We have commented a few times on the slightly diffuse character of the echo bubble, which has infected a great many nooks and crannies of the economy. One of the areas which has experienced an enormous boom was the sub-prime auto loan sector. It seems however that the party in this sub-sector of the bubble economy is in the process of ending.
Believe it or not, the main driver of risk overnight had nothing to do with Iraq, with the global economy or even with hopes for more liquidity, and everything to do with a largely meaningless component of Japan's future tax policy, namely whether or not Abe (who at this pace of soaring imported inflation and plunging wages won't have to worry much about 2015 as he won't be PM then) should cut the corporate tax rate in 2015. As Bloomberg reported, Abe, speaking to reporters in Tokyo today after a meeting with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Economy Minister Akira Amari, said the plan would bring the rate under 30 percent in a few years. He said alternative revenue will be secured for the move, which requires approval from the Diet.
A stunning 64% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track as President Obama's recent actions (too numerous to list) have sent his approval rating plunging to a mere 44% - the lowest (according to a Bloomberg poll) since his Presidency began. Under the surface the picture is even more worrisome as "in the past, Obama’s likeability has stayed ahead of perceptions of job performance," as his 'charm' saved him from his apparent ineptitude, but now, "it appears he is no longer likeable enough."
Yesterday's market action was perfectly predictable, and as we forecast, it followed the move of the USDJPY almost to a tick, which with the help of a last minute VIX smash (just when will the CFTC finally look at the "banging the close" in the VIX by the NY Fed?) pushed the DJIA to a new record high, courtesy of the overnight USDJPY selling which in turn allowed all day buying of the key carry pair. Fast forward to today when once again we have a replica of the set up: a big overnight dump in USDJPY has sent the dollar-yen to just over 102.000. And since Nomura has a green light by the BOJ to lift every USDJPY offer south of 102.000 we expect the USDJPY to once again rebound and push what right now is a weak equity futures session (-8) well above current levels. Unless, of course, central banks finally are starting to shift their policy, realizing that they may have lost control to the upside since algos no longer care about warnings that "volatility is too low", knowing full well the same Fed will come and bail them out on even the tiniest downtick. Which begs the question: is a big Fed-mandated shakeout coming? Could the coming FOMC announcement be just the right time and place for the Fed to surprise the market out of its "complacency" and whip out an unexpected hawk out of its sleeve?
In a week dominated by headlines of heroes and D-Day celebrations, we suspect President Obama was hoping for a patriotic bump in his ratings... but as The Hill reports, people in the United States say President Obama paid too high a price for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, and largely disapprove of the administration’s handling of the swap, according to a pair of new polls. Only 34% of those polled (by USA Today/ Pew) backed Obama's decision as 'the right thing' but more crucially, it appears the President's ongoing push towards tyranny that is most worrisome as 72% said Obama should have informed Congress before making the deal.
As if this morning's Draghi moves were not enough to show that there are no markets - just manipulated prices from central planners - Japan's Shinzo Abe just dropped another 'random US session' tape bomb:
*JAPAN’S ABE ASKS PENSION FUND TO RAISE STOCK INVESTMENT: NIKKEI
USDJPY and the Nikkei 225 futures are popping in this news - which is not so much news as he has been pushing for this risk-seeking behavior from the nation's pension fund for months. His efforts this time are for health and welfare minister Tamura to announce the move in September (before the original year-end deadline). Of course, with Abe's ratings in lockstep with the stock market, it's no surprise...
If the Fed is looking for definitive proof of bubble euphoria it should look no further than the CLO market: according to Bloomberg, so far in 2014, more than $46 billion of collateralized loan obligations have been raised, after $82 billion were sold in all of 2013. As a result of this epic dash for repackaged trash, JPMorgan boosted its annual forecast for CLO issuance from $70 billion to as much as $100 billion, which means 2014 may end up as the biggest year on record. We assume it is with great irony that Bloomberg summarizes: "The business of bundling junk-rated corporate loans into top-rated securities is booming like never before after the implementation of regulation aimed at making the financial system safer."
