While Japan's Trade balance missed expectations once again (bigger deficit than hoped or expected), the flashing red headlines of the night belong to Japan's 1.6% QoQ GDP print (better than expected) - the 'best growth' since Q3 2011. The initial reaction was JPY weaker, which meant Nikkei higher (and oddly JGBs rallied too). But... and it's a big but... Japanese consumer spending shot up by 2.2% in Q1 - the biggest on record... matched only by Q1 1997, the quarter before Japan's last tax-hike decision. What happened the quarter after that? Take a look...
As we noted in the pre-open, the "BTFATH mentality" will be alive in well' and sure enough Goldman Sachs' S&P 500 Target for June 2015 was 1950, we just reached it 11 months early (1949.25 highs to be exact). Their corresponding target for 10Y yields at that level of S&P is 3.50% (so we are 90bps lower) and earnings expectations to support that price was $120 per share (dramatically higher than the current level). Goldman's 2014 Target is 3% lower than the current level. Nothing to see here, move along...
If predicting yesterday's EURUSD (and market) reaction to the ECB announcement was easy enough, today's reaction to the latest "most important ever" nonfarm payrolls number (because remember: with the Fed getting out of market manipulation, if only for now, it is imperative that the economy show it can self-sustain growth on its own even without $85 billion in flow per month, which is why just like the ISM data earlier this week, the degree of "seasonal adjustments" are about to blow everyone away) should be just as obvious: since both bad news and good news remain "risk-on catalysts", and since courtesy of Draghi's latest green light to abuse any and every carry trade all risk assets will the bought the second there is a dip, the "BTFATH mentality" will be alive in well. It certainly was overnight, when the S&P500 rose to new all time highs despite another 0.5% drop in the Shcomp (now barely holding on above 2000), and a slight decline in the Nikkei (holding on just over 15,000).
Meet Mieko Tatsunami, a 70 year old retired kimono dresser from Tokyo. Unlike the scores of paid actors ordered to pitch Abenomics and to spread the gospel of rising asset prices, Mieko shares a most rare commodity in this day of pervasive propaganda: the truth. “The price of everything we eat on a daily basis is going up,” Tatsunami, 70, a retired kimono dresser, said while shopping in Tokyo’s Sugamo area. “I’m making do by halving the amount of meat I serve and adding more vegetables.” Ironically, that's what Americans are doing too. Only here the "halving" of the food is done by the food producers, while the consumers rarely if ever notices that they are paying the same amount for ever lesser amounts of food. At least in Japan they are honest about the food inflation. As Bloomberg shows, Tatsunami’s concerns stem from the price of food soaring at the fastest pace in 23 years after April’s sales-tax increase. Rising prices helped push the nation’s misery index to the highest level since 1981, while wages adjusted for inflation fell the most in more than four years.
No matter what, SocGen sees US equity performance over the next 10 years as modest at best. They note that US equities face three headwinds: cyclically-adjusted valuations (CAPE, starting date 1881) have returned to very expensive territory, corporate margins stand at historically high levels, and after already five years of growth from the 2009 trough, we estimate that the probability of another recession kicking in is close to 100% within the forecast timeframe (the longest cycle ever was 120 months, or 10 years). While their central case is 'moderate growth and inflation', they project a possible high growth surge to 4000 for the S&P 500 and a deflation scenario which would put the S&P 500 at 500 (-12% per annum).
As if this morning's Draghi moves were not enough to show that there are no markets - just manipulated prices from central planners - Japan's Shinzo Abe just dropped another 'random US session' tape bomb:
*JAPAN’S ABE ASKS PENSION FUND TO RAISE STOCK INVESTMENT: NIKKEI
USDJPY and the Nikkei 225 futures are popping in this news - which is not so much news as he has been pushing for this risk-seeking behavior from the nation's pension fund for months. His efforts this time are for health and welfare minister Tamura to announce the move in September (before the original year-end deadline). Of course, with Abe's ratings in lockstep with the stock market, it's no surprise...
In today's abnormally quiet overnight session one could hear a pin, or the USDJPY, drop: with everyone focusing on the ECB announcement in one hour, not a single algo is willing to make any big moves, or even start some momentum ignition, ahead of Draghi's announcement, which absent launching full scale QE, which it won't, will be a disappointment which means the EUR will ultimatly move higher after a kneejerk lower as the market forces Super Mario to do even more next time. As Bloomberg adds, a cut in refi and deposit rates is fully priced in and latest price action suggests investors brace for disappointment if ECB stops short of signaling asset purchases or other liquidity measures to combat deflation.
