If yesterday's 2 Year stopping through auction was best described as "blistering", then today's 5 Year, which again stopped through the When Issued 1.614% by a whopping 1.9 bps, was nothing short of a scorcher. Oddly enough, in a time when demand considerations should be sparking a lack of primary market demand for paper, investors just couldn't get enough collateral, and as a result while the Dealer bid was quite possibly a record low 25.1%, it was the Indirects that stunned with their aggressive bid, taking down a record 65% of the auction, leaving just under 10% for Direct bidders. Finally, the Bid to Cover left little to the imagination: soaring from last month's paltry 2.36, it jumped to 2.91, the highest print since March. Needless to say the entire curve buckled tighter on the news, with the yield on the 10 Year printing at a day's low of only 2.279% as once again all the "economic recovery" shorts are left scrambling.
Every day for the past several years, sometime after 3pm, bullish market participants exhale a sigh of relief when as if out of nowhere, an "unexpected" surge of buying lifts stocks into the 4 pm close. There are several explanations for what some have dubbed if not Divine, then certainly centrally-planned intervention. This is the time when ETF creation and (far less frequently) redemption takes place. As a result, in a world in which the bulk of liquidity has shifted away from single name stocks and even futures toward ETFs, trends in the creation and redemption of ETFs are key to watch to determine how the market may move purely for to technical reasons (since fundamentals died some time in 2009). Which is why we note, with little surprise, that according to SocGen, Equity ETFs posted a record level of monthly creations in October, driven by US, regional eurozone and UK indexations, perhaps explaining the relentless levitation of the market on ever lower volume especially in the latter part of the day.
Because after doing the math, we find that the biggest stock market surge in 2014 was over what boils down to be a central bank injection of... $5 billion per month?
When the blood is flowing in the streets...
If yesterday's 2 Year auction was surprising strong, then the week's second, today 5 Year auction which conluded moments ago, was the very opposite, and can only be described as weak.
It has been an odd session: after yesterday's unexpected late day swoon despite the ECB launch of "Private QE", late night trading saw a major reversal in USDJPY trading which soared relentlessly until it rose to fresh 6 year highs, briefly printing at 105.70, a level not seen since October 2008, before giving back all gains in overnight trading. It is unclear if it was this drop, or some capital reallocation from the US into Europe, but for whatever reason while Europe has seen a stable - if fading in recent hours - risk bid, and European bonds once again rising and Irish and Italian yields both dropping to record low yield, US equity futures have slumped and are now trading at the lows of the session ahead of a US nonfarm payroll print which is expected to rise and print for the 7th consecutive time above 200K, at 230K to be precise, up from 209K in July (down from 288K in June). It is unclear if the market is in a good news is bad news mood today, but for now the algos are not taking any chances and have exited risky positions, with the ES at the low end of the range the market has been trading in for the past week centered aroun S&P 2000.
This represents a tectonic shift in the financial markets. It does not mean that Central Banks will never engage in QE again. But it does show that they are increasingly aware that QE is no longer the “be all, end all” for monetary policy.
Following yesterday's disappointing results by Visa, which is the largest DJIA component accounting for 8% of the index and which dropped nearly 3%, while AMZN's 10% tumble has weighed heavily on NASDAQ futures, it has been up to the USDJPY to push US equity futures from dropping further, which it has done admirably so far with the tried and true levitation pump taking place just as Europe opened. One thing to keep in mind: yesterday the CME quietly hiked ES and NQ margins by 6% and 11% respectively. A modest warning shot across the bow of what may be coming down the line?
As if trying to figure out the impact of the central banks' balance sheets and China's record debt creation on stocks wasn't enough of a complexity (actually it really isn't that complex) for a market where fundamentals haven't mattered in 5 years, there is also the issue of ETF basket creation, best known for the daily 3:30 pm ramp when ETFs catch up with their underlying components in a rising market, giving it all a procyclical turbo boost. It is here that SocGen reports that in the past fortnight, there was record equity ETF creation, mostly focusing on the S&P 500.
We show that equity markets are stretched (e.g., more than 80% of the S&P rally since last year is due to re-rating), but we also find that the fixed income market has become quite rich (we have been overweight European peripherals for more than a year on valuation grounds, we show that this argument no longer holds), and the same is true of the credit market. Second because capital has been flowing rapidly into risky assets, we document that argument and here too find evidence that the market might be ahead of itself. We read the market reaction last week to the Portuguese news as a sign that the market is indeed too complacent and could correct rapidly.
"Simple Jack" is back. Yesterday it was the 4x oversubscription for Kenyan debt at 7% yield; today we see bailed-out Cyprus (yes that Cyprus - in "emergency situation" and still with capital controls) managed to sell EUR 750 million of 5 year maturity debt at a 4.85% yield. As Reuters reports, this is the fastest comeback to the public markets of any bailed-out European country. "People are searching for yield," said of Martin Wilhelm, founder of IfK, a German Kiel-based bond boutique, which runs a bond fund with Acatis; and that is clear as Cyprus just issed at a cheaper cost of funding than Greece (4.95% 2 months ago). In the understatement of the day, Michael Leister, senior strategist at Commerzbank. said "the risk is that valuations and primary market dynamics aren't related to fundamentals anymore." Cyprus economy is expected to contract 4.2% this year. Like Greece's deal in April, the buyers are expected to largely British- and U.S.-based hedge funds.
When it comes to stocks - "everyone" knows the "Tuesday effect". When it comes to volatility - "everyone" knows the "just sell you idiot" effect. But, as Citigroup's Richard Cochinos explains (and Bloomberg annotates in charts so simple a 5th grader can get it), there is now an FX trade for dummies...
- U.S. Plans to Hit Putin Inner Circle With New Sanctions (BBG)
- Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail to Putin Circle (BBG)
- GE’s Alstom Bid Gains Steam as Hollande Said Not Opposed (BBG)
- Russia-West tensions pressure stocks, buoy oil prices (Reuters)
- Toyota Said to Plan to Move U.S. Sales Office to Texas (BBG)
- Egyptian court seeks death sentence for Brotherhood leader, 682 supporters (Reuters)
- Greece warned of 14.9 billion euro financing gap (FT)
- Comcast to shed 3.9 million subscribers to ease cable deal (Reuters)
- Big U.S. Banks Make Swaps a Foreign Affair (WSJ)
Investors take note. One of the primary market props of the last five years is being removed. What happens when the markets finally catch on?
PBOC Denies It Will Bail Out Collapsed Real Estate Developer While Chinese Property Developer Market CrashesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2014 09:15 -0500
The PBOC is reported to be scrambling to bail out China's second corporate default in one month, real estate company Zhejiang Xingrun, even as the Chinese property developer market is crashing and rapidly shutting down. So why did the PBOC personally just go to Weibo to deny such speculation. And what happens next?