Straight-forward discussion about the investment climate and the week ahead. Light on hyperbole, heavy on analysis.
It is no secret that unlike other banks who, while directly intervening in the bond market only manipulate equity prices in relative secrecy (usually via HFT-transacting intermediaries such as Citadel), the Bank of Japan has historically had no problem with buying equities outright, traditionally in the form of REITs and equity-tracking ETFs. Which explains why overnight it was revealed that in order to boost the stock market, pardon, economy, the Bank of Japan is preparing to purchase exchange-traded funds based on the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 as an "option to boost the impact of unprecedented easing," according to people familiar with BOJ discussions.
For the last two decades Coach (COH) could do no wrong. Its aspirational handbags flew off the shelves at hefty prices, causing its sales to soar from $1.3 billion to $5.1 billion during the 10-years ending in fiscal 2013. Better still, its EPS soared by 6X, representing a 20% earnings growth rate over the same period. Greatest of all, its share price peaked at nearly $80 in 2012 after having opened the 21st century at $3 per share. Needless to say, the believers and speculators who got on board for the 27X gain in twelve years were fabulously rewarded, as was its founder and largest stockholder, Lew Frankfort, who became a billionaire along the way. So the capitalist dream is still working in America, right? Not exactly.
Month after month, they came up with new excuses. Now they’ve used up all the good ones, but sales are still tanking.
As we wrap up a holiday shortened trading week, there are several things to ponder this weekend. Will the breakout of the S&P 500 of the trading range it has been stuck in since February hold? Is the negative print of GDP in the first quarter simply a weather related anomaly, or something else? Is the decline in interest rates telling us something important? Are the currently high levels of complacency and bullishness in the markets a warning sign? Or, is this just a continuation of the bull market cycle that started over five years ago with plenty of room left to run. "I always thought that record would stand until it was broken?" - Yogi Berra
In this brave new centrally-planned world, where bad is good, very bad is very good, and everything is weather adjusted, Japan's blistering GDP report last night, printing at 5.9% on expectations of 4.3% was "bad" because it means less possibility for a boost in QE pushing futures lower, while the liquidity addicts were giddy with the GDP miss in Europe where everyone except Germany missed (as for the German beat, Goldman's crack theam of economic climatologists, said it was due to the weather), and the Eurozone as a whole came at 0.2%, half the forecast 0.4%, which in turn allowed futures to regain some of the lost ground.
They’re not even trying to blame the weather this time.
On the 'growth' side, Commercial and Industrial loans are rising at a double digit annual rate of change (although it is unclear whether this is an indication of business optimism or stress - after all, we did see a big jump in these loans leading into the last recession). On the flip side, the bond market and the US dollar index seem to be flashing some warning signs about future growth. Simply put, the outlook for the economy is decidedly uncertain right now and we think so is the confidence in Janet Yellen. We think the more dire outcome for stocks would be if Toto fully pulled back the curtain on monetary policy and revealed it to be nothing more than a bunch clueless economists sitting in a conference room with no ability to control the economy or the markets. If US growth disappoints after all the Fed has done, how could anyone continue to view the Fed wizards as omnipotent? That would send the stock market back over the rainbow to the reality of an economy with big structural problems that can only be solved through political negotiation, something that has been notable only by its absence over – at least – the last 6 years. Are we headed back to Kansas?
Hot Air Hisses Out Of Housing Bubble 2.0: Even Two Middle-Class Incomes Aren’t Enough Anymore To Buy A Median HomeSubmitted by testosteronepit on 04/07/2014 12:35 -0400
“There was a moment when it made sense,” said Blackstone Group, largest home buyer in the US. But not anymore.
If the idea is to anticipate what an adversary does, it behooves us, even if we do not believe in QE on moral grounds or on efficacy grounds, to consider how the ECB can have QE, which it appears under increasing pressure to do. Here is such a course.
Diversification with a solid strategy
When Arthur Levitt's SEC adopted Rule 2a-7 in 1998, it handed the TBTF banks and GSEs a mortgage monopoly on a silver platter.
“Foreclosure Rebound Pattern”: Foreclosure Starts SUDDENLY Jump 57% in California (And Soar In Much Of The Country)Submitted by testosteronepit on 02/13/2014 19:09 -0400
Cynic in me says it must be a data problem, that the computers got hacked, or something. But that’s wishful thinking.
Despite every talking head having written off the miners, they were the best performer across US equity sub-indices. In the US equity markets Biotech and REITs also performed well. On the other hand, Nasdaq Insurance and NYSE Arca Oil ETF were the worst...along with the NYSE Composite Index (which represents 61% of all global market capitalization).
Another volatile day ended with the Dow is down around 5% in January - the worst start to a year since 2009 (and 2nd worst since 1990) and the worst month since May 2012 (a 3-sigma miss of the average +1.5% per month gain since 2009's lows). Japan, Brazil, and Russia suffered greatly on the month as gold miners, Egypt?, and US Biotech did well. There is a huge 380bps spread between the performance of the Industrials and the Transports YTD. Gold had its best month in the last 5; Treasuries rallied with 10Y yields dropping their most since May 2012; USD rallied the most in 8 months with JPY's biggest rally (and Nikkei's biggest loss) since April 2012.