The Nikkei dropped by 7.3% at the end of the day and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped by 2.5%. Shanghai maintained a moderate fall at just 1.2% (if you believe that data now!). The Asian markets are down.
There appears to be only three words that matter any more and they all begin with the letter 'T' - Tepper, Tuesdays, and Tapering. It seems today, the apparent start of Bernanke's gentle communication policy that he might possibly maybe one day will remove the punchbowl is being modestly priced out of stocks. The S&P and Nasdaq are now down 1% from post-Bernanke 'Moar' euphoria.
Silver’s recovery yesterday from being 10% lower at one stage to recouping these losses and then rising over 2% was very positive technically. The key reversal is leading some to postulate that we may have seen the bottom or are close to a bottom.
As has been rumored for months, and known for days, the official purchase of Tumblr by Yahoo is now in the books. For $1.1 billion, Yahoo is the proud owner of a whole lot of user-generated porn sites if not that much (read any) revenue. We cant wait to see how it monetizes them. And in a press release, apparently aimed squarely at hipsters, Yahoo promises "not to screw it up." It's cool to be hip and edgy: surely it's worth at least 15% in stock premium. As for profits... ah, it's an Amazon world after all.
Several moments ago, TSLA (hardly) surprised the world when it filed an open-ended S-3 (Shelf) statement, as many had expected it was only a matter of time before the company used the recent surge in its stock price to sell shares. Then, a few moments later, TSLA once again (hardly) surprised the world when it announced a joint $450 million convertible bond and 2.7 million share common stock offering. And because a dilution is not a dilution if the founder is participating in the common offering (buying his own equity at an unprecedented price to "anchor" it as a benchmark- sure why not - after all he is making much on all the other equity he has in the firm that he is not buying, as a result), the stock is trading up after hours.
Up 195% from the Nov 2008 lows, the Nasdaq-100 has now broken back above the magical 3000 level. A level first seen in Nov 1999 (back then it took 4 more weeks to hit 4000). How long until CNBC adds a countdown timer to the Nasdaq all-time high?
There was a time three months ago, when "beating" German confidence served as an upward stock and EURUSD catalyst not once but twice in the same week. One would therefore assume a German confidence miss, such as with today's German ZEW, which barely budged from 36.3 to 36.4 on expectations of a rise to 40.0, with the current situtation dropping from 9.2 to 8.9, on expectations of a rise to 9.8, should be risk negative. Well, it wasn't: it is the new normal after all, and in fact the EURUSD jumped in a kneejerk reaction at 5 am, rising over 1.3000, albeit briefly, assisted by ZEW members saying that respondents do not see a further ECB rate cut - well, of course not - they are Germans, and Draghi isn't. Perhaps the news of a better than expected Eurozone Industrial Production print, which rose from 0.3% to 1.0%, on expectations of a more modest increase to 0.5%, is what catalyzed the subsequent drop in both the EUR, and US stock futures. The IP strength was driven by Germany, Spain and Netherlands offset be decline in France and Italy.
If we’ve learned one thing over the years from following markets, economics, and geopolitics is this: no man can push the Wheels of History. It unfolds in its own time and no other. The waves of human emotion, of optimism and pessimism both long and short term haven’t changed. So why are the markets still going up? Why can’t people respond to warnings of the blogosphere, or warnings of collapsing economies and accounts right before their eyes? Answer: Because they can’t. It isn’t time - yet... Human emotions and behavior run in cycles of set period. Obviously humankind cannot become infinitely more optimistic forever into the future. In the same way trees don’t grow to the sky, at some point human expectation must reverse and become less optimistic, more conservative and pessimistic until it reaches an opposite extreme. And this theory has a lot going for it: if governments truly controlled stock markets, economies, nations, then why would they ever decline? No government or market would ever voluntarily get smaller, less powerful, and prosperous. And yet despite everything they can do to prevent them, markets and economies always, always DO reverse. Always.
Politicians love good asset bubbles. Until they blow up. Which they always do.
During an interview with The Globe and Mail, 'Gloom, Boom, and Doom's Marc Faber unleashed some awful truthiness about gold "I buy gold every month", real estate "bubble territory", and the likelihood of a crash in smoke-and-mirrors-like asset markets - "In the 40 years I’ve been working as an economist and investor, I have never seen such a disconnect between the asset market and the economic reality... Asset markets are in the sky and the economy of the ordinary people is in the dumps, where their real incomes adjusted for inflation are going down and asset markets are going up... Something will break very bad."
