For years, we've been warning that the economics of the US 'shale revolution' were suspect. Namely, that they've only been made possible by the new era of 'expensive' oil (an average oil price of between $80-$100 per barrel). We've argued that many players in the shale industry simply wouldn't be able to operate profitably at lower prices. Well, with oil prices now suddenly sub-$60 per barrel, we're about to find out. Using the traditional corporate income statement, it is difficult to determine if shale drilling companies make money. There are a lot of moving parts, some deliberate obfuscation at some companies, and the massive decline rates make analysis difficult – since so much of reported profitability depends on assumptions made regarding depreciation and depletion. So, can shale oil be profitable? If so, at what price? And under what conditions?
People are bombarded with sensation and that substitutes for thinking
Despite the knee-trembling awesomeness of a double-whammy promise of liquidity, US equity markets ended the week on a decidedly down note. The realization that Draghi's all talk (no impact on US stocks) and PBOC's move is not a liquidity surge and has limited impact on the economy left stocks tumbling once the opening OPEX levels had printed. The USD rose notably on the day after EUR plunged under 1.24 on Draghi (USD +0.9% on the week). Despite USD strength, gold rose 1% (as did Silver) on the week, rising for the 3rd week in a row for the first time in 4 months (and the 3rd Friday surge in a row). Oil rose 1% on the week, breaking an 8-week losing streak but Copper prices fell around 0.3% on the week, having given back the kneejerk gains post-PBOC today. Treasury yields dropped after kneejerking higher on PBOC. 30Y at 3.01% had its 2nd lowest weekly close since May 2013. VIX melted down into the close to 13.01. Late-day buying panic lifts stocks off their lows leaving Dow & S&P at all-time recordest highs of all-time ever in history (as small caps closed red).
As we already noted, Draghi's comments had no impact whatsoever on US equities overnight but when the PBOC rate-cut news hit, AUD surged and so did US equity futures... all the way into the US Open (and OPEX pins). From that moment, the selling began and as Goldman noted, the rate cut was only "slightly useful," which was later confirmed by the PBOC mouthpiece Xinhua saying "this is not a signal of a big liquidity ease." Stocks have retraced all their gains...
Ugly data in Asia, Europe, and US PMI meant US equities opened gap-down... that was unacceptable to 'someone' and so the "most shorted" names were squeezed. However, after 10 minutes the ramp started to fade... and so the big boys 'fat-fingered' VIX and that rescued the dip. That would be fine... but it happened again at 958ET when stocks started to fade again and suddenly VIX was lit up and zoom... stock momentum was ignited and all was well in the world... Broken record? Yes! But clearly someone has to take note of this rigging...
For the 25th day in a row (one short of an all-time record), the S&P closed above its 5-day moving-average. Despite dismal Asian, European, and US PMIs, US equity markets sreaked higher at the US Open, tagging yesterday's highs, then stalling when Europe closed. Small Caps led the day as shorts were squeezed once again but Trannies and Russell 2000 remain negative on the week. US Treasury yields dropped notably after European and ended the day 2-3bps lower (with 30Y unch on the week). The USD rose very modestly close-to-cvlose but traded lower thru the EU and US sessions (AUDJPY was in charge of stocks today). Copper dropped on China growth fears but oil, silver, and gold rose on the day (leaving gold +0.5% on the week). HY credit slammed tighter with stocks early then decoupled after EU closed. Dow & S&P close at record highs.
Because nothing says rational human stock-buying like the entire world's PMIs collapsing to multi-month lows. Thank the lord of the markets for AUDJPY which took over the mantle from USDJPY as US equities opened... Of course, it is OPEX tomorrow, so this all makes perfect sense. Now all we need is for a stock exchange to break and the unrigged game is complete...
Russian stocks are now up 10 days in a row, having gained over 6% since the US unleashed Sanctions 3.0 on the 'increasingly isolated' nation. This performance handily beats Europe and the US as de-escalation hopes drive risk capital back into stocks anywhere and everywhere. However, if its all so shiny and bright in stock land, why are Bund yields (and thus all yields) plunging?
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).
Futures Continue Levitation On More "Deescalation" Hopes Despite UK Warning Russia Of "Serious Consequences"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/15/2014 06:05 -0500
There were headlines for everyone this morning, but especially for fans of what is increasingly known as Russia's "Schrodinger Invasion" of East Ukraine: one which may or may not be happening depending on i) one's point of view and ii) how one is observing it.
Just imagine how high stocks would be if more jets were shot down in Ukraine, more ground operations were unleashed in Gaza, more sanctions were placed on global growth, more European and US macro data disappointed, more job cuts at major firms, and more European banks declared bankruptcy. Today's farcical Friday surge (with the Nasdaq up 2% from its overnight lows and 30 point rip in the S&P) appears 100% based on the squeezing of "most shorted" stocks (best day in over a month) and the ramping of AUDJPY. Credit markets ignored the idiocy; Treasury markets ignored it; The USD went nowhere (after EUR dumped on Italy downgrade then recovered). Gold, Silver, and Copper all closed down 2-3% on the week (given back yesterday's gains) as Oil surged 2.2%. VIX dropped over 2 vols to close with a 12-handle (but disconnected notably from stocks at the close). It's not all ponies and unicorns though - Biotechs are down 5% from Yellen's comments and the Russell 2000 closed red for the 2nd week in a row (and still -1% year-to-date). Best Dow Friday in 5 months (up 11 in a row).
Thanks to the capable carry-induced ramp in AUDJPY (and a helpful OPEX pile-on for VIX), US equity markets are surging this morning (Russell 2000 above yesterday's highs?!) on the heels of the biggest short squeeze in over a month... SSDD...
Fear - or no fear. VIX was monkey-hammered to fresh cycle lows at 10.34 today (still double-digits for now) and OPEX lifted US equity markets (Dow Industrials, Transports, and S&P) to new record highs. Notably European peripheral bond spreads jumped higher (worsened) by their most in 15 months this week. "Most shorted" stocks rose a massive 4.6% this week (surging this afternoon) - the biggest squeeze in 14 months. The USD lost ground (-0.4% on the week) led by EUR strength as JPY closed unch (hardly supportive of the 2% gain in the high-beta honeys this week). Treasuries were nothing like as exuberant as stocks this week (30Y +3bps, 5Y unch) having traded in a 10-11bps range all week. The ubiquitous late-day VIX slam forced stocks to all-time highs. Precious metals had their best week in 4 months closing above $1300 (gold) and $20 (silver) back at 2 and 3 month highs respectively and pushing gold above the S&P year-to-date.
Many market participants are scratching their head as to whether the low VIX levels are an anomaly or some kind of utopian new normal. JPMorgan's Quant Derivatives shop warns the current environment is not similar to the great moderation of 2004-2007 as volatility appears to be disconnected from fundamentals and pressured by structural effects, including central bank intervention, low trading volumes, and pressure from option hedging. Crucially, based on an examination of 'gamma imbalances', the current (low) volatility regime may change significantly after the June expiry.