UPDATE: CAT is sliding AH after noting higher chance of recession and cuts 2015 EPS guidance from $15-20 to $12-18 - Slide attached
Following Friday's two-year high volume levels on the NYSE - as OPEX and rebalancing dominated - today saw reversion to the dismal mean in both cash and futures market volumes. It seems sell-the-news was the meme today as builders (LEN earnings exuberance) and AAPL (less than whisper sales) sold off and broadly speaking we saw the month/quarter's winners lagging as safety and stability lead the way.
With the combination of a strong quarter (week or two) for stocks, futures rolls (and CDS yesterday) and the OPEX / index re-weighting it seems we had a modest case of small doors, large crowds into the close today (S&P futures end 1pt above FOMC-day close). Volume picked up dramatically (NYSE highest in a year) as the Dow closed lower on a Friday for the first time in nine weeks! Treasuries outperformed - ending near the low yields of the week (having retraced all the post-QE move - down 10-15bps on the week) but Gold remained relatively bid ($1775) and Oil also rose in the last couple of days. VIX was unch but noisy thanks to OPEX (and remember it's still at a high premium to realized vol - not entirely complacent). Credit underperformed as risk-assets in general led stocks lower. On the quarter, Silver was the big winner (up ~26%) followed by Gold (up ~11%) both beating all the major US equity indices.
UPDATE: Denial: *WHITE HOUSE'S CARNEY SAYS `NO CHANGE' ON OIL RESERVES
Dismissing the ridiculous ignorance of calling the market action in the last few minutes a 'fat finger', it is clear that between no/low volume, 'banging the close in the pit', futures roll and ETF interactions, Oil's OPEX, SPR release rumors, and correlated vaccuum tubes, the reactions between US equities, oil (WTI and Brent), USD (and all major crosses), and the PMs are extremely volatile. No one knows what the 'news' is but one thing is for sure, its priced in - whatever it is. We just remind those 'trading' that with QEternity, all the good news 'help' is now out there - so what's left - jawboning Oil down. Treasuries are a littel jiggy but nothing remarkable.
NFLX price then: $178.05... NFLX price now: $55.40; Return: -71.20%. And they say CEOs know their companies best...
Thanks for the advice Reed. But we'll stick with our short. But hey, when the whole CEOing thing doesnt work for you, the ECB will surely hire you as it is in dire need of people who sound sophisticated, pretend they know what they are talking about just because they speak loud and with confidence, and write long-winded essays of windbaggery, that say nothing, and end up 100% wrong.
Corporates are in relatively good financial shape and theory says should respond to high profits and cheap debt by investing more. However, while high 'profits' and low cost of debt are reasons for capex and opex to be rising more quickly than they are, these two critical drives of recovery show no signs of responding to these profit/debt incentives - and so as Citigroup notes "recovering is not booming". Top-down, compared to history, capex is low, following P/E's sentiment - especially in Europe (indicating a lack of confidence in the future). However, at the sector level this reverses: high capex has been given a low PE, while low capex has a high PE. The market is effectively encouraging companies to invest less and return more money. Longer term the consequences for economic growth, inflation and earnings growth are negative - as we trade (once again) short-term equity gain for long-term sustainable economic gain.
UPDATE: TXN misses and guides down:For the third quarter of 2012, TXN expects:
Revenue: $3.21 – 3.47 billion vs consensus Exp. of $3.53 billion,
Earnings per share: $0.34 – 0.42, vs consensus Exp is $0.43
VIX opened north of 20%, traded to 20.49%, and then it was decided that this level of premium over a recent calm realized vol period is too much and the front-end of the volatility market was crushed over 2 vols lower. While VIX closed up 2.3vols at 18.6%, the sell-off into Europe's close recovered handsomely on low volume leak back up to VWAP (thanks to HYG and VXX's stability) and then an afternoon push to last Monday's close before giving most of the afternoon gains back in a few mins after the cash close. The EUR dip-and-rip, the stick-save in the S&P whenever it tumbles with any kind of velocity, the fearless selling of short-dated vol, juxtaposes the general state of safe-haven seeking in Treasuries (and Swiss/German bonds) as the entire TSY curve saw record closing low yields amid a 3bps flattening at the long-end. Equity volume was meh, average trade size was meh - though as cash closed near day-session highs we saw heavy blocks selling, and ES traded between its 61.8% and 50% retracements of the March-to-June swoon. Broad risk assets did not play along with stocks this afternoon (though equities and gold recoupled) and neither did TRIN which remained very flat all day. The USD ended stronger by 0.2% (in line with EUR weakness) but SEK was the day's best major performer as AUD lagged (down 1% against the USD today). Volatility pulled plenty cheap to equities once again which remain notably more sanguine than credit and TSYs but the magic 1340 level in ES appears to be the line in the sand for now - though given a 10Y at 1.40%, do not expect NEW QE anytime soon - though Gold outperformed its peers on the day as WTI slid over 4% from Friday's close.
