Update (2020ET): And there it is: for the first time since the financial crisis, the emini S&P future has hit the limit down band of -5%, something it failed to do even during the May 2010 flash crash.
This means that no more trade are allowed below the limit down level until the market opens at 9:30 am ET (assuming it opens of course). Trades higher are still permitted, naturally, however that will probably not be a great comfort to all those who are rushing to liquidate with reckless abandon. But fear not: with the S&P now down more than 17% from its all-time highs just two weeks earlier, and just shy of a bear market, those who want to sell will have ample opportunity to do so in the days ahead.
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Following what may have been the most drama-filled weekend since "Lehman Sunday", in which we saw not only another major spike in covid cases around Europe and the US, but also the total collapse of OPEC after Saudi Arabia unilaterally decided to flood the market with deeply discounted oil in a desperate attempt to crush the competition (yet which may backfire and soon lead to riots in Riyadh), markets are reacting appropriately and just like during Lehman Sunday, everything is crashing:
- S&P emini futures are down more than 4% in early trading, plunging as low as 2,845 and fast approaching their limit down price of 2,819 as investors around the world puke risk in an unprecedented fashion.
- Dow futures are down more than 1,000 points unwinding all of Friday's remarkable late-day rally and then some...
- VIX futures are up 16%, so one can only imagine where spot will be soon.
- With everyone rushing into safety, rates are soaring and the Ultra bond future is already up a gargantuan 7 to 232-16 in a squeeze that will surely lead to the failure of more than one macro fund still short the long-end, while the 10Y yield is on pace to hit a record all time low of 0.50%, one which screams recession.
- Naturally, the oil complex is imploding, with WTI down 27% to $30...
- ... while Brent has dropped as much as 31%, to just $33 in early Sunday trading in what Bloomberg dubbed "one of the most dramatic bouts of selling ever"...
... and indeed, today's move is the biggest one-day drop in Brent on record.
... in line with Goldman's shocking price target cut, which now expected Brent dropping into the $20s.
FX, as discussed earlier, is in freefall, with carry trades getting unwound, while commodity pairs are getting anihilated:
- NORWEGIAN KRONE FALLS TO LOWEST SINCE AT LEAST 1985 VS DOLLAR
- FALLS EXTEND IN CANADIAN DOLLAR, NORWEGIAN KRONE, MEXICAN PESO
Finally, gold, also known to certain WSJ "experts" as a pet rock, it just spiked above $1,700 for the first time since 2012.
What happens now? Well, earlier today Morgan Stanley said that to stabilize markets, the Fed would need to announce not only a rate cut but also resume official QE...
We believe equity markets will struggle until policy-makers get back ahead of the curve with more interest rate cuts and an extension of the current balance sheet expansion and/or an official quantitative easing program – something we think is likely coming
... and with spot VIX likely set to trip 60 or more, the Fed will need to do something or risk another Great Depression, although how sending nominal bond yields into negative territory across the board will help markets remains to be seen. Maybe the Fed's time has finally run out?
Or maybe Trump - who provoked the market gods one too many times with his relentless stock market boasts as stocks hit artificial high after artificial high - actually has something up his sleeve, because moments after futures opened, he tweeted a rather cryptic "nothing can stop what's coming."
Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me! https://t.co/rQVA4ER0PV— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020
We'll see about that: One thing is certain: markets and traders will be closely watching and waiting everything that is coming, after more than a decade of Fed-inspired complacency, as price discovery finally returns with a bang.