Who will buy our debt in the coming months and years? Europe is saturated with debt and doesn’t have the means to purchase our debt. Japan is a train wreck waiting to happen. China’s customers aren’t buying their crap, so their economic miracle is about to go in reverse. The Federal Reserve cannot buy $1 trillion of Treasury bonds per year forever without creating more speculative bubbles and raging inflation in the things people need to live. The Minsky Moment will be the point when the U.S. Treasury begins having funding problems due to the spiraling debt incurred in financing perpetual government deficits. At this point no buyer will be found to bid at 2% to 3% yields for U.S. Treasuries; consequently, a major sell-off will ensue leading to a sudden and precipitous collapse in market clearing asset prices and a sharp drop in market liquidity. In layman terms that means – the shit will hit the fan. The Federal Reserve and Treasury will be caught in their own web of lies. The only way to attract buyers will be to dramatically increase interest rates. Doing this in a country up to its eyeballs in debt will be suicide. We will abruptly know how it feels to be Greek....The entire financial world is hopelessly entangled by the $700 trillion of derivatives that ensure mass destruction if one of the dominoes falls. This is the reason an otherwise inconsequential country like Greece had to be “saved”.
The Mario Draghi press conference, in which the Goldman alum will spin tall tales of recovery, is set to begin. Watch it live here. If there are any notable changes to ECB policy, which is not expected, we will be sure to note.
- ECB'S DRAGHI SAYS ECONOMIC OUTLOOK SUBJECT TO DOWNSIDE RISKS
- DRAGHI SAYS `DOWNSIDE RISKS' PREVAIL ON REGION'S GROWTH OUTLOOK
- DRAGHI SAYS ECB SEES INFLATION UPSIDE RISKS PREVAILING IN 2012
- DRAGHI SAYS NON-STANDARD MEASURES WILL NEED TIME TO SHOW IMPACT
- DRAGHI SAYS IMPORTANT FOR BANKS TO STRENGTHEN BALANCE SHEETS
- DRAGHI SAYS BANKS SHOULD RETAIN EARNINGS TO STRENGTHEN - And nationalize losses?
Today's otherwise key news event - the ECB rate announcement (which just printed at unchanged as expected) and press conference, will be trivial. As such, everyone is set to ignore the latest update from Mario Draghi, who courtesy of a $1.3 trillion liquidity injection since December has now largely wasted all his liquidity dry powder, at least until Spanish and Italian bonds are trading back at 7%, some time in the next few months. The result is that people like Citi's Steven Englander are saying to ignore the ECB, and to focus solely on the ADP (which has a horrendous predictive track record of the actual NFP print) report, to be released at 8:15 am, as it may be the only tradable hint ahead of the NFP report which as noted before is coming out on Friday, which is an equity holiday, although futures and bonds will be trading at the time of the release. More importantly, since the Fed now responds to economic data points in real time, a big miss to the consensus print of 206K will likely set the market surging as it will mean the Fed doves are back in control. Paradoxically, a meat or big beat, will be very market negative, as it will justify the withdrawal of liquidity support for at least 3-4 months, when the election fight will be in full swing, and Obama would be quite happy for another boost to the S&P in advance of November, and the repeat of the debt ceiling fiasco.
Testosterone Levels Fall Worldwide
There are many reasons why gold is still our favorite investment – from inflation fears and sovereign debt concerns to deeper, systemic economic problems. But let's be honest: It's been rising for over 11 years now, and only the imprudent would fail to think about when the run might end. Is it time to start eyeing the exit? In a word, no. Here's why. There's one indicator that clearly signals we're still in the bull market – and further, that we can expect prices to continue to rise. That indicator is negative real interest rates.
The Deepwater Horizon incident demonstrated that most of the oil left is deep offshore or in other locations difficult to reach. Moreover, to obtain the oil remaining in currently producing reservoirs requires additional equipment and technology that comes at a higher price in both capital and energy. In this regard, the physical limitations on producing ever-increasing quantities of oil are highlighted, as well as the possibility of the peak of production occurring this decade. The economics of oil supply and demand are also briefly discussed, showing why the available supply is basically fixed in the short to medium term. Also, an alarm bell for economic recessions is raised when energy takes a disproportionate amount of total consumer expenditures. In this context, risk mitigation practices in government and business are called for. As for the former, early education of the citizenry about the risk of economic contraction is a prudent policy to minimize potential future social discord. As for the latter, all business operations should be examined with the aim of building in resilience and preparing for a scenario in which capital and energy are much more expensive than in the business-as-usual one.
