Two days ago, when QE ended and knowing that the market is vastly overstimating the likelihood of a full-blown ECB public debt QE, we tweeted the following: "It's all up to the BOJ now." Little did we know how right we would be just 48 hours later. Because as previously reported, the reason why this morning futures are about to surpass record highs is because while the rest of the world was sleeping, the BOJ shocked the world with a decision to boost QE, announcing it would monetize JPY80 trillion in JGBs, up from the JPY60-70 trillion currently and expand the universe of eligible for monetization securities. A decision which will forever be known in FX folklore as the great Halloween Yen-long massacre.
There are three things that are certain: death, taxes and M&A "synergies." And while the recent debt and record stock price-funded M&A bubble has been a present from god, or rather the Fed, to the activist shareholders and owners of target stocks (and acquirors, because in the New Normal M&A announcements somehow boost the price of both), it has been a scourge for everyone else: namely the employees of companies that undergo M&A as the first and foremost place where EPS "synergies" are extracted is by eliminating duplicative headcount, read mass layoffs. This is precisely what workers at Canada's Tim Hortons are about to find out first hand, because as Financial Post reports, citing a study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, "widespread layoffs and strict cost cutting measures could befall Tim Hortons if Burger King’s parent company takes over the chain." Small correction replace "could" with "definitely will" and the sentence will be spot on.
As was leaked on Friday, when the market surged on news that some 25 banks would fail the ECB's third stress test (because in the New Normal more bank failures means more bailouts, means the richer get richest, means more wealth inequality), so moments ago the ECB reported that, indeed, some 25 banks failed the European Central Bank's third attempt at collective confidence building and redrawing of a reality in which there is about €1 trillion in European NPLs, also known as the stress test.
Despite the constant confirmation that New York "is prepared, and has been prepared for months" for an Ebola outbreak (that is extremely difficult to catch apparently), it appears Governor Cuomo and NJ's Christie are more concerned than they are letting on. Having earlier admitted that the CDC's screening guidelines are "insufficient" for New York regions' population density, Reuters reports that Cuomo and Christie are considering "enhanced screening" where "all healthcare workers will be mandatorily quarantined." Cue "state of emergency" proclamation and civil liberties 'interrupted'...
Moments ago, CAT, which is a major DJIA component, just reported blowaway EPS of $1.72, far above the $1.35 expected. How did it achieve this stunning number which has pushed DJIA futures higher by almost half a percent? Simple: first there was the usual exclusions, with "restructuring costs" adding back some $0.09 to the bottom line number. But the punchline was this: "In addition to the profit improvement, we have a strong balance sheet and through the first nine months of the year, we've had good cash flow. So far this year, we've returned value to our stockholders by repurchasing $4.2 billion of Caterpillar stock and raising our quarterly dividend by 17 percent," Oberhelman said." And here is just how the surge in buyback activity looked in comparison to Q3 2013...
Six years after QE started, and just about the time when we for the first time said that the primary consequence of QE would be unprecedented wealth and class inequality (in addition to fiat collapse, even if that particular bridge has not yet been crossed), even the central banks themselves - the very institutions that unleashed QE - are now admitting that the record wealth disparity in the world - surpassing that of the Great Depression and even pre-French revolution France - is caused by "monetary policy", i.e., QE.
In what may be a resounding echo of March 2006, moments ago the New York Superintendent of Financial Services said that Ocwen had engaged in abuses that could potentially harm hundreds of thousands of borrowers. As AP reports, the state regulator issued a letter Tuesday to Ocwen Financial Corp., documenting the same kinds of suspicious actions that worsened the housing crisis and the Great Recession.
The Magic Number Is Revealed: It Costs Central Banks $200 Billion Per Quarter To Avoid A Market CrashSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/21/2014 12:58 -0400
"For over a year now, central banks have quietly being reducing their support. As Figure 7 shows, much of this is down to the Fed, but the contraction in the ECB’s balance sheet has also been significant. Seen from this perspective, a negative reaction in markets was long overdue: very roughly, the charts suggest that zero stimulus would be consistent with 50bp widening in investment grade, or a little over a ten percent quarterly drop in equities. Put differently, it takes around $200bn per quarter just to keep markets from selling off."
