It takes a lot of talent to do so much with so little.
“Pessimism has become tiresome, so optimism is gaining a foothold”
Turns out, it wasn’t endless.
Remember "What Is The Upside In Chesapeake?" from 3 weeks ago, where we said, "one thing is certain: the company has lots of good assets, as well as quite a few legacy liabilities, combined with an industry environment that is as bad as it has ever been. And sure enough, in betting that the environment might actually improve for a change, there are quite a few big firms which may be happy to onboard the assets and the liabilities, knowing they wouldn't impair the right side of their balance sheet, while acquiring some good real estate and substantial reserves on the left, at a valuation that is the cheapest in the industry. Because in finance, once central planning is (finally) stripped away, valuation is all that matters." Today we read in the FT: "Sinopec, the Chinese oil and gas group, is considering bidding for billions of dollars worth of assets owned by Chesapeake Energy, the US gas producer. Fu Chengyu, head of Sinopec, was in Oklahoma in the US this week in connection with the company’s due diligence on the Chesapeake assets, according to people familiar with the move."
Relief in the markets, after the worst case scenario from the Greek elections was averted, proved to be decidedly short-lived. Although the pro-bailout New Democracy party came in first with 129 seats (with an additional 50 seat bonus) the markets still await confirmation of an actual working coalition given a caretaker government has been in place now for approximately two months. A degree of uncertainty in regards to the demands the new coalition will place on negotiating the country's bailout terms has resulted in many investors being unwilling to get their toes wet just yet. Away from the election fever, rising Spanish yields continue to spook the market with the 10yr yield breaching the 7% level, prompting aggressive re-widening of the 10yr government bond yield spreads. The move comes at a crucial time for Spain as they look to come to market tomorrow in 12 and 18 month bills followed by three shorter dated bonds to be tapped this Thursday. Meanwhile, the FX markets have reflected the shift in sentiment with EUR/USD well off its overnight highs and the USD index firmly supported by the prevailing flight to quality bid. However, the biggest currency move of the day came in the early hours after the rupee (INR) weakened substantially following the RBI's decision to leave rates on hold, this coupled with Fitch changing the country's outlook to negative from stable has kept the currency under pressure throughout the day.
The upcoming bailout in Cyprus has warts, and spies.
Following yesterday's blistering market fall, the dead cat is in play, if only for a few hours like on Monday morning, precipitated by some aggressive short covering in the EURUSD, which will continue to be the primary buffer of every fall courtesy of the record number of net shorts, who cover on even the tiniest bit of pseudo-favorable news, no matter how ludicrous. As Bloomberg recaps, European markets gain led by telcos, utilities. Financials trade slightly higher having dropped earlier. Italian shares underperform. The euro reversed earlier losses against the dollar to trade stronger. Commodities fall led by natural gas, the GSCI index is off intraday lows. But the biggest data continues to be the action in Spanish, and now Italian, which everyone is watching very closely, bonds. As the charts below show, subordination is bad, bad thing, and one the Spandora's Box is opened, it can't be closed: both are substantially wider on the day, and the only potential buying catalyst would be for the ECB to come back into the market after 3 months of absence.
Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg may be cautious on the outlook for risk assets and cyclical securities over the near- and intermediate-term, but, he notes, change is always at the margin, and it usually starts in the political sphere. Austerity is not some dirty nine-letter word as the socialists in Europe would have you believe. It is all about living within your means and living up to your commitments. There is some good news in the United States with respect to this topic, but the uncertainty over the extent of next year's tax bite is likely to cause households and businesses to pull spending back and raise cash, at the margin, which means the economy won't turn around in time for Mr. Obama. As was the case with Ronald Reagan, just having a clear and coherent fiscal plan will part the clouds of uncertainty and encourage capital to be put at risk rather than sit as idle unproductive cash on corporate balance sheets. In a somewhat stunning sentence from the no-longer-a-permabear, he notes that "The future is brighter than you think", but just in case you are backing up the truck, he adds "this does not mean we will not have another recession, by the way — as we suffer through a deflationary debt deleveraging. I'm noticing a certain degree of despair these days, just as I am getting enthusiastic about the future. Much depends on what happens on November 6th and between now and then we still have the European mess, China hard landing risks and the U.S. debt ceiling issue to confront. Be that as it may, those with some dry powder on hand will be in a solid position to take advantage of whatever forced "panic" selling takes place."
You can’t watch the mainstream media propaganda channels for more than ten minutes without a talking head breathlessly announcing that gas prices have dropped for the 24th day in a row and are now back to $3.55 a gallon. Wall Street oil analysts, who are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to tell us why prices rose or fell after the fact, are paraded on CNBC to proclaim the huge consumer windfall from the drop in price. This is just another episode of a never ending reality show, designed to keep the average American sedated so they’ll continue to spend money they don’t have buying crap they don’t need. The brainless twits that pass for journalists in the corporate mainstream media never give the viewer or reader any historical context to judge the true impact of the price increase or decrease. The government agencies promoting the storyline of those in power extrapolate the current trend and ignore the basic facts of supply, demand, price and peak oil. The EIA is now predicting further drops in prices. Two months ago they predicted steadily rising prices through the summer. What would we do without these government drones guiding us?
Central bank gold demand remains robust as central banks continue to diversify out of the euro and the dollar. Further central bank demand is confirmed in the news this morning that Kazakhstan plans to raise the share of gold in its international reserves from 12% to 15%. So announced central bank Deputy Chairman Bisengaly Tadzhiyakov to reporters today in the capital, Astana. “We’ve already signed contracts for 22 tons,” Tadzhiyakov said. Bloomberg report that immediate-delivery gold was little changed at $1.620.41 an ounce at 10:50 a.m. in Moscow, valuing 22 metric tons of gold at about $1.2 billion. “The bank is ready to buy when suppliers are ready to sell,” Tadzhiyakov said. Kazakhstan said yesterday it will cut its holdings in the euro by a sixth. It was reported in the Reuters Global Gold Forum that the central bank buys all the gold produced in Kazakhstan and owned 98.19T at the end of April, according to the IMF's most recent international finance statistics report. Meanwhile, supply issues remain and South African gold production continues to plummet. South African gold production fell 12.8% in April from a year earlier, Juan -Pierre Terblanche, a spokesman for Statistics South Africa, told Bloomberg.