Judging by the recent action in equity futures, the continuously rangebound US market since the end of QE may be entering its latest downphase, catalyzed to a big extent by the recent strength in the JPY (the EURJPY traded down to 2 year lows overnight), especially following yesterday's not one but two statements by Abe advisor Harada saying a USDJPY at 125 isn't "justified" and a 105 level would be appropriate. A level, incidentally, which would push the Nikkei lower by about 20% and crush Japanese pensions which are now mostly invested in stocks. Not helping matters was the pause in the Chinese and Hang Seng stock bubbles, with the former barely rising 0.3%, while the former actually seeing its first 1.6% decline after many days of torrid, relentless rises.
As Wall Street struggles to explain last night’s trade data out of China which seemed to vividly illustrate the notion that the combination of the yuan’s dollar peg and generally weak demand can and will take a devastating toll on the country’s exports, and as iron ore does its best dead cat bounce impression on the “psychologically” important news that Australia’s fourth largest miner is suspending operations, Citi is out with a rather dismal take on the outlook for iron ore prices.
Everyone was shocked by yesterday's Chinese March trade update which showed that while imports slid largely as expected, it was the 15% drop in exports, the largest in over a year, that prompted many to wonder just how big the global trade slump really is, masked by what has now become pervasive, global QE. This was the worst performance, exports and imports combined, since late 2009. Below is a selection of responses by Wall Street analysts trying to justify how - with global equities, if only in local currency terms, at all time highs - China can be doing so badly.
China (and Hong Kong) stock markets opened gap higher and kept going (China Merchants Bank up over 20%) as The China Securities Depositary and Clearing Co. (CSDC) announced that investors will no longer be restricted to only one stock account in China's A-share market and each can have up to 20 accounts from Monday. Which makes perfect sense because what every elementary-school-educated housewife speculator needs is 19 more places to speculate in.
UK Housing Bubble Bursts: Sales Of Luxury Homes Crash By 80% As "Waves Of Wealthy People Are Leaving"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2015 16:56 -0400
The problem with the relentless scramble into London real-estate is that it was almost entirely driven by the high end, which as we have reported tirelessly over the past 4 years, has become - alongside the US ultra luxury real estate market - the new "Swiss bank account": a mostly anonymous place (with anonymous LLCs and Corps buying on behalf of uber-rich foreign oligarchs) where tax evaders can park their cash, with the NAR's, and the government's, blessing. And now, the party is over. As the FT reports, "sales of homes worth more than £2m have dropped by 80 per cent in the past year."... "It is like the 1970s again, when waves of wealthy people left Britain and it was a disaster.”
The US stock market is trading at 1929-bubblesque valuations, with a CAPE of 27.34 (the 1929 CAPE was only slightly higher at 30. And when that bubble burst, stocks lost over 90% of their value in the span of 24 months.
"The policy actions that cause financial repression entail a number of unintended consequences. These include potential asset price bubbles, convergence in asset allocation strategies of otherwise heterogeneous financial market participants and an increase in economic inequality. With regards to the latter, the impact of foregone interest income for households and long-term investors is substantial. At the same time, the equity rally has predominantly benefited society’s wealthiest." The hit to US savers: nearly a half trillion.
GE’s announcement that its getting out of the finance business should be a reminder of how crony capitalism is corrupting and debilitating the American economy. The ostensible reason the company is unceremoniously dumping its 25-year long build-up of the GE Capital mega-bank is that it doesn’t want to be regulated by Washington as a systematically important financial institution under Dodd-Frank. Oh, and that its core industrial businesses have better prospects. We will see soon enough about its oilfield equipment and wind turbine business, or indeed all of its capital goods oriented businesses in a radically deflationary world drowning in excess capacity. But at least you can say good riddance to GE Capital because it was based on a phony business model that was actually a menace to free market capitalism. Its deplorable raid on the public purse during the Lehman crisis had already demonstrated that in spades.
There is much more going on than just a problem in the Japanese bond market...
GE stock is down almost 13% over the last 7 years, and this is with record shares being taken off the market. However, Jeff Immelt thinks he has a solution for this problem after 15 years at the helm of GE.
Back in April 2013, Apple shocked the world when in a dramatic U-turn to Steve Jobs beliefs, it announced what was "the largest single share repurchase authorization in history" when it boosted its share repurchase authorization to $60 billion from $10 billion. Today, GE did its best to match this number, when it reported that as part of a massive business restructuring, it announced a "new Board authorization of up to $50B buyback." This is how it will fund it.
- Nikkei tops 20,000, Europe hits 15-year high (Reuters)
- GE to sell real estate holdings, sets $50 billion share buyback (Reuters)
- Iran’s Middle Class Plans for Life After a Deal (BBG)
- Walgreens to Close 200 Stores as It Expands Cost Cuts (WSJ)
- Hillary Clinton expected to announce presidential run as soon as this weekend (Reuters)
- It will cost $1.5 billion to keep Deutsche Bank Libor Manipulators out of prison (USA Today)
- Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own (WSJ)
- Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea (Reuters)
- Investors Revive Appetite for Asian Junk Bonds (WSJ)
GE Announces One Of Largest Buybacks In History, Will Repuchase $50 Bn In Shares After Selling Most Of GE CapitalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/10/2015 07:16 -0400
Moments ago, General Electric showed why April is much more likley to be a rerun of February than January or March when it announceed that it would go ahead and repurchase half of the total record stock buybacks announced in February, or some $50 billion in what may be the largest stock buyback announcement in history! How will GE fund this massive distribution to its shareholders, of which the most concentrated one will once again be the biggest winners? Simple: by dumping the division that nearly caused its insolvency during the financial crisis, the hedge fund known as GE Capital. As part of the just announced mega transaction, GE announced an agreement to sell the bulk of the assets of GE Capital Real Estate to funds managed by Blackstone. Wells Fargo will acquire a portion of the performing loans at closing.
Oil is our most-precious commodity as fuel for the global economy. It is also becoming a scarce commodity, as global production has flattened, while global demand continues to climb relentlessly, everywhere in the world except for the dying economies of Europe and North America. It is a classic “seller’s market.”
This great generational injustice is the direct consequence of central banks lowering interest rates to zero and inflating asset bubbles in a corrosive (and vain) attempt to generate a wealth effect of households borrowing and blowing their newly created asset wealth. In an economy that isn't whipsawed by central bank manipulation, the difference between middle class households' asset wealth is largely behavioral, not the random luck of coming of age before central banks began blowing destructive asset bubbles as a matter of policy.