The key overnight events were already discussed previously, but here they are again: the wholesale selloff in Asia (which subsequently shifted to Europe), the accelerating outflows from India (moment ago the SEBI website announced a net INR13.7 billion selling in Indian stocks yesterday and the near record collapse in the Indian Rupee to new record lows, and the ongoing uncertainty over Syria and what it will do to crude prices (if SocGen is right, nothing good). In brief: a market conditioned and habituated to a world in which Bernanke promises "to make everything ok" suddenly finds itself in the throes of uncertainty and following 4 years of dumb trend-following, has no idea what to do.
If SocGen is right in its just released oil price forecast in a "Syrian war world", then the global economy is about to undergo an apoplectic shock the likes of which have not been seen since the summer of 2008, when Lehman brothers had to be taken under to generate the deflationary shock sending crude from $130 to $30 in the matter of days. The French bank's forecast in a nutshell: "Base case scenario: $125 for Brent. We believe that in the coming days, Brent could gain another $5-10, surging to $120-$125, either in anticipation of the attack or in reaction to the headlines that an attack had started. In our base case, we assume an attack begins in the next week. Upside scenario: $150 for Brent If the regional spill over results in a significant supply disruption in Iraq or elsewhere (from 0.5 – 2.0 Mb/d), Brent could spike briefly to $150." And if indeed 2008 is coming back with a vengeance, the next question is who will be this year's unlucky Lehman Brothers?
- MILITARY OPERATION AGAINST SYRIA WOULD ONLY WORSEN CONFLICT - DUMA CHAIRMAN
- MOSCOW ALARMED BY SOME COUNTRIES' DELIBERATE ACTIONS TO UNDERMINE PRECONDITIONS FOR POLITICAL-DIPLOMATIC SETTLEMENT OF CONFLICT IN SYRIA - FOREIGN MINISTRY
- LAVROV DISAGREES WITH U.S. ON BLAMING SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FOR CHEMICAL ATTACK IN TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH KERRY - RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY
- RUSSIA BELIEVES EXPERTS' WORK IN SYRIA SHOULD BE SUPPORTED, FACILITATED AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE - FOREIGN MINISTRY
A flurry of Reuters headlines climaxing with:
WESTERN POWERS TELL SYRIAN OPPOSITION TO EXPECT STRIKE WITHIN DAYS - SOURCES WHO ATTENDED MEETING BETWEEN ENVOYS, SYRIAN COALITION
MILLER SAYS CHANCE OF U.S. STRIKE ON SYRIA ‘VIRTUALLY 100%’
has sent investors scrambling for cover and added war premia to risk assets. Gold is now up over 20% from its 6/28 lows to $1,418.90; WTI jumped to over $108.50 - its highest since early March - collapsing the Brent-WTI spread back to $4. S&P futures are at their overnight lows -12pts (as all-important AAPL loses the $500 level and Icahn's dreams); 10Y yields have slid to 2.76%; and the JPY is surging back to 97.50 as carry-unwinds escalate.
Overnight the emerging market rout continued, with the India Sensex down another 3.18%, the Philippines tumbling 4%, Jakarta down 3.7% and Dubai crashing 7%. A driving factor continues to be the fear over an imminent air campaign launched at Syria, leading both WTI and Brent higher by 1%, and gold finally breaking out above the $1400 tractor beam, and printing at $1412 at last check, a hair away from a 20% bull market from the lows. In other news, the market is once again "surprised" to learn that Summers, who as we have been showing for over three weeks is the frontrunner for the Fed chair, is the frontrunner for the Fed chair according to CNBC. Of course, there is nothing preventing this from being the latest trial balloon (and nothing that suggest Summers will actually be hawkish as conventional wisdom seems to think: the guy basically works for the financial sector) but futures aren't waiting to find out, and US traders are walking in this morning to a red screen with ES down just over 10 point and sliding. Any minute now the great unrotation from stocks into bonds (10 Year was 2.77% at last check) is about to be unleashed. And if Obama actually goes to war (without talking to Congress of course), watch the bottom fall from the market.
