It appears today's weakness in stocks (most notably high-beta momo) and bonds (HY credit weakness) was triggered by two "ma"s - grandma Yellen and grand-poohbah BABA's Ma. Hawkish FOMC concerns took the shine off HY credit (and stocks) but Treasury bonds rallied modestly (5Y -3bps, 10Y -2bps). However, high-beta momo stocks dragged Nasdaq and Russell lower as 'smart money' proclaimed this was making room for the Alibaba IPO (which raises the question - if there is so much pent-up demand money on the sidelines just dying to be lost in the stock market, then why were so many high-beta, high-growth, momo names being sold today, theoretically in order to make room for the BABA IPO?) The USDollar ended marginally higher (GBP weakness, EUR strength) but most commodities gained on the day (Copper down on China) with WTI back to $93. Stocks did have a mini-melt-up on absolutely no news whatsoever into the last hour but gave most back. The Russell 2000 is -0.5% in 2014.
Something appears to have changed not only because the USDJPY is not some 100 pips higher overnight on, well, nothing but because the S&P, which is treading water, has yet to spike on no volume reasons unknown. That something may be algos which are too confused to buy ahead of this week's Fed announcement which may or may not have some notable changes in language or the Scottish referendum on the 18th. Or it could simply be that algos are no longer allowed to openly manipulate and rig the market on the CME as of today now that "disruptive market practices" are banned (why weren't they before)? In any case, keep a close eye on the market today: not all is at it has been for a while, unless of course it is still just a little early and the rigging algos (which haven't gotten the Rule 575 memo of course) haven't woken up just yet.
The S&P’s rally has been sustained through near-zero-cost money used to: (1) buy back stock to enrich insiders and please activist hedge funds which have borrowed big to buy big; and (2) prop up the overall market because investors have learned that buying on margin when the costs are minimal - and below dividend yields - just keeps paying off. Stein’s law says, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Too bad it doesn’t say when. Gold loses its luster when: (1) inflation seems to be as remote as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; and (2) even a concatenation of crises fails to send investors rushing into the time-tested crisis consoler. We see geopolitical risks expanding from here - not contracting - and stick to our investment advice that the broad stock market is precariously valued. A range of options is available for those who wish to hedge themselves against even worse news. Gold is part of any such risk mitigation. So are long government bonds. Most importantly, we have entered an era when wise investors will devote as much time to reading the foreign news as they allocate to reading the investment section.
While today's key news event will likely be the preannounced latest, third, round of anti-Russian sanctions and the Russian retaliation, the reality as DB notes, is that the market seems to be seeing "some fatigue" in this story with the ECB, Scotland and next week's Fed meeting taking center stage. As a result, and ahead of expectations of change in Fed language which should carry a more hawkish tone, the dollar has been bid up some more overnight, leading to fresh multi-year highs in the USDJPY, and the now-paired TSY trade, with 10Y yields up to 2.57%, although this may now be in short-term oversold territory. The latest Scottish poll appears to have dented some of the "Yes" momentum, with 52% of the polled saying they would vote No in the referendum, although right now neither side has a clear majority when factoring in the undecideds: which means it will come down to the wire next week, with clear implications for Europe's secessionist movements if the Yes vote still manages to prevail, not to mention massive ramifications for the UK.
For the 3rd day in a row, the USDollar flatlined as JPY & AUD weakness offset GBP & EUR strength (following Kuroda's speech this morning). Stocks dipped-and-ripped once again - as they always do into and after the EU close - with the S&P managing to scramble back into the green (but not 2,000 for 3rd day in a row) in a late-day buying panic (after some Draghi headlines saying nothing new). Not everyone was drinking the same bounce-back juice as stocks with HY credit, and JPY-carry not supportive at all. Stocks seemed to track WTI crude most closely today as oil jumped higher (abov $93) compressing the Brent-WTI spread to $5. Gold, silver, and copper slipped lower once again. The Treasury curve continued to bear flatten led by 5Y weakness.
