Wow! Good equity swings in Europe: Down about 1% to the morning lows, up nearly 2% to noon highs and tanking back over 1.25% into the close.
Core & Soft EGBs rather muted in volatility, closing by and large unchanged, with Periphery bonds running a separate path.
Again that decorrelation.
Jump, Jive & Wail…
Market indexes and recessions are two very different data series...
~ Doug Short
Getting caught in end of day divergence between recovering Bunds / UST and equities readying up a pre-close squeeze out.Note a rather muted, in line, Credit performance.
No real data anywhere tomorrow, so either the good spirits of recovery keep up their heads up – or not…
- Trade Slows Around World (WSJ)
- Debt limit lurks in fiscal cliff talks (FT)
- Welcome back to the eurozone crisis (FT, Wolfgang Munchau)
- Euro Leaders Face October of Unrest After September Rally (Bloomberg)
- Dad, you were right (FT)
- 25% unemployment, 25% bad loans, 5% drop in Industrial Production, and IMF finally lowers its 2013 Greek GDP forecast (WSJ)
- Global IPOs Slump to Second-Lowest Level Since Financial Crisis (Bloomberg)
- France's Hollande faces street protest over EU fiscal pact (Reuters)
- EU Working to Resolve Difference on Bank Plan, Rehn Says (Bloomberg)
- China manufacturing remains sluggish (FT)
- Samaras vows to fight Greek corruption (FT) ... and one of these days he just may do it
- Leap of Faith (Hssman)
- Germany told to 'come clean’ over Greece (AEP)
After dropping to its 200 DMA, and threatening to breach its recent support level of 1.2800, the EURUSD has seen the usual powerlift over the past 4 hours, on two key events out of Europe: Eurozone unemployment, which came at a record 11.4%, up from 11.3% (which just happened to be revised to 11.4%) but because it was in line with expectations of the ongoing recession, all was forgiven. The other event was Eurozone manfucaturing PMI, which rose by the smallest amount possible from the 46.0 in August to 46.1, on expectations of an unchanged print. That 0.1% "beat" is what has so far set off a near 100 pip rush higher in the EURUSD, which has ignored the Chinese weakness overnight (the SHCOMP is closed for the Chinese Golden Week), as well as the UK PMI which did not share in the European "improvement" and tumbled from 49.5 to 48.4 on expectations of a 49.0 print (so much for that latest BOE easing), and instead is transfixed by headlines proclaiming the strongest PMI in 6 months. What also is being ignored is the components in the Eurozone PMI, with the leading New Order index falling to 43.5 from 43.7. But the data being ignored the hardest is the French PMI which tumbled to 42.7, the lowest print in 41 months, of which as MarkIt's chief economist Chris Williamson said "France is perhaps the new worry, with its PMI slumping to the lowest for three-and-a-half years." Coming at a 3+ year low when France desperately needs its new wealth redistribution budget to be credible, is not the best possible outcome. Bottom line: Europe is in a recession, but maybe not outright depression just yet, so the thinking is - buy the EUR, strengthen the currency, make German exports weaker, and make sure the recession becomes a full on depression. Or something like that.
Following closely on the heels of Spain's budget and banking audit debacle, France prepares to unveil its budget (taxing business, bankers, and beer). The positive spin will be deafening as politicians are already proclaiming 'realistic and ambitious' growth targets as getting the country 'back on the rails'. UnMondeLibre's Emmanuel Martin comments "How ironic? The French Presidential candidate who once campaigned with the slogan of 'growth vs. austerity' is now, as President, preparing to give the French the biggest taxation shock ever – a growth killer that is." What matters is the type of path to fiscal responsibility, and, unfortunately, Mr Hollande chose 'austerity with more taxes and no reform'. With France being a crucial player in the Euro-game, one wonders whether this might actually not mean the end of the Euro sooner.
Whereas earlier today we presented one of the most exhaustive presentations on the state of the student debt bubble, one question that has always evaded greater scrutiny has been the very critical default rate for student borrowers: a number which few if any lenders and colleges openly disclose for fears the general public would comprehend not only the true extent of the student loan bubble, but that it has now burst. This is a question that we specifically posed a month ago when we asked "As HELOC delinquency rates hit a record, are student loans next?" Ironically in that same earlier post we showed a chart of default rates for federal loan borrowers that while rising was still not too troubling: as it turns out the reason why its was low is it was made using fudged data that drastically misrepresented the seriousness of the situation, dramatically undercutting the amount of bad debt in the system. Luckily, this is a question that has now been answered, courtesy of the Department of Education, which today for the first time ever released official three-year, or much more thorough than the heretofore standard two-year benchmark, federal student loan cohort default rates. The number, for all colleges, stood at a stunning 13.4% for the 2009 cohort. And while it is impossible using historical data to extrapolate with precision what the current consolidated federal student loan default rate is, we do know that there is now $914 billion in federal student loans (which also was mysteriously revised over 50% higher by the Fed just a month ago). Using simple inference, all else equal (and all else has certainly deteriorated), there is now at least $122 billion in federal student loan defaults. And surging every day.
Ladies and gentlemen: meet the new subprime.
