Yesterday we presented Goldman's first 3 Top Trades for 2013 as they come out, while also noting Goldman's recent disfatuation (sic) with gold. Today, we present Goldman's 4th Top Trade for 2013, which is, drumroll, to go long Spanish Government Bonds, specifically, the 5 year, which should be bought at a current yield of 4.30%. with a target of 3.50% and a stop loss of 5.50%. This reco comes out after the SPGB complex has already enjoyed unprecedented gains - but not driven by economic improvement, far from it - but merely on the vaporware threat of ECB OMT intervention. Of course, once the "threat of intervention" moves to "fact of intervention", everything will promptly unwind as it always does (QE was far more potent as a stock boost when it was merely a daily threat: the market's peak not incidentally occurred the day after Bernanke dropped his entire load: one simply can't move beyond infinity). And with Spain's massive bond buying cliff in Q1 2013, the days its bailout could be postponed are coming to an end.
I recently received the following question from a friend of mine and wanted to share my thoughts with my market pals, and throw this out for feedback. I would be particularly interested in hearing from my derivatives friends who are much more technically informed than I am on the subject.
“I was looking at something today that I thought you would probably have some comment on: have you noticed how wide the out months on the VIX are versus the one or two month? How are you interpreting this?”
From my viewpoint this has been a key debate/driver in the equity derivatives world for a good while now (I started having this discussion in early 2011 with some market pals and the situation has only grown more extreme since then).
The JPY dropped 1.3% against the USD this week for a greater-than-6% drop since its late-September highs as it appears the market is content pricing Abe's dream of a higher inflation-expectation through the currency devaluation route (and not - for now - through nominal bond yields - implicitly signaling 'real' deflationary expectations). In a 'normal' environment, Barclays quantified the impact of a 1ppt shift in inflation expectations from 1% to 2% will create a 'permanent inflation tax' of around 18% (which will be shared between JPY and JGB channels). However, as we discussed in detail in March (and Kyle Bass confirmed and extended recently), the current 'Rubicon-crossing' nature of Japan's trade balance and debt-load (interest-expense-constraint) mean things could become highly unstable and contagious in a hurry. When the upside of your policy plans is an 18% loss of global purchasing power, we hope Abe knows what he is doing (but suspect not).
Hopes for an early recovery in the global economy may be overoptimistic, according to CLSA's Russel Napier, as he notes the expansion of China's reserves, which has been an engine of global economic growth, is about to come to a shuddering halt. As eFinancial News notes, Chinese reserves have decelerated dramatically over the last five years and are now close to zero. Napier said of the graph: "It is the most important chart in the world. The growth in Chinese reserves has determined all the key developments in financial markets in the last two decades. It printed lots of currency and artificially depressed the US yield curve. It has been the cornerstone of global growth, and now it's over."
Not only should we trade the spread between "correlated markets" but we can use the information from changes in the spread to help us trade the individual outright markets.
Please, point me to the floor.
The increasingly short-termist attitudes of both policy-makers, analysts, and investors leaves market and economic indicators in the US and Europe all anticipating some magic in 2013. If only we can get through the elections, the fiscal cliff, a banking union, a Spanish bailout request, Greek extensions; not to mention another round of weak earnings and a sliding Chinese demand backdrop. As SocGen's FX and Rates desk notes, the battle against disinflation in Europe is not over and nominal GDP outlooks remain far too optimistic - only highlighted by the morning's weak lending data. The moribund growth backdrop also begs the question what palpable difference any relief over Spain or Greece (if it comes) will do to the long end. The answer is probably not a whole lot.
The deleveraging has a long-way to go!
Europe is closing on a decidedly negative tone led by weakness in Spain specifically. EURUSD in 80 pips off its earlier highs (under 1.2950) as Spain's 10Y spreads rises once again (now up 33bps in thelast few days) and its stock index (IBEX) is down 4.25% since last Thursday (as is Italy's FTSEMIB). The front-end of the Spanish yield curve is also leaking higher in yield rather quickly as fast money exits. Credit markets tracked stocks but were less volatile on the day. Europe's VIX dropped modestly which combined with credit and equity weakness suggests perhaps hedges being lifted and real-money unwinds. The Draghi-rally trend is now over - as S&P futures test the Dream lows (with European stocks still outperforming US post-Draghi).
ConvergEx's Nick Colas dusts off a golden oldie of stock market valuation – the "Rule of 20." The basics of this heuristic are simple: the addition of the U.S. equity market’s price/earnings ratio and the current inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index should trend around 20. If the current inflation rate is 2%, for example, then stocks should trade to an 18x current multiple. That may sound too simplistic, but since 1914 the average of this summation is 19.3 – pretty close to the catchier “20.” But, as Nick explains, what the “Rule of 20” handily captures is the essential relationship between corporate earnings (a.k.a. cash flows) and discount rates (primarily driven by marginal inflationary expectations.) Here is where the current “Rule of 20” math takes a surprising turn. With CPI inflation at 2%, the market should be trading for 18x current earnings. We, like Nick, see the reasons for this shortfall: either the market is worried that corporate earnings are about to tumble or inflation is much more of a threat than a Fed-supported yield curve currently indicates. Or… gulp… both.
