In what has been another quiet overnight session, which unlike the past two days has not seen steep, illiquid gaps higher in US equity futures (the E-mini was up 3 points and accelerating to the upside as of this writing so there is still ample time for the momentum algos to go berserk), the main event was the price of Brent rising above $50 for the first time since November with WTI rising as high as $49.97.
Following last week's lull in global macro, it’s a busy start to the week in which we get the latest deluge of global flash PMIs, while the US economic calendar is loaded with New Home Sales data, Trade Balance, Initial Claims, UMichigan sentiment and the revised US Q1 GDP print on Friday. But perhaps the most expected event will be Yellen's speech on Friday at Harvard's Radcliffe, where the Fed chairman is expected to reveal some more hints on the upcoming rate hike.
After two violently volatile days in which the market soared (Monday) then promptly retraced all gains (Tuesday), the overnight session has been relatively calm with futures and oil both unchanged even as the BBG dollar index rose to the highest level since April 4. This took place despite a substantial amount of macro data from both Japan, where the GDP came well above the expected 0.3%, instead printing 1.7% annualized, which pushed stocks lower as it meant the probability of more BOJ interventions or a delay of the sales tax hike both dropped. Meanwhile, in China we got proof of the ongoing housing bubble when new property prices were reproted to have soared 12.4% Y/Y in April, which in turn pushed the local stock market to two month lows amid concerns the rampant housing bubble sector could divert funds from stocks. Yes, China is trading on the "risk" one bubble will burst another bubble.
After last week's key event, the retail sales number, which the market discounted as being too unrealistic (and overly seasonally adjusted) after printing at a 13 month high and attempting to refute the reality observed by countless retailers, this week has a quiet start today with no data of note due out of Europe and just Empire manufacturing (which moments ago missed badly) and the NAHB housing market index of note in the US session this morning.
We have referred to the June 2003 FOMC meeting many times before and we suspect that we will continue to do so long into the future. It was one of those events that should be marked in history, truly relevant to the future developments that became panic and now sustained economic decay. It’s as if the committee members at that time anticipated their current powerlessness – yet did nothing about it. Their preferred course from that moment until August 2007 was relieved ignorance, as Greenspan admitted at the time, " I don’t think we know enough about how the private financial system works under these conditions [sub-1% rates], I don’t believe, that we can construct an effective preemption strategy. Well, we can construct a strategy, but I’m fearful that it would not be very useful."
"It’s definitely Global Risks the Fed is concerned about, not the S&P..." /sarc
Ahead of the most important macro economic event of the week, US nonfarm payrolls (Exp. +200,000, down from 215,000 despite a very poor ADP report two days ago), the markets have that sinking feeling as futures seem unable to shake off what has been a steady grind lower in the past week, while the Nasdaq has been down for nine of the past ten sessions, after yet another session of jawboning by central bankers who this time flipped to the hawkish side, hinting that the market is not prepared for a June rate hike. Additionally, sentiment is showing little sign of improvement due to concerns over global-growth prospects as markets seek to close the worst week since the turmoil at the start of the year.
"My conjecture is that investors have begun to price out June/July hiking risk they are beginning to reject the view that there is a high?probability fed funds path that is as shallow as the market is pricing in. Before you get to negative rates you would have the hail Mary of QE4 which would act mainly to push down long term yields. In the past the prospect of QE supported equity markets, but there is so much skepticism at this point that the equity market reaction is negligible and the brunt of the concerns are falling on USD and long?term yields."
Following the weakness in Philly and Dallas Fed regional - fading off Feb/Mar dead cat bounces - Richmond Fed's epic 9-standard-deviation biggest spike ever to 7 year highs in March appears to have been a one of as it fell back from 22 (3rd highest ever) to 14 (still above expectations) - the biggest drop since August. Of course how one can take this seriously is anyone's guess as shipments , new orders, wages, and workweek all crashed from March's embarrassing spike as did inventory levels for finished and raw materials (not good for Q2 GDP). Worse still outlook for six months ahead saw wages, workweek and new orders collapse further.
With the Fed decision just one day away, followed the very next day by the increasingly more irrational BOJ, stocks had no desire to make significant moves and overnight's boring session was the result, as European stocks and U.S. index futures rose modestly but mostly hugged the flatline while Asian declined 0.2% for a third day as raw-material shares declined and Tokyo equities slumped before central bank meetings in the U.S. and Japan this week. China’s stocks rose the most in almost two weeks, up 0.6% but failed to rise above 3000 on the Shanghai Composite, in thin trading.
"This Is Not A Good Time To Be In Business": Dallas Fed Disappoints, Contracts For 16th Straight MonthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/25/2016 10:41 -0400
Following the death of Philly Fed's dead-cat-bounce, Dallas Fed did the same with a disappointing thud back to -13.9 (missing expectations of a rise to -10.0). This is the 16th consecutive month in contraction (below 0) and respondents are increasingly depressed, "it is a bad time for manufacturing, agriculture and mining - the only sectors that actually create wealth." What kind of fiction are these real average joes peddling? Have they not seen the jobs data?
The April FOMC gathering headlines a crowded economic events calendar this week. The post-meeting statement, released Wednesday afternoon, should continue to strike a cautious tone. There will be no press conference and updated economic and financial forecasts will not be released. Few expect the FOMC to add the “balance of risks” sentence back into its communiqué at this point. Doing so would be quite bearish for risk assets as it would definitely open the door for a June rate hike.
Futures are currently unchanged, but the E-mini was down as much as 12 points less than two hours earlier after the European open when this time it was up to the PBOC to intervene in global markets by pushing the Yuan higher (selling USDCNY via intermediary banks) sending global stocks sharply higher off session lows and leaving the S&P futures virtually unchanged. As Bloomberg reported, there has been increasing USD/CNY selling in afternoon session as Dollar Index edged lower. This is the PBOC entering the building and levitating stocks.
In 1977, the total indebtedness of U.S. government, corporate and household borrowers was $323 billion. By 1985, that figure had grown to $7 trillion. Volcker left the Fed in August of 1987 after handing the reins over to Alan Greenspan. By year’s end 2015, U.S. indebtedness had swelled to $45.2 trillion. Tack on financials, which few do, and it’s $64.5 trillion and unabashedly growing. We are a nation transformed. What has today’s vast store of debt purchased? Certainly not freedom.
"In September, regulators from the OCC, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. met with dozens of energy bankers at Wells Fargo’s office in Houston... Regulators pushed lenders to focus instead on a borrower’s ability to make enough money to repay the loan, according to the person familiar with the discussions."