While much was made of the MF Global news today, we suspect that the tipping point for risk assets was more likely driven by the plethora of reality-based analysis of the situation in Europe combined with the afternoon news that Greece is facing a referendum and a lack of demand for the EFSF issue today. Heavy volume arrived into the close to the downside, suggesting asset allocation rotation from equities to bonds, which helped propel TSYs even further down in yield. The entire complex flattened notably with 30Y outperforming -24.5bps, the largest single-day yield move since March 2009, as the much-watched 2s10s30s butterfly has retraced all of last week's increase. ES closed at its lows (down over 2.5%) only to extend those losses in the evening session as we post.
At over 4 standard deviations, today's drop in 30Y yields was the highest for a single-day since 3/18/09.The roundtrip in the entire TSY complex from last Wednesday is quite impressive and remains surprising as to how a broad market can interpret what was so clearly no-real-news in such a schizophrenic way without some 'help'.
35bps sell-off in 30Y at its best early Friday - only to give it all back and some by the close of today - perhaps there is something to our perspective on MF Global and its TSY inventory last week. The drop in TSY yields was initially shrugged off by ES but very quickly it became clear that fears were gathering and ES accelerated to the downside - with IG and HY credit tracking wider also. VWAP acted as natural resistance at every small rally suggesting there was more of an institutional bias to selling today - which again fits with the rotation we would expect after such an aggressive month's performance in stocks.
As the day wore on, all risk-drivers were reverting back to what is more realistic (as opposed to the intervention-dislocation from the overnight session). EURJPY has retraced almost the entire move and as we closed CONTEXT and ES were back in line - rather surprisingly given the amount of movement (and lack of recalibration) in asset classes today - though we did note earlier that risk-off in broad markets was dominating any correlation-drivers.
Under the surface, HY and HYG underperformed stocks (having not really seen the kind of risk-on moves to bring them back to fair even with last week's ebullience) but IG was the worst relative-performer (as we suspect low-cost hedges /shorts were laid back out). Financials in the US were not pretty (even though Materials and Energy underperformed broadly) as CDS widened and stocks tumbled in the majors (e.g. MS -9% and 35bps wider!!). We have to say it was rather quiet and slow to start with - which makes sense given last week's violence - but by the close equities and credit were losing ground fast once again.
EURUSD lost 1.39 and DXY managed a 2% gain from Friday's close (as JPY's 3% loss contributed). PMs slid lower as the dollar rallied and aside from what appeared to be a liquidation (and unique to itself) rip-fest in WTI in the middle of the day, moves in commodities were all negative.
Volumes were in general light until the last hour or so. Whether this was MF related as traders were anxiously re-arranging clearing or a month-end wait to transact is unclear. It is clear, however, that firms are clearly derisking (as IG reaches back to fair-value and HY cheap once again and the European financials and sovereigns face renewed pressures).