The quiet overnight session was started by comments from Buba's Weidmann, whose statement, among others, that the ECB will not cut interest rates just to weaken the EUR together with the assertion that the EUR is not seriously overvalued, sent the EURUSD briefly higher in pre-European open trading. Of secondary importance was his "hope" that the ECB will not have to buy bonds (it will once the market gets tired of Draghi open-ended verbal intervention), something he himself admitted when he said the ECB "may be forced to show its hand on OMT." The stronger EUR did not last long, and in a peculiar reversal from prior weeks when the European open led to a spike in the cross, saw the EURUSD dip to three week lows, touching on 1.3310, before modestly rebounding. This validity of the drop was confirmed two hours later when in the first key economic datapoint, it was revealed the Euroearea exports fell 1.8% in December, the most in five months. As SocGen said "the monthly trade data rounded off what has undoubtedly been a pretty dismal quarter for the euro area. Overall euro area exports fell by 1.8% m/m in December although this was offset by a even bigger 3% decline in imports - which itself reflects the weakness of domestic demand in some euro area countries. Maybe of more interest is the latest data on the destination of euro exports. These continue to show a pronounced weakness in global demand (albeit for November). This indicates that weakness in Q4 is not solely a domestic affair but also reflects a wider slowdown in the global economy."
Another low volume, low range, low average trade size day in stocks as recent high (stops) were run again with FX markets ruling the day in terms of volatility. The G-7's initial statement fell on deaf ears , after Draghi's early comments (on a higher EUR implying a stable Europe) pushed the USD lower against EUR, then the restatement rallied JPY and that USD weakness provided further support for US equities. New highs in the S&P (though not in the Nasdaq as AAPL slumped 2.5% because Tim Cook didn't unload all his cash into shareholders high beta pockets). Homebuilders saw their biggest gain in almost 8 months before pulling back a little in the afternoon. Oil prices continue to rise and Treasury yields bled higher (though 10Y remained below 2.00%). Gold and silver limped higher (along with the USD) after Europe's close. Credit markets (CDX) jumped tighter today (especially IG) after dislocating for the last few days - and HYG outperformed - as we suspect the credit-equity arb has become too tempting. Will SOTU be a catalyst for a pullback - VIX sure didn't think so as it dropped 0.3 vols to 12.6 - its lowest close in 3 weeks.
- The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden... Is Screwed (Esquire)
- G7 fires currency warning shot, Japan sanguine (Reuters)
- North Korea Confirms It Conducted 3rd Nuclear Test (NYT)
- Italian Police Arrest Finmeccanica CEO (WSJ)
- Legacy, political calendar frame Obama's State of the Union address (Reuters)
- China joins U.S., Japan, EU in condemning North Korea nuclear test (Reuters)
- Wall Street Fading as Emerging-Market Banks Gain Share (BBG)
- Berlin Conference 2.0: Drugmakers eye Africa's middle classes as next growth market (Reuters)
- Barclays to Cut 3,700 Jobs After Full-Year Loss (BBG)
- US Treasury comment triggers fall in yen (FT)
- ECB Ready to Offset Banks’ Accelerated LTRO Payback (BBG)
- Fed's Yellen Supports Stimulus to Spur Jobs (WSJ)
- Libor Scrutiny Turns to Middlemen (WSJ)
- Samsung Girds for Life After Apple in Disruption Devotion (BBG)
Keep Calm and Keep Buying. We are sure this will be the message as for the first time this year, the Dow closed the week in the red. First time in 42 years that the S&P 500 started the year up six weeks in a row... as the S&P and Nasdaq managed modest gains (thanks to AAPL's help) - making new multi-year highs as yet another high stop-run was sent out early. After testing back under 13%, VIX popped back higher in the afternoon to close the week slightly higher. However, while stocks stumbled along sideways not really doing anything - every other asset class saw significant risk-off related moves. The USD saw its biggest weekly rise in 7 months! Treasury yields dropped 6-8bps - the biggest rally in bonds in 5 weeks. High-yield credit has suffered its biggest 2-week plunge in 9 months. WTI Crude saw its biggest weekly drop in 2 months. Given the USD strength, gold performed very well (ending the week unch). Stocks remain significantly dislocated from credit, rates, and FX markets in the medium-term (all of which closed the week with a risk-off shift). Volume, amid the blizzard, was dismal today.
