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Gary Townsend - Founding member and Chairman, GBT Capital Management, LLC, a macro long/short fund based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Also, 2007-2013, a founding partner, CEO and Portfolio Manager of Hill-Townsend Capital LLC, a long/short equity financial sector fund. Mr. Townsend has 35 years... More
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  • U.S. Stocks End Week Mixed; Tokyo Soars As G-20 Mutes Yen 0 comments
    Feb 18, 2013 12:07 PM

    This morning. U.S. equity markets confirmed an uptrend on November 23rd. The SPX subsequently gained +7.85% and progressed to a February 14th 1521.38 5-year high (-0.35% off the 1526.75 September 28, 2007, all-time closing high). In Asia, Tokyo rebounded after Friday's distribution, closing up +2.09% when the G-20 failed to object to Japan's currency depreciation policy. Hong Kong and Shanghai closed lower. European bourses are mixed.

    In the U.S., technical indicators are generally positive, the SPX again closed above its 5-day moving average (which is moving up) support in recent days. The SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite are all above their 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. Nonetheless, markets appear to be searching for direction. Major indexes closed mixed last week. In February, major U.S. indexes average about +1.00% higher. European continental bourses are about -2.00% lower.

    Economic reporting is light today due to the Presidents' day holiday. In Spain, scandal threatens the ruling party's hold on a parliamentary majority. Italian parliamentary elections occur on February 24-25.

    U.S. Treasury yields are unchanged, with the 10-year at 2.002%, compared to 2.002% the prior day. U.S. repo rates are 19 bps, up from 18 bps the prior day. Spanish and Italian 10-year debt yields are 5.23% and 4.40%, respectively, well above their mid-January lows, but easing from levels earlier this month. The U.S. dollar is stronger, as the Euro and particularly the yen weaken. U.S. options markets are neutral to bullish. The CBOE skew rose +2.57% to 130.46, from 127.19 the prior day. Commodities prices are mixed.

    Last week, the SPX rose +0.44%, compared to the prior week's +0.68% increase. In February, the SPX is up +1.45%, compared to January's +4.87% rise. The SPX is -0.46% off its 1526.75 September 28, 2007, all-time high. The SPX is +41.4% above the 1074.77 October 4, 2011, intraday low. In 2013, the SPX is up +6.56%. In 2012, the SPX closed up +13.4%. Next resistance is at 1524.64. First support is at 1514.54.

    Last week, the BKX closed up +0.20%, compared to +0.49% the prior week. In February, the BKX is up +2.38%, compared to January's +4.97% increase. This year, the BKX is up +7.47%, outperforming the SPX. Last year, financial stocks outperformed the broader market, as the BKX closed up +30.2%, compared to the +13.4% SPX gain.

    Friday. On options expiration-driven higher volume, U.S. equity markets fractionally mixed, continuing either a consolidation of recent gains or suggestive of topping activity, according to varying interpretation. The DJI managed a +0.06% gain, while the SPX, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite fell -0.10%, -0.21%, and -0.22%, respectively. Market breadth was slightly negative. Up volume lagged down volume by a greater margin. SPX market segments closed mixed. NYSE volume rose +39.8% to 939.50 million shares, +1.32x the 20-day moving average, from 671.84 million shares the prior day.

    Trading desks focused on the weeks' narrow trading range and the mixed close, though the greater weakness came late in the session, a change from the week's previous sessions. Investors continue to view pullbacks as opportunities to expand long exposures, which explains the absence of sustained weakness; nonetheless, while sentiment is bullish, charts are extended, suggesting that upside expectations are exaggerated. Desks cite relative macro calm, economic growth improvement, strong earnings, and "reasonable" valuations. Shorting activity remains light. Sentiment remains mixed, as investors cite improving fundamentals, but concern that markets have moved too quickly in the past 8 weeks, or that some tail-risk event could spur a more obvious sell-off.

