There has been a lot on bond buying in Europe and that enthusiasm has transferred over to the US in anticipation of Draghi's massive bond buying stimulus program similar to that of the U.S. Fed.
The IMF has lied (about 'not' proposing a 71% income tax) and has been shown as a serial over-optimistic forecaster (world growth disappointments and hockey sticks) but the simply incredible hope that Christine Lagarde's PhDs created in their growth expectations for Ukraine make their Greece "Oops" moment look like nothing. As CFR rebukes, we see the IMF’s growth forecasts for Ukraine and Greece not as forecasts at all, but rather as assumptions necessary to justify the IMF’s interventions. Credibility -> 0.
The melt up is accelerating and with the momentum tailwind back, newsflow is once again irrelevant: any news that are even remotely good are trumpeted, and any bad news - such as Europe's right storm rising in the northern states, and left storm surge in the states that demand more handouts from the northern states or China sinking a Vietnamese boat, the most serious bilateral incident since 2007 - are once again (and as usual) nothing more than a catalyst for even more liquidity injections. End result: the S&P futures this morning are 5 points above Goldman's year end target of 1900 and 45 points away from its June 30, 2015 target. Can this breakneck scramble on zero volume continue until Grantham's bubble peak level of 2,200 is hit? Well of course: after all anything goes in the centrally-planned new normal. To be sure, this is an equity only phenomenon: moments ago the Bund future hit its highest level since May 19, while the 10 Year remains unchanged at 2.53% as it continues to price in the new "deflationary" (and Japanese) normal. And as has been the case during all such divergences of late, either bonds or equities are making a horrible mistake: the question remains: who? Since all equities are doing is tracking FX pairs to the pip and have completely forgotten all about fundamentals, we have a pretty good idea what the answer is.
Earthquake? What earthquake?
The recent public outcry over high frequency trading is pointless. Solutions exist. Virtually every comparable market in the world uses them already. But, some electronic exchanges may not willingly adopt them. Doing so may disrupt their current business model. The incentives are misaligned, and competitors or regulators may need to force the issue to see change. Luckily, the issue to be forced is far simpler than most think. It’s time to add quality to the matching process.
For those pressed for time, here is the one-chart post-mortem of what happened in yesterday's elections for European Parliament: the malcontents block, or the anti-EU and protest parties, soar and now control nearly a third of all seats, up nearly by 33% from a fifth currently, in the parliament they all predominantly loathe.
Anti-European-Union parties are showing strongly in this weekend's elections. Anxiety is spreading among the status quo as Greece's anti-austerity party SYRIZA wins and perhaps even more worryingly in supposed core of the union France's Nationalist party is leading in a "political earthquake" success:
EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS MUST RESPOND TO CITIZENS' ANGER, SAYS 'SITUATION IS GRAVE FOR FRANCE, EUROPE'; DRAGHI SAYS PEOPLE VOTING ACROSS EUROPE ARE CLEARLY DISENGAGED
European leaders will meet next week to discuss a three-tier plan to impose "costs" on Russia if today's Ukraine election is not deemed "free and fair." Reuters reports that the low-, medium-, and high-intensity scenarios that the always-so-smart EU leaders have created start with impose restrictions on imports of Russian luxury goods including diamonds, precious metals, furs, vodka and caviar. The sabre-rattlers then escalate up to the "stage three" measures against Putin with a complete ban on imports of oil and gas from Russia. In other words, in spite of German business damnation, EU leaders will commit economic suicide and stop importing gas just to teach Putin a lesson... well played... It seems Putin's words are more prophetic than ever... "Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face."
One hundred and ten of Greece’s best beaches (70,000 lots) are on sale by Greece’s privatization agency, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) in the name of supposed 'development' and 'utilization of public assets' as the prerequisite for receiving more handouts from the Troika. "This sale of the land must happen," explains one Greek civil servant, "we need this now, quickly. Tell the Russians and the Qataris to hurry up!" But as KeepTalkingGreece notes, not everyone is so exuberant about a supposedly recovered Greece dumping assets in order to pay back its European bailout banker overlords. With SYRIZA taking the lead in elections, the euro-skeptic sentiment is likely only to rise.
A dispassionate look at the week ahead.
"Artificial, credit-stained activity will never be more than a fleeting substitute for fundamental demand. And when the artificiality inevitably subsides, what is left is far worse than not having entertained it at the start. That too is a testament against the illicit concept of neutrality. We may all be dead in the long run, but it used to be nice to enjoy the fruits of free economic expansion whilst awaiting the unavoidable."
A year ago it was the US which first "boosted" America's GDP by $500 billion - literally out of thin air - when it arbitrarily decided to include "intangibles" to the components that 'make up' GDP (in the process cutting over 5% from the US Debt/GDP ratio). Then Spain joined the fray. Then Greece. Then the UK. Then Nigeria, which showed those deveoped Keynesian basket cases how it is really done, when it doubled the size of its GDP overnight when it decided to change the base year of its GDP calculations. Now it is Italy's turn, and like everything else Italy does, this latest "revision" of the definition of GDP easily wins in the style points category. As Bloomberg reports, "Italy will include prostitution and illegal drug sales in the gross domestic product calculation this year." Yup: blow and hookers. And that, ladies and gents, how it's done.
- The Fed can't print trade? World Trade Flows Fall in First Quarter (WSJ)
- PBOC’s Zhou Says China May Have Housing Bubble in ‘Some Cities’ (BBG)
- ECB's Weidmann - Reviving ABS market not task for central bank (Reuters)
- LOL: Fitch upgrades Greece by a notch to 'B'; outlook stable (Reuters)
- LOL x2: Spain Sovereign Debt Rating Upgraded by S&P (BBG)
- China Will Vet Tech Firms After Threatening U.S. Retaliation (BBG)
- US to claim victory over China in WTO car dispute (BBG)
- Obama urges Democrats to vote in midterms, attacks Republicans (Reuters)
- U.S. Military Pushes for More Disclosure on Drone Strikes (WSJ)