Another Tuesday, another sell-off in bonds and rally in stocks. The hawkish inflation data this morning sparked stock weakness and bond weakness but while the latter saw yields keep pushing higher, the former rallied back extravagantly ignoring the dismal housing data - well why not, its Tuesday today and FOMC tomorrow. The Russell 2000 was the winner once again as traders embrace high beta as alpha (and financials outperformed (2s30s steepened for once). 10Y Treasuries saw yields jump the 2nd most in 2 months (with 7Y the worst performer +6.5bps). Gold, silver, and copper all rose notably after the inflation data but oil prices decided to waterfall lower having briefly reached unch for the week (as soon as POMO ended). "Most shorted" stocks were smashed higher today (+2%) enabling the early ramp and while a late-day selling scramble nearly rescued failure from success, VIX pressure was enough to save stocks' green track record.
Treasuries oscillated in a 3-4bps range all day to end flatter with 30Y -1.5bps and 2Y +1.5bps as stocks flip-flopped around like Charlie Sheen in a Phat Phong whorehouse. Trannies resumed their post-Iraq drop (-0.3% today) but high-beta honeys sent Russell 2000 up 0.4% with the S&P and Dow unchish. Stocks recoupled with bonds after 2 attempts to spark new all time higherer highs. Ahead of this week's FOMC, the USD weakened as EUR gained and oil, gold, and silver all slipped in a highly correlated manner. VIX rose 0.4 vols to 12.6 - notably decoupling from the S&P as Iraq/Fed uncertainty prompted some hedging. The now ubiquitous buying panic took hold at 330ET and Russell closed at highs of the day.
Overnight weakness following The World Bank downgrade, China's flip-flop on CNY and failed auction, Cantor's 'compromise-shattering' loss, appeared to be stabilized by a levitating USDJPY but when the budget deficit hit (as expected) it appears the market was hoping for a bigger deficit (and thus more to monetize and moar QE). Stock are diving lower with Trannies worst along with the Russell 2000 -1%. CNBC is already discussing if this is the pullback to buy for the next leg higher in stocks as money on the sidelines floods in...
The tidal patterns of this market have become so well-known to even the least observant: push the USDJPY (or other JPY carry pairs) higher starting around 6am Eastern, then ramp it just before US open to launch cross-asset momentum ignition algos in FX which then carry over to spoos and the broader "market." In the meantime, overnight selling of USDJPY allows a reset before ensuing buying during the US daytime session. Rinse. Repeat. Sure enough, just after 6 pm Eastern, the same USDJPY which catalyzed yet another all time high close had been sold off, leading to a 0.85% drop in the Nikkei and US equity futures which are showing an unprecedented ungreen color. Don't worry though: the pattern is too well-known and practiced by now, and we fully expect USDJPY levitation to pick up shortly, which is the only signal ES-algos need, trampling over any kind of newsflow both good and bad, and leading to yet another all time record high which it goes without saying is completely detached from any underlying reality at this point and at any time over the past 5 years.
After last night's tumble in copper and surge in CNY during Asia, Europe steadied the ship with more plunging yields (especially the front-end) but the US was all about USDJPY ignition at the open to blast the S&P through 1,950 comfortably and decouple stocks once again from reality. VIX was higher and credit markets were not as exuberant and by the time Europe closed and POMO was done, stocks crumbled back to unchish (apart from the Russell - lifted by another epic short squeeze from the Biotech sector this time). This is the best 4-day swing in the Russell 2000 since Jan 2013 (led by Biotechs today) Gold, silver, and copper ended almost unch as Oil surged 1.7% to over $104 (biggest day in 2 months). Treasury yields bear flattened (5Y +4bps, 30Y +1bps). The USD rose 0.3% - its best day in a month - as EUR closed at 4-month lows.
The great mystery of the endlessly levitating market continues to confound everyone, even Goldman Sachs. Because while the market soared in May (and has continue to surge in June) contrary to the sell in May mantra, when peeking beneath the market's covers, Goldman has found that most investor groups did just as they are supposed to do for this time of the year: they sold!
Risk is no longer priced into anything. Volatility has gone to sleep. Uniformity of thought has taken over the stock market. Complacency has reached a point where even central banks have begun to worry about it: the idea that markets can only go up – once entrenched, which it is – leads to financial instability because no one is prepared when that theory suddenly snaps. But all this bullishness, this complacency is only skin deep. Beneath the layer of the largest stocks, volatility has taken over ruthlessly, the market is in turmoil, people are dumping stocks wholesale, and dreams and hopes are drowning in red ink.
