The rally has been strong across many products, but once again has all the signs of a short squeeze rally. The weakest and most beaten up sectors and names have performed the best. Anything that was a "hedge" tool, has also outperformed. This rally seems overdone. European stocks and credit are sluggish today. The data, while not bad, seems priced in already, and being long because "Europe gets it" is risky, because even if they finally get it, do they still have the resources to fix it, or a system that is simple enough to let them agree on how to fix it? I am dubious, and at 1080 was willing to give some benefit of the doubt to the EU, but at 1170, I am happy to bet against them.
After three days of tightening across the board borne out of nothing but hope about hope, it appears that the ghost of insolvent European governments is back, as reality starts coming back.
Some observations from the front lines and supply trains in the developing saga of society vs itself
"A rock and a hard place" is a long-running theme of Casey Research publications. It refers to the dilemma the US government has wandered into with its continued policy of rescue inflation. The "rock" is what will happen if the Fed pauses for long in printing still more money – the collapse of an economy burdened by an accumulation of mistakes that rescue inflation has been keeping at bay. The "hard place" is the disruptive price inflation that becomes more likely (and likely more severe) with every new dollar the Fed prints to keep the effects of those mistakes suppressed.
When the dollar was cut loose from the gold standard in 1971, the Federal Reserve was freed to create as much new money as it saw fit, whenever it saw fit. Enabled, it turned with enthusiasm to doing what central bankers imagine they are supposed to do – eliminate downturns in the economy. The Fed fancied itself as being on the answering end of a 911 system: whenever the financial markets signaled distress, whenever the economy came down with the flutters, the Federal Reserve would dispatch a van, an ambulance, a fire engine or even an assault vehicle, whatever seemed right but in every case full of cash.
Euro Rumormill Disintegration Begins As Reality Returns: France, Germany Fail To Reach Agreement On EFSFSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/06/2011 17:52 -0400
In our previous post we warned, indirectly through the IMF, that the biggest risk for Europe is the inability to reach consensus over anything from the most complicated, to the simplest matter. As noted previously, one of the main initial drivers of the market surge which has since translated into yet another short covering rally of epic proportions was the belief that Europe can actually come together in agreement over the simplest thing - like its own survival. Alas, it appears even that is not the case. As Bloomberg reports, "Germany and France are at odds over whether the European Financial Stability Facility should have limits on government bond purchases, Handelsblatt reported, citing an unidentified high-ranking European Union diplomat. France doesn’t want to restrict the EFSF on how much of its funds it can use for such purchases, the newspaper said in a preview of an article to appear in tomorrow’s edition. Germany wants to limit the amount EFSF can spend for bonds per country and is also considering whether there should be a time limit for bond purchases, Handelsblatt said." Said otherwise, here comes the latest cause of discord within Europe. Unfortunately, it also means that any rumor, innuendo and speculation that Europe has finally reached a coherent union over its own bailout can be promptly discarded. As if there was ever any doubt in the first place.
Do not be fooled. This move is short-covering and a snapback and nothing else. We’ve seen several of these in the last two months alone. Every time the market rolled over quickly and collapsed. So let the traders play their games. Based on retracement levels this move could go to 1,182 or 1,200 on the S&P 500. But this rally should be used to get even more defensive than before.
To all who can't wait for the next European bailout FT rumor that ramps the market 30 minutes before close (only to be completely refuted by Europe itself 30 minutes after that but by then nobody will care), which last night turned out to be speculation of a third and certainly not final version of the joke that is the stress test, here is your chance to run and execute your very own interactive European stress test and not have to wait for the conflicted European media to tell you the outcome. That said, we could argue that Reuters, which created this test, may have been a little optimistic, for the simple reason that assuming a scenario that sees 100% writedowns on all PIIGS bonds, and assuming a 2% Tier 1 capital target, sees just 46 banks failing the "test" with a €257 billion capital deficiency. So as cool as it is, Reuters failed the simplest sniff test, as somehow the apocalypse scenario of a complete pan-European wipeout sees just a quarter of a trillion in capital needed, when in reality every bank in Europe would be completely insolvent. Still, it is fun to play around with. For a few minutes...
It's ironic that the police came out in force to protect the institutions whose massive bonus's were derived, in large part, from raping and pillaging professional sheeple pools such as police pension funds. That's the sound of the beast...
The squeeze continued in equities as indices of the most-shorted names handily outperformed the broad market but it was the general aggression with which equity's moved relative to both credit and broad risk assets that will raise eyebrows as rumor after refutation after no-news after denial seemed to have full optionality with all the upside (hope) and no downside (reality). Equities and credit stayed relatively close together until the early afternoon but as we headed into the last hour or two equities were making higher highs as credit lower highs. Combined with underlying relative weakness in financial stocks, net-selling in bonds, and negligible compression in their CDS, it seemed equities may just be tottering but an upper cut from Gasbag and a left cross by YHOO/MSFT and ES took off to the races - well beyond credit, broad-risk-assets, and sense. After hours, ES pulled back closer to fair with credit indices and context but remains considerably 'better-looking' than most other assets would infer.