The US equity market continues to boldly go where no other market is willing to go (Dow outperforming EuroStoxx by 850bps this year). European stocks and bonds (+30-45bps) are down notably on the week (and year in some cases); Treasury yields are 4-6bps lower on the week; the USD is up 0.6% (as EUR bleeds a little lower into tomorrow's ECB); and Gold is up 0.6% (oddly with the USD) on the week; but US equities are unchanged with Staples and Industrials holding gains on the week. Today saw credit markets and treasuries pushing notably risk-off as stocks oscillated around unch on the week - pushing to the day's highs into the close on the back of yet another vol-selling ramp. Equity volume was average and trade size was lower than average as cash S&P and Dow managed small gains and Nasdaq a small loss as AAPL gave back its 'buyback rumor' gains. We've seen this EUR-USA disconnect before...
- Tunisian opposition politician shot dead, protests erupt (Reuters)
- China says extremely concerned after latest North Korea threats (Reuters)
- Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs (AP)
- Debt Rise Colors Budget Talks (WSJ)
- Obama proposes short-term budget fix, Republicans swiftly object (Reuters)
- S&P Analyst Joked of Bringing Down the House Before Crash (BBG)
- Dell’s Bigger Challenge Ahead in Turnaround After Buyout (BBG)
- Some of the Mark Carney Gloss Is Coming Off (WSJ)
- Japan Official Says BOJ Tools Sufficient as Shake-Up Looms (BBG)
- S&P Lawsuit Undermined by SEC Rules That Impede Competition (BBG)
- Heavy Clashes Erupt in Syrian Capital (WSJ)
Bob Janjuah may nt have rvrted to his RBS wrtng style of yore, yet, but the New Nrml appears to also fnly b getting to 1 of our fvrte strategists, who has finally gone bold, ALL CAPS. "IF I AM WRONG AND WE TRULY HAVE FOUND ECONOMIC AND MARKET NIRVANA SIMPLY THROUGH THE CENTRAL BANK PRINTING PRESS AND ENORMOUS INDEBTEDNESS, THEN I WILL HAVE NO HESITATION IN ENJOYING THE FUTURE, THINKING ABOUT THE FUNNY MONEY MIRACLE, NEVER NEEDING TO WORRY ABOUT ECONOMIES OR GROWTH EVER AGAIN (all hints of sarcasm entirely intentional)....Real wealth can only be created by innovation and hard work in the private sector, with policymakers, the financial sector and financial markets there to aid and encourage/incentivise. Real wealth is not created by the printing press and by excessive government spending. We simply cannot turn wine into water – after all, if it were that easy, why have we not done this before (with any lasting success, as opposed to abject failure, for which there is plenty of evidence)! "
More and more in fashion lately in the financial world is companies taking huge write-downs of some flopped acquisitions....
Because humor is always the best and only cure to pervasive central planning that has made a mockery of traditional investing and capital allocation, and because nobody delivers unlimited sheer, unadulterated humor quite as well as one James J. Cramer when he is "recommending" stocks, here is the full text of Jim Cramer's "The Winners of the New World" speech delivered in February 2000. Because it really never is different this time.
