For the 4th day in a row, selling pressure in US equities climaxed as Europe closed. The big buying-panic today though was sparked with about an hour to go as VIX was pummeled lower and stocks levitated to save all kinds of key technical levels - (S&P unch, Nasdaq green on the week, S&P back above its 50DMA, Russell off its 7-month lows). Trouble with all that exuberance... bonds, the USD, commodities, JPY carry, and credit weren't buying it. The USD rose 0.2% for the 2nd week in a row (led by 0.5% weakness in the EUR) and JPY strengthened. Commodities all closed higher on the week, led by oil and copper (+2%) with WTI over $102. Treasuries sold off modestly into the late-day buying scramble in stocks but ended the week 10bps lower in yield (biggest weekly drop in 2mo, lowest in 6mo). VIX plunged back to almost 12 with its biggest daily drop in a month. T-Bonds and Bullion are both +7.2% YTD, S&P +1.6% YTD, Russell 2000 -5%YTD.
Nasdaq and S&P back into the green for the week... Dow back into the green for the year... mission accomplished (but a little premature). And all it took was an options-expiration debacle-driven collapsed in VIX...
Momentum stocks, the money transfer machine the city relies on, are crashing. Fallout hits record home prices. This is so 2007.
With two of Tepper's top six positions being new, and quite massive, calls in either the SPY or QQQ, we would be nervous too...
Barclays just can't catch a break these days: after creating the biggest "bad bank" 5 years into the laughably called "recovery", the latest batch of terrible earnings and the announcement of some 19,000 pink slips to be handed out shortly as the British bank has now lost all benefits from being presented the only valuable Lehman assets on a Blue light special platter 5 years ago, it now appears that the desperate and flailing bank also has placed monkeys in charge of trading because as Bloomberg reports it was also responsible for the freakout that hit a vast number of stocks at 3:49:00 pm on Tuesday and which we profiled in "Is There Anything Wrong With These Charts?" It appears the answer was "yes."
One allegation about price manipulation was made by the German regulator BaFin. That proves it, right? Not so fast.
It would seem that the day after Tuesday is not Tuesday... and so stocks sold off. The Russell 2000 is now 3% off its Monday highs, comfortably red for the week, and back below its crucial 200day moving-average. The Nasdaq is also down with the 50DMA crossing death-like below the 100DMA. Of course, it is the "you can't trust the signals" bond market that is making the real headlines as 10Y yields slump to fresh 7-month lows breaking notable support. The USD leaked lower on the day (but USDJPY was stable under 102) as ECB talked back some of the recent EUR losses. Commodities all pushed higher with silver up over 3% onthe week, gold back over $1305, and WTI over $102. VIX pumped-and-dumped at the open but could not sustain weakness as 330RAMP saw VIX's slam unable to drag stocks notably higher.
The Dow had its narrowest range day of the year today and volume was dismal (as weak as yesterday's) but we made new record highs so USA USA USA. From the start of the day stocks were in a wild world of low volume levitation of their own as bonds made lower and lower yields and USDJPY was not supportive at all. Once Europe closed, the bid for US equities disappeared and Nasdaq and Russell tumbled, with the Dow and S&P catching down to unch. Bundesbank bullshit sent the EUR lower (cracking below 1.37 at 6 week lows) and thus the USD higher (+0.3% on the week). Treasury yields tumbled (and flattened) all day with 30Y -2bps on the week (and 7Y -6bps from today's highs). VIX had another seizure today (this time spiking up) and closed higher.
The Russell 2000 had its best day in over 17 months today - up 2.5% (best since Jan 2nd 2013) and +4% from Friday's lows. All US equity markets exploded higher our of the gate thanks to a ridiculous spike lower in VIX (below 12) and USDJPY stop-run back through 102 which squeezed "most shorted" dramatically higher. The Dow, Trannies, and S&P all made new record high closes...and it's not even Tuesday yet! Away from stocks, silver jumped over 2% for almost its best day in 3 months. Gold rebounded over $25 from overnight smackdown lows. Oil broke back above $100. Treasury yields rose modestly (2-3bps) - majorly out of sync with equity exuberance. JPY was large and in charge of stocks but the USD ended the day unchanged. S&P futures volume was 30% below recent average.
"Good" economic news and "stronger than expected" earnings reports have apparently buoyed the market against the drain of liquidity from the Federal Reserve. Today, the market ripped higher at the open as hopes of a "QE" program from the ECB rippled through the markets. Despite commentary from the mainstream media that the markets are doing great, the updated chart below shows the markets continuing its tug-o-war between support and resistance. This is an important point to remember. While it is certainly possible that the markets could ratchet higher from here due to the "psychological momentum" that currently exists, the likelihood of a runaway bull market from here is remote.
Just as Gold was monkey-hammered late last night, we warned in the pre-open that it might happen and sure enough... VIX has been smashed back under 12 this morning, lifting the Dow to new record-er all-time highs and sending the S&P chasing its highs too... why not... Draghi promised to do something, sometime soon (even as the Fed is tapering and China says no more stimulus). What is really helping is USDJPY 102 once again which provided the opening ramp ignition. For all those on the 'healthy' rotation bandwagon.. the Nasdaq and momo names are outperforming (Nasdaq now unchanged for May) - so it's not that. Gold is up $25 from overnight lows and Treasuries are flat to modestly weaker as stocks smash higher.
Confused by the market? You are not alone with irrational and "Fear of Missing Out" momentum trades and (not so great) sector re(un)rotation all that matters (as has been the case for years with fundamentals not relevant for about 24 months now), so here are some tips from Scotiabank's Guy Haselmann who believes "market noise can be simplified into the following: QE= risk on, End of QE=risk off. QE is now half way toward ending, so now is the time to adjust. The fact that…… EM central banks are hiking, China is attacking its credit bubble, and Japan hiked its VAT tax while the “third arrow” is M.I.A., are also reasons to de-risk. If sanctions on Russia expand to products or industries, then real problems to EU growth will arise. This is something to watch carefully."
Despite Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen's (repeat) attempt to steal the show today, the first when the ECB reports its monetary decision (with zero real chance of announcing any change in policy considering all the furious, and failed, attempts to jawbone the Euro lower) as it faces the dilemma of deflationary pressure, record low bond yields and interest rates at record lows coupled with an export crushing Euro just shy of 1.40, and a practical impossibility to conduct QE even as the hawks jawbone a "potential" European QE to death, while Janet Yellen conducts the second part of the congressional testimony this time before the Senate Budget Committee where she will again, say nothing at all, it appears the world will be focused on Russia once again after the latest 24 hour "de-escalation" gambit is now once again dead and buried and on top of it is Putin waving a "come launch a nuclear attack at me, bro" flag.
Sometimes it's worth remembering that while the demise of the status quo may take a while, there are actions one should be taking despite the sound and fury each and every day. As Marc Faber warned, "I don’t trust anyone." Simply put, Faber blasts, "the monetary policies as they are implemented by central banks around the world, are actually preventing the markets from clearing and [not allowing] the economy to truly improve." His recommendation, he'd "prefer investors hold physical gold in a safe deposit box, ideally outside the US," because "Fed policy will destroy the world."