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While dealers are telling their clients to dump the long end due to everyone mispricing economic growth and inflation prospects, and to expect the long awaited curve steepening any minute now, what are they doing? They are the flattest they have been in two and a half years! In other words, buying.
Bottom line: for whatever reason, in Q1 the US economy contracted not only for the first time in three years, but at the fastest pace since Q1 of 2011. It probably snowed then too.
The New Normal In One Sentence: "In The US Equity Market, The Worse A Company’s Finances, The Better It’s Doing"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/27/2014 11:00 -0400
It was just last Friday when we updated our list of the most hated, i.e., most shorted, stocks which are so critical in the New Normal because as we have reported constantly since 2012, going long the most shorted names remains the best alpha-generating strategy, outperforming the broader market by orders of magnitude. Today, it is Bloomberg's turn to recap just how broken the market is with an article that highlights the "balance sheet bombs" rallying by 94%. The lede: "In the U.S. equity market, the worse a company’s finances, the better it’s doing." Because there is nothing like rewarding failure and capital misallocation to promote economic growth and employment recovery.
The melt up is accelerating and with the momentum tailwind back, newsflow is once again irrelevant: any news that are even remotely good are trumpeted, and any bad news - such as Europe's right storm rising in the northern states, and left storm surge in the states that demand more handouts from the northern states or China sinking a Vietnamese boat, the most serious bilateral incident since 2007 - are once again (and as usual) nothing more than a catalyst for even more liquidity injections. End result: the S&P futures this morning are 5 points above Goldman's year end target of 1900 and 45 points away from its June 30, 2015 target. Can this breakneck scramble on zero volume continue until Grantham's bubble peak level of 2,200 is hit? Well of course: after all anything goes in the centrally-planned new normal. To be sure, this is an equity only phenomenon: moments ago the Bund future hit its highest level since May 19, while the 10 Year remains unchanged at 2.53% as it continues to price in the new "deflationary" (and Japanese) normal. And as has been the case during all such divergences of late, either bonds or equities are making a horrible mistake: the question remains: who? Since all equities are doing is tracking FX pairs to the pip and have completely forgotten all about fundamentals, we have a pretty good idea what the answer is.
Long before Virtu was forced to pull its IPO due to the backlash against HFT frontrunners in party due to being stupid enough to post its perfect trading record of 1 trading day loss in 5 years which could only be the result of a grossly rigged market, we pointed out that another entity, one having little in common with your garden variety HFT parasite, namely JPMorgan, had a 2013 trading record which could be summed up on one word only: perfection. Yet while one could simply attribute the same kind of market rigging to JPM as one can (and should) to the average hi-freak, it seems there may be more here than meets the eye so used to seeing manipulation everywhere it looks. According to Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, "a technical support person who worked for JP Morgan in Australia claims the bank regularly misled its New York parent and the US Federal Reserve by failing to report losing trades."
Below, for the third year running, we present the 50 most shorted (and most convex) Russell 2000 names, which are sufficiently small and illiquid, that even the tiniest rumor or upgrade by a contrarian research shop is able to send into a short covering frenzy. They are sorted by short interest as a % of the float in declining order, which means that the absolutely most hated stocks are at the top.
We may have dubbed Russia's historic, and 30 years in the making until John Kerry et al accelerated it, gas deal as the "Holy Grail" of New Normal trade arrangements, and it turns out we weren't alone in evaluating the strategic implications of this epic Russian, and Chinese, pivot toward each other. Moments ago, Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, shareholder of Gazprom competitor Novatek, chairman of the Russian-Chinese Business Council, and former co-owner of commodities trading giant Gunvor, said that "Economically it’s the most important event of the past decade."
Update 2: Thailand's military suspends the 2007 constitution and dismisses the caretaker government.
Update: The Thai army has announced a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. after declaring a military takeover of the government to restore order.
