Market Conditions

S&P Nears All Time High, Global Stocks Rally As Dovish Yellen Unleashes Animal Spirits

Stock whisperer Yellen said all the right things yesterday, when she sounded more optimistic than pessimistic on the economy but while the economy is "strong" it is most likely not strong enough to weather a rate hike in the immediate future. As a result, the S&P 500 climbed toward a record on Monday (and continued rising overnight) after Yellen said she expects to raise interest rates only gradually and held off from specifying any timeframe, a shift from her May 27 stance that a move was probable “in the coming months.” This was interpreted that both a June and July rate hike are now off the table, with September odds rising modestly.

Key Events In The Coming Week

After last week's global data deluge which culminated with the worst US jobs reported in 6 years, looking at this week’s calendar we get the usual post-payrolls data lull, punctuated by Yellen's speech today which will be the last scheduled Fed statement before the June FOMC.

Futures Flat Following Friday's Jobs Fiasco: All Eyes On Yellen Again

Every ugly jobs report has a silver lining, and sure enough following Friday's disastrous jobs report, global mining and energy companies rallied alongside commodities after the jobs data crushed speculation the Fed would raise interest rates this month.  “The disappointing U.S. jobs report on Friday means that a summer Fed rate hike is off the table,” said Jens Pedersen, a commodities analyst at Danske Bank. “That has reversed the upwards trend in the dollar, supporting commodities on a broader basis. The market will look for confirmation in Yellen’s speech later today.”

Thanks Obamacare: Texas Health Insurance Costs Will Soar By 60%

According to the Houston Chronicle which cites federal regulator filings, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas - the state's largest insurer - has asked for rate hikes of nearly 60% for next year in three popular HMO plans. The company, which is the only carrier to offer health coverage in all of Texas' 254 counties, would not specify Wednesday what would happen if does not get the rate increase it says it needs.

Investors Are Fleeing As Attention Returns To Brazil's Depression

Now that the market's fascinated dream with the regime of Brazil's new president Michel Temer is quickly turning into a nightmare, following two immediate resignations of his closest ministers over the ongoing Carwash corruption scandal, including ironically that of the country's anti-corruption minister, Fabiano Silveira, attention is gradually returning to what is truly the cause of Brazil's woes: an unprecedented economic depression.

Consumer Confidence Plunges To 10-Month Lows As Job 'Hope' Fades

The Conference Board's consumer confidence measure has hovered around the 95 level for the last 6 months (as gas prices dipped and ripped, as stock prices dipped and ripped, and as political chaos reigned). This 'stability' is in stark contrast to other surveys of confidence such as Bloomberg's and Gallup's which are both at multi-month lows... until today. Consumer Confidence plunged to 92.6 (missing expectations of 96.1 by the most since November). May's dismal print (a 3 sigma miss) is below the lowest of 68 economist estimates as expectations slipped modestly but Present Situation tumbled with optimism on jobs sliding to 6-month lows.

CEO Of Asia's Largest Commodity Trader Unexpectedly Resigns

We have tracked the problems of recently junked Noble Group - Asia's largest commodity trader - extensively over the past year. Then, moments ago things finally turned serious for the company, announced moments ago on the Singapore stock exchange, not only is CEO Alireza resigning, to be replaced by William Randall and Jeff Frase as co-CEOs, but the company will also begin the sale process of its Noble Americas Energy Solutions, one of its star assets, in a deal that will generate "significant cash proceeds", which is the best confirmation just how desperate for cash the company truly is.

Is OPEC A U.S. National Security Threat?

Republican Kevin Cramer from North Dakota is cosponsoring a bipartisan bill that will set up a commission to probe whether OPEC has used unfair means to bolster its dominance over the market and propose possible remedies on the grounds that the matter is important from a national security standpoint, reports the Financial Times. Though similar efforts in the past against OPEC have been ineffective, another cosponsor, Republican Trent Franks, is optimistic about the outcome this time around. “If our bill does nothing more than to raise this question on to the agendas of business leaders and policymakers . . . it will have achieved something,” he said.

Everything Changed In 1980 - Why The Fed Is Wrong

Unfortunately, for Mr. Rosengren, since the average American was never allowed to actually deleverage following the financial crisis, and still living well beyond their means, economic growth will remain mired at lower levels as savings continue to be diverted from productive investment into debt service.  The issue, of course, is not just a central theme to the U.S. but to the global economy as well.  After seven years of excessive monetary interventions, global debt levels have yet to be resolved. If the Fed does proceed in hiking rates in the current environment, it will likely be a “policy error” which will be regretted in the not too distant future as debt service costs rise thereby further reducing consumers ability to “consume.”

The BDC Consolidation Begins: Ares Buys American Capital For $3.4 Billion

Back during the last bubble, Business Development Corporation (BDC) pioneer American Capital was one of the hottest business models (and most desired companies to work for). However, when the bubble burst, so did the company's stock price, as well as its reputation, and in the past 9 years the company failed to see its stock price recover anywhere near the levels seen during the last bubble. Which is perhaps why moments ago in a dramatic move shaking up the BDC space, ACAS announced it would sell itself to another BDC titan, Ares Capital in a deal worth $3.4 billion.

Global Stocks Slide, S&P Set To Open Red For The Year As Hawkish Fed Ignites "Risk Off"

After yesterday's algo-driven mad dash to close the S&P green both for the day and for the year following Fed minutes that came in shocking hawkish, the selling has continued overnight, led by the commodity complex as rate hike fears have pushed oil back down some 2% from yesterday's 7 month highs, which in turn has dragged global stocks lower to a six-week low, while pushing bond yields higher across developed nations as the market suddenly reprices the probability of a June/July rate hike.

FOMC Minutes Show Cornered Fed "Likely" To Hike Rates In June, Concerned Market Underpricing Risk Of Hike

The supposedly dovish April FOMC statement - as global fears fell and turned domestically - has left bonds and bullion the winners and stocks the losers as investors lose faith in The Fed's forecast and economic promises. Today's FOMC meeting minutes suggest an increasingly cornered Fed will pull the trigger iun June with member disagreements brewing: MOST FED OFFICIALS SAW JUNE HIKE `LIKELY' IF ECONOMY WARRANTED; FED: RANGE OF VIEWS ON WHETHER DATA WOULD SUPPORT JUNE HIKE.  Of course, no matter what narrative the market perceives from these minutes, tomorrow's speeches by Dudley and Fischer (who has been conspicuously quiet recently) will likely give the biggest hint as to what happens next...

The Frogs Are Boiling Again - Why Wall Street Stays In The Pot

Wall Street’s cockeyed faith that another stock market bailout is on the way rests on the idea of a post-election return to fiscal stimulus - since even the casino punters now see that the jig is up on ZIRP, NIRP and QE. Here’s the problem. When General (Paul) Ryan gets together in the oval office with either Hillbama or the Donald next February the budget projections will already be deep in trillion dollar deficits under current policy. Therefore what will get stimulated, if anything, is a colossal political firestorm over who bankrupted the nation. There will not be another fiscal stimulus this go round. This time the frogs of Wall Street will be left to boil.