Anyone who has had the displeasure of trading this market since the open will be well aware that the massive selling that started at 3:59:57 PM yesterday just as we showed, appears to have continued into today, after an algo, supposedly one impacting NYSE stocks this time, and proving that the entire market is a broken joke, not just Nasdaq and BATS, and one which is linked to Knight Capital, has continued this morning, sending countless stocks into the proverbial "batshit" formation, with moves of 10% higher and lower for no apparent reason. That's ok: the SEC and various other regulators are all over it, and will guarantee that the markets "are fixed." In other news, today we will report the latest massive outflow from domestic media funds. In the meantime, here are the first two picture of stocks getting pounded in super slo-mo courtesy of Nanex. Behold "perfectly normal" bids, offers and prints.
- Bundesbank’s Weidmann Says ECB Shouldn’t Overstep Mandate (Bloomberg)
- Hollande and Monti Vow to Protect Euro (FT) - be begging Germany to death
- Monti Calls French, Finns to Action as Italy Yields Rises (Bloomberg)
- not working though: Banking license for bailout fund is wrong: German Economy Minister (Reuters)
- Switzerland is ‘New China’ in Currencies (FT)
- Regulator Says no to Obama Mortgage Write-Down Plan (Reuters) - tough: there will be socialism
- Gauging the Triggers to Fed Action (WSJ)
- When domestic monetization is not enough: Azumi Spurns Calls for Bank of Japan to Buy Foreign Bonds to Curb Yen (NYT)
- Indonesia’s July Inflation Accelerates on Higher Food Prices (Bloomberg) - remember: the Deep Fried black swan
- China Manufacturing Teeters Close to Contraction (Bloomberg)
- Spain Introduces Regional Debt Ceilings to Achieve Budget Goals (Bloomberg) - yes, they said "budget goals"
Do you believe in miracles? Well, all those managers who were long the QE-sensitive darlings of Financials, Materials, and Consumer Discretionary into the month can breath a collective unchanged sigh of relief - thanks to last week's Draghi drag higher. The Energy sector managed a stupendous 4.9% gain on the month. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq all finished about 1-1.4% higher on the month (while Dow Transports ended -2.3%) as we came close to some Hindenberg Omens in the last few days. Today's market felt like the start of a sell-the-news day as we leaked back to the edge of the Friday cliff in S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) - with an after-day-session-close snap down to catch-down to where risk-assets had broadly been biased all day - amid huge volume (leaving ES below its recent swing highs and Fibonacci levels). Commodities generally slid lower but WTI led the way ending down over 3% from Friday's close. Gold, Silver, and Copper all slid even as USD slid lower too. Treasury yields fell back retracing about half of the post-Draghi sell-off. VIX ended testing 19% into the close, up almost 1vol as the term-structure flattened ahead of the events of the next couple of days. The massive rip in volume at the close (and 5pt drop in ES) suggest plenty of short-term exits ahead of the fun-and-games of the next two days and certainly Treasuries were sending similar derisking signals.
Charts are saying higher, gut instincts are saying not so fast.
Things have changed quite a bit. With Facebook's stock now at a 50% loss (measured against its high, set within minutes of the May 18th initial public offering), it's becoming clear that just about every entity - human, corporate, and the way things are going, perhaps even extraterrestrial - that touches Facebook gets the zap put on them. Off the top of my head:
When you can't act, you talk. Sure enough, here we go again:
- DRAGHI SAYS ECB WILL DO WHATEVER NEEDED TO PRESERVE THE EURO
- DRAGHI SAYS THE EURO IS IRREVERSIBLE
- DRAGHI SAYS YIELD DISRUPTING POLICY TRANSMISSION ARE IN ECB REMIT
- DRAGHI SAYS SHARING SOVEREIGNTY ON EU LEVEL TO COME
- DRAGHI SAYS LAST EU SUMMIT WAS MOMENT OF RECOGNITION
And of course the weak hands cover until they realize Draghi just said absolutely nothing, as at this point everything is in Germany's hands. And not only has Germany not said anything, and won't until September when the constitutional court will approve or deny the ESM, but in fact they have been saying overnight that Spanish bonds are not eligible for EFSF purchases. In the meantime, Europe has devolved from a continent of coordinated action to coordinated jawboning.
