Our "silver lining" concluding remark to last week's lackluster 10 Year bond reopening auction was that "the good news is that with the reopening, dealers should have some additional collateral for a while, or at least until the Fed monetizes it. Look for this CUSIP - VB3 (On The Run) to remain on the POMO exclusion lists for white a while." Sure enough, following the Friday settlement of this auction, things in the Treasury repo market have normalized somewhat after hitting very dangerous levels. How bad did it get? The following chart of failures to deliver from the NY Fed shows just how acute the shortage of "high quality collateral" (where the 10 Year is the fulcrum instrument) got in the past two months, with the total rising to $129 billion, or the biggest freeze in the repo market since the debt-ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011 when this number hit $280 billion.
Following yesterday's ugly 3 Year auction, some were worried the bond market weakness could spill over to today's benchmark 10 Year reopening of $21 billion in paper. It prices just through the When Issued of 2.210%, or at 2.209%, a little better than expected, although the highest yield since October of 2011. So while the demand on the surface was sufficient, the Bid to Cover, which dropped to only 2.53, below last month's 2.70, well below the TTM average of 2.92, and the lowest since August of 2012 when the BTC came at 2.49. Nonetheless, the downward slope in the BTC curve in both the 3 and 10 Year auctions is quite visible. In terms of takedown, there was a surprise as the Indirects took down a whopping 51.7%, the highest since December of 2011 when they were left with 61.9%. And while Dealers ended up with just 36.6% it was the Directs that had the smallest allocation, or 11.7%, since September of last year. Perhaps Dealers are now masking as Indirect. Either way, the good news is that with the reopening, dealers should have some additional collateral for a while, or at least until the Fed monetizes it. Look for this CUSIP - VB3 (On The Run) to remain on the POMO exclusion lists for white a while.
It may come as news to some, but the Fed really has no idea what it is doing (no, really - just read "Fed Confused Reality Doesn't Conform To Its Economic Models, Shocked Its Models Predict "Explosive Inflation" if you don't believe us ). After all, there is a reason for the saying "we are in uncharted waters." Which is why, to help it in its monetary decision-making, every few months, the Fed issues a survey to the 21 Primary Dealers (used to be 22 but MF Global showed that often the PDs also have no idea what they are doing) asking for their feedback on when it should tighten, how big it's balance sheet should be, how big monthly POMO should be, what the Fed Funds target range "may" be, where the GDP and unemployment rate will be, what the likelihood of the 10 Year soaring to 4% by the end of 2014 is, and other pertinent questions that frame the "independent" thinking of the Fed.
Presented with little comment - aside to note the entirely news and fundamentals driven ramp in US equities has an odd correlation with the smash in AUDJPY... (and it's Tuesday and a POMO). Or maybe it was none of the above, and it was just select Reuters clients reacting to the very early leak of the University of Phoenix Consumer Spying index, which will have just hit a record high when it is released to the broader public in due course...
Following April's surprising drop in crude imports which led to a multi-year low in the March trade balance (revised to -$37.1 billion), the just released April data showed an 8.5% jump in the deficit to $40.3 billion, if modestly better than the expected $41.1 billion. This was driven by a $2.2 billion increase in exports to $185.2 billion offset by a more than double sequential jump in imports by $5.4 billion, to $222.3 billion. More than all of the change was driven by a $3.2 billion increase in the goods deficit, offset by a $0.1 billion surplus in services.The Census Bureau also revised the entire historical data series, the result of which was a drop in the March deficit from $38.8 billion to $37.1 billion. In April 233,215K barrels of oil were imported, well above the 215,734K in March, and the highest since January. Furthermore, since the Q1 cumulative trade deficit has been revised from $126.9 billion to $123.7 billion, expect higher Q1 GDP revisions, offset by even more tapering of Q2 GDP tracking forecasts. And since the data is hardly as horrible as yesterday's ISM, we don't think it will be enough on its own to guarantee the 21 out of 21 Tuesday track record, so we eagerly look forward to today's POMO as the catalyst that seals the deal.
Sell in May and go away will be on every investor’s mind after Friday’s week performance. It’s always been when you sell that’s been the measure for this maxim to be effective. If so the high for SPY would have been May 21st at $167.17. Then there’s the reappearance of the Hindenburg Omen but that’s for another day’s discussion.
Having shifted our communication stance from 'may' to 'will' last month, the Fed's upcoming POMO schedule offers some insights into the days when shorting (apart from the obvious Tuesdays) will be dangerous (though the BoJ now stuck may require a communication change back to 'may'). We do note that the Fed POMO'd $44 billion out outright Treasury purchases in May (as expected) and plans to do the same in June with $45 billion pegged (strongly suggesting no Taper anytime soon)... it seems next Friday is your first opportunity (though if the last hour is anything to go by... perhaps the Fed's omniptence is being challenged).
While the dollar is pricing in the Taper, stocks are already looking beyond this transitory event, and in line with what happened after the end of QE1, QE2, Operation Twist, and QE3, has started pricing in the 'Untaper'. As an aside, we also we had a monster $5.016 billion POMO today... Though frankly, one glance at the charts below and it is pretty clear what is really driving today's action in stocks - cough JPY cough...