    From its 1521.38 prior close, the SPX opened with modest gains, marking an early 1524.24 intraday high, followed by several tests of breakeven before moving lower at mid-afternoon. The SPX fell to a 1514.14 intraday low an hour before the close, but the index rallied into the close to end at 1519.79. The index ended -0.46% off its 1,526.75 September 2007 all-time high. Market volatility fell. From the 12.66 prior close, the VIX opened at 12.50 and fell to an early 12.24 intraday low, but rose with the market's late weakness to it 12.89 intraday high. The VIX eased in the final hour to end at 12.46, down -1.58%. The VIX is up +0.24% from the January 22nd 12.43 low close. The all-time closing low was 11.26, set June 30, 1993.

    On +36.6% greater volume, the DJ Transports fell -0.02%, compared to the DJI's +0.06% gain. The index rose in early trading and eased higher to a mid-afternoon 5,982.69 intraday high, but reversed lower as the market weakened and fell to a final hour 5,937.45 before improving into the close. The index ended at 5,946.45, off -0.02% from the prior day's 5,947.70 all-time closing high. The index closed +1.52%, +6.92%, +12.2%, and +14.4% above its respective 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages.

    Technical factors were little changed, as the SPX closed again above its 5- and 10-day moving averages. SPX relative strength (RSI) fell to 66.40, from 67.82 the prior day, at the top of a neutral range. The CBOE put/call skew rose +2.57% to 130.46, from 127.19 the prior day. U.S. Treasury bond prices rose.

    Last week, the SPX and Nasdaq closed up +0.44% and +0.41%, respectively, while the DJI and NYSE composite closed down -0.20% and -0.35%, respectively. The prior week, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite closed up +0.68%, +0.82%, +0.93%, and +0.68%, respectively. In February, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite are up +1.45%, +0.87%, +1.59%, and +0.56%, respectively. In January, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite closed up +5.04%, +5.77%, +4.06%, and +5.21%, respectively.

    In 2013, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite are up +6.56%, +6.70%, +5.71%, +5.80%, respectively. All closed at least +5.91% higher in 2012.

    Immediate SPX support is 1520, then 1514 (the respective 5- and 10-day moving averages). Resistance is 1525, then 1526.75 (the September 28, 2007, all-time high).

    Distribution day count. Lower volume accompanied yesterday's losses, avoiding distributions. Since the uptrend confirmation on November 23rd, the NYSE composite, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 have distribution counts of 5, 3, and 2, respectively.

    In Asia, equity markets closed mixed. In Tokyo, equities rebounded from Friday's -1.18% distribution, with a +2.15% gain, though on -31.2% lower volume. In Hong Kong, the HSI reversed early gains and closed with a -0.27% loss on a -2.18% volume decrease. In Shanghai, the SHCOMP fell -0.45% on +6.86% volume increase.

    Commentary focused on the weekend's G-20 meeting, which did not take strong exception to Japan's policy of currency depreciation, contrary to last week's fears. The yen weakened.

    The HSI closed -0.57% below its 20-day moving average. The NKY and SHCOMP closed above their respective 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages.

    This week, the NKY is +2.09% higher, while the HSI and SHCOMP are down -0.27% and -0.45%, respectively. Last week, the NKY and HIS closed up +0.19% and +0.99%, respectively, while the SHCOMP was closed for the Chinese New Year's holiday. In February, the NKY and SHCOMP are up +2.09% and +1.51%, respectively, while the HSI is down -1.46%. The indexes gained +7.15%, +4.73, and +5.12% the prior month. In 2013, the NKY is up +9.74%. The HSI is up +3.20%. The SHCOMP is up +6.72%. In 2012, the NKY rose +1.37%. The HSI rose +22.9%. The SHCOMP rose +3.17%.

    In Japan, the NKY closed at 11,407.87, compared to 11,173.83 at Friday's close, but down -0.49% below its February 6th high. The index gapped higher to open above 11,300 and rose to an early afternoon 11,445.46 intraday high before easing through late session back to 11,370. The index rallied into the close. The NKY closed +3.27%, +9.24%, +17.7%, and +23.1% above its respective 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. All market segments closed at least +1.16% higher. Leaders were financials, technology, and consumer services, which rose at least +2.40%. Laggards were industrials, oil and gas, and telecommunications.

