Think the market is overvalued? Believe US equities are artificially propped up by corporate buyback plunge protection? Wonder if a complete disconnect between stocks and economic fundamentals portends troubled waters ahead? Well, it will cost you to express your opinion via long puts, because as Bloomberg reports, S&P index downside protection is now the most expensive it's ever been relative to long calls.
While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.
China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar SurgeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2015 06:55 -0400
If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v
Zero rates are simply no longer needed. The Fed doesn’t need to stay ‘lower for longer’, because it has already done that. Waiting until September would mean a much greater possibility of missing their window of opportunity. Market conditions might deteriorate or geo-political tensions rise in a way that more deeply affects the US. Alternatively, market froth might grow even frothier, causing a larger market reaction than otherwise would have been the case. Lastly, it would also be prudent to hike well in advance of the $215 billion of Treasuries on the Fed’s balance sheet that matures in early 2016; which, if left un-reinvested, is a de facto-tightening.
GE Announces One Of Largest Buybacks In History, Will Repuchase $50 Bn In Shares After Selling Most Of GE CapitalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/10/2015 07:16 -0400
Moments ago, General Electric showed why April is much more likley to be a rerun of February than January or March when it announceed that it would go ahead and repurchase half of the total record stock buybacks announced in February, or some $50 billion in what may be the largest stock buyback announcement in history! How will GE fund this massive distribution to its shareholders, of which the most concentrated one will once again be the biggest winners? Simple: by dumping the division that nearly caused its insolvency during the financial crisis, the hedge fund known as GE Capital. As part of the just announced mega transaction, GE announced an agreement to sell the bulk of the assets of GE Capital Real Estate to funds managed by Blackstone. Wells Fargo will acquire a portion of the performing loans at closing.
As everyone settles down in anticipation of another session of parabolic Hong Kong euphoria driven by desperate housewife traders, or a manic plunge straight down, none other than the CEO of the Hong Kong Exchange, Charles Li, found some time to pen a blog post to give "a little advice to investors", providing vivid aphorisms "Investment is like swimming: if you do not enter the water, you will never learn to swim" and to caution speculators that the opportunity is "not to quickly make a fortune, but ... to provide long-term wealth preservation and appreciation" and that there is also such a thing as risk as everyone scrambles to chase the latest bubble breakout. His blog post's punchline: "Do not worry! Do not panic!" We doubt anyone will panic, at least not until the selling begins.
The Treasury flash crash and similar recent events in currency markets are "shots across the bow," Jamie Dimon says in his latest letter to shareholders. The JPM chief goes on to warn, as we have for years, that declining liquidity in credit markets is likely to exacerbate future crises: "The likely explanation for the lower depth in almost all bond markets is that inventories of market-makers’ positions are dramatically lower than in the past. For instance, the total inventory of Treasuries readily available to market-makers today is $1.7 trillion, down from $2.7 trillion at its peak in 2007. The trend in dealer positions of corporate bonds is similar."
Peak Central Planning: BofA Says Fed's Dudley "Does Not Want Stocks To Decline; Wants Bond Prices To Go Down"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/09/2015 07:51 -0400
"While Dudley clearly does not want stocks to decline a lot, he also wants to avoid meaningful increases... Also very apparent is that Dudley wants bond prices to go down – not a lot but clearly down." - Bank of America
Thomas Jefferson is credited with the following sage advice, “The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” And so it seems sometimes the answer is right in front of us all along and we just fail to see it.
We can't make this up. Following Friday's dismal payrolls, today's Fed Labor Market Conditions Index (the aggregate index of all Yellen's indicators) collapsed to its lowest in almost 3 years. That was just the news that stocks needed to complete the biggest opening rally of the year so far.
As market participants slowly make their way back to trading desks around the post-Easter world, and especially the US where a truncated session on Friday morning ended in tears for anyone hoping for a 2015 US recovery following an abysmal March nonfarm payrolls print, they find that unlike on previous occasions, the equity futures liftathon is nowhere to be found this morning, with the S&P set to resume trading in the red for 2015. Away from Greece, whose future remains in limbo, the biggest development over the holiday weekend was a Goldman note in which the central-bank friendly firm said that "the right policy would be to put hikes on hold for now."
A dispassionate look at the drivers of the investment climate in the week ahead.
Four and a half years after Brazil's FinMin Guido Mantega first re-introduced the world to the term "currency wars," it appears the Brazilians have admitted defeat. Amid what Goldman calls a sharp decline in consumer confidence - to the lowest level in series history - which could also extend the ongoing macroeconomic adjustment processes and therefore delay the recovery of the economy; Brazil's central bank has announced that it will no longer intervene to support the Real via its Dollar-Swap program. In a SNB2.0-esque move, though somewhat anticipated by the market, Brazil enables the devaluation that has occurred to perhaps extend (improving competitiveness) and removing what was becoming a notable fiscal drag. Implicitly, Brazil just followed the Swiss and admitted defeat in the global currency war...