The distinction between the world's only two types of traders (good vs bad) has been a very vague one. Until now. According to a new study by researchers at Caltech and Virginia Tech that looked at the brain activity and behavior of people trading in experimental markets where price bubbles formed, an early warning signal tips off smart traders when to get out even as the "dumb" ones keep ploughing in and chasing the momentum wave. In such markets, where price far outpaces actual value, it appears that wise traders receive an early warning signal from their brains—a warning that makes them feel uncomfortable and urges them to sell, sell, sell.
A middle of the day co-ordinated VWAP ramp (thanks to VIX) lifted stocks briefly - aftewr the Russell neared unchanged for 2014 - but the last 2 days - the worst in 3 months - pushed small caps into negative territory post-Yellen's June Fed "all-clear". All major equity indices in the US remain notably red post-payrolls. Trannies (miraculously) recovered to unch on the day. Momo names and growth-sensitive stocks have been slammed since the exuberant payroll highs of last week. Treasury yields continues to slide. with the 10Y now 7bps lower in yield post-payrolls (and stocks caught down to that reality) FX markets saw early USD weakness then stability but AUDJPY was in charge of stocks today. Despite early USD weakness, commodities were all rammed lower around the US open - only to recover 'efficiently' back to unch on the day. VIX closes at 12.15 - 3 week highs.
What did investors in the growth-leveraged momo-darling stocks, that have raced back to record highs and "proved" that all is well in the world again, see in the Non-farm payrolls report that scared them short? From the peak last week, momo growth names have been monkey-hammered and even M&A-driven Biotech exuberance has given up over 7%...
Before 330ET, the Nasdaq was the lone survivor in the green this week despite every effort to spark short squeezes and ramps day after day - but that all changed as the ubiquitous late-Friday buying panic occurred of course - lifting stock green for the day (and desperately searching for green on the week). There was a sudden heavy volume dump at 1315ET with no news catalyst amking many wonder if a dark pool puked its orders? A glance at the week's market moves would suggest 'volatility' is anything but low - yet we always manage to close day-to-day calmly. Wondering what provides the ammo for Nasdaq's rise? "Most shorted" stocks are up for the 7th week in a row. Despite all that idiocy, bond yields tumbled the most in 6 weeks and USDJPY fell the most in 14 weeks. Oil slipped on the week but copper, gold, and silver all gained. With the Rusell rebalance, volume was extreme today (but only at the close and that 1315ET dump).
Priceline announced last week that it will pay roughly 112x for OpenTable - the reservation app pioneer - even though its growth has stalled for two years, is assailed by numerous aggressive competitors (e.g. Yelp, GrubHub and numerous international players) and is not protected by any evident moat of technology or branding. The bottom-line is that the artificial attraction of massive capital and trading leverage (through options) into rank speculation like the PCLN/OPEN deal here does not stimulate sustainable economic growth or a true rise in capitalist prosperity. It simply generates unearned rents for the 1% who have the financial assets and access to play in the Fed’s casino. One can't help but thnk of Dubai.
For the last two decades Coach (COH) could do no wrong. Its aspirational handbags flew off the shelves at hefty prices, causing its sales to soar from $1.3 billion to $5.1 billion during the 10-years ending in fiscal 2013. Better still, its EPS soared by 6X, representing a 20% earnings growth rate over the same period. Greatest of all, its share price peaked at nearly $80 in 2012 after having opened the 21st century at $3 per share. Needless to say, the believers and speculators who got on board for the 27X gain in twelve years were fabulously rewarded, as was its founder and largest stockholder, Lew Frankfort, who became a billionaire along the way. So the capitalist dream is still working in America, right? Not exactly.
Fear - or no fear. VIX was monkey-hammered to fresh cycle lows at 10.34 today (still double-digits for now) and OPEX lifted US equity markets (Dow Industrials, Transports, and S&P) to new record highs. Notably European peripheral bond spreads jumped higher (worsened) by their most in 15 months this week. "Most shorted" stocks rose a massive 4.6% this week (surging this afternoon) - the biggest squeeze in 14 months. The USD lost ground (-0.4% on the week) led by EUR strength as JPY closed unch (hardly supportive of the 2% gain in the high-beta honeys this week). Treasuries were nothing like as exuberant as stocks this week (30Y +3bps, 5Y unch) having traded in a 10-11bps range all week. The ubiquitous late-day VIX slam forced stocks to all-time highs. Precious metals had their best week in 4 months closing above $1300 (gold) and $20 (silver) back at 2 and 3 month highs respectively and pushing gold above the S&P year-to-date.
