- Troops Forage for Food While Golfers Play On in Shutdown (BBG)
- Police suspect dental hygienist Miriam Carey was behind the wheel of Capitol chase (WaPo)
- Italian Senate committee starts Berlusconi expulsion process (Reuters)
- Swiss Regulator Probing Banks Over Foreign-Exchange Manipulation (WSJ)
- GOP Begins Search for Broad Deal on Budget (WSJ)
- No Jobs Report Means Economists Chew on Football Instead of Data (BBG)
- U.S. default seems unthinkable but investors have options (Reuters)
- Citigroup fined $30 million after analyst sent report to SAC, others (Reuters)
- FBI Snags Silk Road Boss With Own Methods (BBG)
- Recession Warnings Found in Asset Price Falls (BBG)
- Bank of Japan warns of severe global impact from U.S. fiscal standoff (Reuters)
Youth unemployment around the world is dreadfully high and rising. An entire generation is now coming of age without being able to leave the nest or have any prospect of earning a decent wage in their home country. Young people in particular get the sharp end of the stick - they’re the last to be hired, the first to be fired, the first to be sent off to fight and die in foreign lands, and the first to have their benefits cut; and if they’re ever lucky enough to find meaningful employment, they can count on working their entire lives to pay down the debts of previous generations through higher and higher taxes. But when it comes time to collect... finally... those benefits won’t be there for them. Case in point: the British government has just announced a new push to eliminate benefits for young people. And this is just step 1.
Despite the president's tongue-in-cheek warning to Wall Street that this time it's different, and it that "it should be concerned", that same Wall Street continues to roundly mock his attempts to talk it lower on the third day of America's "shutdown", knowing very well that if things ever turn bad, Mr. Chairman, aka the S&P chief risk officer, will get to work, and rescue everyone from that pesky thing known as losses. Whether the offsetting optimism was driven by made up China non-manufacturing PMI rising from 53.9 to 55.4, the highest in six months, or just as made up non-core European PMI data which also beat expectations despite Germany Services PMI continuing to telegraph a weakness, dropping from 54.4 to 53.7, is unknown and once again not important. So while futures are modestly lower if only until such time as the daily 3:58pm VIX slam takes place just before market close, do not expect any major moves in stocks until either the GOP finally folds and lets Obama have his way, or bundles all shutdown legislation into the debt ceiling negotiation, and careens the US right into the debt ceiling deadline on October 17 without any legislation in place.
Moments ago, Italy's most popular politician flip-flopped on his threats from the past weekend to take down Italy's government, and after realizing he does not have enough support even in his own party to push for early elections and a vote of no confidence for prime minister Letta, Berlusconi announced his party will vote to support the government of the current Premier, a major turnabout that signals he was defeated in his efforts to bring down the government.
If yesterday was the paradoxical government shutdown "relief rally" pushed higher by a last minute VIX smashing ramp, today reality is starting to set in and global stocks and US futures are set to open lower. The FTSE MIB remains the only European bourse to trade in positive territory in today’s session, having touched upon 2 year highs as it is expected the political tumult that threatened to cause a collapse of the Italian government will be resolved today even as the latest news indicate Berlusconi's PDL will support the Bunga godfather after all. Other European equities have failed to benefit from this as market participants remain cautious ahead of the ECB rate decision today when Draghi may or may not (most likely) announce a new LTRO.
US Equity markets started green and ended green despite giving back some POMO gains in the afternoon. The Russell 2000 closed at all-time highs with the best day in a month (up over 2% from yesterday's lows)... on the day the US government shutdown for the first time in 17 years. The big news was in commodity-land where gold and silver were smashed early (and silver rebounded somewhat) as were copper and oil. The lunatics had full control into the close as VIX was Heisenberg'd (along with EURJPY) taking the S&P to its highs of the day - totally incredible.
UPDATE: *ITALY'S LETTA TO CALL CONFIDENCE VOTE: ANSA CITING MINISTER
Italian sovereign bond spreads fell a mere 2bps on the day as Italian stocks (after techncial issues) screamed higher by over 3% - their best day in 3 months - as rumor after headline hit of the slow dissolution of Berlusconi's apparent power. As the confidence vote nears in Italy, several of Berlusconi's top aides are defying him as tries to collapse what is already a fragile coalition. The WSJ just broke news that 40 Italian lawmakers are ready to break with Berlusconi -, and Berlusconi's own party secretary stated that "all should vote for Letta" - that sent stocks to their highs at the close. Despite his anger at center-left senators pending vote to strip him of his Senate seat, it appears the 77-year old media mogul, as AP notes, will be pressured to drop his bid to sabotage PM Letta.
