Despite the Dow's price-weighted index of just 30 stocks pushing comfortably into the green for the 7th Tuesday in a row (on dismal volume), things were not as exuberant anywhere else in stock-land. Amid a very narrow range day, completely divergent from the rest of the risk-asset complex, sustained only by the life-giving blood of Fed-sponsored VIX-selling into the FOMC event risk, performance today was internally weak with Russell 2000 closing red for the week (as the S&P and Dow managed to regain green for April but the Dow still could not make it green for 2014). Away from stocks, Credit markets were weak, Treasuries rallied (with yields lcosing 1-2bps lower on the day despite equity strength), Gold closed marginally higher and oil up 0.5% on the week. The USD closed up for the day but unch on the week as JPY strength dislocated from stocks.
Owners of high-growth, high-beta stocks could not find a buyer for any of their crap today some mid-afternoon shenanigans between AUDJPY, VIX, and more utterly useless Russian headlines meant those same owners of high-growth, high-beta stocks were beating buyers away with a shitty stick. Pandora is a great example of the chaos (today's swings down 2%, up 4%, down 11%, then up 6%) as today's action in the so-called "market" was anything but human. The buying panic lifted the S&P, Dow, and Trannies briefly into the green for April but very late-day weakness left only the Trannies green for April. We just hope the desperate BTFWWIII'ers didn't use up all their BTFTuesday ammo...
Momentum, or high-growth hope, stocks are making fresh lows of the February Tarullo Top as this morning's mysterious buying panic sparked by housing data has relapsed into aggressive selling pressure. The Russell 2000 has broken below its 200DMA once again - a critical support level - and Nasdaq and Trannies ar emaking new lows from Friday. Momentum, or high-growth hope, stocks are making fresh lows of the February Tarullo Top as this morning's mysterious buying panic sparked by housing data has relapsed into aggressive selling pressure. The Pharma frenzy is fading fast also. The Russell 2000 has broken below its 200DMA once again - a critical support level - and Nasdaq and Trannies are making new lows from Friday. All US equity indices are now in the red for April.
After a few days of exuberant dead-cat-bounce, that credit and treasury markets largely chose to ignore, Russian headlines sent USDJPY (and therefore US equities) dumping hard into the red for the week (and the month). Tuesday was the week's big short-squeeze winning day (as one would expect) and then it was all downhill. Away from stocks, the USD ended the week modestly lower (-0.15%); treasury yields were mixed with some more notable flattening (5Y ~unch, 30Y -8bps); and commodities were very volatile. Copper had its 2nd best week in 7 months, oil its 2nd worst week of the year as gold and silver beat stocks and the latter remains the year's winner. A late-day buying panic (because why wouldn't you ahead of potential WWIII!) was led by a VIX ramming which managed to get the S&P briefly green for the week but it faded quickly into the close.
Large speculators reduced ther S&P 500 positioning to net short this week and their NASDAQ longs to a one-year low as BofAML reports on CFTC data. Macros funds decreased their long exposure to S&P500 and NASDAQ to now hold short exposure. They also decreased their long exposure to US Dollar (raising their AUD longs to a record high) and maintained their long exposure to 10-year Treasuries. They decreased their long exposure to commodities and increased their long exposure to EM. Across all asset classes, positioning is at extremes.
Despite Janet Yellen's meet-and-greet with the unemployed and criminal classes, the absence of Ben Bernanke has seemingly empowered several Fed heads to be just a little too frank and honest about their views. The uncomfortable truthsayer this time is none other than Dallas Fed's Fisher:
*FISHER SAYS FED POLICIES HAVE MADE THE RICH 'MUCH RICHER' (but...)
*FISHER: UNCLEAR IF FED POLICIES WILL BENEFIT THE MIDDLE-CLASS
We wonder how President Obama, that crusader for fairness, equality and all time Russell 2000 highs, will feel about that? In the meantime, just like the Herp, QE is the gift that keeps on giving.. and giving... and giving... to the 0.001%.
