If you believe the global economy is doing great and stocks are cheap, stop reading now; this post is not for you. We promise to write one for you at some point when stocks are cheap and the global economy is breathing well on its own - we just don’t know when that will be. But if you believe that stocks are expensive - even after the recent sell-off - and that a global economic time bomb is ticking because of unprecedented intervention by governments and central banks, then keep reading.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
Goldman, Decembert 20, 2015: "We think the BoJ is closer to easing further to attempt to achieve a successful reflation than it is to giving up altogether, and so we continue to expect $/JPY higher. We recommend being long $/JPY as part of our 2016 top trade recommendation (along with short EUR/$) and forecast $/JPY at 130 in 12 months"... Three days later, the USDJPY is 100 pips lower.
Moments ago, the House of Representatives just passed the $1.15 trillion spending bill that includes a $680 billion package of tax-break extensions, in a 316 to 113 vote, and will now move to the Senate, where its passage is likewise assured and will be signed by the president over the next few days. For those wondering what are the main components of the spending bill, here is a quick summary.
In light of surging concerns about mutual and hedge fund fixed income (and soon other asset classes) "gating", "runs" or outright liquidation, Deutsche Bank has prepared the following infographic which summarizes the main choke points which predispose both open and closed-end funds to runs or outright shutdown.
"It is a bloodbath. We’re at the highest point of fear and uncertainty now.... God only knows what’ll happen if oil doesn’t rebound. I try not to let that penetrate my mind."
"The end of QE mattered" admits BofAML, adding that "the impact was not replaced by BoJ or ECB dollars." It is this new 'hostile' investment backdrop as liquidity cheer swings to illiquidity fear (and two years of non-stop "pain trades") that has faith in the big three bull beliefs fading fast. October's "pain trade" has been a broad-based rally in all risk assets, but there are a number of factors preventing BofAML getting more bullish now that risk has surged.
"There IS An Alternative" - Since The End Of QE3, Financial Market Returns Are Negative... Except The US DollarSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/25/2015 07:10 -0500
"The big upside for both corporate bonds & corporate stocks has subsided as the liquidity story has peaked. Of greater note, the recent big reversal in the performance of assets directly linked to the bull market on Wall Street. Private equity managers and large asset managers saw their stocks appreciate 36% & 32% respectively between QE1 and the end of QE3. Since the end of QE3, the annualized returns are -10% & -18% respectively."
The technical pattern for S&P 500 and many other US and global equity market indices is sell rallies, according to BofAML's Stephen Suttmeier, who notes that the market is as overbought now as it was in July. Current price action suggests “dislocation” rather than “capitulation” and we continue to see the risk of retest / undercut of the August 2015/October 2014 lows of 1867-1820.
"Asia banks indicate in coming weeks markets at early stage of crisis; Q3 EPS shows recessionary global economy. Crowded Discretionary, Banks, Tech & Eurozone most at risk should peak liquidity coincide with EPS recession, SPX<1870, GT30<2.8%, DXY<93...at least until new extreme policies introduced (Fed QE4, China QE1 or a G7 shift toward fiscal policy stimulus)."
Great Unrotation: Biggest Outflow From Equity Funds In 2015 Offset By Longest Treasury Inflow Streak In 4 YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/11/2015 07:09 -0500
While the massive, $19.2 billion outflow in the week of the August 24 flash crash was understandable, as the market's record complacency was shaken by days of violent selling, as was the snap rebound inflow of $5.8 billion the following week resulting from oversold conditions, the fact that EPFR reported that in the week ended September 9 equity outflows once again surged, rising to a total of $19.4 billion - greater than two weeks prior, and the largest of 2015 - will cast doubt that the recent market correction is a one and done event, especially if the selling becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It is what happened in investment grade fund flows in the latest week that is making CEO, especially those whose compensation is a direct function of how much stock they repurchase, very nervous because as Lipper reported overnight IG funds just saw $1.8 billion in outflows, the most in over two years or since June 2013. And without the fund inflow train into IG funds operating smoothly, suddenly stock buybacks appear in jeopardy...
Wondering why stocks are surging this morning - aside from Fischer's comments, OPEC rumors, Greek bank recaps, and JPY ignition? Perhaps it is the veritable swarm of professional technical analysts out with notes warning of significant problems ahead. From John Hussman's refined Hindenberg Omen and Carter Worth's "sell stocks, breadth is a problem," to Oppenheimer's warning of "seasonals and weak internals," and Louise Yamada's "stocks are vulnerable, keep cash on sidelines" warning - it appears today's early bounce is as much about contrarian oversold bounce as it is about any macro news. But with 73% of the largest 1000 stocks at least 5% off their highs, stocks remain fragile as they push back towards highs.
"Investors have experienced many mood swings, some institutionalized irrationality, as well as treacherous trading conditions in the first six months of 2015. The wacky has become the norm."