The USD is unchanged; Commodities are unchanged; and Treasury yields are up only 2-3bps... but that didn;t stop July 1st from being a banner day for US equity markets (on the back of missed PMI and ISM data). The Dow, Russell 2000, and S&P closed at record highs but sadly the Dow missed out on 17,000 by a mere 1.5 points (despite the best VIX and AUDJPY manipulation $189 billion of repo liquidity free money can buy). Stocks got their start with yet another epic short squeeze at the open then ramped higher thanks to carry to record-er highs; stalling when it seemed Dow 17,000 was elusive. VIX traded with a 10-handle once again.
Despite 2014 consensus GDP now languishing at 2.2% (below its 2.9% hope in March, and gas prices near record highs for the time of year; it seems the Q1 growth scare that saw small caps, momos, biotechs, and half the Russell 2000 collapse has been all but forgotten as the favorite index of short-squeezes and algorithmic ignition has just recovered all its losses and regained its all-time record highs from March. Mission accomplished? Bear in mind that over 600 of the Russell 2000 names are still 20% below their 52-week highs.
Gold is the best performing asset in H1 2014 (just beating crude oil). The USA is the worst-performing macro-economy in the world's majors in H1. The S&P 500 is up now 6 quarters in a row - its best run since 1998. The Russell 2000 had its best month since September but Trannies are leading the Dow by over 900bps year-to-date. "Most shorted" stocks had their 'best - biggest squeeze' month in 11 months. Gold and silver had great months. Today saw stocks rally then fade and bond yields rose then fell (down 1-2bps). The dollar slipped markedly on the day to 2-month lows as commodities surged (ex Oil) with Gold, silver, and copper all reaching multi-month highs (amid short-covering and CCFD unwinds). VIX closed the month higher.
One hundred years ago today the world was shook loose of its moorings. Every school boy knows that the assassination of the archduke of Austria at Sarajevo was the trigger that incited the bloody, destructive conflagration of the world’s nations known as the Great War. But this senseless eruption of unprecedented industrial state violence did not end with the armistice four years later. In fact, 1914 is the fulcrum of modern history. It is the year the Fed opened-up for business just as the carnage in northern France closed-down the prior magnificent half-century era of liberal internationalism and honest gold-backed money. So it was the Great War’s terrible aftermath - a century of drift toward statism, militarism and fiat money - that was actually triggered by the events at Sarajevo.
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.
The only thing that can be said about Janet Yellen’s simple-minded paint-by-the-numbers performance yesterday is that the Keynesian apotheosis is complete. American capitalism and all political life, too, is now ruled by a 12-member monetary politburo, which is essentially accountable to no one except its own misbegotten doctrine that prosperity flows from the end of a printing press.
Cognitive biases are an anathema to portfolio management as it impairs our ability to remain emotionally disconnected from our money. As history all too clearly shows, investors always do the "opposite" of what they should when it comes to investing their own money. They "buy high" as the emotion of "greed" overtakes logic and "sell low" as "fear" impairs the decision making process. Here are 5 of the most insidious biases that will keep you from achieving your long term investment goals. As individuals, we are investing our hard earned "savings" into the Wall Street casino. Our job is to "bet" when the "odds" of winning are in our favor. With interest rates at abnormally low levels, inflation rising, economic data continuing the "muddle" through and the Federal Reserve extracting their support; exactly how "strong" is that hand you are betting on?
What is there to add here: clearly the central-planning academics at the Marriner Eccles building are doing a great job at pushing the Russell 2000 to, well, 2000. Oh wait, this was an article about the Fed's GDP "forecast." Lol.
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.