The US Dollar, gold, and oil closed the week unchanged... Treasury yields rose 6-8bps on the week... and the Russell 2000 had its best week in 2014... Sure, why not? VIX was crushed back to a 10-handle as managers lifted hedges and the Tepper-induced short-squeeze from yesterday followed through (+2.5% against a 1% rise in the S&P). The Dow and S&P 500 both closed at record highs (notably rich to the Fed balance sheet). Volume was 20% below average (and that was a payrolls day!). Copper tumbled over 2% - its worst week in 3 months as China's warehouse probe continues. VIX closed at its lowest close since Feb 2007 (and once again the strange shadowy figure of massive after-0hours volume spikes in VXX appeared).
We recently noted that the average Russell 2000 stock is down over 22% and the majority of the broad equity market is well into correction territory as the rally is supported by fewer and fewer names (cough AAPL cough). However, as FBN's JC O'Hara notes, looking at the percent of stocks above their 200 day moving average in the S&P 500 vs the percent of stocks above their 200 day moving average for the Russell 2000, we find the spread is at its widest point in the history of our database. While we find breadth is not a proper market timing tool, a heightened reading often forewarned of troubles ahead. It was more common to alleviate a wide spread by the S&P pulling back to the Russell rather than the Russell playing catch up.
For many months we have discussed the massive outperformance that buying the "most shorted" stocks has created. The 'alpha' generated fro buying the weakest balance sheet companies in preference of the stronger has enabled the dash-for-trash strategy (just as we saw yesterday when Tepper unleashed hell) to be the new meme. And so it is, like anything that is popular, ETFTrends reports that ETFis - a turnkey ETF provider - has filed with the SEC to launch an actively managed short squeeze fund...
The initial exuberance over Draghi's actions (and promises) faded quickly with Treasury yields falling and the EUR surging back higher (to close at 10-day highs)... but thanks to sterling work by AUDJPY and some well chosen 'I'm not scared anymore' comments from David Tepper, US equities soared in a world of their own (as VIX dropped). Volume was also heavy (but the siz came on the downswing after the initial jerk higher from the ECB). The Russell 2000 soared ~2% (best day in 3 months), Treasury yields closed lower, the USD closed lower (as EUR surged) and unchanged on the week, and gold and silver jumped. VIX also helped to support stocks at it dropped modestly (but remains notably disconnected from the equity exuberance). NFP tomorrow... time to sell vol for sure!!
It's Tuesday - so bonds are red, idiot. Trannies (-0.9%), rather unusually, underperformed and on the back of yesterday's Russell 2000 weakness suggests beta-chasing muppets are less engaged. After yesterday's USDJPY recoupling, Treasury yields pushed higher once again and almost recoupled with stocks strength from last week. 10Y yields are up 12bps in the last 2 days - the worst 2 days in almost 7 months. The USD leaked modestly lower led by EUR strength. Copper gave back all its gains from the weekend's exuberant China PMI and oil, gold, and silver flatlined. VIX remains total decoupled from this last few days' exuberance. Volume was average - fed by the early plunge but faded rapidly as we levitated. With regard to the red close for stocks on a Tuesday: it is rumored that a wrong seasonal adjustment factor was applied to today: it was really a Wednesday.
It’s hard to "fully commit" to this rally given "corroded internals," warns FBN Securities technical analyst JC O’Hara in note. As we previously noted, new highs are extremely negatively divergent from the index strength, as are smarket money flows, but what has O'Hara "very disturbed" is the fact that the average Russell 2000 stock is over 22% below its 52-week highs. As O'Hara notes, investors are ignoring "technical signals that have historically forewarned" of a drop; they’re "jumping onto a plane where only one of the two engines is working. The plane does not necessarily have to crash but the risk of an accident is much higher when the plane is not firing on all cylinders."
Broad US equity markets stumbled out of the gate this morning but it's Tuesday so the BTFT traders rescued it. However, when news of 2 downed helicopters in Ukraine hit, stocks tumbled once again with Russell 2000 (small caps) and Dow Transports (the highest hig beta recently) getting slammed... USDJPy ramp efforts continue to save us from terrible Tuesday. Bonds and FX are not reacting so far...