Last week it was the Nasdaq, today it was the Eurex Exchange, which broke down "due to technical issues" shortly after 2 am Eastern and which was offline for over an hour. Further keeping a lid on liquidity and upward momentum is today's UK market holiday which has resulted in a driftless move lower across European stocks, following a red close in the Nikkei225. It only means that the inevitable ramp up in the disconnected from all fundamentals and reality market will have to come only during US trading hours when the NY Fed trading desk steps up its POMO-aided levitation.
It was a quiet overnight session, in which the Nikkei was catching up to USDJPY weakness from the past two days, while China dipped once more despite the NDRC's chief economist stating China may cut RRR or conduct more reverse repos in H2 to maintain stable credit as loan growth slows down (or in other words things go back to normal). In Europe ECB's Nowotny decided to undo some of Draghi's recent work when he said that "good economic news" removes the need for a rate cut which in turn pushed the EURUSD higher (and European exports lower), even as former Cyprus central bank Orphanides said the Euro crisis may flare up after the German elections. In the UK Q2 GDP came in slightly stronger than expected at 0.7% vs 0.6% Exp. letting the GBP outperform since a need for the BOE to ease, at least in the short run, is becoming less pertinent. In amusing news, Moody’s late yesterday put six largest U.S. banks on review as it considers the effect of evolving bank resolution policies under Dodd-Frank and international regulations. As such GS, JPM, MS and WFC may be cut.
Following the market's shocking realization that the taper is coming prompting a kneejerk to the kneejerk reaction after the FOMC minutes, and yet another painful session in Asia, stocks were desperate for some good news from somewhere, which they got thanks to a Goldilocks PMI from China printing by the smallest possible expansionary quantum, or 50.1, and well above expectations, as well as a continuation of better than expected European PMI data with the August composite rising from 50.5 to 51.7 vs. Exp. 50.9, based pm a Services PMI rising into expansion to 51.0 from 49.8, (Exp. 50.2), and Manufacturing at 51.3 vs. Exp. 50.8 up from 50.3, the highest since June 2011. It is perhaps stunning just how conflicting this "improving" data is with private sector industrial and manufacturing company metrics, but with the credit creation situation in Europe (read: all that matters) at record lows, and with banks retrenching and needing to delever by trillions, it is only a matter of time before this latest propaganda wave is exposed for what it is. The net effect of the overnight data is to push the USDJPY to nearly 99.00 which thanks to the ubiquitous correlation algos has dragged US equity futures higher, if only briefly (the 10 Year is at 2.91% - under 10bps from redline territory), while slamming the offsetting EURUSD despite the "better" than expected European data.
There is still no official public schedule for the Kansas City Fed's annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, anticipated to begin on Thursday. However, as we noted previously, the schedule will not include a keynote address from a high-ranking Federal Reserve official. Furthermore, as Goldman notes, in contrast to tradition, Chairman Bernanke will not be in attendance (Yellen will but Summer won't). However, Jackson Hole has historically been an event where the latest thinking on monetary policy has been debated by academics and central bankers, and this year will be no different. Perhaps, Goldman points out, most interestingly, some of the research to be presented finds that MBS purchases had a disproportionate effect on depressing MBS yields, while Treasury purchases did not seem to have a similar benefit - perhaps hinting at the form the 'taper' will take.
