While some pointed north to the aweful events in Ottowa, it appears the bigger driver of weakness in stocks today (aside from a sudden absence of broken VIX markets, a lack of Fed Speakers, and the truth about ECB bond-buying being exposed) was the plunge in crude oil. WTI tumbled from over $83 to a low $80 handle after inventories surged more than expected and that appeared the catalyst for equities to catch down to credit weakness. Treasury yields closed the day unchanged but sold off notably in the EU session (like yesterday). The USDollar strengthened for the 2nd day in a row (now up 0.55% on the week) on EUR weakness (CAD volatile around shootings), weighing on commodities. Silver was monkey-hammered early, copper and gold slid, then oil plunged (down 2% on the week). Yesterday's big winner Trannies tumbled the most today (-2%) as stocks gave up half the week's gains today.
Confused why one second the market is down 1%, and then moments later, upon returning from the bathroom, one finds it up by the same amount on negligible volume? Simple: there continues to be zero liquidity. Although, not just in equities, but in bonds as well, something this website - and the TBAC and Citi's Matt King - has warned for over year. It is the lack of bond liquidity that led to last week's dramatic surge in bond prices as Bloomberg noticed overnight. So for those curious just how bad bond liquidity is now, here is JPM's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou with the explanation:
Ever since Abenomics was announced in late 2012, we have explained very clearly that the whole "shock and awe" approach to stimulating the economy by sending inflation into borderline "hyper" mode was doomed to failure. Very serious sellsiders, economists and pundits disagreed and commended Abe on his second attempt at fixing the country by doing more of what has not only failed to work for 30 years, but made the problem worse and worse. Well, nearly two years later, or roughly the usual delay before the rest of the world catches up to this website's "conspiratorial" ramblings, the leader of the very serious economist crew, none other than Goldman Sachs, formally admits that Abenomics was a failure. So what happened with Abenomics, and why did Goldman, initially a fervent supporter and huge fan - and beneficiary because those trillions in fungible BOJ liquidity injections made their way first and foremost into Goldman year end bonuses - change its tune so dramatically? Here is the answer from Goldman Sachs.
No heavy ideological axe to griind or conspiracy theories to propound, just a simple look at the price action in the capital markets.
Think it's game over for Putin? Think again...
Equity markets live and die on several well-established conventions, according to ConvergEx's Nick Colas, noting that these are the rules that investors use as the bedrock of their fundamental analysis. The volatility of the last few weeks shows that some of these paradigms are now under attack. Chief among the question marks: “Do central banks always have the power to tip the balance between growth and recession?” Another rising concern: “Can stocks constantly shrug off recessionary signals from commodity and fixed income markets?” Lastly, “How many exogenous, if largely unpredictable, global events can equities ignore before their collective weight halts a bull market?” Bottom line: the debate on these topics isn’t over for October or the balance of the year.
As the US-Saudi 'secret' oil deal continues to depress the price of oil, pressure Russian revenues, squeeze European budgets, and raise doubts about the status quo (OPEC and the rest of the world), not all of The Kingdom's elites are happy. Infamous billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has written an open letter to Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and other ministers, as Reuters reports, saying the world's top oil exporter should start worrying about the recent slide in global oil prices and warned against the negative effect of such a drop on the state revenue: "Ninety percent of the 2014 budget is based on it (oil), so to underestimate (these implications) is in itself a disaster which cannot pass unnoticed," he wrote in the letter.
Just when you think the selloff couldn’t get any scarier, it did. The last hour of trading took over 1% out of the S&P 500 in rapid fashion, reportedly on fears of an Ebola check at a major U.S. airport. Today we offer up a “Top 10” list of specific markets and indicators to watch for signs of a near term market bottom. They include the CBOE VIX Index (key levels at 26 and 32), the action in small cap stocks and crude oil, and the dollar. Less quantifiable issues – but important nonetheless – are headlines related to Ebola (probably getting worse before better), 10-year Treasury bond yields (2.0% and 1.5% possible here), and European policymakers addressing a host of difficult monetary and fiscal policy issues. Bottom line: this is unlikely to be a dramatic “V-bottom” low given the range of issues of concern to investors. Look for the majority of our “Top 10” to stop going down before calling a bottom.
Regulators from the U.S. and the UK are in a “war room” today conducting financial war games to see if they can cope with fall-out when the next big bank collapses. "We are going to make sure that we can handle an institution that previously would have been regarded as too big to fail. We're confident that we now have choices that did not exist in the past," Osborne said at the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting.
Perhaps the clearest indication that not even the Saudi's can keep pushing the price of oil much further here is that from a purely technical standpoint, oil is so hated, that the daily RSI has reached oversold only for the 3rd time in six years!
Did the sharp sell-off in crude oil trigger the meltdown in stocks? While there are plenty of potential reasons for the stock market to drop - stretched valuations, the slowdown in Germany, Japan and China, etc. - it is more than possible that the recent sell-off in crude oil might have served as a trigger. Crucially, as we explained in detail here and here, if the manipulation of prices of crude oil lower by the Saudis is indeed a US-friendly anti-Russian move, how much equity market pain (and thus created wealth) is America willing to take for the use of "The Oil Weapon"?
One would think that after last week's market rout, the worst in years, that Goldman clients would have just one question: why just a month after you, chief Goldman strategist David Kostin said to "Buy Stocks Because Hedge Funds Suck; Also Chase Momentum And Beta", are stocks crashing? No really: this is literally what Kostin said in the first days of September: "investors should buy stocks which should benefit from a combination of beta, momentum, and popularity as funds attempt to remedy their weak YTD performance heading into late 2014." Turns out frontrunning the world's most overpaid money losers wasn't such a great strategy after all. In any event, that is not what Goldman's clients are asking. Instead as David Kostin informs us in his weekly letter to Jim Hanson's beloved creations, "every client inquiry focused on the same four topics: global growth, FX, oil, and small-caps."
It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. It was “the oil weapon” -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops. It is, of course, that very same oil weapon.
And just like that. everything is crashing. Whether it is Asia, Europe, or even US futures, an entire generation of traders are waking up to something few have seen in the past 6 years: a very rare sea of red only this time with the main difference that the perpetual backstop of all risk, the Fed and/or "Edward Quince", may not be there to halt the collapse.
There are some serious reserves 'estimate' discrepancies rife in the U.S. shale industry that could be at least on par with how Enron 'mis-communicated' to investors its leverage position...