Nobody really believes the official narrative that the "recovery" is powering the remarkable strength of U.S. stocks, bonds and real estate. The real Main Street economy is quite obviously struggling, outside the energy and Federal government sectors, and so many see the Federal Reserve's free money for financiers (a.k.a. quantitative easing) bond and mortgage-buying programs as the real reason bond yields have declined and stocks have soared. This leads us to wonder if capital inflows into the U.S. aren't a largely overlooked driver of rising U.S. markets.
There is no reason rooted in the real world for today’s frothy stock market rally. In every single region of the planet, the post-crisis, central bank fueled expansion cycle - tepid as it was in the global aggregate - is faltering badly. So with the global expansion cycle faltering, profit ratios at all-time highs and PE multiples in the nose-bleed section of history - nearly 20X reported earnings for the S&P 500 - there is only one thing left for the Wall Street robots to do. Namely, vigorously buy the latest dip because the Fed has yet another new sheriff heading for Jackson Hole purportedly bearing dovish tidings. To wit, after 6 years of pinning money market rates to the economic floorboard at zero, Janet Yellen espies an economy still encumbered by “slack”, and will therefore be inclined to keep Wall Street gamblers in free money for a while longer.
Much of the supposedly godlike power of central banks is participants' faith in their powers to control not just finance but the real world that can be leveraged by finance. Implicit in this narrative is the notion that there are no hard limits on credit or central bank money creation. Equally implicit is the assumption that the central banks repressing interest rates and creating trillions of dollars out of thin air can control any blowback or unintended consequences triggered by the free money for financiers tsunami.
Any Bond Idiot Can Buy into Fear, but they are Forced to Sell into ‘Good Times’!
With credit markets beginning to creak, market internals flailing, and numerous sectors and individual stocks in a state of correction or bear market, it appears Marc Faber's calls for a big correction in stocks is more right than wrong but the algo-driven exuberance in indices maintains the illusion a little longer (even as the number of leading stocks drops). However, with redemptions increasing in credit, and costs of funding rising, perhaps Faber's insights in the following interview with a radiant Trish Regan are about to be realized. "By printing money, [The Fed] has delayed the cleaning process," as mal-invested capital (and self-referential buybacks) have sustained (and even encouraged) the worst quality companies. As corporate defaults pick up (and The Fed's free money dries up), perhaps that cleaning process will be allowed into the free-market producing "the big sell-off" Faber sees in the Fall.
Current Junk-Bond Turmoil just Preliminary, 'Prisoner Dilemma' Ensues, but “The Real Panic Will Come With…”Submitted by testosteronepit on 08/08/2014 12:33 -0500
Junk bond investors are running for the hills. But there are no hills.
Practically since the day Lehman went down in September 2008 Washington has been conducting a monumental farce. It has been pretending to up-root the causes of the thundering financial crisis which struck that month and to enact measures insuring that it would never happen again. In fact, however, official policy has done just the opposite. The Fed’s massive money printing campaign has perpetuated and drastically enlarged the Wall Street casino, making the pre-crisis gamblers in CDOs, CDS and other derivatives appear like pikers compared to the present momentum chasing madness. In a nutshell, the Fed’s prolonged regime of ZIRP and wealth effects based “puts” under risk assets has destroyed two-way markets.
Greek 10Y yields, up 6 days in a row, have surged in the last few days to 2-month highs (bond price lows). The significant shift in sentiment appears related to two main factors. First, The Independent reports that Europe is considering pulling Troika (its economic oversight committee) - which has been likened to German Nazi occupation - out of Greece, forcing local politicians to come up with their own reforms by the start of 2015 (which clearly the market is not believing). Perhaps even more concerning is Goldman Sachs shift to neutral on European peripheral bonds, warning that "at current spread levels we think there is not enough of a buffer for investors to take credit risk in intermediate and long-dated peripheral sovereign bonds." Time for some more 'whatever it takes' we think.
Self-interest is intrinsically self-liquidating on a systemic level. This is how systems collapse: those who have offloaded risk (a.k.a. skin in the game) to the system itself and guaranteed their job, income, pension or rentier skim via the State will continue to support the Status Quo that has benefited them so handsomely even as the ship tumbles over the waterfall to its destruction.
Look for a speech on Friday August 22nd by Janet Yellen where she officially signals financial markets that they better start finding their respective chairs.
Waiting to sell is akin to ignoring the smoke and flames in the crowded theater and hesitating until somebody yells "fire!" to rush for the now-jammed exit.
During the last 64 months “buying the dips” has been a fabulously successful proposition. So yesterday’s 2% dip will undoubtedly be construed as still another buying opportunity by the well-trained seals and computerized algos which populate the Wall Street casino. But that could be a fatal mistake for one overpowering reason: The radical monetary policy experiment behind this parabolic graph is in the final stages of its appointed path toward self-destruction.
Quietly, and without the drama associated with The Fed and ECB, China unveiled what looks like QE recently (as we discussed in detail here). Whether this is a stealth creation of a 'fannie-mae' structure to support housing or merely another channel for the PBOC to shovel out hole-filling liquidity is unclear. However, one thing is very clear, demand for CNY is surging (even as the PBOC weakens its fixing) and the Shanghai Composite is surging as hot money chases free money once again...
To demonstrate it hasn't failed, the Fed must taper/withdraw its monetary heroin. If the stock market tanks as a result, and the Fed rushes to the rescue with more free money for financiers, that will also prove the Fed has failed: if the economy and financial system is as robust as the Fed claims, why does it need to be rescued yet again after six long years of unprecedented injections of monetary heroin? It's a double-bind with no escape. No matter what the Fed chooses to do, the failure of its policies to help households and Main Street while enriching wall Street and the banks will be revealed to all.