    In China, the Hang Seng closed at 23,381.94, down from 23,444.56 at the prior close, and -1.85% off its January 30th high. The index gapped higher to open a 23,477.49, the intraday high, but then immediately reversed lower and traded to a mid-morning 23,309.55 intraday low. The index improved moving into the afternoon session, but found resistance at 23,400 through the afternoon and weakened again into the close. The index closed -0.57% below its 20-day moving average, but +1.56% above its 50-day moving averages. Market segments closed mixed. Leaders were consumer services, industrials, and consumer goods, which rose at least +0.41%. Laggards were oil and gas, financials, and basic materials, which fell at least -0.35%.

    In Shanghai, the SHCOMP closed at 2,421.56, down from 2,432.40 on February 8th, the Friday close before the past week's holiday. The index opened higher, but reversed lower by late morning to the 2,415.73 intraday low. By mid-session, the index tested breakeven, but resistance held, and the index eased lower through the afternoon and into the close. The index closed -2.12% below its 2,474.07 March 14, 2012 high, but closed up +22.7% from its December 3rd 1,959.77 low. The SHCOMP closed +2.73% and +8.76% above its respective 20- and 50-day moving averages. Most market segments closed lower. Leaders were oil and gas, health care, and industrials, which rose at least +0.48%. Laggards were financials, telecommunications, and basic materials, which fell at least -1.16%.

    In Europe, the majorequity indexes are mixed. The Euro Stoxx50 and FTSE 100 are down -0.11% and -0.25%, respectively, while the CAC 40 and DAX are up +0.05% and +0.31%, respectively. The Euro Stoxx50, CAC 40, and DAX are below their respective 20- and 50-day moving averages. The Spanish IBEX 35 is down -0.75%. The Italian FTSE MIB is down -0.59%.

    Commentary focuses the G-20 finance ministers' meeting (Feb 14-16), which failed to hold Japanese policy makers accountable for the policy of yen depreciation. The Spanish governing party's scandal threatens a new crisis there. Italian parliamentary elections will occur late in February.

    From its prior 2,615.26 close, the Euro Stoxx 50 traded lower through mid-morning, but found support at 2,600 and rallied back to breakeven at mid-session. The index currently trades at 2,613.39. Most market segments are lower. Leaders are utilities, basic materials, and health care, which are up at least +0.49%. Laggards are telecommunications, consumer goods, and technology, which are down at least -0.46%.

    This week, the Euro Stoxx50 and FTSE 100 are down -0.09% and -0.28%, respectively, while the CAC 40 and DAX are up +0.04%, +0.28%, respectively. Last week, the Euro Stoxx50, and DAX closed down -0.57% and -0.77%, respectively, while the FTSE 100 and CAC 40 closed up +1.03% and +0.30%, respectively. The prior week, the Euro Stoxx50, CAC 40, and DAX fell -1.24%, -0.12%, and -0.31%, respectively. In February, the Euro Stoxx 50, CAC 40, and DAX are down -3.33%, -1.89%, -2.08%, respectively, while the FTSE 100 is up +0.54%. In January, the Euro Stoxx50, FTSE 100, CAC 40, and DAX closed up +2.54%, +6.43%, +2.51%, and +2.15%, respectively. In 2013, the Euro Stoxx50 is down -0.87%, while the FTSE 100, CAC 40, and DAX are up +7.00%, +0.57%, and +0.03%, respectively. In 2012, the indexes closed up +13.8%, +5.84%, +15.2%, and +29.1%, respectively.

