With the rest of the developed world's central banks waiting for the Fed to admit defeat for one more year and delay its proposed rate hike (or launch NIRP/QE4 outright) it was all about China (the same China which a month ago we said would launch QE sooner or later) and hope that its central bank would boost asset prices, when over the weekend the PBoC governor hinted that more easing is imminent to offset the accelerating drag after he admitted that the nation’s growth rate has tumbled "a bit" too much and that policy makers have scope to respond. How much scope it really has now that its bad debt is rising exponentially is a different question. It got so bad, Shanghai Securities News leaked a false rumor earlier forcing many to believe China would announce an unexpected rate cut as soon as today, in the process sending the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.6%.
After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.
Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States? Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury? Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans? Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television? There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great. Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.
As previously observed (skeptically), a main reason for the surge in the DAX, and thus the S&P, on Friday was premature hope that the Greek talks earlier were a long-overdue precursor to a Greek resolution, and as we further noted yesterday, subsequent bickering and lack of any clarity as we go into today's critical "final ultimatum" meeting between Merkel and Tsipras, is also why the Dax was lower by 1.1% at last check, even if the EURUSD continues to trade like an illiquid, B-grade currency pair whose only HFT purpose is to slam all stops within 100 pips of whatever the current price may be.
Just as The Fed folded this week on ending the nation's booming income inequality problem (by reinforcing the Yellen put for longer), so Starbucks has folded in its effort to fix the other growing divide in America - racism. Careful not to admit that it was due to pressure from the avalanche of less-than-positive social media reactions, AP reports Starbucks baristas will no longer write "Race Together" on customers' cups. "Nothing is changing," Starbucks claims it was all part "of the cadence" of the plan - hhmm. "Most people come to Starbucks for coffee," concludes one young African-American, adding "race is an uncomfortable thing to bring up, especially in a Starbucks."
- Fed May Not Hit Neutral Until 10th Anniversary of Lehman Collapse (BBG)... make that never
- Global stocks and bonds roar Fed approval, dollar fights back (Reuters)
- EU to tell Greece time, patience running out (Reuters)
- U.S. likely to delay planned closure of two Afghanistan bases (Reuters)
- Norway Signals Reduction After Unexpectedly Holding Rate (BBG)
- Oil Falls to $55 as Kuwait Comments Refocus on Oversupply (Reuters)
- Tsipras Heads to Summit as Merkel Tries to Defuse Greek Crisis (BBG)
- Yahoo Pulls the Plug on China Operations (WSJ)
Active managers, stinging from the proliferation of passive indexing, are utilizing robots to transform active strategies into "passive" ones, capturing 20% of the US ETF market in the process.
It started off as the perfect storm for futures: after Sunday night's latest plunge in WTI, which saw it drop to the lowest price since Lehman, the double whammy that has now forced Deutsche Bank to become the first major institution to forecast no growth for S&P500 EPS in 2015, namely the strong dollar, reared its ugly head and the EURUSD seemed dangerouly close to breaching the all important 1.04-1.05 support level we first noted last week. However, overnight parties tasked with preserving "financial stability" appear to have once again stepped in, and not only has the EURUSD rebounded off 1.05, but crude is now just barely down from the Friday close as all firepower is put to the same use, that sent the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.3% overnight, and which sent the Dax over 12,000 for the first time ever.
There is no mystery anywhere to be found in the fact that US retail sales don’t follow the jobs trend. Not if you look at what kind of jobs they are, let alone at all the other made up and manipulated numbers that are being thrown around about the US economy. The only mystery is why everyone persists in talking about a recovery. That recovery will never come, simply because all 90% of Americans do is pay for the other 10% to get richer. There are many other factors, but that all by itself makes a recovery a mathematical mirage.
Despite record high net worth and record high stock markets, the US Consumer is not amused. UMich survey of Consumer Sentiment for March tumbled from 95.4 to 91.2 (against expectations of a rise to 95.5) for the biggest miss since Feb 2006. This was the biggest one-month drop since Oct 2013. Quite unbelievably, the survey director says the drop was driven by a slide in lower-income group sentiment caused by weather! And finally, it appears the data was 'leaked' 3-4 minutes early as Nanex noted, liquidity disappeared from e-minis at 0956ET.
- Again as first reported here: Record U.S. Oil Glut May Fill Storage, Cut Prices (BBG)
- IEA sees renewed pressure on oil prices as glut worsens (Reuters)
- No EU unanimity on renewing Russia economic sanctions (Reuters)
- Tsipras says Greece doing its part in euro zone deal (Reuters)
- ECB Set to Buy Fewer Bonds as Price Gains Ease Crunch (BBG)
- These Americans Are Getting Rich Trading Derivatives Banned in the U.S. (BBG)
- U.S. 2015 profits forecast to grow 1.7 percent; oil, dollar are concerns (Reuters) - in a month this will say "decline"
- Manhunt for shooting suspects grinds on in Ferguson, Missouri (Reuters)
Closing out another whirlwind week, which has seen the biggest S&P 500 intraday plunge and surge in months, futures are taking a breath (if not so much the Nikkei which closed over 19,000 for the first time since 2000 - one wonders how many direct equity interventions it took the BOJ to achieve that artificial "price discovery"). In lieu of any notable macro news, the most significant update hit less than an hour ago when Goldman piled on the EUR pressure, when it released a note in which it further revised down its EURUSD forecast.
It is becoming just a little too much of a daily occurrence but instead of a rail freight car crashing, today we see a massive explosion and fire erupt from an oil tanker crash in Detroit... As gas prices remain low, the shift from rail to road will likely increase the frequency of these scenes....
To some (mostly those in the 1-10% wealth bucket) the main event today is the iWatch unveiling. To others (mostly those not in the 1-10% wealth bucket) it is the Eurogroup meeting in which the fate of Greece will be discussed and perhaps decided. One thing is certain: virtually nobody will care when the Fed's Mester and Kocherlakota speak later today as the Fed is now - supposedly - set to hike no matter what. Here is what the other main events are for the balance of the week.