Two days ago, when reporting on the Thailand "non-coupy" martial law imposed by the army, which wasn't in charge, but really was or something, we summarized the situation as follows: THAI MILITARY CHANNEL 5 SAYS MARTIAL LAW `NOT A COUP'. "Ah, gotta love the New Normal: full of non-coupy martial laws." Moments ago, the New Normal regressed back to its Old Normal ways, when in a live statement on TV, the Thai army chief made the non-coupy coup coupy, and announced a military takeover of the government Thursday, saying the coup was necessary to restore stability and order after six months of political deadlock and turmoil.
FOMC Minutes Show Fed Fears No Inflation Risk; Worries About Complacency, Discusses "Low Level Of Volatility"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/21/2014 14:03 -0400
These are the minutes from an FOMC meeting that raised economic assessments for the year the day that Q1 GDP printed at +0.1%. No big surprises from the minutes...
- *FED SAW NO INFLATION RISK IN FUELING JOB GROWTH, MINUTES SHOW
- *FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAW `NEARLY BALANCED' RISKS TO ECONOMY
- *A NUMBER OF FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAW POSSIBLE RISK IN WEAK HOUSING
- *SEVERAL FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAID LOW VOLATILITY MAY SIGNAL RISK
More of the same from the FOMC minutes - which have been carefully prescribed to reflect just enough confusion as to provide every stock bull (and bond bear) with just enough ammo to BTFD once more unto the breach. With 2 Fed speakers yesterday and 4 today, it seems the Fed is keen to interpret the minutes for everyone through the only tool they have left - communications... Volatility is a concern due to complacency; low rates have consequences; new normal terminal rate lower than historical norm; taper will proceed; doves more dovish, hawks more hawkish.
Western companies have buybacks that only reward shareholders here and now; the East actually spends capex to invest into the future. Case in point: today's "holy grail" gas deal announcement, which in addition to generation hundreds of billions in externalities for both countries over the next three decades will result in an immediate and accretive boost to GDP, to the tune of $55 billion for Russia and $20 billion for Beijing.
Socialist-Motion Trainwreck: France Mistakenly Orders 2,000 Trains Which Are Too Wide For Its PlatformsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/20/2014 20:13 -0400
In a time before the New Normal "fairness doctrine" where socialized companies such as GM have 60% more recalls in 5 months than they had sales in the prior year, a story such as the following would belong at best to a surreal "Polak" joke. Unfortunately, in this centrally-planned day and age, it is all too real. Reuters reports that in order to boost GDP and to cement that even under hard-core socialism France is still a manufacturing powerhouse, the French national rail company SNCF had ordered some 2000 trains for an expanded regional network from the national rail operator RFF. There was just one problem: the trains were too wide.
Ben Bernanke told those that could afford to hear that rates would not "normalize" in his lifetime and just last week we noted the market's shifting attitude towards what a post-rate-hike 'rate normalization cycle' might look like. As longer-term bond yields tumble, the Fed's Bill Dudley just confirmed the lower post-rate-hike "terminal rate" meme:
DUDLEY: LONG-TERM RATES LIKELY TO BE LOWER THAN HISTORIC NORM, SAYS EQUILIBRIUM REAL RATE MAY BE LOWER THAN NORMAL
In other words, if and when the Fed starts raising rates, the highest rate to which it will raise rates in the next cycle is now expected to be notably below previous historical 'norms'. And stocks didn't like it and long-term bond yields tumbled...
Over the weekend we titled our summary of GM's unprecedented avalanche of recalls so far in 2014 - the year in which the company's criminal practice of covering up its faulty products became a congressional scandal - as follows: "GM Set To Surpass Total Recall Record This Year." Three days later we are happy to report that while Detroit, we not only have a big recall problem, we also have a new record, after moments ago GM just announced another 4 recalls affecting 2.4 million cars. This brings the total number of vehicle investigations since the start of the year to 35, and with today's four latest fiascos, has initiated a whopping 29 recalls. More importantly, this also means that the number of domestic recalls rises to 13.6 million, smashing the previous record of 11.8 million recalls in 2004, and brings the number of global recalls to 15.2 million: or a stunning 56% greater than the 9.7 million cars GM sold in all of 2013!