    Libor, LOIS, Currencies, Treasuries, Commodities:

    • USD LIBOR is 0.15500%, down from 0.15400% the prior day. USD 3-month LIBOR is 0.28910%, down from 0.29010% the prior day, and compares to the January 4, 2013, recent peak of 0.58250%.
    • The US Libor-OIS (LOIS) spread is 14.51 bps, compared to 14.51 bps the prior day, and compares to the January 6th high of 50.05 bps. Euribor-OIS is 12.40 bps, down from 12.85 bps the prior day, and down from the December 27, 2011, high of 98.80 bps. Moves in the LOIS indicate changes in intra-bank lending risk premiums.
    • The 3-month Euro basis swap is -17.335 bps , compared to -17.200 bps the prior day, but up from a trough of -147.00 bps on December 14th and within a normal -10 bps and -40 bps range.
    • Spanish 10-year debt yields are 5.23%, compared to 5.19% the prior day. The recent low was 4.56% on January 11th. Italian 10-year debt yields are at 4.40%, compared to 4.38% the prior day. Its recent low was 4.13% on January 11th. German 10-year debt yields are 1.62%, compared to +1.65% the prior day.
    • The U.S. government overnight repo rate is 19 bps, up from 18 bps the prior day. The January 2,, 2013, 45 bps rate was the highest since late 2008. The 0.00 bps low was on January 31, 2009.
    • U.S. Treasury yields are unchanged, with 2- and 10-year maturities yielding 0.266% and 2.002%, respectively, compared to 0.266% and 2.002% Friday. The yield curve is unchanged, with the 2- to 10-year spread at +1.736%, compared to 1.736% the prior day. In the past year, the 2- and 10-year spread varied from a low of +1.174% on July 24, 2012, to a high of +1.998% on March 19, 2012.
    • The U.S. dollar is stronger compared to the euro, British pound, and Japanese yen. The dollar trades at US$80.628, compared to a US$80.727 intraday high and US$80.580 the prior day, and better compared to its US$79.840 50-day, US$80.015 100-day, and US$80.939 200-day averages. The euro trades at US$1.3350, compared to a US$1.3322 intraday low and US$1.3360 the prior day. The euro trades better compared to its US$1.3299 50-day and US$1.3109 100-day averages, and compares to a multi-year low of US$1.1877 on June 7, 2010. In Japan, the dollar trades at ¥93.95, compared to ¥93.50 the prior day. The yen trades worse than its 50-day moving average ¥88.76.
    • Citigroup Economic Surprise Index worsened to -2.40, from -2.00 the prior day, extending its string of negative reading since January 28th, but better than its recent -30.80 reading on January 30th. The index is better than its respective -5.08 5-day and -13.76 10-day moving averages. From its July 19th -65.30 low, the index improved rapidly and turned positive last September 5th, but the index signaled exhaustion on December 20th, and from 55.76 moved lower to -30.80 on January 30th. After a lag, the CESIUSD correlates with EPS revisions.
    • Commodities prices are mixed, with lower energy, mixed precious metals, mixed aluminum and copper, and mostly higher agriculture prices.

    Volatility, Skew:

    • The VIX fell -1.58% to 12.46, from 12.66 at the prior close. The VIX is -5.36% below its 13.22 20-day moving average. Its 30-day high is 14.75. Its 30-day low is 12.24.
    • At mid-session, the Euro Stoxx 50 volatility index (V2X) is p +3.36% to 19.48, from 18.85 at the prior day's close. The V2X index trades +11.7% above its 17.43 20-day moving average, -9.90% below the 21.62 30-day high, and +34.1% above the 14.52 30-day low.
    • The Hang Seng volatility index (VHSI) closed at 14.41, up +1.91% from 14.14 the prior day. The VHSI index trades +5.21% above its 13.70 20-day moving average. Its lowest historical close was 11.72, on June 30, 2005.
    • CBOE skew rose +2.57% to 130.46, from 127.19 at the prior day's close, and above a neutral (115-120) range. Spikes in excess of 130 (as on February 15th and September 21, but previously on March 12, 15, and 16) correlate well with short-term market tops. The recent high close was 130.60 on September 21st. The recent low was 113.23 on November 14th. The index rarely falls below 110, last on July 31, 2009. The index correlates with market tail risks, the cost of buying out-of-the-money, long-dated options, i.e., options not affected by expirations. A rise suggests that investors are buying more puts than calls, a bearish signal.

