Aside from an opening short-squeeze that saw 'most-shorted' stocks surge 0.8% in the first 15 minutes of the day, stocks did very little for the rest of the day. Ranges were extremely narrow with whatever lift stocks got based on small AUDJPY (carry) sparks but the Dow and S&P end the day red (Nasdaq and Russell 2000 green). Nasdaq was driven by AAPL exuberance (what no a new iPhone model??) which grabbed the Tech sector to the best peformance on the day. Utes were the biggest losers as rates reversed early gains and Treasury yields (especially 30Y) surged 6-7 bps from their per-open low yields. The big story was precious metals as Silver and Gold surged on the day. Silver is now up over 9% in the last 3 days - its best run in 22 months. Interestingly, VIX was pushed notably lower on the day (but it appears investors are moving hedges further out in time - to September). Credit notably underperformed. Today was all about pre- and post-Europe (as normal).
The best returning asset class traded in the NY Metro area is yellow but doesn't change hands on Wall Street. As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, over the last 12 months New York City taxi medallions have risen 49% in price, besting the relatively humdrum returns of the S&P 500 (up 21%), the NASDAQ (22%) and the Dow (18%). Medallions – essentially the right to operate a for-hail taxi in New York City – now trade for as much as $1.3 million, an all-time record. Part of this dynamic is fixed supply – there are just 13,336 medallions available for a city of 8.3 million people. There is also a macroeconomic point, with a stronger NYC economy for those inhabitants who can afford the service. The more surprising observation, however, is that new technology in the form of in-car credit card machines and more recently smartphone hailing apps both materially increase the value of owning a medallion. In a world where every technology is deemed “Disruptive”, here’s a case where the status quo has actually reaped much of the reward.
It is well-known that as part of the S&P500's ascent to new records, investor margin debt has also surged to all time highs, surpassing for the past three months previous records set during both prior, the dot com and the housing, stock market bubbles. And as more attention has shifted to the topic of speculator leverage once more, inquiries into the correlation between bets upon bets and stock performance are popping up once more, in this case in a study by Deutsche Bank titled "Red Flag! - The curious case of NYSE margin debt." Of particular note here is a historical comparison of margin-debt warnings that have recurred throughout history but especially just before major stock bubble crashes, such as in the period 1999/2000, 2007/2008 and of course today, which have time and again been ignored. Here is what was said then, what is being said now, and what is ignored always.
"You can't go up forever," noted Bob Pisani before piling on a series of excuses for the recent 'weakness' that quite frankly could have been used at any 1.1% drop in stocks of the last 3 years... While stocks bounced off lows today and are making the headlines for a third down day for the first time in 2 months, the real story that most are ignoring is the surge in the JPY. The USD is legging lower confusing the 'Taper' chatter but it is the JPY strength that is dominating (up 3.6% against the USD in the last 4 days (and the Nikkei futures -800 from Friday's highs). Treasuries rallied 3-4bps (and the curve flattened) as it seems the modest weakness in stocks is being met with some safe-haven demand. Despite bonds' bid, Homebuilders were battered (-4.5% on the week). Gold and silver strengthened off pre-open lows as WTI fell back to around $104. VIX spiked to 13.9% at the open but ended around 13% at the close. Back to CNBC for the close: "off the lows," but not in credit Maria...
This 4 year Bull market has been registering new all-time highs on a nearly daily basis. Days like today’s 57 basis point drop in the S&P 500 are being mocked as a correction or large sell off for the current environment. It appears that after so many years of the “Great Rotation” being hyped, the public has (to an extent) been trained to take their Bond fund proceeds and roll them into equity ETFs. While it is unlikely that baby boomer money will come back to equities and sustain the rotation, there is money flowing in. While we are no fans of the bond market, we are still stunned that there are people selling “safe” assets and rolling the proceeds into “risky” assets at all-time highs. There are three cornerstones to our current view that risk far outweighs opportunity...
S&P futures volume was the lowest of 2013 for a non-holiday-related day (35% below last year's volume and 40% below recent average volume). NYSE volume the second lowest of the year. Tech and Staples managed small gains on the day but homebuilders and utilities underperformed as bond yields rose 3 to 5bps on the day. The 'anxiety' in stocks showed itself with another appearance of the Hindenburg Omen (which has signaled short-term weakness in the last six months). The Russell closed green and thanks to AAPL, the Nasdaq eked out a small gain. Trannies were down 0.8% in their now-ubiquitous schizophrenic manner as 'most-shorted' names outperformed significantly. The USD slid lower from the US open ending -0.1% (with JPY strength dominant) but commodities were worse down 0.5% (WTI) to 1% (silver and gold) on the day. VIX was clubbed lower (to 11.8% - its lowest close in 5 months) right at the close to ramp stocks into the cash close.
Friday's very disappointing non-farm payroll number may have had zero impact on stocks, which after opening deep in the red, following the latest Fed-induced all day zero volume ramp, closed at the all time highs (because when you can't BTFD you BTFATH), but it sure worked miracles on the 10 Year to keep it from tumbling below the critical 2.75% level (in no small part aided by the rampant momentum ignition manipulation in the 10 Year moments before the BLS released its data). Yet does Friday's move change anything in the Ten-Year Trendline? According to Bank of America technical strategist MacNeil Curry, not at all.
The past few weeks have seen the tech and business media abuzz about a not-so-little warehouse in Tennessee. That's because this distribution center, opening its doors with a burst of fanfare and even a few visits from nearby politicians, isn't a jumping-off point for Macy's or Target. Instead, the warehouse is the latest in a series of new locations being opened by retail technology giant Amazon.com. The jobs this new mega-warehouse is purported to create: 5,000. However, as we discuss below, for every job Amazon "creates," four other jobs go away at a company like TJX.
