Heading into the North American open, equities in Europe are seen higher, supported by financials and basic material stocks. With banks benefiting from improved credit spreads in Europe, while reports from the Chinese industry ministry saying that China’s industrial output may be faster in Q4 than in Q3 underpinned the strength by basic material sector. In terms of EU related commentary, the Spanish treasury chief has said that Spain is almost fully funded until year end and can start funding itself for 2013 adding that the ECB has already been very explicit about details of a potential bond-buying plan for Spain. He added that Spain's central government funding program for 2013 will also cover regions' financial needs. In turn, spreads tightened, with SP/GE below the 400bps level, with cash inflows via looming redemption/coupon payments also weighing on German Bunds. However the focus has been on the latest UK GDP print, which came in much higher than the median estimate and also above the upper est. GBP/USD continued to advance, with EUR/GBP on path to make a test on 0.8000 to the downside. Going forward, the second half of the session sees the release of the latest weekly jobs and durables reports.
No surprise Europe remains highly vulnerable to sudden sentiment shifts. How to stablise it? The usual smoke & mirrors are conveying what might or might not be good news on Greece [since denied]. The crisis in Europe may be contained, but it clearly isn't solved. "Europe is like an overweight dinosaur on a crash diet, that's got really really bad toothache with not a dentist in sight." But But But.. yesterday's ructions weren't just about the political shenanigans that pass for markets these days. There are deep undercurrents roiling these placid markets. All of which leads us to wondering what happens next? If this continues what hope for next year? Low low yields and global economic depression? Boy scout time...
- China May Forgo Easing as Economy Rebounds, Survey Shows (Bloomberg)... or as food and house inflation has never gone away
- China Edges Out U.S. as Top Foreign-Investment Draw Amid World Decline (WSJ)
- Fed to keep buying bonds despite firmer U.S. growth (Reuters)
- Bernanke Seen Attacking Jobless Rate With QE Until His Term Ends (Bloomberg)
- Mortgage applications plunge 12%, down for third week in a row (Dow Jones)
- Exchanges Retreat on Trading Tools - Fund Managers, Regulators Say Certain Orders Are Risky, Aid High-Speed Firms (WSJ)
- Europe Bank Chief to Defend Bond-Buying Plan (WSJ)
- Japan, China Envoys Met Last Week for Talks on Island Feud (Bloomberg)
- Goldman’s Pill Says ‘Guerrilla’ ECB to Impose Losses on Skeptics (BBG)
- Chance rise of an Obama defeat (FT)
- King Says BOE Is Ready to Add to QE If U.K. Recovery Fades (Bloomberg)
- Rajoy Sees Case for Slowing Spain’s Austerity as Economy Shrinks (BusinessWeek)
- Hong Kong Intervenes to Defend Peg as Upper Limit Tested (Bloomberg)
What is wrong with this market? The S&P 500, instead of grinding higher in the aftermath of QE3 actually hit its peak for the year the day after the policy announcement. Go figure. Maybe economic reality finally caught up with Mr. Market (there is a very fine line between "'resiliency" and "denial" — and keep in mind that the S&P 500 is still up 14% in a year in which profits are now contracting, not just slowing down)... On average, six weeks hence, the S&P 500 was up more than 9% after the policy announcement. It was all so novel! Tech on average was up over 11%, industrials were up 12%... ditto for Consumer Discretionary and Materials. The cyclicals flew off the shelves. But this time around. either Mr. Market is jaded or the laws of diminishing returns are setting in. Six weeks after the unveiling of QE3, the market is down 2%. This hasn't happened before. Every economic-sensitive sector is in the red, and even Financials — the one sector that should benefit from all the "sucking at the Fed teat" — have made no money for anybody!
The primary reason the U.S. economy is stagnating is that it is dominated by an increasingly dysfunctional Central State and the private cartels it protects. The solutions, therefore, cannot come from State central-planning or from global corporate cartels. The solution is to develop alternative models that reinvigorate the local, community-based economy and that leverage the new tools of productivity: the Internet, freely available software tools and new technologies such as desktop fabrication. One sure way to improve the local economy is to keep more of the community's income in the community itself rather than send it to distant corporate cartel headquarters. Guilds can play a dynamic role in that relocalization movement.
Watching the 3000 line on the Nasdaq, and AAPL.
UPDATE: AAPL Stock -2.5% - below Friday's Closing VWAP
Below is a picture of the product that Steve Jobs never wanted launched, and which Apple has been forced to release due to competitors which are suddenly beating it in its own game. And the price: $329. The Nexus starting price is $199 which is also Kindle Fire territory. Anyway, the 8 inch iPad is here (which upon measurement actually turns out to be 5"... particularly the white version). So when is the iPad 36C coming? Finally: will there be an iDiscount for those with over $100,000 in student debt?
Uuuhh. Yesterday a heart attack and today Lights Out? Then again, markets went up seamlessly with no trigger and can thus slide the same way.
AAPL will need to come up with a helluva surprise mini iPad that does the cooking and bring the kids to school to turn around things overnight.
Spain situation still by far not settled enough to last without some real interventions / decisions.