    U.S. news and economic reporting:

    • None.

    Overseas News:

    • None.

    Company Ratings/News:

    • None.

    Price and Selling Exhaustion/Trend Reversal (based on TD sequential):

    • SPX - On a monthly basis,the SPX initiated a buy setup in June 2008, with the month's 1404.05 high setting the resistance level. The setup perfected at 735.09 in February 2009. A sell setup ensued in May 2009. In September 2010, a follow-on setup began. The May 2009 setup perfected in January 2010. Its countdown completed in January 2012, closing at 1312.41 and setting a 1429.36 risk level. The follow-on setup perfected in May 2011. In March 2012, the index closed at 1408.47, above resistance, suggesting further upside. In September 2012, the index closed at 1440.67, above the 1429.36 risk level and suggesting the likelihood of further upside. In October and November, the index closed below the risk level, but above 1404.05 support. Also, the follow-on countdown rose to 8 in September 2012, but hasn't subsequently progressed. In August 2012, the index initiated a new sell setup, which progressed to 6 in January, when the index closed at 1498.11, compared to 1426.19 the prior month and 1440.67 four months prior. The sell countdown stemming with the May 2011 perfection rose to 9. The index closed +4.81% in excess of the 1429.36 risk level, suggesting that the uptrend will continue. On a weekly basis, on March 30th, the index completed a sell countdown with a 1408.47 close, setting a resistance level of 1446.74. In the subsequent 9 weeks, the SPX fell -8.96% to 1278.04 on June 1st. The index signaled selling exhaustion the week ended June 8th, during which the SPX traded to an intraweek 1266.74 low on June 4th, and then perfected a weekly buy setup with its 1325.66 close. The next week's bullish price flip initiated a sell setup that perfected on August 10th at 1405.87. On January 31st, the sell countdown associated with August 10th perfection completed and generated a 1525.36 risk level. In the week ending February 15th, the index closed up +0.44% at 1519.79, compared to 1517.93 the prior week and 1472.05 close four weeks prior. The sell setup rose to 7. The index closed -0.37% below the 1525.36 risk level. On a daily basis, the SPX perfected a sell setup on August 15th at 1405.53, and completed its sell countdown on September 13th, with its 1459.99 close. The completion generated a 1492.18 risk level. The index showed weak subsequent trend until November 19th, when a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup with support at 1359.88, the open and intraday low. The index perfected the setup on November 30th with its 1416.18 close, initiating a sell countdown, which completed on January 7th. After a bearish price flip on January 8th, a bullish price flip on January 9th initiated a sell setup, which perfected on January 22nd and validated a 9-13-9 sell pattern, suggesting the likelihood of a market top in the next 12 trading sessions. On Friday, the SPX fell -0.10% to close at 1519.79, compared to 1521.38 the prior day and 1517.01 4 days prior. The sell setup rose to 6. The 10 sell countdown stemming from the January 22nd perfection was unchanged. The index closed +2.90% above the January 7th 1476.89 risk level, based on the SPX's 8.95 point trading range on January 6th and high of 1467.94.
    • BKX - On a monthly basis, the BKX perfected a buy setup in December 2007, but has yet to complete its associated buy countdown, which is has been a deferred 13 since April 2011. That same month, the BKX initiated a buy setup, but the setup has remained unperfected since December 2011, when the index closed at 39.38. The buy countdown would complete with a close below 28.72, the February 2009 close with an 8 buy countdown. In September 2012, it initiated a sell setup, which rose to 3 in November. In January, the BKX rose +4.97% to end at 53.83, compared to 51.28 at the end of December and 49.58 four months prior. The sell setup rose to 5. On a weekly basis, the BKX recorded a completed buy countdown December 2, 2011. A bullish price flip in the week ending December 16th initiated a sell setup, which perfected the week of February 10th, when the index closed at 44.53. A bearish price flip ensued the week of April 13th, and a buy setup perfected the week