- Euro zone formally approves 2nd Greek bailout: statement (Reuters)
- In a First, Europeans Act to Suspend Aid to Hungary Unless It Cuts Deficit (NYT)
- UK Chancellor Looks at 100-Year Gilt (FT) - What? No Consols?
- Hilsenrath: Fed's Outlook a Tad Sunnier - (WSJ)
- Banks Shored Up By Stress Test Success (FT)
- U.S. dangles secret data for Russia missile shield approval (Reuters)
- Wen Warns of Second China Cultural Revolution Without Reform (Bloomberg)
- Wen Says Yuan May Be Near Equilibrium as Gains Stall (Bloomberg)
- Merkel Says Europe Is ‘Good Way’ Up Mountain, Not Over It (Bloomberg)
As gold loses its 200DMA once again (along with Silver weakness) as the USD rallied post FOMC and stocks were starting to limp lower, Jamie saved the day and the stock market had that most embarrassing of affliction - premature exuberation. While it seemed to have come as a shock to some that banks passed the stress test, the market's reaction (given only recently markets were worrying over NIMs, trading revenues, and real estate) was incredulous. The US majors were all up 6-7% (apart from Morgan Stanley which managed a measly 3.8% on the day!). With XLF now up more than 37% from its Oct11 lows, financials remain the major outperformers in this rally and we note that credit markets are missing the fun - the last time JPM stock was here, its CDS was trading 25bps tighter. Credit and equity moved in sync and tore higher on the JPM news. Gold (and Silver) which had been falling managed a decent bounce into the close while the USD closed at its highs post FOMC as did Treasury yields as for the first time since the 2011 bubble popped, the NASDAQ closed above 3000 (thanks in large part to AAPL's 3% rally over $568).
It must be a day ending in Y because Texas Instruments just cut its guidance again, or rather, as usual. The reason: "lower demand for Wireless products." Uhm, such as those that the company with the fruit logo makes?
Just as market regulators were finally getting wise to the fact that they have no clue how how modern market works, what modern market topology is, or how High Frequency Trading impacts the stock market (think Flash Crash), here comes Certichron, the supplier of a time service center at a Savvis market center in Weehakwen, which says it has now mastered sub-nanosecond readouts which are now "compliant with the FINRA Order Audit Trail System and is likely to be compliant with any Consolidated Audit Trail that might be specified by the Securities and Exchange Commission." In other words, here come sub-nanosecond markets.
While not quite as impressive as the 02/15 sell-off in terms of volume or size, today's weakness in Apple's stock price was the 3rd largest drop in 3 months as we note implied vol pushed up once again mimicking the pattern from mid-Feb as the stock lost over $21.5 from high to low in a very flash-crash style around 1110ET. As both realized volatility and implied volatility increase, perhaps some of the 200+ hedge funds will allocate some risk budget away from the Apple or change mandates so that their bogeys are AAPL. Apple's weakness weighed on most other high-beta assets with High yield credit lower and only Utilities and Staples managing a positive close among S&P sectors (financials were mixed in stocks but CDS were wider). Somewhat interestingly, Treasuries sold off all day and modestly steepened and while FX markets drifted very modestly higher for the USD after the European close (despite some overnight JPY strength - risk-off), ES (the e-mini S&P futures contract) synced back with an underperforming CONTEXT (broad risk asset proxy) into the close as WTI regained $107 (along with strength in commodities) and AUDJPY improvement.
When reporting on yesterday's bizarre market action, which in addition to criss-crossing the DJIA 13,000K a total of almost 70 times in the past 4 days, saw some very curious fireworks throughout the day, we noted a very curious sell off in stocks in the last second of trading, which we jokingly (or so we thought) claimed was another flash crash. As it turns out, the move may indeed have been a mini flash crash, with all the salient features exhibited by the market on that fateful day in May 2010 when the DJIA plunged by 1000 points in seconds. Nanex, which unlike the SEC, is eager to explain and unearth strange and unexpected market moves, has performed a forensic analysis on this data, and has uncovered the same quote dissemination delay that occured during the Flash Crash, only this time not in the NYSE, but on the Nasdaq. Which, in turn should answer readers' questions whether any exchange is safe (if anyone were to care to find out the answer), aside from Sizma X of course.
We kissed Nasdaq 3000 this morning. Doom and Gloom abounds. The macro picture is still dire with lots of bad news - some of which you can only get on ZeroHedge! Consider the crazy news that Wyoming was looking to buy an aircraft carrier. Is this not Peak Doom? It is a sign.
"It Ain't Over Till It's Over": Empirical Observations On Who The Next Occupant Of The White House May Be And WhySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/28/2012 21:44 -0500
It is appropriate that as a post-mortem to tonight's GOP primary, which according to initial reports has Romney as winning both Michigan and Arizona, we have ConvergEx' Nick Colas providing an extensive summary of the factors in favor and against both the presidential incumbent, and the challenger, and in doing so handicap the possibility of election victory for either Obama or the Republican candidate, whoever he may end up being. As Colas says, 'it ain't over till it's over' - "As the battle for the 2012 Presidential election begins to pick up speed, we read a flood of reports that President Obama is a lock for reelection. And just as many that he is destined to be a one-termer. Those who believe that the winner of the 2012 election will be Republican claim that the keys to Obama’s downfall will be unemployment, skyrocketing oil prices, and increased federal spending. However, according to historical data and some political science theory, it looks like Obama has a pretty good chance of staying in the White House.... The GOP isn’t out of the race yet, but it’s up against some strong historical opposition." And while we would agree that all else equal Obama likely is a shoo-in, never before will there have been a full blown debt ceiling crisis in a repeat of August 2011 in the weeks and months leading into the election - that factor alone, in our humble opinion, could end up being the swing variable that pulls the otherwise ironclad victory away from Obama's clutch, and explains why the GOP caved so quickly on the payroll tax extension which will add $100 billion in debt, and force a debt ceiling breach ahead of November, as was first predicted on Zero Hedge. That, of course, and runaway oil: should crude continue its relentless surge, which it will if QE3 occurs, or an invasion or Iran becomes reality, Obama can kiss another 4 years goodbye.