Following yesterday's confusing exuberance, which saw the sluggish market rise in the last hours of trading as the latest Scottish poll showed a reverse of the "Yes" momentum (and fading Gartman's latest reco of course), overnight European jitters have re-emerged once more following a speech by Catalonia's Artur Mas, who has long pushed for independence of the region, and who said that while there are different ways Catalonia can vote, the important issue is that Catalans vote somehow. Mas says Spanish govt will likely try to block Catalan vote "the reasons why the central government is blocking the vote are political not legal", which in turn has once again brought attention to Europe's artificial, unstable and temporary political and monetary union, which threatens a reversion of the nightmare days from 2012 when Mario Draghi was promising he would do everything in his power to send the EUR higher (as opposed to now).
Markets Digest Wristwatch, NIRP Monetization, Catalan Independence News; Push Yields, USDJPY Even HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/10/2014 07:08 -0400
Overnight the most notable move has been the ongoing weakness in rates, with USTs reversing earlier Tokyo gains after BoJ Deputy Governor Iwata, in addition to commenting on a lot of things that didn't make much sense, said he didn’t see any difficulties in money market operations even if BoJ bought bought government debt with negative yields, as InTouch Capital Markets notes. As a reminder, yesterday we noted that in a historic first the "Bank Of Japan Monetizes Debt At Negative Rates." As Bloomberg notes, this may be interpreted that BoJ may target negative yields to penalize savers, which "all boosts the appeal of yen-funded carry trades." In other words, first Europe goes NIRP, now it's Japan's turn! So while this certainly lit the fire under the USDJPY some more, which overnight broke about 106.50 and hit as high as 106.75 on Iwata's comments, it does not explain why the 10Y is currently trading 2.52% - after all the fungible BOJ money will eventually make its way into US bonds and merely add to what JPM has calculated is a total $5 trillion in excess liquidity sloshing in the global market.
With Bono's words still hanging in the air, the market's response to Apple's unveiling is simple: "we still haven't found what we're looking for." Some argue the weakness is AAPL-related, others point to AUDJPY fun-durr-mentals, but the bottom-line is the Fed hinted at more hawkishness, short-term bonds are weakening (long-end rally with notable flattening), VIX is rising and inverted (to 1-mo highs), and HY credit is getting ugly once again as it seems stocks are indeed catching on to the fact that the Fed will really be removing the punchbowl... S&P fell to 3-week lows as AUD collapsed (but EUR strength sent the USD lower on the day) and lost the crucial 2,000 level by the most since it was first breached.
US equity markets are sliding this morning on the back of AUDJPY fun-durr-mentals as the USDollar pushes to new 15-month highs (AUD at 6-month lows). This has pressed Nasdaq red for September (joining the Dow, S&P, and Russell). Treasury yields are modestly higher but commodities are sliding with copper the worst... makes us wonder if this is follow-through from China's huge adjustment to CNY overnight.
While overnight US equity futures have done nothing notable, what everyone's attention has been fixed on, in addition to the GBP and the read-through to all things UK-ish ahead of the Scotland independence referendum, is the sudden flare up in USDJPY trading and volatility, which exploded by some 100 pips in the past 24 hours hitting fresh post-2008 highs, on what appears to be a major capital reallocation move (it surely is not driven by any news) and/or forced squeeze. What is more perplexing is the change in correlations signals, because while until recently the USDJPY was synonymous with the E-Mini, and thus the S&P, as of late the USDJPY pair has moved tick for tick with the 10Year yield: almost as if the NY Fed's favorite HFT trading shop was instructed to change its vast array of signal inputs away from the S&P and to force a gentle levitation in the 10Y.