- Low Wages Work Against Jobs Optimism (WSJ)
- Tourre’s Junior Staff Defense Seen Leading to Trial Loss (BBG)
- Russia gives Snowden asylum, Obama-Putin summit in doubt (Reuters)
- Fortress to Blackstone Say Now Is Time to Sell on Surge (BBG)
- Brazil backs IMF aid for Greece and recalls representative (FT), previously Brazil refused to back new IMF aid for Greece, says billions at risk (Reuters)
- Google unveils latest challenger to iPhone (FT)
- Swaps Probe Finds Banks Manipulated Rate at Expense of Retirees (BBG)
- Academics square up in fight for Fed (FT)
- Potash Turmoil Threatens England’s First Mine in Forty Years (BBG)
- Dell Deal Close but Not Final (WSJ)
For the 5th time in 5 days, equity markets dropped back below their May 2013 all-time highs only to be rapidly bid back above that magical level into the close. Stocks in general went nowhere fast with another heavy volume dip and light volume rip to close the day near VWAP. Nasdaq continues to outperform from the last FOMC meeting (up over 4%) even though Tech is unchanged since 6/19. Homebuilders are the drag (down 5.5% from the last FOMC). Treasuries ended the day unchanged (selling back from a 5bps yield compression across the US open after housing data disappointed). AUD continued its overnight weakness (as did GBP) but the USD managed only very modest gains on the day. Gold flatlined as the rest of the economic-commodities slipped lower (WTI at $103 with spread to Brent testing $4). Do not panic!! The Dow closed red for a second day in a row for the first time in six weeks!
- "Ooops": Barclays reveals £12.8bn balance sheet hole (FT), Barclays Bows to Pressure With Share Sale (WSJ)
- Bank of Italy Inspecting Top Lenders' Books (WSJ)
- Obama to propose 'grand bargain' on corporate tax rate, infrastructure (Reuters)
- China injects funds into money markets, quelling fears (FT)
- Berlusconi faces verdict that could endanger Italian government (Reuters)
- Shale Threatens Saudi Economy, Warns Prince Alwaleed (WSJ)
- Qatar Finds Revolution Abroad Not as Easy as Stock Picks (BBG)
- Cities Begin Hiring Again (WSJ) - not to mention filing for bankruptcy
- Big Question Hangs Over Small-Caps (WSJ)
- China Politburo Pledges to Press On With Restructuring Economy (BBG)
- Bank Revenues Surge on Trading Over What Fed Will Do (BBG)
- The Citadel-SAC connection (BBG) - just wait until the Citadel-FRBNY connection emerges
- Letter backs Yellen for Federal Reserve role (FT) - or said otherwise, the Democrats would like the Fed to rule (and monetize deficits) for ever
- Obama, Republicans gear up for bruising U.S. budget fight (Reuters)
- Up for Debate at Fed: A Sharper Easy-Money Message (WSJ)
- UBS to Pay $885 Million to Settle U.S. Mortgage Suit (BBG), Banks shiver as UBS swallows $885 million U.S. fine (Reuters)
- Japan finmin Aso: CPI shows gradual shift to inflation from deflation (Reuters)
- Japan's PM calls for high-level talks with China (Reuters)
- Holder Targets Texas in New Voting-Rights Push (WSJ)
- Another Nightmareliner incident: Probe opened as Air India Boeing Dreamliner oven overheats midair (Reuters)
- Samsung Boosts Capital Spending as High-End Phone Demand Slows (BBG)
The S&P 500 - after failing once again to take out the 1,700 magic line - closed the day just 'off the lows' with its worst day in a week (down a modest 0.1%). Stocks saw their best levels in the overnight session (echoing yesterday's move) and faded from the European open bouncing modestly at the European close. But unlike yesterday, we were unable to hold the bounce and dropped back to the lows of the day. Materials popped (shorts cover) at the open and dumped all day (a pattern seen in every sector). The USD rose in the early morning as the EUR faded but once the US opened the USD slid lower all day as JPY was well bid (back to its highs of the week). Gold (and less-so silver initially) lurched back up to pre-Taper talk FOMC levels (as did the USD) - its best 4-day run in 20 months. WTI held steady around $107 (and the Brent spread ebbed and flowed). Treasuries saw modest weakness on the day (+1 to 2bps) but ended well off the day's worst levels. VIX rose 0.3 vols on the day (more than expected given the equity move). Volume (once again) was entirely abysmal.
Apparently, figures have just been released showing that 591 million Chinese are now on-line. That’s an increase of+10% on last year’s figure. So, the Chinese are connected.
Between Detroit's bankruptcy, Microsoft's miss and worst drop in over 13 years, and GOOG's miss (latter gobbled back by the BTFD'ers), it is no surprise that stocks rallied (thanks to GE's explosion higher and Trannies surging). Mixed bag overall in stocks with the Nasdaq -1.4% on the week and TRAN +2.2% (with the S&P and Dow around 0.6%). Treasuries 'outperformed' stocks relatively speaking with a 11-12bps compression in the belly and 6bps at the long-end on the week - ending today at the low yields of the week. As an aside, AAA muni spreads pushed to their highest in 13 months as yield remain notably elevated as Treasuries rallied. Despite a 1% weakening of the JPY, the USD ended the week down around 0.4% driven by EUR (and AUD) strength. Despite USD weakness, Silver lost 2.2% on the week while gold gained 0.7%. WTI crossed above $109 and Brent today gaining 2.25% on the week (off today's highs). VIX dumped back to 2 months lows under 13%, volume was dismal all week (worst today), but new highs all around for stocks (amid another idiotic Friday closing ramp) so we must be doing great?