- Australian home-loan approvals decline 3.9% as rate increases cool demand.
- China buys $5.3B of Japanese bonds in June, set for annual record.
- China orders 2,087 steel mills and factories to close to meet efficiency goals.
- Clawbacks divide SEC; Aguilar pushes harder line for executives at accused firms.
- Euro slightly changes against dollar at $1.3274.
- Fed set to downgrade outlook for US; big new steps to boost growth unlikely: FT.
- German exports rise 3.8% in June, 28.5% higher versus previous year.
- Goldman Sachs cuts forecasts for Japan, US on waning stimulus, exports.
So much for trading perfection. After posting a flawless, and statistically impossible without cheating, trading record in Q1, Goldman followed in Bank of America's footsteps and posted 10 trading day losses in the quarter in which we saw the Dow plunge by 1,000 points intraday, and when the S&P ended broadly lower. The firm disclosed 3 trading days with losses of more than $100 million. But most notably, days with $100+ MM daily profitability dropped by more than half from 37 to 17. Of course, as usual, the statistical variance looks nothing like a standard Gaussian distribution. Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley reported 11 days of losses, but $100MM+ profitable trading days at 19, better than Goldman. Is the Morgan Stanley starting to outgun the biggest gun on Wall Street?
Goldman Lowers Its 2010 And 2011 S&P Forecasts By 50 Points On Footsteps Of Friday's GDP Reduction, Quotes ChurchillSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2010 07:19 -0400
On Friday, following Goldman's downward GDP revision, we speculated "Look for ... the 2011 S&P consensus to decline accordingly." Turns out we are right much faster than anticipated, and not surprisingly the first bank to lower its S&P forecast is none other than Goldman. The firm has decided to boost its 2010 EPS estimate from $81 to $83, but lower it 2011 projection from $93 to $89. And the temporary bullish revision higher for 2010 action is to be ignored: as David Kostin says "We have reduced our S&P 500 price target by 50 points to 1200. The new target reflects a 7% expected return over the five months until year’s end. Our 12-month target equals 1250, roughly 11% above the current level...At the end of May – just eight weeks ago – we raised our 2011 EPS estimate to $93 from $90. It was a badly timed decision in retrospect. The economic landscape has changed significantly during the last two months. The macroeconomic data that seemed to indicate improvement in April and May deteriorated sharply in June and early July. Cutting our 2011 EPS estimate to $89 represents a reversal for us and reflects the more challenging economic environment we now face compared with the backdrop just a few months ago. At this time we are reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous response when asked why he changed his mind, “When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"" As a reminder the firm's old 2010 and 12 month estimates were 1,250 and 1,300 respectively. The attached chart shows the revised Goldman estimates, which are basically a broad reduction in the curve by 50 points lower.
Albert Edwards Explains How The Leading Indicator Is Already Back Into Recession Territory And Why The Japan "Ice Age" Is ComingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2010 18:54 -0400
Inflation continues to ebb away. In Japan core CPI deflation, at -1.5% is the worst on record. While in the US, the corporate sector is seeing its weakest pricing power on record ? even worse than that seen in the deflationary maelstrom during the Asian crisis (see chart below). We have consistently articulated the view that the severity of the current situation will only be appreciated when this current cycle ends in failure ? and that is not too far away. That will be the time that equities will plunge to new lows. And that, not March 2009, will provide the buying opportunity of a generation to hedge against the coming Great Inflation. - Albert Edwards
North Korea Fires Artillery Shells Into Sea Close To South Korea Border, Holds Fishing Boat With 7 On BoardSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2010 06:58 -0400
Some interesting geopolitical news to start off the day from Reuters: "North Korea fired artillery rounds into the sea off its west coast on Monday, a South Korean military official said, heightening tension on the divided peninsula. YTN cable news channel reported dozens of rounds were fired into the North's waters near the border with the South soon after a South Korean naval exercise off the west coast officially ended at 5 p.m." This follows earlier news that North Korea held a South Korean fishing vessel with seven people on board, after it crossed into North Korean waters. As the Kospi is closed it is difficult to estimate the unexpectedness of the event. We will follow the news to see if the already tense situation between the two Koreas is affected by this development, and if South Korea, which conducted extensive join-US drills recently, retaliates.
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 09/08/10
Jim Quinn's has penned a good post on the "mother of all bubbles" in which he analyzes the impact of cheap credit and surging money supply on Chinese real estate, hot on the heels of recent Zero Hedge disclosure that nearly 65 million homes in China lie vacant. Using data from The Casey Report depicting the explosion in monetary aggregates, it is rather easy to see just where all the "excess" credit and easy money has gone. In many, if not all ways, the experience China is about to undergo with respect to its real estate bubble is comparable to that of the US, and simply the lack of an overlap of bubble peaks in 2007/8 is what helped China experience an all out economic rout, which due to how its socio-political structure is intertwined, may have well led to a domestic revolution and/or civil war. Yet the longer China avoids looking in the mirror, and continues to "feed the monkey" the worse off it will be when no amount of incremental cheap money can forestall the collapse. Which in itself is a very comparable predicament faced by our own administration and central bank. But before we present the Quinn article, we will take a brief detour into Michael Pettis' recent observations on the pitfalls association with a monetary heroin addiction.