Today some very significant moves across asset-classes - despite the apparent close-to-close 'blahness' of stocks (Dow, S&P, Trannies small red, Nasdaq green) and bonds (30Y unch, 5Y +2bps) from Friday's close. The USD surged to fresh 15-month highs, ripping another 0.6% higher as GBP, EUR (1.28xx), and JPY (106.xx) all faded dramatically. US equity markets entirely decoupled from JPY (in fact became negatively correlated) and US Treasury yields ripped higher - tick for tick with USDJPY's rise. Gold and silver slipped 1% on the day, copper limped higher (after an early plunge) and oil rebounded to close with a small loss near $93 (Brent under $100 for first time in 14 months). Late-day news of 'delayed' sanctions sparked the standard post-EU-close buying panic, regained S&P 2,000 (and Futs hit VWAP), and ensured Friday's bad-news-is-good-news jobs meme stands.
After being solidly ignored for weeks, suddenly the Scottish independence referendum is all anyone can talk about, manifesting itself in a plunge in the GBPUSD which ha slide over 100 pips in the past 24 hours, adding to the slide over the past week, and is now just above 1.61, the lowest since November 2013. In fact, the collapse of the unionist momentum has managed to push back overnight news from Ukraine, major Russian sanction escalations, Japan GDP as well as global trade data on the back burner. Speaking of global trade, with both China and Germany reporting a record trade surplus overnight, with the US trade deficit declining recently, and with not a single country in the past several month reporting of an increase in imports, one wonders just which planet in the solar system (or beyond) the world, which once again finds itself in a magical global trade surplus position, is exporting to?
Just 2 months ago, the illustrious muppet catchers at Goldman Sachs stated that both stocks were 30-45% overvalued but lifted its year-end target in what we subjectively described as 'moronic drivel'. Then, 2 short weeks after that 'upgrade', the same thought-provoking sell-side strategist downgraded stocks on the basis that a 'sell-off in bonds could lead to short-term weakness in stocks'. Now, with the S&P 500 closing at new record highs on the worst employment data of the year, Goldman is at it again - upgrading equities to overweight for the next 3 months, rolling index targets forward, and piling investors into high-yield credit. Welcome to muppetville...
Worst jobs data of the year? BTFATH. For the 9th day in a row, S&P 2,000 was all that mattered. Thanks to the standard Friday v-shaped recovery, the Dow scrambled back to green on the week and S&P 500 hit its Maginot 'retirement on' line - all on the back of USDJPY 105.00 pinning. Trannies and S&P hit new record highs and S&P had its best day in 2 weeks (led by exuberant growthy Staples & Utilities this week). Russell ended the week red as the late-day buying-panic sent Nasdaq just green with Dow and S&P. But, away from stocks, US Treasuries had their worst week in a year with 30Y +16bps (but 2Y only +2bps). The US dollar rose to new 14-month highs with its biggest week in 10 months. Despite the USD strength, Copper manage to close marginally higher even as PMs dropped 1.6% and oil plunged almost 3% (WTI under $93) in a very volatile week. High-yield credit markets closed with their worst week in the last 5. Bad news is great news still - just six years into the 'recovery'.
It has been an odd session: after yesterday's unexpected late day swoon despite the ECB launch of "Private QE", late night trading saw a major reversal in USDJPY trading which soared relentlessly until it rose to fresh 6 year highs, briefly printing at 105.70, a level not seen since October 2008, before giving back all gains in overnight trading. It is unclear if it was this drop, or some capital reallocation from the US into Europe, but for whatever reason while Europe has seen a stable - if fading in recent hours - risk bid, and European bonds once again rising and Irish and Italian yields both dropping to record low yield, US equity futures have slumped and are now trading at the lows of the session ahead of a US nonfarm payroll print which is expected to rise and print for the 7th consecutive time above 200K, at 230K to be precise, up from 209K in July (down from 288K in June). It is unclear if the market is in a good news is bad news mood today, but for now the algos are not taking any chances and have exited risky positions, with the ES at the low end of the range the market has been trading in for the past week centered aroun S&P 2000.