Having been on a two-week vacation from their Europe-wide buying spree of everything that is red for the day, it would appear that the ECB is back. As Italian bonds started to accelerate to the downside today, and the 10Y bond touched EUR99, suddenly the yield-rising trend reversed and nine (count them nine) gappy surges later, BTPs are in the green with their yields heading back towards the safety of 5% very rapidly. Perhaps reflecting on the points we have raised before on the CDS markets being a cleaner 'market-reflective' indication of risk is increasingly important as we note...drum roll please...10Y Italy CDS are +21bps at 382bps, near the wides of the day as 10Y bond spreads are now tighter by 2bps and 20bps off their worst levels of the day!
Presented with little comment - except the irony is simply too much to bear as BATS crashes from $15.75 to $0.038 in minutes...perhaps reflecting the WSJ article on HFT abuse and that BATS is being investigated for HFT abuse (ahem) on the day it goes public. We note that there were some trades executed at $0.00! The reason for the crash apparently is because BATS stock is ony trading on the BATS exchange, where apparently the APPL halt second before also happened. Pretty much tells us all we need to know about the stability of broken market structure. In other news, the stock, and exchange, have now been renamed BATShit - perhaps the VVIX can trade there next or something... And they wonder why nobody trades this farce of a market any more.
UPDATE: NANEX data shows ugly stub quote got caught
When the largest market cap company in the world loses 10% of its market cap thanks to a fat finger from a 100-lot retail-momo-monkey (hitting market order not stop?), questioning your sanity (or the sanity of the hedge fund hotel it has become) is perhaps worthwhile. At 10:57, AAPL was halted as Bloomberg noted: *APPLE HALTED AFTER TRADE AT $542.80/SHR for Reason Code T7 (which seems entirely irrelevant) and then reopened at 11:03 with a small loss. Nothing to see here, move along (except the irony of the fact that the trade occurred on BATS which just IPO'd and the SEC investigation in general on HFT/colos).
Six weeks ago when we first brought the idea of a 'stigma' for accepting LTRO loans, the difference between credit spreads of unencumbered banks and encumbered banks was a mere 50bps. Today it has soared higher to post-LTRO record wides at 100bps as LTRO-facing increasingly-encumbered and increasingly-subordinated senior unsecured credit spreads blow out to near mid-February wides. It was mid-February when we called out Draghi for lying about the 'stigma' - perhaps now the market is realizing he was not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as all the benefits of the LTRO (fixing short-term liquidity issues for the critical banking system) start to unwind. Whether it is margin calls from the ECB on falling asset prices or rising cost of funds from a market-wide recognition of the massive subordination that just occurred (and will only get worse), we suspect the primary issuance market for EU banks (especially those who took the loans) will be closed (or hugely expensive) for a long time to come.
Somehow the investing public managed to convince itself that a massive liquidity flood designed to 'help' banks (implicitly buy sovereign debt) with their government reacharounds actually 'fixed' the European economic imbalance problem because yields fell and reflexively this means all-is-well. Just ask Eastman Kodak shareholders how good it felt to rally over 100% the week before bankruptcy? Morgan Stanley has the mother-of-all-chartdecks on the European situation but 3 charts standout in our view by summarising the problems Europe faces. The last few days have seen Eurosis return - but away from the momentum and liquidity - did it ever really go away? This time is no different except LTRO 3 is becoming harder and harder as quality unencumbered collateralizable assets are few and far between - and with the recent weakness in Spain, how long before ECB margin calls start to ramp up?
Japan Readies PAC-3 And AEGIS SAM Countermeasures As North Korea Missile Launch Prep Enters Final StageSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/23/2012 10:27 -0400
Moments ago Japan's Kyodo reported that the upcoming North Korean missile launch has entered a "full-fledged state of action." While not immediately clear what this means, it is not all that surprising: after all this is precisely what Un has said he would do, and so he will. What is more important is that according to VOA Japan is now actively preparing for "countermeasures" and is "preparing for contingencies" should the missile veer off course. Because if Fukushima taught us something is that gusts of wind around Japan always somehow point toward Tokyo. To wit: "The Japanese parliament has approved a resolution condemning North Korea's planned missile launch, and the country is also preparing contingencies should the missile veer off course and pose a threat to Japan. Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the Japanese military will be prepared for any eventuality. Tanaka says he is ordering officials to prepare deployment of PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles and Aegis destroyers carrying a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could attempt to shoot down the rocket." Of course, by the time the shooting is over, ES will be at least limit up: consider the upside GDP potential resulting from rebuilding the world in the aftermath of armageddon.
Following last night's post on the destruction of the positive trend in macro data (as expectations once again extrapolated to infinity have missed miserably), New Home Sales made it 12 of 14 this morning as they missed horribly. Against an expectation of a +1.3% gain, new home sales fell 1.6% MoM but what is even more shocking (and surely in retrospect would have caused the market to subside aggressively) is the massive revision of the previous month. From a -0.9% 'modest' fall, January's data was revised to a massive 5.4% drop MoM - the largest drop in 13 months! This is the largest downward revision since March 2009. Perhaps KB Home is not the outlier and the 80% rally in the Homebuilder ETF was a little overdone, eh Bob?
