Today's v-shaped recovery in US equities was brought to you by the number 107 (USDJPY target) and the words "Scottish poll" which showed a majority of "no"s this afternoon. Early weakness in stocks (but not in Treasuries) reversed almost perfectly as Europe closed and JPY started to ramp towards the next logical stop run at 107.00. Nasdaq led the way (as AAPLites swept back in) and pushed into the green for the week (while the rest are still red). Treasury yields rose on the day, led by the long-end (30Y +3bps) stalling some of yesterday's flattening (5Y +9bps on the week). GBP rallied notably after the "no" poll which kept pressure on the USD (closing practically unch on the day). Gold, silver, and oil slipped lower as US woke up then stabilized. Credit spreads compressed on the day but not as exuberantly as stocks even as VIX dropped back under 13 again. For the 2nd day in a row, the S&P 500 closed below 2,000 - turmoil?
With Bono's words still hanging in the air, the market's response to Apple's unveiling is simple: "we still haven't found what we're looking for." Some argue the weakness is AAPL-related, others point to AUDJPY fun-durr-mentals, but the bottom-line is the Fed hinted at more hawkishness, short-term bonds are weakening (long-end rally with notable flattening), VIX is rising and inverted (to 1-mo highs), and HY credit is getting ugly once again as it seems stocks are indeed catching on to the fact that the Fed will really be removing the punchbowl... S&P fell to 3-week lows as AUD collapsed (but EUR strength sent the USD lower on the day) and lost the crucial 2,000 level by the most since it was first breached.
US equity markets are sliding this morning on the back of AUDJPY fun-durr-mentals as the USDollar pushes to new 15-month highs (AUD at 6-month lows). This has pressed Nasdaq red for September (joining the Dow, S&P, and Russell). Treasury yields are modestly higher but commodities are sliding with copper the worst... makes us wonder if this is follow-through from China's huge adjustment to CNY overnight.
Today some very significant moves across asset-classes - despite the apparent close-to-close 'blahness' of stocks (Dow, S&P, Trannies small red, Nasdaq green) and bonds (30Y unch, 5Y +2bps) from Friday's close. The USD surged to fresh 15-month highs, ripping another 0.6% higher as GBP, EUR (1.28xx), and JPY (106.xx) all faded dramatically. US equity markets entirely decoupled from JPY (in fact became negatively correlated) and US Treasury yields ripped higher - tick for tick with USDJPY's rise. Gold and silver slipped 1% on the day, copper limped higher (after an early plunge) and oil rebounded to close with a small loss near $93 (Brent under $100 for first time in 14 months). Late-day news of 'delayed' sanctions sparked the standard post-EU-close buying panic, regained S&P 2,000 (and Futs hit VWAP), and ensured Friday's bad-news-is-good-news jobs meme stands.
Worst jobs data of the year? BTFATH. For the 9th day in a row, S&P 2,000 was all that mattered. Thanks to the standard Friday v-shaped recovery, the Dow scrambled back to green on the week and S&P 500 hit its Maginot 'retirement on' line - all on the back of USDJPY 105.00 pinning. Trannies and S&P hit new record highs and S&P had its best day in 2 weeks (led by exuberant growthy Staples & Utilities this week). Russell ended the week red as the late-day buying-panic sent Nasdaq just green with Dow and S&P. But, away from stocks, US Treasuries had their worst week in a year with 30Y +16bps (but 2Y only +2bps). The US dollar rose to new 14-month highs with its biggest week in 10 months. Despite the USD strength, Copper manage to close marginally higher even as PMs dropped 1.6% and oil plunged almost 3% (WTI under $93) in a very volatile week. High-yield credit markets closed with their worst week in the last 5. Bad news is great news still - just six years into the 'recovery'.
Even as the NATO summit began hours ago in Wales, conveniently enough (for Obama) at the venue of the 2010 Ryder Cup, so far today geopolitics has taken a backseat to the biggest event of the day - the ECB's much hyped and anticipated announcement. So anticipated in fact that even as it has been priced in for the past month, especially by BlackRock which is already calculating the Christmas bonus on its "consultancy" in implementing the ECB's ABS purchasing program and manifesting itself in record low yields across Europe's bond market, Reuters decided to milk it some more moments ago with the following blast: "Plans to launch an asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bond purchase programme worth up to 500 billion euros are on the table at Thursday's European Central Bank policy meeting..." The notable being the size of the program, which at €500 billion, is precisely what Deutsche Bank said a week ago the size of the ABS program would be. Almost as if the bank with the world's biggest derivative exposure is helping coordinate the "Private QE"...
