Released moments ago reveals a "drone's eye view" of devastated Kathmandu, and other regions of Nepal,following an earthquake which has so far claimed nearly 4,000 casualties and at this rate may be the most destructive tremor in the history of the poor Himalayan country.
Biotech stocks have been surging since their mid-March plunge (back below the 50DMA), but it appears that is at an end as XBI - the SPDR Biotech ETF - is now down almost 7% from Friday's highs on heavy volume (and back below the 50DMA once again). This is a major problem as if China QE can't keep the weathe creation dream alive, what will?
Following violent protests over the weekend, Freddie Gray's funeral today has reignited tensions with Baltimore Police issuing a "credible threat" from gangs seeking to team up (the Black Guerilla Family, the Bloods and the Crips,) to "take-out" law enforcement officers.
Amid too close scrutiny in the equity markets, it appears the "spoofing" machines have turned their attention to the Soybean complex. As Nanex's Eric Hunsader exposes, a series of 200-lot sell-order-spoofs has sparked a pump-and-dump roundtrip in Soybean futures today. Oat futures have been monkey-hammered down almost 10% today and ripped back higher.
Following meetings with Sec. of State John Kerry, Defense Sec. Ashton Carter, Japanese officials, it appears, have been shown the endgame now that the Keynesian farce is over... As AFP reports, Japan’s military to take on more assertive role, according to Japanese officials as Japan and US bolster their alliance for the first time in 18 years. Noting the alliance "serves as the cornerstone of peace in AsiaPac," and that the Senkakus will fall under protection of this new treaty, we suspect the Chinese will have more than a few things to say about this.
While preserving the farce of the S&P's relentless rise no matter the earnings recession, the 1% GDP or the negative funds flow, has been entirely a central bank mandate in the past month (one which will soon inlude the PBOC), the good news for the BOJs and the NYFeds of the world is that the stock buyback hiatus is almost over, and starting this week the bulk of companies can come right back and proceed to repurchase their stocks at all time highs. And what a come back it will be. According to Goldman, the pace of buybacks is now absolutely off the charts, with nearly $1 trillion in buyback announcements expected in just this calendar year, a mindboggling number, one which is the same size as the largest annual Fed Quantiative Easing amount in any one year going back to the great financial crisis.
If Greece does indeed end up exiting the common currency or if the intractable nature of debt negotiations end up triggering an "accident" that plunges the country into social unrest and years of unprecedented economic hardship, no one wants to be "the one holding the murder weapon."
Despite all of Dick Fisher's promises, The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook had collapsed in the last 4 months (and is down for 6 months in a row - the longest losing streak in history) and April did not disappoint. Against expectations of -12, Dallas Fed printed -16 (the 5th large miss in a row). Silver-lining enthusiasts will note this is a slight rise from 2-year lows at -17.4 in March but remains close to 6-year lows. Of the 15 sub-cmponents only wages and employment were positive (sure why not) as capacity utilization and new order growth rates slowing further. Prices Paid are at their most negative since Lehman and "hope" collapsed. It appears low oil prices are not a net positive to the Texas economy after all.
Dollar weakness continues (after weak US Services PMI) which has sent stocks to new record highs but it is the China-QE-driven commodity complex (along with Aussie and Canadian Dollar) that is in outright vertical panic mode...
After 3 months of somewhat surprising strength (given the background of disastrous hard data), US Services PMI dropped in April by the most since December, missing expectations by the most on record. Against serial extrapolators' expectations of a rise to 58.9, PMI fell to 57.8 with cost inflation jumping to a six-month high and the biggest rise in the jobs index suggests to Markit that "the FOMC to consider starting the process of normalising monetary policy sooner rather than later at its meeting later this week.."
It appears the 'containment' of Greek FinMin Varoufakis has sparked exuberance in Greek bond markets. 10Y GGB yields are down over 60bps (and 3Y -275bps!) on the news. The machines appear to have decided now is the time to dump dollars en masse.. and that has smashed crude oil and silver prices higher. Stocks have shrugged it off for now...
It appears the ammunition for another leg higher in bond yields and small cap stocks is running dry quickly. As BofAML notes, speculators added to Russell 2000 positions for the 5th of the 6 weeks, reducing small cap shorts to smallest in a year. Spec buying of crude continues unabated with the 4th week in a row lifts net long to highest since August. The bond complex is at extremes everywhere: large specs bought 2Y bonds for the 7th week in a row, lifting the 2Y bond net long to a 2-year high; but levered funds have never been more short the long-bond. Finally, VIX Spec shorts have soared to one-year highs. All-in-all positions are extreme to say the least.
On the heels of highly contentious (and largely unsuccessful) negotiations in Riga on Friday, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is "reshuffling" his negotiating team in an effort to jumpstart talks with creditors. As Reuters reports, the well-liked deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will now coordinate the team and will "have a more active role in face-to-face talks from now on." Meanwhile, Yanis Varoufakis hates "boring dinners."
Following The Guardian's report that ISIS leadder Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi had received serious "life-threatening" injuries during a US-led airstrike in March; in what could deal a severe jolt to the extremist organization, Radio Iran has claimed that the ISIS caliph has died.