European equities are seen softer at the North American crossover as continued concerns regarding global demand remain stubborn ahead of tonight’s Chinese GDP release. Adding to the risk-aversion is continued caution surrounding the periphery, evident in the Spanish and Italian bourses underperforming today. A key catalyst for trade today has been the ECB’s daily liquidity update, wherein deposits, unsurprisingly, fell dramatically to EUR 324.9bln following the central bank’s cut to zero-deposit rates. The move by the ECB to boost credit flows and lending has slipped at the first hurdle, as the fall in deposits is matched almost exactly by an uptick in the ECB’s current account. As such, it is evident that the banks are still sitting on their cash reserves, reluctant to lend, as the real economy is yet to see a boost from the zero-deposit rate. As expected, the European banks’ share prices are showing the disappointment, with financials one of the worst performing sectors, and CDS’ on bank bonds seen markedly higher. A brief stint of risk appetite was observed following the release of positive money supply figures from China, particularly the new CNY loans number, however the effect was shortlived, as participants continue to eye the upcoming growth release as the next sign of health, or lack thereof, from the world’s second largest economy.
Something is different this morning. Whether it is the aftermath of yesterday's inexplicable 10 Year auction demand spike, or more explicable plunge in the ECB's deposit facility usage, or, the fresh record low yield in the supreme risk indicator, Swiss 2 Year bonds, now at under 0.5%, market participants are realizing that the status quo is changing, leading to fresh 2 year lows in the EURUSD which was at 1.2175 at last check, sliding equity futures (those are largely irrelevant, and purely a function of what Simon "Harry" Potter does today when the clockworkesque ramp at 3:30pm has the FRBNY start selling Vol like a drunken sailor), and negative yields also for German, French, and Finland, with Austria and Belgium expected to follow suit as the herd scrambles into the "safety" of the core (which incidentally is carrying the periphery on its shoulders but who cares about details). Either way, Europe's ZIRP is finally being felt, only not in a way that many had expected and hoped and instead of the money being used to ramp risk, it is further accelerating the divide between risky and safe assets. Look for the Direct take down in today's 30 Year auction: it could be a doozy.
- If Hilsenrath leaks a Fed party line and nobody cares, does Hilsenrath exist? Fed Weighs More Stimulus (WSJ)
- Clock Is Ticking on Crisis Charges (WSJ)
- South Korea in first rate cut since 2009 (FT)
- Shake-Up at New York Fed Is Said to Cloud View of Risk at JPMorgan (NYT)
- Italy stats office threatens to stop issuing data (Reuters)... because Italy is "out of money"
- China New Yuan Loans Top Forecasts; Forex Reserves Decline (Bloomberg).. and here are Chinese gold imports
- Italy Faces 'War' in Economic Revamp, Monti Warns (WSJ)... says Mario Monti from Sun Valley, cause Italy is "out of money"
- NY Fed to release Libor documents Friday (Reuters)
- U.S. House Again Votes to Repeal Obama’s Health Care Law (Bloomberg)
- Germany May Turn to Labor Programs as Crisis Worsens, Union Says (Bloomberg)
- Ireland to unveil stimulus package (FT)
A week ago, the ECB decided to lower its deposit rate to 0%. Today, we get the first real full frontal visual of what this really means, and how banks react under ZIRP. As the ECB just reported, overnight deposits parked in its electronic basement by member banks plunged by the most on record, or €484 billion in one session. This is a lot of money. And this money has to go somewhere. Judging by the reaction in European equities, which continue sliding, bank did not put the money in stocks. Also, judging by the continued slide in the EUR and the daily record negative yields in core European bonds, banks are aggressively buying up "safe" debt, as well as that of other currencies, to place this ZIRP cash somewhere liquid regardless of location, leading to one-time strange events like yesterday's "WTF" 10 Year auction. If indeed the case, look for some serious insanity in the form of record Direct take down in today's 30 Year auction. Which, along with other much more weird things, is to be expected when one has a nearly half a trillion fund flow overnight, and don't forget to add hundreds of billions in now defunct European Money Market funds which have to be parked somewhere as well. One thing is certain: goodbye 0.25% deposit income on nearly €1 trillion in mostly German and Dutch-bank sourced cash.
US Attorneys General Jump On The Lieborgate Bandwagon; 900,000+ Lawsuits To Follow, And What Happens Next?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/11/2012 21:00 -0400
The second Barclays announced its $450 million Libor settlement, it was all over - the lawyers smelled not only blood, but what may be the biggest plaintiff feeding frenzy of all time. Which is why it was only a matter of time: "State attorneys general are jumping into the widening scandal over whether banks tried to manipulate benchmark international lending rates, a move that could open a new front against the top global banks. A handful of state attorneys general said they are looking into whether they have jurisdiction over the banks, and are starting preliminary discussions to determine what kind of impact the conduct involving the Libor rate may have had in their states."
