Over the last year, investors have been lulled to sleep wrapped in the warmth of complacency as the Federal Reserve stoked the fires of the market with $85 billion a month in liquidity injections. I have written many times in the past that investors were likely to be rudely awakened by an unexpected event of which was likely not even on the majority of mainstream analysts radars. That occurred this past week as a revulsion in emerging markets sent the "carry trade" running in reverse. What we will need to ponder this weekend is whether the current correction is simply just a dip within an ongoing uptrend OR have the "bears" finally awakened from their winter hibernation?
- Here is why AAPL bounced off $500: Apple Repurchases $14 Billion of Own Shares in Two Weeks (WSJ)
- German Court Refers OMT Decision to Europe's Top Court (WSJ)
- Inflation Fuels Crises in Two Latin Nations (WSJ)
- U.S. job growth seen snapping back from winter chill (Reuters)
- Google to own $750 million Lenovo stake after Motorola deal closes: HK exchange (Reuters)
- Frigid Winter Spells Trouble for U.S. Economy (BBG)
- Winter Games to open, Putin keen to prove doubters wrong (Reuters)
- Regulators Ready to Proceed on Bank Leverage Limit (WSJ)
- Abe Eyes Window for Biggest Military-Rule Change Since WWII (BBG)
"The slump in the recent ISM data may be the ?straw in the wind? of what is to come. Certainly the three-month change of the leading indicator has now turned down sharply ? even before the recent ISM data has been incorporated. We watch the unfolding EM crisis with increasing trepidation because we know how this story ends. We have been here before. And even if the Fed resumes massive QE at some point as the world melts down, and markets desperately attempt their return to the dream trance, they will instead find themselves locked into a Freddie Kruger-like nightmare in which phase 3 of this secular bear market takes equity valuations down to levels not seen for a generation." - Albert Edwards
As the Fed continues to extract liquidity from the financial markets, it is likely that we will continue to see increased volatility in the markets. However, despite the ever bullish calls by the mainstream analysts, the current market rout has awoken many overly complacent, excessively bullish, investors. The 5-panel chart below really tells you all you need to know about the current market environment. We are overbought, over extended and exceedingly bullish. The combination of these metrics has a history of bad outcomes. Unfortunately, because these measures are generally overrun in the short term by price momentum and sentiment, they are disregarded as "this time is different."
Asia outperformed emerging market peers in Europe and Latin America during the recent selloff, which coincided with a drop in China’s PMI below 50. As Bloomberg's Tamara Hendereson notes, that was partly due to 'smoothing' by Asian central banks to temper volatility and partly because of the region’s reputation for strong growth and ample current-account cushions. Still, she warns, emerging market investors may in time focus more on Asia’s vulnerabilities, including higher valuations, lower real yields and greater sensitivity to Fed tapering and China’s rebalancing.
We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Chucked something in the wash and turned it on too high, only to see it pop out at the end of the cycle and it ends up the size of your hamster. Well, Obama has been doing the same. Except this time it’s not your winter woollies that he’s shrinking, it’s the greenback.
Abenomics Disaster: Japan Regular Wages Fall For 19 Consecutive Months; Real Wages Drop To 16 Year LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2014 09:09 -0400
For the past year Abenomics has gotten the "get out of a jail free" card because while the plunging yen was crushing Japanese purchasing power, and sending nominal regular wages ever lower, at least the stock market was higher so (some of the) locals could delude themselves they are getting richer, if only on paper. However, following the most recent 10% correction in the Nikkei which may soon become an all out rout if the 101 level in the USDJPY doesn't hold (and then 100, and so on), all Japan suddenly has left, is the shock of soaring food and energy prices, and the hangover of declining wages that refuse to stop dropping. Case in point, last night the Japan labor ministry reported that monthly wages excluding overtime and bonus payments fell 0.2 percent in December from a year earlier to 241,525 yen on average per worker, a series of declines which has now stretched to 19 consecutive months.