Last week, the misty eyed reminiscences were recalling the 25th anniversary of Black Monday. Today, we look even further back. 83 years back to be precise to this date in hallowed antiquity, when in 1929 the selling had officially begun, with what would ultimately culminate as the Great Crash. Cue Art Cashin: "on this Thursday morning, the market opened nervous but relatively steady. Within the first half hour, prices began to fade and the tape began to run late. By noon the tape was nearly an hour and-a-half late in reporting transactions in a market that had opened only two hours before. To speed the reporting digits were deleted and so "Radio" which had opened at 68 3/4 now showed on the tape at 8 3/4. But prices were moving so fast that the price was not 58 3/4 but 48 3/4 on its way to 48 1/4 before it would bottom in the afternoon at 44 1/2. To avoid confusion the Exchange published flash prices of selected securities on the slower moving bond tape." By early afternoon the cascade of prices caused an emergency meeting at the offices of J.P. Morgan across the street from the Exchange...."
Easy come, easier go. After yesterday's last hour ramp driven by a MarketWatch article that said absolutely nothing new about the Fed's monetization plans and an AAPL surge which saw the firm add $22 billion in market cap in one day (or more than the market cap of CBS Corp) sent stocks green, the overnight session has taken it all away and then some, with futures now trading roughly 12 ticks lower or at yesterday's lowest levels. The catalyst is, once again, Spain where Moody's downgraded five Spanish regions including Catalonia after the market close (for the reason, see our piece from the weekend "Spanish Regional Bailout Fund Runs Out Of Money"), coupled with news from Confidencial that Spain's budget deficit will overshoot the EU target of 6.3% and hit at least 7.3%, driven by a €10.5 billion deficit in the social security system, trashing the promises from last month's Spain's "reform" package, and as BNP said (confirming what we warned weeks ago), making the conditionality hurdle suddenly that much higher for Spain. And just as the world was getting comfortable that Spain will get away with using the OMP with virtually no conditions. The cherry on top came from France where the business conditions index slid to a 3 year low on expectations a trough had been put in place. The result is a tumble in the EURUSD to below the 1.3000 barrier, dragging stock futures, commodities, and of course Europe with it, sending the Spanish bond curve yield higher, and generally giving a very sour mood to the day as traders walk in.
Even though The Powers That Be pushed the market higher at the close, I was pretty pleased with how the day went. My portfolio was profitable for most of the day - - although a lovely five-figure profit dwindled to a two-figure profit (!) by day's end - - but the point is that my portfolio hugely outperformed the market (on an inverse basis since, as you've probably guessed, I was so short I could jump off a nickel). I remain positioned for a fall.
A ZeroHedge reader who goes by the handle “Kito” took me to task last week for straddling the fence. On the one hand, he observed, I have been predicting a huge Dow rally to 14969. More recently, though, in a commentary published last week and rightly seized on by Kito, I said to hell with the bullish target; with Apple, IBM and Google shares getting bludgeoned, it’s only a matter of time before the bloodshed spreads to the broad averages. So which is it, Kito has asked?
Once again confusion is rife overnight, following yesterday's main European event, Spain's first "mixed" regional election, which saw Rajoy's PP party in his home state of Galicia eeking a majority by a few seats, offset by wins for nationalist parties in the Basque Country. The immediate read here is that the Galician win is an endorsement of Rajoy's "austerity poilicies" and thus EUR positive (which have yet to be actually implemented as Spanish spending continues to rise, as tax revenues continue to drop), yet it makes the likelihood that Spain requests a bailout before the Spanish regional election on November 25, which is about secession, virtually nil, and thus SPGB negative. Furthermore as Bank of America points out "some euro-area govts may remain reluctant to support Spain’s request as long as yields continue to be low, banks haven’t been recapitalized; probably reinforced by Catalonia elections" but that is a reality tale for another day - the "market" can only handle so much.
Roughly one third of the S&P has reported earnings so far, with another third reporting in the next five days and almighty AAPL on deck Thursday evening, and if there is one word to describe what has happened so far, that word would be "ugly." The same word would be used to describe how Q4 is shaping up to be. And that word will be very a optimistic prediction of what 2013 will bring unless a major catalyst develops that pushes Congress to resolve the fiscal cliff situation. So far that catalyst is missing. But going back to Q3 earnings, here is how Goldman's David Kostin summarizes events to date: "3Q reporting season is roughly one third finished. Two early conclusions: (1) Information Technology results have been startlingly weak with high-profile revenue disappointments by the four horsemen: MSFT, GOOG, IBM, and ORCL. (2) EPS guidance for 4Q has been overwhelmingly negative across all S&P 500 sectors with 18 of 20 firms lowering 4Q earnings guidance by a median of 5%. Analysts have lowered 4Q EPS estimates for stocks already reported by 0.4%. We expect further EPS cuts of 6% loom ahead. Firms reporting next week: AAPL, T, PG, MRK, CMCSA, AMZN, COP, AMGN, OXY, MO, UTX, MMM, CAT, DD, and FCX." Sorry Bob Pisani, better luck spinning earnings favorably next QE.