Every day the Fed's control of all capital markets becomes greater and greater, and every day ordinary investors, and even habitual gamblers, realize they have had enough with participating in a rigged casino, in which the now completely meaningless and irrelevant level of the S&P or the DAX or Nikkei or the 10 Year bond is nothing but a policy tool in the global devaluation race to the inflationary bottom. And while we have shown the week after week of relenltess equity outflows as aging baby boomers call it quits and instead opt for return of capital (than on), the full impact of this boycott on Bernanke's usurpation of capital markets, in which a simple WSJ scribe can move the market more than the deteriorating fundamentals of the world's biggest company-cum-gizmo maker is best seen in trading volumes. Which as Securities Technology shows, are now down 19% in the first half of 2012. Of course, if one were to exclude the robotic presence in stock trading, which is anywhere between 50 and 70%, it would be a miracle to find any human beings still trading with each other.
Oh the exuberance. CRAAPL led the NASDAQ down heavily today as its high-beta ebullience reverted back to 'normal' and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ are closing practically unchanged for the month of July. The Dow Industrials are down 0.4% but the Dow Transports are down 2.65% - near their lows of the month. Financials have been monkey-hammered as today's offer-a-thon dragged them dramatically lower (MS/BAC -13% for the month). A late-day OPEX-inspired activity burst dragged volume up from near year lows and likely inspired the surge lower in VIX into the close (even as stocks went sideways to lower) - but still ended up 0.75vols back above 16%. Treasuries end the week down 2-3bps at the long-end and 4-5bps at the short-end with a decent rally today. The USD is up a modest 0.25% on the week - thanks to notable weakness today in EURUSD (which broke its pattern of reverting today) though dispersion was broad with AUD stronger by 1.5% and EUR weaker by 0.75% on the week. Gold and Silver are practically unchanged on the week, Copper down around 1.5% and WTI up over 5% - but only WTI is up for the month. Cross asset class correlation picked up towards the end of the day as ES caught-down to broad risk asset's less sanguine view of the world. ES ended the week up around 7pts, VIX down around 0.5 vols with financials -2.25% and Energy +3%.
Lots of people have made good profits on Treasuries by buying them and flipping them to a greater fool or a central bank. On the other hand, so did many during the NASDAQ bubble, or during the ’00s ABS bubble. Bubbles are profitable for some, and that’s why there have been so many throughout history. But once the money starts to dry up they become excruciatingly painful. In theory, there are no limits to how low rates could go. In theory, nominal yields could go deeply negative, so long as there are buyers coming into the market ready to buy at a lower rate, and a push a profit to bond flippers. The inherent value in a bond is its yield; everything else is speculation. It is hard to really call the timing on the end of a bubble. People and events can always get more irrational. Japan has kept the Treasury ball (painfully) rolling for far longer than most of us expected (through market rigging as much as anything else). But this cannot end well.
Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, spoke with Bloomberg Television’s Tom Keene today and said that, "What we said back in December was that the most likely start date for the recession would be in Q1 and if not then, by the middle of 2012. I’m here to reaffirm that. I think we’re in a recession already." And just like us, the anagrammatic ECRI economist believes that "It is not all about GDP. It is about jobs. It is about income and sales. A recession is a vicious interplay among output, input, employment, income and sales" noting that recessions don't generally start with a cliff (that everyone looks for) adding (rather ominously): "there is this belief that somehow government or a central bank will stave off a recession. For the last 220 years, you do some history with Hamilton, which ended in a duel by the way... you have had 47 recessions. Why are we going to avoid the 48th?"