VIX is trading back above 20%, up over 4 vols this morning as its jump is the largest in over 8 months. This instant response to the ultra complacency we discussed last week, as 'they' take their totally dislocated foot off the neck of implied vol, has shifted the short-term volatility expectation from its calmest in almost four months to its most terrified in a month. Perhaps, just perhaps, the talking-heads who espouse this 'fear' index will finally realize its contemporaneous nature and treat it with the disdain it deserves. For now, it appears expectations of market turbulence - now that OPEX is out of the way - are reverting to more realistic levels of un-complacency.
Equities managed to rally after slumping on heavy volume to the 1340 level (scene of crime for Greek election, Spanish bailout, and EU-Summit) pushing up to close at the mid-June swing high levels and post EU-Summit close levels around 1358 (back over its 50DMA). Total volume for the S&P 500 e-mini (ES) was just below average but the average trade size was dismal - around the lowest of the year. Whether due to VIX options expiration squeeze sending VXX and other derivatives tumbling (with VIX almost testing a 15 handle intraday); or a safety 'algo' running things up and over VWAP; or a reflexive reaction to bad is good and Bernanke has our backs no matter what happens, equities pushed 20 points off their lows but stagnated for much of the afternoon. The surge in stocks far outpaced risk-assets and what was more worrisome was the notable divergence in gold as the afternoon wore on - if this was QE-hope then the main QE-sensitive asset class of choice was not playing along at all into the close. Gold and Silver ended the day down modestly, Copper worse, but WTI ended the day up 2.3% on the week and back over $89. Treasuries pushed higher in yields (oh yes very QE-on?) - no higher in yield on the week with the long-end underperforming. FX markets were a little more aggressive - like Treasuries - and extended their rallies relative to USD with AUD now up almost 1% and the USD now down 0.36% on the week - which is interesting given Gold is also down around 0.5% on the week.
As S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) slumped this morning as Bernanke appeared to disappoint (and the rest of the risk-on asset classes all tumbled with it), we saw heavy volume and relatively large average trade size. Once the edge of glory from Friday at 1340 was hit, it seemed the magic Potter-esque fairy was back at play. Immediately, VIX was hammered from 17.5% to 16.1% - its lowest in almost 3 months as the bottomless pit of capital that feels comfortable selling vol (or perhaps using a levered approach to ramping stocks) drive ES back up an impressive 14 points on low volume and low average trade size. Yes, we crossed VWAP, yes we crossed unch, and now we are testing highs back above the 50DMA. It seems VIX once again is the ramping tool - and now is significantly dislocated from any equity or credit sense of reality. We presume that OPEX will clean up some of this exuberance but for now, it is the tail wagging everything's dog.
Epic. Stocks clambered back up to the 1315 (S&P 500 e-mini Sept 2012 contract) level which has been a critical VWAP level for a few days now amid what was a mildly slow day (though IG credit outperformed from its recent deterioration). Then the rumors started. Risk assets jolted in a very systemic manner (all highly correlated) as ES popped above last Friday's highs (unable to get close to Monday's open we do note), then as the realization that a pre-emptive warning of 'some' action in the case of 'some' event was simply the status quo anyway and we gave the entire 14 pt ramp back. Then we bounced once again as BoE made some noise on further stimulus if things go pear-shaped and we bounced again (though this time only about 8pts and on very small average trade size we note) as we headed into the close right around last Friday's highs. With OPEX tomorrow, this vol could not be more stop-inducing and painful for many as the Dow has now been -150, +150, -80, and +160 pts this week and decent volume today although average trade size remains limited (on the lack of conviction we pre-suppose). Gold and less so Silver bounced off their earlier spike-down moves and WTI rallied like a champ today (resyncing with Silver just in the green for the week). Gold is up 2% on the week (but was far less impressed with the chatter today than stocks were) as in the meantime the USD dropped and ended -0.75% on the week (and AUD is now 1% stronger). Treasuries whipsawed around but only retraced around a third of their rally from yesterday's morning session as 7Y and 10Y underperformed (+5bps or so). Pre-OPEX VIX is always a mess but we dropped over 2.5 vols into the close to end under 22% (but above Friday's close). Risk assets in general moved together and stayed in sync today during the final hour's carnival with stocks perhaps a little rich by the close.
In the shady underground world of banking, doing wrong means doing right, up is down, and left is right.
