Merrill Lynch

Global Trade (Still) In Freefall: Imports Collapse At Largest Three US Ports

For the latest bit of evidence that global trade is indeed in free fall, look no further than the container terminals at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif. and around New York harbor which handle more than 50% of seaborne freight coming into the US. As it turns out, “peak” season turned out to be anything but.

The Next Level of John Law Type Central Planning Madness

The cries for going totally crazy are growing louder... the lunatics are running the asylum. One shouldn’t underestimate what they are capable of. The only consolation is that the day will come when the monetary cranks will be discredited again (for the umpteenth time). Thereafter it will presumably take a few decades before these ideas will rear their head again (like an especially sturdy weed, the idea that inflationism can promote prosperity seems nigh ineradicable in the long term – it always rises from the ashes again). The bad news is that many of us will probably still be around when the bill for these idiocies will be presented.

Thousands Of Shorts Royally Crushed After Activision Acquires King Digital

Call it an example of an abbreviated public lifecycle. After IPOing at $22.50 just last March and then promptly tumbling, Candy Crush maker King Digital was stuck in no man's land: demand for its products was promptly waning and the organic growth its underwriters had promised was nowhere to be found. The fundamentally savvy hedge funds sniffed this out and promptly jumped on board what seemed like a royal flush slam dunk to zero. And then, overnight, out of nowhere Activision decided to crush the Candy Crush shorts, who had built up a short stake amounting to 25% of the float, when it announced it would acquire the company for $5.9 billion or $18/share, a 16% premium to the previous day closing price... and also a 20% discount to the IPO price.

NatGas Crashes To April 2012 Lows On Weather, Inventories

For once, blaming the weather is not a 'joke'. Natural gas futures fell to the lowest since April 2012 as traders reacted to near-record inventories and mild weather that’s pushing back the start of winter demand for the heating fuel.

Dell Buys EMC In Record $67BN Deal: Creates "World's Largest Private Integrated Tech Company"

Just when you thought the M&A boom is over after a surge in bond yields that Goldman has repeatedly dubbed as "recessionary", and which will make the debt cost of any funding so high that there is barely any room for execution error, moments ago as had been extensively leaked previously, private Dell announced it would acquire tech giant EMC in a deal valued roughly $67 billion, while maintaining VMWare as a publicly-traded corporation. Good luck with raising the tens of billions in debt the deal will require: our best wish to Barclays, BofA, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, RBC who will all be underwriting the required debt financing to Dell.

Frontrunning: October 9

  • Global stocks eye biggest rally in four years on Fed relief (Reuters)
  • FOMC Minutes Sap Confidence in Fed's 2015 Rate Hike Resolve (BBG)
  • Glencore to cut annual zinc production by a third (FT)
  • Tea Party wave that lifted Republicans threatens to engulf them (Reuters)
  • Why Kevin McCarthy Came to Quit Speaker Race (WSJ)
  • A U.S. Recession Just Got a Little More Likely (BBG)

Weekend Reading: Capacious Cognitions

With the Federal Reserve still hinting at raising interest rates, but trapped by weak economic growth, will the next big move by the Fed be another form of monetary accommodation instead? Or, are the underlying dynamics of the economy and market really strong enough to shake off the recent weakness and continue its bullish ascent?

This Is When Junk Bonds Go Kaboom!

We have been warning for months that high-yield bonds have decoupled from equity markets, just as they did in 2007/8, and the credit cycle's turning will inevitably flow through to crush the only thing left supporting stock valuations - the irrational non-economic corporate buyback-er. However, as we detail below, time's running out and it’s getting tougher out there for our QE and ZIRP-coddled corporate junk-bond heroes.

Suddenly The Bank Of Japan Has An Unexpected Problem On Its Hands

By monetizing more than the entire Japanese budget deficit, the BOJ is running of out willing sellers. Without those, Japan's QE, just like that of the ECB, will grind to a halt. Better yet, this creates a vicious loop, because with every passing month, the inevitable D-Day when the BOJ has no more TSYs on the offer gets closer, which in turn will force those who bought stocks to sell in anticipation of the end of QE, and to seek the safety of bonds themsleves, in effect precipitating the next inevitable Japanese stock market crash.

"Rough Summer" For Small Caps Set To Continue

Small Cap stocks are in the middle of their worst summer doldrums since 2011 - and in fact for many individual stocks, worst summer since the collapse in 2008/9. While talking heads proclaim these smaller (supposedly more domestically-oriented) stocks a must-own, they have underperformed significantly as the credit cycle turns (thanks to their higher sensitivity to funding costs, among other things). Judging by this week's farce, the supposedly high-beta small caps are being BTFD'd aggressively either and perhaps that is because, since 1926, on average, September and October are the only months in which small-capitalization stocks have posted losses.

Margin Calls Mount On Loans Against Stock Portfolios Used To Buy Homes, Boats, "Pretty Much Everything"

 

"In a securities-based loan, the customer pledges all or part of a portfolio of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and/or other securities as collateral. But unlike traditional margin loans, in which the client uses the credit to buy more securities, the borrowing is for other purchases such as real estate, a boat or education..." The result was "dangerously high margin balances,' - the products became “the vehicle of choice for investors looking to get cash for anything.” Mr. Sica and others say the products were aggressively marketed to investors by banks and brokerages.

 

MS Boosts TSLA Price Target To $465, Days After Underwriting Stock Offering; Sees Tesla Bigger Than Ford And GM

Moments ago, Morgan Stanley did it again just as expected, only this time it at least followed protocol when it announced it is raising its price target on TSLA from $280 to a whopping $465, or just shy of $61 billion in implied market cap. Incidentally at this price TSLA would be the biggest US automaker, surpassing not only GM's $50bn in market capo, but also Ford's $60 billion.