by ilene - January 27th, 2011 3:10 am
By Surly Trader
Since the beginning of December, the S&P 500 has yet to meaningfully break down below its 10 day moving average. We just like to blissfully crank upwards in valuations. The Dow has hit its momentous 12,000 level and the S&P was inches away from 1,300. Now that we have touched our psychological targets, maybe it is time we reassess how enthusiastic we have gotten. Instead of looking at P/E ratios on 2011 earnings forecasts, I have seen more and more analysts consider 2012 and 2013 forecasts…
I guess our 10 day moving average is a fixed positive slope
When it comes to the lesser of investment evils, it certainly still looks like equities are more attractive than bonds. The issue that I have is that most investors have set aside the significant tail risks that are out there. Not to belabor the point, but there is still significant risk in the Eurozone. Equity markets have ignored it, as well as concerns with local municipalities and states. These risks are real and will take quite a long time to resolve. While the VIX sits around 16 and realized volatility hovers near six year lows, we need to understand that risk flares come quickly and unexpectedly and there are plenty of issues that could precipitate are run.
The default spreads on the PIGS do not appear resolved to me so why is the Euro rallying?
I do not like to be negative, but it does get tiring when the arguments switch so fiercely from bearish to bullish stances. It seems to be the psychology of not wanting to be miss out when the market is rallying or not wanting to be the last one in when the market is tanking. Feast or Famine, no in-between.
by ilene - January 20th, 2011 9:30 pm
Most investors see only the recent returns; they do not see the nearly invisible risks. But the risks are there. I recall all too well the 2003-07 bear market rally – yes, that is what it was. It was no long-term bull run such as 1949-1966 or 1982-2000. It was a classic bear market rally, and it ended in tears because what drove the market upward was phony wealth generated by a non-productive asset called housing alongside widespread financial engineering, which triggered a wave of artificial paper profits.
Remember, returns only count if they aren’t ultimately reversed by excessive greed. Right now, I believe clients are well served by equity strategies that focus on stocks of high quality companies and by investments in both hard assets and income-producing securities. Also good are long-short strategies (vital in controlling risk in the portfolio) and a concentration on fixed-income products (outside of commodities, deflation in the developed world remains the primary trend – against such a backdrop, searching for yield makes perfect sense).
As far as equities are concerned, the current bear market rally is likely at the very late stage. Few people will know to get out at the peak and as we saw in late 2007 and into 2008, many investors will be trapped in a falling market. Bear market rallies are not the same as secular, or long-term, bull markets – the former are to be rented, the latter are to be owned.
by ilene - October 26th, 2010 2:13 am
Red Flag: We Expect Lower Prices Ahead
Daily Technical Sentiment Indicators: Neutral
Short Term Trend: Neutral
Today major indexes saw yet another failed rally at major resistance in spite of all the euphoria over the weekend’s G20 meeting communiqué that was widely seen as a license for the United States to continue trashing its currency and so support “risk on” assets.
As everyone knows by now, a declining dollar has meant a rising stock and commodity market, but today the dollar declined and the equities markets were unable to hold onto meaningful gains.
It increasingly appears that the major factor keeping the market afloat is the anticipated Federal Reserve quantitative easing at its meeting next week with a secondary factor being the notion that the Republicans will reclaim at least the House of Representatives in next week’s election.
It also increasingly appears that both of these events very likely have already been discounted by the market and that market participants could be “selling on the news,” as so often happens.
Overall, this looks more like a top than a bottom when you add up declining breadth and participation by individual stocks, overly bullish investor euphoria and a market that appears to be more sustained by government intervention and support than fundamentals and improving sales and earnings.
The next week will be pivotal on both a technical and fundamental basis. Wall Street Sector Selector remains in the ‘red flag’ mode, expecting lower prices ahead.
Disclosure: No positions mentioned. Wall Street Sector Selector holds various inverse ETF positions and positions can change at any time.
by ilene - October 24th, 2010 10:43 pm
“National economic activity continued to rise, albeit at a modest pace..consumer spending was steady to up slightly, but consumers remained price-sensitive, and purchases were mostly limited to necessities and non-discretionary items..Housing markets remained weak..Most reports suggested overall home sales were sluggish or declining..Home inventories were elevated or rising..Conditions in the commercial real estate market were subdued, and construction was expected to remain weak.Reports suggested that rental rates continued to decline for most commercial property types..industry contacts appeared to believe that the commercial real estate and construction sectors would remain weak for some time..Hiring remained limited, with many firms reluctant to add to permanent payrolls, given economic softness..Future capital spending plans appeared to be limited”
So there you have an outline of the anemic economic picture in the Fed’s own words. To be sure, they indicated some strong points as well. But the weakness in consumer spending, housing, capital expenditures, commercial real estate and employment pretty much accounts for some 85% of the overall
In addition some of the major problems that worried the market earlier have not really gone away. The sovereign debt problems of the weaker EU nations have been papered over without being solved and are still lingering just beneath the surface. The looming currency wars that were shoved down the road by the recent G-20 meeting are also a major threat to the global economy.
