UPDATE: AA earnings beat, missed, won, lost, with forecasts up and down... facts below!
From the close after the Fed's QEternity announcement, it may surprise some that the Russell 2000, Nasdaq, and Dow Transports are all down 4%. S&P futures have retraced all of last week's gains, dropping the most in over week amid significant volume. AAPL dumped to its 100DMA, bounced, failed to break yesterday's VWAP close, then tumbled back to today's VWAP for another down day. VIX popped the most in 2 weeks (up over 1.2 vols) to end at 16.2%. From the 9/14 peak in stocks, only Healthcare is in the green, with Energy/Tech/Materials down around 5%. Oil jumped higher (up 3% on the week) in the face of USD strength that weighed a little on the rest of the commodity sector.
With bond-traders amiss - no doubt all celebrating the indigenous people of our great nation - volumes were dismal and so was any evidence of a BTFD mentality in risk. AAPL, amid the biggest three-day slide in almost six-months, saw pullbacks to VWAP sold immediately (signaling more institutional biased selling) ending very close to a 10% correction from its highs. This weighed on Tech (obviously) which was the worst performing sector and dragged Nasdaq (and the S&P) lower. In general equities stayed in sync with risk-assets on the day (we note that TLT's move implies around a 4-5bps compression in yields at the long-end of the Treasury curve) though the lack of liquidity made the relationships noisy. Low volumes, low range, a premature ramp in the last hour that gathered no momentum left S&P futures having retraced 50% of their low-to-high swing of last week. Gold and Oil decoupled early then recoupled late, ending the day down but outperforming the implied weakness from USD strength (EUR weakness balanced JPY and AUD strength on the day). Copper and Silver ended the day down 1.4%. VIX 'outperformed' equity weakness and pushed a notable 0.8 vols higher back over 15%.
Venture capital (VC) has delivered poor returns for more than a decade. VC returns haven’t significantly outperformed the public market since the late 1990s, and, since 1997, less cash has been returned to investors than has been invested in VC. Speculation among industry insiders is that the VC model is broken, despite occasional high-profile successes like Groupon, Zynga, LinkedIn, and Facebook in recent years. As The Kauffman Foundations finds, from its 20-year history, investment committees and trustees should shoulder blame for the broken LP investment model, as they have created the conditions for the chronic misallocation of capital (no doubt driven by the failure of 'hope' over experience). All is not lost to the money-pumping narrative-followers though as five myths are destroyed and five recommendations made that may help LPs allocate and follow-through more effectively.
It has been a volatile week but equities have drifted lower overall with today's early going retracing all of yesterday's gains only to bounce post Europe's close (once again) on the farce of the Spanish bank audit. Reality sunk in into the close though a glance at S&P 500 futures in the last 30 minutes suggest more V-Fib than trend (as VWAP came into play amid heavy volume at the close). EUR weakness (and USD strength) lifted DXY to a 0.75% gain on the week (almost mirroring Copper and Oil's 0.9% loss on the week) but Gold and Silver popped into the close to end the week unchanged (notably outperforming other asset classes). Treasuries held on to 5bps (5Y) to 12bps (10y & 30Y) yield compression on the week - with some volatility this afternoon bringing them back off their low yields of the week. Utilities ended the week up 1% as the only green sector with Tech, Materials, and Energy all -1.5 to 2% on the week. VIX ended the week up around 1.6 vols (in line with stocks at around 15.6%) and credit continued to lag equities modestly. Cross-asset-class correlations fell away a little this afternoon as stocks meandered but broadly risk-assets suggest some more downside to equities.
Peak career risk. That's how one can summarize what the hedge fund community, long used to "nimbly" outperforming the market populated by slow, dumb money managers and getting paid 7+ digit bonuses, is feeling right now. The last time we looked at relative hedge fund performance, because let's face it: indexing is a polite word for underperforming and anyone who says otherwise is rather clueless about the asset management industry in which the only thing that matters is always outperforming everyone else, only 89% of hedge funds were underperforming the S&P500 through mid-August. A month later, this number is now up to 92% as of September 14. A month later, this number is now up to 92% as of September 14.
