As Deutsche Bank observes, the Fed has been wanting to hike rates on a rolling 6-12 month horizon from each recent meeting but never imminently which always makes the actual decision subject to events some time ahead. They have seen a shock in the last few weeks and a downgrade to global growth prospects so will for now likely err on the side of being more dovish than in the last couple of meetings. They probably won't want to notably reverse the recent market repricing of the Fed Funds contract for now even if they disagree with it. However any future improvements in the global picture will likely lead them to step-up the rate rising rhetoric again and for us this will again lead to issues for financial markets addicted to liquidity. And so the loop will go on for some time yet and will likely trap the Fed into being more dovish than they would ideally want to be in 2015.
This could be the hidden message of Bill Gross’ departure...
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?” - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
"Financial Markets Are Artificially Priced: What Do You Do?" - Bill Gross' First Janus Capital LetterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/10/2014 12:37 -0400
Financial markets are artificially priced.... We have had our Biblical seven years of fat. We must look forward, almost by mathematical necessity, to seven figurative years of leaner: Bonds – 3% to 4% at best, stocks – 5% to 6% on the outside. That may not be enough for your retirement or your kid’s college education. It certainly isn’t for many private and public pension funds that still have a fairy tale belief in an average 7% to 8% return for the next 10 to 20 years! What do you do?
"The audience in the ballroom of the Hotel Derek included engineers for shale drillers such as Marathon, Continental and Rice. Pamela Allen, a senior reserves coordinator for Marathon, raised her hand and told Lee that she was worried that using outsized forecasts in public presentations would run afoul of the SEC and “come back to haunt us.” Singhania, the Marathon spokeswoman, said she was unable to comment on Allen’s remarks without seeing a transcript. “If a lot of people get burned -- and I think a lot of people can and will be burned -- by these numbers in the investor presentations, there may be a push by investors to get the SEC to do something about it,” Lee said during the workshop."
Curious how Bill Gross feels in his new digs at Janus Capital (aka old digs in Newport Beach)? Curious how much money he is managing now or how he will manage it? Curious why he has a band aid under his right eye? All should be revealed in the Janus Capital live webcast going on now.
On Tuesday, the Dow fell 272 points. No big deal, of course - we rebounded the most in 3 years yesterday. But what if it continued? Just six years ago it fell 51%. It could easily do so again – back down to, say, 8,000. There would be nothing unusual about it. 50% corrections are normal. You know what would happen, don’t you? Ever since the "Black Monday" stock market crash in 1987 it has been standard procedure for the Fed to react quickly. But what if Yellen & Co. got out the party favors... set up the booze on the counter... laid out some dishes with pretzels and olives... and nobody came? What if the stock market stayed down for 30 years, as it has in Japan?
The most surprising data point in today's 10 Year auction was the plunge in Directs, which tumbled from 13.5% to only 6.6%, which was the lowest since August of 2012 when they ended up with 5.2%. Just how much of this lack of Direct interest is due to Bill Gross no longer being on the bid? And what happens to future auctions in a world without the Old "New Normal" Pimco?
The integrity of markets is clearly at risk. And we have long sought alternatives that offer much lower credit and counterparty risk. The time-honored alternative has been gold. As the chart below shows, gold has tracked the expansion in US debt pretty handily (the correlation between the two is a strong +0.86) and if one expects that relationship to resume (we do), then gold looks anomalously cheap relative to the rising level of US debt.
The central bankers have truly been the markets best friends and Draghi and Kuroda-san have been taking over where Ms Yellen has all but left off, but even they can do little in the face of protest and dissent by various members of the global populace and the continuing stupidity and arrogance of our “democratically” elected representatives.
It appears wherever one looks in the markets there are the skidmarks of PIMCO adjusting to life after Bill Gross. First it was MBS (and related derivatives), then CDS indices adjusted as redemption expectations raised risk premia, and now it is the short-end of the Treasury curve. As The FT notes, 3-month Eurodollar futures (instruments enabling traders to bet on the front-end of the yield curve and thus more accurately pinpoint their bets on Fed actions) saw asset managers (cough PIMCO cough) liquidate a record 868,853 contracts in the week to September 30 – the largest one-week change on record (each contract has a notional value of $1m). This dramatic shift suggests both a disagreement with Gross' "new normal" view of rates lower for longer (since liquidation is concentrated around the 2-year maturities) and a need to meet liquidity requirements from redemption requests.
While the biggest micro news of the weekend is certainly the report that Hewlett-Packard has finally thrown in the towel on organic growth (all those thousands laid off over the past ten years can finally breathe easily - they were not fired in vain), and has proceeded to do what so many said was its only real option: splitting into two separate companies, a personal-computer and printer business, and corporate hardware and services operations (which will certainly lead to even more stock buybacks only not at one but two companies) which in turn has sent its stock and futures higher, perhaps the most notable development in the macro world is Japan's realization finally that the weaker Yen is crushing domestic businesses, which has resulted in the USDJPY sliding to lows last seen at Friday's jobs report print, and also generally leading to across the board wekness for the dollar, whose relentless surge in the past 3 months is strongly reminiscent of the euphoria following the Plaza Accord, only in the other direction (and making some wonder if the Plaza Hotel caterer are about to see a rerun of September 22, 1985 in the coming weeks).
I think this is a time where people will look back on us and see it as a period of practically central bank worship. The central bankers – Draghi, Yellen, Bernanke – have become almost celebrities in America. People have invested unreasonable hopes in what these central banks can know, and what they can do. I think that, sooner or later, the investing public will become disillusioned of these ideas.... I dare say that stock prices will not continue to rise uninterrupted at the same pace. That’s not a very interesting prediction, but the stock market is certainly a cyclical thing. I think it’s fair to observe that today’s ultra-low interest rates flatter stock market valuations. Stock prices are partly valued based on a discounted flow of dividend income. To the extent that the discount rate you use to value that stream of dividend income, which depends on interest rates, is artificially low, stock prices are artificially high. I think that the burden of proof is on anyone who would assert that we are in a new age of persistently and steadily rising stock prices.
It has been a week since Bill Gross dropped a tape-bomb on the fixed-income market and walked away from the firm he founded decades ago. Since then the world and their pet rabbit have commented (most notably David Tepper's "who cares?"); but one man has been markedly silent... until now. In an interview on Bloomberg TV, former PIMCO Co-CEO Mohamed Al-Erian told Betty Liu that Bill Gross' "departure - the fact that it happened and how it happened - was a surprise."
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