USDX at important pivot point-- markets will be finding direction soon and USDX will pave the way.
Morgan Stanley On Why The US Will Not Be Japan, And Why Treasuries Are Extremely Rich (Yet Pitches A 6:1 Deflation Hedge)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/08/2010 21:14 -0400
We previously presented a piece by SocGen's Albert Edwards that claimed that there is nothing now but to sit back, relax, and watch as the US becomes another Japan, as asset prices tumble, gripped by the vortex of relentless deflation. Sure enough, the one biggest bear on Treasuries for the past year, Morgan Stanley, is quick to come out with a piece titled: "Are We Turning Japanese, We Don't Think So." Of course, with the 10 Year trading at the tightest level in years, the 2 Year at record tights, and the firm's all out bet on curve steepening an outright disaster, the question of just how much credibility the firm has left with clients is debatable. Below is Jim Caron's brief overview of why Edwards and all those who see a deflationary tide sweeping the US are wrong. Yet, in what seems a first, Morgan Stanley presents two possible trades for those with access to the CMS and swaption market, in the very off case, that deflation does ultimately win.
BofA's credit strategist Jeffrey Rosenberg has shared some interesting insights with his clients. In a letter from August 2, Rosenberg explains everything one needs to know why the stock market continues to rise in the face of increasing adversity and ever more negative news:
“I can’t think of a reason to be bullish...so I guess that is the reason to be bullish.” That quote from a client at our June 30th credit roundtable dinner in our view best summarized investor sentiment at the beginning of July. It also highlighted a key technical reason to have been bullish in July as negative investor sentiment reached a peak at the beginning of the month."
Couple that with the sudden buzz that QE X.X is imminent, and a surge in market liquidity, and once can see how the market is now completely disconnected from fund flows, as contrarian animal spirits, and a rising liquidity tide have once again become the dominant, and only, factors in market tactics, if not strategy. And speaking of liquidity, here is an analysis of the key source and uses of liquidity in the market currently.
Barclays' Joseph Abate adds to the recent confusion over what path of QE (if any) the Fed will decide on at its August 10th meeting, and flatly disagreeing with Nomura which as we noted last week is now convinced the Fed will advise of further loosening in its language, believes that neither MBS roll offs (telegraphed earlier by Jon Hilsenrath), nor lowering the IOER to 0.00% will be sufficient to do much if anything to boost the economy, and instead he believes that the likely path the Fed will take is to allow the Supplemental Financing Program (which currently holds $200 billion in untouchable reserves on the Treasury's book) to roll off, by ending the 56-day Bill auctions, thus pushing almost a quarter trillion dollars into the banking system which can then be used to buy any combination of beta > 5 stocks. The result of this, according to Abate, "would likely push bill and repo rates well into the single digits." Of course with the 2 Year already at almost south of 0.50% one wonders just how much further along the curve does the Fed hope to have its impact felt. Could the Fed merely be trying to steepen the 2s10s by forcing 2s to zero? At this point, nothing would surprise us.
While hardcore readers will be quite familiar with the observations presented in the attached paper "Yield Curve and the Economic Cycles", by reader Kiril Yoradnov, novice bond enthusiasts should note the presented correlation between the shape of the yield curve and the phase of a particular economic cycle it resides in. Of note is that while the 2s10s was recently at all time record highs in the 290 bps range, the curve has since collapsed and was trading at 239 bps earlier even as the 2 Year is once again near all time record tights, an observation which in itself makesabsolutely no sense considering the stock market action, and is merely another validation of a market ill with Schrodinger's syndrome, where we now have inflation and deflation rampant concurrently, and, frankly, idiotically. Perhaps it is time to move on from colored swanreference when discussing the market, to those of felines caught in parallel states of existence until the vigilantes wake up and finally collapse Bernanke's middle-class theft function. Regardless, the question is whether the collapse of the 10 Year will continue, further flattening the curve, and setting of alarms everywhere (while illogical and manipulated stocks will no doubt be hitting 36,000 at about the same time just to prove to the world that Fed Chairmen see record stock levels and record economic output as precisely synonymous).
After surging to a several week high, the 2s10s has plummeted to a one week low in the matter of hours, dropping back down to 236 bps. This follows a day of fireworks in the curve, in which as Market News discusses below, we saw some pretty aggressive hysteria in flattener unwinds. Oddly enough, the collapse in the curve has occurred as the 2s have hit another record low yield, indicating that no matter how much of a spin opportunity any givendiffusion index headline provides, the bond market is increasingly pricing in deflation (and in fact the yield on various classes of TIPS was negative earlier today).