NYSE volume was 20% above yesterday's and S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) volume surged to its 2nd highest of the year as the last 30 minutes saw heavy volume and large average trade size very active as it pushed up towards VWAP and oscillated around its 50DMA. ES closed below its 50DMA for the first time since Monday but equities notably underperformed Treasuries (playing catch-up to bond's recent rally). Equities hit their lows at around 1430ET as ES coincided with Monday's closing VWAP (and Apple also tested and stayed around Monday's closing VWAP) and with a spike down and recovery in WTI prices (margin calls?). The major financials saw their best levels pre-open and slid lower all day with very little bounce at the close. While there was plenty of volatility in FX and commodity markets, close-to-close changes were relatively benign in the USD (DXY) and Oil, Copper, and Gold (while Silver modestly outperformed). All the action in FX was between US open and Europe's close but the afternoon saw AUD drifting weaker and CAD lose most of its spike gains from yesterday as JPY also slipped relative to the USD reducing some of the negative carry impact. Just as we had noted, and reiterated this morning and afternoon, equities performed the same hope-driven rally relative to broad risk assets as last week, and before the late day VWAP-seeking surge, almost completed their shift to fair-value. VIX also pulled higher to its credit-equity-implied fair-value before falling back as we rallied into the close. Overall average trade size today in ES, given its very heavy volume, was among the lowest of the year which suggests a lot of algos trying to wriggle their way back to VWAP to release some orders and with equity reverting to Treasury's, credit's, and broad-risk-asset's views of the less-than-stellar world, we suspect there is more selling to come here - albeit with OPEX complications.
"Whocouldanode?" that Apple would do something like pay a de minimus dividend and begin a modest buyback program? Indeed, initial reactions for the stock seemed to be 'sell the news' but of course, it wouldn't be a day ending in 'y' if Apple didn't close green and sure enough, with seconds to spare, Apple managed to close over $600 for the first time. BofA, not so much. After pinging $10 (a healthy double of recent lows), chatter of a secondary began the process of 'normalizing' its recent behavior (the stock is still up 17% post JPM-divi/Stress test news, a whopping 10% better than any of its peers in that 4 day period). The leak in financials dragged on the S&P which limped back lower to close almost perfectly at its VWAP as NYSE trading volumes (after almost record-breaking high levels on Friday OPEX hedge removal day) dropped back to near their lows . Credit outperformed equities today but its a very 'technical' day for credit in general with the CDS/index rolls tomorrow (meaning the major credit indices will move to new maturities and new components) though HYG staggered notably early in the day. USD and Treasury weakness were the headlines of the day (aside from AAPL of course - which apparently has a great new screen) which of course helped commodities rally with high-beta Silver the best on the day +1.2% from Friday and WTI breaking $108 as Gold limped higher (tortoise-like) over $1660 at the end. VIX rose once again and the term structure flattened a little but once again post-OPEX and futures roll, there are some more difficult apples-to-camels comparisons there. Finally we note average trade size in ES today was its largest since 7/1/11.
It seems everyone has positioned for what is to come as today was blah. The volume on the NYSE was decent which is expected given the OPEX but trading in the e-mini S&P futures contract (ES) was dismal - lower even than the 2/6 and 2/13 low levels at what looks like the lowest non-holiday trading day since 2006. A very narrow range day (basically from last night's day session close) with a small pop this morning around the day session open saw the highs of the day but ES tried to inch back up there in the afternoon - as credit (IG, HY, and HYG) went sideways from after the European close. Financial and Discretionary stocks outperformed as XLF made new recent highs (while credit spreads remain near 5 week wides). VIX futures tracked stocks for the most part (with a slight push higher into the close) but implied correlation diverged (bearishly) higher. FX markets were relatively calm with in EURUSD with AUD and JPY (-2.5% on the week) weakness the main drivers of USD strength off European session lows - but USD ended the day practically unch (+0.5% on the week). The USD strength dragged Silver down over 1% on the week and Copper down 3.8% (biggest loser today) while Gold outperformed the USD and ended green on the week above $1720. Oil was the winner up almost 5% on the week - its biggest gain of the year - ending above $103.5 for WTI. Treasuries came back off their high yields of the day after Europe closed with a little more push into the close leaving 30Y unch for the week and the short-end +3-4bps.
Financial credits remain the big underperformer hinting at much less risk appetite than USD-based stocks would indicate for now but broad risk assets staged an impressive bounce recovery on better than average volumes today as early weakness in Europe was shrugged off with better-than-expected macro data in the US (claims and Philly Fed headlines) and then later in the morning the story in the ECB Greek debt swap deal. We discussed both the macro data and the debt swap deal realities but the coincident timing of the ECB story right into the European close (when we have tended to see trends reverse in EUR and risk anyway) helped lift all risky asset boats as USD lost ground. The long-weekend and OPEX tomorrow likely helped exaggerate the trend back today but we note HYG underperformed out of the gate and while credit and stocks did rally together, the afternoon in the US saw stocks limp higher on lagging volumes (and lower trade size) as credit leaked lower. Treasuries sold off reasonably well as risk buyers came back (around 8bps off their low yields of the day pre-ECO) but rallied midly into the close (as credit derisked). Commodities all surged nicely from the macro break point this morning with Copper best on the day but WTI still best on the week. Silver is synced with USD strength still (-0.25% on the week) as Gold is modestly in the money at 1728 (+0.4% on the week) against +0.47% gains for the USD still. FX markets abruptly reversed yesterday's USD gains with most majors getting back to yesterday's highs. GBP outperformed today (at highs of the week) and JPY underperformed (lows of the week). VIX shifts into OPEX are always squirly and today was no different but we did see VIX futures rise into the close. We wonder if the last couple of days of Dow swings and vol spikes and recoveries will remind anyone of the mid-summer day swings last year?