A green day in Europe as last night's superfluous strength in US equities caused reracks in every major European risk class out of the gate. The early strength in Europe was faded quite quickly but the bias was up - even as no new news/plans/clarity was announced and in fact was modestly worse with a lack of capital injection for Dexia noted. Credit and stocks ratcheted higher in three lurches with covering clearly evident in credit as even Belgium and France sovereigns managed small compressions (which makes little sense) though the former remains notably wider on the week (rightly so). FX traded in a narrow range from the US close but the USD was at the stronger-end of the channel as Europe closed (IMF - ECB easing potential comments) but commodities were mixed with lackluster moves overnight though silver and copper sold off the most - not enjoying the excitement in equities - but since the pre-market, all PMs and commodities have pushed higher. TSY yields leaked higher but the curve flattened but we see HY net-selling against IG net-buying (but several major financial bonds being net-sold including MS, GS, and C). We also note that while credit indices do indeed look better on the week, underlying single-names are notably wider which coupled with US corporate bonds suggests many are using strength to cover longs in 'riskier' credits. ES has re-coupled with a longer-term context reducing some of the urgency in equity's bounce though equities remain rich to credit by quite a margin. All-in-all, it seems like we can bleed higher inch by inch as retail gets sucked into another 'recovery/bailout' but under the surface, the 'things' that should be benefiting are simply not as professionals use this strength to rotate hedges or more simply unwind at better marks.
There are only two ways for Apple to proceed (as) successfully in the medium term: 1) cut prices or 2) raise the technological bar. Either way, margins get hit. This is the first time Apple has released a smart product to boos from expectations set by the Android camp!!!
In the interests of sanity and reality, we thought it worthwhile to note the wild and whacky rumors and statements emanating from Europe this morning. These range from agreeing that banks need recaps (ut not in 'our' country), if there was a problem we'd help (but by 'us' we mean all 17 EU states agreeing), banks are not insolvent or illiquid (but we may need stress tests again), and while Greece is going well we may need more PSI...it is incredible that we actually expect anything from these disparate states, let alone rally on non-news.
There is only one word to describe the opinion that the U.S. dollar is in a multi-year uptrend: heresy. Understanding why this is so may well be critical to understanding market action in the 2011-2016 timeframe. Embracing the contrarian viewpoint offers little joy, because heretics are constantly being hounded by devotees of orthodoxy seeking their conversion to the one true faith or their crucifixion as mortal threats to the orthodoxy. Why is this so? For two simple but profound reasons. The human mind strongly prefers certainty to uncertainty and simple, fixed explanations over complex, contingent explanations. The human mind has a second, superglue-like quality: Once a viewpoint has been plucked from the swirling chaos of beliefs and explanations, then the mind quickly solidifies that view, resisting any future modification. Very little energy is devoted to questioning the position, while enormous energy is devoted to defending it.
At its very core, to price something complicated, you lay the most similar liquid asset you can find next to it that has a liquid price. You deconstruct the liquid one by its risk premia, and then you reconstruct the one you are trying to price by applying suitable risk premia to it. The output is fair value. All the talk of “Japanification” is just a variation on this theme at a pretty remarkable order of complexity. Call it modeling, call it storytelling, whatever: one compares an economy going through a multi-year banking crisis with one that is just a few years into a banking crisis. Compare trajectories, similarities, and differences. Then figure out what matters and what doesn’t in a macro-sense. One has either past observation to understand reality, or rely on dumb luck to understand future events.
Recession. It is now becoming clearer, even to the mainstream media, that the "Big 'R'" is rapidly approaching, or already upon us. Without further stimulus from the government the economy will continue its slide into negative growth. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the "Calvary" will be charging to the rescue anytime soon. Bernanke, at this point has effectively punted to the Whitehouse for stimulative action. The Whitehouse is embroiled in partisan politics which will keep any action from occurring until most likely after the next election. This leaves the economy and the financial markets to their own devices, and much like kids without parental supervision, they are running amok. I have been very vocal as of late commenting on the fact that a recession is fast approaching. The trends of the economic numbers have all soured to the negative. From manufacturing to personal incomes to sentiment they all are signaling a recession lay ahead. Another confirming indicator of a recessionary track is the spread in yields between junk bonds and high quality bonds. The chart here shows two different yield spreads. The blue represents the difference in yields between AAA rated corporate bonds to BB rated bonds while the red represents the spread between 10-yr government treasuries to BB rated bonds. The dotted horizontal lines represent when these spreads have signaled recessions in the economy.