Central bankers are watching Marx's dictum all that is solid melts into air play out in global stock markets with a terror informed by the scalding memories of 2008's global financial meltdown. The herd must be turned away from selling by any means available, and at this point, that means coordinated buying by all the world's Plunge Protection Teams.
Momentum traders - relying on the 'trend is your friend' theme - may have a rude awakening soon as momentum stocks trade at a stunning 50% premium to the market (vs an average 20%). As BofAML notes, high growth, high multiple names that have been leading the market over the past year are showing some signs suggest we are close to a tipping point. The growth-to-value spread is at its highest since the peak of the dotcom bubble in 2000 and, as Subramanian ominously notes, when momentum ends, it ends badly - with an average loss of 25% over the next 12 months.
As the chart below shows, from oil to bunds, to US HG and Convertible debt, to USTs and even to Developed Market stocks, turnovers are virtually non-existant, while the only place where there has been a transitory surge in turnover has something to do with Chinese stocks, where volume however has been quite muted in recent months ever since the bubble died.
The dance of the zombies goes on... During the 10 years between 2005 and 2014, these four retailers spent $34 billion on stock buybacks and dividends. But, alas, their cumulative net income during the period was only $13 billion. So they pumped 2.6X more into the casino than they earned! Last week’s tepid retail reports were not only a reminder that QE and ZIRP have by-passed main street entirely. The faltering department store sector is also a reminder that the monumental amount of Fed confected cash pooling-up in the canyons of Wall Street is breeding debt-laden zombies throughout the length and breadth of the land.
Wondering why stocks are surging this morning - aside from Fischer's comments, OPEC rumors, Greek bank recaps, and JPY ignition? Perhaps it is the veritable swarm of professional technical analysts out with notes warning of significant problems ahead. From John Hussman's refined Hindenberg Omen and Carter Worth's "sell stocks, breadth is a problem," to Oppenheimer's warning of "seasonals and weak internals," and Louise Yamada's "stocks are vulnerable, keep cash on sidelines" warning - it appears today's early bounce is as much about contrarian oversold bounce as it is about any macro news. But with 73% of the largest 1000 stocks at least 5% off their highs, stocks remain fragile as they push back towards highs.
As the USDollar surges post-payrolls, WTI Crude futures are re-tumbling (but but but energy stocks were up yesterday!!!). With a $43 handle, WTI does not have far to fall to new cycle lows... and that has spooked professionals in the credit markets (as opposed to the machines and amateurs in the momo stock markets) as Energy credit risk surges back to 1000bps once again...
"The wealth management arm of Bank of America Merrill Lynch is liquidating its clients’ money from one of Paulson & Company’s funds and has put another fund under "heightened review,'" NY Times reports. As it turns out, this was not the year to be long Greece and Puerto Rico.
Bubblevision’s Scott Wapner nearly split a neck vessel today denouncing the US stock market sell-off. It was completely unwarranted, he thundered, because China don’t have nothin’ to do with anything. The collapse of red capitalism in China is exporting gale force deflation to the global economy, meaning that the already evident rollover of world trade is just beginning its descent. So S&P profits are not immune, not by a longshot. One of these days, perhaps soon, even Scott Wapner will get the memo.
While this week has been, and continues to be, devoid of macro updates, yesterday's flurry of mostly disappointing earnings releases both before and after the open, including some of the biggest DJIA companies as well as the current and previously biggest and most important companies in the world, AAPL and MSFT, both of which came crashing down following earnings and forecasts that were well short of market expectations, came as a jolt to a market that was artificially priced by central bank liquidity and HFT momo algos beyond perfection. Add to that yesterday's downward revision to historical industrial production which confirmed the US economy is a step away from recession, as well as last night's Crude API inventory build which is once again pressuring WTI lower and on the verge of a 49 handle, and perhaps the biggest question is why are futures not much lower.
June was a bad month for most hedge funds. With China crashing, oil prices resuming their slide, volatility returning, and even momo favorite biotechs no longer rising at their conservative 10% monthly clip, few looked forward to writing their monthly investor letters, and nowhere was the carnage more indicative than in our favorite named hedge fund, the Tulip Trend Fund, which after soaring earlier in the year tumbled 15% in June and is now down almost 20% for the year.
Trannies touched unchanged and instantly reversed but Dow Industrials only managed a modest bounce of opening lows. However, the momo did not last and there's no Nike to save the day today - The Dow is now down over 200 points and has tumbled back into the red for 2015.
While there was a disturbance earlier around the DOE data, crude and copper are now getting clubbed like a baby seal off the day's highs... It appears between Icahn's bubble comments and The Fed's reported impatience, momo trades are being unwound.