After Global "Risk Off" And Rumor Of Saudi King's Death, ECB Comes To The Rescue, Buys Portuguese Bonds

Risk is off with a vengeance. After Asian markets (ex-Japan) experienced a total rout, which also included Hong Kong, the emerging market money is now in full withdrawal. And if it is going in the US (ex. a rotation out of munis into equities, something which Meredith Whitney should be congratulated for), you could have fooled us: futures are decidedly negative on the back of last night's horrible Cisco numbers. The cherry on top is a rumor reported by Islam Times that Saudi King Abdullah has passed away: "King Abdullah talked with Obama about the situation in Egypt over the phone yesterday. Obama and the King got into a  heated debate about their opinions of what Hosni Mubarak should do. After the phone call sources stated that King Abdullah was furious and then suffered a sudden heart attack. Doctors ran to his rescue  but were unable to save him.  He was pronounced  dead, but his death was not reported due to the  sensitive conditions that  exist in  the region. The Saudi Arabian government will reject this claim; but the ball is in their court to prove that he is alive." Obviously this is not helping the brent bid, which hit nearly $103 overnight (although the rumor has yet to be confirmed). Lastly, all this of course means that glass house, i.e., European peripheral bonds are plunging, and the result is that the ECB has to come in and after two weeks of inactivity is forced to manipulate the bond market by buying directly. So much for that European sense of calm, which we said last night was going to be blown away very shortly (here and here).

Below we can see just where the ECB lost today's fight to the vigilantes.