Good Morning. In yesterday morning's meandering missive, I opined that it might be an appropriate time for the bulls as well as the fast-money traders to take a break. Exhibit A in my thesis was the fact that the market tends to pause for a few months after new bull markets reach the six-month mark. And since the recent top in the S&P 500 on April 2nd also just happened to correspond with the new bull's six-month birthday, it seemed reasonable to assume that we just might be entering a "sloppy period."
If we then mix in the traditional seasonal weakness surrounding the May - October period, the tendencies of Presidential election years, and the recent weakness seen in the indices, well, a break in the action made sense to me. However, apparently none of the fast-money crowd on Wall Street got the memo because the concept of taking a break was clearly the farthest thing from anybody's mind yesterday. In short, what I expected to be a sleepy retest of the lows wound up being a rip-roaring romp higher.
In the early going it was the rumor-mill that got the blame for the surprising mood swing that occurred at the corner of Broad and Wall. First, there were rumors of additional Chinese monetary stimulation. Then there was talk that China's GDP, which has been a major source of worry in the bear camp lately, might come in above 9%. This was especially interesting given that the World Bank had just put the finishing touches on a report downgrading their expectations for the very same Chinese economy. So, boom, just like that the FXI (iShares FTSE China 25 Index) got up off the mat and was rockin' higher.
But that wasn't the only set of breathless rumors that were making the rounds on Thursday morning. Apparently the weaker-than-expected report on jobless claims coupled with Janet Yellen's remarks had sparked a fresh new round of QE talk. And before you could confirm that the Fed's Vice Chairwoman hadn't said anything that could be construed as supporting more QE (in fact, she mentioned that the economy didn't need any stimulus at the present time), the dollar (the UUP - PowerShares U.S. Dollar Index - is a nice proxy to do your dollar watching with) was down and the rest of the QE plays such as GLD (SPDR Gold), SLV (iShares Silver), USO (US Oil Fund), and Dr. Copper (JJC) were en feugo. So again, the concept of taking a break was out and rapid-fire trading was back in.
Lest we forget, there was also some stock-talk helping to keep the action hot and heavy on Thursday. For a change, the day wasn't "AAA" [All About Apple - (NASDAQ:AAPL)]. Nope a little tech company named Google (GOOG) was also involved with the rumors du jour. It turns out that the talk of Google's earning being BTE (better than expected) were true as the company put up a strong quarter after the close yesterday.
Oh, and while I am completely clueless as to why anybody really cares about such things, word that Zuckerberg's baby (i.e. Facebook) was about to move up its IPO date seemed to also put traders in a frenzy on Thursday.
One thing I've learned about this business over the past 25 years is that when you're wrong, you're wrong. And as it turned out, as far as the idea of traders deciding to take a break - at least in the short-term - is concerned, I was clearly wrong. But the good news is that in this business, you are wrong a lot (it's just part of the game). As such, we simply made some adjustments and moved on. And on that note, here's hoping that the data keeps traders in a good mood and away from the break room today.
Turning to this morning ... One of yesterday's rumors proved untrue as China's GDP came in WTE at +8.1% (the weakest rate in nearly 3 years) as opposed to the whispers of 9% or better. In addition, concerns about borrowing levels in Spain and Italy are pushing Europe lower. In earnings news JPMorgan Chase's results beat expectations but some of the internal numbers are giving traders pause. As such, futures are now pointing lower in the U.S.
On the Economic front ... The Consumer Price Index for March was up +0.3%, which was in line with the consensus estimates for an increase of +0.3%. When you strip out food and energy, the so-called Core CPI came in with a gain of +0.2%, which was also in line with the expectations for an increase of +0.2% but above February's +0.1%.
Major Foreign Markets:
- Australia: +0.97%
- Shanghai: +0.35%
- Hong Kong: +1.84%
- Japan: +1.19%
- France: -0.79%
- Germany: -0.51%
- Italy: -1.24%
- Spain: -2.05%
- London: -0.20%
- Crude Oil Futures: -$0.28 to $103.36
- Gold: -$7.30 to $1673.3
- Dollar: lower against the yen, higher vs. euro and pound
- 10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 2.022%
Stock Futures Ahead of Open in U.S. (relative to fair value):
- S&P 500: -4.93
- Dow Jones Industrial Average: -50
- NASDAQ Composite: -10.41