Equity Markets

Day After Obama Meeting, Yellen Confirms Fed "Focused On Main Street... Helping All Americans"

In an oddly-timed-release, just a day after her 'unusual' meeting with President Obama (and sandwiched between two "emergency Fed meetings"), Janet Yellen's seemingly legacy-protecting narrative-confirming interview with TIME magazine proclaiming once again that "we are focused on Main Street, on supporting economic conditions - plentiful jobs and stable prices - that help all Americans." So now you know - it's all for you America - the bank bailouts, the deflationary-glut-creating ZIRP, the money-printing, and the "confusing and confounding" messaging. Now stop your complaining and Vote Hillary!

U.S. Futures Flat After Oil Erases Overnight Losses; Dollar In The Driver's Seat

In another quiet overnight session, the biggest - and unexpected - macro news was the surprise monetary easing by Singapore which as previously reported moved to a 2008 crisis policy response when it adopted a "zero currency appreciation" stance as a result of its trade-based economy grinding to a halt. As Richard Breslow accurately put it, "If you need yet another stark example of the fantasy storytelling we amuse ourselves with, juxtapose today’s Monetary Authority of Singapore policy statement with the storyline that the Asian stock market rally intensified on renewed optimism over the global economy. Singapore is a proxy for trade and economic growth ground to a halt last quarter." The Singapore announcement led to a sharp round of regional currency weakness just as the dollar appears to have bottomed and is rapidly rising.

Futures Jump On Chinese Trade Data; Oil Declines; Global Stocks Turn Green For 2016

With oil losing some of its euphoric oomph overnight, following the API report of a surge in US oil inventories, and a subsequent report that Iran's oil minister would skip the Doha OPEC meeting altogether, the global stock rally needed another catalyst to maintain the levitation. It got that courtesy of the return of USDJPY levitation, which has pushed the pair back above 109, the highest in over a week, as well as a boost in sentiment from the previously reported Chinese trade data where exports rose the most in over a year, however much of the bounce was due to a favorable base effect from last year's decline. Additionally, as RBC reported, the 116.5% y/y increase in China’s reported March imports from HK likely reflects the growing trend of "over-invoicing", which is merely another form of capital outflow.

SocGen: "Now We Know Why The Fed Desperately Wants To Avoid A Drop In Equity Markets"

"The catalyst for a balance sheet crisis is rarely the affordability of interest rates, so a 25bp rise in Fed rates is neither here nor there. Credit market risk is about assessing the likelihood of getting your money back. As such asset prices (i.e. equity markets) and asset price risk (i.e. equity volatility) are far bigger concerns. So all you need for a balance sheet crisis is declining equity markets, a phenomenon the Fed appears desperate to avoid. Now we know why."

Active Managers Defeated... Globally... Again

One would think that active managers would eventually outperform somewhere after the negative press that ensued a year ago.  And now that 2015 performance data has been properly audited and tabulated, we can see what the new results are... (spoiler alert - not good).

Futures Rebound On Weaker Yen; Oil Hits 2016 Highs

In recent days, we have observed a distinct trading pattern: a ramp early in the US morning, usually triggered by some aggressive momentum ignition, such as today's unexplained pump then dump in the EURUSD with stocks rising after the European open, rising throughout the US open, then peaking around the time the US closed at which point it is all downhill for the illiquid market. So far today, the pattern has held, and after trading flat for most of the overnight session, with Europe initially in the red perhaps on disappointment about the Italy bank bailout fund, a bout of early Europe-open associated buying pushed US futures up, following the first rebound in the USDJPY after 7 days of declines which also helped the Nikkei close 1.1% higher.

U.S. Futures Jump In Tandem With Soaring Italian Banks On Hopes Of Government Bailout

it has been a rather quiet session, which saw Japan modestly lower dragged again by a lower USDJPY which hit fresh 17 month lows around 170.6 before staging another modest rebound and halting a six-day run of gains; China bounced after a slightly disappointing CPI print gave hope there is more space for the PBOC to ease; European equities rose, led by Italian banks which surged ahead of a meeting to discuss the rescue of various insolvent Italian banks, while mining stocks jumped buoyed by rising metal prices with signs of a pick-up in Chinese industrial demand.

"The Gold Price Has Been Captured By The Modern Banking System"

It is commonly assumed that the gold price and interest rates move in opposite directions. Like all assumptions about prices, sometimes it is true and sometimes not. The market today is all about synthetic gold, gold which is referred to but rarely delivered. The current relationship is therefore one of relative interest rates, because positions in synthetic gold are financed from wholesale money markets. This is why a rumour that interest rates might rise sooner than expected, if it is reflected in forward interbank rates, leads to a fall in the gold price. To the extent that this happens, the gold price has been captured by the modern banking system, but it was not always so.

Weekend Reading: The Fourth Turning

“The typical investor has usually gathered a good deal of half-truths, misconceptions, and just plain bunk about successful investing.” With the month of April winding up the seasonally strong time of the year, earnings season just ahead and economic growth weak, the risks to the downside far outweigh “hope” of higher prices.  Or, is “bad news” still the bear market deterrent?

Stocks To Reopen In The Green For 2016 After Crude, USDJPY Rebound

In the final day of the week, it has again been a story of currencies and commodities setting stock prices, however instead of yesterday's Yen surge which slammed the USDJPY as low as 107.67 and led to a global tumble in equities, and crude slide, today has been a mirror imoage after a modest FX short squeeze, which sent the Yen pair as high as 109.1, before easing back to the 108.80 range. This, coupled with a 3.5% bounce in WTI, which is back up to $38.54 and up 4.9% on the week as speculation has returned that Russia and OPEC members can reach a production freeze deal on April 17, led to a global stock rebound which will see the S&P open back in the green for 2016.

Nomura's Bob "The Bear" Janjuah: "The Question Is What Would Be Necessary For The Fed To Do QE Or NIRP"

"My view is still that the Fed does not actually do anything more than jaw-bone until or unless the S&P500 cash index is into the 1500s and the outlook for growth, employment and inflation get significantly worse – perhaps with the unemployment rate inching higher not lower.... I am also even more convinced now that we are about 10 months through a multi-year bear market that likely won’t bottom until late 2017 or early 2018. This will be a stair-step decline with all the strength to the downside punctuated by occasional (very) violent bear market counter-trend rallies driven by short covering, hope and residual belief in policymakers"

"There Is A Lot Of Fear In The Market" - Stocks, Futures Slide After Yen Soars

Two days after stocks slid in a coordinated risk-off session, and one day after a DOE estimate of US oil inventories sent US stocks surging while the failed Allergan-Pfizer deal unleashed torrential hopes of a biotech M&A spree leading to the single best day for the sector in 5 years, sentiment has again shifted, this time due to a violent surge in the Yen as the market keeps testing the resolve of the Japanese central bank to keep its currency weak, and so far finding it to be nonexistent.

"My Passion Is Puppetry"

Here’s my metaphor for investors and central bankers today — the brilliant Cars.com commercial where a woman is stuck on a date with an incredibly creepy guy who declares that “my passion is puppetry” and proceeds to make out with a replica of the woman.