"The reason for our recession concern is not so much because of what the Fed is about to do – likely embark on a slow hiking cycle beginning in December – but because it did not start the tightening much sooner."
Today’s dilemma – for financial markets and central bankers – is that pushing back against nascent “risk off” unleashes another forceful bout of “risk on.” At this point, it’s either Bubble on or off – destabilizing either way. The global Bubble has grown too distended and the market backdrop too dysfunctional. Central bankers over the past 25 years have created excessive “money,” while incentivizing too much finance into financial speculation. There is now way too much “money” crowded into the securities and derivative markets, and the upshot is an increasingly hostile backdrop for leverage and speculation.
Last week, we asked if silver would have a 14 handle again. This week, the market answered yes we can! How did we know? By looking at supply and demand.
Below-the-surface breakdowns strengthen BCA Research's conviction that investors should stay defensive. Technically, the S&P 500 looks weak. Breadth has thinned considerably this year. Less than 50% of S&P 500 industry groups are trading above their 40-week moving average and/or have a positive 52-week rate of change.
Just in case there was some confusion how to read today's blistering jobs data, here comes NY Fed's head and former Goldmanite with the explanation:
DUDLEY SAYS FED STILL LIKELY TO START RAISING RATES THIS YEAR
His comments initially pushed futures to the lowest since this mornings furious ramp to green but since then ES has managed to rebound modestly and is now unchanged since the speech because it is clear that the Fed is just as clueless as everyone else what to do.
With equities having long ago stopped reflecting fundamentals, and certainly the Eurozone's ever more dire newsflow where any day could be Greece's last in the doomed monetary union, it was up to gold to reflect that headlines out of Athens are going from bad to worse, with Bloomberg reporting that not only are Greek banks running low on collateral, both for ELA and any other purposes, that Greece would have no choice but to leave the Euro upon a default and that, as reported previously, Greece would not have made its May 12 payment had it not been for using the IMF's own reserves as a source of funding and that the IMF now sees June 5 as Greece's ever more fluid D-day. As a result gold jumped above $1230 overnight, a level last seen in February even as the Dollar index was higher by 0.5% at last check thanks to a drop in the EUR and the JPY.
Yesterday it was only the US that got the full benefit of the market-wide stop hunt that sent the US market soaring on its biggest opening ramp in 2015 following the worst payroll data since 2013, because Europe was closed for Easter Monday. Which means today it was Europe's turn to celebrate atrocious US data (yes, yes, snow - because somehow tremendous January and February jobs data was not impacted by snow), and in the first European trading session of the week, equities have started off on the front-foot.
There have been countless previews of the FOMC statement at 2pm today, all of them largely worthless and regurgitating the same exact stuff. The only one that matters, as it is the only one with the explicit blessing of the Fed (see "On The New York Fed's Editorial Influence Over The WSJ") in its attempt to manage expectations: that "drafted" by Jon Hilsenrath. And if what the WSJ economist writes in "Fed to Markets: No More Promises" is accurate, then fasten your seat belts, ladies and gentlemen, because we are about to enter some turbulence. "The Federal Reserve is about to inject uncertainty back into financial markets after spending years trying to calm investors’ nerves with explicit assurances that interest rates would remain low."
"Seasonally adjusted housing starts for February plunged by one of the largest amounts in the post-crisis period. The chart below shows a subset of the February non-farm payroll report, residential construction jobs. Seasonally adjusted these jobs increased by 17,200 in February, the most in two years (Feb 2013 was greater) and the second most in four years. So while economists are blaming the weather for the plunge in housing starts, residential construction jobs were fairly robust in February. This makes no sense."
With all deference to Dr. Richard Fisher, the surging dollar is not good for either the economy or ultimately a stronger labor market. This is particularly the case when the dollar is only stronger because the rest of the world is on the brink of recession and or deflation. The negative impact of a surging dollar in a weak economic environment will more than likely outweigh any positive inputs for the U.S. consumer. Time will tell, but the evidence is mounting that the we are likely closer to the end of the current economic cycle than the beginning.
It has been a quiet overnight session, following yesterday's epic short-squeeze driven - the biggest since 2011 - breakout in the S&P500 back to green for the year, with European trading particularly subdued as the final session of the week awaits US nonfarm payroll data, expected at 230K, Goldman cutting its estimate from 250K to 210K three days ago, and with January NFPs having a particular tendency to disappoint Wall Street estimates on 9 of the past 10. Furthermore, none of those prior 10 occasions had a massive oil-patch CapEx crunch and mass termination event: something which even the BLS will have to notice eventually. But more than the NFP number of the meaningless unemployment rate (as some 93 million Americans languish outside of the labor force), everyone will be watching the average hourly earnings, which last month tumbled -0.2% and are expected to rebound 0.3% in January.
Between professional economists, CNBC's "Nail The Number", and Twitter #NFPGuesses, the range of today's guesses for payrolls is between 100k and 400k...
Once again the internals of the market (advancers vs decliners, new highs vs new lows and trends) triggered a Hindenburg Omen as today's dump-and-pump on the European close and Draghi 'mis-characterization and clarification' headlines left stock green with an hour to go. Then came headlines from Die Welt that appeared to show Draghi has no majority and stocks tumbled into the close (with a small bounce late to get S&P green on the week). For the 2nd day in a row, Treasury yields fell 1-4bps (short to long-end), notably decoupling from stocks after Europe closed. HY Credit also pressed to wider wides after Europe closed even as stocks surged. The USD lost ground as EUR strengthened giving back half the week's gains (USDJPY broke 120 early but faded). Copper and Silver gained modestly, gold was flat, but oil prices slipped 1% lower back below $67. VIX briefly tested below 12.2 but ended the day barely higher at 12.6.
- Banks to Pay $3.3 Billion in FX-Manipulation Probe (BBG)
- Symbolic being the key word: U.S., China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry (Reuters)
- Europe (so really Russian sanctions) is the new "snow in the winter" - Carney Sees Europe Stagnation Impact as Growth Outlook Cut (BBG)
- Eurozone Industrial Output Points to Weak Third Quarter Growth (WSJ)
- Not everyone around Abe is insane: Kuroda Ally Flags Warning on Delaying Sales-Tax Increase (BBG)
- Hong Kong to scrap daily yuan conversion limit to boost stock investment (Reuters)
- Barclays Falls After FX Settlement Delay Reduces Discount (BBG)
- Some unhappy Yahoo investors asking AOL for rescue (Reuters)
By far the scariest harbinger revealed by today's JOLTS data is seen when one looks at the openings only for manufacturing jobs, which have now declined for 4 consecutive months: the longest negative stretch in the so-called recovery. The chart clearly shows that the last time we had an identical lack of improvement in manufacturing jobs, the US economy entered a recession, or as we like to call it, a depression, just that month!