Initial Jobless Claims
While the US daytime trading session has lately become a desperate attempt to expand multiples on the declining earnings of the S&P500, thanks to recurring BOJ intervention in the USDJPY, to keep the S&P above the 100 SMA at all costs including generous central banker verbal intervention then it is during the US overnight session when global deflationary reality reasserts itself with a vengeance, and sure enough at last check, the 10 Year has rallied with 10Y yield hitting 1.71% before this morning’s 4Q GDP release, as well as following the latest deflation number of -0.6% out of Europe (worse than the -0.5% expected) which was the biggest price decline on the continent since 2009. "Treasuries remained well bid overnight due to month-end index adjustments. Some talk of a reallocation from equities to bonds trade going through in both Asia and continuing in Europe," ED&F Man head of rates and credit trading Tom di Galoma wrote in a note to explain the latest Great Unrotation, if only until the Virtu HFT algos get the full blessing of the Fed to ramp the USDJPY, and thus the stock market.
After 4 weeks missing expectations (and 3 above the crucial 300k mark), initial jobless claims totally and iutterly collapsed last week. Printing 265k (beating the 300k expectation by the most in years), the 13.9% drop WoW was the biggest since September 2005!!! This is the lowest initial claims data since the financial crisis and in fact the lowest since April 2000. But it is the story from the Shale states that is most troubling as initial claims through the 2nd week of January (data is lagged by state) show a massive surge in initial claims as unambiguously good news is very much not for many thousands across these regions.
The bottom line is that unfortunately for the BTFDers, with the Fed no longer giving explicit buy signals with the "considerable time" language struck, and with an implicit economic upgrade suggesting a rate hike is still on the table, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to frontrun the Fed's "wealth creation" intentions.
This morning both the SNB stunner from two weeks ago, and the less than stunning ECB QE announcement from last Thursday are long forgotten, and the only topic on markets' minds is the startling surge of Syriza and its formation of a coalition government with another anti-bailout party - a development that many in Europe never expected could happen, and which has pushed Europe to the bring of the unexpected yet again. And while there is much speculation that this time Europe is much better positioned to "handle a Grexit", the reality is that European bank balance sheets are as bad if not worse than in 2014, 2013, 2012 or any other year for that matter, because none of ther €1+ trillion in NPLs have been addressed and the only thing that has happened is funding bank capital deficiencies with newly printed money. You know what they say about solvency and liquidity.
Not "unambiguously good" as Shale states see initial jobless claims spiking. Overall initial jobless claims missed expectations for the 4th week in a row, holding above 300k for the 3d week in a row (for the first time since July). At 307k, this week's print is below last week's but well above the 300k expectation. However, across TX, CO, ND, PA, and WV, initial claims (1 week lagged) rose to over 75k (from 30k in October)... "crisis has passed"?
With less than two hours until the ECB unveils its first official quantitative easing program, the markets appear to be in a unchanged daze. Well, not all markets: the Japanese bond market overnight suffered its worst sell off in months on a jump in volume, although for context this means the 10Year dropping from 0.25% to 0.32%. Whether this is a hint of the "sell the news" that may follow Draghi's announcement is unclear, although Europe has seen comparable weakness across its bond space as well and the US 10 Year has sold off all the way to 1.91%, which is impressive considering it was trading under 1.80% just a few days ago. Stocks for now are largely unchanged with futures barely budging and tracking the USDJPY which after rising above 118 again overnight, has seen active selling ever since the close of the Japanese session.
As of November, oil and gas companies employed 543,000 people across the U.S., a number that’s more than doubled from a decade ago, but as Bloomberg reports, thousands of energy industry workers are now getting their pink slips as crude prices have plunged to less than $50 a barrel. "For the oil and gas industry, it’s scary," explains one worker, adding "I was blind to the ups and downs associated with the industry." Can we blame him, watching business media and one could be forgiven for believing this plunge is "unambiguously awesome." As the following chilling chart shows, however, it is not...
Tumbling retail sales and now surging jobless claims... perhaps the "low oil is awesome" narrative is not true after all. Initial Jobless claims surged to 316k (smashing expectations of 290k) and has not been higher since June 2014. The BLS reports no unusual activity - so economists can't hust shrug this one off. Details on state-by-state job losses are lagged a week so we will not know if this is Shale Oil region-related but yesterday's Beige Book and day after day of announced job cuts by the energy sector suggest it is.
