It appears the plethora of talking heads discussing the FOMC's potential decision to 'Taper' - and the subsequent sell-offs in a number of risk-assets - believe this action has stemmed from better economic data (as the 'manipulated' unemployment rate has drifted faerie-like towards their target - but don't call it a threshold). However, as Barclays notes and we have been warning, there is another interpretation that is more worrisome for the market - that is a change in the Fed's 'reaction function'. As is clear from the minutes of the latest FOMC meeting, there is a growing concern over bubbles, technical dislocations, and the cost-benefits of a QE program out of control. The market's reaction to these two reasons for 'tapering' will be significantly different and reading the Fed tea-leaves even more critical than ever.
There was non-Fed news in the overnight market. Such as Nikkei reporting that Germany's Angela Merkel was the first G-8 member to be openly critical of Japan's credit-easing policy "that has led to the yen's weakening against major currencies" in what was the first shot across the bow between the two export-heavy countries. Not helping risk in Asia was also news that China May new home prices rose in 69 cities over the past year, compared to 68 the prior month, thus keeping the PBOC's hands tied even as the liquidity shortage in traditional liquidity conduits continues to cripple the banking system and forcing the Agricultural Development Bank of China to scale back the size of two bond offerings today by 31% "as the worst cash crunch in at least seven years curbs demand for the securities." Rounding up Asia were the latest RBA meeting minutes which noted the possibility of further weakness in AUD over time, adding downside pressure on the currency and pressuring all AUD linked equity pairs lower. Still, the USDJPY caught a late bid pushing it above 95 on some comments by the economy minister Amari who said that the government would not be swayed by day-to-day market moves and the BOJ "should continue making efforts to convey its thinking to markets" adding the government was not making policy to pander to markets, confirming that Japan is making policy solely to pander to markets.
Dare 'Ye Test the Analysis To Ascertain It's Virility? Madness, I say! Sheer, Utter Madness! In other words - SYSTEMIC RISK is here, NOW!
Employees have been front-running client orders and rigging WM/Reuters rates by pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set, said five current and former traders, who requested anonymity because the practice is controversial. Dealers colluded with counterparts to boost chances of moving the rates, said two of the people, who worked in the industry for a total of more than 20 years. The behavior occurred daily in the spot foreign-exchange market and has been going on for at least a decade, affecting the value of funds and derivatives and all investments. The Financial Conduct Authority, Britain’s markets supervisor, is considering opening a probe into potential manipulation of the rates, according to a person briefed on the matter. Informed observers have long warned that the global $4.7-trillion-a-day foreign exchange market, the biggest in the financial system has all the hallmarks of a casino. The inherent conflict banks face between executing client orders and profiting from their own trades is exacerbated because most currency trading takes place away from exchanges.
First it was the conspiracy theory that Li(e)bor traders were manipulating the entire rates market which a year ago became conspiracy fact. Then it was commodities with an emphasis on the energy market (but not gold - gold is never, ever manipulated) with even such luminaries as JPMorgan's Blythe Masters, subsequently implicated. And moments ago, via Bloomberg, to absolutely nobody's surprise, we learn that that final market which so far had not been exposed as the "wild west" of manipulators, the FX market, is part of the conspiracy "fact" too. According to Bloomberg, "employees have been front-running client orders and rigging WM/Reuters rates by pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set, said the current and former traders, who requested anonymity because the practice is controversial. Dealers colluded with counterparts to boost chances of moving the rates, said two of the people, who worked in the industry for a total of more than 20 years."
With the US macro surprise index having hit 10-month lows - and now among the dirtiest of dirty shirts of world economic regions (thanks to the over-optimistic expectations) - we thought it useful to reflect somewhat stoically on the reality of the macro-economic environment that we are told day after day is doing so well in the US...
Equity bulls remain cognitively biased to the belief that a rising interest rate market implies growth expectations (enough to warrant a Fed Taper) that confirm the hope priced into stocks (entirely missing the bubble concerns and technical corruptions in the markets caused by these policies). However, at the very short-end of the interest-rate curve in the US, the market has pulled forward rate-hike expectations from End-2015 to May 2015 in the last month alone. The problem with the velocity of this adjustment is that in order to hike rates - the entire extraordinary asset purchase program known as QE4EVA has to be over... Still think equities are pricing that in?
As Mike Tyson once ominously noted, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face," and it seems the rampage of equity bulls have some plan that many more prosaic fundamental analysis-based investors are unaware of (as we showed here). The 'punch' in the face will come; but in the meantime the following chart may be just the 'jab' that softens them up. As ThomsonReuters notes, of the 116 second-quarter earnings pre-announcements given by S&P 500 companies, 93 of them have been negative, while only 14 have been positive. The resulting 6.6 negative to positive guidance ratio is the most negative since the first quarter of 2001. Nothing to see here, move along.
