Once more, not much own stuff to chew on Europe’s own. Drifting. EGBs very strong on (relative) equity weakness. Periphery starting to glow like the ZZ Top Eliminator. In absence of any strong lead, need to start thanking everyone for input and support (Mario, Ben, Angie, Chrissie… Anyone working on the Fiscal Cliff. Mariano & Mario. Wolfie...). New paradigm put into practice: nothing will ever be weak again, nothing. And watch out for FC Ping-Pong! And I Thank You!
"I Thank You" (Bunds 1,37% -6; Spain 5,31% -20; Stoxx 2547 +0,4%; EUR 1,293 unch)
The yellow metal soared 4.9% in euros in one week from the 11 week low set November 2nd and has since fallen 1.3%. The rebound from the November dip means prices should recover to reach the all-time euro high set last month, before rising to the point-and-figure target at 1,395 euros, said the bank’s research. Point and figure charts estimate trends in prices without showing time. Gold may then reach a Fibonacci level of about 1,421, the 61.8% extension of the May-to-October rally, projected from the November low, Commerzbank wrote in its report on November 13th which was picked up by Bloomberg. Fibonacci analysis is based on the theory that prices climb or drop by certain percentages after reaching a high or low. “What we are seeing is a correction lower, nothing more,” Axel Rudolph, a technical analyst at Commerzbank in London, said by e-mail Nov. 16, referring to the drop since November 9th. Rudolph remains bullish as long as prices hold above the November low at about 1,303 euros. Technical analysts study charts of trading patterns and prices to predict changes in a security, commodity, currency or index.
The much anticipated Greek vote on "self-imposed" austerity came, saw and passed... and nothing: the EURUSD is now well lower than before the vote for one simple reason - the vote was merely a placeholder to test the resiliency of the government, which following numerous MP terminations, has seen its overall majority drop to 168 of 300, which includes the members of the Democratic Left who voted against the Troika proposal. Which means any more votes on anything split along austerity party lines and the vote will likely no longer pass. And, as expected, Germany already picked up the baton on kicking the can on funding the Greek €31.5 billion payment (due originally many months ago) when Schauble said that it will still be too early to make a Greek decision net week. Market-wise, Europe is limping into the US open, with the EUR weaker again due to a report that Spain may not seek an ECB bailout this year (as said here over and over, Spain will not seek a bailout until the 10 Year SPGB is back at or above 7%). Paradoxically, Spain also sold €4.76 billion in 2015, 2018 and 2032 debt (more than the expected €4.5 billion) at muted conditions, thereby the market continues to encourage Spain not to request a bailout, although this may not last, as promptly after the bond auction Spanish debt tailed off, the 2Y and 10Y both sold off, and the Spain-Bund spread is back to 445 bps, the widest since October, and means Spain can finally be getting back in selloff play: and probably not at the best possible time just as everything else, which was in suspended animation until the Obama reelection, also hits the tape. Today we get two key, if largely irrelevant, central bank decisions come from the BOE and ECB, both of which are expected to do nothing much. Finally, the most important event going on right now, is the Chinese Congress. For those who missed it, our previews are here: The Far More Important 'Election' Part 1: China's Political Process and The Far More Important 'Election' Part 2: China's Market Implications.
The markets are all about timing. In this case, 55 weeks.
If there is one dominant consensus in the financial sphere, it is that the Federal Reserve's $85 billion/month bond-and-mortgage-buying "quantitative easing" will inevitably send stocks higher. The general idea is that the Fed buys the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and Treasury bonds from the banks, which turn around and dump the cash into "risk on" assets like equities (stocks). This consensus can be summarized in the time-worn phrase, "Don't fight the Fed." This near-universal confidence in a QE-goosed stock market is reflected in the low level of volatility (the VIX) and other signs of complacency such as relatively few buyers of put options, which are viewed as "insurance" against a decline in stocks. The usual sentiment readings are bullish as well.
But what if QE fails to send stocks higher? Is such a thing even possible? Yes, it does seem "impossible" in a market as rigged and centrally managed as this one, but there are a handful of reasons why QE might not unleash a flood of cash into "risk on" assets every month from now until Doomsday
Today's Zero Hedge Articles in Audio Summary. "Americans don't struggle. North Koreans struggle." Everyday 8-9pm @ New York Time.
Leonardo Fibonacci (1170-1250) may have just stuck his 'golden-ratio-based' fork in the equity market's rally. As the following chart shows, the diminishing marginal utility of Quantitative Easing's wealth effect has followed a rather remarkable pattern... and today marks the next turning point.
Do you believe in miracles? Well, all those managers who were long the QE-sensitive darlings of Financials, Materials, and Consumer Discretionary into the month can breath a collective unchanged sigh of relief - thanks to last week's Draghi drag higher. The Energy sector managed a stupendous 4.9% gain on the month. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq all finished about 1-1.4% higher on the month (while Dow Transports ended -2.3%) as we came close to some Hindenberg Omens in the last few days. Today's market felt like the start of a sell-the-news day as we leaked back to the edge of the Friday cliff in S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) - with an after-day-session-close snap down to catch-down to where risk-assets had broadly been biased all day - amid huge volume (leaving ES below its recent swing highs and Fibonacci levels). Commodities generally slid lower but WTI led the way ending down over 3% from Friday's close. Gold, Silver, and Copper all slid even as USD slid lower too. Treasury yields fell back retracing about half of the post-Draghi sell-off. VIX ended testing 19% into the close, up almost 1vol as the term-structure flattened ahead of the events of the next couple of days. The massive rip in volume at the close (and 5pt drop in ES) suggest plenty of short-term exits ahead of the fun-and-games of the next two days and certainly Treasuries were sending similar derisking signals.
