UPDATE: Moody's ITA downgrade took some shine off as EUR drops 60 pips and ES now 13pts off its highs. TSYs are 3-4bps lower in yields. Gold/Silver not moving much on it.
On the basis of old news, more promises, lack of any clarity, and Dexia's dump on the Belgian government, the equity markets staged a 4% rally in the last 45 minutes to end an incredible day. Our assumption is that this was simply the bounce that everyone expected as we seemed to have squeezed shorts into lunch and were limping back lower on AAPL disappointment. Quite clearly, there were a few uncomfortable equity shorts who were squeezed out rapidly and incessantly as the S&P massively outperformed credit as well as the broad basket of risk assets - even TSYs only managed to sell back to earlier day's high yields (as opposed to extending). Gold/Silver rallied (though well off week highs) as the USD dumped back near the week's lows and copper and oil rallied but again no where near as ebullient as stocks. Evidently, the equity move is exuberant at best but these squeezes seem able to maintain longer than anyone expects.
The clearest example of the exaggerated move in equities is probably against the broad-basket of risk assets known as CONTEXT which tracked very well all day but was simply unable to keep up with the covering in ES as we rallied. While it does not mean equities are absolutely expensive, it does imply there is a disconnect between risk appetites relatively speaking and would suggest equity weakness short-term (from our experience).
We had noted all day that credit was underperforming - and more noticeably that single-name credit was underperforming indices - suggesting forced long covering or horizon changes (from short to long) in macro to micro hedging. The indices in general did not initially follow ES but as the rally took hold they started to catch up (understandably so) but significantly underperformed ES as we closed.
AAPL was the story of the middle of the day as it failed to provide an iPhone 5 (all-singing-all-dancing awesomeness) and fell more than 5% at one point (testing its 200DMA) before ripping back higher to its VWAP and then a little more to close down around 0.6%. Once again - we have run out of adjectives to describe that kind of move in that market cap but whatever helped the market certainly saved a few hedge fund's years today!!
Sectorally, it is more what we would expect from a bounce day - the heavily shorted and prime-for-a-short-squeeze financials ripped almost 6.5% higher in that last 45 minutes. Amazingly, MS is now +3.25% from Friday's close, rallying 14.5% in the last 45 minutes with Goldman and Wells Fargo also making into the green on the week. In CDS land, MS opened 645/665 and closed 555/575 (still a little wider on close) in 5Y but 1Y remains 780/850 and was active today - moves in other financials were similar in style to MS (glide rally, jump wider early afternoon, then gap tighter into close) but lesser magnitude.
Enough of the superlatives...TSYs did not get quite as excited. 30Y did manage a 11bps rise in yields from today's low yields but was only just above the earlier high yields - significantly off the levels of yesterday still (as equities test them).
There was modest underperformance in the 5-7Y TSY bucket and that fits with the heaviest net-buying in corporate bond land today seen in the 3-7 and 7-12Y buckets respectively. For some perspective on the moves in the indices relative to single-names today IG was 0.5bps tighter while its fair-value widened 7.5bps (massively cheap to the index now) and HY managed a 1bps compression on the day (as opposed to 48bps decompression in intrinsics) but we do note that short-dated HY was wider all day. Just for further perspective the equity move today is equivlent to 37bps more compression in HY and 5.5bps compression in IG - another point of evidence that the rally was overdone (but that's optically clear we assume).
FX saw the USD dump as AUD ripped higher as did every other major (apart from JPY) as carry FX took off - it was initially delayed in its response but once we got going in ES it didn't take long to rip.
Precious metals and commodities all managed to rally back as the dollar lost ground with oil finding the day's highs but copper, gold, and silver all stayed well of the earlier day's highs. Silver clung to $30 at the close as oil peaked over $78.
All-in-all - an unbelievable last 45 minutes to what was making sense as a day so far with Bernanke's perspective early on. While we would prefer to fade this equity strength, we would suggest a half/third unit size as these squeezes can extend incredibly - though that seemed to be what we saw today - especially in the banks.
Late Update - by request our short-squeeze indicator shows two moments today that were good setups for notable potential squeezes - as the Goldman Short-Interest index hugely underperformed (which is good for shorts) and then greatly outperformed (squeezed) as the rallies came on...obviously not foolproof but nevertheless useful for some context.