It has been a night of relentless and pervasive disappointing economic data from just about every point on the globe: first the Chinese HSBC manufacturing data was well short of expectations (50.2 vs. Exp. 50.5), which was promptly spun as bullish and a reason for more stimulus by the PBOC even though the central bank has been constantly repeating it will not engage in western-style shotgun easing. Then Japanese wages, household spending and industrial production came in far below expectations - in fact at levels which suggest Japan is once again in a recession - which once again was spun as bullish, because the BOJ has no choice but to do more of the same failed policies that have made Abenomics the laughing stock of the world. Finally, moments ago Europe reported the lowest inflation data in 5 years, as well as core CPI sliding to just 0.7%, and which was, wait for it, immediately spun as bullish for risk as once again the local central bank would have "no choice but to ease." In other words, thank god for horrible news: because how else will the rich get even richer?
There is nothing like the release of secret tape recordings to clarify an inconclusive debate. Actually, what the tapes really show is that the Fed’s latest policy contraption - macro-prudential regulation through a financial stability committee - is just a useless exercise in CYA. Macro-pru is an impossible delusion that should not be taken seriously be sensible adults. It is not, as Janet Yellen insists, a supplementary tool to contain and remediate the unintended consequence - that is, excessive financial speculation - of the Fed’s primary drive to achieve full employment and fill the GDP bathtub to the very brim of its potential. Instead, rampant speculation, excessive leverage, phony liquidity and massive financial instability are the only real result of current Fed policy.
The last few days have been hectic for PIMCO executives. As we already noted, expectations of outflows persist and today's open in CDS markets suggested major concerns among market participants that PIMCO redemptions would force selling through an illiquid market. Sure enough, Bloomberg reports that PIMCO's Total Return Fund ETF was behind the auction of more than $170m of Fannie Mae CMBS on Friday (and more BWICs were seen today). As one trader noted, "you're going to sell your most liquid stuff first." Additionally, PIMCO has seen fit to delete all Bill Gross' tweets... so here are the last six months for the record.
The reason why the first article we wrote on Friday after news hit that PIMCO co-founder was shockingly leaving the firm on Friday, was listing the massive bond fund's biggest holdings, was because it was only a matter of time: it, being of course, the massive redemptions that would follow Gross' departure by people that his 30+ tenure at the bond fund made very rich, and who couldn't care less about a brief central planning-inspired flame out. After all Gross isn't the first person who has lost the plotline due to the Fed's manipulation of every market. So just how bad is it? Not for Gross of course: he has made his billions and is simply doing what he and Icahn do in their age: what they love. No, for Pimco, where the redemptions requests are already flooding in. According to the WSJ, just two days after the Gross announcement (both of which non-workdays), already some $10 billion has been withdrawn. And that is just the beginning.
- This is why the locals are furious at the US: U.S-led raids hit grain silos in Syria, kill workers (Reuters) explaining this
- Billions Fly Out the Door at Pimco: About $10 Billion Is Withdrawn After Departure of Gross (WSJ)
- Pimco’s Ivascyn Takes on Gross With Unconstrained Fund (BBG)
- Revealed - the Troika threats to bankrupt Ireland (The Independent)
- Private Bad Debt Build-Up Casts Shadow on Greek Rebound (BBG)
- Fed Questions Bank Maneuver to Reduce Hedge Funds' Dividend Taxes (WSJ)
- Yuan-Euro Direct Trading Begins Tomorrow as China Promotes Usage (BBG)
- Geneva Report warns record debt and slow growth point to crisis (FT)
- Greenberg Team to Grill Bernanke, Geithner on AIG Bailout (BBG)... sadly only metaphorically
While the bond market is still reeling from Friday's shocking Bill Gross departure, and PIMCO has already started to bleed tens of billions in redemptions (see "Billions Fly Out the Door at Pimco About $10 Billion Is Withdrawn After Departure of Gross"), stocks which may have been hoping for a peaceful weekend after Friday's ridiculous no volume ramp in the last two hours of trading, got hit by a double whammy of first Catalan independence fears rising up again after Catalan President Mas signed a decree committing Catalonia to a referendum bid on November 9th, leading to a move wider in Spanish bond yields, and second the sharpest surge in Hong Kong violence in decades, which led to a 2% drop in the Hang Seng, are now solidly lower across the board, with the DAX dropping below its 50 DMA, while US equity futures are printing about 9 points lower from Friday's close despite another epic ramp in the USDJPY which flited with 110 briefly before retracing to 109.50, and also threaten to push below the key technical support level unless the NY Fed's "Markets group" emerges out of its new Chicago digs and buys up enough E-minis to restore confidence in a rigged market.
Having held positions at PIMCO since 1998, Deputy Chief Investment Officer Daniel "Dan" Ivascyn is said to be the likley successor to Bill Gross, according to Bloomberg.
