When will the Fed... Raise rates? Stop buying bonds? End quantitative easing? Common questions, those, from Wall Street to Main Street. And – apparently – the online world as well, because they also reflect (literally) what Google autofills when individuals pose inquiries about future monetary policy action in the famously simple Google search box.
Expecting the state to truly reform the nation's engines of financialization is like asking the cocaine addict married to the wealthy dealer to divorce the dealer.
The last time the stock market reached a fevered peak and began to wobble unexpectedly was August 2007. Markets were most definitely not in the classic “price discovery” business. Instead, the stock market had discovered the “goldilocks economy." But what is profoundly different this time is that the Fed is out of dry powder. Its can’t slash the discount rate as Bernanke did in August 2007 or continuously reduce it federal funds target on a trip from 6% all the way down to zero. Nor can it resort to massive balance sheet expansion. That card has been played and a replay would only spook the market even more. So this time is different. The gamblers are scampering around the casino fixing to buy the dip as soon as white smoke wafts from the Eccles Building. But none is coming. For the first time in 25- years, the Wall Street gamblers are home alone.
Central banks have reached a fork in the road.
This could be the hidden message of Bill Gross’ departure...
With futures slamming the lows at their open yesterday evening, touching levels not seen since May, and with the EuroStoxx 50 officialy entering correction just hours ago, down 10% from the June highs, many were wondering if the NY Fed's Chicago Trading Desk, aka Overnight Ramp Capital LLC, would be put in damage control duty and send futures right back to unchanged (because with new Ebola patient alerts springing up everywhere from Boston to Los Angeles, the pandemic is clearly contained). The answer, with a whopping 20 point levitation on no volume, and futures which are pointing now well into the green (not to mention the Eurostoxx rebounding off the lows and now green too), is a resounding yes (thank the AUDJPY, which is over 100 pips off the overnight lows and back over 94).
Late into Friday's major market selloff, a completely unfounded rumor emerged out of nowhere, seeking to rekindle the BTFD spirits, that with central bank intervention from both the BOJ and ECB already priced in, and with the Fed still in taper mode (if not for much longer should the S&P dump accelerate), that the last central-planner wildcard, China, would join the fray and a major monetary gusher would come out of Beijing over the weekend to halt the slide. Alas, we have bad news for said BTFDers: just hours before futures are set to open on Sunday afternoon, the chief economist at China’s central bank said Saturday that he doesn’t see any reason for large-scale fiscal or monetary stimulus “in the foreseeable future” despite slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy and disagreements about the depth and timing of economic overhauls.... Part of China’s “new normal,” he said, is that “big stimulus” won’t be called for every time growth decelerates. “And secondly, the new norm will involve a lot of rebalancing in terms of changing the economic structure.”
While The IMF recognizes the gaping chasm between collapsing global growth expectations and market exuberance, they remain confident that US growth will save the world. This, Marc Faber explains to a wise Bloomberg TV panel, is why stocks around the world (and now in the US) are starting to weaken, "the recognition that global growth is not accelerating," as the narrative would like us all to believe, "but is slowing." Central Bank money-printing has enabled deficit-heavy fiscal policy and, Faber simplifies, "the larger the government, the less growth there will be from a less dynamic economy." Policy-makers have only one tool - money-printing, and QE99 is coming.
At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries - Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. Ebola's mortality rate can be as high as 70%, but seems closer to 50% for the current major outbreak. This is significantly worse than the Bubonic plague, which killed off a third of Europe's population. Previous Ebola outbreaks occurred in rural, isolated locales, where they quickly burned themselves out by infecting everyone within a certain radius, then running out of new victims. But the current outbreak has spread to large population centers with highly mobile populations, and the chances of such a spontaneous end to this outbreak seem to be pretty much nil. The scenario in which Ebola engulfs the globe is not yet guaranteed, but neither can it be dismissed as some sort of apocalyptic fantasy: the chances of it happening are by no means zero.
The difference between 2007 and today is back then these were largely sub-prime loans and overvalued real estate mortgages, vs, today's entire global bond market bubbles from Spain and Greece to the United States.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
"Financial Markets Are Artificially Priced: What Do You Do?" - Bill Gross' First Janus Capital LetterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/10/2014 11:37 -0500
Financial markets are artificially priced.... We have had our Biblical seven years of fat. We must look forward, almost by mathematical necessity, to seven figurative years of leaner: Bonds – 3% to 4% at best, stocks – 5% to 6% on the outside. That may not be enough for your retirement or your kid’s college education. It certainly isn’t for many private and public pension funds that still have a fairy tale belief in an average 7% to 8% return for the next 10 to 20 years! What do you do?
Whether this trend will hold or reverse is unknown, but it does suggest that there are advantages to being the cleanest shirt in the dirty laundry.
- Turkey says Syria town about to fall as Islamic State advances (Reuters)
- Only now? Growth worries grip stocks, oil (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Protest Leaders ‘Furious’ at Agenda for Talks (BBG)
- Earthquake Damages Thousands of Homes in Southern China (BBG)
- Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama (BBG)
- Where Is North Korea's 31-Year-Old Leader? (BusinessWeek)
- Australia to Revise Employment Data (WSJ)
- Americans Living Longer as Fewer Die From Heart Disease, Cancer (BBG)
- A 401(k) Conundrum: Can You Make Cash Pile Last for Life? (BBG)
- China Services Sector Slows in September (WSJ)
A recent weekend experience reminded me of how 99% of them are completely useless