Morgan Stanley On Why The US Will Not Be Japan, And Why Treasuries Are Extremely Rich (Yet Pitches A 6:1 Deflation Hedge)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2010 21:14 -0400
We previously presented a piece by SocGen's Albert Edwards that claimed that there is nothing now but to sit back, relax, and watch as the US becomes another Japan, as asset prices tumble, gripped by the vortex of relentless deflation. Sure enough, the one biggest bear on Treasuries for the past year, Morgan Stanley, is quick to come out with a piece titled: "Are We Turning Japanese, We Don't Think So." Of course, with the 10 Year trading at the tightest level in years, the 2 Year at record tights, and the firm's all out bet on curve steepening an outright disaster, the question of just how much credibility the firm has left with clients is debatable. Below is Jim Caron's brief overview of why Edwards and all those who see a deflationary tide sweeping the US are wrong. Yet, in what seems a first, Morgan Stanley presents two possible trades for those with access to the CMS and swaption market, in the very off case, that deflation does ultimately win.
Earlier we presented Morgan Stanley's traditionally bullish opinions on the economy as relates to the firm's view on rates, which nonetheless translated into an opposite trade recommendation: one that goes against the very core of the bullish economic sentiment. Curiously, Morgan Stanley did a comparable bait-and-switch in its FX analysis last week, when it called for a spike in the recently beaten down USD, on the back of an expectation of US economic growth by 3.4% and 3.3% in Q3 and Q4 (these numbers will shortly be revised lower as MS is way above consensus, see Exhibit 1, and even sellside strategists are finally becoming aware of the double dip), or economic data weakening elsewhere. In other words, no decoupling. With the EUR surging, and the recent strength in Europe's manufacturing centers driven purely by a surge in exports, the likelihood that foreign economies are looking at a step function drop is pretty much guaranteed. Which brings us to a parallel observation, one we have brought up previously, namely that various governments will likely escalate the trade imbalances on an increasingly shorter timeframe, taking advantage of the record short-term volatility in key crosses, and ping ponging quarter after quarter between export strength and weakness, all the while hoping to ride the crest of the wave of recent strength beyond upcoming economic declines. In other words, borrowing a term from TV jargon, the economy will soon downshift from "progressive" to "interlaced" as instead of operating at full steam constantly, each developed economy will be in a quarterly On:Off regime, all the while hoping to remain in investors' good graces when it comes to stock markets, and be punished aggressively when it comes to FX. Judging by the results in Q1 and Q2, and the interplay between Europe and the US in light of a surging then plunging dollar, it is working... for the time being. One wonders however how long the developed, overleveraged economies can hope to maintain this ruse, which is nothing short of another confidence game on risky assets and a bet for central planning.
For all those who have been hoping for someone to condense Donk's 2000+ pages into something that does not induce a coma, below is FRBNY's favorite law firm, Davis Polk, attempted summary of financial regulation... in 130 pages. Davis Polk estimates that 243 new rules, and 67 new reports have to be created before Donk is fully enacted. Which simply means that it probably will not be before 2018 (when Basel III's full guidebook becomes policy) that even the current version of financial reform is close to full implementation. And as Christine Harper slams the farce that was signed by Obama to much pomp and circumstance with the pen of each corrupt politician who was instrumental in the creation of this act of weapons grade stupidity, the crash of 2015 will occur long before any realistic reform is implemented. Of course, realistically speaking now that HFTs have free reign over the market and the SEC has given up regulating every and anything, the next crash will occur much, much sooner.
