Moments ago, the market was expecting Q3 GDP to print at 3.0%, and was pleasantly surprised when instead it got a 3.5% print, sending all risk assets kneejerk higher. However, a quick glance into the components revealed that things were certainly not as they seemed, with Personal Consumption in Q3 actually decreasing notably from Q2's 2.5%, to just 1.8% in Q3, below the 1.9% Expected, and accounting for 1.22% of the 3.54% Q3 GDP, the lowest Personal Consumption boost to GDP since Q2 2012 excluding the infamous Q1 winter vortex quarter. So what happened to boost Q2 GDP if that core driver, the US consumer was not there? Simple. Government stepped in, and stepped in hard, with its 0.83% boost to the bottom line GDP the highest since Q2 of 2009!
To summarize (even though with liquidity as non-existant as it is, this may be completely stale by the time we go to print in a minute or so), European shares erase gains, fall close to intraday lows following the Fed’s decision to end QE. Banks, basic resources sectors underperform, while health care, tech outperform. Companies including Shell, Barclays, Aviva, Volkswagen, Alcatel-Lucent, ASMI, Bayer released earnings. German unemployment unexpectedly declines. The Italian and U.K. markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the Swiss the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; German yields decline. Commodities decline, with nickel, silver underperforming and wheat outperforming. U.S. jobless claims, GDP, personal consumption, core PCE due later.
Pointing to “solid job gains” and a falling unemployment rate, the Fed said a range of labor market indicators suggest that labor market slack is “gradually diminishing.” In the process it struck from the statement an earlier assessment that labor market slack was substantial, a phrase investors have been watching closely for signs the Fed is becoming more confident about the economy. If all goes as they plan, officials will turn their attention in the months ahead to discussions about when to start raising short-term interest rates and how to signal those moves to the public before they happen. Many expect to move on rates by the middle of 2015.
Caution is advised.
One would think that after last week's market rout, the worst in years, that Goldman clients would have just one question: why just a month after you, chief Goldman strategist David Kostin said to "Buy Stocks Because Hedge Funds Suck; Also Chase Momentum And Beta", are stocks crashing? No really: this is literally what Kostin said in the first days of September: "investors should buy stocks which should benefit from a combination of beta, momentum, and popularity as funds attempt to remedy their weak YTD performance heading into late 2014." Turns out frontrunning the world's most overpaid money losers wasn't such a great strategy after all. In any event, that is not what Goldman's clients are asking. Instead as David Kostin informs us in his weekly letter to Jim Hanson's beloved creations, "every client inquiry focused on the same four topics: global growth, FX, oil, and small-caps."
The last two days have seen President Obama will give speeches on the economy. This issue is critical going into the mid-term elections as virtually every poll shows this is a top concern of voters. The question of economic recovery is interesting in the context of where that recovery has occurred. As we discussed recently in "For 90% Of Americans, There Has Been No Recovery," while the ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve have inflated asset prices, the only real accomplishment has been a widening of the wealth gap between the top 10% of individuals that have dollars invested in the financial markets and everyone else. Unfortunately, the facts are going to make promoting an "economic success" story rather difficult. Let's review Obama's economic scorecard in terms of the things that truly matter to the average American...
Final Q2 GDP Surges 4.6% Thanks To Profit Definition Change; Personal Consumption Weaker Than ExpectedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/26/2014 09:08 -0400
The good news in the just released final Q2 GDP estimate soared by 4.6%, just as Wall Street expected, which was the biggest quarterly jump since 2011 Q4 2011, driven by gains in business spending, where mandatory forced Obamacare outlays led to a $17.5 billion chained-dollars increase in Healthcare spending to $1815.9 billion. Also helping were corporate profits which rose 8.4% in Q2, the most since Q3 2010, once again courtesy of adjustment in definitions (recall the IVA vs CCAdj change we discussed previously).
