In a world where fundamentals don't matter, everyone's attention will be on Janet Yellen who speaks at 1:15pm today in Harvard, hoping to glean some more hints about the Fed's intentionas and next steps, including a possible rate hike in June or July. And with a long holiday in both the US and UK (US bond market closes at 2pm today), it is no surprise overnight trading volumes have been dreadful, helping keep global equities poised for the highest close in three weeks; this won't change unless Yellen says something that would disrupt the calm that’s settled over financial markets.
A buck’s a buck, or is it?!
In what has been another quiet overnight session, which unlike the past two days has not seen steep, illiquid gaps higher in US equity futures (the E-mini was up 3 points and accelerating to the upside as of this writing so there is still ample time for the momentum algos to go berserk), the main event was the price of Brent rising above $50 for the first time since November with WTI rising as high as $49.97.
- Oil nudges $50 a barrel as investors bet on shrinking overhang (Reuters)
- From hinterland to wonderland: China's 'teapot' refinery boomtowns (Reuters)
- Peter Thiel Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan's Lawsuits Against Gawker (Forbes)
- China Wants to Set Prices for the World's Commodities (BBG)
- Big Banks Ladle On the Risk (WSJ)
- China Said to Plan Asking U.S. on Timing of Fed Rate Hike (BBG)
The single biggest event overnight was the PBOC's devaluation of the Yuan to the lowest since March 2011, setting the fixing at 6.5693, the highest in over 5 years and in direct response to a stronger dollar, which however if one looks at the DXY remains well below the recent highs in the 100 range, suggesting for China this is only just beggining. However, the fact that there was not more volatility in onshore and offshore overnight FX also comforted the market that at the same time as its was devaluing the PBOC was also intervening in the FX market, thus providing some assurance it would not allow runaway "risk off" sentiment prevail, nor would it promote another blitz round of capital outflows, leading to another gradual levitation in overnight risk.
If anyone is still confused about the not so subtle dynamics between markets and monetary policy in China, or the country's bipolar, and ever more frequent boom and bust cycles, you won't be after seeing this chart from Socgen.
While million-dollar home used to be a rarity in the United States as recently as 2012, they have now become commonplace in many of America’s largest housing markets. The following dramatic time-lapse animations demonstrate just how prevalent
The last few weeks have seen 'Project Fear' taken to all new levels by the UK establishment as doom-mongering over a possible Brexit conjure images of post-apocalyptic movies. UK PM Cameron and Chanceller Osborne's latest op-ed tirade warns of 800,000 jobs lost and an "immediate year-long recession" if the Brits exercise their democratic right to vote for sovereignty over tyranny. Judging from the polls, which show Brexit odds tumbling, the fear-mongery is working, however, the markets disagree as forward volatility measures near 2016 highs.
Single-family existing home sales rose just 0.6% MoM in April with The South and The West regions seeing notable declines in sales (down 2.7% and down 1.7% respectively). What saved the headline priont was a 10.3% surge in Condo sales - among the best monthly spikes since the crisis helped by a spike in sales in The Midwest - where prices are most affordable. While headline data beat expectations, NAR's Larry Yun warned that "the temporary relief from mortgage rates currently near three-year lows has helped preserve housing affordability this spring, but there's growing concern a number of buyers will be unable to find homes at affordable prices if wages don't rise and price growth doesn't slow."
Destroying our ability to discover the real cost of assets, credit and risk has not just crippled the markets--it's crippled the entire economy.
Not long ago we pointed out that the second tech bubble had officially burst, and the extent of the layoffs is increasingly significant. It's taken a few months, but the economic slowdown and downshift in the once bustling Silicon Valley jobs front has now worked its way into the real estate market... "The seemingly inexhaustible well of very high-end buyers has proven exhaustible after all. The peak is behind us, and that's becoming clearer and clearer to builders and buyers"
It has been more of the same overnight, as global stocks piggybacked on the strong US close and rose despite the lack of good (or bad) macro news, propelled higher by the two usual suspects: a higher USDJPY and a even higher oil, if mostly early on in the trading session.
After last week's key event, the retail sales number, which the market discounted as being too unrealistic (and overly seasonally adjusted) after printing at a 13 month high and attempting to refute the reality observed by countless retailers, this week has a quiet start today with no data of note due out of Europe and just Empire manufacturing (which moments ago missed badly) and the NAHB housing market index of note in the US session this morning.
The main risk over the weekend was that markets, which have now dropped for three consecutive weeks the longest negative streak since January, would focus their attention on the latest batch of negative Chinese economic news released over the weekend, which missed expectations across the board, most prominently in Retail Sales and Industrial Production, and following Friday's disappointing new credit loan data, would sell off as the Chinese slowdown once again becomes a dominant concern. However, after some initial weakness, the risks were all but gone when first the USDJPY jumped on another round of deflationary Japanese economic data which led to renewed hopes of more BOJ easing and a jump in the USDJPY and thus US futures.
OPEC is dead, and that’s the biggest news for oil in this new century.