Herd-mentality, group-think, safety-in-numbers, or lemmings. When a trade becomes one-sided, we are often taught that contrarianism is the smarter position. When a trade becomes extremely one-sided, the market is at its most fragile. There are currently three trades that have become not just consensus, but are near record levels of extreme positioning - and with the help of leverage (and record margin levels) this all adds up to a risk-on market (since all the three trades are on the same side of the long central bank largesse, short safety view) that is over-prone to more significant corrections. Join the crowd or join the 'smarter' money?
For 727 editions, and nearly 30 years, Bill Buckler, the "captain" of the free market-praising Privateer newsletter provided a welcome escape from a world overrun with "free-lunch" economists, "for-hire" politicians, "crony-capitalist" oligarchs, "heroin-addict" bankers, "the-solution-to-record-debt-is-more-record-debt" Keynesians, and all those other subclasses of that species which Einstein, or whoever, described so aptly in saying that they all expect a different, and happy, outcome when applying the same flawed methods over and over. And for 30 years, Buckler's steadfast determination and adherence to his arguments, beliefs, reasoning and ironclad logic brought him countless followers, all of whom are now able to see past the bread and circus facade of a world every day on the edge of political and social collapse. Sadly, all good things come to an end, and so does The Privateer. We are delighted to celebrate its illustrious memory by presenting to our readers the final, must read, issue of the newsletter which encapsulates the philosophy and ideology of its author - a man much respected and admired in the free market circles - and thirty years of objective, unbiased market and economic commentary, best of all.
Today was a non-POMO day; a day when the Federal Reserve did not actively inject a couple billion dollars into bank reserves. The last 7 POMO days have been wonderfully green for the cash equity session. Today, no POMO, no MOMO, no new highs. What was different? Europe was closed (so we didn;t get the ubiquitous surge post EU close), we had poor data (bad has been good for weeks now), bonds outperformed (equities haven't cared at all for weeks), and the USD weakness 'should' have been equity positive (if correlations held). But it didn't. Trannies were monkey-hammered with their second-biggest drop in almost six months but the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq are clung together down around 1% (biggest drop in 2 weeks). FX markets were 'sporadic' with periods of silence punctuated by chaos (around the FOMC) - JPY's last 5 days now equal the biggest rally in two years as it tested up to 97 and pulled back. The worst first-day-of-the-month since June of last year for stocks seems to signify a Great Un-rotation as Treasuries were well bid (yields down 4-5bps to new 2013 lows).
"Off the highs" is perhaps the phrase that the mainstream should be using. The S&P gave up allits post-EU-close gains into the US close. It seems, as we noted earlier, that AAPL capturing its 50DMA, relative strength in VIX and Bonds, and a total lack of volume just could not lift the S&P 500 to new highs. The early short squeeze provided the momentum but that faded into the last hour or so. USD weakness supported the risk rally (as very little else did) and commodities were all higher on the day with the Brent Vigilantes on the prowl once again as WTI topped $94.50 back to near 3-week highs. AAPL's best day in over 3 months (up to its 50DMA) led Tech to lead the day (and the Nasdaq was the notable outperformer). The exuberance led stocks rich relative to all risk-assets and the slide into the close merely corrected to that risk-asset-proxy. JPY carry was not helpful as JPY tried and failed to recover the 98.00 level. Silver outperformed. With the Japanese on vacation last night, JPY's rip into the close is a little worrying for the risk-on crowd but month-End here we come...
Capitalism may have bested communism a few decades ago, but exactly how our economic system allocates society’s scarce resources is now undergoing its first serious transformation since the NYSE’s founding fathers met under the buttonwood tree in 1792. Technology, complexity and speed have already transformed how stocks trade; but As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, the real question now is what role these forces will play in long-term capital formation and allocation. Rookie mistakes like the Twitter hack flash crash might be easy to deride, but make no mistake, Colas reminds us: the changes that started with high frequency and algorithmic trading are just the first step to an entirely different process of determining stock prices. The only serious challenge this metamorphosis will likely face is a notable crash of the still-developing system and resultant regulation back to more strictly human-based processes.