Inversely this means that only 8% of hedge funds are outperforming the market with just 3 months left in the year.
When there is nothing left to base your permabullish stance on (earnings collapsing, top-line misses, end of surprise factor from ECB/Fed, and sentiment uber-bullish) there is always 'career-risk'. The high-beta performance chase - the need to reach for high-beta names/sectors/indices in the hope that if the market keeps ripping, your performance is levered and you don't lose your job - has been proffered by many 'strategists' for their optimistic short-term projections and year-end targets for the S&P. The problem with this thesis is that it already happened - and dramatically! Since Draghi uttered his magical words, the high-beta Russell 2000's P/E has soared relative to the other major indices. Just as it did during the LTRO exuberance, RTY has seen its P/E surge more than 2x more than the Dow (and reached an epic 9x above the Dow - at 22x Forward earnings on Friday). Since then, the beta-chase has actually decelerated, so either the chase is over, or PMs see 'flatter' as the new 'killing it'.
Volume was extremely weak on a run-rate basis during the middle of the session, picked up once we started the oil-driven algo-correction, then faded as AAPL dragged equities up to their VWAPs leaving the Dow Transports notably underperforming, NASDAAPL just in the green and small drops in the Dow and the S&P. Notably the S&P reached back down to the day-session closing price from FOMC-day and reversed all the way back to its VWAP at the close - the machines were well and truly in charge today! Treasury yields were lower on the day with the long-end outperforming and so real pullback as stocks surged. Oil dominated the price action of the day as correlation monkeys pulled and pushed around the pit close and contract roll with un-priced-in SPR rumors blamed by some. USD strength on the day saw commodities in general leaking lower. Markets had a very illiquid EKG-like feeling to them today - more so than most in recent times - with post-Europe-close activity in equity, volatility, and credit appearing to almost stop entirely. The Trannies closed today below pre-FOMC statement levels.
Casting a broad eye across all asset classes today, the theme of QE-Off was quite apparent. USD strength, Gold/Silver leaking lower, Stocks gathering downward momentum (as high-beta hotels underperform - AAPL 2nd biggest drop in over 3 months), Treasuries underperforming, and VIX rising rapidly with notable term structure flattening (to its lowest of the year). Volume was on the light side - which suggests this was more longs covering than shorts being laid out (as positioning into recent strength was light and looks to have capitulated Thurs/Fri. Dow Transports outperformed - which appeared more a value rotation as NASDAQ fell back to practically unch (along with the Dow) from the 8/21 swing highs. Equities definitely led the weakness today as cross-asset-class correlation broke down, and futures kept falling after-hours with S&P 500 e-mini futures closing down 12pts - right at the up-trendline of the recent move.
A few months ago when the new French socialist president gave details of his particular version of the "fairness doctrine" and said he would tax millionaires at 75%, we said that "we are rotating our secular long thesis away from Belgian caterers and into tax offshoring advisors, now that nobody in the 1% will pay any taxes ever again." While there was an element of hyperbole in the above statement, the implication was clear: France's richest will actively seek tax havens which don't seek to extract three quarters of their earnings, in the process depriving France (and other countries who adopt comparable surtaxes on the rich) of critical tax revenues. It took three months for this to be confirmed, and with a bang at that. The WSJ reports that Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, and the richest man in France, has decided to forego hollow Buffetian rhetoric that paying extra tax is one's sworn duty, and has sought Belgian citizenship.
