At 2 p.m. EST, the only thing the financial world will care about and discuss will be the Fed's [first rate hike in 9 years|epic disappointment]. So for those who still haven't made up their mind about what the Fed's [dovish|non-dovish] rate hike means, here is all you need to know.
"I am now reasonably satisfied the market situation has settled down... So I am comfortable with moving off zero soon..."
Having reiterated all the key talking points of "data-dependence", "downside risks", "labor slack", and the economy is "improving", The Fed's Dennis Lockhart then admitted...
- LOCKHART: UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE MAY GET LITTLE SKEPTICAL OF FED
We wonder just what makes him "understand" the world's growing skepticism?
- Turkey says coalition to launch 'comprehensive battle' against Islamic State (Reuters)
- Buffett’s Celebration Tempered by 50th Anniversary Stock Slump (BBG)
- SEC Set to Approve CEO Pay-Gap Disclosure Rule (WSJ)
- Greece wants full bailout, not bridge loan, ruling party says (Reuters)
- Stocks Rise Fueled by Strong European Corporate Earnings and Chinese Data (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Reclaims Place Among U.S.'s Top 10 Biggest Stocks (BBG)
- Eurozone retail sales fall sharply in June (MW)
"Priced in?" Atlanta Fed's Lockhart is the un-Bullard as he proclaims that September would be "appropriate time" for rate hikes to begin... Stocks have roundtripped from initial excitement to lows of the day, short-end bonds are ugly as the curve flattens dramatically and the USD index is surging...
U.S. and U.K. GDP slowed very sharply in first quarter of 2015. Latest data confirms the rapid slowdown despite stock markets booming in the UK, U.S. and globally. This highlights the major disconnect between the real economy and a financial sector intoxified by easy money.
Sentiment in general remains poor and all the focus is on gold's weakness in dollar terms, despite gold's strong gains in euro terms in 2014 and so far in 2015. Poor sentiment is of course bullish from a contrarian perspective and suggests all the froth has been washed out of the gold market.
A “soft landing” is unlikely.
"...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."
Recent comments from FOMC participants on the forward guidance and the appropriate timing of the first hike of the fed funds rate suggest, Goldman warns, a greater clustering of FOMC participants' views around a mid-2015 'liftoff' in rates. Similarly, private sector forecasts for the first hike are becoming more centered on mid-2015 rather than August to September.
Another morning melt up after a less than impressive session in China which saw the SHCOMP drop again reversing the furious gains in the past few days driven by hopes of more PBOC easing (despite China's repeated warning not to expect much). A flurry of market topping activity overnight once again, with Candy Crush maker King Digital pricing at $22.50 or the projected midpoint of its price range, and with FaceBook using more of its epically overvalued stock as currency to purchase yet another company, this time virtual reality firm Oculus VR for $2 billion. Perhaps an appropriate purchase considering the entire economy is pushed higher on pro-forma, "virtual" output, and the Fed's capital markets are something straight out of the matrix. Despite today's pre-open ramp, which will be the 4th in a row, one wonders if biotechs will finally break the downward tractor beam they have been latched on to as the bubble has shown signs of cracking, or will the mad momo crowd come back with a vengeance - this too will be answered shortly.
It's that time again, when a largely random, statistically-sampled, weather-impacted, seasonally-adjusted, and finally goalseeked number, sets the mood in the market for the next month: we are talking of course about the "most important ever" once again non-farm payroll print, and to a lesser extent the unemployment rate which even the Fed has admitted is meaningless in a time when the participation rate is crashing (for the "philosophy" of why it is all the context that matters in reading the jobs report, see here). Adding to the confusion, or hilarity, or both, is that while everyone knows it snowed in December and January, Goldman now warns that... it may have been too hot! To wit: "We expect a weather-related boost to January payroll job growth because weather during the survey week itself - which we find is most relevant to a given month's payroll number - was unusually mild." In other words, if the number is abnormally good - don't assume more tapering, just blame it on the warm weather!
With the wild world of central bankers full of double-speak, counter-factuals and well-chosen anecdotes, statements of questionable sanity are not difficult to find. However, Dennis Lockhart, who has already done his optimistic economic damage to stocks this morning just outdid himself. Speaking in his home town, the Atlanta Fed President stated confidently in the Q&A after his speech:
“One of the stupidest things a central banker could do is comment on the stock market."
The stock market is not "a bubble in any way"
"Stupid" indeed, Mr Lockhart...
It was all looking so good. NASDAQ was green for the year (so were Trannies), stocks in general were rising and everyone on TV could proclaim how well the 'market' was handling the taper. Then Dennis Lockhart spoke...
*LOCKHART SEES `GROWING CONFIDENCE' IN 2014 OUTLOOK, U.S. ECONOMY ON `MORE SOLID' FOOTING
*LOCKHART BACKS $10 BLN TAPER AS CONFIDENCE IN 2014 GROWS
That's great news right? Wrong? Stocks didn't like it... and NASDAQ rapidly gave up its gains... Fun-durr-mentals remain in control eh? It shouldn't be a big surprise given what Goldman Sachs warned about over the weekend!