After 19 months in the red, yields on the 10Y TIPS have just shifted into positive territory. We saw a similar surge in TIPS yields in Q4 2010 / Q1 2011 which did not end well for stocks. This comes along with the simultaneous drop in the Fed's inflation gauge - five-year forward breakevens - which is now at its lowest in 9 months. This kind of drop has previously led to further QE action by the Fed, and right on cue...*BULLARD SAYS INFLATION IN U.S. HAS `SURPRISED TO THE DOWNSIDE' and *FED'S BULLARD SAYS LOW INFLATION MAY WARRANT PROLONGING QE
- In Hong Kong, ex-CIA man may not escape U.S. reach (Reuters)
- Backlash over US snooping intensifies (FT)
- Apple to Revamp IPhone Software, Ending Product Funk (BBG)
- Nothing like revising history: Japan revises up Q1 growth to annual 4.1% (FT), just don't look at the trade deficit
- Coffee Exports From Indonesia Seen Slumping to Two-Year Low (BBG)
- Euro bailout Troika nears end of road with patchy record (Reuters)
- Treasuries Little Changed Before Bullard Speaks Amid QE Debate (BBG)
- Schwab Topping Goldman Sachs Presages Return to Stocks (BBG)
- Hedge funds take over another city: London’s Forced Renters Fuel Apartment Investing Boom (BBG)
- Reports on surveillance of Americans fuel debate over privacy, security (Reuters)
- Apple to Yahoo Deny Providing Direct Access to Spy Agency (Bloomberg)
- Misfired 2010 email alerted IRS officials in Washington of targeting (Reuters)
- Spy vs Spy: Cyber disputes loom large as Obama meets China's Xi (Reuters)
- When NSA Calls, Companies Answer (WSJ)
- How the Robots Lost: High-Frequency Trading's Rise and Fall (BBG)
- Japan's Pension Fund to Buy More Stocks (WSJ)
- ‘Frankenstein’ CDOs twitch back to life (FT)
- China’s ‘great power’ call to the US could stir friction (FT)
- Toyota Tries on Corolla Look That’s Just Different Enough (BBG)
Global Risk Off: Nikkei Plunges 700 Points From Intraday Highs, Whisper Away From 20% Bear Market CorrectionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/05/2013 06:50 -0400
Anyone expecting Abe to announce definitive, material growth reform instead of vague promises to slay a "deflation monster" last night was sorely disappointed. The country's PM, who may once again be reaching for the Immodium more and more frequently, said the government aims for 3% average growth over the next decade and 2% real growth, raising per capita income by JPY 1.5 million. The market laughed outright in the face of this IMF-type silly vagueness (as well as the amusing assumption that Abe will be still around in 7 years), which left untouched the most critical aspect of Abenomics: energy, and nuclear energy to be specific, and sent the USDJPY plummeting well below the 100 support line, printing 99.55 at last check. But more importantly, after surging briefly at the opening of the second half of trading to mask a feeble attempt at telegraphing the "all is well", it rolled over with a savage ferocity plunging 700 points from an intraday high of 13,711 to just above 13,000 at the lows: yet another 5% intraday swing in a market which is now flatly laughing at the BOJ's "price stability" mandate. Tonight's drop has extended the plunge from May 23 to 18.4% meaning just 1.6% lower and Japan officially enters a bear market.
While the back up in interest rates over the last few weeks has been heralded by those with a bias for these things as some indication of growth expectations improving - confirming the equity exuberance they stand on as sensible; it appears, if one actually takes a look a little deeper into market movements, that in fact this is 'all' about 'Taper' concerns and nothing to do with growth. The driver of this reasoning is straightforward. If the move higher in rates were really about perceived improvement in the growth outlook, we would expect credit markets to rally - as they have during all prior periods of rate spikes. This time is different as they sold off together. Simply put, this is not a growth-driven rate reversion, it is short-term fears (and JGB VaR shock driven concerns) of a Fed worried about bubbles and taking its foot off the throttle modestly.
The only thing more ominous for the world than a Hindenburg Omen sighting is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. We suspect the agenda (how the US and Europe can promote growth, the way 'big data' is changing 'almost everything', the challenges facing the continent of Africa, and the threat of cyber warfare) has been somewhat re-arranged as market volatility picks up and the status quo begins to quake once again. The annual gathering of the royalty, statesmen, and business leaders, conspiratorially believed to run the world (snubbing their Illuminati peers and Freemason fellows), will take place this week at the Grove Hotel in London, England. The Telegraph provides the full list of attendees below - for those autogrpah seekers - including Britain's George Osborne, US' Henry Kissinger, Peter Sutherland (the chairman of Goldman Sachs), the Fed's Kevin Warsh, Jeff Bezos?, Peter Thiel, Italy's Mario Monti, and Spain's de Guindos.
In almost every asset class, volatility has made a phoenix-like return in the last few days/weeks and while equity markets tumbled Friday into month-end, the bigger context is still up, up, and away (and down and down for bonds). From disinflationary signals to emerging market outflows and from fixed income market developments to margin, leverage, and valuations, here is the 'you are here' map for the month ahead.