Yesterday, with all the grace of a permabull in a China propaganda store (aka CNBC), Rayond James' ever ebullient Jeff Saut tangoed in to tell anyone clueless enough to listen that stocks are cheap. Oh, and to buy some firm nobody had ever heard of before called Tangoe. In explaining what they do, here is what he said: "these people have the greatest and newest software on the planet right now. Who did they sell it to? To institutions like raymond james. We use their ordering and billing software and hopefully switch to their telecommunications software. It's nifty stuff." He also had some great things to say about Whiting Petroleum. So far so good. What Saut did not say is that his employer, Raymond James, for whom he works as chief strategist (which probably means to advise clients to dollar cost average all the way to $0.00) is an underwriter on not just one but both companies' secondary equity offerings in process, and that commenting on their growth prospects in a non-banana republic would be not only prohibited but punished (see quiet period). Well, the people with the "greatest and newest software on the planet" aren't waiting for the SEC to turn off the porncast. As can be seen from the following before and after cover pages of Tangoe's S1, Raymond James has just been fired as of this morning, following Saut's rank amateur commentary yesterday.
Oil as a commodity has always been a highly valuable early warning indicator of economic instability. Every conceivable element of our financial system depends on the price of energy, from fabrication, to production, to shipping, to the consumer’s very ability to travel and make purchases. High energy prices derail healthy economies and completely decimate systems already on the verge of collapse. Oil affects everything. This is why oil markets also tend to be the most misrepresented in the mainstream financial media. With so much at stake over the price of petroleum, and the cost steadily climbing over the past year returning to disastrous levels last seen in 2008, the American public will soon be looking for someone to blame, and you can bet the MSM will do its utmost to ensure that blame is focused in the wrong direction. While there are, indeed, multiple reasons for the current high costs of oil, the primary culprits are obscured by considerable disinformation… The most prominent but false conclusions on the expanding value of oil are centered on assertions that supply is decreasing dramatically, while demand is increasing dramatically. Neither of these claims is true…
Well that didn't take long. New Greek bonds (GGB2) have dropped dramatically in the last 2 days. The 2023 bond has fallen from over EUR29.5 on Wednesday to under EUR25.5 this morning, prices have dropped an incredible 14% and down a painful 17.5% from its opening break highs of just 2 weeks ago. Yields have broken back above 20% for the first time for this new 10Y as it appears reality is sinking in that Greek Bailout III will come sooner rather than later. Eurosis is back.
BarCap said it expects precious metals to be one of the commodity price leaders in the second quarter, citing the "resumption of the kind of currency debasement/inflation concerns that have been the big driver of gold and silver prices over the past 12 months". It recommended that investors take a long position in December 2012 palladium, saying lower Russian exports should push the market into a supply deficit and bring prices "significantly above current levels" by later this year. BarCap put a second-quarter price of $745 per ounce for palladium futures on the London Metal Exchange, versus the past four weeks' average of $701. Spot palladium on the LME hit a session bottom below $645 on Thursday.
Yesterday we discussed extensively how the narrative of US decoupling, which has so far trumped everything else, is finally fading, is coming to an abrupt end, and with no other "plotline" to take its place, as China, Europe and corporate profits are all in the dumps, the only option is for more easy money to come soon. However, with crude sticky this will be a problem in an election year. Today, this sentiment has become even more acute as new Greek 2023 bonds have for the first time trade over 20%, with weakness spreading to all the other PIIGS, and talk of yet another LTRO already picking up pace. The question of what if any assets European banks is luckily ignored for now. So as futures turned red once more, here is Bank of America summarizing the bearish market sentiment this morning.
European cash equity markets were seen on a slight upward trend in the early hours of the session amid some rumours that the Chinese PBOC were considering a cut to their RRR. However, this failed to materialise and markets have now retreated into negative territory with flows seen moving into fixed income securities. This follows some market talk of selling in Greek PSI bonds due to the absence of CDSs. This sparked some renewed concern regarding the emergence of Greece from their recovery. Elsewhere, we saw the publication of the BoE’s financial stability review recommending that UK banks raise external capital as soon as possible. This saw risk-averse flows into the gilt, with futures now trading up around 40 ticks.
This would ordinarily qualify for the weekly piece of Friday humor, if only it wasn't too real. Bloomberg reports that everyone's favorite Federal Reserve overseer - JPMorgan Chase - is being sued by a trader who says he accepted a contract from the investment bank because a typographical error made him believe he would be paid 10 times what was actually offered. "Kai Herbert, a Switzerland-based currency trader, is suing JPMorgan for about 580,000 pounds ($920,000), his lawyers said at a trial in London this week. The original contract said Herbert’s annual pay would be 24 million rand ($3.1 million). JPMorgan blamed the mistake on a typographical error and said the figure should have been 2.4 million rand, according to court documents." Ok, so the guy is an idiot and somehow never understood what he was getting paid until after he looked at the contract. What people really want to know is if he pulled an Alex Hope and spent more than his entire post-typo paycheck on a bottle of champagne at Zurich's douchiest night club. In other news, bankers everywhere are trying to track down their employment contracts to see if they are "owed" far more than they are getting due to confusion between decimal and '000s commas.
There are relatively few natural buyers of Spanish long dated bonds here. Fast money is likely caught long, and it will take a potentially reluctant ECB and some already overly exposed Spanish institutions to step up and stop the slide. It may happen, but many of the policies that “bailed out” Greece created very bad precedents for bondholders, and some of those are coming home to roost, as is the understanding that LTRO ensures that banks can access liquidity, but does nothing to fix any problem at the sovereign level.