"Everything is awesome," rang out as anchor after anchor explained how the stock market's "best week of the year" - after mass murder in Paris and as hawkish a Fed as most traders have known was unleashed - was just the start... and Santa Claus was on his way. However, there are a few things they forgot to mention...
One more time: It’s not Paris, Greece, China, Ebola, Fed rate-hike or not, etc... Nothing matters but OPEX...
"As we progressed through the quarter, conditions softened. And September was especially weak, particularly in the U.S. product businesses....September typically is the strongest month of the year... There appears to be a general slowdown in U.S. industrial customer spending, both capital and operating spending.... we're not expecting to see sequential growth until the second half of the year (2016)"
- Keith Norbusch, ROK CEO
A bigger problem for Valeant, however, emerged today when none other than Warren Buffett's right hand man Charlie Munger in an interview with Bloomberg "tore anew into the besieged drug company, calling its practice of acquiring rights to treatments and boosting prices legal but “deeply immoral” and “similar to the worst abuses in for-profit education.” And to prove just how much clout Munger does indeed have, moments ago the most important Wall Street bank, Goldman Sachs, downgraded Valeant to Neutral from Buy, cutting its share price target from $180 to $122.
Yesterday's tumble on the read-through from component-maker Dialog Semi added to fears, noted by Berenberg Bank the previous week, that iPhone sales momentum was not as rosy as Tim Cook told Jim Cramer after all, is not seeing many BTFDers this morning. As we previously noted, the China channel checks painted an ugly picture, and now JPMorgan (while maintaining their 'overweight' rating on AAPL) is warning that it expects "cautious guidance" amid a weakening global macro picture.
Since we first exposed (and explained) the Black-sh Swan-link nature of the options market's Skew Index, the mainstream media has lept to various conclusions (from ignore it, like everything else, to 'wow'). However, what is crucial to comprehend is that the soaring Skew is occurring at the same time as a collapsing VIX. However, what we have seen over the last two days is somewhat unprecedented - VIX has continued to collapse into option expiration (and we know the pattern that occurs after opex) as SKEW has soared to new all-time record highs.
In the absence of any key economic developments in the Asian trading session, Asian stocks traded mostly under the influence of the late, pre-opex US ramp momentum courtesy of another day of ugly economic data in the US (bad econ news is good news for liquidity addicts), closing solidly in the green across the board, led by China (+1.6%) and Japan (+1.1%) thanks in no small part to the latest tumble in the Yen carry trade, which mirrored a bout of USD overnight weakness. And since a major part of the risk on move yesterday was due to Ewald Nowotny's comments welcoming more QE, news from Eurostat that Eurozone CPI in September dropped -0.1% confirming Europe's deflation continues, should only be greeted with even more buying as it suggests further easing by the ECB is inevitable.
Presented with little comment aside to say "Fool me once, shame on you" but fool me eight times...
WTI Crude is back below $45 again this morning - pressing towards 2015 and cycle lows -after Goldman Sachs' Jeffrey Currie warns 'lower for longer' is here to stay, with price risk "substantially skewed to the downside." His reasoning are manifold, as detailed below, but overarching is oversupply (Saudi Arabia has a challenge in Asia as it battles to maintain mkt share, the Russians are coming, andother OPEC members want a bigger slice) and, even more crucially, storage is running out. As Currie concludes, this time it is different. Financial metrics for the oil industry are far worse.