Here We Go Again: US Equities Surge Even As Chinese Stock Market Rollercoaster Tumbles To 8 Month LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2015 08:16 -0400
It seemed like finally China's relentless and increasingly futile attempts to have a green stock close would work: interest rate cuts, liquidity injections, direct stock interventions, even threats on the Prime Minister's head, and just to make certain moments before the close news very deliberately broke that government funds are buying large financial stocks, especially state-owned banks, to support the index, in the latest clear signs of government support, the Shanghai Composite seemed on pace to end an unprecedented series of consecutive tumbles which have dragged the composite down nearly 1000 points, or 25% in one week, and then... red close, with the SHCOMP down 1.3% to 2927, and a stunned China watching in horror as the central bank and government lose control, and everything they throws at the biggest market bubble of 2015 does absolutely nothing.
The 3-month bounce in the Richmond Fed Manufacturing survey... is dead. From 13 in July, August saw it collapse to 0 (massivley missing expectations of a 10 print). This is the biggest absolute drop in the index since May 2006. Across the board, underlying factors crashed with Shipments plunging, New Orders cliff-diving, order backlogs disappearing and Capacity Utilization plunging. This is exactly what we would expect after a massive inventory build up that was not accompanied by a surge in sales... but the pundits stil proclaim "no signs of an imminent US recession."
The PBOC cut itself was not surprising, considering the PBOC now has to juggle and micromanage every aspect of the economy, from its sliding currency, to the bursting stock bubble, to record capital outflow, to soaring real interest rates, to the slowing economy. In fact, bulls around the globe will welcome the latest central bank bailout. Which also happens to be the worst aspect of today's intervention, because one can once again toss all the talk that China would finally stop intervening in asset pricing, with today's decision merely perpetuating the market's reliance on central banks. As a reference, this was the second time China cut both RRR and interest rates in 2 months: the last time it did so was during the depths of the financial crisis.
We warned on Friday, after last week's China rout, that the market is getting ahead of itself with its expectation of a RRR-cut by China as large as 100 bps. "The risk is that there isn't one." We were spot on, because not only was there no RRR cut, but Chinese stocks plunged, with the composite tumbling as much a 9% at one point, the most since 1996 when it dropped 9.4% in a single session. The session, as profile overnight was brutal, with about 2000 stocks trading by the -10% limit down, and other markets not doing any better: CSI 300 -8.8%, ChiNext -8.1%, Shenzhen Composite -7.7%. This was the biggest Chinese rout since 2007.
While many labor market indicators were softer in July, some important service sector indicators, such as ISM nonmanufacturing employment, were significantly stronger; and on balance, they expect job growth roughly consistent with the 223k increase in June. The participation rate showed a surprising drop of 0.3pp in June to 62.6% - due in large part from a calendar effect caused by the timing of the reference week relative to the end of the school year - they therefore expect an at least partial rebound in July.
On a day when market participants will care about only one thing - how hawkish (or dovish) the FOMC sounds at 2:00 pm (no Yellen press conference today) - Chinese stocks provided the usual dramatic sideshow and traded unchanged or modestly negative for most of the day despite the latest $100 billion injection, the close of trading on Wednesday was a mirror image of what happened in the last hour on Monday, as various Chinese "plunge-protection" mechanism went into a furious buying frenzy and government-backed funds rushed to buy anything that trades in the last 60 minutes of trading in what may be the most glaring example of banging the close yet.
For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw a coordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday's losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.
Last week was a complete dead zone for US macro, however with the peak of Q2 earnings season there was more than enough commotion for everyone. This week US macro starts to pick up again, with Durable Goods on Monday, followed by Case Shiller, Q2 GDP, the Chicago PMI, various consumer confidence indices, and of course, the July FOMC meeting on Wednesday.
It all started in China, where as we noted previously, the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.5% in closing hour, suffering its biggest one day drop since February 2007 and the second biggest in history. The Hang Seng, while spared the worst of the drubbing, was also down 3.1%. There were numerous theories about the risk off catalyst, including fears the PPT was gradually being withdrawn, a decline in industrial profits, as well as an influx in IPOs which drained liquidity from the market. At the same time, Nikkei 225 (-0.95%) and ASX 200 (-0.16%) traded in negative territory underpinned by softness in commodity prices.
Nobody apparently learned much from the whole bubble-bust affair as banks and financial firms are at it again, this time in corporate debt. The artificial suppression of default, in no small part to perceptions of those bank reserves under QE (just like perceptions of balance sheet capacity pre-crisis), has turned junk debt into the vehicle of choice for yet another cycle of “reach for yield.” In the past two bubble cycles, we see how monetary policy creates the conditions for them but also in parallel for their disorderly closure. It isn’t money that the FOMC directs but rather unrealistic, to the extreme, expectations and extrapolations. Once those become encoded in financial equations, the illusion becomes real supply.
Despite much hopeful banter among the mainstream media, Goldman forecast nonfarm payroll job growth of 220k in June, notably below consensus expectations of 234k. This is roughly in line with Goldman's expectations for below average job growth over the remainder of 2015. Employment indicators were mixed in June: reported job availability, the employment components of most manufacturing surveys, and ADP employment growth improved, but jobless claims and job cuts both rose slightly and online job ads declined. Overall, the June data point to a gain below the very strong 280k increase in May.
And it started off all so well: the market, blissfully ignoring what we wrote just yesterday in Why The IMF Will Reject The Latest Greek Proposal In Just Two Numbers, was in full blown levitation mode overnight when it sent Japanese stocks to their highest close since 1996 (pre dot com) and with the Chinese central bank doing its best to keep levitating local stocks away from the abyss, pushing the SHCOMP up another 2.5%. Euro Stoxx 50 went from flat to down 1% and is bouncing. As BBG's Richard Breslow adds, predictably, the market is taking this as a ploy, not an end game. Of course, this is precisely the "Bear Stearns is fine" conventional wisdom that Cramer was spewing days before Bear failed because nobody could fathom how anyone can conceive of a worst case scenario. Only it isn't nobody: we reported before of a Goldman's "Conspiracy Theory" Stunner: A Greek Default Is Precisely What The ECB Wants.
Before taking a look at Europe, an update on China. Just a few short hours ago, when looking at the bursting of the Chinese bubble where stocks were down between 3% and 5% across the board in the first post-holiday trading session after the worst week in 7 years, we said that "without assistance (levitation) from the same PBOC that just clamped down on liquidity, the China bubble has burst." And then as if by request, minutes later we got, drumroll, levitation and the stickiest stick-save by the PBOC seen in months, when the Shanghai Composite staged an unprecedented 7% surge from the lows to close 2.2% higher after tumbling as much as 5% earlier in the session. And just like that, faith in the "wealth effect" is preserved.
today is Friday taken to the nth degree, with the markets having already declared if not victory then the death of all Greek "contagion" leverage, following news that a new Greek proposal was sent yesterday (which as we summarized does not include any of the demanded by the Troika pension cuts), ignoring news that Greece had again sent Belgium the wrong proposal which the market has taken as a sign of capitulation by Tsipras, and as a result futures are surging higher by nearly 1%, the German DAX is up a whopping 3.1%, on track for the biggest one day gain in three years, Greek stocks up over 8%, German and US Treasurys sliding while Greek and peripheral bonds are surging.
Although we solved the "mystery" of America's missing wage growth some three months ago, the central planner/ Ivory Tower crowd is still confused. WSJ has taken the time to lay out nine prevailing theories from some of the country’s ‘finest’ economic minds...