Netflix stocks surged more than 21% in one week primarily due to an upbeat Facebook update from the company's CEO.
A 10 point rally off the lows, thanks to a well-timed Hilsenrath-rumor, dragged stocks up to their day-session opening levels (and unsurprisingly perfectly to VWAP) and while bonds/FX/spreads all limped along with stocks in the last hour, broad risk assets were not as excited by the rumors as the NASDAQ and S&P seemed to be. US equity indices are all lower from Friday's close (with NASDAQ least worst) but they remain +1.3% (S&P) to +3% (NASDAQ) from pre-EU-Summit levels. With the USD ripping higher (on EUR weakness as much as QE-hope fading) up over 2% on the week (with EURUSD -3% on the week and JPY the only 'major' stronger as carry unwinds hit), commodities plunged (growth questions and QE-less) ending the week at their lows (except for WTI - which traded lower on Monday) as Gold outperformed (down only 0.85% on the week). Treasury yields dropped 5bps or so today - leaking back higher into the close but ending the week down 7-9bps (notably less sanguine than stocks). Staples were th eonly green sector on the day as Tech lagged along with Industrials. While the Financials sector fell 0.8% (with a nasty leg down into the close), the majors did worse as MS and BofA caught-up with JPM's post-summit weakness. Most interestingly, the late-day surge in stocks (which saw decent volume and average trade size as we crossed VWAP) was accompanied by a collapse in volatility. VIX ended the day down 0.4 vols at 17.1% despite a 9pts loss in ES leaving it notably cheap relative to credit/equity fair-value.
Volumes were not that far below average today as the Dow and the S&P (but not the miraculous NASDAAPL - not that story again please!) ended the day lower after some significant intraday volatility early (around the ECB/BoE decisions and jobs/ISM data in the US). S&P 500 e-mini futures levitated off the day's early lows to stabilize around VWAP before testing up to unchanged and then losing it all into the close on heavy volume and larger average trade size. Financials were the biggest losers, as the big banks dumped off most of their EU-Summit gains (with JPM and MS down over 4% today), followed closely by Energy names - even with WTI basically treading water close to close (despite some +/-2% swings early on). USD strength saw Silver lagging on the day and gold dropped a little but rather notably since the EU-Summit, gold and the S&P have been trading more in lockstep (with Treasuries and the USD pointing to more risk-off perspectives). Elsewhere in commodity-land, corn continues its upsurge - now up 40% in the last 3 weeks. After falling off the 1.25 cliff as Draghi disappointed, EURUSD tracked sideways just under 1.2400 for the rest of the day; carry FX pairs tended to drift lower most of the day but the afternoon was quiet. Treasuries limped a little higher in yield into the close - led by the long-end - but ended the day down a few bps from Tuesday's close (with 7/10Y outperforming). Treasuries are unch from the last NFP report (as is EURUSD) while ES is 55pts higher - hhmm. VIX ended the day up almost 1 vol accelerating above 17.5% as futures dived after-hours and cross-asset class correlation remained relatively low today - though ES traded with CONTEXT - as Europe's tensions were once again shrugged off once it had closed and then remembered into the US close.
- The Real Victor in Brussels Was Merkel (FT)
- German Dominance in Doubt after Summit Defeat (Spiegel)
- Euro defeat for Merkel? Only time will tell (Reuters)
- The Twilight Zone has nothing on Europe: European Banks Bolster Capital With Shunned Bonds (Bloomberg)
- Krugman is baaaaaack and demands even more debt: Europe’s Great Illusion (NYT)
- Republicans See Way to Repeal Obamacare (FT)
- Hollande Ready to Tackle Public Finances (FT)
- China’s Manufacturing Growth Weakens as New Orders Drop (Bloomberg)
- Protesters March in Hong Kong as Leung Vows to Fight Poverty (Bloomberg)