US equity markets were led by the stodgy old low-beta Dow this week - not the high-flying muppetry of the Russell or Nasdaq - as stocks enjoyed the best week in 4 months amidst escalation of geopolitical time-bombs in Israel, Iraq, and Ukraine. Dow and Trannies gained 2% by the close as today's disappointment in Yellen and Draghi took the exuberant shine off an otherwise bottom-left-to-top-right Birinyi ruler-based market. The USDollar gained 1.1% on the week - its best week since November - closing at one-year highs. Gold was slapped almost 2% lower (worst week in almost 3 months) as did WTI (back at $1280 and $93.50 respectively). Copper surged 3.2% on the week (2nd best week in a year) on China restocking chatter. Treasuries were a mixed bag with dramatic flattening on the week (30Y +2bps, 5Y +12bps) to 2009 flat. Credit markets cratered on the day - ignoring equity's relative shrug.
“Here’s when US equity and bond markets will change direction: when investors come to fear the next Fed-talk.”
Was it ever in doubt? Bad news is great news for China and Europe and good new is great news for US because no matter what Yellen will go full dovetard tomorrow - at least that appears to be the total consensus view as the S&P hit record highs and bond yields plunge. Volume went from dismal to well dismal-er (we've run out of adjectives) to the lowest non-holiday of the year as we note Trannies (-0.25%) and Nasdaq lagged today. Credit markets snapped higher (tighter) today but remain less exuberant than stocks on the week. Gold staggered lower (-2% on the week) back under $1280 even as The USD rolled over notably on the day led by EUR strength. Treasuries rallied (30Y -3bps and 10Y <2.40%) in the face of equity strength. VIX flash-smashed early on from 11.5 to over 13 (cracking stocks lower) but that was a great buying opportunity into J-Hole...
The algos and chart traders are making another run at 2000 on the S&P 500, attempting to convince the wary investor one more time that buying on the dips is a no brainer. And in that proposition they are, ironically, correct. To buy this utterly manipulated market at these nosebleed valuation levels is about as brainless of an undertaking as is imaginable.
While everyone's (algorithmic) attention will be focused on today's minutes from the July 29-30 FOMC meeting for views on remaining slack in U.S. economy following recent changes in the labor market (especially a particularly solid JOLTS report which indicates that at least on the openings front, there is no more) and any signal of policy change by the Fed ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole on Aug. 22, a curious thing happened overnight when a few hours ago the BoE's own minutes show the first vote split since 2011, as Weale and McCafferty argue for a 0.75% bank rate. Then again, if the Russians are finally bailing on London real estate, the inflationary pressures at the top of UK housing may finally be easing. In any event, every FOMC "minute" will be overanalyzed for hints of what Yellen's speech on Friday morning will say, even if stocks just shy of all time highs know quite well she won't dare say anything to tip the boat despite her warnings of a biotech and social network bubble.
As they say, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with...
S&P futures traded the lowest volume of the year today (for a non-holiday trading day) and volume has slid consistently lower as this rally of the last 8 days. The S&P outperformed today (up over 0.5%) as yesterday's oil-is-falling-so-buy-Trannies meme reversed into oil-is-falling-so-sell-Trannies which ended the day almost unchanged. The Nasdaq made new 14-year highs, up 5 days in a row. Treasury yields dropped notably early on then surged higher as US stocks opened (30Y +8bps on the week). The USD index also surged today (up 0.55% on the week) to new 11-month highs as EUR and CHF weakened notably. Commodities in general were clubbed like baby seals with copper, silver, and WTI hammered (but not Brent) after the inflation/housing data leaving oil under $95 - its lowest in 7 months. Gold fell much more modestly (but ended below $1300). AAPL closes at all-time high. VIX and HY Credit diverge notably from stocks after Europe closed.
The lack of World War 3 this weekend was the perfect catalyst for buying stocks back up towards record highs... because Putin must have folded, right? Oil prices slipped, with WTI briefly back under $96, which lifted Trannies 1.75% on the day (best performer) but the Nasdaq's break of cycle highs (to March 2000 highs) is the big news for bubble-watchers (though it's different this time remember). VIX broke back below 13 to almost a 4-week low close. Treasuries were weak all day especially after Europe closed with the long-end underperforming (30Y +6.5bps) - 3rd worst day of yeasr for 30Y - with yields rising back to Russian convoy "destroyed" headline levels. Gold dropped back under $1300 as silver rallied 0.5%. S&P futures volumes were 40% below average as AAPL flash-crashes but has almost round-tripped to 2012 highs.
It was just Friday when a pithy Bob Pisani noted that investor confidence in markets is up because there have been no market malfunctions recently... he spoke too soon. As Nanex's Eric Hunsader reports, an apparent malfunction at BATS-Y has caused dozens of flash crashes... including in AAPL.
At the end of July, 2014, an article was distributed called “seven charts that leave you no choice but to feel optimistic about the US economy”. Although the facts that they presented are correct, the conclusion that they drew is not. In the following sections, we will examine and refute each of the seven pieces of "evidence" that were presented.
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. Yet one question had remained unanswered: just how does Citadel manipulated stocks? We now know the answer, and perhaps more importantly, it also links in to the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash, no not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. Most importantly, the revelation that for Citadel quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, is that 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."
After surging all week on the worst volume of the year, US equities hit an air-pocket of reality this morning as last night's news of a Russian 'invasion' was confirmed by Ukraine (and UK reporters), denied by Russia, and met with silence from the US. Of course, thanks to a handy VIXnado, stock bounced back to VWAP, stabilized and closed the week in the green. The last two weeks have been the best for 7Y bonds in 10 months as it closes back under 2% for the first time since Oct 2013. Amid all this chaos, the US dollar closed unchanged on the week (giving up mid-week gains) as AUD and CAD strength dominated EUR weakness. Gold and silver - after a quiet week - was clubbed lower in the pre-open. Gold and oil surged higher on the Ukraine news - closing marginally lower on the week. VIX was cranked down to an 11 handle before Ukraine hit, surged back over 14.5, then jerked lower to close 'weaker' than stocks imply. Once again, US stocks surged once Europe closed (and of course, the panic buying into close makes perfect sense).
For everyone curious how the market's favorite "balls to the wall" barometer did in the second quarter (which ended 45 days ago), here is the full breakdown.
Overnight weakness in Japan and Europe was no big catalysts for markets either way, but the moment Vladimir Putin uttered the words "avoid conflict" (as ooposed to saying 'destroy all of you'?), stocks took off. Weak jobless claims data sparked a dump but once cash markets opened, it was on like donkey kong as the worst volume day of a terrible volume week took stocks higher on the back of USDJPY. For the technically-minded, the S&P is testing up to its 50-day moving-average (DMA), Russell finding resistance at 100/200DMA, Trannies broke back above the 50DMA, and Nasdaq is on course for new highs. All this exuberance in stocks was shared by bonds as buyers bid 30Y yields to a 3.18% handle - lowest in 15 months (gaping divergence to stocks this week). USD oscillated but ended unch. Gold and silver limped higher as copper and crude were monkey-hammered. VIX ended at 3-week lows (after an opening slam lower) for day 15 of inversion. S&P futures volume 55% below average.
If You Believe The Oil Bull Market Is Over, This Is How To Monetize Your Perspective With Up To 4x LeverageSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 08/14/2014 12:08 -0500
Ways for retail investors, and institutions small and large, to monetize a fundamental or economic outlook that the muppet masters will never tell you!