"We were sellers Monday, May 4th of the Russell and we were buyers of the S&P, for the chart of the former is ominously bearish while the chart of the latter is interestingly bullish. We’ve done equal dollar sums on both sides of the trade and for now we’ll not wish to see the trade more 2% against us. As we wrote the June Russell 2000 was trading 1222 and the June S&P was trading 2099.50. This morning they are 1253.50 and 2119.50 respectively, so we are now behind by 2.6% on the Russell and are ahead by 1.0% on the S&P. For now we shall sit tight but we are swiftly approaching our stop point, which is a 2% loss."
With over $4 trillion invested in Russell index-linked products, this year’s rebalance combined with the “Will they/won’t they” Fed rate increase debate could make for an eventful start to summer.
After a test of the breakout level in March, the index moved to new highs again in April. However, over the last few weeks, the VLG’s triple top breakout has shown initial signs of cracking.
Since yesterday's fake AVP tender offer was nothing but a targeted attempt to force a short squeeze in one of the market's most shorted stocks, the best way to be positioned for future such criminal activity is to go long precisely the most shorted stocks, the names which in any other universe would be the first to crash, burn and file bankruptcy, but in this parallel centrally-planned universe may just be the biggest winners.
The current consternation among global equity markets is centered around the recent considerable rise in bond yields globally. Historical precedents, or the lessons they contain, which bear some resemblance to present market conditions suggest the recent spike in bond yields would appear to have historical evidence to back up those who harbor concerns about its potential negative impact on stocks – a negative impact that may be of a long-term nature.
In welfare state America its virtually certain that through one artifice or another taxes will go up and the national debt burden will rise to crushing heights in order to keep the baby boomers’ entitlements funded. While Keynesians and Wall Street stock peddlers are clueless about the implications of this - it actually doesn’t take too much common sense to get the drift. Namely, under a long-term path of fewer producers, higher taxes and more public debt, the prospects for rejuvenating the previous historically average rates of real output growth are somewhere between slim and none - to say nothing of the super-normal rates implied by the markets’ current bullish enthusiasm.
"We are sellers this morning of the Russell and we are buyers of the S&P, for the chart of the former is ominously bearish while the chart of the latter is interestingly bullish."
While we are delighted that you take advantage of the daily posts on Zero Hedge detailing flagrant spoofing across various asset classes (which you use to promptly ban two gold manipulators yesterday), the reality is that with every passing day the market becomes more disjointed, more fragmented, more broken.
The recent quietude in the markets has our attention. Quietude in markets nearly always leads to unexpected increases in volatility. We use the term volatility not necessarily only in the sense of “must go down”, but rather in the sense that the quiet period will soon end. It could just as well result in a blow-off move (in the case of stocks) as in a sharp decline – at least from a purely technical perspective. The currency markets seem a bit more unsettled and have been making big moves for quite some time, which curiously haven’t altered the trajectory of “risk assets” much.
The current equities bull run seems unstoppable. No amount of geopolitical concerns, Greek default fears, rate hikes, US dollar strength, crude oil price volatility, Russian sanctions or whatever else you can think of can put a dent on it. Perhaps we should take a step back and try to understand what is driving this strength. OK, we know that central banks continue to spike the punchbowl, but what is the actual transmission mechanism that directs all this liquidity into equities – as opposed to commodities for instance, which continue to struggle?
Honest price discovery is essential to capitalist prosperity since it is the miraculous mechanism by which capital is raised from savers and investors and efficiently allocated among producers, entrepreneurs and genuine market-rate borrowers. What the central banks have generated, instead, is a casino that is blindly impelled to churn the secondary capital markets and inflate the price of existing assets to higher and higher levels - until they ultimately roll-over under their own weight. The Easy Button addiction of our central bankers is thus not just another large public policy problem. It is the very economic and social scourge of our times.
It appears the ammunition for another leg higher in bond yields and small cap stocks is running dry quickly. As BofAML notes, speculators added to Russell 2000 positions for the 5th of the 6 weeks, reducing small cap shorts to smallest in a year. Spec buying of crude continues unabated with the 4th week in a row lifts net long to highest since August. The bond complex is at extremes everywhere: large specs bought 2Y bonds for the 7th week in a row, lifting the 2Y bond net long to a 2-year high; but levered funds have never been more short the long-bond. Finally, VIX Spec shorts have soared to one-year highs. All-in-all positions are extreme to say the least.
A look ahead into next week's macro forces.