It has been a deja vu session of that day nearly a month ago when the Banco Espirito Santo (BES) problems were first revealed, sending European stocks and US futures, however briefly, plunging. Since then things have only gotten worse for the insolvent Portuguese megabank, and overnight BES, all three of its holdco now bankrupt, reported an epic loss despite which it will not get a bailout but instead must raise capital on its own. The result has been a record drop in both the bonds (down some 20 points earlier) and the stock (despite a shorting ban instituted last night), which crashed as much as 40% before stabilizing at new all time lows around €0.25, in the process wiping out recent investments by such "smart money" as Baupost, Goldman and DE Shaw. The result is a European financial sector that is struggling in the red, while adding to its pain are some large cap names such as Adidas which also tumbled after issuing a profit warning relating to "developments" in Russia. Then there was European inflation which printed at 0.4%, below the expected 0.5%, and the lowest in pretty much ever, and certainly since the ECB commenced its latest fight with "deflation", which so far is not going well. The European cherry on top was Greece, whose dead cat bounce is now over, after May retail sales crashed 8.5%, after rising 3.8% in April.
"It's a troubling continuation/expansion of trade as a geopolitical tool," warns one Washington-based consulting firm as Russia prepares to unleash retaliatory actions to US and European sanctions. As Bloomberg reports, Russia said yesterday it may ban imports of chicken from the U.S. and fruit from Europe and is investigating McDonald's cheese for safety. In addition, a Russian lawmaker has drafted legislation that might result in U.S. accounting firms being barred from doing business in his country. All of this is odd given Jack "trust me" Lew's reassurance that Russian sanctions would have no impact on the US economy. Russia's response, US will feel 'tangible losses' from 'destructive, myopic' sanctions.
- Fed Decision-Day Guide: QE Tapering to Inflation Debate (BBG)
- Obama says strains over Ukraine not leading to new Cold War with Russia (Reuters)
- Siemens to BP Prepare for Downward Russia Business Spiral (BBG)
- Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror (NYT)
- Argentina Banks Preparing Bid to Help Argentina Avoid Default (WSJ)
- Obama Weighs Fewer Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Living in U.S. (WSJ)
- India Warships Off Japan Show Rising Lure as China Counterweight (BBG)
- Hong Kong Popping Housing Bubbles London Can’t Handle (BBG)
- Carnage at U.N. school as Israel pounds Gaza refugee camp (Reuters)
This week's US data onslaught begins today, with the ADP private payroll report first on deck (Exp. 230K, down from 281K), followed by the number of the day, Q2 GDP, which after Q1's abysmal -2.9%, is expected to increase 3%. Anything less and in the first half the US economy will have contracted, something the purists could claim is equivalent to a recession. The whisper numbers are to the downside since consumption and trade never caught up and the only variable is inventory as well as Obamacare, whose impact was $40 billion "contribution" in Q1 was entirely eliminated and instead led to a deduction, something we expect will be reversed into Q2. Following the backward looking GDP (which will be ignored by the sellside penguins if it is bad and praised if good) at 2:00 pm Yellen Capital LLC comes out with a correction on her call to short social networking stocks, as well as admit once again that the "data-driven" Fed really has no idea what it is doing and how it will tighten, but that tightening is imminent and another $10 billion taper to QE will take place ahead of a full phase out in October. Joking aside, the Fed is expected not to do much if anything, which may be just the right time for Yellen to inject an aggressively hawkish note considering her inflation "noise" refuses to go away.
Despots, dictators, and power hungry presidents arise in an atmosphere of fear, scarce resources, hopelessness, and misery. As the power of the central government grows; the freedoms, liberties and rights of the people are diminished and ultimately relinquished.
Find the silver lining in this utter disaster... and remember, it's not moar of the same QQE as the BoJ is starting to hit its inflation mandate, misery indices are soaring, and approval ratings tumbling. Japanese Industrial Production in June fell 3.3% (almost triple the expected 1.2% drop) and the biggest plunge since March 2011 (the tsunami). This is the 10th miss in the last 12 months. Simply put, while the progressives would dearly love it not to be true, Abenomics is an epic fail leaving Japan readying itself for yet another lost decade (if it makes it that far without Abe going full militarist).
We warned last week that the scandal over Chinese meat supplier OSI was spreading (and Asians were increasingly shunning western fast-food restaurants) and now, as The FT reports, McDonald’s Japan has pulled its full-year profit guidance on the back of falling sales. It had previously forecast sales of $2.45bn for the year to December but warned it could not commit to new targets as it was too soon to estimate the scandal’s full impact. McDonald's is hardly ready to cope with this as sales are slumping and Russia is banning certain products.
