Remember when the low oil price was an "over-supply" issue and nothing at all to do with the other side of the same coin - dwindling demand? Well it appears that reality is dawning that a record glut combined with tumbling global growth (confirmed by weakness in China PMI, US PMI, and now EU growth expectations) is sending crude prices lower, back to a $43 handle for the June contract...
Coming off a year in which Wall Street experienced the lowest average bonus since 2012, it now has to brace itself for new regulation on incentive compensation. One of the last pieces of Dodd-Frank to be written and implemented, regulators are looking to firm up the rules surrounding incentive pay for banks. The final regulation, once agreed upon, will not just apply to banks, it will also apply to investment advisers, broker dealers, credit unions, and executives at mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac according to the Wall Street Journal.
The market is standing at the proverbial “crossroads” of bull and bear. From a “fundamental” perspective there is not much good news. The past week we saw numerous companies beating extremely beaten down estimates. However, while JPM and C got a boost to their stock price, the actual earnings, revenue and profits trends were clearly negative. But that is the new normal. We live in an environment where Central Banking has taken control of financial markets by leaving investors “no option” for a return on cash. Therefore, the “hope” remains that asset prices can remain detached from underlying fundamentals long enough for them to catch up.
"Banking is the least understood, and possibly most lethal, of all the myriad issues at stake in this election."
Having re-confirmed her intense "focus on Main Street... and helping all Americans," by taking a "risk management" approach to "avoid big mistakes," we suggest Ms. Yellen cast an Ivory Tower eye in the direction of this "nope, no bubble here" chart...
In an oddly-timed-release, just a day after her 'unusual' meeting with President Obama (and sandwiched between two "emergency Fed meetings"), Janet Yellen's seemingly legacy-protecting narrative-confirming interview with TIME magazine proclaiming once again that "we are focused on Main Street, on supporting economic conditions - plentiful jobs and stable prices - that help all Americans." So now you know - it's all for you America - the bank bailouts, the deflationary-glut-creating ZIRP, the money-printing, and the "confusing and confounding" messaging. Now stop your complaining and Vote Hillary!
It's not just the shale drillers who are in danger as they see their liquidity evaporate. As the WSJ writes today, and as covered here since January, it is the lenders themselves whose unfunded revolver exposure may suddenly become funded and expose them to even greater risks from the energy sector should oil not rebound far more forcefully and put US oil and gas companies back in the black. How big is the exposure? Very big: $147 billion.
In the final day of the week, it has again been a story of currencies and commodities setting stock prices, however instead of yesterday's Yen surge which slammed the USDJPY as low as 107.67 and led to a global tumble in equities, and crude slide, today has been a mirror imoage after a modest FX short squeeze, which sent the Yen pair as high as 109.1, before easing back to the 108.80 range. This, coupled with a 3.5% bounce in WTI, which is back up to $38.54 and up 4.9% on the week as speculation has returned that Russia and OPEC members can reach a production freeze deal on April 17, led to a global stock rebound which will see the S&P open back in the green for 2016.
It’s not the more fickle and systemic nature of the FIRE economy that makes manufacturing particularly important. It goes well beyond that...
Key economic releases for the coming week include the ISM non-manufacturing report on Wednesday. There are several scheduled speeches from Fed officials this week. Fed Chair Yellen will take part in a discussion with former Fed Chairs on Thursday.
And so the great "oil production freeze" rumor, which helped halt oil's plunge after it hit a 13 year low in early February and forced a 50% short squeeze higher,has died after Bloomberg released an interview with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in which when asked if Iran needs to join freeze, he said: "without a doubt. If all countries including Iran, Russia, Venezuela, OPEC countries and all main producers decide to freeze production, we will be among them."
QE3 ended 17 months ago and shockingly the S&P 500 is exactly where it was 17 months ago. How many bull markets go flat for 17 months? As John Hussman accurately points out, we are experiencing a topping formation in the third and biggest bubble of the last 16 years. It’s a long way down from here.
Core inflation is breaking out. Sticky inflation is rising. And the Fed is not hiking anymore. Buckle Up.
"...the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq," according to department reports. There’s only one way to stop a guy like this - lock him up. For once, do your job Department of Justice.