We delve into the EIA Oil Report, which was an inline report overall, the only thing that stood out like a sore thumb, was an unusually large import number that came out of nowhere, and doesn`t match historical patterns.
With October, the worst month for stocks since January, now in the history books S&P futures are eager to telegraph that the streak of five consecutive will end, with a modest gain of 0.3% in overnight trading, coupled with mixed global markets as the global bond selloff returned after strong Chinese economic data prompted concerns about rising global inflation.
With the ongoing political circus, weak corporate earnings (considering the massive reductions in expectations since the beginning of the year), Apple and Amazon both missing expectations (which really goes to the heart of the consumer), and consumer sentiment waning, it is surprising the markets are still holding up as well as they are. As long as the markets can maintain support about 2125, the bull market is still in play, but at this point, not by much.
European, Asian stocks fell while S&P futures rebounded as investors assessed a mixed batch of earnings reports while the dollar strengthened to 9 month highs versus most of peers on rising confidence that the Fed will raise rates this year, pushing global bond yields higher.
European, Asian stocks and S&P futures are all up again in early trading, a repeat of the Monday session, buoyed by a generally upbeat corporate earnings season, rising economic confidence and signs of improvement in the world’s biggest economies. After Charles Evans' hawkish comments on Monday, the market is now pricing in a 71% chance of a rate increase this year, up from 68% last week.
Asian stocks and S&P futures fall modestly and European shares are little changed as traders digested the surprising reticence from yesterday's ECB meeting. The dollar jumped to 7 month highs, pressuring EM currencies and pushing the euro to its weakest level since March and below the Brexit lows, after Mario Draghi shut down talk of tapering, while the Yuan dropped to the lowest since 2010.
Seasonally, expectations are for continued builds in inventories (following last week's biggest build in 6 months) but API reported a massive 3.8mm drawdown (against 2.1mm build expectations) sending WTI prices soaring. Distillates also saw a notable draw as Gasoline built modestly. Cushing saw the biggest draw since Feb 2014.
It is critical for the markets to “hang on” to current support at the previous breakout highs. A failure to do so will put the markets back into the previous trading range that has existed going back to 2014.
If yesterday's session was marked by concerns about Fed tightening and rising long-end rates, today concerns about a hawkish Fed have subsided, with European, Asian stocks and S&P futures all rising amid speculation Federal Reserve policy will remain accommodative after yesterday's dovish comments by Fed vice-Chair Stan Fischer, as well as weak economic data helped push the US Dollar off its 7 month highs.
Failure has been rescued from the jaws of success. An opportunity to provide a major sentiment boost has been spurned in favor of continuing confusion. Sadly, investors must persist in keeping at least one nervous eye fully focused on an unpredictable and incoherent Fed. It’s the real economy that misses out.
Despite much hope that the current breakout of the markets is the beginning of a new secular “bull” market – the economic and fundamental variables suggest otherwise. Valuations and sentiment are at very elevated levels which are the opposite of what has been seen previously. Interest rates, inflation, wages and savings rates are all at historically low levels which are normally seen at the end of secular bull market periods, not the beginning of one.