Stocks In Holding Pattern Following Blow-Off Top, Oblivious Of Fed's Warning Of "Stretched" ValuationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2015 08:00 -0400
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.
Located in a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side is where, according to the Guardian, one can find the domestic equivalent of a CIA "black site" - an illegal, off-the-books interrogation compound used by Chicago special police units, one which renders "Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside"; a place whose former occupants say is where you end up when you are "disappeared"; a place which confirms that when it comes to the eternal "who is better - us or them" debate, there really is no difference: "It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.” It's a Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib rolled into one. In short: it is a place where the US constitution and basic human rights have absolutely no access.
Edward Snowden's Libertarian Moment: We "Will Remove From Governments The Ability To Interfere With [Our] Rights"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/24/2015 23:45 -0400
"If people lose their willingness to recognize that there are times in our history when legality becomes distinct from morality, we aren't just ceding control of our rights to government, but our agency in determing our futures... I suspect that governments today are more concerned with the loss of their ability to control and regulate the behavior of their citizens than they are with their citizens' discontent."
With China's return from the Lunar New Year celebrations, it appears precious metals are benefitting from some pent-up demand. Gold, and its high-beta cousin Silver have jumped in the Asia session and are now the best performing asset post-Yellen testimony. US equity futures have drifted lower from the cash close and copper has given back most of its gains...
"For me the shorting opportunity looks as great as it was in 07/09, if only because people are still looking at what is hap-pening and believe that each event is an individual, isolated event. Whether it’s the oil price fall or the Swiss franc move, they’re seen as exceptions. ... we used all our monetary firepower to avoid the first downturn in 2007-09, so we are really at a dangerous point to try to counter the effects of a slowing China, falling commodities and EM incomes, and the ultimate First World effects. This down cycle is likely to be remembered in a hundred years . Sadly this down cycle will cause a great deal of damage, precisely because it will happen despite the efforts of the central banks to thwart it."
"...when he gets thanked it can feel self-serving for the thankers, suggesting that he did it for them, and that they somehow understand the sacrifice, night terrors, feelings of loss and bewilderment. Or don’t think about it at all." Rather than saying “thank your for your service,” it appears increasingly clear the appropriate sentiment should be something like, “I’m really sorry American leadership carelessly sacrificed your life for no good reason.”
As the dash-for-trash continues in US equities, Neuberger Berman sums up the state of investing currently, "there has certainly been little reward for owning high-return, superior business models that are conservatively financed," as Bloomberg notes, Fed policy has had the “unintended consequence” of boosting the stocks of companies with heavy debt and little or no earnings. Typically after a recession, such companies lose out to firms that generate more cash and have better balance sheets; this time, no “Darwinian” shakeout happened and low-quality stocks ruled. Managers say they haven’t changed, the market has.
Modestly higher than the 'contractionary' 49.7 print in Janauary, February's Markit (flash) China Manufacturing PMI printed at 50.1 (beating expectations of a drop to 49.5). However, before global investors pop the proverbial champagne corks of global recovery, we note that employment's drop accelerated, New Export Orders contracted the most since June 2013, and prices continued to fall. Of course, HSBC is careful to note that "more policy easing is still warranted" because they believe, "domestic economic activity is likely to remain sluggish and external demand looks uncertain." For now Chinese stocks are holding losses after the lunar new year and the Yuan has weakened further near 30 month lows - once again testing the upper 2% fix band.
The post-1945 European settlement had many successes. But it is now crumbling. It needs drastic modification. That requires statesmen of the calibre of the men of 1945. It is time for politicians who wish to earn a place in history and upgrade themselves to statesmanhood to step up to the challenge.
Before the world morphed into what it has become, the relationship between stock prices and intraday ranges was somewhat positively correlated (as one would imagine) - higher prices and a steady vol means absolute ranges will trend higher. However, the last few years - and most especially the last few months - as equity index prices soared, so intraday ranges collapsed. In fact, the last 3 times a new low range was made, that marked a local high in stock prices. Along with the fact that the VIX term structure is the steepest since the pre-Bullard collapse, hedging - as opposed to BTFTAH - seems more appropriate in the short-term at least.
With more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings, when the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks. If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.
So did Greece write the Greek reform memo or was it someone from the European Commission?