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Best And Worst Performers In March And Q1: Full "Consensus Crushing" First Quarter Summary

Tyler Durden's picture


For those used to smooth, undisturbed, Fed-assisted, no-risk-all-return, sailing, both the month of March and the entire first quarter were quite the wake up call, because while the broader market did manage to recover from down for the year just a few days before the quarter end courtesy of an impressive last day window dressing rally, as Deutsche's Jim Reid explains Q1 has not only turned out to be a fascinating roller-coaster ride for most asset classes but has also seen many consensus views from the start of the year struggle for momentum. The main consensus trades at the start of the year were perhaps; a) bullish DM equities, b) bullish the US Dollar, c) bullish the Nikkei, d) bearish DM rates, e) bearish Oil, f) bearish EM equities, and g) bullish DM credit. Many of these trades have struggled so far although the last few days of the quarter have helped some.

Indeed although the S&P 500 (+1.8% YTD TR) and Stoxx600 (+2.6% YTD TR) are off to their worst start since 2009 (post-Lehman crisis) and 2011 (European sovereign crisis), respectively, they have seen a decent end to the quarter after being lower YTD in mid-late March. The peripherals have been the stand-out equity markets in the DM space. Elsewhere the Dollar is flat against a basket of major currencies, the Nikkei is -8% YTD and WTI is up about 3%. The bearishness in EM equities has generally played out well with equities in Russia, Brazil and China down -9%, -2% and -4% year to date but who would have thought that Indian and Indonesian equities would be up by more than 6% and 11% by now given the struggles elsewhere in the sector?

If one narrows the time frame just to the month of March, Deutsche Bank notes that the month was certainly lively as far as macro headlines were concerned. We started the month with escalating tension in Ukraine/Crimea which led to the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula. We've also had never-ending headlines and stories from China on concerns around growth and corporate defaults. The widening of the trading band in CNY was another major event although perhaps not a surprise given the authorities' priorities around reforms - a theme that was the major take-away from the latest National People's Congress in early March. Away from EM, it was perhaps the hawkish display from the FOMC that surprised markets the most which also led to a bear flattening of the UST curve.

With all those key stories contributing to the volatility in March, soft commodities (Wheat +16%, Corn +10%), the Bovespa (+7.1%), FTSEMIB (+6.1%), Portuguese equities (+3.9%), EM  Bonds (+2.7%), and the IBEX (+2.5%) were amongst the best performers. On the other hand, Silver (-6.8%), Copper (-6.6%), Russian equities (-5.2%), Gold (-3.2%) and the Hang Seng (-2.6%) were the main underperformers in March. The uncertainty in Ukraine (a major global wheat exporter) and weather issues in the US certainly supported the rally in Wheat; whereas the heightened volatility in RMB and fears around commodity financing deals contributed to the sell-off in Copper. Otherwise, it was an uninspiring month for DM equities with S&P 500 (0.8%), Stoxx 600 (-0.7%) and the Nikkei (+0.6%) all fairly flat. Considering the negative returns in Treasuries (-0.3%), US credit did reasonably well with most indices holding up modestly in positive territory. European credit also did well overall with a slightly better month for high yield (+0.7%) than high grade (+0.4%) on a total return basis.

Best and worst performing assets in Q1:


And just the month of March:

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Tue, 04/01/2014 - 08:50 | 4613409 greatbeard
greatbeard's picture

Silver seem to be taking a liking to that worst performer status.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 08:59 | 4613432 agstacks
agstacks's picture

Understandable with this recent weather..

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:08 | 4613448 Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

If most silver players rotated into gold, we would probably break the market.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 10:00 | 4613565 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

DI-VER-SI-FI-CA-TION, bitchez!  It's what keeps you sane, and those around you who have to deal with you.

One-trick ponies endure feast/famine lifestyle.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 08:53 | 4613416 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

Best performing FED asset by far- public apathy.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 08:56 | 4613422 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

Can we take massive unemployment being great for Greek equities as a leading indicator for SPX performance over the next 9 months?

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:02 | 4613435 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Effing obnoxious that what's good for corporations is bad for "America".

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:05 | 4613441 Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

What do we do about gold here ?


Isn't there some sort of criminal act that we could do to destroy the market ?


Put the gun to the head of a big trader on the floor and force him to bid $2500 ?

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:14 | 4613462 ...out of space
...out of space's picture

where is coffe


Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:15 | 4613959 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

LEAN HOGS dude....up a gazillion....took a horrible virus (PEDV) to do it but it is leading the pack of commodities...

I am considering going Hendry though....gosh... stocks always go up...and the Fed has our back....oh and I do already have a lifesize statue of myself fashioned of 24 kt gold....so yeah...stocks....

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:30 | 4613492 bagehot99
bagehot99's picture

Awesome that inflation is non-existent as wheat and corn go up 18/14% YTD. Who needs wheat and corn anyway?

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:34 | 4613504 medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

Let them eat rehyponzidisdeflation.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:34 | 4613500 Balvan
Balvan's picture

Silver is dead, gold is on life support but with negative outlook

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 09:34 | 4613502 Billy Sol Estes
Billy Sol Estes's picture

Corn Syrup all around then?

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 10:06 | 4613581 FreeNewEnergy
FreeNewEnergy's picture

Corn and wheat prices are currently being blown higher by HFTs who are scurrying to find other markets to exploit now that they've been outed by Michael Lewis.

Yeah, I know there's a drought in Cali, but that's not the midwest. I'd be short corn and wheat if I was trading futures because they're going to contract once reality settles in. Too high, too fast, and the condition isn't that bad. When there's no bread on the shelves and cattle are starving, then it's bad. Right now, not so much.

As usual, prices are fictional.

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 12:31 | 4614014 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture


interesting point that commodities actually have to be delivered because they are consumed...except for one....gold

Gold is the only 'commodity' that doesn't get eaten, burned to soldered into iJunk and sent to landfills. Therefore gold is always available for delivery. The problem we are seeing in today's commodity market is that the price is wrong. The only 'gold' that can be delivered is paper gold.. The actual metal gets sucked up and hidden away as soon as it comes out of the ground. Heaven help the markets if paper gold is ever rejected because it is a huge part of that glob of crap called 'derivatives'. When gold goes the market goes.

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