For the few, the proud, the stuck in the 19th century, with an "originate to hold" business model (such an anachronism when originate to distribute by hedge funds, pardon, banks is all the rage), the latest data by Freddie Mac, in which the 30 Year Fixed just dropped to a new fresh all time low of 4.56%, down 1 bp from the last two weeks, is about the worst news possible. While the short end is still cheap (and in the case of 2 Year, near record), the ongoing flattening is a death knell for anyone who still relies on funding curves to a some profit. As the Bloomberg article pointed out earlier today, the 60 bp tightening in the 2s10s is a huge impact to P&Ls, which is now actively reverting profits afforded to financial companies in 2009 and early 2010. Soon enough, the Fed's active management of the yield curve will force banks to come up with new and improved ways to pinch pennies from US consumers now that the profitability margin on the curve has been cut by 25% in a couple of months. Alas, that would mean the risk of inflation would have to be taken seriously. In its absence, look for flattening to continue as all on the wrong side of the trade continue capitulating, and making the future for JPM, Wells and BofA uglier by the day.
Bill Miller Says Large Caps "Once In A Lifetime" Buying Opportunity.... And He Has Many Of Them To Sell To YouSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/21/2010 13:34 -0400
Bill Miller says: "U.S. large capitalization stocks represent a once in a lifetime opportunity in my opinion to buy the best quality companies in the world at bargain prices. The last time they were this cheap relative to bonds was 1951." That's funny, because according to our regression analysis (recreated below), the fair value of stocks is 750. But who needs facts when you have propaganda and a massively underwater stock position to offload. Bill Miller's desperation letter to sucker mom and pops in buying his dangling tech holdings can be found below, but here is a quick refutation of his point, which we discussed as recently as three weeks ago. And just in case there is any confusion, the dividend yield on the S&P compared to that of 10 Year Bonds, implies a fair value for the S&P of... 655! Perhaps Bill was experiencing a "Warren Buffett" moment and actually meant stocks are a once in a lifetime opportunity to short?
There was a time when stocks, bonds, gold, dollar, oil, correlations, and pretty much anything that isn't nailed down, going up concurrently would make at least some market participants frown. Not so much any more - with the average "trader" an 18 year old pustular math whiz-kid with the personality of a paper clip and a Ph.D. from a prestigious institution to boot, with no idea of just the level of death and destruction their "sentient", "self-aware" and "learning" programs are about bring to the market, nobody cares about that little thing called logic. Yet going off that, and basing observations on the last rational market indicator, i.e. bonds, it appears stocks continue to be about 70 points rich and have a fair value around 1,020 as implied by 10 Year Yields. As the deranged schizophrenic computer algos were blowing threw vacuum tubes like Ukranian hookers go through crack on any given Hamptons weekend, they totally forgot to bring bond yields higher for validation. Which is why the stocks-bonds (10 Year) convergence is now more pronounced than ever. Sell stocks, Sell bonds (Long Yields) and wait for the big Mahwah collocation facility black out that will eliminate 80% of binary market participants that will allow the spread to close.
Spreads closed considerably wider today, with the biggest close-to-close widening since 6/22, as HY dramatically underperformed (pushing back above 600bps for the first time since 7/7) with the macro fears that we have been discussing crystallized and micro issues seem to be turning the same way.
Dismal confidence data along with more worrisome in-/de-flation data set the early tone and stocks and spreads pushed quickly lower (wider) out of the gate. The eight day rally that we have seen, and we have been vociferous in our view of what caused this and what was under the surface, was an exact mirror of the rally a month ago in credit. The swing from wides to tights from 6/10 to 6/21 (8 trading days) was 132 to 104.125 (which was the swing tights since 5/10's 95bps). The recent swing from 7/1 wides to 7/13 tights (126.755 to 106.5) was also over 8 trading days and the same pattern of index outperformance of intrinsics was very evident - which supports our thesis of macro hedge unwinds and underlying selling.
