Nomura: Markets Are Jumping Due To A Violent Squeeze And An Inflationary "Force-In"

In trying to explain today surprising breakout in stocks, some suggested that the catalyst was a VIX triangle formation breakdown shortly after 12pm, when in a rather abrupt move lower, the VIX broke below 14, and below the base of the triangle in which it had been trading since the February vol freakout, with algos immediately reading this as an all clear signal to sell more vol and buy stocks.

Yet while simple and elegant, this theory is also dead wrong according to Nomura's X-asset guru, Charlie McElligott, who in explaining today breakout higher in risk, writes that "it’s much more than a “VIX triangle breakdown”—it’s that ‘inflation’ and expectations of it are the largest positive price-drivers for SPX—more than VIX, more than fwd earnings, more than global GDP growth even."

Specifically, Charlie was watching crude and inflation breakevens - which traditionally follow crude very closely - and notes that when crude breaks out to new 3.5 year highs, and 5y breakevens are back at new 5 year highs, "stocks are going higher as well and forcing people back into the mkt."

Well that, or just buybacks coming back with a vengeance, or just algos feeling extra bullish, but ok, let's assume it is a new burst of inflation expectations: if so, the euphoria will be short-lived as it will mean an even faster rate hike cycle by the Fed and monetary tightening.

Whatever the reason, the Nomura strategist notes that what helped today's move is that many traders still had legacy shorts/underweights in 'deep cyclicals' (energy +2.5% and materials +1.5%) which are seeing violent squeeze, while the big sector pukes into earnings (industrials +1.3% and financials +1.6%) are "ripping off your face as well." 

More thoughts in his full note from this morning:


  • Peak “Cyclical Melt-Up” as my thesis continues to play-out in “real time” overnight: Crude +2.9% / new 3.5 yr highs, UST 10Y Nominal Yields back through 3.00+, 5Y “Real Yields” at new nine-year highs and Spooz at two-week highs
  • “Hawkish” Iran deal decertification “event” perceived as the bullish catalyst needed for next leg of Crude rally, as upwards of 200-300k b/d of Iranian production potentially curtailed in an already “tight market”  last night’s API inventory draw “beat” as additional ‘bullish’ confirmation into EIA later today
  • I’ll say it again: Crude is “the straw that stirs the drink-> Higher Crude = Higher “Inflation Expectations” = Long Equities “Cyclical Growth”(Energy / Financials / Materials) / Commods / TIPS, Short Fixed-Income / Defensives in this TACTICAL “melt-up” phase
  • SPX factor model (per Quant-Insight) confirms this, showing that “inflation proxies” (Iron Ore, Copper, CRB Rind) and “inflation expectations” (both 5Y and 10Y zero coupon inflation swaps) are larger price drivers for U.S. stocks than global GDP growth, 1 year fwd earnings and VIX in the current SPX macro regime
  • Additional potential catalyst for inflation?  Chinese / PBoC liquidity-boost following the recent monpol “easing” (RRR cut) and fiscal stim (small biz tax cuts), with 7d repo rate making new 1 year lows (high interbank liquidity) and 1s10s Curve steepening to multi-year highs as a “tell” for higher Commodities
  • And as a reminder, it’s not just inflation implications (PPI / CPI tomorrow) impacting Rates:
    • Today sees a $25B 10Y auction which Darren Shames notes could print the first 3% coupon in nearly seven years
    • Heavy seasonal U.S. IG calendar continues with $22B printed already WTD
  • U.S. Dollar weakness overnight (predominantly vs G10 as EM still a mixed-bag) should also (near-term) help “hold” Commod gains
  • However, the positive “tactical” U.S. Dollar “momentum” backed by 1) ongoing widening in Rates Differentials, 2) multi-year highs in U.S. “Real Yields” and 3) more disappointing global growth data overnight:
    • EM data shows Philippine exports print their largest annual decline in 20 months
    • Euro (~58% of DXY weighting) earlier new five-month lows overnight after French IP and Manu data weakness (currency has
  • In turn, the legacy “long EURUSD” widely held by systematic trend-following CTAs since last year becomes further endangered for “capitulation risk” with likely “sell trigger” at 1.179
  • EMFX and equities selloff moderates a touch after the Argentina / IMF credit line news y’day, although sovereign bonds still messy on foreign outflow concerns
  • However, ‘Crude’-centric EMs offer some “relative” attraction (Russia, Mexico, Brazil) along with idiosyncratic ‘havens’ (South Korea) on geopol thawing
  • USDCNH 6.43 level is another popular “short USD” trade to watch, as Nomura Quant Strategies Tokyo notes it as a potential “capitulation point” from CTAs in trade since late last year, ESPECIALLY as the PBoC cuts the daily reference rate for the Yuan for the 19th consecutive day and to the lowest level since Jan 24th  

