According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the official recession arbiter, the US economy is currently at its fourth longest expansion in history. By the sheer nature of a capitalistic society with its inherent cyclicality it is a safe bet that a new economic recession will hit in the not too distant future. We have argued since June last year that the next recession is imminent and we now feel increasingly confident that our prediction will come true before November’s Presidential Election. Even mainstream forecasters seem to jump on the increasingly likely recession-bandwagon.
While not as quixotic as Morgan Stanley's Adam Parker piece on market-chasing cockroaches, BofA high yield analyst Michael Contopoulos has moved beyond merely bearish and is now outright catastrophic . That may be a little far fetched, but in his latest note - while he doesn't call rally chasers "cockroaches" (yet), he seems at a loss to explain the ongoing junk bond rally. His reasoning: fundamentals just keep getting worse by the day, while price action has completely disconnected from reality, and virtually nobody expects what is about to unfold in the junk bond space.
On the last day of an extremely volatile first quarter, following the latest torrid push higher in risk assets over the past two days following Yellen's dovish Tuesday comments, today has seen a modest pull back in risk, whether because the market is massively overbought, because someone finally looked at what record multiple expansion that has taken place in Q1 as earnings are set to collapse by nearly 10%, or simply due to fears that tomorrow's payrolls number will show an abnormal amount of minimum wage waiters and bartenders added.
- The US sees the release of the monthly nonfarm payrolls report this week after last month’s stellar job numbers but downbeat average hourly earnings
- After a long weekend, European data is relatively light with highlights including CPI readings from Germany and the Eurozone, as well as German unemployment
There is an odd feeling of Deja QEu this morning, when with two hours to go until the February payrolls, global stocks are modestly higher, US equity futures are likewise slightly higher on the back of a weaker dollar (or perhaps stronger Euro following a Market News report according to which the ECB may disappoint, more on that shortly), but it is gold that is breaking out, and after entering a bull market yesterday when it rallied 20% from its December lows gold has continued to surge, rising as high as @1,274 in early trading a price last seen in January 2015.
Economists keep claiming economic recovery fulfilled, and yet it is found nowhere other than the BLS... and it is certainly not the view of funding and credit markets. In answering why economists and policymakers would throw out the vast and growing volume of especially market-based contradictions to their preferred labor view, we only have to note that this is an existential question for them.
It appears The ADP Employment report was not good enough to support fed rate-hikes as across the majors, traders are selling USDs... Gold is also surging. It appears someone is betting large that this week's payroll data will be weak...
"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."