What a difference 24 hours makes: if yesterday's 2 Year bond auction was weak from beginning to end, today's 5 Year showed that any fears of a "great vortexing" in the market can be largely forgotten. The 5 Year, which was expected to price 0.1 bps over 1.05%, and whose WI was trading at 1.048% at 1 pm, just priced at a stop through high yield of 1.045% - quite better than many had feared. The Bid to Cover also was hardly disappointing, coming at 2.79, just shy of the TTM average of 2.83. But the most notable component was the Dealer take down: if yesterday Dealers couldn't get their hands on enough bonds in the final allocation, today it was the Directs and Indirects that took down a combined 67.4% of the auction, leaving just 32.6% for Primary Dealers, the lowest in our dataset, and likely ever. Something tells us Dealers are very eager to load up on as many repoable bonds as they could yet failed: earlier today, the OTR 10Y CUSIP was among the Fed's exclusions in today's POMO, which brings the question - is the TSY collateral shortage starting to spread?
Today, another one of the original "big boys" has called it curtains on the landlord business: "We just don’t see the returns there that are adequate to incentivize us to continue to invest", according to the CEO Bruce Rose of Carrington, one of the first investors to use deep institutional pockets (in this case a $450 million investment from OakTree) and BTFHousingD. Rose's assessment of the market? "There’s a lot of -- bluntly -- stupid money that jumped into the trade without any infrastructure, without any real capabilities and a kind of build-it-as-you-go mentality that we think is somewhat irresponsible.... We’ll sit back in the weeds for a while and wait for a couple of blowups,” he said. “There’ll be a point in time when we’ll be happy to get back into the market at levels that make more sense.”
Following yesterday's blow out in US bond yields, which have continued to leak wider and are now at 2.20% after touching 2.23%, the overnight Japanese trading session was relatively tame, with the 10Y JGB closing just modestly wider at 0.93%, following the market stabilization due to a substantial JPY1 trillion JOMO operation which also meant barely any change to the NKY225, while the USDJPY slipped in overnight trading below the 102 support line and was trading in the mid 101s as of this moment, pulling all risk classes lower with it. There was no immediate catalyst for the sharp slide around 3am Eastern, although there was the usual plethora of weak economic data.
UPDATE: S&P 500 futures plunged back to the lows of the day as soon as cash closed.
The streak is alive. For the 20th Tuesday in a row, The Dow Jones Industrials have closed green. With an average gain of 80 points, since 1/25, the Dow is up an impressive 11% but absent Tuesdays is merely unchanged at +0.2%. Today saw significantly volatility in stocks though with Nikkei and S&P futures giving up all their gains at one point only to bounce back into the close for a glorious victory. Volatility was everywhere as the collapse of the JGB market spills over. VIX rose 0.5 vols to 14.5% (disagreeing with stocks). FX markets jerked and gapped with JPY ending down around 1% from Friday's close. Commodities diverged today with Copper and Oil rising and Gold and Silver sliding even with the 0.75% gain on the USD this week. High yield credit slid lower all day but we suspect this was dominated by rate risk as Treasury volatility exploded. 10Y yields rose by their most (+16.5bps or 5-sigma) since Oct 2011 to close at their highest since April 2012.
While this morning's explosion higher in Treasury bond yields (the largest in 9 months) was 'evidence' for many of the 'great rotation' as stocks rallied; it seems that now the 'crowd' is selling everything. Stocks, commodities, bonds, and credit are all offered (while the USD and precious metals are bid). The end of POMO appears to have stalled the exuberance and cracked the JPY collapse of the day (for now - since it is Tuesday). With the 10Y yield now well above the S&P 500 yield, we wonder what 'measure of cheapness' will be wheeled out next to justify buying stocks again.
It doesn't take an Econ Ph.D to realize that what Japan is trying to do: which is to recreate the US monetary experiment of the past four years, which has had rising stocks and bonds at the same time, the first due to the Fed's endless monetary injections (and pent up inflation expectations) and the second due to quality collateral mismatch and scarcity and shadow bank system funding via reserve currency "deposit-like" instruments such as TSYs, is a problem. After all, those who understand that the BOJ is merely taking hints from the Fed all along the way, have been warning about just that, and also warning that once the dam breaks, and if (or when) there is a massive rotation out of bonds into stocks, it is the Japanese banks - levered to the gills with trillions of JGBs - that will crack first. Apparently, this elementary finance 101 logic has finally trickled down to the BOJ, whose minutes over the weekend revealed that members are pointing out "contradictions" in the Kuroda-stated intent of doubling the monetary base in two years, unleashing inflation, sending the stock market soaring, all the while pressuring bondholders to not sell their bonds. As the FT reports, "According to the minutes of the April 26 policy meeting, released on Monday, a “few” board members said the BoJ’s original stance “might initially have been perceived by market participants as contradictory”, causing “fluctuations in financial markets”.