Equity Markets

Dear Janet, Seriously!!

The Fed's confidence trick this week was, once again, the Keyser Soze gambit (via Beaudelaire)-  "convincing the world of Yellen's hawkishness, when no such character trait exists." However, unlike the movies, stocks and FX markets have already seen through the con, leaving Fed Funds futures alone to believe the hype. As we noted previously, "The Fed Can't Raise Rates, But Must Pretend It Will," repeating its pre-meeting hawkishness to dovishness swing time and again in a "Groundhog Day" meets "Waiting For Godot"-like manner. Time is running out Janet, tick tock...

MOMO Rules: In A "World Of Disappointments" Trade Like An Idiot, Citi Recommends

In a "world of disappointments", where beta is king and where alpha has become a joke (or, now that equity is a risk-free asset and debt is risky, is outright punished) where growth no longer exists, drowning under the weight of $200 trillion in debt, and where value strategies have been all but forgotten replaced instead with "stories" about companies that have no cash flows but just might be "the next big thing" (one day), what should one to do? Why, engage in the most idiotic of strategies: chase momentum.

Mother Yellen's Little Helper - The Rate-Hike Placebo Effect

Americans are increasingly likely to respond positively to a placebo in a drug trial – more so than other nationalities. That’s the upshot of a recently published academic paper that looked at 84 clinical trials for pain medication done between 1990 and 2013. These findings, while bad for drug researchers, does shed some light on our favorite topic: behavioral finance. Trust and confidence makes placebos work, and those attributes also play a role in the societal effectiveness of central banks. That’s what makes the Fed’s eventual move to higher rates so difficult; even if zero interest rates are more placebo than actual medicine, markets believe they work to support asset prices.

Futures Fade Overnight Ramp After BOJ Disappoints, Attention Returns To Hawkish Fed

Back in September we explained why, contrary to both conventional wisdom and the BOJ's endless protests to the contrary, neither the BOJ nor the ECB have any interest in boosting QE at this - or any other point - simply because with every incremental bond they buy, the time when the two central banks run out of monetizable debt comes closer. Since then the ECB has jawboned that it may boost QE (but it has not done so), and overnight as reported previously, the BOJ likewise did not expand QE despite many, including Goldman Sachs, expecting it would do just that.

Goldman 'Explains' This Is Not A "Low Quality" Rally, It Is "Macro-Free" - So Don't Worry

It appears even Goldman Sachs was surprised by the recent rally in US equities - especially in light of the explicit hawkishness of The Fed yesterday. In a trading note this morning, the bank says that market risks are real and rising (but are not overwhelming) as it explains, we assume with no intent at humor or sarcasm, that they "prefer to think of the recent equity rally as 'macro-free' rather than 'low quality'," reiterating their view of the cycle and of markets as "fundamentally upbeat." They do, however, admit over the last month, the likelihood of a drawdown in the US equity market further increased, and remains at mildly elevated levels.

Futures Fade As Hawkish Fed Deemed Not So Bullish After All

Based on the overnight market prints which are an oddly reddish shade of green, it took algos about 12 hours to realize that the reason they soared for most of October, namely hopes of an easier Fed which were launched with the terrible September jobs report and continued with increasingly worse US economic report in the past month, can not be the same reason they also soared yesterday after the announcement of a more hawkish than expected Fed statement which envisioned a stronger US economy and a removal of foreign considerations, which even more curiously took place on even worse data than the Fed's far more dovish September statement.

OECD Chief Economist: It's Time To "Temper The Frothiness" In Markets

"... if you look at what is supporting equity prices - how much of that support is coming from real economic activity versus from using stock buybacks, using cash on balance sheet for stock buybacks, or mergers and acquisitions, to reduced competition in the marketplace. These are the sort of stories that if there were a small increase in interest rates, you would temper some of that frothiness. Eliminating the incentive to engage in that kind of activity seems to me to be a good idea... There would be a proportion of the population that would have less capital gains - but they’ve been enjoying very big capital gains, and it is a narrow segment of the population."

Futures Flat After Yen Carry Tremors As Fed Starts 2-Day Policy Meeting

Two biggest move overnight came from everyone's favorite carry pair, the USDJPY, which may have finally read what we said yesterday, namely that with the Fed and ECB both doing its job, there is little need for the Bank of Japan to repeat its Halloween massacre for the second year in a row, and as a result will keep its QQE program unchanged. It promptly tumbled from its 121 tractor level, to just above 120.25, where BOJ bids were said to be found. With the FOMC October meeting starting today, the other overnight catalyst was not surprisingly the latest Hilsenrath scribe in which he removed any uncertainty about a Wednesday hike, "leaving mid-December as the central bank’s last chance to raise rates this year."

Complacency Reigns At Epic Levels: "Few Are Ready For What Is Coming"

Accounting fraud remains at the heart of the fix instituted by Ben Bernanke and the ploy has been copied by authorities throughout the global financial system, including the central banks of China, Japan, and the European Community. That it seemed to work for the past seven years in propping up global finance has given too many people the dangerous conviction that reality is optional in economic relations. The recovery of equity markets from the disturbances of August has apparently convinced the market players that stocks are invincible. Complacency reigns at epic levels. Few are ready for what is coming.

The Inherent Problem Of Eternal Bullishness

The inherent problem of "eternal bullishness" is the "wilfull blindness" to the underlying data in an effort to chase short-term returns. This leads to the unfortunate problem of being "all-in" on every hand which has a devastating consequence when a mean reverting event occurs. In the end, it does not matter IF you are "bullish" or "bearish." The reality is that both "bulls" and "bears" are owned by the "broken clock" syndrome during the full-market cycle. However, what is grossly important in achieving long-term investment success is not necessarily being "right" during the first half of the cycle, but by not being "wrong" during the second half.

2 Years Of Pain Trades Amid Faltering Faith In The 3 Big Bull Beliefs

"The end of QE mattered" admits BofAML, adding that "the impact was not replaced by BoJ or ECB dollars." It is this new 'hostile' investment backdrop as liquidity cheer swings to illiquidity fear (and two years of non-stop "pain trades") that has faith in the big three bull beliefs fading fast. October's "pain trade" has been a broad-based rally in all risk assets, but there are a number of factors preventing BofAML getting more bullish now that risk has surged.

Futures Fizzle, Europe Red As Markets Ask: "What Do Central Banks Do Now?"

In our Chinese stock market wrap following Friday's unexpected rate cut, which saw the Shanghai Composite storm out of the gate, we said that "we would not be surprised to see China's stocks sliding back into the red very shortly as "sell the news" concerns return, and as the increasingly more addicted "markets" demand even more liquidity from central banks just to stay unchanged, let alone rise to new all time highs." Sure enough, with just minutes to go before the close, the SHCOMP wiped out all its daily gains and was set for a red close had it not been for the "national team" miraculous last minute intervention which was inevitable after Friday's PBOC rate cut, and which lifted the composite 0.5% into the green as the euphoria was rapidly evaporating.