While the S&P closed lower for the day, the dramatic save as ES (the S&P 500 e-mini) hit 1399.5 (again) pushed it all the way back to the safety of VWAP and perfectly unchanged from pre-FOMC news. Meanwhile, Gold and Silver lost around 2%, Treasuries snapped 13-15bps higher in yield and the USD ripped 0.6% higher closing pretty much at their extreme levels of the day. AAPL was unphased as the rest of the world appeared to sell any and everything on news of no more Fed liquidity in the short-term as the stock clung to its VWAP ending with new all-time highs once again. VIX, which managed to surge over 16.5% once again - above yesterday's highs - recovered all the way back to practically unchanged by the close (outperforming the small loss in stocks on the day). With Treasury yields and the USD back at one-week highs and stocks just 0.5% off their multi-year highs, it looked for a moment like equities were going to reconnect with credit's much less sanguine perspective - and indeed they covered half the difference at one point - but by the close HY and IG credit remains unchanged from Friday 3/23 while the S&P is up over 2% from then. Volume was average today but concentrated in the sell-off period of the day but we note that average trade size was very near the lowest of the year (suggesting algos using small lots to tickle us up to VWAP for the close) and some larger blocks going thru in the last few minutes as we peered above VWAP - combined with the shrug from credit, significant weakness in the major US financials, and unwinds in every other asset class - make us nervous for unhedged equity longs here - especially with European weakness now a trend and not a one-off.
Seasonal adjustments are not forever.
Anyone who hasn’t sensed a mood change in this country since the 2008 financial meltdown is either ignorant or in denial. Millions of Americans fall into one of these categories, but many people realize something has changed – and not for the better. The sense of pure financial panic that existed during September and October of 2008 had not been seen since the dark days of 1929. Our leaders used the initial terror and fear to ram through TARP and stimulus packages that rewarded the perpetrators of the financial collapse rather than helping the middle class who lost 8 million jobs, destroyed by Wall Street criminality. The stock market plunged by 57% from its 2007 high by March 2009. What has happened since September 2008 has set the stage for the next downward leg in this Crisis. The rich and powerful have pulled out all the stops and saved themselves at the expense of the many. Despite overwhelming proof of unabashed mortgage fraud, rating agency bribery, document forgery on a grand scale and insider trading based on non-public information, the brazen audacity of Wall Street oligarchs is reminiscent of the late stages of the Roman Empire.
Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev, a non Executive member of the GoldCore Investment Committee, has again analysed the data of US Mint coin sales in Q1 2012 and has looked at the data in their important historical context going back to 1987. He finds that the data regarding gold coin sales in Q1 2012 confirms that there is “no hysteria and no bubble here”. Dr Gurdgiev finds that while volume of sales in Q1 2012 fell from the quite high levels seen Q1 2009, 2010 and 2011, demand was much stronger than “in the pre-crisis average for 2000-2007.” Also of note is the fact that despite the worst financial and economic crisis the modern world has ever seen being experienced since 2008 demand has remained below the record levels seen in the aftermath of the Asian debt crisis and unfounded Y2K concerns. Interestingly, Dr Gurdgiev finds that the historic data (since 1987) shows that the "gold price has virtually nothing to do with demand for US Mint coins - in terms of volume of gold sold via coins." He finds that the demand for gold coins has little to do with the price in general and that “something other than price movements drives demand for coins”.
European cash equities are trading in the red heading towards the US session, with particular underperformance in the periphery as financials continue to remain the biggest laggard. The EU session so far has consisted of downbeat commentary in regards to both Ireland and Portugal. An EU/ECB report noted that, Portuguese debt is now predicted to peak at 115% of GDP in 2013 and that contraction in 2012 is likely more pronounced than thought. Elsewhere, the Irish Fiscal panel said Ireland may need extra budget cuts to reach its 2012 target and 2012 growth has weakened. In terms of economic releases the UK observed a stronger than expected reading on its Construction PMI hitting a 21-month high, which saw some brief strength in GBP.
