Cohn-Heads

It was all about Coneheads on Wednesday.

See, here’s the thing: Gary Cohn is seriously considering whether it’s a good idea to stand around and play music on the deck of the Titanic rather than fighting for one of the few remaining life boats.

And the reason Cohn-head isn’t so sure he wants to go down with this ship is because it turns out the Captain is himself a Conehead.

But not the good, Beldar kind:

Beldar

Rather, this kind:

Cone

And who can blame Gary, right? I mean no one wants to end up being a defendant at the 21st century version of the Nuremberg trials.

So on the heels of the coordinated condemnation Trump received on Wednesday from corporate America, and considering the backlash on the Hill, it wasn’t exactly a stretch to think that Cohn would beat a hasty retreat from a White House that is quite clearly engulfed in flames like a cross at a Klan rally.

With reports already circulating that Cohn was “disgusted” by Trump’s Tuesday presser, the market fell hook, line, and sinker for a rumor that hit early in the session suggesting Cohn was preparing to resign. That “rumor” (which we would suggest is not in fact a “rumor”), was quickly debunked by Axios and then by the White House itself, but the damage was done.

Stocks fell throughout the session and the VIX rose steadily:

Stocks

Worst day for the Dow in 3 months:

Dow

The dollar held up ok – all things considered – but yields fell as the market continues to price out reflation:

Dollar

As Bloomberg notes, “the prospect of Cohn’s departure forced investors to consider possible consequences for Trump’s economic agenda and who might take his place as front-runner to lead the Fed once Chair Yellen’s term expires February 3.”

Bank stocks were hit especially hard for obvious reasons and the pain comes a day after the Fed minutes weighed on the space:

Banks

Financials have gone nowhere fast since the initial “Trump bump”:

BanksSPY

Speaking of Trump trades, the Russell 2000 is now nearly flat YTD:

Gold chopped around on the Cohn headline, but it’s better to pan out on this one – the angst in markets is readily apparent as we’ve skipped from one crisis (nuclear war) to another (Trump train wreck) in the space of two weeks:

Gold

Recall what former trader Richard Breslow said earlier on Thursday:

Watch gold prices. They are trying to make new highs and are overly resilient which, in fact, does mean something. As the oldest of the financial assets it’s learned that a week is a long time in politics. And the mess usually gets worse before we come to a neat or Pence-ive solution

We now know VIX ETP rebalancing supercharged last week’s vol. spike and we also know that the inflows into short VIX products (people betting on a quick return to the low vol. regime) almost immediately took the vega-to-buy on a five vol. spike back to roughly $100 million, which is where it sat heading into last week’s turmoil:

VIXETP

So the “doom loop” is still firmly entrenched.

Side note: tech “breadth” has never been worse:

QQEF

The euro was interesting, giving back all of its gains from Wednesday (accumulated on the back of Trump disbanding his “councils” and committees and cautious comments from the July Fed minutes on inflation) before the ECB minutes. Once the minutes hit the common currency briefly hit a day low before reversing again as traders struggled to square the circle:

Euro

For their part, JPMorgan raised their EURUSD forecast to 1.20 in 4Q (vs 1.16) and 1.25 in 3Q 2018 citing Trump’s falling approval rating and various fuck-ups, “which in turn preserve the risk of a complicated debt ceiling debate once Congress returns from summer recess.”

European shares got a brief lift from the ECB minutes (think: Draghi flagging FX strength as a concern), but ultimately closed lower after taking their cues from the Cohn rumors as well:

Europe

Ultimately folks, the bottom line is this: you need to start thinking about what a President Mike Pence might mean for markets, because that’s where this is headed.

Just minutes before the close, we learned that Bob Corker has become the first GOP Senator to question Trump’s competence.

The writing is on the wall.

It’s just a matter of when.

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Cohn-Heads

  1. Yup. Makes sense he’d leave. Cohn was born to an Eastern European Jewish family. He’s been involved in Jewish and African American community matters. He coughed up a nice sized check in 2009 so that the Hillel International building at Kent State University was named the Cohn Jewish Student Center in recognition of the gift. It was a bit deal since given it was the first Hillel building built directly on the campus of a state university. Cohn has been a supporter of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities and had supported Harlem RBI since 2011. At that time, Harlem RBI was given the chance to build its own charter school. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees and Harlem RBI director Rich Berlin asked Cohn if he could help them raise the capital they needed to build the school and of course he was excited to do it.

    How’s this: “Gary Cohn would be too liberal for the Obama administration,” former Trump advisor Sam Nunberg told Yahoo News. “I don’t know what he’s doing in a Republican White House,” Nunberg said, voicing the sentiment, widely held in pro-Trump circles, that Cohn is an odd match for the expectations set by the Trump regime.”
    Read more: http://forward.com/news/368913/how-gary-cohn-became-the-hated-jewish-globalist-in-trumps-cabinet/

    No one knew what he was doing there in the first place. Standing there next to Trump in the lobby when Trump undressed for the world to see that he was a White Supremacist, Cohn, just like Kelly, looked like they wished they were on another planet.

Speak On It