. The world supply/demand balance is dramatically changing against a backdrop of resource shortages which are likely to favour shorter cycles, increased government intervention in economic affairs and inflation." In other words, contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, the future is about to get ugly. And topping it all off is a Kondratieff cycle chart: what's not to like. Read on.
One of the prevailing themes in FX land over the past year, courtesy of prevalent central bank intervention in the monetary arena, has been a pervasive conflict among the world's money printers whereby those who have been unable to keep up with the Fed's fiat printing, have been engaging in direct open market purchases of USD to keep their own currencies lower, and thus promote exports, etc. The fact that currency exchange rates have been as unstable as they have since the start of QE 1, and especially QE 2, is in our opinion, a main reason for the outflow of trading volume from equity markets and into venues that exhibit the kind of volatility desired by short-term speculators, such as FX. Today, PIMCO's Clarida, in an informative Q&A, proposes that the currency wars we have all grown to love so much over the past year, are coming to an end. The implications of this assumption are indeed substantial. While we do not agree with the assessment, it does merit further exploration, especially since it touches on PIMCO's outlook for the dollar: "In our baseline case we do
not see the dollar being supplanted as the global reserve currency in
the next three to five years. If foreign central banks were to decide
that they did not want to hold dollars as a reserve, they would have to
hold some other currency. And right now there is not a single viable
alternative to the dollar. Aside from the 60% that I mentioned earlier,
global reserves include about 30% in euros and the rest is mixed. Given
current circumstances in Europe, we would not expect the euro to
supplant the dollar." Oddly, there is still no mention of such currency alterantives as precious metals, which as the Erste Bank report noted yesterday, has already set the groundwork for a return to real sound money. Much more inside.
Gold is higher today and showing particular strength against the euro and the Japanese yen. The relief rally seen in equities since the latest Greek ‘bailout’ is under pressure as S&P have said the debt rollover proposal would be a “selective default”. The ECB may selectively reject the S&P Greek downgrade and arbitrarily select the best credit rating being offered. Gold has been supported in the traditionally weak “summer doldrums” period due to institutional demand and strong physical demand at the $1,500/oz level, particularly from Asia. Gold tends to take a break in October and then has a second period of seasonal strength from the end of October to the end of December. This has been primarily due to Indian religious festival, store of wealth, demand in the autumn and western jewellery demand prior to Christmas.
I'm not going to even begin to try and make sense out of today's market. Watching fires burn and teargas fired in Greece, 100 pip moves in the EUR/USD in minutes and computer algos tripping over each other was surreal beyond words. This market right now is a lottery. Calling equities forward looking or a pricing mechanism is beyond ridiculous. It is during noisy times like these that investors must step back and keep things in perspective. Trading on days like today requires little skill and a lot of luck. When I step back I see a deteriorating economy and an equity market trying to understand what to do. Do they "price in" a soft patch or a full blow recession. Market participants are told it is in fact a soft patch. The slightest hint of positive data reinforces those views.
General Collateral At -0.002%: Lowest EVER, As Scramble Out Of Money Markets Hits Afterburner, PrimesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/29/2011 15:41 -0500
A few days ago we pointed out that special repo rates are now negative. Fine. How big is special collateral after all - in the grand scheme of things it is a tiny market. Well, as of today, General Collateral just hit -0.002, the lowest rate in the history of the series, and in our humble opinion this is a far more troubling indication of broad liquidity developments than the 1 month bill touching on -0.001%. Simply said, this confirms our speculation that there is now a massive rolling of funding out from money markets and into any market that will accept the maturing short term funding without it being rolled due to European contagion concerns. We said: "this latest move has unpleasant implications for money market managers, who unable to find yield in repo (0.01%?) will now be forced to look for higher yielding assets, and thus expose them to even more contagion risk once the house of cards falls, facilitating the "breakage of the buck" once again just like what happened in the aftermath of the Lehman catastrophe, and snarling all global fund flows, forcing the Fed to become liquidity provider of last resort." As of today, this prediction is well en route to being confirmed.
As HFT algos continue to increasingly encroach on commodity trading, the most recent example of which was the berserk Nat Gas algo documented previously, the ICE has taken yet more steps to protect itself from "parasitic" algorithmic traders (a topic that has been beaten to death on Zero Hedge since the spring of 2009). From Reuters: "ICE Futures U.S. will increase its ability to adjust trade prices in softs futures, the latest in a series of changes it has made to deal with volatility in its coffee, cocoa, cotton and sugar markets. The amended rules will be effective July 1 and follow a series of changes to reduce unwarranted volatility in 2011, following the "flash crash" in equity markets in May 2010 that was exacerbated by high-frequency trading. In January, ICE delayed its attempt to mitigate cascading stops in the softs complex following feedback from market participants." Basically, the exchange has now decided to override the "market" at its sole discretion. ICE will be able to adjust trades made in coffee "C", cotton No. 2, cocoa, frozen concentrated orange juice and sugar No. 16 futures contracts. It will do this if "the exchange determines the original price of the trade does not represent the market value of the specific futures or options contract at the time of the trade," a notice states." Expect to see comparable approaches to ignoring what HFT quotes say as mini flash crashes become a now daily occurrence.
Hey Mr. & Mrs. investment committee members, here's a strong investment idea. Let's take 30% of our money off of the table after losing 48% of it already, and reinvest 70% of it back into the original investment pool, but this time accept 20% in equity risk just as the country we're investing in is about to undergo a nasty, self-imposed austerity driven recession while our new fixed income position is subordinated in real time by the IMF, and soon likely to trade underwater just about as quickly. Now, where's my damn bonus??? I have an appointment with the Azimut dealer!
About a week ago, Goldman Sachs closed its tactical short USDCNY Non-Deliverable Forward trade, which was opened on June 10, 2010 and which expired a year later for a 4.2% gain. Goldman added: "Our view has not changed. The necessary adjustments to global imbalances demand a weaker US Dollar, and especially so vs the CNY. The cyclical and political backdrop remains supportive along those lines. Moreover, we expect $/CNY depreciation to continue/extend in the months to come. We remain positioned for the theme via our $/CNY NDF recommended Top Trade with longer initial maturity, expiring on 4 December 2012." Nonetheless, something appears to have shifted in the derivative CNY market, where as Bloomberg points out, it now costs more to bet on RMB weakness than strength. It adds: "China appears headed for a hard landing as the country’s housing market shows more signs of weakness. Currency traders have reduced their expectations for more appreciation of the yuan versus the dollar in the derivatives market, meaning they expect Chinese policy makers to fundamentally shift their approach to the currency due to economic softening. Other markets may soon follow currency’s lead." As the attached chart shows the USDCNY 3 Month 25 Delta Risk Reversal for the first time since September 2009, there appears to be some outright bearishness on the renminbi appreciation scenario. Does this mean that yesterday's decline in the official fixing rate to 6.4736 on Thursday, lower than the record high of 6.4683 on Wednesday is more than a one time adjustment and is the start of a new trend? We will find out soon enough.