by ilene - October 13th, 2010 12:12 pm
Courtesy of Mish
The stock market and commodities are rallying once again over the upcoming QE announcement. Every bit of news, no matter how trivial, supportive of what everyone already knows (that QE is coming), gets market participants get more excited every time.
Will the actual announcement of what we all know result in the biggest sell-the-news event since the Fed’s interest rate cut in January of 2001?
While pondering that, please consider Fed Minutes Lend Weight to Stimulus
The minutes of the Sept. 21 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee indicated that several officials “consider it appropriate to take action soon,” given persistently high unemployment and uncomfortably low inflation.
Now, with unemployment near 10 percent and with inflation well below the Fed’s unofficial goal of nearly 2 percent, the Fed is considering renewed intervention: creating money to buy long-term Treasury debt. That would put additional downward pressure on long-term rates, making credit even cheaper.
Former Fed officials interviewed on Tuesday appeared to be just as divided as the current ones.
“If you lead the horse to water and it won’t drink, just keep adding water and maybe even spike it,” said Robert D. McTeer, who was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1991 to 2005 and is a well-known inflation “dove,” particularly attuned to the harm of joblessness. “You definitely don’t want to take the water away.”
H. Robert Heller, a Fed governor from 1986 to 1989, had the opposite view, urging the Fed to show restraint.
“I would do nothing,” he said, expressing concern that the Fed might appear to be “monetizing the debt,” or printing money to make it easier for the government to borrow and spend.
“If they start to monetize the federal debt, they will dig themselves a much deeper hole later on,” he said. “That’s what we learned from the 1970s, when the Fed undertook a very expansionary monetary policy. It took a double recession in the early 1980s to wring inflation out of the economy. We don’t want to repeat that.”
William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, recently raised the possibility that inflation could be allowed to run above the implicit target for some time in the future, to make up for inflation today being lower than desired. That could
by ilene - September 27th, 2010 2:40 am
Courtesy of Pragcap
David Tepper says you can’t go wrong buying equities here. The market certainly appears to be in full agreement as stocks have rallied in 12 of the last 18 sessions for a total of 10.4%. This is becoming reminiscent of the April rally when the macro risks appeared abundant and yet equity investors ignored the risks and continued to pile into stocks recklessly. As I was building my first sizable short position in over a year I often referred to this as the “can’t lose market” earlier this year. Of course, we all know how that ended – a 20% decline and a flash crash later and every one of the April stock market bulls was discussing the probability of a double dip. Then, just when everyone appeared most fearful, stocks flipped on the bull switch in early September. That bearish sentiment has cleared and now everyone is bullish and sees no risks on the horizon. Futures this evening are ready to stage another nice bull move. Is the “can’t lose market” back? More importantly, how long does this irrational move last before the herd is once again caught on the wrong side of the trade?
by ilene - September 21st, 2010 11:24 am
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
It is no longer fun being a hedge fund manager – first, up until the recent POMO-based rally in stocks, HFs were down for the year, and what is far worse, they were underperforming the broader market – a death sentence for pretty much every hedge fund, as this is proof a fund can not extract alpha and thus has no reason to collect 2 and 20. While the recent ramp in the market is welcome by all bulls, the question remains just how leveraged into the latest beta rally hedge funds have been. If after the nearly 10% rise in the past 2 weeks any individual HFs are still underperforming the market, it is a near certain "lights out."
To everyone else: congratulations – you just bought yourself another three months of breathing room. Better hope the Fed makes good on its QE promises one day soon. In the meantime, Bloomberg Matthew Lynn and Ecclectica’s Hugh Hendry both confirm that in these days of instantaneous liquidity demands, and cheap strategy replicators in the form of ETFs which provide the same beta capture as hedge funds, at a fraction of the price, it is only going to get worse and worse for the once high flying community. In fact, Hugh Hendry goes as far as suggesting that 10 years from now 80% of all hedge funds will be gone. Our personal view is that the target will be reached in a far shorter time frame.