One-by-one, the highest quality collateral in the world (according to ratings that is) is disappearing. To wit, Fitch warns that a downgrade of the UK's AAA rating is increasingly likely: "weaker than expected growth and fiscal outturns in 2012 have increased pressure on the UK's 'AAA' rating, which has been on Negative Outlook since March 2012." The Negative Outlook on the UK rating reflects the very limited fiscal space, at the 'AAA' level, to absorb further adverse economic shocks in light of the UK's elevated debt levels and uncertain growth outlook. Global economic headwinds, including those emanating from the on-going eurozone crisis, have compounded the drag on UK growth from private sector deleveraging and fiscal consolidation as well as from depressed business and consumer confidence, weak investment, and constrained credit growth. But no mention of unlimited QE? Fitch expects only a weak recovery beginning in 2013 and output is not expected to surpass its 2007 pre-crisis peak until 2014.
Bizarrely, and even after slapping my screens several times to make sure things were working, real opening levels in EGBs very quite simply FLAT. All flat! Haven’t seen that in ages!
Had to slap my screens again tonight, given the tons of “unchanged” data in EGBs. Have decorrelated from equities, as has the USD (closing about unchanged).
There were no surprises in the August Personal Income and Spending numbers, which came at 0.1% and 0.5%, respectively, on expectations of a 0.2% and 0.5% rise. Summarized: less income, more spending. This however, did not make the consumer income statement data any better: the bottom line is that adjusted for inflation, Real Disposable Income slid 0.3% in August, after a tiny 0.1% increase in July, the first such decline since November 2011, and as Bloomberg's Joseph Brusuelas says this is "another rough report for the consumer which doesn’t bode well for household spending going forward." Which means Bernanke knew precisely what he was doing when he launched QE3, which all advocated of QE3 will now say was fully justified. There is one problem with that logic however: for QE3 to be justified, it would mean QE1 and 2 were. Well, last we checked the US is still in a major depression, and neither QE1, 2, nor Twist 1 or 2 have done anything to prevent today's ugly data. Surely, this time it will be different. Finally, and as a result of the ongoing contraction in income, as expected the savings rate dropped from 4.1% to 3.7%: the lowest since May.
- China accuses Bo Xilai of multiple crimes, expels him from communist party (Reuters), China seals Bo's fate ahead of November 8 leadership congress (Reuters)
- "Dozens of phone calls on days, nights and weekends" - How Bernanke Pulled the Fed His Way - Hilsenrath (WSJ)
- Fed won't "enable" irresponsible fiscal policy-Bullard (Reuters)
- PBOC Adviser Says Easing Restrained by Concerns on Homes (Bloomberg)
- Data Point to Euro-Zone Recession (WSJ)
- Fiscal cliff dims business mood (FT)
- FSA to Oversee Libor in Streamlining of Tarnished Rates (Bloomberg)
- Monti Says ECB Conditions, IMF Role Hinder Bond Requests (Bloomberg)
- Japan Heads for GDP Contraction as South Korea Weakens (Bloomberg)
- Moody’s downgrades South Africa (FT)
- Madrid Struggles With Homage to Catalonia (WSJ)
We, like Morgan Stanley's Greg Peters, are skeptical of the Fed's apparent belief that wealth effects can support a struggling recovery. Recent gains are small versus the wealth lost in recent years. More importantly, wealth only matters when it lowers saving. It seems that weak income growth through the recovery has depressed saving – stopped saving rising to fully reflect wealth destruction – which implies wealth increases now will not trigger a typical growth-boosting drop in saving. With poor fundamentals seemingly trumping central bank policy - as macro data and bellwether stock warnings highlight the downside risks of complacency. But, the housing recovery, we hear you cry? Not this time - given weak income growth; and as far as feeling wealthy, the 'right' savings rate to achieve that dream remains well beyond most in anything but the absolute riskiest assets - and implicitly lowers consumption.
The recent release of the final estimate of Q2 GDP, and the September's Durable Goods Report, confirmed that indeed the economy was far weaker than the headline releases, and media spin, suggested. While the media quickly glossed over the surface of the report there were very important underlying variables that tell us much about the economy ahead. The problem is that there is little historical precedent in the U.S. as to whether maintaining ultra-low interest rate policies, and inducing liquidity, during a balance sheet deleveraging cycle, actually leads to an economic recovery. This is particularly troublesome when looking at a large portion of the population rapidly heading towards retirement whom will become net drawers versus net contributors to the economic system. The important point for investors, who have a limited amount of time to plan and save for retirement, is that "hope" and "getting back to even" are not successful investment strategies.
A massive 13% collapse in durable goods, the biggest since January 2009; a $20 billion miss to annualized Q2 GDP estimates, and well below the lowest estimate, 60+ weeks of constant upward BLS revisions to initial claims "data" and not to mention assorted atrocious economic (note: not to be confused with market - the two are now completely unlinked) data from around the globe. And what does the White House say: the data shows that the "US is making progress." We sure wouldn't want to know what it would look like if after 3 episodes of easing, trillions injected into the economy via the Fed, and of course $6 trillion in extra debt the US was not making progress. Oh and yes, everything else is Bush's fault.