- Oil holds around $55 as Iran nuclear talks drag on (Reuters)
- Bob Diamond’s African Banking Venture Runs Into Problems (WSJ)
- Iran Nuclear Talks Resume With Lavrov Saying Deal at Hand (BBG)
- Wal-Mart Ratchets Up Pressure on Suppliers to Cut Prices (WSJ)
- Renegades of Junk: The Rise and Fall of the Drexel Empire (BBG)
- Explosion at Yemen factory kills at least 25: residents, medics (Reuters)
- Macerich Rejects Simon Property’s $16.8 Billion Takeover Bid (WSJ)
- Reckoning Arrives for Cash-Strapped Oil Firms Amid Bank Squeeze (BBG)
While we doubt that the ECB will, of its own volition, elect to scale back PSPP out of a highly uncharacteristic respect for sanity and prudence, there are a variety of factors which could lead to a forced taper. Some market participants are already betting that the ECB scales back purchases by the end of the calendar year.
- Iran, powers push for nuclear deal as clock ticks toward deadline (Reuters)
- How DIY Bond Traders Displaced Wall Street’s Hot Shots (BBG)
- MillerCoors Caught in a Downdraft (WSJ)
- Saudi-led strikes again hit Yemen overnight (Reuters)
- Even With Free Money, Merkel Still Reluctant to Spend (BBG)
- Britain Uses Tax Breaks to Lure Digital-Game Developers (WSJ)
- China to Insure Deposits in Move Toward Scrapping Rate Curbs (BBG)
- As China Expands Its Navy, the U.S. Grows Wary (WSJ)
Back in September 2013 we wrote "Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: MBIA's $1 Billion World War Z" in which we explained why MBIA will soon have a substantial problem (amounting to just about around $600 million) with several CLOs which we dubbed "Zombie CLOs" or as they were actually known, Zohar, on which it had written insurance, and which would become evident sooner or later once someone took a long, hard look at the collateral manager of the CLOs, namely Lynn Tilton's Patriarch Partners. Well, finally someone did take a long, hard look and today, our warning comes full circle following a shocker out of the SEC accusing Lynn Tilton of fraud and of "hiding the poor performance of loan assets in three collateralized loan obligation (CLO) funds they manage."
- Setbacks and progress as Iran, six powers meet to end nuclear impasse (Reuters)
- Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Leave Iran Nuclear Talks (WSJ)
- Obama Ramps Up Lobbying on Iran as Deadline Looms (WSJ)
- Greek yields edge up as lenders scrutinise reform pledge (Reuters)
- Oil prices drop on possible Iran deal, dollar (Reuters)
- Yemen’s Houthis Battle for Aden as Saudi Strikes Hit Rebels (BBG)
- Iran nuclear deal to see $20 oil if Tehran floods crude market (Telegraph)
- China’s Zhou Says PBOC Has Room to Act on Growth Slowdown (BBG)
“The new normal for the Chinese economy and banking sector includes sluggish growth and persistent credit deterioration,” one analyst tells Bloomberg. China's largest banks are seeing loans tied to manufacturing and other sectors sour which is cutting into profitability just as rate cuts squeeze NIM margins.
"...The negative divergence of the markets from economic strength and momentum are simply warning signs and do not currently suggest becoming grossly underweight equity exposure. However, warning signs exist for a reason, and much like Wyle E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner, not paying attention to the signs has tended to have rather severe consequences."
It's a day of ‘master of the universe,’ central bank speeches as both Bank of England governor Mark Carney and Fed chief Janet Yellen preach their ultra loose policies and certain market participants lap up the Gospel according to Mark … and Janet ...
We're just a little over two weeks into PSPP and signs are already beginning to show that the ECB is effectively breaking the market. "The soaring cost of borrowing government bonds in secured lending markets highlights the distortions caused by the ECB's asset-purchase scheme, which analysts say could clog up Europe's financial system," Reuters notes.
All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, this morning's futures reaction to last night's shocking start of a completely unexpected Yemen proxy war, which has seen an alliance of Gulf State launch an air, and soon land, war against Yemen's Houthi rebels, is what one would expect: down, and down big. This is surprising, because on previous occasions one would expect the NY Fed, or its pet hedge fund, Citadel, or the BOJ or ECB (via the CME's "Central Bank Incentive Program") to aggressively buy ES to prevent a slide, something has changed, and for the BTFDers, that something may be very fatal with the e-Mini rapidly approaching a 1-handle yet again. The offset to tumbling stocks, as previously observed, is oil, with WTI soaring over 6% in a delayed algo response to the Qatar headlines.
- Saudi Arabia, allies launch air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters (Reuters)
- Pilot on Crashed Jet Was Locked Out of Cockpit, NY Times Says (BBG)
- Why Bombing This Tiny Oil Producer Is Roiling the Energy Market (BBG)
- U.S.-led coalition, Iraqis pound Islamic State in Tikrit (Reuters)
- Munger Says Prepare for Harder World as Buying Power Slides (BBG),Mocks Greek ‘Idiotic Idea’ You Can Vote Yourself Rich (BBG)
- The Central Banker Who Saved the Russian Economy From the Abyss (BBG)
- Bank of Canada says foreign buyers complicate housing market (Reuters)
- Investors Scoop Up Companies’ Bonds (WSJ)
- Espirito Santo Probe Turns Mariana Mortagua Into Portuguese Star (BBG)
From almost 2.5% GDP growth expectations in February, The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow model has now collapsed its estimates of Q1 GDP growth to just 0.2% - plunging from +1.4% just 2 weeks ago. The reality of plunging capex and no decoupling is starting to rear its ugly head in the hard data and as the sun warms things up, weather will start to lose its ability to sway sentiment. While sell-side consensus has dropped (Goldman, Morgan Stanley, and Barclays all cut today following Durable goods), it remains unable to quite accept the reality of massively weaker than expected macro data evident everywhere (except in the soft-survey PMI data).
After three days of unexpected market weakness without an apparent cause, especially since after 7 years of conditioning, the algos have been habituated to buy on both good and bad news, overnight futures are getting weary, and futures are barely up, at least before this morning's transitory FX-driven stop hunt higher. Whether this is due to the previously noted "blackout period" for stock buybacks which started a few days ago and continues until the first week of May is unclear, but should the recent "dramatic" stock weakness persist, expect Bullard to once again flip flop and suggesting it is clearly time to hike rates, as long as the S&P does not drop more than 5%. In that case, QE4 is clearly warranted.
- Germanwings Airbus crashes in France, 148 feared dead (Reuters)
- Greece promises list of reforms by Monday to unlock cash (Reuters)
- Merkel Points Tsipras Toward Deal With Greece’s Creditors (BBG)
- Banks Shift Bond Portfolios -Move to ‘held to maturity’ category aims to guard against rising rates, shield capital (WSJ)
- Beijing to Shut All Major Coal Power Plants to Cut Pollution (BBG)
- As Silence Falls on Chicago Trading Pits, a Working-Class Portal Also Closes (NYT)
- Oil below $56 as Saudi output near record, China activity slows (Reuters)