A quick reminder of how geopolitics governs markets: on Friday, the market plunged 0.005% over fears Ukraine and Russia may be about to go at it all out after a fake report Ukraine shelled a Russian military convoy. On Monday, the same "market" soared just under 1% as the news that had caused the "crash" was refuted. That has been the dominant rinse, repeat theme for the past month and will continue to be well after Yellen's Friday speech at Jackson Hole (although one does wonder why she is not speaking on Wednesday when the symposium begins). Not surprisingly, with only modest re-escalation news overnight (that Russia is preparing further retaliatory sanctions against the West), which is simply "pent up de-escalation" in the eyes of Keynesian algos, futures are again up a solid 0.2% and rising, and the way the rampy USDJPY is being manipulated before its pre-market blast off, we may well see the S&P hit 1980, if not a new all time high before 9:30am, let alone during today's cash session. In any event, whatever you do, don't you dare suggest that algos should care one bit about Ferguson and its implications for US society.
Despite almost record-low mortgage apps and plunging sales, homebuilders remain as optimistic as ever that no matter what is ahead - stagnant wages, rising rates, or FNMA's outlook deteriorating - everything will be fine in housing.NAHB sentiment printed 55, beating 53 expectations on the back of an explosion of hope in the Midwest to record highs (as South and West tumbled). The 'outlook' - the real hope - surged to its highest in a year - just short of this cycle's highs in hope.
The main event of the week will be Yellen's long awaited speech at the Jackson Hole 3-day symposium taking place August 21-23. The theme of this year's symposium is entitled "Re-Evaluating Labour Market Dynamics" and Yellen is expected to deliver her keynote address on Friday morning US time. Consensus is that she will likely highlight that the alternative measures of labour market slack in evaluating the ongoing significant under-utilisation of labour resources (eg, duration of employment, quit rate in JOLTS data) have yet to normalise relative to 2002-2007 levels. Any sound bite that touches on the debate of cyclical versus structural drivers of labour force participation will also be closely followed. Unlike some of the previous Jackson Hole symposiums, this is probably not one that will serve as a precursor of any monetary policy changes but the tone of Yellen's speech may still have a market impact and set the mood for busier times ahead in September.
Friday's main event, Ukraine's alleged attack of a Russian military convoy, has come and gone, and as we mused on Friday has promptly faded into the memory of all other fabricated headlines released by the country engaged in a major civil war and an even more major disinformation war. To be sure, Germany's DAX has recovered virtually all losses, US futures are up about 9 points, and the 10 Year is back to 2.37%. One wonders what algo-slamming headline amusement Ukraine has in stock for us today, although anyone hoping for a quick "de-escalation" (there's that word again) will have to wait following yesterday's meeting of Russian, Ukraine, German and French ministers in Berlin where Russia's Lavrov said he saw no progress on Ukraine cease-fire, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says in Berlin, adding that a cease-fire should be unconditional.
New Home Sales in June plunged to 406k vs 504k in May... (remember that 504k print was the catalyst for 'weather' is over and the market to surge 10%) Now that has soaked in, consider this is equal lowest sales print since September 2013 (and Dec 2012) and the biggest miss since July 2013.The last 3 months of exuberance have all been revised significantly lower (most especially May's appartently make-believe number). What is even more troubling in the "survey" vs "reality" world is this collapse in sales when NAHB Sentiment surged to near cycle highs. For context, this is a 5-standard-deviation miss from economists' expectations, below the lowest guess and a massive miss from almost highest estimate Joe Lavorgna's 510k.
Presented with little comment aside to ask - in all frankness - does this look like a 'recovering' economy five years after a central bank unleashes its extreme monetary policy?
Slowly but surely, all those cans that many hoped were kicked indefinitely into the future, are coming back home to roost. The biggest impact on global risk overnight have been undoubtedly the expanded Russian sanctions announced by Obama yesterday, which have sent the Russian Micex index reeling to six week lows (as it does initially after every sanction announcement, only for the BTFDers to appear promptly thereafter), with the biggest hits saved for the named companies such as Rosneft -5.6%, Novatek -5.1%, and others Alrosa -5.7%, VTB Bank -4.3%, Sberbank -3.4% and so on. Then promptly risk off mood spilled over into broader Europe and at last check the Stoxx600 was down 0.8%, with Bund futures soaring to record highs especially following news (from the Ukraine side) that a Russian warplane attacked a Ukrainian fighter jet. Not helping matters is the end of the dead cat bounce in Portugal where after soaring by 20% yesterday on hopes of a fresh capital infusion, Espirito Santo has once again crashed, dropping as much as 11%, driven lower following downgrades by both S&P and Moodys, as well as the realization that someone was pulling everyone's legs with the rumor of an equity stake sale.
