Well that escalated quickly... again. While credit markets were not buying the dead-cat-bounce in stocks and oil this morning (Energy HY >1000bps, HYCDX >400bps), financial media was cock-a-hoop... "the bottom is in." Well we have a new bottom. WTI Crude futures have tumbled back to the scene of the manipulative algo crime last night back below $57. European stocks are under pressure and are now once again negative year-to-date and US stocks have given up all the overnight and US opening exuberance gains - now red from Friday.
You know 'the market' is laughing at you when...
- Shale operaters Goodrich, Oasis Petroleum cut spending for 2015 as oil slides (Reuters)
- Greece to hold elections in January if president vote fails (Reuters)
- Norway’s Shock Rate Cut Drives Krone to Lowest Since 2009 (BBG)
- ‘Severe Downturn’ Threatening Norway, Central Bank Governor Says (BBG)
- Russia’s Fifth Rate Increase Fails to Halt Ruble Slide to Record (BBG)
- SNB Says Deflation Risks Increased as Franc Cap Maintained (BBG)
- China eases bank lending restrictions, PBOC targets 10 trillion yuan in loans for 2014 (Reuters)
- Mobius Says China’s Bull Market Is Just Getting Started (BBG)
- How Wal-Mart Made Its Crumbling China Business Look So Good for So Long (BBG)
Stocks were modestly weak overnight amid poor Japanese, Chinese, and European data, but as soon as the US cash markets opened, stocks surged higher algorithmically testing up to unchanged briefly for the S&P 500 and squeezing small-cap shorts (as usual).. until Europe closed. Stock started to lose steam but once Nasdaq and Russell broke red, programs slammed stocks lower and despite a late-day bounce, stocks gave up all the gains from Friday's "awesome jobs data" and then some with Trannies and Small Caps worst. Momo names all suffered - most notably TWTR & TSLA. VIX broke above 14.5 briefly, closing up 2.4 at 14.2. Treasury yields plunged 5-7bps at the long-end (1-2bps at the short-end) flattening significantly. Credit markets were clubbed - with HYG taking the brunt and ending at Bullard lows. Gold and silver gained solidly (as USD slipped 0.3% led by JPY strength) as copper fell 0.5% and oil price crashed again. Markets turmoiled notably into the oil pit close (margin calls) and stabilized modestly after... but the S&P 500 still closed below its 5DMA.
Some very significant volatility intraday today. The Dow Transports lost around 2.7% today - the most since early January - as Airlines slipped (though held half of Friday's panic-buying gains). The Dow outperformed - but closed red - thanks to strength in Chevron and Exxon (adding 35 Dow points alone). All major US equity indices are red from pre-Thanksgiving's meltup exuberant close with Trannies and Small Caps worst. Momo names were hit, as was AAPL. All of this was driven, it appears, by a somewhat staggering (dead cat or not) bounce in commodity markets off overnight flush lows. Gold and silver screamed higher and oil gained 7% off its lows to close up 4.8% from Friday. Treasury yields also turned around notably intraday from down 1-2bps to closing up around 6bps at the long-end (after ISM beat). VIX briefly tested below 14 but the 330RAMP went the wrong way with VIX rising and stocks closing not off the lows.
Never in the history of US equity markets has the S&P 500 closed above its 5-day moving average for 28 days in a row... until today. While most indices tracked sideways in a very narrow range today, Trannies outperformed (helped by weaker oil, but even when oil rallied intraday Trannies rallied too). VIX tracked back below 12.5 with an inverted term structure for the 5th day in a row. The USD lost ground for the 2nd day in a row, driven by EUR strength (with notable AUD weakness extending). Silver rallied as gold flatlined and copper tumbled after US GDP beat. However, the two big themes today were the collapse in oil prices (as rumors/news ahead of OPEC sent volatility soaring) to a $73 handle - the lowest close since 2010; and the plunge in Treasury yields (with a very stroing 5Y auction and big block trade in TLT suggesting short-covering). Finally, AAPL broke above a $700 billion market cap briefly today but was unable to hold it.
