Holidays in Europe and Asia left things quiet overnight after some traders used the last day of April to frontrun the old "sell in May and go away" market adage. Market closures also kept the Chinese day trading hordes from using a tiny beat on the official manufacturing PMI print as an excuse to pile more money into the country's equity mania, while Japanese shares ended mostly unchanged as investors fret over when the BoJ will deliver the next shot of monetary heroin. In the US we'll get a look at ISM manufacturing and the latest read on consumer confidence as we head into the weekend.
Less than four months into his reign, Bloomberg reports that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is consolidating power with a major reshuffle of succession lines and government officials. "The new king has proved consistent in his determination to elevate members of his close family to key positions," noted one analyst. As the world’s top oil exporter plays a more prominent role in the region’s power struggles, it apears Salman wants family close. Oil policy is unlikely to change, notes Bloomberg's Julian Lee, as this brings younger men into top government positions, paving way for transfer of power to new generation of princes.
US equity markets have v-shape-recovered this morning after plunging on a combination of good housing data (that's bad news), weak manufacturing data and dismal consumer confidence which then was accelerated as Iran headlines smashed oil higher. All that was quickly forgiven and stocks have soared... Small Caps are now 1.5% as 'investors' panic-buy back to the highs of the day... VIX was monkey-hammered from 14.25 to back under 13.
Following yesterday's early MNI rumor that a Chinese QE is being "considered" and which sent the Shanghai Composite surging 3% and led to an initial boost in US stock futures, overnight the PBOC scrambled to once again deny such speculation. Of course, going full "cold Turkey" on Chinese stimulus would be too much for the market to handle, so in a piece by the WSJ also released overnight, the author said the PBOC would pivot from outright QE to mere LTRO, which is also not new and was reported over a week ago here in "China Floats QE Trial Balloon, PBoC May Launch LTROs." In any event, for now at least, Asian stocks are not happy despite Apple's latest blockbuster results, and neither is Europe, with the Stoxx 600 down 1%, and even the E-mini is hugging 2100 unable to levitate on any imminent central bank intervention.
It has been a story of two markets so far, with China's Shanghai Composite up another 3% in today's continuation of the most ridiculous, banana-stand driven move of the New Normal (and there have been many ridiculous moves in the past 6 years) on the previously reported hints that the PBOC is gearing up to start its own QE, while Europe and the Eurostoxx are lagging, if only for the time being until Citadel and Virtu engage in today's preapproved risk-on momentum ignition, on Greek jitters, the same jitters that last week were "fixed"and sent Greek stocks and bonds soaring. Needless to say, neither Greek bonds nor stocks aren't soaring following what has been the worst week for Greece in months.
Operating and reported earnings have turned sharply lower over recent quarters which has historically been associated with major market peaks. As shown below, it is also important to notice that revenue has tended to lag these downturns in earnings previously. This is because the measures used to substantially boost profitability from each dollar of revenue generated through accounting gimmickry, share repurchases, and cost cutting are finite in nature. When the effect of those manipulations fade, so does the inflated profitability generated from each dollar of revenue. This will be something worth watching closely over the next few quarters particular as the commentary of a "continued secular bull market" continues to hit the headlines.
Futures Fizzle After Greece "Hammered" In Riga, Varoufakis Accused Of Being "A Time-Waster, Gambler, Amateur"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/24/2015 06:59 -0400
Even though no rational person expected that the Greek situation would be resolved at today's talks in Riga, Latvia, apparently the algos were so caught up in spoofing each other to new record highs that futures, after surging once more overnight following the latest Google miss which sent the company and the Nasdaq soaring, actually dipped modestly into the red following headlines that the latest Greek talks have broken down after a "hostile" Troika "hammered" the Greek finmin, who was accused by European finmins of "being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur."
Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.
With Turkish enforcement now granted a green light to detain anyone, for any reason, the next inevitable crackdown was only a matter of time - that on free speech. Overnight we got a vivid example of just that when a university student in southern Turkey has been handed a one-year suspended sentence for retweeting a satirical article about a governor from Zaytung, a mock news portal in Turkey, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.
Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.
While the reality is that nobody has a clue what China's actual gold holdings are, the good news is that the answer is coming. As noted above, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the head of the International Monetary Fund to include China's yuan currency in its special drawing rights (SDR) basket. If indeed China is serious about CNY inclusion in the SDR, it will finally have to reveal its cards, which would mean it finally will provide an update, with a 6 year delay, of just what its latest gold holdings are. As such, don't be surprised to wake up one morning to headlines blasting that Chinese gold holdings have gone up by 2x, 3x, 5x or (more x) since 2009, a long-overdue update which will catalyze the next major leg higher in the precious metal.