Market Wrap: "It's Turmoil" - Overnight Gains Wiped Out, Futures Trade Below 2000 On SNB "Shock And Awe"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/15/2015 06:56 -0500
To paraphrase a trader who walked into the biggest FX clusterfuck in years, "it's total, unprecedented market turmoil." So while the world gets a grip on what today's historic move by the SNB means, which judging by the record 13% collapse in the Swiss Stock Market shows clearly that the SNB market put is dead and the SNB may be the first central-banking hedge fund which just folded (we can't wait to see what the SNB P&L losses on its EURCHF holdings will be), here is what has happened so far for anyone unlucky enough to be walking into the carnage some 2 hours late.
While the trading world, or at least the kneejerk reaction algos, is focused on today's US nonfarm payrolls due out in just 2 hours (consensus expects 240K, with unemployment declining from 5.8% to 5.7%) the key event overnight came out of China, (where inflation printed at just 1.5% while PPI has imploded from -1.8% in September to -2.2% in October to -2.7% in November to a whopping -3.3% in December because as per BofA "soft domestic demand over-capacity issue have kept inflation pressures low") and Europe, after a Bloomberg report that as recently as Wednesday, ECB staff "presented policy makers with models for buying as much as 500 billion euros ($591 billion) of investment-grade assets... options included buying only AAA-rated debt or bonds rated at least BBB-, the euro-area central bank official said. Governors took no decision on the design or implementation of any package after the presentation." In other words less than two weeks before the fateful ECB meeting and Mario Draghi not only still hasn't decided on which of three public QE version he will adopt, but the ECB has reverted back to a private QE plan. Not surprisingly the EURUSD jumped back over 1.18 on the news (and USDJPY and stock markets dropped) on the news that Europe still is completely unsure how to proceed with QE despite the endless jawboning.
Goldman Sachs expects nonfarm payroll job growth of 230k in December, slightly below the consensus forecast of 240k. Labor market indicators continue to point to a strong pace of employment gains, but softened on balance in December. In particular, jobless claims rose modestly and the employment components of service sector business surveys weakened somewhat. With respect to wages, we expect a softer +0.1% gain in average hourly earnings following an unusually large gain in November. On balance, labor market indicators looked somewhat softer in December, but remain consistent with a solid trend rate of employment growth.
Market Wrap: Evans' "Catastrophe" Comment Blasts Overnight Futures Into Overdrive, 10-Year Rises To 2%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/08/2015 06:56 -0500
After subdued trading in the overnight session until a little after 8pm Eastern, algos went into overdrive just around the time the Fed's 2015 voting member and uberdove Charlie Evans told reporters that "raising rates would be a catastrophe", hinting that the first rate hike would likely be - as usual - pushed back from market expectations of a mid-2015 liftoff cycle into 2016 or beyond (but don't blame the US, it is the "international situation's" fault), in the process punking the latest generation of Eurodollar traders yet again. Whatever the thinking, S&P futures soared on the comments and were higher by just under 20 points at last check even as Crude has failed to pick up and the 10Y is barely changed at 2.00%.
It appears the glorious trend of decling initial jobless claims has run its course. For the last 5 months, initial claims have oscillated around the crucial-to-the-narrative 300k level - breaking the constant downtrend of the last 4-5 years. Today's 298k print, up 17k from last week, is the same level seen in the 3rd week of July. This is the highest 6mo. rise in initial claims since the middle of the Polar Vortex.
While the last trading day of 2014 will be important if only to see if Dow 18,000 can be recaptured on what is sure to be the lowest volume in years, don't expect much help from Brent which continues to slide and was down nearly 3% at $56.20 or WTI which is also flirting with the $53 level, down almost 2% overnight both set to cap the worst year for the commodity since 2008. Not much should be expected from Treasuries either, set to return over 6% in 2014 - the best performance since 2011 - crushing the latest hoard of bond shorts all of which got the Treasury move in 2014 epically wrong, which will close early at 2 pm. Which means that the HFT algos will once again be driven off the illiquid USDJPY correlation, where low volume will mean 5-10 pip moves today should be the norm, as well as European stocks, whose Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3% earlier on the latest round of jawboning by an ECB member, this time Dutchman Peter Praet, who said in an interview with German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung that lower oil prices increasingly risk de-anchoring inflation expectations, indicating that quantitative easing is becoming more likely.
Today's early close across markets likely means that the blow-off top multiple-expansion mania phase (because forward EPS estimates over the past couple - that means 2 to Janet Yellen fanatics - weeks have in fact declined) of 2014 may be coming to an end. However with already abysmal volumes literally grinding to an early halt at 1:15 pm Eastern today, and with a market as boring as this one, where any news is immediately interpreted as good, not matter how bad it actually is or how "revised" or "goal-seeked", we may see futures, which already are trading some 4 points above fair value, successfully levitate by another 20 points and hit Goldman's 2100 year end target - year-end for 2015 that is - one year ahead of time.