Last week was a scratch in terms of events, if not in terms of multiple expansion, as 2012 forward EPS continued contraction even as the market continued rising and is on the verge of taking out 2012 highs - surely an immediate catalyst for the New QE it is pricing in. This week promises to be just as boring with few events on the global docket as Europe continues to bask in mid-August vacation, and prepare for the September event crunch. Via DB, In Europe, apart from GDP tomorrow we will also get inflation data from the UK, Spain and France as well as the German ZEW survey. Greece will also auction EU3.125bn in 12-week T-bills to help repay a EU3.2bn bond due 20 August held by the ECB. Elsewhere will get Spanish trade balance and euroland inflation data on Thursday, German PPI and the Euroland trade balance on Friday. In the US we will get PPI, retail sales and business inventories tomorrow. On Wednesday we get US CPI, industrial production, NY Fed manufacturing, and the NAHB housing index. Building permits/Housing starts and Philly Fed survey are the highlights for Thursday before the preliminary UofM consumer sentiment survey on Friday.
Otherwise… No titbits…
Nada. Rien. Nichts. Nothing.
It has been a tempestuous week where good is bad, worse is better, but European news is to be sold. Here is your one stop summary of all the notable bullish and bearish events in the past seven days.
Middle East situation not really in the prices, as the tension in Syria is growing to new heights.
IMF annual review of EZ policies pitches a lot of already pitched ideas (QE, etc etc). No news
Nothing crisp from Ben – outside comments that “Europe is not close to having a long term solution”… Thanks for the thumb up!
Appropriately coming just after today's Housing Starts data, which captured MSM headlines will blast was "the highest since 2008" is the following chart from this morning's Bloomberg Brief, which shows precisely the reason why "housing has bottomed" - and it has nothing to do with organic demand rising. No, it has everything with excess inventory once again starting to pile up, which means that the imbalance in the supply and demand curves is purely a function of shadow inventory being stocked away, and that there is once again no true clearing price.
Housing starts, permits, units under construction and completions all continue to crawl slowly along the bottom. The noise was as follows: June starts came in at 760K on expectations of a 745K print, up from a revised 711K in May; Permits were 755K on expectations of 765K, and down from a revised 784K. In other words, largely a wash. Within start, single unit housing has barely budged upward, with the only strength focused on multi-family units on hopes that the rental market will pick up. Of course, by building much more rental units, the only thing that will happen is a flood of supply on the margin which sends rents lower yet again. Finally, keep in mind that both starts and permits only indicate one aspect of the lifecycle of new homes: the final one, and the one that few speak about, completions, came at 622K: as the second chart below shows, there is absolutely no rebound in this category which actually shows what is coming to market.
European equities are trading in minor positive territory on light volume and a light economic calendar with the exception of the IBEX and the FTSE MIB which are down 0.3% and 0.4% respectively as US participants begin to come to their desks. Headline employment data from the UK was for the most part in-line with expectations, though the jobless claims change for June showed a 6.1K increase compared with the 5.0K expected, with downward revisions to May’s figures. The BoE minutes showed the July increase in APF was not unanimous at 7-2, and a GBP 75bln increase was also discussed, and that should the additional easing measures not work, a further rate cut would be examined. The final comment caused a spike to the upside in the short Sterling strip of 6 ticks, Gilt futures rose to make highs of 121.78, and GBP/USD to slide back below 1.5600, though the pair has since come off its lows and trades back above this level.
Same story again: Recurrent picture of Hard Core grinding slightly tighter, Soft Core doubling down on that . Italy eventually better today but still over the 6% mark and Spain stuck over 6.75%. Equities just a tick weaker after all. Gold non-QE victim. EUR slammed through 22, but rebounded off 1.219.
Eventually quite resilient markets, given all the expectations…
Europe slipping into (light) ROff (and then out). Recurrent picture of Hard Core grinding tighter, Soft Core doubling down on that . Peripherals drifting wider with Italy eventually further off the 6% mark and Spain at 6.77%. Equities about unchanged after all.
BKO eventually closing on a historic -0.060% low.
Slow dragging day, if it wasn’t for the EUR jogging back and forth all the time. Something gotta move, I guess.
Via Goldman, here are the key economic events to look forward to in the coming relatively quiet week. And out of DB, we get a list of the key PIIGS bond auctions and bailout events in the immediate and near-term future.
The chart below is a representation of the Establishment Survey (B.1)showing workers in the Construction of Buildings Space, aka those who, as the name implies, build buildings. At 1,213,500 workers, this was not only the lowest number of 2012, but the lowest since May 2011, and is just 2100 workers above the last decade lows. Perhaps instead of relying on the NAR's self-promotional brochures and Housing Starts data which capture if and when a shovel has met the earth, one should perhaps track how much actual demand there is for building construction workers and how many jobs this critical component of the economy creates. Sadly, as the chart below shows, not much.
Remember April? That's when the US stock market peaked. It also occurred right after March when the peak effect of the record warm winter weather hit, resulting in peak forward pulled demand. Sure enough, today's Case Shiller index confirmed that: in April the Top 20 SA Composite Index rose by a respectable 0.67%: not a bad sign considering until February it had declined for 20 consecutive months. The issue, however, is that the April increase was already lower than the March revision, which in turn had seen a 0.73% increase which was the highest since August 2009. Which means precisely what the chart below indicates: a continuous lower trendline in home prices, with delayed monthly noise based on what the S&P does. And with the S&P plunging in May, expect a comparable response in housing price when the data is finally released. At the end of July. By then, however, we may have bigger issues. Finally, those hoping that the Fed is looking at this indicator as permissive of more negative feedback easing, will be disappointed: the Fed will need to see at least one full period of a sustained decline. So far not so good.
We just got another indication of how US housing has "bottomed"... if only in terms of promises and strong words. While permits, or promises that at some point in the indefinite future, a house will be built, soared from 723K to an annualized rate of 780K, the highest since September 2008, on expectations of a 730K print, actual holes dug, or Starts plunged from a revised 744K to 708K, the biggest miss of expectations of a modest improvement from the pre-revision number since April 2011, and the biggest sequential drop since August 2011. And while recently all the starts strength was in multi-family units as America prepares to become a renter society, in May it was actually the 1-unit houses that saw an increase from 500K to 516K units, as multi-family tumbled from 236K to 179K. So much for the REO-To-Rent plan? Finally, looking at actual completions, the number tumbled by 10.3% from an annual rate of 667K to 598K in May.