Fast forward to last night, when instead of the much hoped for Chinese GDP drop - because it would certainly unleash the greatly delayed Chinese liquidity firehose so hoped for by all the BTFDers who need at least once central bailout per day to keep up the charade - China reported GDP which beat expectations, leading to many sad faces on Wall Street, and forcing Reuters to leak the infamous ECB buying corporate bonds article, since refuted, which served as the overnight ramping catalyst. So what is the "explanation" for this unpleasant, for once, economic beat? Why, the weather of course!
As commented previously, the reason for today's 30 point rip in emini futures from the lows hit just 4 hours ago, was a test of the ECB emergency BTFD service, today provided courtesy of Reuters which, just after the European close, gave what is ever more incorrectly called the "market" its dose of upward momentum ignition, when it reported that, in addition to the previously announced "private QE" which includes ABS and covered bond purchases, that Goldman's head of the European central bank would also go ahead and monetize corporate bonds, taking a step even further than the Fed, which at least is confined to public securities, and directly influencing private asset prices.
To get a sense of just how chaotic, unprepared, confused and in a word, clueless the ECB is about just its "private QE", aka purchases of ABS, which should begin in the "next few days" (but certainly don't hold your breath) - let alone the monetization of public sovereign debt - here is Exhibit A. Because if you were confused about what is about to happen, don't worry: it appears the ECB hardly has any idea either, because it was just on October 7 when 40 ABS bonds were dropped from the ECB's "eligible for purchasing" list. And then, just a week later, the ECB changed its mind about changing it mind, and reinstated 19 of the ineligible bonds right back!
"I see deflation flirting with America." Retail sales equals consumer spending equals velocity of money. And unless the money supply is rising, hardly likely in the taper, less spending is deflation by definition. Forget about PMI and all that kind of data, it’s much simpler than that. Central banks can do all kinds of stuff, but they can’t make us spend our money on things we don’t want or need. Let alone make us borrow to do so. And if we don’t, deflation is an inevitable fact. That doesn’t mean prices for some items won’t go up, but that’s not what counts. It’s about how fast we either spend the money we have – if we have any left – or how much we borrow. And if time is money, then borrowed money is borrowed time. So we really shouldn’t.
We suspect the market will be disappointed by this morning's headlines from China. Chinese rate markets are implying a RRR cut is coming soon (as swap rates drop below deposit rates - previously signaled 2 RRR cuts) but the PBOC announced this morning a muich more focused injection of cash to 20 of the nations' largest banks. RRR cuts, are (theoretically) considerably more broadly stimulative to lending than a $32.8 billion cash injection to banks - which are struggling to lend as demand for loans (given high costs of debt for the firms that need the money the most) is weak. One can only imagine the holes in bank balance sheets that exist if the PBOC is forced to do this. Simply put, no matter how much hope there is, as we noted previously, the PBOC will not be providing broad stimulus.
If the last three days all started with a rout in futures before the US market open only to ramp higher all day, today it may well be the opposite, when shortly after Europe opened it was the ECB's turn to talk stocks higher, when literally within minutes of the European market's open, ECB's Coeure said that:
- COEURE SAYS ECB WILL START WITHIN DAYS TO BUY ASSETS
Which was today's code word for all is clear, and within minutes US futures, which until that moment had languished unchanged, soared by 25 points. So will today be more of the same and whatever early action was directed by the central bankers will be faded into a weekend in which only more bad news can come out of Ebola-land?
A rising stock market, like a rising tide, can cover a multitude of interesting and/or scary things. If the finance guys who really know what’s going on are buying, then the disturbing stories that lead each evening’s news must be manageable. And we, in general, must be okay. But let the market fall a bit and those headlines suddenly begin to seem both oppressive and really, really numerous. And maybe we’re not okay after all.