Initial Jobless Claims
No heavy ideological axe to griind or conspiracy theories to propound, just a simple look at the price action in the capital markets.
If the last three days all started with a rout in futures before the US market open only to ramp higher all day, today it may well be the opposite, when shortly after Europe opened it was the ECB's turn to talk stocks higher, when literally within minutes of the European market's open, ECB's Coeure said that:
- COEURE SAYS ECB WILL START WITHIN DAYS TO BUY ASSETS
Which was today's code word for all is clear, and within minutes US futures, which until that moment had languished unchanged, soared by 25 points. So will today be more of the same and whatever early action was directed by the central bankers will be faded into a weekend in which only more bad news can come out of Ebola-land?
As we noted last week, when there is no hiring, there is no firing and so it is that initial jobless claims collapsed to 264k this week (versus 290k expectations) - the lowest since April 2000 (and 2nd lowest ever on record). That is not what the market wants to hear right now... it is craving bad news to get The Fed re-engaged. Continuing claims inched higher from 2.382 million to 2.389 million but remains near cycle lows. To sum up: its never been better than this for employment... according to the government-supplied data.
Yesterday afternoon's "recovery" has come and gone, because just like that, in a matter of minutes, stuff just broke once again courtsy of a USDJPY which has been a one way liquidation street since hitting 106.30 just before Europe open to 105.6 as of this writing: U.S. 10-YEAR TREASURY YIELD DROPS 15 BASIS POINTS TO 1.99%; S&P FUTURES PLUNGE 23PTS, OR 1.2%, AS EU STOCKS DROP 2.54%.
Only this time Europe is once again broken with periphery yields exploding, after Spain earlier failed to sell the maximum target of €3.5 billion in bonds, instead unloading only €3.2 billion, and leading to this: PORTUGAL 10-YR BONDS EXTEND DROP; YIELD CLIMBS 30 BPS TO 3.58%; IRISH 10-YEAR BONDS EXTEND DECLINE; YIELD RISES 20 BPS TO 1.90%; SPANISH 10-YEAR BONDS EXTEND DROP; YIELD JUMPS 29 BPS TO 2.40%.
And the punchline, as usual, is Greece, whose 10 Year is now wider by over 1% on the session(!), to just about 9%.
Initial claims fell a modest 1000 this week to 287k, beating expectations (for the 4th week in a row) of 294k hovering near the lows of the cycle. The less noisy 4-week moving-average has dropped to its lowest level since Feb 2006 and continuing claims drops to its lowest since April 2006. This is as good as it gets... (especially in light of the tumble in hiring seen in JOLTS) - simply put, there can be no firings, because there is no hiring.
- IRELAND SELLS 10-YEAR BONDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 1.63%
- GERMAN 10-YEAR BUNDS RISE; YIELD FALLS 2 BASIS POINTS TO 0.88%
- DUTCH 10-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 1.021%
- PORTUGUESE 10-YEAR BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 2.942%
- FRENCH 10-YEAR GOVERNMENT BOND YIELDS DROP TO RECORD-LOW 1.214%
- U.S. 10-YEAR NOTE YIELD DROPS TO 2.296%, LOWEST SINCE JUNE 2013
- SPANISH 10-YEAR BOND YIELD DROPS TO RECORD-LOW 2.038%
- FINNISH 10-YEAR YIELD DROPS TO 1% FOR FIRST TIME ON RECORD
- Citigroup 175K
- HSBC 200K
- Deutsche Bank 200K
- JP Morgan 225K
- Morgan Stanley 230K
- Goldman Sachs 230K
- BofAML 235K
- UBS 250K
Against a consensus expectation of 215,000, Goldman forecast a 230,000 increase in September nonfarm payroll employment and a one-tenth decline in the unemployment rate to 6.0% (vs. consensus 6.1%). Overall they think the available employment indicators for September point to a solid report, despite slightly weaker data this week. In addition, the reversal of a couple of special factors from August should be a positive. If history is any guide, however, regarding downside risks, there has been some seasonal tendency for September payrolls to disappoint consensus.
While we already documented the crash in Japanese stocks earlier, the biggest market development overnight is the plunge in crude, with both Brent and WTI plunging, the latter sliding under $90 for the first time in 17 months, extending yesterday's selloff after Saudi Aramco cut Arab Light OSP in Asia to 2008 levels. Brent drops to lowest since June 2012. This also confirms that the global slowdown whose can is kicked every so often in a new bout of money printing, is arriving fast. That, and the imminent crackdown on today's Hong Kong protest will likely be the biggest stories of the day, even as the spread of Ebola to the US is sure to keep everhone on edge.
Straight forward discussion of the key events next week. Weak on bluster. Strong on analysis. You've been warned.
It was all up to the Japanese banana market to fix things overnight: after the biggest tumble in US equities in months, and Asian markets poised for their third consecutive weekly drop, the longest streak since February, Japan reported CPI numbers that despite still surging (for example, in August TV prices soared 9.5%, but "down" from 11.8% the month before), when "adjusting" for the effects of the April tax hike, missed across the board. As a result the USDJPY was at the lows and threatening to break the recent parabolic surge higher which has helped move global equities higher in the past few weeks when the usual spate of GPIF-related headlines, because apparently the fact that Japan will and already has begun sacrificing the retirement funds of its citizens just to keep Abe's deranged monetary dream alive for a few more months has not been fully priced in yet, sent the USDJPY soaring yet again.
After last week's tumble to 280k, initial jobless claims rose modestly this week to 293k (slightly better than expected) but remain near a dovish-Yellen-crushing 14-year low. Continuing claims also remain at cycle lows around 2.4 million (rising modestly - by 7k - this week). The labor department cites no unusual or estimated claims this week. It appears this is as good as it gets and the Fed has reached its 'job-creating' mirage peak...
It has been a relatively subdued session, with not much action in either stocks or bonds - European stocks rise for the second day on US market momentum from yesterday; Asian stocks are mixed advance while metals decline with Brent, WTI crude, U.S. equity index futures. The biggest highlight in overnight action, however, was once again the Dollar whick climbed to a fresh 4-year high, on pace to strengthen for 2 straight months for first time since March. The reason: ongoing sentiment that there will be a major dispersion between central banks, with the USD tightening just as other central banks join the liquidity fray. To wit, ECB data showed that lending decline in Europe slowed to -1.5% y/y in Aug. vs -1.6% in July and the latest statement from Draghi who said in Lithuania that economic reform possible without devaluing currency.
So much for any Scottish referendum vote "surprise": the people came, they voted, and they decided to stay in the 307-year-old union by a far wider margin, some 55% to 45%, than most polls had forecast, even as 3.6 million votes, a record 85% turnout, expressed their opinion. The gloating began shortly thereafter, first and foremost by David Cameron who said "There can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people." Queen Elizabeth II, who is at her Scottish castle in Balmoral, is expected to make a rare comment on Friday. But while a No vote was where the smart betting money was ahead of the vote anyway, and is thus hardly a surprise, the most curious thing overnight was the complete roundtrip of cable, which was bought on the rumor and then sold off on the news, roundtripping by nearly 200 pips.
Last week's "blip" higher in initial claims to over 300k - its highest in almost 3-months - has been demolished by the always-reliable, never-noisy data this week. At 280k, dramatically better than expectations of 305k, initial claims has only been lower once in the last 14 years... just don't tell Janet. The prior week was upwardly revised leaving a 36k drop this week - the biggest percentage drop since 2005. The all-important 4-week average is back under 300k and the labor department reports nothing unusual about this week's data... apart from the fact that non-seasonally-adjusted claims rose 6k to 241k.