- Goldman to Fidelity Call for Calm After Global Stock Wipeout (BBG)
- Turnabout on Global Outlook Darkens Investor Mood (Hilsenrath)
- EU Said to Weigh Extending Greek Loans to 50 Years (BBG)
- Second Storm Hitting Northeast Halts Planes, Schools (BBG)
- Small Banks Face TARP Hit (WSJ)
- As Sony prepares PCs exit, pressure mounts for reboot on TVs (Reuters)
- IBM Uses Dutch Tax Haven to Boost Profits as Sales Slide (BBG)
- ECB faces dilemma with inflation drop (FT)
- London Subway Strike Snarls Traffic as Union Opposes Cuts (BBG)
In this part, we look at the question: Is gold a currency? Professor Tom Fischer answers, “Yes, gold is a currency with the symbol XAU”.
It is still all about the Yen carry which overnight tumbled to the lowest level since November, dragging the Nikkei down by 4.8% which halted its plunge at just overf 14,000, only to stage a modest rebound and carry US equity futures with it, even if it hasn't helped the Dax much which moments ago dropped to session lows and broke its 100 DMA, where carmakers are being especially punished following a downgrade by HSBC of the entire sector. Also overnight the Hang Seng entered an official correction phase (following on from the Nikkei 225 doing the same yesterday) amid global growth concerns and has filtered through to European trade with equities mostly red across the board. Markets have shrugged off news that ECB's Draghi is seeking German support in the bond sterilization debate, something which we forecast would happen a few weeks ago when we pointed out the relentless pace of SMP sterilization failures, with analysts playing down the news as the move would only add a nominal amount of almost EUR 180bln to the Euro-Area financial system. Elsewhere, disappointing earnings from KPN (-4.3%) and ARM holdings (-2.5%) are assisting the downward momentum for their respective sectors.
Kudos to the Bank of Japan. Its heroic campaign to water down the yen has borne fruit.
Many fear that a decline of between 1,500 to 2,000 points in the Nikkei to raise doubts about 'Abenomics' (i.e., hoary inflationism combined with deficit spending). We are still wondering what Abenomics is supposed to achieve. With a graying population and consequently a shrinking work force, inflationary policies seem especially ill-conceived in Japan. Maintaining the market's calm is predicated on the belief that the inflationary policy pursued by Abe/Kuroda will actually fail. Moreover, Japan's government can simply not afford higher borrowing costs, as 25% of its tax revenue is already going toward merely servicing interest costs on its current outstanding debt. In other words, Japan's government bond market is a glaring example of a Ponzi scheme and only a rising stock market maintains the media's complicitness in this mirage.
As we already noted earlier today in our overnight recap "Alarms Going Off As 102 Dollar-Yen Support Breached", all eyes are glued on the USDJPY 102, which moments ago decisively breached the 102 support level. We said that "if support below the USDJPY fail solidly, then watch out below." Sure enough, here is Ben Hunt from Epsilon Theory with some follow up observations on this topic.
Alarms are going off in assorted plunge protecting offices, now that the USDJPY has breached the 102.000 "fundamental" support level, below which the Yen can comfortably soar to sub 100.000 in perfectly even 100 pip increments. The first trading day of February has brought another weaker session across Asia though some equity indices such as the KOSPI (-1.1%) are in catch-up mode given they were shut towards the back-end of last week. Over the weekend, the Chinese government published its latest official manufacturing PMI which showed a 0.5pt drop to 50.5, a six-month low, and consistent with consensus estimates. DB’s Jun Ma believes there was some element of seasonality affecting this month’s result including the fact that Chinese New Year started at the end of January (vs February last year), anti-pollution measures in the lead up to CNY and efforts to control government consumption around the holiday period. The official service PMI was released overnight (53.4) which printed at the lowest level since at least 2011. The uninspiring Chinese data has not helped market sentiment this morning, with the Nikkei plunging -2% and ASX200 once again under pressure. S&P500 futures have fluctuated around the unchanged line this morning although if support below the USDJPY fail solidly, then watch out below. Markets in Mainland China and Hong Kong remain closed for Lunar New Year.
Nine Event Risks for the week ahead: identified, discussed and assessed.