The world’s equity markets continue to float on the continued liquidity provided by the world’s central banks. Last week the European markets saw short-term rise on the announced payback of LTRO (Long Term Refinancing Operation), which was money lent by the ECB to European banks to prevent the wholesale selling of sovereign and commercial debt that had fallen in value. The European Central Bank took the devalued bonds and provided the banks with cash euros. This prevented a total collapse of the sovereign debt markets. Now banks that are flush with liquidity are taking back the debt and paying back the EUROS resulting in a short-term tightening in the EURIBOR RATES. Prior to the last ECB meeting, I advised that the ECB could cut rates for the market had already priced in a rate cut. Last week’s action, while a tightening, is actually a market reversing expectations, which is why the global equity markets had so little reaction.
Posts Tagged ‘equity’
The fiscal crisis came and went and yet the Potemkin village remains. So much was made about the looming fiscal calamity and its dire consequences that the probabilities of a compromise were overwhelming. Not only did fiscal sanity fail to show, the final package was beyond my comprehension. As the nation’s focus was supposedly on Congress, these purveyors of fiscal rectitude passed a BILL that was laden with pork. NASCAR, Hollywood, alternative energy et. al. were the recipients of CONGRESSIONAL LARGESSE IN THE TIME OF FISCAL AUSTERITY. There is no shame in the payment of political favors even in the full view of the MIDDLE CLASS.
Tomorrow is UNEMPLOYMENT FRIDAY and the markets are geared up for headline driven action. The U.S. jobs report is expected to be 145,000 nonfarm payrolls and a rate of 8.2%, no change in the length of the work week at 34.4 hours and average hourly earnings rising 0.2%. The most significant data points will be manufacturing and construction jobs. Last month’s manufacturing jobs growth was weak and an increase is needed to put a more positive flavor to the report. I bring up construction jobs only because the HOUSING STOCK PRICES have risen dramatically and if homebuilders are increasing their work load then construction employment ought to be increasing–just looking for some synthesis between the real economy and stocks.
Today’s release of the FOMC minutes caused a market rethink about QE and it seems that the RALLY IN THE DOLLAR, SELLOFF IN PRECIOUS METALS AND FIXED INCOME MARKET means the market believes that the FED will restrain itself from another massive liquidity injection. The EQUITY market initially sold off by regained almost all of its losses by the close (NASDAQ ACTUALLY CLOSED HIGHER) as the STOCKS remain convinced that the FED WILL KEEP ZIRP FOR THE FULL EXTENDED PERIOD.
Today, in an interview with Betty Liu on Bloomberg TV, I was asked about the “news” of the day, of course that being the APPLE decision to pay a dividend and buy back stock. Long-time readers of NOTES are aware that I am a believer in stock dividends as a way to return capital to the genuine owners of a corporation: THE SHAREHOLDERS. Ms. LIU wanted to know if the APPLE news was bullish for the EQUITY markets as the share price of the technological behemoth would drive all indices higher. As a GLOBAL MACRO analyst/trader/investor, I said that it was more bullish for capitalism in America.
The Obama administration had much to cheer as the NONFARM PAYROLL number exceeded almost all the pundits and FED‘s projections. Just before the release, CNBC analysts were in herd formation all gathered around the “BULL” of safety and predicted around a 100,000 job gain. Job gains came in at roughly 250,000 even as state and local governments continued to shed employees. Earlier, the Canadian data was tepid, but again, the Ontario manufacturing sector added jobs and is mirroring the increase in manufacturing seen in the U.S. Whether the predictors of the release are right or wrong makes no difference to traders or investors for the most important pundit is the market’s reaction.
A process of financial repression: forcing investors to take on risk that they would otherwise spurn. In August 2010 in his Jackson Hole speech, Chairman Bernanke stressed the importance of the PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL as an effective way to enliven the “animal spirits” of investors. By forcing the QE program onto the BOND market, the FED CHAIRMAN hoped that terrified investors would rush into stocks. QUANTITATIVE EASING would turn CASH INTO TRASH and thus force pension funds and others into equities and thus begin to allow a new bout of capital beginning to circulate. The market did not even wait for the FED to officially breathe life into the QE monster but understood Bernanke’s intentions and began bidding up stocks immediately after the JACKSON HOLE SPEECH.
The European debt markets were thrown into further chaos today as the German/Italian 10-year notes spread blew up. In cash terms, the move was a widening of 58 basis points while in futures prices the differential was 512 ticks. Notes From Underground has been monitoring the BUND/BTP futures spread for almost two years. The BUND and BTP 10-year futures are the proxies for Europe as they are the only liquid contracts available to hedge risk. Prior to September 2009, the BUND was the only bond future contract available to manage risk and speculate on the European debt markets. The ITALIANS moves to list the BTP FUTURES so the banks and pensions would have a viable tool in which to hedge the massive amount of Italian debt that was in the market. It seemed that the Italian finance ministry had a noble intention, but as the debacle of the PIIGS has moved to center stage, the Italian BTP has been the only viable tool for speculators and hedgers to participate in the long end of the EURO debt markets.
(Another day older and deeper in debt.)
No surprises from the ECB as they held rates at 1.5% as Trichet ended his reign at the helm of European banking by paying homage to the FONZ: Never admit that you were wrong. The ECB did announce that it was extending its policy of providing liquidity to EUROZONE banks at extremely low rates for a period of 12 and 13 months in an effort to prevent any immediate bank run. Also, the ECB announced that it would buy up to 40 billion euro of covered bonds, but that should not be a big deal for covered bonds are the best collateral so many banks will probably not be running for funding posting the highest rated debt.