Treasuries closed practically unchanged today after yields spiked higher on 'ceasefire' news then rallied lower all day long (30Y -2bps 2Y unch). Credit markets surged tighter on the news then collapsed wider to the lows of the week by the close (diverging from stocks). The USDollar slipped lower on the day, led by EUR strength. Gold ($1,270) and silver limped higher all day but WTI crude took off, gaining back all the flush losses from yesterday (above $95). In stock-land, the cease-fire sparked exuberance to new record-highs. That strength began to fade as soon as the US opened with notable selling in the holiest-of-holies - AAPL. This wesighed on Nasdaq heavily (to red on the week) and Russell high-beta stocks tumbled. Despite the standard late-day VWAP ramp, stocks were unable to recover as USDJPY was no help after breaking back below 105.00 and ended with the worst day in 5 weeks. And finally, of course, the S&P 500 closed with a 2,000 handle - so crucial to maintain the dream.
Consolidating? Or Topping Out? But Ceasefire... But ECB... but Jobs data...
As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Recently we discovered that the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash was not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. The most recent revelation for Citadel is that quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, as none other than the Nasdaq has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy." The following 2 clips give a sense of what goes on from day to day inside the firm that trades more volume than the NYSE every day...
A dispassionate discussion of the technical condition of the dollar.
Once Europe closed, US equity markets rolled over on what is a new 'lowest-volume-day-of-the-year' led by recent winner Russell 2000. The Dow is now red on the week and the Nasdaq up 11 days in a row. Today was not about stocks though (aside from the close). While CAD saw its best gain in over 2 years, it was US Treasuries (as EUR weakened and Bund yields plunged) that made the flashing red headlines with 30Y back at 15-month lows (at 3.10%) and 10Y -3.5bps at 2.36% as the yield curve flattened even further. 2s30s dropped below 260bps - its flattest since Dec 2012. Un-de-escalation concerns evident in TSYs and credit finally started to bleed into VIX and stocks. Gold, silver, and oil limped higher as US weakened (and copper fell). A desperate buying panic into the close smashing S&P futures to VWAP magically enabled the S&P to close at the confidence-inspiring centrally-planned 'wealth effect' level of 2000.07!!
For 39 minutes today, as we noted earlier, the US stock "market" broke. As Nanex details, a total of 1,384 symbols were affected as 100s of stocks trade with crossed NBBOs, practically eliminating any chance for retail traders to transact. Options market were frantic, volatility swung around like a Ukrainian border-patrol agent, and yet the US equity indices limped ever higher. For those who fear 'the big one', for those who understand market liquidity, for those who got a glimpse of what happens when large crowds meet small doors in the high-yield credit market, today's "broken" market was a cold hard lesson that few 'moms and pops' would have noticed... but from the perspective of 'ability to trade' - today's market was worse than the Nasdaq Blackout and the Flash Crash... Hedge accordingly.
For the last 2 weeks, the US Dollar has surged - hitting new 13-month highs today amid JPY and EUR weakness - and for the last 2 weeks, US stock and bond markets have rallied (leaving 30Y yields implying the S&P is 130 points rich or yields are 25bps too low). S&P tops 2,000, Nasdaq closed up for 10th day in a row, Russell outperformed on major short-squeeze, Trannies slid red for the week. Today saw modest Treasury weakness (30Y +2bps, 2Y -1bps) but still lower on the week; gold ($1285), silver ($19.50), and oil ($94) gained on the day - despite USD strength - as copper dropped 1%. Credit markets remain unimpressed by record-er highs in stocks. VIX decoupled from equity strength today as NASDAQ options feeds broke. Volume was an utter disaster... that is all.
As we noted early on, by the time the cash markets opened this morning, the narrative of compliant Kuroda and drug-peddling Draghi had been painted as worth more than a yellowing Yellen's hawkish comments. And so it was that stocks, despite weak macro data this morning in the US - bad news is great news - surged as cash markets opened and tagged S&P 2,000 for the first time ever. However, once Europe closed, that exuberance faded in stocks. Treasuries rallied (30Y closed -2bps) with the front-end weakening very modestly. USD strength (on notable EUR weakness) sent oil and precious metals modestly lower on the day but Copper had a good day (+0.6%). Today was the lowest S&P futures (non-holiday) trading of the year as the Nasdaq rose for the 9th day in a row.