On one hand, Matthew Lynn shows the uphill climb that defenders of the hedge fund industry have to pass in recent days. "An industry that doesn’t know how to defend itself, and has forgotten how to justify its existence, is in crisis. Hedge funds are now in that position." Hilariously, Lynn shows that hedge funds uses that good old staple used by HFTs to defend their own piracy ways and means: providing liquidity.
On both sides of the Atlantic, hedge funds have been busy trying to hold their own against the tide of fresh regulations sweeping through capital markets.
The Washington-based Managed Funds Association, the U.S. hedge-fund industry’s biggest trade group, has been campaigning against proposed curbs on high-frequency trading. That would, it says, reduce liquidity
by ilene - September 18th, 2010 9:05 pm
Joshua argues that we don’t need volume to confirm a stock market breakout. – Ilene
Here’s a composite quote that could come from the market strategist of virtually any major firm, I’m certain you’ve read something like this over the last few days:
"The stock market is nearing overhead resistance, a punch through would be a positive catalyst only if volume picks up before or during the breakout."
- Any Chief Market Strategist, Any Firm USA
Price rules in this environment. Volume is completely and totally irrelevant until about 5 to 7% afterthe breakout.
The breakout could come with only 60% of normal volume and be just as meaningful. In counter-distinction to the conventional wisdom, I would argue that a low volume breakout would actually bepreferable right now. Here’s how I arrive at this idea…
Nobody is in. Nobody. We’ve documented the equity fund outflows ad nauseum, they are bigger than Precious after Thanksgiving dinner. Fine. The question becomes, what can we agree is the more motivating condition for investor psychology right at this moment, Fear or Greed?
The answer is undoubtedly Fear. How else to explain the endless Treasury rally and the full scale retreat from equities? Fear is the conductor of this train right now, period, end of story. With that in mind, I ask you to think about the one thing that American investors fear more than anything else – the fear of missing out on the big opportunity.
Nothing freaks out the average investor more than watching the train leaving the station without them. I could put up 75 charts showing parabolic blow-off tops in various markets or I could just remind you that I’ve worked with over 1000 individual investors over the years and I know this stuff.
Fear of missing out is exactly why a stealth rally in stocks with low participation would be more meaningful and bullish than almost any other scenario. What could possibly draw hundreds of billions out of money markets faster than a 5% S&P rally that no one was a part of?
by Chart School - September 13th, 2010 9:28 pm
The week started with morning gaps which held and pushed on with a close that marked the day’s highs. These gaps in themselves may prove to be measuring gaps, which sets a positive tone for the next couple of weeks ahead. The S&P even managed to break its 200-day MA, leaving August highs as the next target.
The Nasdaq similarly pushed beyond its 200-day MA and did so on higher volume accumulation. There is a case for a break of the three-and-a-half month consolidation too.
The Russell 2000 also managed to clear resistance with a gap and break of 200-day MA; June-July reaction highs are next.
The Nasdaq 100 went a step further and closed above the August reaction high (a very positive development)
Even the semiconductors offered potential by re-engaging the bear trap; a close above 331 (just 4 points away) will confirm.
So, a very positive day to follow a positive Friday. The concerns from Thursday’s bearish black candlesticks have been eliminated and there is a good chance this is the start of another 1-2 weeks of gains.
by ilene - September 12th, 2010 7:27 pm
Courtesy of Rohan at Data Diary
Risk appetite has been ticking higher this past week. The price action in isolation looks pretty positive. The question that is troubling the synapses is whether equity markets are poised to thrust higher once more – egged on by the monetary cattleprod of the US and a seeming stabilisation in China’s growth dynamics.
Certainly the penultimate rejection of the S&P500 off 1040 set the scene for a short squeeze of material proportions. Given the ramp up in volumes that accompanied the selloff from the April highs, it’d be reasonable to expect that there’d be a block of nervous ‘shorts’ at levels not too far from here. It’ll be interesting to see what the tea-leaves say about who sold/bought in the Flow of Funds data next week, but the 1130 level is looking like a pretty tasty target.
For the moment, it’s probably wise to respect the
Still my read of the bigger picture has this run-up as a position driven head fake. Momentum has turned lower since the April high that marked the exhaustion point for global stimulus mark I. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that successive rounds of government intervention will be as wildly successful as the first. While the leading indicators are tracking lower, so will the market.
The other factor tugging at the market’s tail is that the logic for risk spreads to widen remains compelling. The Fed may be the fat kid sitting on the longer end of the Treasuries market, but ultimately the other end of the risk plank can’t join in as the economic malaise works its way through earnings forecasts and default probabilities. This rally should meet its maker over the next couple of weeks – just a matter of whether it can convince him that all those calories can’t be good for you.