"The Fed is out of control," exclaims David Stockman - perhaps best known for architecting Reagan's economic turnaround known as 'Morning in America' - adding that "people don't want to hear the reality and the truth that we're facing." Policymakers are "taking our economy in a direction that is dangerous, that is not sustainable, and is likely to fully undermine everything that's been built up and created by the American people over decades and decades." The Fed, Stockman concludes, "is a rogue institution," and their actions have led us to "one of the scariest moments in our history... it's a festering time-bomb and we're not sure when it will explode."
Another quarter of no “escape velocity” on main street and a further round of Kool Aid drinker speculation on Wall Street takes us just that much closer to the brink. Yet the Fed remains oblivious and continues to manufacture excuses and equivocations as to why ZIRP should extend into its 80th month and beyond. This is mis-governance on a colossal scale. So when the next thundering crash occurs - it is devoutly to be hoped that “audit the Fed” turns out to be the least of the threats descending on the Eccles Building.
What in god’s name does Janet Yellen think she is doing? Just a few weeks ago she established the ridiculous Fedspeak convention that “patient” means money market rates will not rise from the zero bound for at least two meetings. Now she has modified that message into “not exactly”.
Following a quiet overnight session in which the main event appears to be a statement by Chinese premier Li for more active fiscal policy, which has pushed the metals complex higher, although technically every other asset class as well, with US equity futures set to open in fresh record high territory, even as 10Y yields around the world continue to decline, attention today will fall on the CPI print due out shortly, because if consensus is correct, January will be the first month this decade when US inflation posts a negative print, mostly due to the delayed effect of sliding commodity prices. As Deutsche recaps, the most important number today is the headline CPI where the headline YoY rate is predicted to be negative by the market (-0.1%) for the first time since 2009. Over this period the YoY rate stayed negative for 8 months. However before this we hadn't seen a full year decline since August 1955. In other words, a few months before what may be the first US rate hike for a new generation of traders, the US is set to print its first annual deflation since Lehman, transitory or not.
Stocks In Holding Pattern Following Blow-Off Top, Oblivious Of Fed's Warning Of "Stretched" ValuationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2015 07:00 -0500
Following the first of two Janet Yellen testimonies to Congress, the market read between the lines of what the Fed Chairman said when she hinted that "the Fed needs confidence on recovery and inflation before beginning to raise rates" and realized that the case of a June rate hike is suddenly far less realistic than previously expected, as a result not only did we see another blowoff top in stocks to fresh all time highs, a move which sent the USD lower, has pushed the median EV/EBITDA multiple to the mid 11x (!) range and the forward PE to just shy of 18x ironically coming on a day when the Fed itself warned about "stretched" equity valuations, and led to brisk buying of global Treasurys across the board, pushing the 10 Year in the US back under 2%, and due to the global convergence trade (because if the Fed returns to QE, it will be forced to buy up Treasuries not just in the US but around the globe, since net issuance including CBs globally is now negative) and leading to today's German 5 Year bond auction pricing at a negative yield for the first time ever.
It turns out that the next best thing to Greek contagion in this bizarro, centrally-planned world is... anti-contagion.
Yet another weak Japanese bond auction (this time 5Y maturity - lowest bid-to-cover and biggest tail since 2013), on the heels of last night revelations of a growing chorus of JPY-devaluation-fears has many wondering if the faith they placed in The BoJ's grandest experiment was wrong after all. With speculators now net short for Japanese stocks for the first time since Abenomics was unleashed, a series of weak bond auctions and a spike in JGB yields since the ECB unleashed QE, and now a surging JPY (tumbling USDJPY) as carry trader around the world pull back on leverage and exposure... perhaps - the idea that a nation can devalue itself into prosperity on the backs of the rest of the world was total idiocy after all and Kyle Bass' Potemkin Village is about to fall.
The monetary politburo has every reason to fear Rand Paul’s demand for a “policy audit” of the Fed. An honest one would show that its so-called “independence” has been monumentally abused in a manner which is deeply threatening to both political democracy and capitalist prosperity. Needless to say, we can’t have that audit soon enough. In short, what the nation really needs is not an “independent” Fed, but one that is shackled to a narrow and market-driven liquidity function. The rest of its current remit is nothing more than the self-serving aggrandizement of the apparatchiks who run it; and who have now managed to turn the nation’s vital money and capital markets into dangerous, unstable casinos, and the nations savers into indentured servants of a bloated and wasteful banking system.
As UBS' Maury Harris proclaims in the headline, "don't be out of the office on June 17th" - the mid-year FOMC meeting. Today's jobs data will only serve to boost the Fed's confidence that they are reading the labor market correctly, and that is being rapidly 'priced-in' to the short-end of the yield curve as implied rates surge...
What are the other "highest conviction trades", i.e., most crowded trades, for the hedge fund community? SocGen has the answer.
How can traders position the oil trade in the current environment?
ZIRP in essence is deflationary in nature, it becomes a self-fulfilling, reinforcing slippery slope of “Monetary Extremism” and should be rejected at all costs!
At the end of the day, there is nothing behind the curtain at the Eccles Building except for the specious doctrine of wealth effects. Fractional changes in the money market rate are of relevance only to the day traders and robo machines which occupy the casino. Fed policy is designed to keep them dancing. It rests on the delusional hope that the drug of ZIRP or near-ZIRP can keep the stock market averages rising and a trickle down of extra spending by the wealthy flowing into the reported GDP and job numbers. History proves beyond a shadow of doubt that bubbles fueled by bad money ultimately splatter into a world of harm. The Fed is not only ignoring the coming storm, but is actually fueling its intensity with malice of forethought.
Shortly after yesterday’s open, the S&P 500 was down nearly 2% and off its recent all-time high by 3.5%. But soon the robo-machines and day traders were buying the “dip” having apparently once again gotten the “all-clear” signal. Don’t believe it for a second! The global financial system is literally booby-trapped with accidents waiting to happen owing to six consecutive years of massive money printing by nearly every central bank in the world.
It’s terrifying how fast the whole Swiss yield curve sank under the waterline of zero. Now even the 15-year bond has negative interest. The franc has reached the end.