With a Labour Day market holiday across the continent, focus turns to the FTSE-100. The UK market is trading modestly higher with some strong earnings reports overnight lifting the index. Lloyds Group posted stronger than expected profits and reported confidence in the delivery of their financial guidance. The report has boosted Lloyds shares to become one of the top gainers of the day. Despite this, the financials sector is being held back from outperforming as Man Group fail to deliver on their sales figures, pushing their shares lower throughout the session. The only notable data release of the European session was UK Manufacturing PMI, coming in below expectations with a reading of 50.5 as manufacturing output was dampened across April by Eurozone weakness and contracting new orders. Following the release, GBP weakness was observed, with GBP/USD touching upon session lows. Pre-market, the RBA cut their cash target rate by 50BPS, a larger cut than expected. The board cited skittish market conditions and below trend output growth as the triggers for the rate cut. As such, AUD weakness is observed across the board and AUD/USD stops just short of breaking through 1.0300 to the downside. Looking ahead in the session, participants look toward US ISM Manufacturing for March due at 1500BST/0900CDT as the next key data release.
The following are from a report published last week by the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (ISS). They’re projections that assume today’s trends will continue in one direction only — which may not be the case.
Goldman summarizes what to look forward to in the next few days, when once again fundamental will be ignored and all attention will be on the ECB. "The Week ahead will be dominated by global PMI and US labour market data as the two key releases. A few central banks meetings are on schedule, but market consensus suggests clearly that that ECB will not change its policy, while the RBA will likely cut interest rates by 25bp. There are also central bank meetings in Columbia, Thailand and the Czech Republic. The impact of these events on the FX markets, in particular the key activity data, will mainly be driven by the usual risk-on/risk-off mechanics. Moreover, with cyclical data generally weakening, chances are that risk-off currencies could perform relatively better this week. Some additional Yen strength is therefore possible, as well some under-performance of pro-cyclical currencies. The AUD may be worth some particular attention with the RBA meeting this week and the Chinese PMI - both key drivers of the currency."
Forget Competing Theories … What Do the Facts Say about Quantitative Easing?
It must be difficult for the BRICS countries today. On one hand, they continue to jockey for respect among the Western powers, insisting on participating in quasi-European bailout funds like the IMF. On the other hand, they are also clearly aware of the Western nations' continuing efforts to surreptitiously devalue their domestic currencies, and the pernicious effect that has had on them as exporters and as lenders of capital. In that vein, it was interesting to note that during the latest BRICS Summit held this past March in New Delhi, the main topic of discussion centered on the creation of the group's first official institution, a so-called "BRICS Bank" that would fund development projects and infrastructure in developing nations. Although not openly discussed, reports suggest what they were really talking about was creating a type of BRICS central bank - an institution that could facilitate their ability to "do more business with each other in their local currencies, to help insulate from U.S. dollar fluctuations…" Given the incredible scale of western central bank intervention over the past six months, the BRICS' increasing frustration with their printing efforts should be a given by now. The real question is what they're doing about it, and what assets they're accumulating to protect themselves from the inevitable, which brings us to gold.
Better late than never. All you need to read.
Why America is extremely vulnerable to BSE. At a steep cost to the beef industry.
Update for those who don't see more easing - bad news:
BERNANKE SAYS FED PREPARED TO TAKE MORE BALANCE SHEET ACTIONS
BERNANKE SAYS `THOSE TOOLS REMAIN ON THE TABLE'
One hour ago, the Fed launched on a big stop hunt, sending gold first much lower, then much higher, even as it released no incremental data, but merely confirmed that with every other central bank still "easing" (by which we mean devaluing their currencies of course, most recently seen in India and Brazil, and shortly, in Japan and of course Europe, once again) it can delay injecting cash until after the president is reelected. So with everyone at least superficially pretending there may be a question about ultimate Fed strategy, Ben will take the podium shortly to answer Steve Liesman's and several other fawning 'journalists' questions on what the Fed sees for the future, which in turn will be driven by the just released revised Fed forecasts (see below). Our question is why does the Fed not sell one or more ad spots on its livestream? Each can sell for at least a few millions - the money could then be used to pay down the debt.
Forget Big Macs, the only ubiquitous commodity that counts now in the global purchasing-power-parity pyramid of currency-wars is the iPhone. Deutsche Bank has created a comprehensive set of tables on what costs how much and where around the world so whether it is soft-drinks in Brazil or Germany (over 690% of New York prices), Beer in Japan (192% of US prices), or exercise in Russia (sports shoes are 221% of US prices), it is perhaps evident that the impact of these overseas revenues in nominal USD may indeed be helping juice US corporates as they bow to Bernanke's debasement wisdom. But how much longer will Russians (or the Chinese for that sake) continue to pay around 50% more for their iGadgets than us lowly Americans.
European equities are seen making modest gains at the midpoint of the European session; however underperformance is observed in the FTSE 100, with the UK economy falling back into a technical recession with an advanced Q1 GDP reading of -0.2%. Data from the ONS has shown that the UK’s weak construction sector weighed down upon the relative strength in services and manufacturing, pushing the economy into contraction during the first three months of the year. Following the UK GDP release, GBP/USD spiked lower by around 40 pips and the Gilt moved around 30 ticks higher, with GBP remaining weak as the US comes to market. Elsewhere, the Bundesbank held a technically uncovered 30-yr Bund auction, with the German Debt Agency commenting that the results reflect volatile and uncertain market conditions. Following the results, the Bund printed session lows and remains in negative territory. Looking ahead in the session, participants look forward to the FOMC rate decision, and the Fed’s projections release.
Trading in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s gold ETF in India surged almost 11 fold, leading an advance in gold securities, as investors bought gold to mark the auspicious Hindu festival of Akshaya Tritiya. Volumes in GS Gold BeEs, India’s biggest exchange-traded fund backed by gold, was 937,816 units on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd. at 4:54 p.m. in Mumbai, up from 85,376 units yesterday and more than the 101,914 average daily volumes in the last six months through yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This is significant volume. Each unit represents about 1 gram of physical gold and therefore 937,816 units is the equivalent of some 29,170 ounces of gold which at today’s prices is some $47 million of daily volume for just one gold ETF in India. The Goldman Sachs India gold ETF is just one of many new ETFs in India. Trading in Kotak Gold ETF jumped more than eightfold to 226,032 units. Gold demand in India, the world’s biggest importer, may climb as much as 25% to 15 metric tons on Akshaya this year, according to Rajesh Exports Ltd., the country’s biggest gold-jewelry exporter. Assets held by local gold funds reached a record 98.9 billion rupees ($1.87 billion) at the end of March, according to the Association of Mutual Funds in India. GS Gold BeEs had assets worth 29.6 billion rupees (some $563 million (USD)) as of March 31, data from the association showed. Trading in UTI-Gold Exchange Traded Fund climbed more than fivefold, while volumes in Reliance Gold ETF, the second-biggest fund, was up more than sixfold, data shows.
S&P threatening to downgrade India... UK double dipping... Germany having a failed auction. It is all irrelevant, for the great fruit has spoken and people are buying iGadgets at record levels, which can only mean that once the great credit spree ends, Apple will likely be forced to use its $110 billion cash hoard to start an in house "Acceptance Corporation" vendor financing purchases of its products directly. And while the AAPL earnings beat has become a contrarian bet, now that even Gartman has said he is turning bullish on stocks, here is a summary of what happened and what will happen. In a nutshell, just like Apple was the only thing that mattered yesterday, today it is only the Fed and the subsequent press conference that matter, with the market likely to only take away whatever it wants to take away.