Argentina's president Kirchner, a keen observer of recent events in Cyprus, has figured out a way to kill two birds with one stone, namely attempt to put an end to tax evasion, and fund the capex of the recently nationalized state oil company YPF (now that its former owner, Spainish Repsol, is less than keen to keep investing in its former Argentine subsidiary). To do that she will present the local tax-evading population (pretty much anyone with any disposable income and savings) with a simple choice: buy a 4% bond to fund YPF "growth" or go to prison.
Japan's Nikkei 225 equity index is now within one day's new normal range of nominally crossing above the US Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time since April 2010. The convergence of the two indices coincides with the rapid convergence of the two countries' trade-weighted currencies that dislocated last in March 2009 (suggesting that indeed Abe has achieved his initial goal of devaluing back to the USD). The move off the November lows in the Japanese equity market is stupendous - as the chart below shows, it is a perfect exponential arc (linear on a log scale chart); leaving only the question - which index hits 40,000 first as they continue to devalue themselves to economic nirvana (or valhalla).
The morning started off with the ubiquitous JPY-carry spike pre-US-open and has now extended (post the 30Y auction) to the new normal 140 pips rise to break the magical 100 JPY level to the USD. It has been seven months since Shinzo Abe first hinted at his extreme policy prescription for his ailing nation. Since the start of October 2012, the JPY has lost 30% of its value and the FX-carry market's holy trinity of Aso-Kuroda-Abe can wave their initial "mission accomplished" banners this evening. Fifth time was the charm it seems as after four times trying and failing in the last month, USDJPY has just passed the 100 level for the first time since April 2009 - and while Abenomics lives on, it was initially 'designed' to bring the JPY back into line after its massive strengthening post the crash lows in 2009. Interestingly, USDJPY risk-reversals (from the FX option market) suggest traders are less confident that the devaluation continues apace. We shall see...
Normally the New York Fed would not have to bother itself with such Series 7, 63-registration requiring, "financial advisor"-type things as predicting where the stock market will go, especially when it is its own trading desk that provides the impetus for more than 100% of the current equity rally. However, these are not normal times - they are New Normal. And as a result, Fed economists Fernando Duarte and Carlo Rosa have penned a "research" paper titled "Are Stocks Cheap?" in which they view the same reflexive "evidence" that Ben Bernanke himself used to answer a question during a recent press conference if he would still be buying stocks at record levels, namely the risk premium. This is what the NYFed's economists say on the matter: "We surveyed banks, we combed the academic literature, we asked economists at central banks. It turns out that most of their models predict that we will enjoy historically high excess returns for the S&P 500 for the next five years."
Following yesterday's poor 10 Year showing, which was stock positive (because apparently less demand for bonds means more demand for broken casino products), today moments before the pricing of today's finally for the week $16 billion 30 Year auction, the DJIA ramped again to fresh all time highs on hopes the 30 year would be disappointing. Yet despite a When Issued trading at 2.99%, the 30 Year actually came better than expected at 2.98%, which should have led to a stock sell off, but instead the ramp USDJPY for any reason algos took over, and the stronger auction led to a spike in the USDJPY which in turn pushed stocks even higher. Yes, that is how the stock market "works" in New Normal when broken signals translate, according to algos which confuse price for yield, into completely illogical moves by assorted asset classes. As for the 30 Year auction, it was stronger in virtually every regard: a Bid to Cover that came at 2.53, or higher than the 2.49 from April, a high yield of 2.98%, less than the 3.00% previously, and an Indirect take down of 38.8%, higher than April's 31.4%. So much for all those who saw that last hour of trading and extrapolate it through 2020, seeing yet another return of the Great Rotation or whatever.
Presented with no comment - because none is needed...
After the "humiliating" performance in Q4 2012, when Bank of America had a whopping 2 trading loss days out of 61, in has managed to redeem itself in the first quarter of 2012, when not only did it record seven trading days when it generated revenue of over $100 million daily, but more importantly it had zero days (of 60 total) with any net trading losses: a track record that can only be matched by any daytrader on Twitter. After all, what is better than trading when there is no risk of loss.
The biggest surprise from the JOLTS report is not in any of the standalone series, but in the time progression of the Net Turnovers number, which is simply the total new hires less total separations. Historically, the Net Turnover number tracks the total monthly nonfarm payroll change (establishment survey) on a almost tick for tick basis. Not this time. In fact as the chart below showed, the upward revised March NFP number to 138K, which preceded the even more optimistic, and much cheered April print of 165K, which sent the S&P and the DJIA soaring to new all time highs on Friday, not only did not get a confirmation, but in fact the JOLTS survey for Net Turnovers - which came at only 46K in March compared to a revised 138K jobs added per the establishment survey - implied that the real NFP number in March should have tumbled to a level last seen in September of 2010!
