It seems Janet has some work to do on her "communications". Judging by today's follow-through on dismal retail sales data (and a miss for claims), stocks, bonds, and gold screamed higher (and the USD lower) suggesting an increasing crowd does not believe the QEeen's "stay the taper course" meme. The S&P 500 rallied 25pts off early lows - practically in a straight-line, dislocated from JPY-carry, dislocated from bonds, and coupled almost perfectly with gold after Europe close. Nasdaq is up 6 days in a row and back near multi-year highs (+1.5% in 2014) as "most shorted" stocks were ripped 2.5% higher intraday. Gold closed back above $1,300 (outperforming on the week and since Taper); Treasury yields tumbled 6-7bps; and the USD Index dropped 0.5% led by EUR and GDP strength. VIX traded under 14% briefly. Bad news is great news once again. This is the Nasdaq's best 6-day run in 27 months.
Apart from a 45-minute period from 1030ET to 1115ET (POMO) of totally failed momentum ignition, US equities and USDJPY were once again perfectly coupled leaving the Dow and S&P in the red today and the rest practically unchanged on dismally low volumes. Treasuries continue to slide with yields now 5bps (30Y) to 10bps (5Y) higher in the last 2 days (the worst 2 days for 5Y in almost 2 months). The USD ended practically unchanged on the week (once again) as EUR weakness (Coeure comments on negative rates) offset GBP strength (Carney comments). VIX traded down to 14.02% intraday (and the term structure is very steep and complacent once again). Gold (new 3-month highs) and silver surged intraday but the afternoon saw selling even as bonds, stocks, and the USD weakened. Dow remains below 16k.
2014 has been an unusual year so far. The worst start for stocks in decades stunned many but has been saved by the best rally in a few years' asset-gatherers proclaim it was the dip to be bought but volume never came back to buy that dip (despite its exuberant surge). So where is all the volume in 2014? Nanex has the answer... investors have been geting 'high' by weeding-out OTC stocks...
For only the 5th time in the last 25 years, the S&P closed up over 1% on Humphrey-Hawkins testimony day. Today's screamfest seems all about a growing "common knowledge" that the economy is weaker than everyone hoped and Yellen will untaper as soon as possible (despite her saying the absolute opposite of that). Stocks surged (S&P's best 4-day run in over 2 years); Credit spreads collapsed. Gold soared to 3-month highs (+5% from Taper). The USD roller-coastered notably on JPY & EUR weakness. While bonds sold off (not un-tapery) the move was very modest (and bond yields have dislocated notably from stocks). Of course, USDJPY was in charge keeping the S&P over 1,800; and Nasdaq in the green year-to-date - Mission Accomplished (but Dow lost 16k into the close). A massive squeeze of shorts in the last few days has doubled the market's impressive performance. VIX tested down to almost 14%. Why not BTFATH, Yellen said there was no bubble so we are good to go?
Having decoupled entirely for almost 30 minutes after the Yellen testimony was released, USDJPY and the S&P 500 have now rejoined their delicate fun-durr-mentals-based dance. From the moment she started speaking, stocks began to rise. The S&P 500 cash index opened above 1,800 and has now surged back above the key 50-day moving average (thanks to USDJPY hitting 102.50). Bonds continued to leak higher in yield (5Y +5bps). Gold is surging off kneejerk lows (+$14 from post-Yellen lows). VIX is back under 14.5%.
We at the Fed are the platonic guardians of the global financial system. And our logic is undeniable….
US equity markets traded in a narrow range ahead of tomorrow's Yellen testimony with Trannies underperforming and Nasdaq outperforming. Cross-asset-class correlations picked up from their negligible levels on Friday as JPY (and increasingly 5Y bonds) are linked at the hip with stocks. The S&P cash tested almost up to 1,800 (but failed at 1799.94) then faded. Notably from the European close, equity handily outperformed credit markets - which ended closing near their wides of the day. Treasuries ended the day modestly bid (30y -2bps) but T-Bill yields are starting to reflect debt-ceiling concerns. The USD closed unch - drifting lower from overnight strength - but gold and silver rallied on the day (though faded of early highs). Late-day ramp efforts got the S&P green but failed to cross 1,800... and VIX decoupled on the ramp.