- U.S. sets new import duties on Chinese solar products (Reuters)
- U.S.-China Solar-Products Dispute Heats Up (WSJ)
- China Mulls Offshore Yuan Gold Trade in Free Trade Zone (BBG)
- Insider-Trading Probe Could Snarl a Deal for Icahn (WSJ)
- KCG Holdings Suspects Its Trading Code Was Stolen (WSJ)
- ‘Period. Full Stop’ Is the New ‘At the End of the Day’ (BBG)
- Draghi not so goof for bonds: Investors Flag Risk of ECB Disappointing After Europe Bond Rally (BBG)
- But great for stocks: Equity Traders See Draghi Turning Throttle Up on Rally (BBG)
This week's busy calendar starts off with today’s global PMIs and ISMs. On Tuesday, President Obama begins a four day European trip ahead of the G7 meeting which starts on Wednesday. This G7 meeting is replacing the G8 meeting that was originally scheduled in Sochi but was cancelled after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Tuesday’s data docket is important with Euroarea data releases including inflation and unemployment expected to further cement the ECB’s resolve in easing policy come Thursday. Wednesday features the global services ISMs and PMIs. Other data releases scheduled for that day includes the ADP employment report, which will provide an important preview to Friday’s NFP, and US trade. The Fed releases its Beige Book on Wednesday too and the second estimates of Euroarea GDP will be published on Wednesday as well. Apart from the ECB on Thursday, we also have the BoE policy meeting.
It took a precisely 0.1 beat in the Chinese Manufacturing PMI over the weekend (50.8 vs Exp. 50.7) for the USDJPY and the Nikkei to forget all about last week's abysmal Japanese economic data and to send the Nikkei soaring by 2.1% to its highest print in 5 months. Subsequent overnight weakness from Europe, where the Eurozone Final May Manufacturing PMI dropped again from 52.5 to 52.2, below the 52.5 expected, served simply to push bunds higher back over 147.00, if not do much to US equities which as usual continue their low volume "the music is still playing" melt-up completely dislocated from all newsflow and fundamentals (because just like over the past 5 years, "there is hope").
With the NSA already reigning supreme when it comes to the capture of virtually every form of instantaneous electronic communication and interchange, aka the "flow" of data, there is one final threshold that the US superspy agency needed to cross before the biggest brother of all would have full control over not only the flow of information, but its stock too: a photographic database of virtually everyone. And courtesy of not only programs like Facebook, but also its access to government photographic data, the NSA is focusing on just that. As the NYT reports, the agency is "harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents... The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,”
The Keynesians have failed. Japan has proved it. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world… and the markets catch on.
- Ukraine Rebels Outfox Army to Dent Poroshenko Troop Goal (BBG)
- Russia Withdraws Most of Forces From Ukraine Border: U.S. (BBG)
- Super-Size Me! China’s ’Mini’ Stimulus Starts Expanding (BBG)
- Option B: The blueprint for Thailand's coup (Reuters)
- Big investors replace banks in $4.2tn repo market (FT)
- Draghi Shields Catalan Independence Bid From Market (BBG)
- U.S. companies seek cyber experts for top jobs, board seats (Reuters)
- Parsley CEO Emerges as One of Youngest U.S. Billionaires (BBG)
The New Normal In One Sentence: "In The US Equity Market, The Worse A Company’s Finances, The Better It’s Doing"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/27/2014 10:00 -0500
It was just last Friday when we updated our list of the most hated, i.e., most shorted, stocks which are so critical in the New Normal because as we have reported constantly since 2012, going long the most shorted names remains the best alpha-generating strategy, outperforming the broader market by orders of magnitude. Today, it is Bloomberg's turn to recap just how broken the market is with an article that highlights the "balance sheet bombs" rallying by 94%. The lede: "In the U.S. equity market, the worse a company’s finances, the better it’s doing." Because there is nothing like rewarding failure and capital misallocation to promote economic growth and employment recovery.
Speaking like a jilted girlfriend, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble exclaimed that "Russia needs Europe more than China to develop economy," following the signing of the 'holy grail' gas deal this week. But the German saved his sternest comments for his US "allies" as he explained discussions over sanctions and negotiations with Russia over Ukrains would "be even more successful if the United States understands that it is also part of the West." Reflecting on the waning US influence and slamming US Congress delays over IMF reform, Schaeuble unleashed the following: "Perhaps now more of those in power in the United States will ask themselves: Why is America's soft power, even though it is the indispensable nation, not so great as to be understood by the dumb Germans?" As the WSJ reports, Schaeuble reiterated "we won't seek military escalation, but we will of course use our political and diplomatic abilities to increase the pressure on Russia to abide by the rules."