PIMCO is big. Scratch that, it's massive: after all it holds over $2 trillion in global securities, mostly bond-related. It is so big, in fact, it takes two pages just to list the number of funds that comprise it, let alone the securities that these funds actually own. Which is a problem when trying to estimate the impact of what a possible asset-shift, if not outright liqudation of some/all of PIMCO's holdings would have. Yet one has to start somewhere, and the somewhere probably should be with the list of the TRF's biggest holdings as a % of NAV. Here it is.
After co-founding PIMCO in 1971, Bill Gross has called it quits...
*WILLIAM H. GROSS JOINS JANUS CAPITAL
*JANUS:GROSS TO START MANAGING FUND,RELATED STRATEGIES OCT.6,'14
“I look forward to returning my full focus to the fixed income markets and investing, giving up many of the complexities that go with managing a large, complicated organization,” said Mr. Gross. Full Bill Gross, Dick Weil statements...
With more than $65 billion pulled from PIMCO's funds since May 2013, Bill Gross' firm had been struggling amid spotty performance and it seems, according to The Wall Street Journal, PIMCO (not Allianz) was set to fire the 70-year old bond king this weekend. It seems clear that Mr. Gross move was pre-emptive as sources cite his "increasingly erratic behavior" and ultimatums as factors in the move. Assumptions about Mohamed El-Erian returning to run the company have been denied. Some have estimated PIMCO could see a further 10-30% in fund outflows on the back of Mr. Gross' departure.
Black Swan? Having seen liquidations of a relatively small fund yesterday send the NASDAQ down 2% and credit reeling, world bond and stock markets are reacting aggressively to Bill Gross' move from PIMCO. German stocks (PIMCO's parent Allianz is the 7th largest stock in DAX) are tumbling, European peripheral bond spreads are pushing wider (major holdings of PIMCO) and US credit markets are getting smashed (PIMCO is a major player in CDS markets and obviously a huge holder of US corporate debt) and concerns spread of redemptions triggering the kind of liquidity suck out we described yesterday.
It has been a relatively subdued session, with not much action in either stocks or bonds - European stocks rise for the second day on US market momentum from yesterday; Asian stocks are mixed advance while metals decline with Brent, WTI crude, U.S. equity index futures. The biggest highlight in overnight action, however, was once again the Dollar whick climbed to a fresh 4-year high, on pace to strengthen for 2 straight months for first time since March. The reason: ongoing sentiment that there will be a major dispersion between central banks, with the USD tightening just as other central banks join the liquidity fray. To wit, ECB data showed that lending decline in Europe slowed to -1.5% y/y in Aug. vs -1.6% in July and the latest statement from Draghi who said in Lithuania that economic reform possible without devaluing currency.
- A Month of Bombs Dropped in One Night of Strikes on Syria (BBG)
- Air strikes in Syria hit Islamic State-held areas near Turkey (Reuters)
- Pimco ETF Draws Probe by SEC (WSJ)
- Shadowy al Qaeda cell, hit by U.S. in Syria, seen as 'imminent' threat (Reuters)
- Yellen Warns on Market Calm Before ‘Considerable Time’ Up (BBG)
- Dudley Says Fed Needs U.S. Economy to Run ‘A Little Hot' (BBG)
- Websites Are Wary of Facebook Tracking Software (WSJ)
- Just a joke now: Barclays Fined Twice in One Day for Compliance Failures (BBG)
- Fired UPS worker kills two supervisors, self, in Alabama shooting (Reuters)
The depression that followed the stock-market crash of 1929 took a turn for the worse eight years later, and recovery came only with the enormous economic stimulus provided by the second world war, a conflict that cost more than 60 million lives. By the time recovery finally arrived, much of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. The current world situation is not nearly so dire, but there are parallels, particularly to 1937. Now, as then, people have been disappointed for a long time, and many are despairing. They are becoming more fearful for their long-term economic future. And such fears can have severe consequences.
Getting out of a Liquidity Trap with monetary policy playing the lead role necessarily involves a Dornbuschian sequence of rational overshooting: The Fed must drive up Wall Street prices, which move quickly, so as to get to Main Street prices that move up slowly, most importantly, wages. This sequencing implies that Wall Street prices must become very rich relative to Main Street prices in order to achieve so-called escape velocity from the Liquidity Trap. At the transition point, Wall Street prices will be rationally “overvalued” relative to their long-term “fair value.” The dominant risk for Wall Street is not bursting bubbles, but rather a long slow grind down in profit’s share of GDP/national income. And you can stick that into a Gordon Model, too! Bonds and stocks may at present be rationally valued, but borrowing from the lyrics of Procol Harum’s Keith Reid: Expected long-term returns are turning a more ghostly whiter shade of pale.