Market weakness, as BofAML reports, has taken a toll on mutual fund and ETF flows, with stocks (-$9.56bn), HY bonds (-$1.56bn) and levered loans (-$1.17bn) all reporting significant outflows last week (ending on October 1st). There is a clear "up in quality" and "up in capital structure" rotation among investors as investment grade bonds saw huge inflows. Notably, most PIMCO funds, including the Total Return Funds, do not report flows weekly, and hence the bulk of this outflow was not reflected in the last week’s data. In a statement PIMCO said that outflows from the Total Return Fund totaled $23.5bn in September, so we will have to see just where that outflow hit.
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."
- How you know it is all a lie: Pelosi Presses Obama to Talk Up Stronger U.S. Economy (BBG)
- Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes Put Pressure on New York Fed (NYT), Uh, no they don't
- Clashes Break Out at Hong Kong Protest Site (WSJ)
- N.Y. Fed Lawyer Says AIG Got Billions Without Paperwork (BBG)
- Ebola’s Disease Detectives Race to Track Others Exposed (BBG)
- UPS, FedEx Want Retailers to Get Real on Holiday Shipping (WSJ)
- No more mailman at the door under U.S. Postal Service plan (Reuters)
What one can not exclude is that Blackrock, having worked with the ECB for an indefinite period of time, is intimately familiar with the long-term strategy of the biggest jawboning back in the world: Mario Draghi's ECB. Because while Draghi will say anything, as he started two years ago with his infamous "Whatever it takes" speech, his actual policy options are painfully limited. It is in this context that all those betting that public, US-style, QE will inevitably follow the private QE which is set to last at least two years, may want to sit down and read the following note from Reuters, which warns "investors loading up on some of the euro zone's riskiest government bonds on expectations that the European Central Bank will buy them are making a mistake" according to none other than BlackRock's head of European and global bonds said on Wednesday.
- As we warned in May 2013... Gross Exposes $42 Trillion Bond Market’s Key Flaw in Exit (BBG).... hint: no liquidity
- WTI Crude Slips Below $90 for First Time in 17 Months (BBG)
- Traders Thank Fed for Once-in-Decade Surge in Profit (BBG)
- Islamic State committing 'staggering' crimes in Iraq: U.N. report (Reuters)
- Philippine Islamist militants threaten to behead German on October 17 (Reuters)
- Draghi’s Buying Spree for the ECB Might Start Modestly (BBG)
- Russian Officials Say No Plans for Capital Controls (WSJ)
- Indians Join the Wave of Investors in Condos and Homes in the U.S. (NYT)
- Leader of Mexican drugs cartel captured (FT)
- Dallas Ebola patient vomited outside apartment on way to hospital (Reuters)
While we already documented the crash in Japanese stocks earlier, the biggest market development overnight is the plunge in crude, with both Brent and WTI plunging, the latter sliding under $90 for the first time in 17 months, extending yesterday's selloff after Saudi Aramco cut Arab Light OSP in Asia to 2008 levels. Brent drops to lowest since June 2012. This also confirms that the global slowdown whose can is kicked every so often in a new bout of money printing, is arriving fast. That, and the imminent crackdown on today's Hong Kong protest will likely be the biggest stories of the day, even as the spread of Ebola to the US is sure to keep everhone on edge.
He's back. A month after Appaloosa's David Tepper explained the end of the bond bull market was here (and 10Y rates are now 5bps lower), the trend-following master-of-the-universe explained to Bloomberg TV's Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker how the departure of Bill Gross from PIMCO was "nothing... who cares?"; why "the US economy is pretty good", how junk bonds are at "fair value" and stocks are cheap as "multiples are not high." Finally he explains how he "wished he didn't have any investment" in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and clarifies in his billionaire-all-knowing-ness how he is sure the United States can contain Ebola.
- European Bond Yields Go Negative (WSJ)
- Traveler from Liberia is first Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S. (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Protesters Step up Pressure on Leung to Quit (BBG)
- JPMorgan to face U.S. class action in $10 billion MBS case (Reuters)
- Turkey mulls military action against Islamic State (Reuters)
- Singapore Home Prices Fall for Fourth Straight Quarter on Curbs (BBG)
- Italy's Economic Woes Highlight Dilemma for European Central Bank (WSJ)
- Advanced iOS virus targeting Hong Kong protestors (Reuters)
- Fed Scrutiny of Leveraged Loans Grows Along With Bubble Concern (BBG)
- Mosquito Virus That Walloped Caribbean Spreads in U.S. (BBG)
Despite the ubiquitous v-shaped recovery in stocks from the US open to EU close (decoupling entirely from bonds), stocks slumped into the end of the quarter leaving the S&P and Dow barely positive for Q3 and Russell 2000 down 7.9% - its worst quarter since Q2 2011 (and -5.2% year-to-date). Treasury yields flip-flopped around in a 4-5bps range with a late-day ramp (suggesting liquidations cough PIMCO cough) leaving 30Y -1bps on the week. The USDollar suged higher in the European session and traded lower in the US session. The bigger news on the day was the carnage in commodities that appeared to occur around the European close (desk chatter of commodity fund liquidations). Silver and WTI Crude were monkey-hammered, gold and copper dropped to down 1% on the week. VIX pumped and dumped again but closed above 16. Stocks closed very weak with Russell tumbling 1.5% on the day to not "off the lows."
Things are rapidly shifting from bad to worse for PIMCO. In a triple whammy this morning, Bloomberg reports the Total Return Fund ETF (managed previously by Bill Gross) has suffered $446 million outflows (or over 12.5% of assets) so far; Morningstar downgrades the fund from 'gold' to 'bronze' citing "uncertainty regarding outflows and the reshuffling of management responsibilities"; and perhaps most concerning - given our previous warnings over bond market illiquidity - The FT reports, US regulators are monitoring trading and fund flows surrounding PIMCO's Total Return Bond fund warning investors they should contemplate the unintended consequences of pulling their money and the possibility of systemic risk disruptions, fearful of "runs."
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