When the main economic event this week hits this Friday at 8:30 am EDT, when the BLS releases the May payrolls report, Wall Street consensus wil be expecting a 160,000 print, a number which will have a big impact on market expectations for a Fed rate hike at the June or July FOMC meeting. However, consensus may be disappointed for one reason: the Verizon strike could chop off as much as 35,000 workers from the headline payrolls print.
Government bonds rose and the yen strengthened as investors weighed the timing of the Federal Reserve’s next increase in interest rates and the outlook for inflation. Commodities slid, led by metals, while stocks in Europe declined. Treasury 30-year yields fell for a third day. The yen rose from near this month’s low. Futures on the S&P 500 also declined after initially jumping higher in thinly traded, illiquid tape.
Sell paper and digital gold, maybe but not physical gold coins and bars. Rather both physical gold and silver bullion should be owned as financial insurance and hedges against currency debasement, bail ins, systemic and counter party risks and the myriad other risks today.
It will be fitting, not to mention symmetric, if stocks which yesterday closed at 7 weeks lows and red for the year, end the week the same way they started it: with a rally on no news, just more hopes that oil (which as recently as two years ago none other than Chair Yellen said said would be be "unambiguously good" if lower) will continue rising. While US markets ended yesterday's trading on a sour note, that weakness has failed to spread to the rest of the world, and global shares rebounded from a six-week low as crude and commodity prices recovered, while the yen weakened on reduced demand for haven assets.
March's epic - and utterly embarassing - spike is now nothing but an aberration as for the eight month of the last nine, Philly Fed's business outlook remains firmly in negative territory. With hope-strewn expectations of a +3.0 print, Philly Fed dropped from -1.6 to -1.8 with New Orders tumbling back into contraction. While the headline data dropped, "hope" was also dashed as 6-month expectations for inventories (not good for GDP) and employees (not good for Fed meme) tumbled.
It has been more of the same overnight, as global stocks piggybacked on the strong US close and rose despite the lack of good (or bad) macro news, propelled higher by the two usual suspects: a higher USDJPY and a even higher oil, if mostly early on in the trading session.
After last week's key event, the retail sales number, which the market discounted as being too unrealistic (and overly seasonally adjusted) after printing at a 13 month high and attempting to refute the reality observed by countless retailers, this week has a quiet start today with no data of note due out of Europe and just Empire manufacturing (which moments ago missed badly) and the NAHB housing market index of note in the US session this morning.
The current rash of cautious ignorant optimism is so very reminiscent of the period right after Bear Stearns in 2008. Ben Bernanke as late as June 2008: "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so." Janet Yellen said, “the strong incoming data on spending eased my fears that we are in or are approaching a recession regime” before expressing confidence in rate hikes starting in December 2008! The mainstream takes the absence of further liquidation as if there will be no more liquidations when in fact the likelihood of more of them only rises the more they are artificially “contained.”
A Surprise From JPM: "Pundits Are Urging Investors To Chase Performance; We Believe This Would Be A Mistake"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/03/2016 11:14 -0400
"Equities had a meaningful rebound from the February lows, and we now find many who didn’t want to add at the time, are looking to enter the market at these levels. Indeed, pundits are urging investors to “chase performance”. We believe that this would be a mistake; complacency has crept into the market again, technicals appear overbought and the upturn in activity appears to be stalling."
"This Is Not A Good Time To Be In Business": Dallas Fed Disappoints, Contracts For 16th Straight MonthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/25/2016 10:41 -0400
Following the death of Philly Fed's dead-cat-bounce, Dallas Fed did the same with a disappointing thud back to -13.9 (missing expectations of a rise to -10.0). This is the 16th consecutive month in contraction (below 0) and respondents are increasingly depressed, "it is a bad time for manufacturing, agriculture and mining - the only sectors that actually create wealth." What kind of fiction are these real average joes peddling? Have they not seen the jobs data?
Following Japan's record low PMI, Europe's modest pick-up, and China's bounce, this week's Philly Fed crash was more indicative as US Manufacturing (flash) PMI printed 50.8 (from 51.5 in March and notably missing 52.0 expectations). This is the lowest print since September 2009 with New Orders sliding (weakest since Dec 2015), and Employment at its weakest since June 2013. As Markit notes, "US factories reported their worst month for just over six-and-a-half years in April, dashing hopes that first quarter weakness will prove temporary."
Remember March and all those hopefull regional fed survey bounces? They are over! Philly Fed just printed -1.6, back into contraction for the 8th month of last 9, missing expectations of a +9.0 print. Every subcomponent weakened (aside from prices paid and received) but what saved the headline from further collapse was an unexpected surge in optimism for six-months ahead (right after the election?).
One day after stocks were this close from hitting new all time highs on what have been either ok earnings, if looking at non-GAAP data, or atrocious earnings, based on GAAP, and where any oil headline is now immediately translated as bullish by the oil algos, so far futures are relatively flat, while European stocks were at their moments ago in anticipation of the latest ECB announcement due out in just one hour. However, unlike last month's "quad-bazooka", this time the market expects far less from Draghi. “Having pulled put the monetary bazooka in March, the market is sensibly expecting no further policy measures from the ECB,”
Key economic releases for the coming week include the ISM non-manufacturing report on Wednesday. There are several scheduled speeches from Fed officials this week. Fed Chair Yellen will take part in a discussion with former Fed Chairs on Thursday.
It is always hard to buck the crowd, to be a bear when the market is up this much, this fast. Stocks are rallying and being underweight gets harder to maintain every day. The bulls are out there yapping about how this was just another correction, another dip to buy and that we better get back in, yada, yada, yada. What makes being bearish so hard is the noise of the perpetually bullish street, the lure of easy money in a market you know is overvalued but keeps going higher. Like JM Keynes "I change my mind when the facts change." Despite the rally, the facts – at least for now – still favor the bears.