The stock market takes off in holiday celebration of the FOMC being even less clear than it really has been in some time; perhaps going all the way back to Alan Greenspan’s intentional mush. Equity “investors” are happy that the Fed may be happy about the economy, even though there is nothing in actual markets (outside of stocks) to suggest that anything the Fed proclaims carries even the slightest validity. The recovery is over because it never was. The Fed is now kamikaze and stuck on this course, having painted itself into a smaller and smaller corner in which to operate. Their only hope is that their confidence turns into your confidence, but credit and funding markets are impenetrable at this moment to such utter nonsense. For many places, it is already “look out below.”
"Back in the halcyon days of summer, it seemed nothing could go wrong; but now, ...the uncertainties presently being generated have the potential to undermine two crucial kinds of trust – that one must have in the merits of one’s own exposure and that equally critical faith in the reliability of one’s counterparties. If it does, the third great bull run of the 20-year age of Irrational Exuberance could well reach its culmination, after a rally of almost exactly the same magnitude as and of similar duration to the one which ushered it in, all those years ago."
Moments ago, after Yellen earlier explained that the Fed may hike rates at any moment, and certainly not only during press-briefing days, she also explicitly, and very unexpectedly, said that the Fed will likely not hike for a "couple" of meetings. And when she was subsequently asked to explain what "a couple" means, she further explained that it means "two." As a reminder, this comes from a Fed chairwoman who had a trial by fire when, fresh after replacing Bernanke, she locked herself in the "6 month" calendar interval. In other words, she knows not to give the market a timing bogey. And still she did so. Which, quite explicitly, means that anything starting with the 3rd meeting, currently scheduled for April 28-29, 2015, and onward is very fair game and the market will be foolish to expect the Fed not to follow through with this warning, a Fed which is already dangerously close to losing all credibility it has.
In the 2003-2004 playbook, “considerable period” gave way to “patient” as a signal that the hikes were drawing closer, and it is interesting that the words “patient” or “patience” have shown up quite frequently in recent Fed speeches. The problem with a simple shift to “patience” without any qualifications on December 17 is that back in 2004 this shift occurred just 4½ months before the first hike, and some market participants might therefore take it to mean a hike before June.
"Fed talk is losing its luster. Data is irrelevant unless it’s extremely weak or extremely strong,” says Todd Colvin, senior vice president at Ambrosino Brothers, a futures and options execution firm. "This is the year the Fed is going to lose credibility when it gets to March or June and they announce why they’re not moving."
Overview of the capital markets as if they were not managed by an evil cabal.
Presented with little comment aside to say - WTF!!
- IRELAND SELLS 10-YEAR BONDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 1.63%
- GERMAN 10-YEAR BUNDS RISE; YIELD FALLS 2 BASIS POINTS TO 0.88%
- DUTCH 10-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 1.021%
- PORTUGUESE 10-YEAR BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 2.942%
- FRENCH 10-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND YIELDS DROP TO RECORD-LOW 1.214%
- U.S. 10-YEAR NOTE YIELD DROPS TO 2.296%, LOWEST SINCE JUNE 2013
- SPANISH 10-YEAR BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 2.038%
- FINNISH 10-YEAR YIELD DROPS TO 1% FOR FIRST TIME ON RECORD
It appears wherever one looks in the markets there are the skidmarks of PIMCO adjusting to life after Bill Gross. First it was MBS (and related derivatives), then CDS indices adjusted as redemption expectations raised risk premia, and now it is the short-end of the Treasury curve. As The FT notes, 3-month Eurodollar futures (instruments enabling traders to bet on the front-end of the yield curve and thus more accurately pinpoint their bets on Fed actions) saw asset managers (cough PIMCO cough) liquidate a record 868,853 contracts in the week to September 30 – the largest one-week change on record (each contract has a notional value of $1m). This dramatic shift suggests both a disagreement with Gross' "new normal" view of rates lower for longer (since liquidation is concentrated around the 2-year maturities) and a need to meet liquidity requirements from redemption requests.
There may be one great conspiracy dictating the course of the capital market, but if there is not, what is the near-term outlook for the dollar?
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has built a new crystal ball (technically a DSGE model) as part of its efforts to forecast the U.S. economy. In part 1 of a week-long series - to provide some background on the model, its use for policy analysis and forecasting, as well as its forecasting performance - they briefly discuss what DSGE models are and explain their usefulness as a forecasting tool.
Quick update, and outline of reasons to suspect anxiety over Scottish independence has peaked.
The consensus expectation is overwhelming that Fed Chair Yellen will deliver a dovish message at Jackson Hole. Macro investors have largely eliminated their short Treasury position and look to be long risk, particularly via equities and EM. FX positioning is long USD and long EM, the long USD largely because the euro zone economy is slipping again and the ECB is hinting at further ease. Our question is whether Yellen can be more dovish than what is now priced in, not whether she will be dovish on the Richter scale of dovishness. Full dovish, semi-dovish, or contingent dovish.
It appears - judging by today's shenanigans - that good news for Main Street (rising employment costs) is bad news (for stocks), though obviously there are other factors; but tomorrow's payrolls data is the last best hope before the Fed finishes its taper for them to pull a 'data-driven' U-turn out of the bag. Consensus is for a drop from last month's exuberance at 288k to 230k (with Barclays slightly cold and Deutsche slightly hot). The fear, for market bulls, is that the print is anti-goldilocks now - not bad enough to provide excuses for lower-longer Fed rates; and not high enough to justify the hockey-stick of miraculous H2 growth priced into stocks. Average S&P gains on NFP Friday are 0.5% but recently have become more noisy.
This clown parade of clueless opinions (did we mention Goldman had BES at a buy until this morning?), stretched all the way to the very top with Bank of Portugal itself issuing the following pearl:
- BANK OF PORTUGAL SAYS BES DEPOSITORS CAN STAY CALM
Uhhh, what else would the Portugal central bank say? Panic and withdraw your deposits from a bank whose exposures to insolvent entities have been largely unknown until today (and even now).