- Mystery Man Who Moves Japanese Markets Made More Than 1 Million Trades (BBG)
- Draghi’s Trillion-Euro Pump Finds Blockage in Spain: Euro Credit (BBG)
- Apple plays defense on iPhone 6 bending, software concerns (Reuters)
- U.S. to Shield Military From High-Interest Debt (WSJ)
- U.S. Outgunned by Extremists on Social Media Battlefield (BBG)
- Yen Weakens on Pension Fund Reform; Aussie Drops to 7-Month Low (BBG)
- Secretive Russian oil giant has no fear of sanctions (Reuters)
- Ride-Sharing Services Face Legal Threat From San Francisco, Los Angeles (WSJ)
- Putin’s Sell-Treasuries-for-BRICS Bonds Plan Has Limits (BBG)
It was all up to the Japanese banana market to fix things overnight: after the biggest tumble in US equities in months, and Asian markets poised for their third consecutive weekly drop, the longest streak since February, Japan reported CPI numbers that despite still surging (for example, in August TV prices soared 9.5%, but "down" from 11.8% the month before), when "adjusting" for the effects of the April tax hike, missed across the board. As a result the USDJPY was at the lows and threatening to break the recent parabolic surge higher which has helped move global equities higher in the past few weeks when the usual spate of GPIF-related headlines, because apparently the fact that Japan will and already has begun sacrificing the retirement funds of its citizens just to keep Abe's deranged monetary dream alive for a few more months has not been fully priced in yet, sent the USDJPY soaring yet again.
With the snoozer of an FOMC meeting in the rearview mirror, as well as Scotland's predetermined independence referndum, last week's key events: the BABA IPO and the iPhone 6 release, are now history, which means the near-term catalysts are gone and the coming week will be far more relaxed, if hardly boring. Here is what to expect.
The US may be closed on Monday, but after a summer lull that has seen trading volumes plunge to CYNKian lows, activity is set to come back with a bang (if only for the sake of banks' flow desk revenue) with both a key ECB decision due later this week, as well as the August Nonfarm Payrolls print set for Friday. Among the other events, in the US we have the ISM manufacturing on Tuesday, with markets expecting a broadly unchanged reading of 57.0 for August although prices paid are expecting to decline modestly. Then it is ADP on Thursday (a day later than usual) ahead of Payrolls Friday. The Payrolls print is again one of those "most important ever" number since it comes ahead of the the September 16-17 FOMC meeting and on the heels of the moderation of several key data series (retail sales, personal consumption, inflation). Consensus expects a +225K number and this time it is unclear if a big miss will be great news for stocks or finally bad, as 5 years into ZIRP the US economy should be roaring on all cylinders and not sputtering every other month invoking "hopes" of even more central bank intervention.
If last week's disappointing global economic data, that saw Brazil added to the list of countries returning to outright recession as Europe Hamletically debates whether to be or not to be in a triple-dip, was enough to push the S&P solidly above 2000, even if on a few hundreds ES contracts (traded almost exclusively between central banks), then the overnight massacre of global manufacturing PMIs - when not one but both Chinese PMIs missed spurring calls for "more easing" and pushing the SHCOMP up 0.83% to 2,235.5 - should see the S&P cross Goldman's revised year end target of 2050 (up from 1900) sometime by Thursday (on another few hundreds ES contracts).
If you like your de-escalation, you can keep your de-escalation. To think that heading into, and following the Russia-Ukraine "summit" earlier this week there was so much hope that the tense Ukraine civil war "situation" would somehow fix itself. Oh how wrong that thinking was considering overnight, following rebel separatists gains in the southeast of Ukraine which included the strategic port of Novoazvosk and which is "threatening to open up a new front in the war" including setting up a land corridor to Russia controlled-Crimea, Ukraine's president Poroshenko for the first time came out and directly accused Russia of an "Invasion", or at least a first time in recent weeks, saying he has convened the security council on the recent Russian actions.
David Rosenberg, in one of his recent missives, wrote: "...based on the current trend in the LEI and the level of the diffusion index, history suggests that the next recession is at least four years away." While anything is certainly possible, it is highly unlikely that the current economic environment is supportive of another four years of a "struggle along" economy. Given the artificial supports during recent years, the extreme extension in assets prices, record levels of margin debt and the chase for yield in "junk credits," it is highly possible that the next recessionary decline could be much larger than the historical average.
Key highlights in the coming week: US Durable Goods, Michigan Conf., Services PMI, PCE, and CPI in Euro area and Japan. Broken down by day: Monday - US Services PMI, New Home Sales (Consensus 4.7%); Singapore CPI; Tuesday - US Durable Goods (consensus 7.5%) and Consumer Confidence; Wednesday - Germany GfK Consumer Confidence; Thursday - US GDP 2Q (2nd est., expect 3.70%, below consensus) and Personal Consumption; Euro area Confidence; CPI in Germany and Spain; Friday - US Michigan Conf. (consensus 80.1), PCE (consensus 0.10%), Chicago PMI; Core CPI in Euro area and Japan (consensus 2.30%). Additionally, with a long weekend in the US coming up, expect volumes into the close of the week to slump below even recent near-record lows observed recently as the CYNKing of the S&P 500 goes into overdrive.