BNY Asks "If Retail Investors Are Leaving US Stocks In Mutual Funds And ETFs, Then Who Is Buying Stocks?"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2010 16:40 -0400
One of Zero Hedge's favorite indications of rationality (in addition to following what credit does, without fail to the chagrin of permabullish equity fanatics) in the face of Fed-induced capital markets psychopathology, is following the flow of funds into various asset categories. Last week we pointed out that ICI reported the 13th sequential outflow from domestic equity mutual funds, validating our persistent skepticism that the money pushing stocks higher on margin is certainly not coming courtesy of retail accounts, which represent the bulk of holders behind the $10 trillion market cap of US stocks. Incidentally the retail redemptions are also occurring at the ETF level, and in total now amount to $32 billion for mutual funds, and $6 billion for ETFs. The paradox of a rising stock market in the face of massive redemptions has forced others, namely BNY ConvergEx' Nicolas Colas to ask the same question: "If retail investors are leaving U.S. stocks in both 401(k)s (read mutual funds) and brokerage IRAs/investment accounts (read ETFs), then who is buying stocks so that the market is still up (modestly) on the year?" His observation is simple: "Investors are shifting assets in both mutual funds and ETFs away from U.S. stocks and into fixed income. The moves are dramatic: there is 2-4x more money moving into fixed income than is leaving stocks. Fresh savings, in other words, are going directly into bonds. There is also some modest shift to international investing, mostly in equities, but not on the same order of magnitude as the bond trade." In this environment, we believe that in addition to the recently floated idea of annuitizing 401(k), a new revision to retirement planning will be made to allocated even more capital to the equity portion of 401(k) plans, now that the Fed is about to imminently get back to monetizing treasuries thereby making the question of just who buys Treasurys on margin moot.
The weekly chartology segment from David Kostin focuses on the end of the earning season, now that 89% of companies have reported and observes what most know: that analyst estimate gaming is on like Donkey Kong: "52% of companies beat estimates by at least 1 standard deviation." Guess what that means: that the perpetually wrong cadre of analysts will now have to raise estimate going into H2 and 2011, just in time for all the economists to piggyback on Goldman's moment of bearish epiphany and cut their own economic growth projections to the mid 1% range. The clash between macro and micro has never been greater, and yes - it is all courtesy of taxpayer "mediated" deleveraging. For every dollar beat in the private sector, are many public sector dollars that will not only hinder future US economic growth (think of it as the opportunity cost of giving CEOs better cash out levels), but will certainly never be paid back.
Following up on Friday's economic forecast reduction, Goldman's economic team provides an extended analysis validating its dramatic cut to 2011 GDP from 2.5% to 1.9%, and its increase to the unemployment rate from 9.7% to 10.0%. It does so not without a decent bit of gloating: "Our forecast for a significant slowing in the second half of 2010, widely seen as implausible three months ago, is now increasingly accepted." Of course, those reading this blog are fully aware that the fake economic sugar high achieved over the entire past 2 year period is what accountants would consider a non-recurring, one-time item achieved in the face of a deflationary tide, interspersed with ever more desperate attempts by the Fed to stimulate (hyper)inflation. And the closer we get to the imminent realization that as tens of trillions of debt need to be eliminated (and guess what that means for a like amount in underwater equity value) before any form of self-sustaining growth can be achieved, the more likely it becomes that the Fed will commit to the nuclear launch codes which will eventually destroy the US currency, in what many have pegged as hyperinflation for the items we need, and hyperdeflation for the items that nobody really cares about: an outcome which will make the Schrodinger Cat nature of our economy apparent in its final wave function collapse, with the only difference that the US economy is dead in both worlds.
Whether one believes in inflation or deflation, one thing is certain: in many ways the current US experience finds numerous parallels to what has been happening in Japan for not one but two decades. While major economic, sociological and financial differences do exist, the key issue remains each respective central bank's failed attempts to reflate its economy. While long a mainstay of Japan, if the first failed version of our own QE, which pumped $1.7 trillion of new liquidity into the system, is any indication, future comparable efforts by our own Fed will be met with the same outcome (and hopefully with the same political result: the half life of an average Japanese prime minister is 6 months - if only our career politicos knew their tenure in office could be capped at half a year...). There is of course the "tipping point" optionality discussed earlier by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, when comparing the hyperinflationary timeline during the Weimar republic, which noted that it took just a few months for the economy to slide from a period of price stability to outright hyperinflation. Either way, for an ironic look at the Japanese deflation scenario, targeted more at novices although everyone will likely learning something from it, we present the following informative clip from, ironically, the National Inflation Association, which asks whether Japan is a blueprint for America's imminent lost decade(s).
Ian Arvin's Innovative Quant Solutions has completed its July performance tracking analysis, and the result is a major weakness for quants in the just completed otherwise animal spiritsh month, as increasingly fewer factors proved successful, with pronounced weakness in the traditionally robust during the bear market rally Momentum factor. From the summary of the attached report: "The IQS model was down 1.57% for the 4 weeks ending July 31, while the sector neutral model was down 1.01%. Year-to-Date, the IQS model is down 2.74%. IQS top decile of stocks has returned +3.6% YTD, while (according to the WSJ) the DJIA has returned +0.4% YTD, S&P 500 has returned -1.2% YTD, and The Total Stock Market has returned -.04% YTD. The IQS 1000 model was down 6.03% for the 4 weeks ending July 31, and down 6.09% YTD. IQS 1000 top decile of stocks has returned -.8% YTD. Factor categories that added to performance were led by Value and Sentiment. Momentum and Improving Financials underperformed. Weekly returns were volatile – up one week, down the next. IQS 1000."