Markets have stopped focusing on what central banks are doing and are "positioning for what they believe central banks may or may not do," according to BofA's Athanasios Vamvakidis as he tells FX traders to "prepare to fight the central banks," as the market reaction to central bank policies this year reflects transition to a new regime, in which investors start speculating which central bank will have to give up easing policies first.
The asylum policy that emerged from last month’s EU-Turkey negotiations has four fundamental flaws, according to Billionaire puppet-master George Soros, which combined pose an "existential threat to Europe." His solution is 'simple' - Accept 500,000 refugees per year costing $34 billion year (via "surge" funding through more borrowing, and a newly-created refugee crisis fund from increased VAT on member states) or else, in his words, "the European Union is in mortal danger?"
Japan is heading for a full-blown solvency crisis as the country runs out of local investors and may ultimately be forced to inflate away its debt in a desperate end-game, one of the world’s most influential economists has warned. "One day the BoJ may well get a call from the finance ministry saying please think about us – it is a life or death question - and keep rates at zero for a bit longer."
In the past 60 years, there has never been a recession starting before the peak in profit margins. However, once margins have peaked, the likelihood of a downturn increases materially... We believe that the rollover in profit margins will be a constraint for equities, as profits have tended to drive most economic variables, capex and employment in particular. It will also likely have negative implications for corporate activity, especially as M&A, buybacks and dividends are at cycle highs, and US financing conditions are deteriorating.
The problem with forward earnings estimates is that they consistently overestimate reality by roughly 33% historically. The illusion of“permanent liquidity,” and the belief of sustained economic growth, despite slowing in China, Japan, and the Eurozone, has emboldened analysts to continue push estimates of corporate profit growth higher. Even now, as the earnings recession deepens, hopes of a sharp rebound in profitability remains ebullient despite the lack of any signs of economic re-acceleration.
The US Dollar Index is sitting at 94.62, just above a critical support zone at 93-94. Meanwhile, the Trade-Weighted Dollar Index has pulled back ~3.4% from its high on Jan20’16. It is hard to tell that long USD is a consensus trade because investors have lost their conviction.
Italy is the “too big to fail”, “elephant in the room”. Should Italy try Austria’s solution, it presumably would cause a “chain reaction with ripple effects that would be felt across the European banking system.” Instead, officials will attempt to “ringfence” the problem, hoping to “sweep it under the rug” where presumably a “€360bn pile of non-performing loans” will cure itself, eliminating the need for additional bail-ins
Globally we calculate that earnings are currently falling in 29 of the largest 30 MSCI ACWI markets, with the sole exception being Switzerland. For DM this is the seventh earnings recession since the early 1970s. If it ends now it will tie for the least severe in percentage decline terms and win for being the shortest in months of duration of the last 45 years. The longest earnings recession was that which ran from August 1989 to June 1993 while the deepest was the 60% decline in earnings during the GFC.
- Given the very dovish nature of Chair Yellen’s speech on March 29th, participants will be looking to see if the FOMC is unified around her cautionary approach
- As job growth in the US remains strong, we will see just how bullish the Fed is on the domestic economy and to what extent they are concerned about foreign headwinds
In a quiet start to the week following last week's surprisingly strong rebound which followed a stronger than expected jobs report (perhaps to demonstrate that good news is once again good news), Japan stocks continued to sink as the USDJPY dropped to fresh lows, while commodities declined for a fifth day as the supply glut from crude to copper weighed on prices, dragging down commodity currencies. European equities rose, rebounding from a one-month low.
In a note released on Friday night, JPM's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou has several important observations, the main of which is that CTAs and risk parity funds - which appear to have driven March’s equity rebound - are both significantly overweight equities. As a result he points to figure 2 below as an indication of a "more vulnerable equity market relative to a month ago, with all of the above types of funds currently overweight equities apart from discretionary macro hedge funds which appear to be still close to neutral."
This stuff gets better by the week...
Yesterday’s leaks confirm the ECB’s plans will effectively give Europe’s consumer lenders access to unlimited zero-cost finance – going far further than the free money showered on them by the multiple previous TLTRO financial packages. Under the proposed scheme, European banks have the option to issue their clients a new branded European Banking Union debit card.
On the day Mario Draghi announced that the ECB would launch a historic corporate bond monetization program, the first of its kind, we said that we expect bond yields to tumble imminently as the market frontruns the ECB's open-market purchases of corporate bonds and soaks up all available supply in the market. Not even we expected what would happen next though.