If the following news had been "sourced" by Ukraine news agencies, we would caveat it by saying it is almost certainly propaganda. However, since the source for this AP story appears to be "US officials", we will only assign a 98% probability to it being propaganda. Hot on the heels of our report that the Russian "Doomsday Plane" had been seen in the vicinity of the Baltic states, we learn of more Russian airborne acrobatics, this time involving Russian fighter jets which flew into Ukrainian airspace a "handful of times over the last 24 hours, in what one called a continued provocation of the heightened tensions in the region." One, of course, being a "US source" - the kind that was behind the original armed coup in the first place, so one should take this "news" on a somewhat salty basis too.
With 23 foreign central banks diversifying from US Dollars to Renminbi and the PBOC actively aiding numerous major financial hubs around the world with bilateral currency swap agreements, it seems yet another nail in the coffin of US dollar hegemony just got hit...
*PBOC AIMS TO SET UP GLOBAL PAYMENT SYSTEM FOR YUAN: SEC. NEWS
*PBOC TO MAKE GOLD, OIL FUTURES YUAN DENOMINATED: SEC. NEWS
Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much you believe...
While stocks have been fading every bounce so far - and credit markets are particularly weak - it seems the following headline sparked the most recent wave of selling:
*UKRAINE HAS INFORMATION THAT IT IS 'IN DANGER', LUBKIVSKY SAYS
*LUBKIVSKY SAYS INVASION IS POSSIBLE 'AT ANY MOMENT'
The Russell is the worst on the day but the Nasdaq is now at the day's lows, and all are negative for the week and April.
Measuring the cost of anything in currency can be misleading. As we know, inflation can be gamed by authorities to appear low, and supposedly low inflation is actually high inflation if wages are declining while prices rise. Priced in gold and stocks, wheat is near multi-decade lows. That may not last. Technically the trend has reversed, suggesting much higher prices--in dollars, gold or stocks--for wheat and indeed, by extension, for all food.
Thanks to the 'generosity' of their European overlords, the Greek government has been allowed to offer its long-suffering people a so-called "social dividend". As KeepTalkingGreece explains, the one time paid allowance between €500 and €1,000 funded with money from the primary surplus of 2013, is designed to be for the poor; but over 900 applicants with assets over €500,000 applied for the handout and several dozen with assets over €2,500,000 had the balls to apply. As he concludes, "can’t help but wonder whether we are indeed a society in such a moral decline."
In a rhetorical self-QE released by its strategist Peter Oppenheimer, discussing recent changes to long-running market trends, among which the crash in momo stocks, and the EM to DM inversion, the punchline was the most important. To wit: "We see less scope for this peripheral index... Peripheral spreads may narrow further, but more now via higher bund yields. After all, 5-year Spanish and Italian bond yields have converged to the same levels as the US. We still like selected parts of the peripheral markets, particularly the banks, but would prefer to express this via single names than via index overweights... the drivers of returns may have shifted away from some areas such as US growth and European periphery towards more of a cyclical bias across markets, with a particular focus on exposure to a DM macro recovery." In other words, while the momentum bubble may have popped (if still has a loooooong way to go before it deflates) the European peripheral bubble is about to go pop as well. For all those who just bought Spanish 10 Years at a record low yield (yes, record low) yesterday, our condolences. Then again, it's only other people's money.
Hollande's promise to bring jobs to the nation is failing dismally. It is no surprise that Le Front National are gaining power as for the 32nd time in the last 34 months, joblessness has risen in France (to a new record high). Nothing to add here, yields continue to fall in Europe as nothing matters but hope for ECB QE as the 2nd biggest economy in Europe (and 5th largest in the world) is getting worse faster...
The verbal combat continues as the US resorts to using Jack Lew in its latest barrage of panic-inducing threats:
*LEW SAYS RUSSIA NEEDS TO 'TAKE A STEP BACK'; U.S., ALLIES WORKING TO ENSURE RUSSIANS 'PAY THE PRICE'
*LEW SAYS U.S. PREPARED TO ACT IF RUSSIA DOESN'T STEP BACK
As a gentle reminder, while the Ruble has weakened since the sanctions (oh and Russia's credit rating has been downgraded), it is US equities that suffered the largest "costs"...
Since Fed's Tarullo uttered those ugly words that "valuations are stretched," US growthy momentum stocks have been hammered. The rally of the last few days was met with exuberant BTFWWIII proclamations from various talking-heads as all the problems in the world were fixed and leveraged long high-beta was once again the no-miss trade du jour... until today...
Well that didn't take long... for now USDJPY 102 is the US equity market's best friend. Only the S&P 500 is green for the week now as Nasdaq's gains from AAPL/FB are wiped away by the 10% plunge in AMZN.
After 5 years in a row of April preliminary-to-final upward revisions, 2014 did not disappoint as the flash 83.0 was upgraded to 84.1 final and near the highest since the crisis. This is the biggest beat since November as current conditions and outlook both rose as did short-term inflation expectations. Current Conditions is at its highest since July 2007 - mission accomplished.
Markit's US Services PMI dropped and missed expectations input and output prices soared, employment tumbled, and business activity slowed. Staffing levels increaed at the slowest pace since June 2012 and the latest expansion of new business was only slightly faster than the 18-month low seen in March, and weaker than recorded at any time in 2013. So much for that post-weather pent-up-demand surge...