The biggest catalyst for overnight markets, first reported on this site, was the announcement by Kuwait that its oil workers had ended their strike which disrupted oil production in the 4th largest OPEC producer for 3 days cutting it by as much as 1.7 mmb/d, and had served to offset the negative news from the Doha debacle. Kuwait Petroleum also added that it would boost output to 3m b/d within 3 days, which in turn has pressured the price of oil overnight, and the May WTI contract was back to just over $40 at last check, sliding 2%. Not helping things was a very dejected Venezuela oil minister Eulogio Del Pino who said at a conference in Moscow that he sees oil prices returning to lows in 3-4 weeks if oil producers can't make a deal. For now the algos - and central banks - disagree.
US Housing Starts tumbled 8.8% in March (missing -1.1% expectations by the most since Feb 2015) as both single-family (-9.2%) and multi-family units (-7.9%) tumbled. The biggest drop was in The West (-16% overall with a 26.9% MoM plunge in single-family units). Worst still, Permits (forward-looking), plunged 7.7% (agsinst expectations of 2% rise) - this is the 2nd biggest MoM crash since Jan 2011. As the Spring-selling season starts, the housing 'recovery' appears to be stalling.
If asking traders where stocks and oil would be trading one day after a weekend in which the Doha OPEC meeting resulted in a spectacular failure, few if any would have said the S&P would be over 2,100, WTI would be back over $40 and the VIX would be about to drop to 12 and yet that is precisely where the the S&P500 is set to open today, hitting Goldman's year end target 8 months early, and oblivious of the latest batch of poor earnings news, this time from Intel and Netflix, both of which are sharply lower. We expect that after taking out any 2,100 stops, the S&P will then make a solid effort to take out all time highs, now just over 1% away.
US Home prices rose 5.75% YoY according to Case-Shiller (the fastest rate since July 2014) as it appears the Chinese buyers are migrating south from Canada with Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities with another month of double digit annual price increases. Home prices continue to climb at more than twice the rate of inflation amid a suply shortage as West Coast propertty markets become "Vancouvered."
It is always hard to buck the crowd, to be a bear when the market is up this much, this fast. Stocks are rallying and being underweight gets harder to maintain every day. The bulls are out there yapping about how this was just another correction, another dip to buy and that we better get back in, yada, yada, yada. What makes being bearish so hard is the noise of the perpetually bullish street, the lure of easy money in a market you know is overvalued but keeps going higher. Like JM Keynes "I change my mind when the facts change." Despite the rally, the facts – at least for now – still favor the bears.
In the aftermath of the Fed's surprising dovish announcement, overnight there has been a rather sudden repricing of risk, which has seen European stocks and US equity futures stumble to roughly where they were when the Fed unveiled its dovish surprise, while the dollar collapse has continued, sparking deflationary fears resulting in treasury yields plunging even as gold soars, all hinting at another Fed policy error. So was that it for the Fed's latest intervention "halflife"? We don't know, but we expect much confusion today over whether even the Fed has now run out of dovish ammunition.
Housing Starts Beat Expectations, As Slowdown In Rental Permits Suggest Further Rent Increases In Coming MonthsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2016 08:50 -0400
Coming at the same time as an inflationary report which showed Core CPI rising at 2.30%, or the highest rate since October 2008, and one which will put further pressure on the Fed to hike rates as shelter inflation is now simply too big to sweep under the rug, we also got February's housing starts and permits, which while painting a mixed picture of the US housing market suggested further strength in the US housing sector in the past month.
Today Janet Yellen and the FOMC will go back to square one and try to reset global expectations unleashed by the ill-fated December rate "policy mistake" hike, when at 2pm the Fed will announce assessment of the economy, even if not rate hike is expected today. Just like in December the Fed will be forced to telegraph that it is hiking rates as a signal of a strengthening US, and global, economy where "risks are balanced" and hope that the subsequent global reaction will not be a rerun of what happened in January and February when confusion about the Fed's intentions led to a global market rout.
Last week it was all about the ECB, which disappointed on hopes of further rate cuts (leading to the Thursday selloff) but delivered on the delayed realization that the ECB is now greenlighting a tsunami in buybacks (leading to the Friday market surge). This week it is once again all about central banks, only this time instead of stimulus, the risk is to the downside, with the BOJ expected to do nothing at all after the January NIRP fiasco, while the "data dependent" Fed will - if anything - hint at further hawkishness now that the S&P is back over 2,000.
While Asia was up on China's bad data, and Europe was higher again this morning to catch up for the Friday afternoon US surge, US equity futures may have finally topped off and are now looking at this week's critical data, namely the BOJ's decision tomorrow (where Kuroda is expected to do nothing), and the Fed's decision on Wednesday where a far more "hawkish announcement" than currently priced in by the market, as Goldman warned last night, is likely, in what would put an end to the momentum and "weak balance sheet" rally.
With yesterday’s impressive equity rally, every trader is asking the same question: “Can U.S. equities go green on the year?” To think through this question, we outline the scenarios that DO push equities higher (a good jobs number, a quiescent Fed, and good economic data) and compare them to those that DON’T (presidential politics, oil prices, and corporate fundamentals).
The probability of recession is increasing. Contrary to popular belief, the beginning of a recession is not deflationary but the exact opposite. We expect a recession by the end of 2016, and if that projection turns out to be wrong due to a massive turnaround in Fed policy, the cataclysmic event will only be postponed till 2017.
After four months of hope-strewn expectation beats, Case-Shiller's home price index missed expectations with MoM growth slowing from 0.96% to 0.8% (and YoY from 5.83% to 5.74%). This is the first inflection in the resurrection of home-price acceleration since June, and we are sure will be blamed on the weather and the stock market. Perhaps most notably Miami saw prices drop MoM as the smoking gun canary in the coalmine of real estate speculation remains well worth watching.
Biggest Short Squeeze In 7 Years Continues After Bullard Hints At More QE, OECD Cuts Global ForecastsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/18/2016 08:00 -0400
Just when traders thought that the biggest and most violent 3-day short squeeze in 7 years was about to end a squeeze that has resulted in 3 consecutve 1%+ sessions for the S&P for the first time since October 2011, overnight we got one of the Fed's biggest faux-hakws, St. Louis Fed's Jim Bullard, who said that it would be "unwise" to continue hiking rates at this moment, and hinted that "if needed", the most natural option for the Fed going forward would be to do further Q.E.
What goes without saying is that both starts and permits remain well below their 2007 highs, and what is more troubling is that as the Y/Y change chart shown below demonstrates, the growth rate is rapidly approaching the X-axis if not sliding below it.