- EU finalises Russian sanctions as BP warns of impact on business (FT)
- Geopolitical Risk Rises for Global Investors (BBG)
- Jaded Argentines brace for looming debt default (Reuters)
- In Argentina, Mix of Money and Politics Stirs Intrigue Around Kirchner (WSJ)
- Mom ‘Trusting God’ for Ebola-Infected U.S. Doctor’s Life (BBG)
- Thanks NSA: Tech Companies Reel as NSA's Spying Tarnishes Reputations (BBG)
- Goldman unit eyes foray into China amid metals financing scandal (Reuters)
- Cash out time: London’s Gherkin Tower Offered for Sale by Its Lenders (BBG)
- Apenomics strikes again: McDonald’s Japan axes profit guidance amid food safety scandal (FT)
- Do you see what happens Larry when you are the only USDJPY bid? Nomura Profit Falls More Than Estimated on Broking Slump (BBG)
As the following just released chart from Goldman shows that while non-GAAP EPS in the US have stabilized (and Japan is clearly the upside suprise even as its economy is once again teetering on the edge of recession), and Asia ex Japan is slowly rolling over once more, it is Europe that is the big shocker: as of July, European 2014 EPS forecasts are now the lowest they have been for the entire year, and are down 8% from where they were at the beginning of the year!
- The market in one sentence: Buying on Dips Pays Most in Five Years as Stocks Rebound (BBG)
- Europe subdued, Russia shares tumble on new sanctions (Reuters)
- Chinese Data Don’t Add Up (WSJ)
- Argentine Default Drama Nears Critical Stage (WSJ)
- Global Pressure Mounts on Israel to End Gaza Fighting (BBG)
- Ukraine troops advance as experts renew attempt to reach crash site (Reuters)
- Prospects Brighten for Republicans to Reclaim a Senate Majority (WSJ)
- Europe’s banking union faces legal challenge in Germany (FT)
- Investors Bet on China's Large Property Developers (WSJ)
- Hague court orders Russia to pay over $50 billion in Yukos case (Reuters)
Tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. Perhaps just as importantly, this weekend is also the 120th anniversary of the first Sino-Japanese war: a war between China's Qing dynasty and Meiji Japan. A war which China lost, and which has been a chip on China's shoulder ever since. As Hong Kong's SCMP reports "China's loss of the first Sino-Japanese war has been attributed to a disorganised navy. Although the northern fleet equalled, some say exceeded, the Meiji navy in terms of firepower, it was annihilated because it lacked coordination among its military units." In the context of constant recent flare ups over various contested East China Sea islands, one can see why the anniversary of the war coupled with a sudden spike in nationalistic ambitions of Japan's PM Abe, would be a sensitive issue to China. However, as we can see below, China no longer has an inferiority complex when it comes to its navy compared to that of Japan.
In a surprise announcement, China revealed that in addition to scheduled naval drills to be held near Vietnam (in case there isn't nearly enough tensions between China and the former US war foe) the country's Military of Defense announced that it would expand military drills in the East China Sea, which will re-escalate the already boiling territorial disputes which involve Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. While the scale of the current drills is bigger than in the past, it’s a coincidence the annual exercises are being held at the same time, Beijing News reported yesterday, citing Zhang Junshe, a researcher at Navy Military Research Institute. The irony that this is happening as China is already conducting a massive live-fire drill off Beibu Bay, also known as Gulf ot Tonkin, will hardly escape readers, although we doubt even China will be so daring as to troll the US with a follow up "false flag" operation that launches a "contained" regional war. In addition to Tonkin, China is also engaging in a drill in the Bohai Strait next to North Korea, and now: the East China Sea, just to make sure Japan and Taiwan are also covered just in case.
An overview of the major events next week within the context of the capital markets, which could be at inflection points.
Yesterday, in what was probably a case of moronic drivel penner's remorse, the same firm which just upgraded its S&P price target by 150 points two weeks ago, decided to... downgrade stocks. But only kinda, sorta and only for the next 3 months: Kostin is unwilling to go so far as to tell the whole truth so while he did downgrade stocks to Neutral through October, he is still Overweight equities over the next 12 months. In other words, sell in July but don't go away, and keep on buying over the next 12 months, or something. To wit: "We downgrade to neutral over 3 months as a sell-off in bonds could lead to a temporary sell-off in equities. This makes the near-term risk/ reward less attractive despite our strong conviction that equities are the best positioned asset class over 12 months, where we remain overweight."
Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden? Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don’t know how to kill.