Everybody has opinions on the recent election outcome but as usual most of the opinions are from the echo chamber and not factual in any way. This blog is dedicated to seeking profitable investment and trading opportunities as I sort through the noise of the financial media. As with Brexit, the punditry found itself trapped in its own rhetoric and every prediction but the weakness of the pound proved to be WRONG, at least in the short to medium-term. British Gilts (10-year notes) rallied substantially in the post-Brexit confusion and most importantly the Footise stock index rallied 15% off its election night bottom. The POUND did weaken substantially against the U.S. dollar and the euro currency but I have argued for a few years that the British current account made the relative strength of the POUND to its key trading partners unsustainable.
Posts Tagged ‘Pound’
The markets are in turmoil and it gets the mind to thinking: What could possibly have caused today’s reversal in the stock market and the long end of the BOND MARKET? The market seemed like it was on the edge of a complete risk capitulation. The dollar was dropping, bonds all over the world were in rally mode and the precious metals were finally finding some technical strength as the GOLD (in pure dollar terms) had finally rallied through its 200-day moving average. Even the SILVER was able to synchronize with the GOLD and break out of three months of resistance. (The silver 200-day is at 15.13, still a bit above its closing price.) The global stock markets were cascading lower as the Nikkei and German DAX took out their lows made the night of the BOJ’s surprise move to a three-tiered negative interest rate policy.
WARNING: Put on your life lines, foul weather gear and be ready for the boom to come flying about (thanks Whitewave). There are violent winds blowing in the financial seas as equity markets are giving warning that something is amiss. The 200-day moving averages for the DAX, CAC, Nikkei and SPOOS succumbed to selling pressure in synchronized fashion. The Dow Transportation Index looks atrocious, especially when viewed in terms of the steep drop in energy prices. Lower fuel costs are historically a boon to trains, planes and automobiles and most especially trucks. Lower fuel costs lead to increased profits for freight haulers (h/t American Limey and Professor Waspi).
The U.S. jobs report was in line with market expectations colored by the Wednesday release of the ADP data. The market’s response was interesting in that BONDS, STOCKS AND THE DOLLAR reversed some of the reaction to ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference on Thursday. While the jobs report seemed to SOLIDIFY an FOMC rate hike next week, the settlements on Friday raises questions about the Fed’s current strategy. Even though a rate increase is a “certainty” and with the ECB promising more liquidity at lower interest rates, the settlement prices at the week’s end were perplexing:
It was 12 days ago the BOE’s Mark Carney delivered his Mansion Speech and warned markets that interest rates could rise faster than investors were forecasting, resulting in a strong rally in the British Pound against all currencies. The POUND was especially strong against its largest trading partner the European Union. Today, Governor Carney synchronized his thoughts with Fed Chair Yellen and announced that the BOE may be able to keep rates low for longer because the lack of rise in wages meant that there was still GREAT SLACK IN THE ECONOMY. (It appears that the central bankers have been cheating off each others’ papers.)
In today’s testimony to the Joint Economic Committee, Chair Yellen voiced concerns about the recent softness in the housing recovery. Her concern should be measured from two perspectives: One, the failure of wages to keep pace with returns on capital, or, as it is fashionable to say, R>G (the new rage inspired by Thoma Piketty). Financial markets have generated far more gains than GDP resulting in the middle-income groups not generating enough income to ignite home purchases. When Yellen worries about housing she is alluding to wage growth, especially as bank regulations have made it more difficult for buyers to secure loans. Two, last year the airwaves were filled with real estate agents raving about how the supply of homes was diminishing and therefore prices had to go higher. The problem with the rosy view from the Zillow crowd is that much of the demand was generated from foreign buyers with cash and large hedge funds and private equity groups buying large packages of distressed properties.
It’s all good, so say the pundits. The tapering discussions have now moved to the issue of FORWARD GUIDANCE as Chairman Bernanke has maintained that at the zero bound interest rate FG may have more influence on rates than quantitative easing. For the Nth time, the FED is at a fork in the road and doesn’t know which path to take. A continuously steepening YIELD CURVE is an indication that the market is signaling its discomfort with the Fed. The rise in the longer end of the curve is causing the Fed a great deal of concern because their model seems to say that continued pressure on the short end will act to keep long rates low (unless, of course, the market is questioning the Fed’s credibility and rolling out of BONDS and into the equities). A key question for the FED: Are equity markets a better long-term investment (hedge) against the success of Fed policies?
As I drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway many of the Federally manned information spots and federally run conveniences were closed. But it did not detract from the grandeur of the Carolina mountains and majestic valleys. The Parkway itself was an allegory for the markets as it winds it way a forest of trees with danger all along the way. It is best to stop at the lookouts along the way as an astute trader/investor would take the time to analyze charts to see where the road leads. The present standoff in Washington has brought profits to the SHORTS, but as Friday’s rally revealed. This market is fraught with danger for bulls and bears alike. More important than the shutdown of some federal government operations is the looming issue of the DEBT CEILING. Many analysts have rightfully pointed out that the government defaulted in 1979 and although Treasury bill yields rose 60 basis points, the overall effect was minimal. Beware of faulty historical correlations.
In what seemed to be expected actions by central banks, the BOE and the ECB, the market was presented to a new twist on an old theme: Governor Mark Carney and President Mario Draghi both invoked the language of the Fed Chairman Bernanke and provided “extended period of time” into their policy statements. The ECB has shied away from any concept of locking itself into a future commitment strategy and upon Draghi reading the prepared statement at the press conference, the EURO immediately fell to 1.2920 from 1.3020. Ninety minutes earlier, the British pound was the object of derision as the BOE announced that the U.K. Exchequer had requested that the Monetary Policy Committee adopt some “… form of forward guidance including the possible use of intermediate thresholds. This analysis would have an important bearing on the Committee’s policy discussions in August.”
Notes From Underground: Friday Is the All-Important U.S. Employment Data, But Why Was European Employment Glossed Over?March 7, 2013
The February jobs data has been compiled and is now ready for public consumption. The consensus is for 165,000 (revised upward from 160,000) nonfarm payroll jobs being added and the rate to hold steady at 7.9%. This may be a difficult number to trade because the equity markets have already sloughed off so much negative news to keep the rally in tact–Italian elections, sequestration and economic malaise throughout Europe. The weekly jobless claims numbers have surprised on the downside during the last few weeks so a 200,000 NFP number would not be a surprise. It will be more important to watch average hourly earnings and the length of the work week–earnings are expected to be up by 0.2% per hour.