Japan

Futures Flat Despite More Weakness Among European Banks, Volkswagen; Another Apple Supplier Warning

So far today's trading session has been a repeat of what happened overnight on Monday, when following a weak start on even more weak Chinese data, US equities soared on the first trading day of the month continuing their blistering surge since that dreadful September payrolls report, which as we showed was mostly catalyzed by a near record bout of short's being squeezed and covering, which accelerated just as the S&P broke the 2100 level.

6 Reasons To Be Bullish (Or Not) On Stocks

While there are certainly reasons to be "hopeful" that stocks will continue to rise into the future, "hope" has rarely been a fruitful investment strategy longer term. Therefore, let's analyze each of the optimist's arguments from both perspectives to eliminate "confirmation bias." 

Frontrunning: November 2

  • Baffle with BS: German Bonds Decline Along With Peers as Draghi Cools QE Talk (BBG)
  • And yet... ECB's Nowotny says low inflation forces ECB to act (Reuters)
  • Stocks fall on China data, but stronger euro zone lifts gloom (Reuters)
  • Global factories struggle as stimulus fails to spur (Reuters)
  • Russian airline rules out technical fault, pilot error in Egypt crash (Reuters)
  • Turkey returns to single-party rule in boost for Erdogan (Reuters)

Putin's Approval Rating Reaches A New High

Vladimir Putin’s approval rating in Russia has soared to yet another all time high; leaving all those who don’t like Putin or were hoping for some sort of regime change in Russia continue to be out of luck. One reason why we are even posting about this is that the Western press has also reported on the event, employing a somewhat less neutral tone of voice. What makes the sour grapes style reporting in the Western media especially funny is that while it is true that the Kremlin exerts extraordinary influence on the media in Russia, one wonders in what way their reportage on Syria is different from the reporting in the happily self-censoring US mainstream media on the Iraq war, especially in the run-up to said war.

China's Manufacturing Misses; Nonmanufacturing Worst Since 2008 Despite Unprecedented $1 Trillion "Debt Injection"

The most anticipated economic release over the weekend was the early glimpse into China's manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors via the two key PMI surveys released by China's National Bureau of Statistics, to get a sense if the slowdown across China is stabilizing or, as some have suggested, rebounding. It did not: overnight the NBS reported that the manufacturing PMI remained unchanged in October at 49.8 missing consensus estimates of a modest rebound to 50.0, its third consecutive month in contraction territory.

Fed Admits "Something's Going On Here That We Maybe Don't Understand"

In a somewhat shocking admission of its own un-omnipotence, or perhaps more of a C.Y.A. moment for the inevitable mean-reversion to reality, Reuters reports that San Francisco Fed President John Williams said Friday that low neutral interest rates are a warning sign of possible changes in the U.S. economy that the central bank does not fully understand. With Japan having been there for decades, and the rest of the developed world there for 6 years, suddenly, just weeks away from what The Fed would like the market to believe is the first rate hike in almost a decade, Williams decides now it is the time to admit the central planners might be missing a factor (and carefully demands better fiscal policy).

Did The PBOC Just Exacerbate China's Credit & Currency Peg Time Bomb?

China as the global Bubble’s focal point – the weak link yet, at the same time, the key marginal source of Bubble finance. China’s policy course appears to focus on two facets: to stabilize the yuan versus the dollar and to resuscitate Credit expansion. For better than two decades, similar policy courses were followed by myriad EM policymakers in hopes of sustaining financial and economic booms. Many cases ended in abject failure – often spectacularly. Why? Because when officials resort to such measures to sustain faltering Bubbles it generally works to only exacerbate systemic fragilities. For one, late-stage reflationary measures compound Credit system vulnerability while compounding structural impairment to the real economy. Secondly, central bank and banking system Credit-bolstering measures create liquidity that invariably feeds destabilizing “capital” and “hot money” outflows.

Dear Janet, Seriously!!

The Fed's confidence trick this week was, once again, the Keyser Soze gambit (via Beaudelaire)-  "convincing the world of Yellen's hawkishness, when no such character trait exists." However, unlike the movies, stocks and FX markets have already seen through the con, leaving Fed Funds futures alone to believe the hype. As we noted previously, "The Fed Can't Raise Rates, But Must Pretend It Will," repeating its pre-meeting hawkishness to dovishness swing time and again in a "Groundhog Day" meets "Waiting For Godot"-like manner. Time is running out Janet, tick tock...

Mother Yellen's Little Helper - The Rate-Hike Placebo Effect

Americans are increasingly likely to respond positively to a placebo in a drug trial – more so than other nationalities. That’s the upshot of a recently published academic paper that looked at 84 clinical trials for pain medication done between 1990 and 2013. These findings, while bad for drug researchers, does shed some light on our favorite topic: behavioral finance. Trust and confidence makes placebos work, and those attributes also play a role in the societal effectiveness of central banks. That’s what makes the Fed’s eventual move to higher rates so difficult; even if zero interest rates are more placebo than actual medicine, markets believe they work to support asset prices.

The Latest (and Dumbest) Central Bank Fraud

Investors are aware that the market is manipulated... and it doesn’t seem to worry them. They don’t fight the Fed; they sit down at the table with it. They play the game. And so far, they have done well. But now... She will signal that, soon, the central bank will begin the long return to “normalcy.” Don’t believe it. The entire system depends on abnormality.