- China's Central Banker to Fed: Act Responsibly (WSJ)
- Spain's debt to jump to 78 percent of GDP: De Guindos (Reuters)
- Rajoy Needs All the Luck He Can Get (WSJ)
- Spain Faces Risks in Budget Refit (WSJ)
- Top JP Morgan banker resigns to fight abuse fine (Reuters)
- Reinhart-Rogoff See No Quick U.S. Recovery Even as Data Improve (Bloomberg)
- Program to help spur spending in domestic sector (China Daily)
- Barnier hits out at lobbying ‘rearguard’ (FT)
- U.S. CEOs' take-home pay climbs on stock awards (Reuters)
In the first of two major bankruptcy stories du jour (the next one coming up shortly), we learn that AFA Foods, best known for being the maker of "pink slime", and a portfolio company of labor unions and Clinton afficionado Ron Burkle and his PE firm Yucaipa, has just filed for bankruptcy. The reason? The sudden public realization what pink slime is, and just how prevalent it is - perhaps it is best to think of it as the Bernie Madoff of the food industry - it was always there, yet it took a wholesale shift in public awareness and consciousness for the firm to realize it would have been prudent to come up with a slightly different name for its ground-beef product. As for whether or not the company is going to the pink sheets, well no. But one thing is certain: the management team is about to get a pink slip.
As AAPL surges over 3% on the second lowest volume in 3 weeks, the start of Q2 was exuberance-exemplified as stocks, commodities, and Treasuries all enjoyed a bid - though most of the excitement was from the US open to the European close only. A weak start as European credit and equity markets leaked lower (as did ES - S&P 500 e-mini futures) was extinguished as the US day session opened and while construction spending was a bust, ISM managed a small beat. This didn't seem like the catalyst really but we were off to the races as everything rapidly levitated into the European close - except US credit markets which were far less sanguine once again. Stocks stalled at that point and limped on to test last Tuesday's overnight highs before sliding back 6pts or so into the close. Typical high-beta QE-driven sectors outperformed with Energy and Materials heavily bid but even they gave back some advantage into the close as did Tech and Financials. Oil staged a magnificent recovery (best performance from low to high today) topping out over $105 but just outperformed (from Friday's close) by Copper and Silver which ended up around 2.4%. Treasuries rallied 8bps from overnight weakness to their best of the day but son after the macro data, TSYs sold off with the long-end underperforming - though the entire complex ended lower in yield on the day. AUD and JPY strength matched on another providing little support from carry FX as the USD limped weaker - though Gold tripled the USD's performance managing +0.47% and a close above $1675 once again. VIX gapped notably higher at the open but rapidly compressed but from the close of the European session it pushed considerably higher to end the day fractionally higher (oddly on a decently higher equity market performance).
Marc Faber Previews Q2, Is Long Japan, Cautious The US And Gold, And Sees A 5-10% Increase In InflationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/02/2012 13:17 -0500
Mark Faber was on Bloomberg TV earlier, presenting his latest outlook on markets and the economy, but first he summarizes 2011's first quarter which as repeatedly observed here before has so far been a mirror image of 2012, with the only different that while it ran up on 2010's QE2 back then, now it has surged on the transitory flow (not stock) impact of two back to back $1.3 trillion LTROs. "I think that if you look back at a year ago we made a peak of 1370 on S&P on May 4 and then dropped sharply to 1074 on October 4. Then we recaptured the lows in November and December. Since then, the first quarter has been very powerful and has surprised investors because of its strong performance. And I think now the expectations are very high. The market is no longer oversold the way it was in December. And everybody thinks that the race is on, go along with equities, the hedge funds have positioned themselves on the long side and optimism is high. I would be very careful at this stage." As for his outlook, he is "reluctant to short" in a money-printing environment, believes that Japan will provide the best equity futures returns (more easing from the BOJ appears imminent), is confident margins will roll over (as they already have) on the back of record for this time of year input costs, and thus thinks earnings will disappoint, sees inflation running 5-10% more than a year earlier, and is still accumulating gold every month. Overall, mostly as expected from the pony-tailed one.