Stocks Plunge (Open-To-Close) As Commodities Outperform
Volumes were below average but not dismally so as the sad 6.5pt drop in ES (the e-mini S&P 500 futures contract) from Sunday's open to today's close is incredibly the largest drop since 12/28 [correction: 2/10 saw a slightly larger open to close drop] on a day when the problems of Greece are now apparently behind us and Dow 13,000 means that retail will come storming back. High yield credit underperformed (and investment grade outperformed) as stocks drifted to Friday's lows suggesting some up-in-quality rotation (though HYG - the high-yield bond ETF - was strong most of the day). Financials ended the day red with the majors losing significant ground off intraday highs (and CDS widening still further) but the bigger story of the day was the rise in commodities with Copper (RRR cut?) and Silver outperforming (up 3.3% since Friday's close already), WTI managing $106 intraday and Gold touching $1760 (both up over 2% from Friday). What was surprising was the dramatic outperformance with the USD which weakened by 0.44% from Friday as EUR is up 0.75% from Friday alone (while Cable, JPY, and most notably for risk AUD are all weaker against the USD). Treasuries sold off through European hours today and then recovered about half the loss only to ebb quietly into the close with 30Y +6.5bps from Friday (another divergence with stocks) and steeper curve. All-in-all, it seems confusion reigned on Europe but the bias in credit (and financials) seemed more concerned than equities (even with HD and WMT) and FX as real assets were bought aggressively.
Stocks outperformed high-yield credit (after pulling close to 'fair' in the last hour) as the rather tongue-in-cheek 'plunge' in stocks from Sunday night's open at only 6.5-7pts is the biggest drop of the year - but as is clear, we recovered into the close as the csramble for green/unch was clear (and average trade size picked up as we pushed into that close).
Commodities were the bigger story of the day in terms of market action (Oil $106 at nine-month highs, Gold $1760 and Silver $34.3 back at early Feb swing highs)...
...but broadly speaking stocks (ES) sold off considerably more this afternoon than broad risk assets (CONTEXT) would imply...
Of course this is short-term 'trading' divergence against the considerably longer-term 'systemic' divergence we have seen in Bonds vs Stocks or Gold vs Stocks which could perhaps be starting to converge.
Charts: Bloomberg and Capital Context
Correction: open to close is 2nd largest loss of the year (2/10 was slightly bigger):