Surprising German Factory Orders Bounce Offset ECB Jawboning Euro Lower; Australia Cuts Rate To Record LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/07/2013 06:57 -0400
The euro continues to not get the memo. After days and days of attempted jawboning by Draghi and his marry FX trading men, doing all they can to push the euro down, cutting interest rates and even threatening to use the nuclear option and push the deposit rate into the red, someone continues to buy EURs (coughjapancough) or, worse, generate major short squeezes such as during today's event deficient trading session, when after France reported a miss in both its manufacturing and industrial production numbers (-1.0% and -0.9%, on expectations of -0.5% and -0.3%, from priors of 0.8% and 0.7%) did absolutely nothing for the EUR pairs, it was up to Germany to put an end to the party, and announce March factory orders which beat expectations of a -0.5% solidly, and remained unchanged at 2.2%, the same as in February. And since the current regime is one in which Germany is happy and beggaring its neighbors's exports (France) with a stronger EUR, Merkel will be delighted with the outcome while all other European exporters will once again come back to Draghi and demand more jawboning, which they will certainly get. Expect more headlines out of the ECB cautioning that the EUR is still too high.
As the IMF delivers its first 'health check' on Greece since 2009, the beleaguered nation's finance minister proudly proclaims, "the worst is over," and the country had reached its economic trough. However, while the finance minister appears unaware of the people living in caves, the record youth unemployment (that is rising still), and the accelerating non-performing loans (no green shoots there), the IMF remains a little less confident, "Greece's debt remains much too high". As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, Stournaras added that ''in May 2014, the loan installments will come to an end and the country has to be in a position where it can go on its own to the markets.'' We can't wait (with GGBs under 10% yield to see which greater fool snaps up those beauties). The IMF is a little less sanguine warning Greece of its "insufficient structural reforms," and worries of the "socially painful recession." The last jab, in line with the new normal 'template' (that is not a template but really is), "very little progress has been made in tackling Greece’s notorious tax evasion," as the IMF demands, "the rich and self-employed are simply not paying their fair share."
Mitt Romney's net worth of $250 million is well-known by virtually everyone in America: after all, it was the primary campaign offensive used by the Obama team against his presidential challenger in an election run largely down wealth, and social class lines, and whom "Democrats targeted in ads and speeches as being out of touch with most Americans." What many may not know is that staunch democrat Al Gore's own personal wealth, has soared from virtually nothing in 1999 to a staggering $200 million according to an analysis conducted by Bloomberg.
Seth Klarman Expains When "Investing Is At Its Hardest" And Why He Is Not Joining The Momentum TradeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/05/2013 09:35 -0400
If you thought that Baupost's Seth Klarman would be the next to join twitter, #timestamp his minute-holding trades, ignore the money-losing ones, trumpet his winners, always make money, scream at all those who don't agree with his "strategy", and otherwise become what is known these days as a (momentum) investor, we have some bad news: it's not happening. Here's why.
The world is awash in contradiction with stocks rising to new highs as interest rates reflect a slowing economy. It is an upside down world according to PIMCO's Mohamed El-Erian. As Lance Roberts annotates, the moustaced maestro explains individuals are both excited and anxious. They are excited by the rally in the markets as they see their portfolios increase in values but at the same timed overwhelmingly concerned about the economic future. It is a world with an enormous contrast between the markets and the real economy. That is the world we are navigating and it is incredibly unusual. This is why it is an unloved rally. His discussion at the recent Strategic Investment Conference is about a simple framework to reconcile these issues. The long term view matters greatly - but the short term matters also.
The bespectacled Robin to Buffet's Batman is at it again. After casting disparaging remarks about the hard-money fanatics of the world with his "only old jews like gold" comment last year, in a brief interview on CNBC today, Charlie Munger explained how "bankers should not be trusted" adding that "they are like heroin addicts." He was reflecting on the debacle that occurred in Cypriot banks of course - but his perspective is likely useful for a broader remit of investment professionals with endless fungible free money as their backstop. So that's the pair; hard- and soft-money partakers be damned. The irony of his firm reporting dramatically better-than-expected profits on the back of a surge in insurance-selling (not at all like CDS) is not lost on us.
Tuesday's Case Shiller update index showed something very troubling: as a whole, the US housing market in its broadest sense, has barely budged in the past four years (chart). And yet, what is unmistakable, and what has given many the impression that there is a "recovery" (despite clear recent signals to the contrary) are media attempts to spark a buying frenzy in several of the key markets that were responsible for the prior housing bubble, such as Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona. And how do we know they are succeeding, if only until the Bernanke liquidity bubble pops again? Courtesy of articles such as this: "25 markets where flipping homes is most profitable." Nuff said.