Futures are treading water once more now that Ukraine has stormed to center stage from the backburner after everyone was convinced Putin would let the situation cool off after annexing Crimea. Guess not. Adding the renewed geopolitical jitters to what has already been a beta stock bloodbath into a holiday shortened week assures some high volatility fireworks. Cautious sentiment was observed over in Asia (Nikkei 225 -0.36%) amid renewed fears that geopolitical tensions in Ukraine will flare up again following reports of exchange gunfire with pro-Russian militants. This sentiment carried over into the European session with stocks lower across the board (Eurostoxx50 -0.71%). EUR is lower after ECB’s Draghi said any further strengthening of the EUR would warrant further action by the ECB, including non-standard measures such as quantitative easing - it is amazing how frequently and often the Virtu algos still fall for Draghi's jawboning trick which has now become all too clear will never be implemented and certainly not if he keeps talking about it daily, as he does.
I am sure those who were buying the "Kool-aid" at the market highs feel that way, but the numbers tell a different story.
What is an underlying explanation that can account for Momentum failing and Value working, but Quality NOT working? When one of my colleagues here at Salient saw these charts he said, “looks to me like the market is trading on a narrative of risk appetites and fear rather than toward some notion of seeking fundamentals or selling overbought growth stocks; otherwise Quality would be working, too.” To which I replied, “Amen, brother!” The notion that this market sell-off is limited to biotech or Internet or some other high-flying sub-sector because the market “realized” that these stocks were too expensive or out of concern with earnings this quarter (both explanations that I’ve seen of late in the WSJ and FT), just doesn’t hold water. These high-beta stocks are being hit hardest because they are at the epicenter of a broad market or beta earthquake. This is what it means to be high-beta…you live by the broad market sword and you die by the broad market sword.
"The current levels of investor complacency are more usually associated with late stage bull markets rather than the beginning of new ones. Of course, if you think about it, this only makes sense if you refer back to the investor psychology chart above. The point here is simple. The combined levels of bullish optimism, lack of concern about a possible market correction (don't worry the Fed has the markets back), and rising levels of leverage in markets provide the "ingredients" for a more severe market correction. However, it is important to understand that these ingredients by themselves are inert. It is because they are inert that they are quickly dismissed under the guise that 'this time is different.' Like a thermite reaction, when these relatively inert ingredients are ignited by a catalyst they will burn extremely hot. Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly what that catalyst will be or when it will occur. The problem for individuals is that they are trapped by the combustion an unable to extract themselves in time."
Equity markets opened down hard, bounced into Europe's close, and then pushed to new cycle lows into the last hour of the day. The Nasdaq hit 4,000 for the first timein over 2 months and closed at its lowest close in 4 months. Around 3pm we saw the standard ramp attempt but it was weak and faded back towards the lows by the close. EURJPY ran the show this afternoon. This is the Nasdaq's worst week since June 2012 (with Nasdaq and Russell -3.5% from the FOMC Minutes alone). All major US equity indices closed red for 2014 (first time in over 2 months). Biotechs fell for the 7th week in a row (the longest losing streak since 1998) in a bear-market -21%. Away from the bloodbath in stocks, bond yields tumbled 8-11bps on the week (with the short-end modestly outperforming)... with 30Y yields (3.47%) at their lowest in 10 months. CAD and EUR weakness today supported modest USD buying but USD Index is -1.3% on the week (biggest weekly drop in 9 months).Commodites were flat today (despite a pump-and-dump in copper early and WTI later) with gold ending the week +1% at $1318.
Head Of Asia's Largest Clothing Retailer: "I Don’t Have An Optimistic View About Consumption In Japan"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/11/2014 13:43 -0500
Today we get some more on the ground perspective on the abysmal (second) reign of Abe, where the stock market may be approaching bear market territory (after everyone was convinced the Nikkei was set to soar in 2014), but it is really the economy which is about to get it, most likely resulting in Abe's second premature evacuation stage left (with the now traditional Imodium scapegoat) well before the work of Abenomics is completed, in the process sending the USDJPY once again back into double digit territory. The bottom line: “I don’t have an optimistic view about consumption in Japan,” Yanai told reporters yesterday in Tokyo. He said he had yet to see an effect on sales from the tax increase. He will quite soon, and he won't be happy with what he sees.
The market is facing an increasingly negative environment. Historically speaking April and May have not been big months for crises, but the number of negatives the market is facing today is rather unique.
The Nikkei 225 is down over 700 points from the post-FOMC minutes exuberance with major volume hitting the open in Japan. Japanese stocks are now down 15% from their high and trading at six-month lows (and the cheapest to the Dow in 15 months). USDJPY is tumbling further (though the standard opening knee-jerk stop-run is being attempted). Within the broader Topix index, Japanese bank stocks have just hit a bear market (down over 20% from their highs) at 10-months. When asked how he felt about this, we suspect Abe said "depends."
Someone was in a hurry - paging Waddell & Reed? The volume surge occurred right as VIX broke above 16 and the Biotech Index (-6.25% today) has hit bear market territory. The Nasdaq is getting slayed- down over 3% and all but Trannies are red YTD.
Yesterday's "best day in a year" was the ultimate Fed cat bounce as Nadaq Biotech stocks are collapsing today - approaching the crucial 20% bear market drop. With a loss of over 5.5%, this is the biggest drop since August 2011 and has the index very close to the critical 200-day moving-average support. The Biotechs are now down 2% year-to-date at new 4-month lows.
We all know what will eventually unfold: another collapse, this one even worse than that of 2008. Until then, the fraud and fiction will continue. Everyone with a vested interest in stocks moving up will do everything they can to perpetuate this.
Market tops usually feature something called rotation. This occurs when investors move out of former top performing companies or market leaders, into safer investments.
UPDATE: V-shaped recovery in stocks as 103 USDJPY marks line in the sand...
BTFD failed and momentum has broken. Growth stocks and Biotech dreams are lying shattered in a pool of margin calls once again this morning. Nasdaq being dragged by another more-than-1% drop in Biotechs (now negative year-to-date) and nearing the 20% high-to-low drop of a bear market. Bonds are bid as JPY carry unwinds drag broad US equity markets lower... The USD is weaker (led by EUR strength) and precious metals are down modestly (gold at $1300)
The whole situation is very reminiscent of the computer trading, which led to the 1987 Crash.
The reasons to hold gold (and silver), and we mean physical bullion, are pretty straightforward. So let’s begin with the primary ones:
- To protect against monetary recklessness
- As insulation against fiscal foolishness
- As insurance against the possibility of a major calamity in the banking/financial system
- For the embedded 'option value' that will pay out handsomely if gold is re-monetized
The punch line is this: Gold (and silver) is not in bubble territory, and its largest gains remain yet to be realized; especially if current monetary, fiscal, and fundamental supply-and-demand trends remain in play.