More of the same downward drift this overnight trading session, with early Asian outflows coupled with a fresh record low in the Indian currency, driven in part by reports the Fukushima leak severity had been raised from Level 1 to Level 3, which however subsequently reversed following a weakening in the JPY and pushed the Nikkei from a steep early drop to a modest green close. China was unchanged even as Fan Jianping, chief economist at the State Information Center, said that a new reasonable range for China’s growth is 7%-9%, Xinhua said and ongoing liquidity additions by the PBOC. In Europe, newsflow was dominated early on by a Suddeutsche report that the third Greek bailout would be likely financed in part by EU budget as the reality that nothing is fixed in Europe slowly returns and fears that the latent and non-existent OMT will eventually have to be used. US futures have seen a modest risk off bias in part driven by concerns what today's key event, the FOMC minutes due out at 2 pm, would reveal (if anything new). Also on deck are Existing home sales at 10:00 am which expect a slight pick up to 5.15 million from a 5.08 million prior print. Moments ago the latest weekly MBA Mortgage Applications number came out and, to nobody surprise, it posted the last weekly decline, dropping another 4.6% with conventional refis dropping for the 10th consecutive week.
The current belief is that rising interest rates are a sign that the economy is improving as activity is pushing borrowing rates higher. In turn, as investors, this bodes well for corporate profitability which supports the current valuations of stocks in the market. While this seems completely logical the question is whether, or not, this is really the case? Increases in interest rates slow economic activity, with a lag effect, which negatively impacts earnings, margins and forward guidance. Ultimately, and it may take several quarters to manifest itself fully, the fundamental deterioration leads to a reversion in stock market prices which, ironically, will then lead to the next decline in rates.
When a sophisticated hedge fund manager takes a position in the most senior segment of a failing retail form's capital structure, it is not a bet on recovery: it's a bet on being long the fulcrum security in an upcoming chapter 11, or at worst, on having collateral coverage to cover your exposure in a liquidation Chapter 7... And for anyone who spent more than 2 minutes deciphering this morning's JCP results will know, the cash burn is immense and outweighs any glib PR-strewn headlines that support a positive future. In fact, even the CFO noted he did not see any major trend change in the short-term (i.e. more of the same downtrend?) Of course, that didn't stop CNBC's Jim Cramer from talking it up pre-market (to a 8.9% gain before the bell) as he exclaims in the clip below "this is an amazing quarter... I am positive, the stock will go higher." Well, 60 minutes after retail got their first chance to buy, JCP is down 9% from its open, in the red for the day, and reflecting more closely the dismal reality that credit markets remain convinced of.
Following yet another rout in Asia overnight, which since shifted over to Europe, US equity futures have stabilized as a result of a modest buying/short-covering spree in the 10 Year which after threatening to blow out in the 2.90% range and above, instead fell back to 2.81%. Yet algos appear confused by the seeming USD weakness in the past few hours (EURUSD just briefly rose over 1.34) and instead of ploughing head first into stock futures have only modestly bid them up and are keeping the DJIA futs just above the sacred to the vacuum tube world 15,000 mark. A lower USDJPY (heavily correlated to the ES) did not help, after it was pushed south by more comments out of Japan that a sales tax hike is inevitable which then also means a lower budget deficit, less monetization, less Japanese QE and all the other waterfall effect the US Fed is slogging through. Keep an eye on the 10 Year and on the USD: which signal wins out will determine whether equities rise or fall, and with speculation about what tomorrow's minutes bring rife, it is anybody's bet whether we get the 10th red close out of 12 in the S&P500.
The “cloud” in China is corporate nirvana: a high-growth tech sector in a high-growth country. Or was. And it’s showing up in the numbers.
It's all about rates this largely newsless morning, which have continued their march wider all night, and moments ago rose to 2.873% - a fresh 2 year wide and meaning that neither Gross, nor the bond market, is nowhere near tweeted out. As DB confirms, US treasuries are front and center of mind at the moment.... the 10yr UST yield is up another 4bp at a fresh two year high of 2.87% in Tokyo trading, adding to last week’s 20bp selloff. As it currently stands, 10yr yields are up by more than 120bp from the YTD lows in early May and more than 80bp higher since Bernanke’s now infamous JEC testimony. We should also note that the recent US rates selloff has been accompanied by a rapid steepening in the rate curve. Indeed, the 2s/10s curve is at a 2 year high of 250bp and the 2s/30s and 2s/5s are also at close to their highest level in two years.