With VIX having collapsed earlier (and its term structure inverted) ahead of this week's OPEX, as risk started to increase, BATS &NYSE just declared self-help against the CBOE...
European shares remain higher, close to intraday highs, with the autos and travel & leisure sectors outperforming and basic resources, utilities underperforming. Meeting of finance officials to reach a deal over Greek aid ended in frustration, forcing leaders to call for an emergency summit for Monday. ECB plans to hold an emergency session of its Governing Council on Friday to discuss a deterioration in liquidity at Greek banks, three people familiar said. German airwave auction raises $5.7b to top 2010 sale. Bank of Japan leaves monetary policy unchanged as forecast. Shanghai Composite Index capped its worst weekly decline in seven years.
Traditional banks were built to gather deposits. Their design and infrastructure is geared towards that; they are maladapted to today’s interest rate environment. P2P platforms and other non-bank lenders are eating their lunch. Absent some radical rethinking of their operations model, they are about to go the way of the dodo. Of course, markets are not efficient; it will take time for competitors to move in. Traditional banks, however, have few weapons to fend them off: their brands (much less valuable for loan-origination than for deposit-gather purposes) and their (hugely expensive) legacy infrastructure. It took almost a century for the dodo bird to become extinct.
With OPEX out of the way, the indices are free to trade on anxiety and reality... and have now given up all the post-"Greek Talks Fail" gains... WTI Crude and Treasury yields are plunging.
While markets remain in "well it is Europe and it's OPEX so BTFD" mode, entirely ignorant of what Goldman describes as the risk of a systemic shock, the EU-Greece negotiations continue... to go badly. As Bloomberg reports:
*EU OFFICIAL SAYS GREECE DEAL FRIDAY NIGHT LOOKING UNLIKELY
In fact, the official dropped his expectations so low as to say "it is possible that they could agree on progress." Which at least is one better than the no-progress meeting last week.
Today's Russian downgrade pulled yet another raft of "smartest people in the room" to tell investors how screwed Russia is by low oil prices (and yet the US Shale industry is fine and will manage through this). However, Goldman Sachs prefers facts in its analysis of the Russian oil sector and concludes, investor concerns about the health of Russia's oil industry should remain more myth than reality.
Well that escalated quickly. It appears those hoping for 'stability' are once again seeing any strength immediately sold into... Having smashed higher yesterday into the OPEX/close and then again this morning (breaking above $51 post-SNB), WTI Crude has collapsed back to $46.50... the scene of the crime for yesterday's "spoof"-ramp manipulation.
WTI Crude futures are up almost 6%, spiking above $48.50 into the close and options expiration... no fundamental catalyst for now... Once again, crude futures have been 'spoofed' all day so this is hardly a surprise.
For years, we've been warning that the economics of the US 'shale revolution' were suspect. Namely, that they've only been made possible by the new era of 'expensive' oil (an average oil price of between $80-$100 per barrel). We've argued that many players in the shale industry simply wouldn't be able to operate profitably at lower prices. Well, with oil prices now suddenly sub-$60 per barrel, we're about to find out. Using the traditional corporate income statement, it is difficult to determine if shale drilling companies make money. There are a lot of moving parts, some deliberate obfuscation at some companies, and the massive decline rates make analysis difficult – since so much of reported profitability depends on assumptions made regarding depreciation and depletion. So, can shale oil be profitable? If so, at what price? And under what conditions?