At this point it has gotten painfully tedious, and the one phrase to describe trading is - Same Pattern Different Day. With equity futures closing decidedly weak on earnings reality after US market close, the slowly, steady overnight ramp seen every single day for the past month has returned as always, this time on yet another largely expected German confidence indicator beat (following the just as irrationally exuberant ZEW some time ago, and yesterday's far better than expected PMI), this time the IFO Business Climate, which printed at 104.2, on expectations of 103 and up from 102.4. This was driven by both the current assessment rising from 107.1 to 108 and the Expectations rising from 97.9 to 100.5. Naturally, all confidence indicators will be skewed in a way to prevent the market from doubting for a second that Germany may actually succumb to the same recession that has gripped all other European countries (which Germany is an inch away from after its negative Q4 GDP). In other words: there is hope. As for reality, UK Q4 GDP came in at -0.3% on expectations of a far lower drop to -0.1%, and down from the olympics-boosted 0.9% in Q3. The UK certainly can't wait for Mark Carney to come and show them how cable devaluation is really done, cause this time it will be different, if only it wasn't different for everyone else.
Updated for the summary of MSFT, SBUX and T earnings.
Amid the deafening screams of hundreds of hedge fund managers looking for any hedging port in an AAPL storm, stock indices (expect the Nasdaq) surged to new highs from the moment the US day-session began until POMO was complete and European markets closed. Volume and block size was large as we took out S&P 500 highs up to 1500 and it appeared we ran out of the short-term proverbial great fool. In general, risk-assets and stocks were well correlated though the big disconnect today was a rising VIX. HY Credit did not play along with the exuberance early on either - as it seemed relatively clear that any and every trick in the book was being used to enable more out of the AAPL boat as we ramped up to VWAP. Once Europe had closed, AAPL slid, stocks slid (with S&P 500 dropping its most of 2013 so far), and risk-assets in general slid lower. JPY weakness and EUR strength helped support risk but Treasury yields falling back and a drop in commodities overall (Gold -0.9% on the week) had the opposite effect. The typical late-day ramp failed despite the best efforts of vol compression as stocks closed almost unch, at VWAP, in line with risk-assets (ahead of tomorrow's LTRO news). AAPL at lows as ramp failed...
iBubble goes iPop bringing the iNaz down for the iFall. You know I just can't help myself...
With the world and his mum applauding day-after-day as the nominal price of the major equity indices push to either i) all-time highs, or ii) post-crisis highs; and any and every measure of 'fear' (e.g. volatility and credit spreads) is repressed to limit-zero; there is an annoying glitch in the new market-based reality that has become our barometer of how we feel. Since the 2009 lows, every new market high has been confirmed by the Nasdaq - until now that is - as the divergence between the tech-dominated 'new normal' index and the rampacious Dow Transports or Industrials (dominated by one or two names each and every day) has grown significantly. The worrying chart below, perhaps suggests that the broad Nasdaq index is about to begin the down leg of a major head-and-shoulders pattern - helped by none other than 'most-held' Apple. Are non-Nasdaq indices being driven by the hedge unwinds against this mega-holding?
While the main topic of conversation overnight was the Apple implosion after earnings (which was mercifully spared inbound calls from repo desk margin clerks who had all gone home by the time the stock hit $460), there was some macro data to muddle up the picture, which, like everything else in this baffle with BS new normal came in "good/bad cop" pairs. In early trading, all eyes were focused on Japan, whose trade and especially exports imploded when the country posted a record trade gap of 6.93 trillion yen ($78.27 billion) in 2012 and the seventh consecutive monthly drop in exports which showed that improved sentiment has yet to translate into hard economic data. Finance ministry data on Thursday showed that exports fell 5.8 percent in the year to December, more than economists' consensus forecast of a 4.2 percent drop. Trade with China was hit particularly hard following the ongoing island fiasco, which means that all the ongoing Yen destruction has largely been for nothing as organic growth markets simply shut off Japan. This ugly news was marginally offset by a tiny beat in the HSBC China manufacturing PMI which came slighly above consensus at 51.9 vs exp. 51.7, the highest print in 24 months, but as with everything else coming out of China one really shouldn't believe this or any other number in a country that will not allow even one corporate default to prevent the credit-driven illusion from popping.