And some charts of interest—







back to basics Wed, 05/09/2018 - 15:47 Permalink

Oh I see, this week inflation expectations are good as opposed to last week that were bad because they signaled raising rates. LOL !!!

I swear to god these fuckers are making it up as they go along. The only thing that matters is that as long as central banks continue to buy this market, this market will continue to go up. End of. 

snblitz Bud Dry Wed, 05/09/2018 - 16:21 Permalink

Fake money is a problem.  However, I would not expect the people who benefit from the fake money to ever change the system.

That leaves us.

The problem:

What to do:

  • Vote independent
  • Do not vote for candidates with family members with foreign interests
  • Do not vote for candidates with intelligence credentials (CIA, FBI, NSA)
  • Do not vote for candidates with political experience (they are how we got here)
  • Close your big 5 bank account
  • Turn off the TV
  • Turn off Hollywood (you can watch Indie movies)
  • Help your friends to understand and do the same

In reply to by Bud Dry

buzzsaw99 Wed, 05/09/2018 - 15:49 Permalink

these pukes need to get their story straight.  one year it's:  inflation expectations are high so that will cause the fed to act so that is bearish.  the next year it's:  omg inflation is high everyone is forced to buy gs & xom.  give me a fucking break.

wains Wed, 05/09/2018 - 15:50 Permalink

Where's that Keltner Channel Surf guy because I think he called this low volume squeeze/melt up.  Question is, can SPY get to $280 on this leg up? 

nsurf9 Wed, 05/09/2018 - 15:52 Permalink

No, that's just what happens when .01%ers are digesting the latest heap of stolen middle-class buying-power.

If only the money could state what its really worth - the "market" would look much different!

Fiat Burner Wed, 05/09/2018 - 15:54 Permalink

Lulz they are already back to the "melt up" narrative.

Consumer price inflation isn't good for stocks. Its going to lower margins or reduce sales.  The sheep can't afford to pay higher prices on discretionary items so these companies are going to have to eat it one way or the other.

JLarryL Wed, 05/09/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

Better to use market price action itself. Right now it's pointing higher, although without much conviction. There are now some nice resistance/support points both up and down, too.

The price action in the dollar could become important. We could get another of those "foreign contagion" drops if the rise starts to threaten emerging market countries. Oil service stocks look like smoldering volcanoes.

IDESofMARCH Wed, 05/09/2018 - 16:34 Permalink

Insanity ends and markets drop when the pot is full. Then the

f---en bankers and FED manipulators will drop the markets. Why drop the markets when there's fresh money coming in.

Jtrillian Wed, 05/09/2018 - 16:35 Permalink

People can rationalize it any way they wish but let's be honest, the market bubble rests in squarely in the hands of the CENTRAL BANKS.  They created it.  They will be the ones to pop it. 

Central Banks are the SINGLE DOMINANT FUNDAMENTAL FACTOR when it comes to the markets today.

the Dood Wed, 05/09/2018 - 16:42 Permalink

Sell low, buy high! I always sell shorts with conviction, then I eat too much and gain weight. the shorts I bought are too tight man, so I sell them just before losing weight again. Fuckin Abercrombie makin a fortune off me

hola dos cola Wed, 05/09/2018 - 17:33 Permalink

Reward the ones flying airplanes in buildings.

Reward them for trying to wreck your oil industry.

Just let them stir your drinks.

Let them grope the POTUS balls.

Grant them a genocide.

Then invite them into your financial institutions while the market as it stands.