A multi-decade Credit Bubble is coming to an end. The past seven years has amounted to an incredible blow-off top and the ongoing worldwide collapse in financial stocks provides powerful support for the bursting global Bubble thesis. Few are yet willing to accept the harsh reality that the world has sunk back into crisis as mal-investment, over-investment and associated wealth destruction remain largely concealed so long as financial asset inflation persists. This is true as well for wealth redistribution. The unfolding adjustment process will deflate asset prices so as to converge more closely with deteriorating underlying economic fundamentals.
In the words of Markit's chief economist, "the US upturn has lost substantial momentum over the past two months," as the golden child of any current bullish narrative - the Services economy - drops to its weakest since October 2013 (PMI 53.2, missing expectations). Plunging backlogs suggest hiring will slow notably and then ISM Services hit at a 23-month low, plunging back towards manufacturing's weakness, with employmenmt at its weakest sicne April 2014 and unadjusted new orders at their weakest since Jan 2014.
While the biggest news of the night had nothing to do with either oil or China, all that mattered to US equity futures trading also was oil and China, and since WTI managed to rebound modestly from their biggest 2-day drop in years, rising back over $30, and with China falling only 0.4% overnight after the National Team made a rare, for 2016, appearance and pushed stocks to close at the day's high, US E-minis were able to rebound from overnight lows in the mid-1880s, and levitate above 1900. Whether they sustain this level remains to be seen.
While January's final manufacturing PMI print disappointed (52.4 vs 52.6 expectations) and dropped from its initial print, its still managed a seasonally-adjusted bounce off December's two year lows. As Markit warned, this is still one of the worst prints in the last 2 years as "the manufacturing sector continues to struggle against the headwinds of weak global demand, the strong dollar, slumping investment in the energy sector and rising financial market uncertainty." ISM Manufacturing also rose very modestly but disappointed as December's data was revised lower still with employment crashing to June 2009 lows.
After last week's relatively quiet, on macro data if not central bank news, week the newsflow picks up with the usual global PMI survey to start, and end the week with the US January payrolls report.
It didn't take much to fizzle Friday's Japan NIRP-driven euphoria, when first ugly Chinese manufacturing (and service) PMI data reminded the world just what the bull in the China shop is leading to a 1.8% Shanghai drop on the first day of February. Then it was about oil once more when Goldman itself said not to expect any crude production cuts in the near future. Finally throw in some very cautious words by the sellside what Japan's act of NIRP desperation means, and it becomes clear why stocks on both sides of the pond are down, why crude is not far behind, and why gold continues to rise.
Following December's disappointing drop in Services PMI data, January's initial print of 53.7 (missing expectations of 54.0) is the weakest since December 2014. It appears the "manufacturing recession doesn't matter" meme was wrong after all. As Markit notes, the survey data paint an inauspicious start to the year for the US economy.
It has been another volatile, illiquid, whipsawed session, driven by the only two things that have mattered so far in 2016, China and oil.... and stop-hunting algos of course.
US manufacturing PMI printed a preliminary 52.7 for January, boucing from the 38-month lows of December and above expectations as output and new business improved (somewhat aberrantly given every other indication). This is still the 2nd lowest print for US manufacturing since October 2013. It's not all great news though as job creation dropped to 4-month lows "softer overall employment growth reflected a wait-and-see approach to staff recruitment at the start of the year and, in some cases, the need to focus on efforts to reduce costs."
"There is hope of more stimulus in March and potential for even more stimulus in Japan and China, so if we get concrete positive economic news the rebound could last into next week,” said John Plassard, senior equity- sales trader at Mirabaud Securities. “I told my clients to fasten their seatbelts and wait for better news, and this is finally happening."... "The turnaround in sentiment came amid signs central banks may be prepared to act after $7.8 trillion was erased from the value of global equities this year on China’s slowdown and oil’s crash."
After the lifting of sanctions in Iran this week, expectations for increased oil output has put further pressure on oil prices with both Brent and West Texas Intermediate prices dropping to the lowest levels seen this century. In the US, embattled producers are finally being forced to consider ceasing production as banks reign in on credit lines for fear of rising bad debts.
Italian bank stocks are crashing (with BMPS down 40% year-to-date) as Reuters reports that investors are growing increasingly nervous about how the sector will cope with lower interest rates and a 200 billion euro ($218 billion) pile of loans that are unlikely to be repaid. The broad banking sector is down 4% with stocks suspended, and in light of this bloodbath, Italian regulators have decided in their wisdom, to ban short-selling of some bank stocks (which has driven hedgers into the CDS market, spking BMPS credit risk).
It is the “Core of the Core” that now concerns us the most. That is where Federal Reserve (and global central bank) policies have left their greatest mark. It is at the “Core of the Core” where momentous misperceptions and market mispricing have become deeply entrenched. It’s the “Core of the Core” that has attracted enormous amounts of “money” over recent years. It’s also here where I believe leverage has quietly been used most aggressively. Over recent years it became one massive Crowded Trade. Now the sophisticated players must contemplate beating the unsuspecting public to the exits.
Following Noble Group's downgrade to junk and "Enron moment," we thought it worth considering who is next to be junked?
Manufacturing Leads, Services Follow: ISM Collapses To Weakest Since March 2014 As "Pace Of Hiring" SlowsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2016 10:07 -0500
As goes US manufacturing, so goes US services. In a narrative-crushing print, US Services PMI dropped to 54.3 - the lowest since January 2015. Output and New business growth slumped to 11-month lows, optimism dropped, and input cost inflation continued to moderate as "suggests the pace of hiring has slowed since earlier in the year as businesses have become more cautious." Then, confirming this plunge, ISM Services printed 55.3 - its lowest since March 2014 as unadjusted new orders collapsed to their lowest since February 2014.