Today the lingering problems of the "emerging" world and concerns about the Fed's tapering take a back seat to what the European Central Bank may do, which ranges from nothing, to a rate cut (which sends deposit rates negative), to outright, unsterilized QE - we will find out shortly: with 61 out of the 66 economists polled by Bloomberg looking for no rate changes from the ECB today it virtually assures a surprise . However, despite - or perhaps in spite of - various disappointing news overnight, most notably German factory orders which missed -0.5% on expectations of a +0.2% print, down from 2.4%, the USDJPY has been supported which as everyone knows by now, is all that matters, even if it was unable to push the Nikkei 225 higher for the second day in a row and the Japanese correction persists.
It would seem, in the case of momo-chasing levered fast-money flows, that Propertius was correct - "fickleness has always befriended the beautiful..." and Japanese stocks are no longer the once beautiful trend that Abe had promised them to be. A tapering of the US flow; a ripple across the bow of emerging markets; and suddenly Kyle Bass' sarcastically-named "macro tourists" are running for exits as Shakespeare himself once wrote, "was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as this multitude." Historical quotations aside, the last time flow swung so violently negative, the Nikkei ended up losing 55% in the next 18 months. We love the smell of nay-sayers in the morning...
Once again the smell of NAPALM is in the air
Precious metals had begun to jump higher before the ADP data hit but once it did - and disappointed - gold and silver spiked (over $1,270 and $20 respectively). Equity markets kneejerk reaction was a spike higher which immediately faded into a crash to recent lows. Dow futures are testing 2014 lows - as are S&P 500 futures. 10Y Treasury yields touched 2.60%; Nikkei futures are once again testing 14,000 as USDJPY breaks below 101.
Abenomics Disaster: Japan Regular Wages Fall For 19 Consecutive Months; Real Wages Drop To 16 Year LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2014 08:09 -0500
For the past year Abenomics has gotten the "get out of a jail free" card because while the plunging yen was crushing Japanese purchasing power, and sending nominal regular wages ever lower, at least the stock market was higher so (some of the) locals could delude themselves they are getting richer, if only on paper. However, following the most recent 10% correction in the Nikkei which may soon become an all out rout if the 101 level in the USDJPY doesn't hold (and then 100, and so on), all Japan suddenly has left, is the shock of soaring food and energy prices, and the hangover of declining wages that refuse to stop dropping. Case in point, last night the Japan labor ministry reported that monthly wages excluding overtime and bonus payments fell 0.2 percent in December from a year earlier to 241,525 yen on average per worker, a series of declines which has now stretched to 19 consecutive months.
It's snowing in New York so the market must be down. Just kidding - everyone know the only thing that matters for the state of global risk is the level of USDJPY and it is this that nearly caused a bump in the night after pushing the Nikkei as low as 13,995, before the Japanese PPT intervened and rammed the carry trade higher, and thus the Japanese index higher by 1.23% before the close of Japan trading. However, since then the USDJPY has failed to levitate as it usually does overnight and at last check was fluctuating within dangerous territory of 101.000, below which there be tigers. The earlier report of European retail sales tumbling by 1.6% on expectations of a modest 0.6% drop from a downward revised 0.9% only confirmed that the last traces of last year's illusionary European recovery have long gone. Then again, it's all the cold weather's fault. In Europe, not in the US that is.
Today's modest bounce in stocks - considerably removed after-hours - does not provide much hope for those looking to buy the dip with the Dow still down over 1000 points year-to-date. In fact, as we discuss below, troubling news just continues to pour in from all over the world... For those that are not interested in the technical details, what all of this means is that global financial markets are starting to become extremely unstable. Consider the following...
US and Japanese stocks began to fall the moment the bell rang in NYC on the end of the US day-session. By the times futures closed 15mins later, the S&P had already lost 6 points and the exuberance in the Nikkei had snapped back to USDJPY reality (100 points off its highs). As the evening progressed the dead-cat-bounce died with US and Japanese stocks tumbling to day-session lows. Dow futures are down 110 from the highs; S&P futures are down 16 points from the US session highs; and Nikkei futures - not helped by the 19th month in a row of falling YoY base wages - are testing 14,050, having dropped 300 points from the highs and removed all day-session gains. Stocks are re-crisis-ing as USDJPY tests back towards 101.
