Jeff Gundlach has been asked "Why Own Bonds?" twice in his career. The first time was in the 90’s when bonds and stocks were highly correlated. If stocks rose, bond prices fell, and vice versa. Therefore, investment managers decided that they should only own stocks as there was no advantage in being diversified. Unfortunately, we all know how well this turned out. Today, investment managers are making the same decision but for a different reason. With the Fed’s artificial suppression of interest rates to historic lows; the return from owning bonds has become painful particularly for underfunded pension funds. That pain, combined with the inflation of asset prices via continuing QE programs, has forced managers into overweighting stocks. The other reason that managers are jumping into stocks is due to the belief that interest rates are going to start rising on “Tuesday.” Gundlach clarifies, “Let me be clear. This is absolutely wrong. Yields are NOT going to rise any time soon.”
While everyone's attention this morning will be focused on the sheer, seasonally-adjusted noise that is the monthly NFP report (keep in mind that any number +/- 200,000 of the actual, is entirely in the seasonal adjustments and is thus entirely in the eye of the Arima X 13 beholder), which is expected to print at 140,000, resulting in an unemployment rate of 7.6%, there were some events overnight worth noting. First, the China non-manufacturing PMI printed at 54.5 in April, down from 55.6, and tied with the lowest such print in two years. The biggest red flag was that New Orders dropped below 50, with the price index also declining sharply, indicating that either the Chinese slowdown is for real, and the national bank will have no choice but to ease unleashing inflation, or that the politburo wishes to telegraph to the world that China is slowing, because what goes on in China, and what data is released out of China are never the same thing. Elsewhere, in Europe Mario Draghi's henchmen were stuck in damage control mode, and Ewald Nowotny said markets over-interpreted a signal yesterday that the ECB would consider a deposit rate below zero. Policy makers have “no plan in this direction,” Nowotny said in an interview with CNBC today. This helped boost the EUR from its languishing levels in the mid 1.30s higher by some 50 pips following his statement.
Here is why for the 2013 edition of "attempt to decouple reality from stocks (and fail every time)", the global central banks realized that just the Fed (2011), and/or just the Fed and the ECB (2012) would not be enough. Thus, welcome Japan and your unsterilized $75 billion per month, and lots and lots of prayer that third time will be the charm to enable the "market" finally to break free from the tyrrany of evil fundamentals, macro factors and, generally, reality.
With any and every asset-gatherer capable of forming a sentence being trotted out on business media to proclaim victory and elucidate on why "there is no where else to invest but stocks" and "the US is the cleanest dirty shirt," we thought it might be useful to reflect on just how clean that shirt can remain as the rest of the world's growth slows down significantly. In the last decade, there has been particular growth in inter-regional trade, with a dramatic expansion in trade vis-à-vis Asia, reflecting globalization. At the same time, the deepening in global trade relationships means that the potential for a sudden shift in demand in one region can have a more significant impact on the rest of the world. This has been seen particularly in recent years, with the sharp retrenchment in domestic demand in southern Europe affecting the economy of Asia, particularly Japan. Looking at the rate of increase in regional imports (which we assume is what the 'heads' believe will power the US 'clean' shirt) and the picture is ugly. And while copper is enough of a tell for most, even the IMF (usually extraordinarily optimistic) sees World Trade slowing dramatically - and given these interconnections, perhaps being the cleanest shirt merely shows the stains even more clearly when they finally hit.
While last week saw the economy minister of Argentina fumble, stumble, and finally crumble over the difficult question of what Argentinian inflation rates were (11% official versus 26% estimated), it seems the nation has another Schrodinger-like problem. While officially the exchange rate is around 5.15 Pesos to the US Dollar, in reality the black market exchange rate (or so-called Blue-Dollar purchase rate) is more like 9.6 Pesos to the US Dollar... An 86% devaluation priced into the local economy's desire to NOT hold Pesos and demand for USD liquidity. Oh, and as a side note as the S&P 500 pushes towards 1,600, think of the wealth creation... Argentina's stock market, one of the best performing in the world, is up 72% since November - that must be good, right?
New Apple Research Coming Up, But BoomBustBloggers Don't Need It For Apple's Performed Exactly As I've Forecast!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/02/2013 15:24 -0400
999 basis point drop in earning power in less than a year! Whoa, let's trip over ourselves and lock in bond rates of 70bips over treasuries for 30 years. 1st we have margin compression, now we have common sense compression!
It's saddled with enough problems; in theory, it no longer needs to create new ones.
The mobile gold rush of Web 2.0 continues to attract thousands of techie fortune seekers to San Francisco. It's an old story, and a compelling one: there's gold in them thar hills, and I'm a-gonna git me some. The only thing that changes is the nature of the gold. The dot-com boom of the late 1990s created a new gold rush in San Francisco and Silicon Valley that fizzled in the early 2000s as the same old reality hit home: only the first few gold-seekers hit it big, and most of the late-comers trudge home empty-handed. Over 50,000 people left the San Francisco Bay Area as employment in dot-com technology imploded. The new gold rush is mobile--mobile apps, mobile services, mobile anything. All this overlooks the basic mobile gold rush model: poaching advert spending in a stagnant economy.
