Today’s early close across markets likely means that the blow-off top multiple-expansion mania phase (because forward EPS estimates over the past couple – that means 2 to Janet Yellen fanatics – weeks have in fact declined) of 2014 may be coming to an end. However with already abysmal volumes literally grinding to an early halt at 1:15 pm Eastern today, and with a market as boring as this one, where any news is immediately interpreted as good, not matter how bad it actually is or how “revised” or “goal-seeked“, we may see futures, which already are trading some 4 points above fair value, successfully levitate by another 20 points and hit Goldman’s 2100 year end target – year-end for 2015 that is – one year ahead of time.
There has been no macro news in the overnight session to talk about, with Asian markets surging on the back of a decade-high US GDP print, which however even cursory 10 minutes analysis, reveals was what it was, thanks to the second consecutive retroactive revision of consumer income (lower) and spending (higher), with the resultant collapse in savings being “spent” mostly on Obamacare. How forced capital reallocation into a socialized-welfare program is bullish and the sufficient catalyst to push the DJIA over 18,000 will one day be clear, just not now.
With European markets either closed or facing early closures ahead of Christmas, as to be expected, price action has been particularly muted throughout the session, with a lack of pertinent newsflow to provide much in the way of traction. In terms of what is currently open, the FTSE 100 is trading in slight positive territory with Smith and Nephew (+8.6%) the notable gainer across Europe following renewed takeover talk from Stryker who may pay as much as a 30% premium. Elsewhere, there has not been anything of note to report, with fixed income markets relatively choppy and the Bund not open for trade.
FX markets saw the USD fail to hold onto its gains above the 90.00 level, with the level being breached to the upside yesterday for the first time since 2006, following the strong US GDP release. Elsewhere, overnight gains in JPY have been largely pared throughout the European session with nothing fundamental at play. In terms of levels to look out for, there is a USD 4.5bln option expiry in USD/JPY at 120.00, although considering we are currently 40 pips north of this handle, it is unlikely this expiry will provide much magnetism for price action.
In the oil market, yesterday’s post-close release of API inventory build data, which soared by 5.4 million barrels, trouncing expectations for a 2.5 million barrel decline, has put the energy complex on the back foot, and Brent was down 2% earlier, cutting yesterday’s GDP-inspired figures by more than half. According to Nordea Bank oil analyst Thina Saltvedt “Yesterday’s US GDP figures sparked a brief rally, but what the oil market is really waiting for is good economic news from China or evidence of oil supply growth falling and we are seeing neither of those.” Indeed.
On the holiday shortened docket today we have the release of US weekly jobs data and the weekly DoE report.
Bulletin Headline Summary from Bloomerg
- Islamic State militants in Syria shot down a warplane belonging to the U.S.-led coalition and detained its pilot, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Al Jazeera television said
- Japan’s Abe appointed a former soldier and security veteran as his new defense minister, as he prepares to push through legislation to toughen the country’s military stance amid a dispute with China
- Ukraine says provocations by rebels are increasing in the country’s east, as armed groups attacked Ukrainian govt positions 25 times using mortars, rifles, shell grenades and artillery, National Security and Defense Council says in statement on its Facebook account
- Russia and the U.S. have halted all dialogue on missile defense, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov tells reporters; also said NATO building up forces on Russia’s border
- UBS is flagging risks from China’s $1t worth of unhedged foreign debt as forecasters see bets against the greenback unwinding in 2015
- Meredith Whitney’s hedge fund is being sued by its biggest investor, a fund connected to billionaire Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management, as demands to recoup money spill into court, according to people with knowledge of the dispute
- A police officer shot and killed a man in a St. Louis suburb late yesterday, setting off a new round of protests near Ferguson, where an August shooting sparked unrest over law-enforcement tactics that’s spread across the U.S.
- Sovereign yields mostly higher. Asian, European stocks mostly higher; U.S. equity-index futures gain. Brent crude and copper lower, gold little changed
US Economic Data:
- 7:00am: MBA Mortgage Applications, Dec. 19 (prior -3.3%)
- 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, Dec. 20, est. 290k (prior 289k)
- Continuing Claims, Dec. 13, est. 2.375m (prior 2.373m)
- 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Dec. 21 (prior 41.7)
- 11:30am: U.S. to sell $29b 7Y notes