The S&P 500 is down around 4% from its highs (outperforming the high-beta hangovers of Nasdaq and Russell 2000 that were down almost 10% from their highs at today's lows). But under the surface, the S&P is ugly with the 500 index members down 10.5% on average. 213 members of the S&P 500 are down over 10% (in correction mode). Only 72 member of the 500-stock index are 'beating' the index... this is not just a small-cap growth-hype selloff... it's spreading...
Another day, another epic ramp. Any "investor" watching the last two days of totally manic market behavior must be open-mouthed at the total lack of fundamental sanity behind any of the moves. Even the mainstream media is stunned by the moves embarrased into mere commentary and afraid to opine on any reason. The reason for today's rip - an economic assessment downgrade for Japan which smahed USDJPY higher and through magic of carry, lifted US equities. There was no let-up in Ukraine, no data to confirm growth hype, no US news... but the Russell and Nasdaq managed a 2.5% bounce in a stright line after the Japan headline. Away from the idiocy in stocks, precious metals were rammed lower early on but leaked back higher all day. The USD pushed higher but FX was relatively quiet aside from the idiotic moves in JPY. Treasuries rallied at the long-end on the day (despite the surge in stocks). "unrigged"
It is perhaps worth reflecting on the smorgasbord of free advice given out by the talking-heads after last night's closing ramp proclaiming the dip to be bought and that everything was fixed once again. It was not. Stocks are making fresh cycle lows and the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 are both now below the 200-day moving-average and appraoching the 10% (correction) from their highs. 10Y is back under 2.6% and the 30Y yield is back at 10-month lows... which perhaps explains why "growth" stocks are back at 7-month lows versus "value" stocks...
For the first time since Novemeber 2012 (when QE4EVA was kicked off in style), the Russell 2000 - that long-heralded indication that everything is great in the US economy and the indicator that stocks are great at discounting the future that is undoubtedly rosy - has broken back below its 200-day moving-average. In the meantime, an oddly dominant algorithm is swamping options markets with millions of fake orders..."rigged?"
Despite the best efforts of the straight-line panic buying algos on a Tuesday, it seems flashing red headlines of dreadful escalations in Ukraine (more deaths), from Bloomberg:
11 REPORTED DEAD DURING UKRAINIAN OPERATION IN KRAMATORSK: RT
UKRAINE GOVT: RUSSIAN 45TH AIRBORNE IN SLOVYANSK, KRAMATORSK
...and USDJPY tagging 102 again (of course) were enough to spark the manic idiocy of markets from buy-buy-buy to sell-it-all-Mortimer... So much for yesterday's "see it's all good now" ripfest... The Russell 2000 is back at yesterday's lows and NASDAQ is back under 4000.
I am sure those who were buying the "Kool-aid" at the market highs feel that way, but the numbers tell a different story.
The Dow, S&P, and Russell 2000 just pushed to fresh lows for the day after some dead-cat-bouncing hope intraday. Weakness in stocks is worse than FX carry for now but more in line with bond strength as Treasury yields push to new cycle lows. WTI Crude is up and gold is holding gains as the USD is stable.
UPDATE: Nasdaq negative year-to-date; Biotechs 3-month lows. AMZN, FB, TWTR, NFLX, P all in Bear market territory
Shortly after 946amET, the stock of The Nasdaq OMX Group suddenly dropped in a mini-flash-crash from from 35.98 to 35.00 in just over 2 seconds on approximately 100,000 shares. As Nanex notes, this is what high-frequency-trading liquidity looks like. But now, an hour or so later, the Nasdaq index and most especialy its Biotech and high-growth names are being crushed. Biotechs are near 3-month lows, Momos are down 16 to 18% since FOMC, and Nasdaq is about to go negative for the year.
“At some point in time the chickens are going to come home to roost on the HFT game,” said one Goldman insider.