Simply put, the massively overcrowded hedge fund herding into US equities has created a crisis situation. With liquidity levels at record lows, the market will be unable to smoothly absorb any concerted selling pressure from large money managers.
European stocks rose again with S&P futures higher, while Asian stocks were mixed. The dollar rose jumped on hawkish comments by Philly Fed's Harker, oil rose following optimistic OPEC comments, while gold dropped. Markets have largely ignored results by financial heavyweight HSBC, which posted its largest fall since mid-2015 after reporting a 62% plunge in pretax profit.
While Trump seemingly remains the only topic worthy of discussion blanketing the airwaves, as the following chart from Goldman demonstrates, it has been China where policy uncertainty has stealthily exploded in the past three months.
Despite US markets being closed in observance of Washington's birthday, S&P futures spiked during overnight trading, reaching new all time highs before fading some of the gains. Both Asian and European markets traded modestly higher after paring early gains.
S&P equity futures followed Asian and European stocks lower, driven by weakness in Franch and Italian markets, as French political concerns returned; the pound tumbled after UK monthly retail sales unexpectedly dropped pushing the dollar higher and Euro lower.
The Patriots improbable victory follows a variety of other unlikely, but surprising high-profile events in the past several months, some of which will have far greater impact on our lives than we may realize.
In an ironic twist of fate, it appears the catalyst for many of the biggest and most incomprehensible market ramps of the last few years is a fund called "Catalyst." With around $4 billion under management (before the latest collapse), the levered options fund is run by Edward Walczak who "uses options to create a better risk/return profile."
Whether it is due to overnight news that much of the recent rally may have been due to one specific fund's cover of a synthetic "short SPY" trade, or just because algo traders have gotten a case of overbought robotic vertigo, S&P futures dropped 0.2% in early Thursday trading as risk appetite fizzled and European shares dropped on concern the longest rally since July 2015 went too far, while the yen, bonds and gold advanced as the dollar fell.
As credit and equity markets continue to grind higher with monotonous regularity, as bloviators fret about politics and analysts await clarity on monetary and fiscal policy, Bloomberg's Cameron 'macroman' Crise is worried that "this might be as good as it gets for US investors."
"Nonfinancial corporate business leverage has remained elevated by historical standards even though outstanding riskier corporate debt declined slightly last year. In addition, valuation pressures in some asset classes increased, particularly late last year."
European, Asian stocks declined, halting a global rally that sent U.S. stocks surging to new all time highs faltered, weighing on the S&P although the index rebounded modestly after a kneejerk announcement lower overnight after Trump's National Security Advisor announced his unexpected resignation.
Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to be an “internationalist,” seeking to build a new world order by political and military means. If that is so, he will sooner or later have to come to grips with the Fed’s policies - most notably with its liquidity swap agreements.
European and Asian stocks, S&P futures, bond yields, the dollar and commodity metals are rose, in some cases making new all time highs, lifted by the latest reemergence of the "Trump trades" as hopeful investors once again bet that the U.S. president's tax reform plans will boost economic growth and corporate profits, despite another warning from Goldman that the president's fiscal plan is about to be derailed.