The long awaited day is finally here by which we, of course, mean the day when nobody has any idea what the Fed will do, the Fed included. Putting today in perspective, there have been just about 700 rate cuts globally in the 3,367 days since the last Fed rate hike on June 29, 2006, while central banks have bought $15 trillion in assets, and vast portions of the world are now in negative interest rate territory.
NAHB Sentiment jumped (again) to 62 (from 61) - its highest since 2005. The last time homebuilders were this exuberant, home sales collapsed.. reminding us of Upton Sinclair's classic line, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” In this case, with mortgage applications indicating anything but a healthy housing market, "It is difficult to get a homebuilder to admit all is not well when his entire career depends on his ignorance of reality."
Ffor whatever reason starting in the last hour of trading and continuing until the close, the Shanghai Composite - after trading largely unchanged - went from red on the day to up 4.9% after hitting 5.9% minutes before the close - the biggest one day surge since March 2009 - and nearly erasing the 6.1% drop from the past two days in just about 60 minutes of trading, providing a solid hour of laughter to bystanders and observers in the process.
The title does give it away: the only event that everyone will be focusing on this week will be the Fed's announcement and Yellen's press conference on Thursday. Here is what else is on deck.
While any moves in the US stock market ahead of Thursday are largely irrelevant, as only Yellen's statement in 4 days will unleash epic algo buying or short covering (yes, according to JPM the Fed statement is bullish no matter what), it is what happened in China that is concerning, because while we had expected Chinese stocks to go nowhere in particular now that index future trading volumes have plunged by 99% or perhaps rise on hopes of even more easing after the latest terrible economic data, the Shanghai Composite dropped 2.7%, but it was the retail darling Shenzhen Composite which tumbled 6.7% - its worst selloff since August 25, while China's Nasdaq, the ChiNext crashed -7.5%.
China Stocks Crash, More Than Half Of Market Halted Limit Down; PBOC Loss Of Control Spooks Global AssetsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/18/2015 08:09 -0400
Just hours after the PBOC announced a modestly "revalued" fixing in the CNY, which curiously led to weaker trading in the onshore Yuan for most of the day before a forceful last minute intervention by the central bank pushed it back down to 6.39 it was the local stock market spinning plate - which had been relatively stable during the entire FX devaluation process - that China lost control over, and after 7 days of margin debt increases the Shanghai Composite plunged by 6.2% in late trade, tumbling 245 points to 3748, just 240 points above its recent trough on July 8, a closing level some 27% off its June peak.
NAHB Sentiment jumped to 61 - the highest since 2005 - despite weakening new home sales and collapsing lumber prices. Housing Starts also remain tepid (especially compared to 2005 levels) but hope springs eternal for an industry almost 100% reliant on hope. Prospective buyer traffic rose 2 points as Northeast saw a drop as West and South saw modest increases.
It was a quiet start to the week today with just the June Euro area trade balance (which rose €21.9bn vs €23.1 bn expected, up from €21.3 bn) in the European timezone and Empire manufacturing and NAHB housing market index for August this afternoon in the US. Under the radar, but perhaps the most news today, is the June TIC data which will likely confirm the ongoing liquidation of "FX Reserves" aka TSYs by "Belgium" aka China. Expect another $15-20 billion drop in Belgian Treasury holdings in the month of June.
It was a relatively quiet weekend out of China, where FX warfare has taken a back seat to evaluating the full damage from the Tianjin explosion which as we reported on Saturday has prompted the evacuation of a 3 km radius around the blast zone, and instead it was Japan that featured prominently in Sunday's headlines after its Q2 GDP tumbled by 1.6% (a number which would have been far worse had Japan used a correct deflator), and is now halfway to its fifth recession in the past 6 year, underscoring Abenomics complete success in desrtoying Japan's economy just to get a few rich people richer. Of course, economic disintegration is great news for stocks, and courtesy of the latest Yen collapse driven by the bad GDP data which has raised the likelihood of even more Japanese QE, the Nikkei closed 100 points, or 0.5% higher.
After weeks of overnight turbulence following every twist and turn in the Greek drama, this morning has seen a scarcity of mostly gap up (or NYSE-breakding "down") moves, and S&P500 futures are unchanged as of this moment however the Nasdaq is looking set for another record high at the open after last night's better than expected GOOG results which sent the stop higher by 11% of over $40 billion in market cap. We expect this not to last very long as the traditional no volume, USDJPY-levitation driven buying of ES will surely resume once US algos wake up and launch the self-trading spoof programs. More importantly: a red close on Friday is not exactly permitted by the central planners.
And so the 2015 season of the Greek drama is coming to a close following last night's vote in Greek parliament to vote the country into even more austerity than was the case before Syriza was voted into power with promises of removing all austerity, even with Europe - which formally admits Greece is unsustainable in its current debt configuration - now terminally split on how to proceed, with Germany's finmin still calling for a "temporary Grexit", the IMF demanding massive debt haircuts, while the rest of Europe (and not so happy if one is Finnish or Dutch) just happy to kick the can for the third time.
Following April's hope-filled spike in Housing Starts and Building Permits SAAR (and the exuberant jerk to 10 year highs in NAHB Sentiment), May data is more mixed. Housing Starts plunged 11.1% MoM (against expectations of a 4% drop) missing for the 3rd of last 4 months. Permits, on the other hand, spiked 11.8% (againmst expectations of a 3.5% drop) smashing the hope to its highest since August 2007. So - in summary - hope is soaring, reality is falling and all the hope is based on America as 'rental nation' with a record number of multi-family unit permits.
Another day of constant Grexit chatter, and this time the futures are really starting to react as what was seen as mostly impossible for the past 4 months is now almost inevitable. The first tremors emerged when Greece announced it would not present a new proposal to the Eurogroup to unlock aid, relying instead on what has already been submitted and which the Troika said was inadequate. Then, confusing matters, a new GPO poll posted on Greece's Mega TV showed that increasingly more, or over 56% at last count, of Greece would prefer a "bad" deal with creditors than being kicked out of the Eurozone putting the future of Tsipras' cabine tin jeopardy. And then, hinting that the endgame is officially here, the FT reported that "Eurozone officials discuss holding emergency summit on Greece", suggesting a second Lehman weekend may be just around the corner.
European shares remain lower, close to intraday lows, with the banks and autos sectors underperforming and food & beverage, retail outperforming. Tsipras hardens Greek stance after collapse of bailout talks. The Italian and Swedish markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; Spanish yields increase. Commodities decline, with copper, nickel underperforming and natural gas outperforming. U.S. Empire manufacturing, net TIC flows, NAHB housing market index, industrial production, capacity utilization due later.