By now it should be no secret that under the New Centrally-Planned Normal, good is great, but worst is far greater. It is therefore no surprise that in the past year, some of the highest returning stocks have been the companies which have seen wave after wave of shorts come in, attempting to ride the underlying equity value to zero, only to see themselves scrambling to cover short squeezes, generated either due to the pull of borrow by an overeager shareholder (think SHLD), or due to bad news not being horrible enough, leading to short covering ramps (think AMZN at each and every worse earnings call, which however is never bad enough to finally trounc the last traces of the "bull story"). Which is why, as we have done on various occasions in the past, we have collated the most hated stocks in the less prominent but far more volatile Russell 2000 Index, where we have limited the universe to the 700 or so stocks with a market cap between $50 million and $1,000 billion, or those which tend to have aggressive moves up or down on modest volume (i.e., not widely owned). We have then sorted these in descending order of Short Interest as a % of Float. The results are presented below.
Equities had their now-ubiquitous schizophrenia over 'bad-is-good'-macro data, BTFD - VWAP magic, and back-to-work-after-labor-day (volume better) but ended the day fractionally lower. Average trade size was low but volume was a little above average for the last few weeks as the chase to VWAP and then to green in S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) saw some notable blocks go through - which was accompanied by (or aided by) AAPL's stunning revelation that there will be an iPhone5 </sarc> driving it up 1.5% to fill last week's gap. Away from the equity silliness, there was a clear theme of USD strength (as AUD weakness led but EUR weakness from the European open dragged DXY into the green from Friday by today's close). Treasuries leaked 2-3bps higher in yield on the day. However, while Oil prices dropped (down 1% now from Friday's close), Silver and Gold bucked the stronger USD trend and pushed higher (with the former up 2% on the week and Gold testing up towards $1700). VIX jumped 0.85 vols back above 18% (highest close in a month) almost reaching 19% intraday. Risk assets generally synced well with stocks into the European close, then stocks lagged, overshot (supposedly on Gross' comments but we doubt that) and then reverted back down. Two words - palpable anxiety.
This is a rally based upon hope and vapors.
Capital Markets Über Alles: What Mitt Romney's Economic Advisor, Goldman Sachs (And The NY Fed) Really ThinkSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2012 10:09 -0500
When it comes to Glenn Hubbard, the man needs no introduction, at least to those who have watched the Charles Ferguson seminal movie 'Inside Job.' Indeed, the extensive connections of the Dean of the Columbia school of business to the financial industry is well known, a fact which served as the basis of Ferguson's question: just how corrupt is America's elite educational establishment, and just how much of a factor in the perpetuation of the status quo is Wall Street's puppet control over each generation of rising financial and economic thinkers. For those who are unaware, Hubbard also happens to be presidential candidate Mitt Romney's top economic advisor. The reason why Hubbard has suddenly made the headlines, is because of his overnight statement that contrary to what the potential future president has said, namely that Bernanke's days would be numbered under a Romney presidency, and that the Fed would be audited, Glenn has taken the other side of this argument, and told Reuters that Bernanke should "get every consideration" to stay beyond January 2014, when Ben's term expires. But why? Well, for the answer to this particular question, we have to go back to that long ago year 2004, when Glenn Hubbard together with current Fed president, and former chief Goldman chief economist Bill Dudley, authored a white paper bearing the Goldman sachs logo, titled "How Capital Markets Enhance Economic Performance and Facilitate Job Creation." In a word: for Mr. Hubbard (as well as for Mr. Dudley, Goldman Sachs, and thus, the New York Fed) it is all about the capital markets.
Just remember what the market was telling investors at the October, 2007 market top when it hit an all time high (SP500 1576.09) and just prior to cratering over 50% in 2008.
...Groupon is now offering a 97% off "four day online stock-trading course." While not nearly as big as the discount we have all grown to expect from Whitney Tilson's Value Investing Congress, this offer demonstrates just how much interest the retail investing public has regarding stocks. And why any administration, whether the current or the future one, that believes it can delude the general public into ignoring the broad economy and focusing only on the Russell 2000 as proof of "how good it is" will have its work cut out.