US (and Japanese) stocks began their dead-cat bounce around the European open tracking USDJPY (once again) and rising in reverse order of yesterday's selloff as Nikkei, Trannies, Nasdaq and so on (in order) recovered around 25-35% of yesterday's losses. For Fibonacci-watchers, S&P futures ticked 38.2% retracement and stalled and VWAP was support all day. Credit markets did not buy it and stocks caught down to them. Silver, having underperformed since the taper, outperformed today back over $19.50 and +1.7% on the week as gold slipped modestly today (but +0.8% on the week). Treasuries sold off modestly leaving yields -2-3bps on the week. AUD stength and JPY weakness supported stocks but the USD flatlined ahead of tomorrow's ECB meeting. MUB, the Muni ETF, was smashed lower on the Puero Rico junking (and that triggered a quick waterfall in stocks) but that was quickli BTFD'd. VIX fell an impressive 2.9 vols to 18.5%.
The 10Y yield closed below its 200-day moving average and should test down to 2.47% in the short-term; and Citi's FX Technicals believes the Dow will test its 55-week moving average at 15,214, S&P 500 at 1,707; and Gold's consolidation/correction is over - the uptrend has resumed.
- Global makets plunge (Reuters)
- Goodbye Mrs. Watanabe - Japan Sees Worst Developed-Stock Rout as Nikkei 225 Drops (BBG)
- Who could have possibly predicted this - Firms Pinched by Pressure to Hold Down Their Prices (WSJ)
- RBA Shifts to Neutral as It Signals Comfort With Aussie’s Level (BBG)
- Fractures Emerge Between Obama, Congressional Democrats (WSJ)
- Brazil suffers record trade deficit (FT)
- El Salvador fisherman washes up in Marshall Islands after year adrift (Reuters)
- Apple Quietly Builds New Networks (WSJ)
- One-year prison sentence for 21-year-old Twitter user who glorified terrorists (El Pais)
It is still all about the Yen carry which overnight tumbled to the lowest level since November, dragging the Nikkei down by 4.8% which halted its plunge at just overf 14,000, only to stage a modest rebound and carry US equity futures with it, even if it hasn't helped the Dax much which moments ago dropped to session lows and broke its 100 DMA, where carmakers are being especially punished following a downgrade by HSBC of the entire sector. Also overnight the Hang Seng entered an official correction phase (following on from the Nikkei 225 doing the same yesterday) amid global growth concerns and has filtered through to European trade with equities mostly red across the board. Markets have shrugged off news that ECB's Draghi is seeking German support in the bond sterilization debate, something which we forecast would happen a few weeks ago when we pointed out the relentless pace of SMP sterilization failures, with analysts playing down the news as the move would only add a nominal amount of almost EUR 180bln to the Euro-Area financial system. Elsewhere, disappointing earnings from KPN (-4.3%) and ARM holdings (-2.5%) are assisting the downward momentum for their respective sectors.
UPDATE: Nikkei 225 Futures back under 14,000 - down 15% from Dec 31st high; USDJPY back under 101.00
Despite the hope-driven exuberance exhibited immediately post the Abe/Kuroda show, the USDJPY-pumping stock-momentum fest has ended - abruptly. Japan's Nikkei 225 has lost all its gains and is now trading below US day-session lows (3-month lows) but it is the broader TOPIX index (more akin to the S&P 500) that is collapsing. Down almost 5% on the day (its biggest drop since the May collapse), the TOPIX is at 4-month lows. The TOPIX Real Estate index just hit a bear-market - down 20% from Dec 31st highs. Japanese sell-side shops are in full panic desparation mode as "suggestions" that a sub-14,000 Nikkei will prompt an acceleration of Japan's QQE money-printing idiocy. This is getting ugly fast.
With Japanese stocks down 13.6% from their 12/31 highs, the big guns just hit the tape to try to save the day:
- *ABE:BOJ WILL MAKE APPROPRIATE DECISION ON EXIT STRATEGY
- *ABE: NOT EASY TO CHANGE 'DEFLATIONARY MIND'
- *KURODA: BOJ CAN CONDUCT APPROPRIATE EXIT POLICY AS NEEDED
- *KURODA: BOJ EASING HAS HAD INTENDED IMPACT SO FAR
Following Amari's earlier "markets are over-reacting" jawboning, so far this is having little to no effect. USDJPY is actually fading back lower and perhaps stunningly Japanese 20Y bond yields and stocks are back at the same levels seen in May 2013 (1 month after the BoJ unveiled QQE). Time for some Depends Mr. Abe.
Equities have the worst day of the year and really no exchange around the globe was left out. Now every one on our screen is down YTD. For US markets, today was the worst day since last June. Overall, while today was active, it was still an orderly session. We did have some interest to buy topside options... Serious pain in risk assets lent a bid to US treasuries as yields continue to retreat from their New Years’ day highs.