Once "Jollying The Markets" With "Faith, Hope And Charity" Fails, What Comes Next: A Primer On Europe's Next StepsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/17/2012 10:06 -0400
Back in January, Zero Hedge proposed a pair trade, which to date has returned well over 100% on a blended basis, namely the shorting of local law peripheral European bonds, while going long English law (or strong covenant) bonds (a relationship best arbed in Greece, when various foreign-law issues were tendered for at par to avoid a bankruptcy, even as the local law bond population saw a massive cram down a few months later as part of the second Greek "bailout"). In big part, this proposal stemmed from the work of Cleary Gottlieb's Lee Buccheit, who has been the quiet brain behind the real time restructuring of Europe's insolvent states. In fact, one can say that what is happening in Europe was predicted to a large extent in his "How to Restructure Greek Debt" and "Greek Debt; The Endgame Scenarios." Which is why we read his latest white paper: "The Eurozone Debt Crisis - The Options Now", because it presents, in clear, practical terms, just what the flowchart for Europe looks like, unimpeded by the ceaseless chatter and noise of clueless politicians and career bureaucrats who have never heard the term pro forma or fresh start. In brief, Buccheit, unlike all European politicians, is hardly optimistic.
We are now five years into the Great Fiat Money Endgame and our freedom is increasingly under attack from the state, liberty’s eternal enemy. It is true that by any realistic measure most states today are heading for bankruptcy. But it would be wrong to assume that ‘austerity’ policies must now lead to a diminishing of government influence and a shrinking of state power. The opposite is true: the state asserts itself more forcefully in the economy, and the political class feels licensed by the crisis to abandon whatever restraint it may have adhered to in the past. Ever more prices in financial markets are manipulated by the central banks, either directly or indirectly; and through legislation, regulation, and taxation the state takes more control of the employment of scarce means. An anti-wealth rhetoric is seeping back into political discourse everywhere and is setting the stage for more confiscation of wealth and income in the future. This will end badly.
IMF Cuts Global Growth, Warns Central Banks, Whose Capital Is An "Arbitrary Number", Is Only Game In TownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/08/2012 18:05 -0400
"The recovery continues but it has weakened" is how the IMF sums up their 250-page compendium of rather sullen reading for most hope-and-dreamers. The esteemed establishment led by the tall, dark, and handsome know-nothing Lagarde (as evidenced by her stroppiness after being asked a question she didn't like in the Eurogroup PR) has cut global growth expectations for advanced economics from 2.0% to only 1.5%. Quite sadly, they see two forces pulling growth down in advanced economies: fiscal consolidation and a still-weak financial system; and only one main force pulling growth up is accommodative monetary policy. Central banks continue not only to maintain very low policy rates, but also to experiment with programs aimed at decreasing rates in particular markets, at helping particular categories of borrowers, or at helping financial intermediation in general. A general feeling of uncertainty weighs on global sentiment. Of note: the IMF finds that "Risks for a Serious Global Slowdown Are Alarmingly High...The probability of global growth falling below 2 percent in 2013––which would be consistent with recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies––has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012 and 10 percent (for the one-year-ahead forecast) during the very uncertain setting of the September 2011 WEO. For 2013, the GPM estimates suggest that recession probabilities are about 15 percent in the United States, above 25 percent in Japan, and above 80 percent in the euro area." And yet probably the most defining line of the entire report (that we have found so far) is the following: "Central bank capital is, in many ways, an arbitrary number." And there you have it, straight from the IMF.
To all those willing to part with their country's (or their own) hard-earned cash to fund more experimental and unfounded financially-engineered debt for the nations of the union in Europe, the EFSF's Regling has prepared a 30-page investor presentation. The slide-deck explains the machinations, support, and payback (highly liquid, regular issuance, broad yield curve coverage) of this great and good grand ESM plan that will - no doubt - save the known universe and fund Europe across one more bridge. This time it's different - with all its 'paid-in' capital and promises - should any nation decide to abdicate its sovereignty. Hhmm, no mention of 2x leverage...
Following closely on the heels of our recent (now must read) discussion of the potential illegality of Draghi's OMT, Reuters is reporting the somewhat stunning news that the ECB and Bundesbank are getting lawyers to check the legality of the new bond-buying program. Germany's Bild newspaper - via the now ubiquitous unnamed sources - said in-house lawyers were checking both what proportions the program would have to take on and how long it would have to last for it to breach EU treaties (that specifically ban direct financing of state deficits). While Draghi - full of bravado - likely said whatever he felt was necessary at the time to stop the inversion in the Spanish yield curve, it is becoming clearer that, as usual, the premature euphoria (in the complacent belief that central banks can solve every problem with a wave of the magic CTRL-P wand) was misplaced. Bild goes on to note that this matter could be referred to the European Court of Justice - and the ECB/Buba were preparing for such an event. Of course, since every other rumor in recent months, most of which have originated in credible media, has proven to be a lie, it is likely this is also merely leaked disinformation to push the German case, i.e. anti-Europe.