Below is a collection of interesting links and insights from today's news with analysis filtered through our macro lens. This installment discusses why investors are wrong to be against long bonds, stalling M&A, UK 2-year bond goes negative, President Obama's obvious statement about global growth, big bank euphoria and despair, and why a few statement from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is emblematic of everything that's wrong with the E.U.
A surefire way to lose moneY
"Treasuries are heading for their biggest back-to-back quarterly advance in more than four years," Bloomberg reported. Good so far. The story cites the Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Bond Index which has returned 5.5% since the end of 2015. But here's where Bloomberg journalists Wes Goodman and Anchalee Worrachate go off the rails: "Economists say the gains won’t continue into 2017." These so-called "economists" say simply "Treasury prices are too high."
Our Take: Watch Hedgeye Senior Macro analyst Darius Dale explain why we're sticking with our Long Bond call even while "Treasury prices are too high."
Taking the Hatchet to M&A
According to Reuters, "The value of announced mergers and acquisitions (M&A) worldwide dropped by a third in the second quarter of 2016, as a wave of transactions were abandoned in the wake of concerns over regulatory and tax risks or national security."
Our Take: M&A activity always peaks at the end of the cycle as companies try to buy growth. Take a look at the chart below.
UK Bonds Go Negative
Wall Street Journal: "A two-year British government bond yield fell into negative territory for the first time ever in late European trading, after Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s announced that the central bank would likely have to stimulate the British economy in the aftermath of the country’s vote to exit the European Union. A bond maturing in March 2018 registered a yield of minus 0.04% shortly after European markets closed, according to Tradeweb."
Our Take: As global growth slows, bond yields around the world are coming down. That's why we're long the Long Bond (TLT).
"President Obama said he expects the global economy 'in the short run, will hold steady.' But it won't necessarily stay that way," CNN Money reports. "'I think there are some general longer-term concerns about global growth if in fact Brexit goes through and that freezes the possibilities of investment in Great Britain, or in Europe as a whole,' Obama said Wednesday at a summit in Canada."
Our Take: Brexit is merely a symptom of global #GrowthSlowing which we've been warning about for well over a year now.
Big Bank Buyback Euphoria
Phew. All 33 banks passed the Fed's stress test and, according to regulators, would not need more capital in the event of a severely adverse scenario. As such a slew of big banks announced buybacks and dividends after passing the test, sending Financials stocks higher.
Our Take: Buybacks are a nice mirage for banking executives, who get paid on this artificial growth in earnings per share, but, with interest rates so persistently low, bank stocks should get continually pummeled as net interest margin is squeezed. We're sticking with our short Financials (XLF) call.
... Big Bank Despair
Deutsche Bank was labelled the "most important net contributor to systemic risks in global banking system," by the IMF. Shares are getting punished today. Italian banks took a dip too as German Chancellor Angela Merkel shut down bailout hopes.
Juncker Is Everything That's Wrong With The E.U.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made headlines this week when he taunted British MEP Nigel Farage in the European Parliament saying, "Why are you here?" This is the same guy who once said that E.U. compromises and deals needed to be hidden from public scrutiny. "When it becomes serious, you have to lie," he said.
Other detestable statements from Juncker, via a 2014 The Telegraph article, include:
- In May 2011, he told a meeting of the federalist European Movement that he often “had to lie” and that eurozone monetary policy should be discussed in “secret, dark debates”.
- He once suggested that eurozone economic policy was incompatible with democracy.
- "We all know what to do, we just don't know how to get re-elected after we've done it."
Our Take: Just ... "Ick"