Evidence Of A Risk Reversal Is Mounting
By Nic Lenoir Of ICAP
While I am bearish on a 2/3 year horizon for certain, I have been cautiously trying to pick spots to sell risky assets for the past 3 to 4 months. Over the past 2 weeks I have become more vocal because a lot of signs that a possibly significant reversal (think more of a 10% move than a 3% move in major equity indices) could be in the works.
The fundamental framework is simple: we are experiencing (experienced?) a bounce in industrial production and it led markets up, while they were at the same time being supported by many incentives produced by the government to invest in distressed securities. Given the amount of shorts the bounce also became a squeeze, and in turn it appears that the positive sentiment has spread. Bear in mind the consumer is sensitive to a turn around by 50% in equity markets, and it can help her/him forget partly his precarious situation, or at least give him hope. Hope was also made more affordable by the "hope anything" programs in place, and the "cash to buy a car you don't need" incentives, not to mention tax rebates. This created an explosive cocktail, and while I think markets have gone way to far on the upside, and very little has been done to solve the real issues, one must recognize the move could potentially go a lot higher. Unlike rates which can hardly go much lower than zero, stocks can go just about anywhere from these levels.
That's why it's key to watch the markets and see what indication they give us that we may, or may not, be turning soon. First we tested the 88 week moving average, and like it or not, it has been your best friend over the past 20 years to trade stocks on a big macro picture. Some ask why 88? Well, that's because it corresponds well to the pace of the long term dynamics for the S&P market. Envelop theory states that to call a change of trend in a bull market for example, one need to find the moving average that best covers all the lows, and if there is one with a great fit, wait for a break to be confirmed, but in doubt buy every test of this support (and conversely for bear markets). Knowing that and looking at the 88 week moving average, it's pretty clear...
I added a few charts showing that oil has clearly broken support on the close last night, and is confirming the break today. GBPUSD, which has traded in sync with risky assets for the most part on the big picture, triggered a H&S this morning with downside potential of at least 1.52. USDCAD as can be seen exhibits a lot of bullish divergence, and it is attemtping to break out through the resistance of the downtrend channel and out of a range that has been relatively important for the pair. A break needs to be confirmed on a close though. On the flipside, the confirmation level to validate a change in trend in the S&P future is a break of the support line at 1,041. That has not happened yet, so one could expect either a bounce or the end of the down move around that level.
So most asset classes indicate a break, but equities don't for now. Save some bullets, maybe cash in a little bit if you shorted the resistance yesterday, and observe with attention. Key levels are all around us, and we already had a head fake reversal in June. The number of people trying to short is what makes it easy for carry traders to squeeze. Until the pain treshold of carry trades is crossed time is their ally.
Good luck trading,