During Banca d’Italia’s keynote address Salvatore Rossi the director general told delegates how gold plays a key role in the central bank reserves:
"Not only does it have the vital characteristic of allowing diversification, in particular when financial markets are highly integrated, in addition it is unique among assets in that it is not issued by any government or central bank, so its value cannot be influenced by political decisions or by the solvency of any institution," he said.
If there is one day the Fed's trading desk actually did want futures lower, if only for purely optical purposes and to at least suggest that the government, and not the Fed, is still in charge of the US, it is the day when the US government - for the first time in 17 years - has shut down. They certainly did not want the S&P to be up nearly 0.5% mere hours after Congress and the presidency confirmed to the world that in a world in which "the Chairman gets to work", a functioning government is completely irrelevant. Yet this is precisely what is going on. What is making matters worse is that on the other side of the world, Japan also finally announced the well-telegraphed sales tax increase to8%, offset by a JPY5 trillion yen "stimulus" which however Japan said, much to the Chagrin of Mrs. Watanabe and a 100 pip overnight plunge in the USDJPY, would be funded not with more new bond issuance (and thus without new "wealth effect" generating monetization). It is unclear just how it will be funded but since increasingly more global fiscal and monetary policy is based on science fiction we know better than to ask.
Followng Pope Francis' demand that the Vatican Bank review its procedures, Reuters reports that the bank is likely to close all accounts held by foreign embassies, following concerns about large cash deposits and withdrawals by the missions of Iran, Iraq and Indonesia, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The private bank IOR has around EUR7.1 billion in assets but is concerned it could be "an unwitting vehicle for money laundering and other illicit finances."
UPDATE: Reuters reports that 20 senators from Berlusconi's party are preparing to create new party if Berlusconi does not soften stance against PM Letta - EUR and Italian Bonds are ramping.
*AS MANY AS 20 BERLUSCONI SENATORS MAY LEAVE PDL: REUTERS
As Deutsche Bank notes below in the brief but complete summary of where we go next, the various scenarios that are possible, and market reactions, the actions represent the acceleration of an end to a very fragile environment. It seems, in Italy, Sentaors resign first - and ask questions later...
Trust Goldman to have keen, cutting-edge advice after the fact. Like now, a day after the collapse of the Italian government, when in a note, Goldman's Francesco Garzarelli who had been quite bullish on Italy, both in absolute and relative terms, flip-flops, and is now saying to no longer buy (i.e., sell) Italian bonds. To wit: 'The resignation of the PdL ministers will clearly increase volatility in the government bond market, similar to what happened between February and April, before the current government was formed. The spread between 10-year BTPs and German Bunds closed at around 260bp on Friday. At the end of April, we recommended going long Italian 10-yr BTPs against their French counterparts at spread of 221bp. We would be looking to close this position at Monday's levels."
European equities trade negatively as political tensions on both sides of the Atlantic dampens risk appetite and a lower than expected HSBC manufacturing PMI figure from China further weighs upon investor sentiment. In the US, government is on the precipice of the first shutdown since 1996 after House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it involved a delay to Obama’s signature healthcare reforms. If the Republicans follow through with their threat a shutdown will occur at midnight tonight. As a result a fixed income in the US and core Europe benefit with investors wary of the immediate harm a shutdown will do to confidence in the economy.
The situation in Italy appears to be going from bad to worse. With a confidence vote pending for Tuesday as the government dissolves into chaos for the umpteenth time, and following the resignation of the CEO of one of Italy's largest non-financial corporations (Telecom Italia), the largest bank (by assets) in Italy - Intesa SanPaolo has announced - effective immediately - the resignation of its CEO and replacement with Carlo Messina. According to sources, the now former CEO had lost the confidence of shareholders (which is odd given the bank's stock is near 2-year highs). We can't help but wonder Ayn Rand-like at the devolution of the ruling class in Italy and what happens next (in light of the crumbling manufacturing and production data).
Italian bank holdings of Italian debt: €400 billion, an all time high. Oops.