CRAAPL taketh and Draghi giveth it all back. The question remains - given all the front-running anticipatory moves on the back of jawbone after jawbone, will ECB/Fed action have anything but a brief romance with higher prices when/if it occurs? The S&P 500 pushed up to fill its Monday opening gap-down on a reasonable volume day (heading into T-3 from month-end shenanigans) but the participation is absolutely not what one would expect if this was belief with S&P 500 e-mini futures seeing their lowest average trade size of the year. Gold was a winner again as the USD was sold against everything. Treasuries gave back some of their gains - yields leaking higher by around 3-5bps at the mid- to long-end. Credit and equity stayed largely in sync but the former was quiet and likely being reracked more than traded as it gapped at the open and stayed there. Stocks took off from their broad-risk-asset peers from the day-session open, retested VWAP, then pushed back to highs into the close - ending well above risk-assets' view of the world as correlations fell modestly. VIX ended the day down 2 vols at 17.5% but was unable to close the gap to Friday's close like stocks - which closed (rather coincidentally, given month-end, at June's closing price)
Stepping back from the trees to survey the forest (from the Moon perhaps) often provides some clarifying picture-paints-a-thousand-words view of the world. This is exactly what Citi's Rick Lorusso has done and while he called for a correction back in March which was followed by a 10.9% drop in the Dow, he was disappointed and is looking for a far greater adjustment - no matter how many times he hears about negative sentiment and QE and soft-landings. Starting from a truly long-term yearly chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Lorusso conjures wave patterns, Fibonnacci, and cycles as he rotates down to monthly and daily charts to conclude that his charts "suggest the potential for a very significant high this year," in the July/August period, summarizing that Citi is "anticipating that the market will form a terminal high." - even more so on a rally from here as he warns "beware of new highs" so bulls be careful what you wish for.
Early weakness in Treasuries (rising yields) and an acceleration in WTI prices back over $80 provided the 'contextual' support for an almost perfect 38.2% retracement bounce in S&P 500 e-mini futures today. Key support/resistance at the 1330 level was restested on dismal volume with a late-day surge but average trade size and activity picked up rather notably into the bell and ES cracked back almost 7 points to a 'mysterious' VWAP close. HYG outperformed today (as did VXX - and implicitly VIX which closed around 18% dropping 2 vols) but it appeared medium-term that equities were reverting to HYG's less sanguine view of the last month rather than HYG really leading. Financials were strong performers but all of those gains were at the open with XLF (and JPM which was unable to break VWAP in the afternoon) unch from 930ET and MS/GS/BAC/C all down 0.7% to 1.6% from the open (with a late day give back). Gold, Silver, and Copper are pretty much unchanged from the 4pmET close levels of yesterday while WTI is up over 2% closing back above $80. The long-bond underperformed +7bps on the day but outperformed on the week (as the 7Y and 10Y underperformed on the week) and provided the support for equity's levitation but this seemed as much QE-hope unwind as any implicit weakness. FX markets were dead with slight strength in AUD and EUR and weakness in JPY as USD basically trod water +0.8% on the week.
Global gold demand continues to surprise to the upside – especially sizeable demand from the Middle East and China. Confirmation of continuing huge demand in China came yesterday with data showing that Hong Kong shipped 101,768 kilograms of gold to mainland China in April, up 62% on the month - marking the second-highest monthly exports ever. While demand from India continues it has fallen from the record levels recently but demand from other Asian countries is robust with reports of demand in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. A new and potentially significant source of demand is that of demand from Iran. Iran imported a massive $1.2 billion worth of precious metals from Turkey in April alone. Turkish exports of gold, precious metals, pearls and coins to Iran rose to $1.2 billion in April from a tiny $7,500 a year earlier, according to figures released by the state statistics institute in Ankara yesterday. This is a massive increase in demand and suggests that there may be official involvement in the imports from the Central Bank of Iran.
With the EUR imploding following the recent note out of witchhunt target extraordinaire Egan-Jones, and the apparent inability of the ECB to handle the sandtrap on the 18th (they were supposed to announce the magical mystical bailout announcement 20 minutes ago), it makes sense to check up on the most recent InTrade odds for a [Insert first two letters of a peripheral European country]-xit, or, technically, the odds"Any country currently using the Euro to announce intention to drop it before midnight ET 31 Dec 2012." As of minutes ago, this number was 40%. This, however, appears to be a simple Fibonacci retracement to the all time high of 60% seen last November. And while we don't have an opinion one way or another, this level certainly provides pair trade opportunities: recall that according to Buiter, Greece is out by January 1, 2013, so technically a 100% probability, while the ECB gives 0% odds of a Grexit, ever. In other words, two pair trades of Buying ECB while Shorting InTrade, and Buying InTrade while Shorting Citi, virtually guarantees profits.
Gold hit a 4 month low today despite deepening worries that the political upheaval in Greece may sink the country into chaos and endanger the euro zone's efforts to end the debt crisis – possibly leading to contagion and or a monetary crisis. Some decent demand from South East Asia has been reported at the $1,600/oz level and there are also reports from Reuters of a “semi-official buyer of gold” emerging “on dip below $1,600/oz”. Gold’s weakness yesterday may have been again due to dollar strength and oil weakness - oil is now below $97 a barrel (NYMEX). It may also have been due to wholesale liquidation which created a new bout of "risk off" which has seen global equities and commodities all come under pressure. However, gold’s weakness yesterday was also contributed to by more unusual trading activity. As trading in New York got underway, there was an unusually large bout of selling with some 6,000 gold futures contracts sold in minutes and this led to gold's initial $10 fall to the $1,615/oz level. Momentum driven algorithm trading may have then led to follow through selling and the initial sell off may have emboldened tech traders to sell more leading to the falls below $1,600/oz.