Thursday, 10 April 2014

Tell 'em like a man.

Even the Fed and the market's expectations and responses are playing to the mean reversion theory. Fed read as hawkish, market therefore extrapolates more for the next meeting then, lo and behold, the Fed de-emphasises the factors that as the market had picked as indicative of future policy and reiterates those that were previously sidelined and we end up with an out of phase pair of sine waves  of Fed and market expectations that in the long run average out to flat.

But "Vicky" Yellen  should get a grasp on what forward guidance involves as unfortunately she may well be employing a common communication error that, as the first female Chair, we have not seen before. Now before anyone accuses me of sexism I would like to explain. As a caring empathetic soul (however not according to Mrs P) I have sometimes found myself in the position of the shoulder that female friends will lean on when their male amores or soon to be ex-amores, are not responding properly to instruction. The converstaion will inevitably culminate with me asking "well did you tell him that" to which the answer is nearly always "not in those words but he should have known". This is the point I take their hands, look them in the eyes and with as much gravitas as I can muster explain a basic fact of life. MEN NEED TO BE TOLD CLEARLY AND PRECISELY IN THE FEWEST NUMBER OF WORDS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND. So, dear lady, if you really do want to dump him, you say "you are dumped and I don't want to see you again" because phrases like " I really don't think this is working" or " I really like you but .. " leave a sliver of hope on which the recipient can hang their own beliefs.

Fed guidance -

So Ms Yellen can you please note that the market is that dumb-arse boyfriend who will always pick out the bits he wants to hear to substantiate personal biases and if you really want to act as a guide you are going to have to be reading from your basic children's Janet and John , not Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

I am wondering if we might be seeing something similar in China to the headline "China Reiterates It Won't Stimulate Economy". But that is conditional "As long as the economic growth rate, employment and other indicators don't slip below our lower limit and inflation doesn't exceed our upper limit, [we'll] focus on restructuring and pushing reforms". So this really sounds like every other central bank around the world including the Fed, who will "do what is necessary if its necessary but not if it is not necessary". Apart from the ECB of course whose mantra is "we will do what is necessary if it is necessary only once we have realised it is necessary which will be far too late to have prevented market panic." The ECB being like that mad Turkish taxi driver who is trying to light 2 cheroots in his mouth whilst leaning over his shoulder jabbering at you doing twice the speed limit on the wrong side of the busy highway oblivious to oncoming swerving traffic yet still somehow manages to get you to your destination in one piece though exceedingly shaken.

Now on to something else. I had been thinking that the UK's RBS was a sure fire winner for the title of "the next British Leyland" but it would appear that the Co-op is making a strong late run that may well see it take the line. I have never been a fan of Lord Myners since his pension management reform plans effectively forced fund managers to switch from equities into bonds at the bottom of the post 2001 equity crash due to his perception of matched liabilities and risk, all post-event of course. But he has my sympathy with his resignation from the Co-op as the disparate consensus style underlying management structure has decided they don't want to be told what to do. Considering the state of the Co-op this conjures up images of village committees arguing over the colour of the doilies in the tea room on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. No wonder Myners has decided to jump than go down with the ship. In fact I am wondering if the underlying management of the Co-op is made up of the occupants of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy's Golgafrincham B-Ark (the one full of telephone sanitisers and hairdressers).

But back to markets - I guess it is make or break day now to see whether the early post-Fed euphoria will be maintained. With that in mind I'm willing to play the direction today sets as the next trend but harbour my bullish longer term views. April often sees bears try and fight the tape and and end up having to chase things higher so it could be pretty mixed. This could well leave the market bereft of new buyers by the start of May which is traditionally the opening of the European freak show. Cue song "There May be trouble ahead" but before that "Let's face the music and dance"

My search yesterday for a sacred cow that has yet to be slaughtered has led me via a tortuous route to the shores of chinese commodity companies. The china news dip overnight is providing an opportunity to get into China against consensus and marrying that against a feeling commodities are going to lift and adding Alcoa's outlook for aluminium prices I may have found my Cow.

As a tabloid headline would say - "China Chrades Chrigger Chalco Chow".

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