The Government – Which Has Taken Away Our Liberties and Destroyed Our Prosperity to Fight An Endless War On Terror – Has Been Arming, Funding and Otherwise Backing the Very Terrorists Who Are Carrying Out Most of the Attacks
Think frontrunning clients, trading against recommendations, manipulating LIBOR, and slamming gold at the London fixing is all investment bankers do? Wrong. What really happens in banker life is far more exciting and enjoyable (at least for preferred banker clients) as the following story by the WSJ's David Enrich shows. In reality, the activities that bankers seem to spend the most time on, is treating their "preferred clients" with free gambling trips to Las Vegas, skiing in Chamonix, flying wives and girlfriends in helicopters, doing blow in industrial amounts, and, of course, cavorting with strippers and hookers. All paid for by some unwitting clients of course. It is this environment of utter and perfectly permitted, if not encouraged, debauchery that allowed scandals such as the Libor fixing "conspiracy" (first theory, then fact of course), to flourish, and which makes being a banker still the most desired job in the world (contrary to beliefs that it was all about the passion of crunching goalseeked DCFs at 2 am in the morning).
One possibility for the markets to reverse has always been some grand event but another is just the economic deterioration that wears away at the markets as current levels cannot be rationally supported. It is not just the Law of Diminishing Returns which is coming into play as the central banks create more money but the effects on the consumer of seriously declining available cash to be used to purchase goods and services. We have been subject to a massive amount of monetary printing and an unconscionable manipulation of data but the affects of reality cannot be ignored forever because reality forces the consequences as the fantasy gives way over time.
The overnight macroeconomic news started early with China where the second, HSBC Manufacturing PMI declined from 51.6 to 50.4, below estimates of 50.5, yet another signal of a slowdown in the country (where one can argue the collapse in copper prices is having a far greater impact), and where the Composite closed down 0.17% after its Mayday holiday. China wasn't the only one: India dropped to 51.0 from 52.0 in March, and Taiwan dipped to 50.7 from 51.2, offset however by the bounce in South Korean PMI from 52.0 to 52.6, the best in two years (a number set to tumble as Abenomics steal SK's export thunder). The focus then shifted to Europe, where virtually everyone was once again in contraction mode, as German Mfg PMI declined from 49.0 to 48.1, the lowest since December, if a slight beat to expectations (while VDMA industry body said March Machine orders dropped 15% Y/Y so little optimism on the horizon), France rose modestly to 44.4 from already depressed levels of 44.0, Spain PMI also rose from 44.2 to 44.7, Italy PMI at 45.5 from 44.5, Poland at 46.9 from 48.0, a 45-month low. At least Greece seems to be doing "better" with the Mfg PMI "rising" to 45.0 from 42.1. Across the reports, the biggest decline was in input prices following the recent clobbering in commodities, which in turn is translating into price deflation.
On the surface, the Status Quo appears stable, if not quite healthy. This stability is illusory, however, for the Status Quo has a fatal disease: diminishing return. The basic idea of diminishing return is closely related to marginal utility and marginal return: the more capital, energy and labor committed to a project, the lower the return/yield/output. The input needed to keep the Status Quo stable must be taken from other potentially more productive investments. Taxes notch higher as the state scoops ever greater sums into its maw to fund its failing fiefdoms and diminishing-return cartels, and it borrows trillions of dollars to fill the gap between tax revenues and ever-rising input costs. All that borrowed money has a cost, too, of course--interest. The costs of maintaining a sclerotic, cartel-state Status Quo infected with incurable diminishing returns eventually exceed the carrying capacity of the real economy and the Status Quo collapses in a heap.
Over a year ago, we first explained what one of the key terminal problems affecting the modern financial system is: namely the increasing scarcity and disappearance of money-good assets ("safe" or otherwise) which due to the way "modern" finance is structured, where a set universe of assets forms what is known as "high-quality collateral" backstopping trillions of rehypothecated shadow liabilities all of which have negligible margin requirements (and thus provide virtually unlimited leverage) until times turn rough and there is a scramble for collateral, has become perhaps the most critical, and missing, lynchpin of financial stability. Not surprisingly, recent attempts to replenish assets (read collateral) backing shadow money, most recently via attempted Basel III regulations, failed miserably as it became clear it would be impossible to procure the just $1-$2.5 trillion in collateral needed according to regulatory requirements. The reason why this is a big problem is that as the Matt Zames-headed Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) showed today as part of the appendix to the quarterly refunding presentation, total demand for "High Qualty Collateral" (HQC) would and could be as high as $11.2 trillion under stressed market conditions.
Cyprus is absolutely the template for Europe now. It is just that the template is far worse than what is narrowly imagined. It is not the small nation of Cyprus nor is it that the specifics of the criminality that was transacted in Cyprus which is any sort of template. This is not the center of the issue. It is what Cyprus means and the horrible implications of what took place. Yesterday the Parliament in Cyprus narrowly passed the EU bailout. There is one set of guidelines for Germany now and Germany still operates under their own laws but when it comes to other nations in the European Union that are in financial difficulty there are no real laws left. All that there is now is the tyrannical demands of Berlin that must be obeyed to receive funds.