The week ending May 30th was an odd week for many... US treasury bond yields were collapsing but US equity prices were soaring to ever higher higher highs on weaker and weaker data. We know institutional asset managers were net sellers during this time and we know that the indiscriminate and non-economic corporate buyback-machine was in full swing but still... who was really the bid day in day out with no sense optimal timing... Thanks to tonight's Japanese flows data, we know... Japanese investors bought the most foreign stocks in that week since 2009...
If yesterday's non-record, red-tick close can be attributed to algos applying the wrong ISM seasonal factor to the day, believing it was Wednesday instead of the permabullish Tuesday, today there is no such excuse, which is why we fully expect the unallowed redness with which futures are currently trading to promptly morph into a non-red color especially with the USDJPY doing it best to ramp to 103.000 levels overnight, stopping out all shorts, and push spoos to fresh record highs. It is an algo world after all. It appears that already record low volatility is being pushed even lower in anticipation of numerous imminent data releases, including today's ADP and Services ISM (first, second and final release), tomorrow's ECB announcement and Friday's payrolls number. Which while good for low volume levitation means bank trading revenues continue to deteriorate forcing banks to pitch M&A deals to clients, which in turn result in even more synergies and more layoffs: because in order to preserve the bottom line, crushing real employment further is perfectly acceptable collateral damage.
Considering that both key overnight news reports: the Chinese HSBC PMI (printing at 49.4, vs 49.7 expected) and the Eurozone CPI print from a few hours ago (print of 0.5%, down from 0.7% and below the 0.6% expected), we find it odd that futures are red: after all this is precisely that kind of negative data that has pushed the market to record highs over the past five years. And speaking of odd, considering the ongoing non-dis-deflation in Europe, the fact that Bunds and TSYs are being sold off today makes perfect sense in a New Normal bizarro world.
US equities dipped after the initial ISM data (and construction spending miss) as did USDJPY but soon after things began to levitate in their new normal manner as bad news is clearly pent-up good news in the future. By the time the ISM admitted its error - the US equity markets had recovered back to unchanged from 10ET's initial print. But what was really moving - since in our new normal world, a shift in the butterfly's wings of US ISM (seasonally adjusted) causing a hurricane (or Tsunami) in stock markets across the world, Japan's Nikkei 225 swung from low to high by over 150 points as the carry-trading algo monkeys reacted to every conflicting headline (and broke BATS).
It took a precisely 0.1 beat in the Chinese Manufacturing PMI over the weekend (50.8 vs Exp. 50.7) for the USDJPY and the Nikkei to forget all about last week's abysmal Japanese economic data and to send the Nikkei soaring by 2.1% to its highest print in 5 months. Subsequent overnight weakness from Europe, where the Eurozone Final May Manufacturing PMI dropped again from 52.5 to 52.2, below the 52.5 expected, served simply to push bunds higher back over 147.00, if not do much to US equities which as usual continue their low volume "the music is still playing" melt-up completely dislocated from all newsflow and fundamentals (because just like over the past 5 years, "there is hope").
Even soothsayers and Abenomics spin doctors expected a downdraft after Japan’s consumption tax was jacked up. But not this.
Equity Blow Off Top Takes Brief Overnight Rest, Prepares For Another Session Of Low Volume LevitationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/30/2014 07:03 -0400
Last night's docket of atrocious Japanese economic data inexplicably managed to push the Nikkei lower, not because the data was ugly but because the scorching inflation - the highest since 1991 - mostly driven by import costs, food and energy as a result of a weak yen, and certainly not in wages, has pushed back most banks' estimates of additional QE to late 2014 if not 2015 which is as we predicted would happen over a year ago. As a result the market, addicted to central bank liquidity, has had to make a modest reassessment of just how much disconnected from reality it is willing to push equities relative to expectations of central bank balance sheet growth. However, now that the night crew trading the USDJPY is replaced with the US session algo shift which does a great job of re-levitating the pair, and with it bringing the S&P 500 higher, we expect this brief flicker of red futures currently observable on trading terminals to be promptly replaced with the friendly, well-known and "confidence-boosting" green. The same goes for Treasurys which lately have been tracking every directional move in stocks not in yield but in price.