Despite the short-term memory-losing recency-biased perspective that a 2-day rally in stocks has seemingly set in investors' minds, Citi's FX Technicals group remains concerned that the S&P 500 is stretched by historical standards. At this point, they add, the S&P is more stretched than in 2007 and a bit less stretched than 2000 with the line in the sand around 1,700.
Following the 2nd dismal jobs print in a row, it would appear the market's new "common knowledge" is that the Fed will be forced to un-taper - despite Hilsenrath's "Fed stays the course" perspective. Everything is up today (apart from the USD). The disconnects from recent correlations were extreme as stocks lost the plot against FX carry, commodities, and bonds. The best 2 days in a row for stocks in 4 months sent most indices to critical technical levels and dragged all but Trannies and the Russell back into the green on the week. Oil prices surged back above $100. Bonds rallied (and bull steepened). Gold, silver, and copper all gained notably (with silver's best week in 6 months). Buy, buy it all... apart from VIX which was monkey-hammered back to 15% (down over 2 vols). So with FX carry left in the dust, what was the ammunition for the move? a 6.3% rip squeeze in the "most shorted" stocks.
With 31% of the float short, Green Mountain, despite announcing weaker than expected numbers, are spiking over 45% on news that Coca-Cola is taking a 10% stake. Albeit at a discount to the price at which GMCR closed today ($80.88 close vs $74.98 purchase price); the massive squeeze is Volkswagen-reminiscent. As the following press release explains, The Keurig Cold System is in development and thus SodaStream is getting creamed in the after-hours market (down over 10%). It seems, once again, that Whitney Tilson has managed to get himself in a short squeeze.
Thanks to a bounce off 101.00, USDJPY supported yet another marginal bounce off fresh 2014 lows in US equities (led by a heavyily turmoiled Russell this morning following the better than expected ISM Services). Nasdaq and Trannies bounced off its 100DMA and the Dow rallied back to modestly green and tested the 200DMA from below. The ubiquitous late-day ramp attempt failed and the Dow lost its marginal green color into the close; Trannies and Russell underperforming. Notably though, despite stocks ending flat to down, Treasury yields surged 6-8bps off post-ADP lows (and 3-4bps up on the day). Gold and silver spiked on the weak ADP data and faded back on the day with Silver outperforming on the week (+3.5% vs 1.1% gold). Credit and VIX once again were not playing ball this afternoon and diverged from stock's bounce but we do note that equities are showing notably more volatilty relative to FX carry in the last 2 days. YTD: Dow -7%, Russell -6%, S&P -5%, Nasdaq -4%
Once again the smell of NAPALM is in the air
The farce that is the so-called stock "market" gets more and more mindblowing every day. Following yesterday's record high volume in VIX futures and options, this morning saw one stock - the $4bn market cap WhiteWave Foods represent a stunning 27% of all quotes in this morning's pre-open. As Nanex notes in this great analysis, HFT algos generated 2.04 million quotes which created... drum roll please... 3 trades.
US (and Japanese) stocks began their dead-cat bounce around the European open tracking USDJPY (once again) and rising in reverse order of yesterday's selloff as Nikkei, Trannies, Nasdaq and so on (in order) recovered around 25-35% of yesterday's losses. For Fibonacci-watchers, S&P futures ticked 38.2% retracement and stalled and VWAP was support all day. Credit markets did not buy it and stocks caught down to them. Silver, having underperformed since the taper, outperformed today back over $19.50 and +1.7% on the week as gold slipped modestly today (but +0.8% on the week). Treasuries sold off modestly leaving yields -2-3bps on the week. AUD stength and JPY weakness supported stocks but the USD flatlined ahead of tomorrow's ECB meeting. MUB, the Muni ETF, was smashed lower on the Puero Rico junking (and that triggered a quick waterfall in stocks) but that was quickli BTFD'd. VIX fell an impressive 2.9 vols to 18.5%.
Equities have the worst day of the year and really no exchange around the globe was left out. Now every one on our screen is down YTD. For US markets, today was the worst day since last June. Overall, while today was active, it was still an orderly session. We did have some interest to buy topside options... Serious pain in risk assets lent a bid to US treasuries as yields continue to retreat from their New Years’ day highs.