NAHB Sentiment surged 4 points to 53 - its first time above the crucial 'recovery' 50-level since January. All sub-indices were higher but the biggest gain was in "Future sales expectations" which soared to its highest since September (and consider for a moment just how 'wrong' builders were from that point). All regions rose with The West rising most (and South least). Given the massive divergence between Builder sentiment and the reality of sales and mortgage apps, it is no surprise that "hope" is what they have left.
If last week's big "Risk Off" event was the acute spike in heretofore dormant Portugese bank troubles (as a reference Banco Espirito Santo has a market cap at the close last night stood at around €2.1bn ($2.9bn), contrasting to Goldman Sachs ($78.1bn) and JP Morgan ($220.5bn)), then yesterday's acceleration in the Portuguese lender's troubles which as we reported have now spread to its holding company RioForte which is set to default, were completely ignored by the market. Today this has conveniently flipped, following a Diario Economico report that Banco Espirito Santo has the potential to raise capital from private investors. No detail were given but this news alone was enough to send the stock soaring by nearly 20% higher in early trading. Still, despite the "good", if very vague news (and RioForte is still defaulting), Bunds remained bid, supported by a good Bund auction, in part also dragged higher by Gilts, which gained upside traction after the release of the latest UK jobs report reinforced the view that there is plenty of spare capacity for the economy to absorb before the BoE enact on any rate rises. Also of note, touted domestic buying resulted in SP/GE 10y yield spread narrowing, ahead of bond auctions tomorrow.
Stick A Fork In Yet Another "Housing Recovery": Starts Tumble, Multi-Family Permits Collapse Most Since LehmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/17/2014 09:11 -0400
Blame it on the... spring?
With newsflow out of Iraq having slowed down as has the ISIS offensive, which appears to have been halted north of Baghdad, the market now shifts its attention to the Fed's two-day meeting which begins today and continues through tomorrow afternoon, when it will be leaked by media outlets to ultra-wealthy speculators and robots, breaching the embargo (in exchange for a hefty payoff) some 10 minutes before 2 pm.
After 5 months of missed expectations and tumbling to one-year lows, the NAHB sentiment index jumped 4 points to 49 (still below the 'positive' 50 level). The Northeast - most troubled supposedly by the weather - saw prosepctive buyer traffic drop, but the otheer 3 regions rose with the West spiking. Just as we have seen in the last 2 cycles, NAHB survey data remains far adrift of the reality of sales, but that won't stop the algos extrapolating this jump to new highs and a recovery in housing that is back on...as HANB Chair confirms "is a welcome sign and shows renewed confidence in the industry."
It's one of those days: despite the Iraq conflict spilling out of control and about to involve US drones and warplanes, despite China's naval conflict with Vietnam over an oil rig in disputed territory set to go "kinetic" at any moment, despite the Ukraine civil war having its deadliest day yet this weekend and adding insult to injury Russia halting gas supplies to Ukraine (letting Kiev and Berlin fight for the scraps), despite crude prices rising ever higher and about to unleash a "discretionary income" shockwave on America's summertime motorists, despite yet another massive tax inversion M&A deal in which the buyer has made abundantly clear its stock is overvalued and will be used as the purchasing currency, stocks are inexplicably not at all time highs this morning.
The perfectly expected if completely irrational overnight ramp in various Yen carry pairs tried, and failed, and both the USDJPY and EURJPY were tumbling to overnight lows as we go to print. This is happening despite a rout in India in which Narendra Modi's opposition block is poised for the biggest Indian election win in 30 years, with his BJP party currently leading in 332 of 543 seat - an outcome that is seen as very pro business (and seemingly pro asset bubbles: the INR soared and the Sensex was up as much as 6% in intraday trading before paring virtually all gains following what many say was RBI intervention). And while the Nikkei (down 200 points) did not help the mood this move was mostly in response to yesterday's US selling, which means as usual the culprit for lack of algo risk-taking overnight has been the Yen carry, which moments ago hit intraday lows, and is increasingly flirting with the 101 level (after which double digits, and Abe's second resignation, come very quickly).
For the 5th month in a row, homebuilder hope has missed expectations. At 45 (vs 49 expectations), this is the lowest the NAHB survey has been at since May 2013, catching down to the reality of home sales and mortgage applications. On the bright side, realtors can't help but feel thr turn is coming sometime soon - the "future" hope index rose to its highest since January as the "current" reality index drops to 12 month lows. The West region continues to tumble.