As Europe opens, S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) have given up all gains for the day and are back below yesterday's day session lows (down 9pts from the close). German and Dutch 2Y interest rates just hit record lows at -0.021% and 0.033% respectively (and Swiss 2Y is back at -35bps just off its lowest ever). Major AUD weakness following its worst of the year drop in employment is impacting carry pairs (notable JPY strength) and the EURUSD is back at yesterday's lows - which is pushing the USD up to week's highs and dragging commodities lower (with Silver and WTI dropping the most). Treasury yields are leaking lower but remain well off post-10Y-auction spike lows for now. Meanwhile - Italian and Spanish sovereign bond spreads are modestly lower. This seems like a combination of technicals from CDS-cash basis traders stepping in at notably wide spreads as well as the considerable decompression in subordinated bank spreads relative to senior/sovereigns - which is/was a popular trade and seems to have gathered steam once again as the Spanish MOU is leaked (and as we suggested Subs get 'bailed-in'). European credit remains markedly underperforming European stocks post EU-Summit, but the stocks seem to be playing catch-down for now today.
With 15 days until the Olympics, we introduce the first in a five-part series of market-and-economy related discussions centered on that glorious event. As global equities exhibit their own 'Citius, Altius, Fortius', Goldman looks at the impact of the Olympics on stock markets. They note that, aside from the benefit of raising the international profile of the host country as both a tourism and investment destination, the announcement of a winning Olympic bid means major investment in infrastructure, including stadiums, accommodation and transport to prepare for the Games. Interestingly, all recent Olympic hosts have outperformed the MSCI World index in the 12 months following the Olympics. This is true of recent hosts regardless of the size of the economy or state of development, suggesting either the local market is boosted by the international profile of the Games, or is perhaps relieved to have the Games behind them. Given the below-average performance in the UK since the Olympic announcement, UK investors may hope for a continuation of this trend, looking forward to a positive year in equities following the London 2012 Games.
On occasion of the publication of his new gold report (read here), Ronald Stoeferle talked with financial journalist Lars Schall about fundamental gold topics such as: "financial repression"; market interventions; the oil-gold ratio; the renaissance of gold in finance; "Exeter’s Pyramid"; and what the true "value" of gold could actually look like. Via Matterhorn Asset Management.
"If we continue forward in the direction we are headed, what lies ahead is an almost certain major economic calamity" is the subtle introduction from the Bay-Area baddest bull-crusher. Charles Biderman, CEO of TrimTabs, is angry - and you wouldn't like him when he's angry - as he believes "it no longer matter who wins elections, because the special interest groups control, and in some cases own, the representatives" and the US needs a new constitutional convention. He has touched on this before but his ire is very clear here as he sees the "special interest groups as parasites" and believes that due to the rapid changes in social media technologies that a new way of governing ourselves is possible (though we still doubt it). "The road ahead to a new constitutional convention will not be easy," he concludes, given the big bucks will try and convince us they are necessary, but it appears Lewis Black's avuncular alter ego is ready to take 'em on.
The debt-to-GDP ratio is gradually falling, yet it is still at a far higher level than the historical average, and it is still proportionately higher than industrial output. And at the same time, consumers are re-leveraging, and government debt is soaring. And industrial production is barely above where it it was a decade ago, and far below its pre-2000 trend line. We have barely started, and already this has been a slow and grinding deleveraging; rather than the quick and brutal liquidation like that seen in 1907 where the banking system was effectively forced into bailing itself out, the stimulationist policies of low rates, quantitative easing and fiscal stimulus have kept in business zombie companies and institutions carrying absurd debt loads. Like Japan who experienced a similar debt-driven bubble in the late ’80s and early ’90s, we in the West appear to have embarked on a low-growth, high-unemployment period of deleveraging; and like Japan, we appear to be simply transferring the bulk of the debt load from the private sector to the public, without making any real impact in the total debt level, or any serious reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio.
For many months, if not years, we have been beating the drum on what we believe is the most hushed, but significant story in the metamorphosis of the US labor pool under the New Normal, one which has nothing to with quantity considerations, which can easily be fudged using seasonal and birth death adjustments, and other statistical "smoothing" but with quality of jobs: namely America's transformation to a part-time worker society. Today, one of the very few economists we respect, David Rosenberg, pick up on this theme when he says in his daily letter that "the use of temps is outpacing outright new hirings by a 10-to-1 ratio." And unlike in the old normal, or even as recently as 2011, temp hires are no longer a full-time gateway position: "Moreover, according to a Manpower survey, 30% of temporary staffing this year has led to permanent jobs, down from 45% in 2011.... In today's world, the reliance on temp agencies is akin to "just in time" employment strategies." Everyone's skillset is now a la carte in the form of self-employed mini S-Corps, for reason that Charles Hugh Smith explained perfectly well in "Dear Person Seeking a Job: Why I Can't Hire You." Sadly, that statistic summarizes about everything there is to know about the three years of "recovery" since the recession "ended" some time in 2009.
With AAPL and several other strange-attracting hedge fund hotels dominating the holdings of the 2-and-20'ers, we thought it timely that Bloomberg TV would point out today that their aggregate hedge fund index is now significantly underperforming the S&P 500 (from both the top in 2007 and the lows in 2009 - in order to be fair). While the assumption is that 'sophisticated' investors are paying for alpha - and as always the focus is absolute return on the way up no matter what the mandate - it seems the extreme correlations both across asset-class and within-and-across individual equities (as we have discussed in depth - most recently here) have indeed eaten into any 'value' that has empirically been added. As The Economist notes, in June "funds suffered the largest withdrawals in assets since October 2009." Furthermore, as Citi's recent study on risk drivers shows, the high-beta momentum trade has become by far the most crowded trade around - so even sales of DB9s and NYC apartments are now entirely dependent on NEW QE coming before year-end.