With this unprecedented step, the Fed is sending a very clear message: it may be next year, or next month, or next week, but quite soon you, dear retail bond-fund investor, will be gated and will be unable to pull your money.... So wouldn't you rather just keep said money in the "safety" of stock funds, none of which will ever, ever be gated, pinky swear.... Unless the market crashes one final time of course, at which point the Fed will be on the first flight out to non-extradition countries.
Volume is well above average pro rata as US equity markets are stumbling notably this morning. Was retail sales' miss the final straw that broke the hope back? Or was it China's CNY vol, failed auction, warehouse probe, or Japan's dismal data and misery, or Iraq's reignition, or Ukraine, or Q1 GDP downgrades, or earnings outlook downward revisions, or flows? Since Mario Draghi promised the world and made everyone believe that's what he gave them, US equity markets have rolled over hard today and Dow Transports are now notably in the red as the former high-flier unbreakable trend looks set to follow Biotechs in the momo meltdown club...
After last night's tumble in copper and surge in CNY during Asia, Europe steadied the ship with more plunging yields (especially the front-end) but the US was all about USDJPY ignition at the open to blast the S&P through 1,950 comfortably and decouple stocks once again from reality. VIX was higher and credit markets were not as exuberant and by the time Europe closed and POMO was done, stocks crumbled back to unchish (apart from the Russell - lifted by another epic short squeeze from the Biotech sector this time). This is the best 4-day swing in the Russell 2000 since Jan 2013 (led by Biotechs today) Gold, silver, and copper ended almost unch as Oil surged 1.7% to over $104 (biggest day in 2 months). Treasury yields bear flattened (5Y +4bps, 30Y +1bps). The USD rose 0.3% - its best day in a month - as EUR closed at 4-month lows.
Draghi & Co have embarked on the futile task of forcing more debt onto balance sheets that are saturated and more inflation into an economy that is shrinking in real terms. All of this silly kidstuff, in fact, is the work of Keynesian desperados in Frankfurt who embrace two propositions that are unequivocally and provably wrong. Namely, that the Euro area economy is floundering due to a tiny decline in non-financial credit and that “low-flation” is the great roadblock that prevents the wheels of credit and commerce from turning at a more satisfactory pace. In the end, however, perhaps the Keynesians in Frankfurt will do something useful. That is, elicit another crisis that will finally put the euro out of its misery.
Shitty macro data, check; VIX up, check; Bond yields flat to lower, check; Oil down, check; New Record Highs in the S&P 500 - of course. AAPL was up again as we suspect the world of levered momo players are greatly rotating back into this old hedge fund hotel once again (and lifting the indices with them). Trannies closed red for the 2nd day in a row (first time in 3 weeks). Once again the opening dip was BTFATH back up on no volume thanks to USDJPY's ignition and once Europe closed, stocks went sideways. Copper was clubbed on warehousing concerns. With Draghi about to unveil his holy grail tomorrow, the EUR was flat but protection in volatility was well bid in FX and equity markets. Oil prices (growth?) tumbled after chatter of Ukraine-Russia talks. Gold and silver closed flat as did Treasuries - after catching up to equities from last week. Credit markets faded despite the equity exuberance today. It seems simply that no one is willing to sell anything ahead of tomorrow's grand unveiling (but derivatives protection - away from the simple gaze of the mainstream media - is very active).
Bad news is absolutely great news this morning it would seem. Just as we noted (ironically) this morning, equity algos appeared set for new highs no matter how terrible (or good) data was... and sure enough, the S&P 500 is testing its record highs once again... With Q1 GDP expectations plunging and even the hopeful hockey-stick of Q2's resurgence are now being chipped away as one sell-side economist after another folds...
Wednesday is not Tuesday (except for Trannies). Some early weakness in stocks was bid mindlessly back to its highs even as 10Y bond yields kept tumbling to 11-month lows and oil and copper rolled over. VIX ended the day higher (again) ignoring the exuberance in the light volume equity market. 10Y yields dropped to 2.43% - its best day in 5 months (breaking last October's key support). The yield curve flattened dramatically with 2s30s at its tightest in a year. The USD was bid (led by GBP weakness) buy JPY's volatility is what ran the stock show today. Gold and silver fell further as did WTI crude (back under $103). The S&P 500 is now around 60 points rich to 10Y bond yields (and the world is still short bonds); credit spreads are well off their tights and VIX isn't falling; breadth is weakening and so is volume... but apart from that... BTFATH. A late-day selling frenzy took the shine off the CNBC headlines with stocks closing red.
Treasury yields are tumbling... and so of course US equity prices are soaring as the S&P presses back up toward 1,900 and its all-time record highs. USDJPY is not supporting this spike so it's clear what is... VIX recovered its HP-spike from last night and that was all the momo ignition needed on a thin day to lift stocks ... This magical no volume ramp has lifted the Dow into positive territory for the month and year.