Time and left at 3pm after trying to ramp it up then. Weird day. The morning drop seemed overdone based on "fears" of a German vote against the ECB/Bank bailout using Greece as a conduit for the money. The vote was strongly in favor which made markets happy, though someday maybe someone will present an argument other than "give them money or plunge the world into chaos". The lack of news out of the IMF wasn't good, but it keeps the ability to create rumors of new money alive and well, which is probably far more useful on a day to day basis in this market.
But coincidentally, the ECB’s next Long Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) is set for February 29...
The latest report from Morgan Stanley's Graham Secker can be summarized simply as follows: i) in January everything has disconnected as traditional linkages between asset classes have broken down, ii) also in January every major asset class (equities, treasurys, gold, oil) was up materially, iii) such a phenomenon has been seen only 5 times in the past 5 years, iv) a double digit decline followed 3 of the past 4 such surges. Then again, as Bob Janjuah lamented earlier, when a bunch of bespectacled economists who have never held a real job in their academic careers since transplanted with banker blessings to various central bank buildings, and who continue to plan the fate of the world in secrecy (a fate that can be summarized as follows: CTRL+P), as the only marginal decision makers, who really cares anymore?
As AAPL dominates the headlines for its dramatic 5% reversal intraday and biggest drop in over two months, perhaps it is worth pointing out that the lacking volumes have returned with a flourish. ES (the e-mini S&P futures contract) saw its heaviest volume since this mid-December rally began (30% above average) as our recent pontification on the messages from the credit market (along with the rhythmic periodicity of the rally's size and length) may be starting to wear on investors' risk appetites. After European credit markets accelerated to the downside today, US investment grade and high-yield credit was not buying any of the overnight rally in stock futures and moved wide of yesterday's pre-Samaras rally out of the gate. Stocks surged upwards, tracking uber-stock AAPL but as chatter of a NASDAQ rebalance sent game-theorists scrambling to migrate, AAPL's slump dragged everything down (sadly) with ES stalling at the pre-China rumor level before falling to pre-Samaras levels from yesterday's lows. A lack of rumors and no QE mention from FOMC minutes along with lackluster news from the Eurogroup did nothing to rescue the situation as EURUSD ended on its lows (-1% on the week now) and USD Strength saw carry trades dragging stocks down. Interestingly, post-FOMC Treasuries came off their best levels in the afternoon (even as stocks were tanking) but we saw Gold rallying (in the face of a stronger USD) - does make one wonder on where the safety trade is now. WTI closed near its highs of the day (over $102) and as we noted earlier Brent in EUR closed at record highs as Copper is -1.3% on the week and Silver is tracking USD -0.75% or so on the week.
UPDATE: AAPL now $502.08 lows for day -$24 from highs
Chatter of a QQQQ rebalance (Apple is up ~50% from the last rebalance compared to 10% for NASDAQ) seems to be stumbling the iEconomy as AAPL goes red. Now, which of the 209 funds will be first out of the door? and which last? Volume is picking up for sure and options (especially short-dated) are getting very excited. Of course, broad indices are losing their bid implicitly as ES drops below the pre-China rumor and post-Samaras pop levels. Perhaps it is the recognition that we sold off 7% in a week after the last QQQQ rebalance (April 2011) and the pre-move was nothing compared to this...
With AAPL's stock price up another 1.5-2% today, we thought it instructive for all those index traders, hedgers, arbitrageurs, and market prognostictors to comprehend the scale. 90% of the move in the NASDAQ today is directly due to AAPL. Perhaps the drop in iAd sales rates or the drop in market share will dent expectations? Perhaps growth expectations from Europe will temper the excess? Or perhaps the 209 hedgies who rely on this stock for their year will play prisoner's dilemma (and free ride) one too many times and dismiss their recency bias to remember that the first one to migrate wins when prices go vertical.
While Obama may or may not be on the way to winning his reelection, courtesy of a GOP field that is, to say the least, limited, and where the only worthy candidate is more ostracized by the right than even anyone on the left, the bottom line is that whoever wins the presidency, it will matter precisely didley squat. As the US debt clock shows, fast forwarding 4 years, or to February 2016, when the next presidential race will be in its final stretch, America will have $24.1 trillion in debt, about $9 trillion more than it does, now on $17.4 trillion in GDP, for a gross debt to GDP ratio of 138.9% (and Apple's $1 trillion market cap will account for 150% of the Nasdaq... just as IBM is 125% of the DJIA). Needless to say, it will be long past game over at that point confirming that the current presidential race, with its exciting tangential detours into female fertility, moon bases, LBO IRR maximization courtesy of cost-cutting, is completely and utterly meaningless. Also, keep in mind, "at current rates" for an endspiel that has now entered the exponential phase in virtually every category, is to say the least, optimistic. Yes, interest rates may be negative in 2016, but that means that the liquidity trap endgame has not only begun, but is well on its way to ending, and mercifully putting an end to this whole Keynesian "sustainability" charade. Remember: Japan's debt-deflation lasted for 30 years only thanks to new pockets of incremental global leverage and inflation: China and the PIIGS. This time, absent the levering of the entire continent of Africa, there is noone who can take the releverage baton and run. Which means the only "buyers" will be the central banks. At least back in the day, Weimar just one nation. This time, it will be the "Weimar World."