The writing has been on the wall for a few days/weeks, but it appears a combination of global FX and equity turmoil and domestic corporate debt market collapse is finally starting to roil US equity markets. The Dow is down over 600 points in the last week or so, bond yields are collapsing, the USDollar is tumbling, crude is crashing, and junk bonds are in free-fall.
Following the wholesale inventories-to-sales jump, business inventories-to-sales just shifted once again to cycle highs, deep in recessionary territory. With inventories unchanged in October, slightkly lower than thge expected 0.1% increase, Q4 GDP will start to be affected (and Q3 as prior data was revised lower). Nevertheless, with sales dropping 0.2%, with manufacturers tumbling 0.5% MoM, the looming production cuts set up The Fed for an epic policy error.
Even as large swaths of the population call for media outlets to do their part in stemming the “dangerous tide of hatred, violence, and suspicion” taking hold in the United States, corporate media - which stands to benefit nicely from the $5 billion 2016 presidential election - is egging on that same divisive rhetoric.
Syria was a secondary topic on Putin's mind today when during a meeting with his defense chiefs, Putin gave the order "to strengthen Russia’s strategic nuclear forces amid rising tensions with the U.S. over the global balance of power."
We have been almost alone in our exclamations at the collapsing offshore Yuan in the last few days but since The IMF blessed China's currency with inclusion in The SDR, CNH is down 13 handles. However, now we appear to have an answer. Overnight saw commentary from CFETS (China's FX market 'manager') that indicated implicitly that Trade-Weighted Yuan was still trading too high.
Following a miss in retail sales (if slight beat in core spending), the final key economic update the Fed will look at before its "first rate hike in nine years" meeting next week is today's Producer Price Inflation report which rose 0.3%, above the expected unchanged print and even higher compared to October's -0.4% decline. The report showed that while the decline in energy prices continued as expected, sliding 0.6% in the Final Demand Goods category, there was a surprising pickup in final demand services, which rebounded by 0.5% driven by Trade which rose 1.2% from the prior month, driven by an unexpected pickup in margins for apparel, jewelry, footwear, and accessories retailing.
Despite all the industry's exuberance over auto sales in America, the government's retail sales data shows vehicle sales dropped 0.4% in October (in other words, automakers are channel-stuffing). This rolled through the various headline data leaving a 4th miss in a row MoM and the weakest YoY growth for retail sales since Nov 2009 - deep in recession territory.
"The Fed will drive home the lower and slower mantra. That is all spin, signifying nothing... There are so many unknowns, good and bad. Either way, absolutely ignore the "it’s priced in" claims... The Fed is going to raise rates next week, and anyone who claims it is not a huge deal is fooling you, as well as themselves."
'As goes oil, so goes the US equity market' appears to bethe new mantra. Just as yesterday's pump-and-dump tracked oil, so in the pre-market, WTI Crude plunged back to fresh 7-year lows after IEA warned that the oil glut will worsen, with prices lower for longer as demand remains subdued through at least 2017. This in turn sent US equities tumbling with Dow futures down 200 points (down 330 from Thursday highs).
It's official: two of America oldest publicly traded companies will merge, with Dow and DuPoint merging as equals in a combined company that will have a $130 billion market cap and will be named DowDuPont. And while shareholders already benefited from the deal with shares of both consitutents rising by 10% in the days preceding the official announcement, the biggest loser are once again the employees: the combined company announced that as part of the $700 million in restructuring efforts, 10% of the combined company's employees will be laid off.
It was a relatively calm overnight session in which European stocks wobbled modestly, Japan was up, China was down following its weakest fixing since 2011 as the PBOC continues to aggressively devalue since the SDR inclusion (stoking concerns capital outflows are once again surging), EM stocks stocks were weak and the dollar was unchanged ahead of today's retail sales data and next week's Fed meeting, and then suddenly everything snapped.
Americans have a broad and heavy bias away from unpleasant data. We are ready to be manipulated by vested interests in finance, economics, and climate change, whose interests might be better served by our believing optimistic stuff "that just ain’t so." We are dealing today with important issues, one so important that it may affect the long-term viability of our global society and perhaps our species. It may well be necessary to our survival that we become more realistic, more willing to process the unpleasant, and, above all, less easily manipulated through our need for good news.
USDCNY broke above 6.4500 for the first time since the August devaluation, extending its post-IMF plunge to 6 days. This is the largest and longest streak of weakness since March 2014 as China seems to have taken the SDR-inclusion as blessing to devalue its currency drip by drip. Default risk is once again stomping higher as CDS surge from 94bps to 112bps (2-month highs). The biggest news in China tonight is the disappearance of Fosun International's Chairman, China's 17th richest man (and the collapse in the company's bonds, since stocks are suspended).
"Corporate balance sheet deterioration may well be a theme in 2016, raising market concerns, in our view. A mirror image of that is the rise in bank non- performing loans. Our contacts among the banks seem increasingly concerned about the NPL issue in 2016."