Apple is not Microsoft.. and Netflix has lost its momo mojo...
The BTFDippier of the fast money is already rotating into a long-Europe mode: their entire thesis is that sooner or later the whales will have no choice but to follow the momentum chasers right back into Europe, because where else are they going to go: in the "safety" of the S&P's 19x GAAP P/E? In theory this would be a great strategy, if only in a world in which nobody actually does any fundamental homework and the only thing that matters is frontrunning the next great sucker. In practice, it is fatally wrong. As the following observation from hedge fund Lyxor shows, while CTA and momentum strats have indeed bailed on Europe in recent months, the so-called smart money, the "global macro" funds never left.
When you absolutely, completely, undoubtedly need the Dow and S&P 500 to close green at new record closing highs... unleash the last second VIX smasher algo...
As one would expect with half the market away, US equity volumes were terrible (but fiunnily enough not much worse than yesterday) with most major indices trading in a very tight range around unchanged. Overnight strength in stocks on the back of USDJPY's momo ignition after Reuters headlines on Japan tax delays. Trannies, however, surged out of the gate, stalled into the European close, tumbled on oil weakness, then rallied back in the last hour - amid now news. Treasury futures were very quiet and went nowhere. The real story of the day was in the FX markets, which saw notable USD weakness led by EUR and AUD strength, and a late day rally in JPY (USDJPY tagged 116.00 stops then faded... that's 8 handles in 9 days). The USD weakness - which started around the European close - sparked a rally in copper, gold, and silver (and gold miners surged). Oil prices tested cycle lows before also bouncing back in a v-shaped recovery to close higher. Despite early intraday record highs in Dow and S&P futures, they ended practically unchanged as VIX was notably divergent. Late-day panic-buying lifted the Dow (+0.007%), S&P, and Russell 2000 green.
Japanese bond yields have crept slowly higher since the big flush on Monday and Nikkei 225 is 2.6% below its highs on Monday seemingly pinned at 17,000. We note this as Abe & Kuroda's currency collapses yet another big figure to 115.00 (up 7 handles in 7 days from pre-FOMC) - the highest in over 7 years. The crucial 120 line in the sand should be crossed early next week at this rate... What was the trigger for tonight's exuberance, we hear you ask, why the Japanese market opening - which sent USDJPY instantly up 40 pips.
Blood in the leveraged momo streets. Nikkei was crushed overenight as USDJPY could not hold 107. European stock indices are tumbling led by weakness in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. The peripheral bond markets are also getting crushed (spreads wider by 15-20bps). This has bled over into US equities with Nasdaq leading the way lower. Treasury yields are collapsing (10Y tests below 2.15%). The USD is modestly lower but oil is continuing to collapse testing the $80 handle for WTI.
Seemingly catalyzed by opaque black-box bank earnings (and aided by a run for 107 stops in USDJPY), the S&P has jerked 14 points higher in a few minutes as bond yields remain entirely unimpressed in an uncomfortable case of deja deja deja vu from last week. 10Y yields are below 2.20%, 30Y under 3.00%, and 5Y under 1.5%.
Well that escalated quickly... high beta momo stocks are continuing to accelerate lower this morning as BTFD'ers seem absent for now. VIX topped 22 - its highest since Dec 2012. Once again, stocks tried to decouple from bonds (twice) and failed...
Following Friday's post-payrolls exuberance, the US Dollar crashed by the most in over a year today and stocks retraced most of their gains with only European data (weak) to base any momentum ignition on. Today's stock weakness turning point coincided with the bankruptcy headlines of GTAT but the divergence to USDJPY and bonds set the scene for stocks' demise. Trannies were today's laggard (after leading Friday) along with small-caps as The Dow clung to 17,000 and S&P closed marginally red. EUR strength led USD weaker and the plunge accelerated into the US close (eradicating all payrolls gains). USD weakness sparked commodity strength as gold (up most in 3 months), copper, and oil all rose and silver surged 3% (most in 4 months). VIX rose 0.8 to 15.3 as stocks closed ugly (not "off the lows" for Trannies and Russell) with a flush in financials.