Every day when you flip on the media, there is someone telling you that now is the time to "buy" into the market. Of course, if you are buying, then who is selling? The only "net buyers" of equities this year have been "individuals," while "professional" firms have been "net sellers." This is the epitome of the classic "smart money/dumb money" analysis where individuals are used by institutions to offload positions that are no longer optimal. The question is with corporate profits and earnings declining, weak economic data, and the threat of tighter monetary policy - will individuals once again be left "holding the bag" while institutions derisk portfolios in advance of the next decline?
To the extent the Federal Reserve decides to increase interest rates, it should be apparent that such a move would be inconsistent with their prior actions. In fact, it may likely be a desperate effort to re-load the monetary policy gun as opposed to a signal of domestic economic strength. Not only is this a departure from the past, this would lead many to question the Fed’s motives. It is worth keeping in mind that blind trust and confidence in the Fed has propelled many markets much higher than fundamentals justify. The bottom line is that NIM and the Taylor Rule-adjusted curve are both flashing warning signs of economic recession, while the traditional yield curve signal is waving the all clear flag.
If you thought we'd seen the depths of NIRP, think again because as Deutsche Bank notes, the ECB, Riksbank, SNB, and Nationalbank will likely dive further into the monetary Twilight Zone in the months ahead. Only when rates become negative enough to spark a depositor revolt will we have reached the "real" lower bound, but at that point, it will be far too late...
Back in February, we noted that NIRP had officially arrived in the US as JP Morgan announced it was preparing to charge some large institutional customers for deposits. This represented a kind of de facto (if not yet de jure) NIRP. Now, a combination of pinched margins and new regulations has led some of the largest financial institutions in the US to penalize corporate and institutional deposits on the way to instituting what amounts to a stealth version of negative interest rates.
While yesterday's JPM results missed from the top to the bottom, coupled with a surprising and aggressive deleveraging of the bank's balance sheet which has shrunk by over $150 billion in 2015 mostly on the back of a decline in deposits, Bank of America reported numbers which were largely the opposite when it printed a modest beat on both the top line with $20.9 billion in revenues (adjusted sales of $20.6Bn vs Exp. $20.5Bn), down $500 million from a year ago, and the bottom line: generating $0.35 in adjusted earnings in the quarter, 2 cents better than the $0.33 consensus estimate.
JPMorgan Misses Across The Board On Disappointing Earnings, Outlook; Stealthy Deleveraging ContinuesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/13/2015 15:52 -0500
Maybe we now know why JPM decided to release results after market close instead of, as it always does, before the open: simply said, the results were lousy top to bottom, the company resorted to its old income-generating "gimmicks", it charged off far less in risk loans than many expected it would, and its outlook while hardly as bad as it was a quarter ago, was once again dour.
"They're Converging To Dire Levels!": SocGen's Edwards Delivers Critical Warning On Inflation ExpectationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/07/2015 17:00 -0500
"The collapse in inflation expectations tells us that the market believes the central banks, despite their monetary profligacy, are failing to prevent the western economies from turning Japanese, and thus at risk of repeating their devastating slide into outright deflation in the 1990s."
As WSJ reports, "Bank of America Corp. is expected to announce layoffs in its global banking and global markets unit as early as Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter."
But but but... US economy is solid... curve will steepen... NIM... banks... bullish... buy... except that the market's perception of the credit risk in US financials is at 19-month wides. With counterparty risk rising, is it any wonder financial stocks are crashing?
"The risk could be that brokers may not be able to execute forced liquidations in case of sharp declines in the overall stock market. It can be positive if they are using the funds to develop new businesses but negative for China’s financial market if they keep lending out for margin financing."
Standard Chartered’s new CEO Bill Winters thinks the bank is positioned well in "markets which will offer outstanding opportunities for decades to come", and while that may be true, the opportunities in those markets didn’t prove to be all that outstanding in the first half of the year, as the bank’s EM and commodities exposure contributed to a 44% decline in H1 profits and prompted a 50% dividend cut.
If yesterday's JPM results were largely a story of contracting trading revenues offset by a decline in expenses, then in many ways today's Bank of America results mimicked what Jamie Dimon did in the second quarter. Moments ago BofA reported that in a quarter in which it repurchased $775 million in stock, it generated $5.3 billion in net income, or $0.45 per share, above the $0.36 declining consensus estimate as a result of a $1.9 billion drop in non-interest expenses, even as FICC trading revenue tumbled just as it did for JPM and Jefferies, sliding 9% Y/Y, offset by a rise in equity trading courtesy of China.
Unlike previous quarters when JPM's earnings release was a jumble of legal addbacks, MBS charge offs and loan-loss reserve releases, this time it was positively tame by comparison.
"J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has begun layoffs that are expected to total more than 5,000 by next year, people familiar with the matter said. This latest phase of cuts started earlier this year and would eliminate at least 2% of the bank’s workforce over the next year," WSJ reports.