Even as stocks continue to ignore the broader economic decline, and trade exclusively to kneejerks on one-time items such as Goldman's settlement and BPs pressure tests, the far more liquid and rational bond market is hunkering down. Today, the 2 Year hit an all time low yield, even as the 2s10s tightened by yet another 6 bps to 240 bps. The impact of today's curve flattening alone will have a far more profound impact on Goldman EPS than the latest SEC wristslap farce. And as we pointed out previously, the spread between the S&P and the 10 Year yield continues to diverge. In fact, it is now so wide, that in the latest John Noyce piece, the Goldman Strategist says: "As in mid-June, the S&P looks very overvalued relative to yields. Yields are also beginning to decline again as equities stall." Sure enough the reverse is also true, and bonds may be rich to stocks, but either way, we reiterate our observation that the short stocks-short bonds trade will eventually converge (luckily with the yield on the 10 Y so low, the carry is marginal and the repo rate will likely be a greater burden until the spread recouples).
Stocks were the worst performers on a beta-adjusted basis relative to IG and HY in the US as EUR seemed to lose it status as worst of a bad bunch for a week as SovX and FINLs managed decent gains on the week. It seems our view of the credit market anticipating a turn in the cycle was correct and the consumer-sensitive sectors have seen equity play catch up to credit's warning signs from MAY. Many sectors are getting closer to fair across the capital structure but Leisure, Energy, Telecoms, and Consumer NonCyclicals still have room to drop in equities relative to credit's perception of risk. Tech, if anything, looks a little overdone in its sell-off in equities but this is perhaps due to less liquid credit and more highly levered Tech plays in stocks.
The2s10s has plumbed fresh new lows: - the most levered trade in the history of the world (the curve steepener for the uninitiated) is now the most abhorred. The amount of neg P&L incurred here over the past 2 months is just staggering. After hitting an all time of 290 in March, the 2s10s has collapsed by over 20% in the last three months. And as the leverage associated with this trade is second to none, the impact of this collapse is magnified hundreds of times, not to mention that the money banks charge for mortgages (if anyone wanted these to begin with) and credit cards is marginally so much lower that Q2 and certainly Q3 bank profitability will be very badly impaired. Which is why we were eagerly anticipating the one firm which has been the biggest defendant of the steepener trade to come out with its "double or nothing" all-in on the economic rebound which is critical for this bearish flattening to terminate. Today, we got our wish. As expected, Morgan Stanley's Jim Caron throws the kitchen sink into the bull case, and this time also pitches the "no fat tails" trade - the same trade that worked miracles for Boaz Weinstein and Merrill Lynch. Alas, with MS clients sick and tired of losing money, almost as much as Goldman's FX clients, this could be too little too late. Furthermore, with trite claims such as "no ‘double-dip’, We expect growth in China to slow but expect a soft landing, No deflation in 2H10, Policy rates to remain lower for longer, Europe to muddle along, and solvency risks in 2H10 overstated" it may be difficult for MS to find the last standing greatest fool out there. As for pitching the "Iron Butterfly" to said fool, good luck. But it sure sounds cool.
Today's action in CDS land was negative pretty much across the board with breadth extremely negative as only a handful of single-names managed to eke out gains as there was a quite evident up-in-quality shift. HY names handily underperformed IG names on the day. High beta IG names also underperformed significantly as off-the-run indices underperformed on-the-run once again and the Top 100 CDO referenced names significantly underperformed the broad market.
One of the less discussed topics by the propaganda machine is that with bond yields approaching record yields, and in the case of the 2Y below them, the S&P has no place trading over 1,000. There was a time when bonds and stocks would correlate, and as bond prices surged, equities would plunge and vice versa. Now that we live in HFT days where stock values are completely disconnected from fundamentals, and even the bond market, courtesy of the Fed's seemingly endless market interference, it makes sense to extrapolate what the fair value of stocks would be implied purely based on bond yields stripping away for the Fed. Attached we present a very simple regression analysis between simple 10 year spreads and the S&P, and the 2s10s (steepness between the 2 and 10 Year) and the S&P. What both analyses indicate is that stocks are approximately 30% overvalued, at least based on historical regression patterns relying on yields to imply stock prices. Yet even though this analysis is purely statistical, here is a simple extension: with US stocks at about $13 trillion in market cap, if one assumes the suggested 30% haircut the result is $9.1 trillion in fair market value. Considering that the Fed has pumped $2.5 trillion in the form of monetary stimulus, and Obama's various fiscal stimuli now amount to just over $1 trillion, that explains the delta. Bonds are implying where stocks should be almost to the dot, absent the $3.5 trillion pumped into stocks by the administration and the Chairman. Fair value of stocks, when stripped away from the printer and Congress, is 750.