of June 8th, when the index closed at 40.86. A bullish price flip occurred on July 27th, and the sell setup perfected on September 21st. Subsequent trends were weak until December 7, when the index initiated a new sell setup, which perfected on February 1st. On February 15th, the BKX closed at 55.11, up +0.20% from 55.00 the prior week and 53.48 four weeks prior. The sell countdown associated with the September 21st perfection rose to 12. On a daily basis, the BKX signaled selling exhaustion on June 4th, then rallied to 44.65 on June 19th, when it perfected a sell setup. The index completed a sell countdown on August 8th, and on August 15th, perfected a daily follow-on sell setup. On September 6th, the BKX initiated a new setup with its +2.93% gain, which broke through resistance at 47.75. On September 14th, the index completed a sell countdown, followed on September 19th, with an unperfected sell setup. A sell countdown began on September 28th. A bullish price flip on December 6th, was followed on December 14th by a bearish price flip, initiating a buy setup. On December 17th, the 50.62 close above the November 1st 50.45 close and above the prior two days' close completed a sell countdown and initiated a sell setup, which perfected on February 14th. Friday, the index closed down -0.65% at 55.11, compared to 55.47 the prior day and 55.13 four days prior. The bearish price flip canceled a 1 sell countdown and initiated a buy setup. The sell countdown associated with the February 14th perfection was unchanged at 1. The index closed +4.14% above the 52.92 risk level, which is based on the index's October 5th 0.88 point intraday range and 52.04 intraday high.
    • VIX - On a monthly basis, the VIX perfected an upward setup on January 31, 2008, and reached an upward setup of 7 on October 31, 2008. In January, the VIX fell -23.9%, after rising +13.6% in December, and falling -14.7% in November. The VIX ended January at 14.28, compared to 18.02 at the end of December and 22.72 at the end of September. The bearish price flip canceled last month's bullish price flip, and initiated a buy setup. On a weekly basis, the VIX perfected a buy setup on January 27th, and a sell setup on June 8th, followed by another perfected buy setup on August 10th. Last week, the VIX fell -4.30% to end at 12.46, compared to 13.02 the prior week, and 12.46 4 weeks prior. The buy countdown associated with the August 10th perfection rose to 11. On a daily basis, the VIX reached an sell countdown of 11 on June 4th, and subsequently exhibited a more distinct downward trend with a perfected setup on August 17th, followed by a perfected sell setup on August 31st. Subsequently, the VIX exhibited little in the way of a distinct trend. On November 23rd, the index perfected a sell setup. On January 16th, the VIX perfected the buy setup begun on December 31st. On January 18th, a bearing flip initiated a new buy setup and a buy countdown stemming from the January 16th setup perfection. Friday, the VIX fell -1.58% to close at 12.46, compared to 12.66 at the prior close and 12.94 at the 4 days' prior close. The buy setup rose to 6. The buy countdown associated with the January 16th perfection rose to 8. The VIX closed -11.1% below the 14.02 support level.
    • EUR, USD Cross - On a monthly basis, Euro Dollar cross perfected a downward setup on May 30, 2008, at 1.554. Subsequent monthly trends were weak until December 31, 2009, with a monthly decline of -4.56% that brought the index to 1.4321. The downward move continued until July 2010, when from 1.2238, the index rose +7.10%, with an unperfected downward setup in August 2010. The index failed to establish much strong upward momentum, however, peaking at the end of April 2011 at 1.4807, but then trending lower to test the July 2010 lows, when in August 2012, the index completed a buy countdown. In recent months, the trend has been higher, with an upward setup of 3. The cross ended January at 1.3579, compared to 1.2986 the prior month and 1.2579 4 months prior. The sell setup rose to 5. The buy countdown is 8. On a weekly basis, the cross perfected a buy setup on January 6th, followed by another buy setup and completed countdown on June 1, 2012, when the cross closed at 1.2434. After several weeks without much trend, the index initiated an sell setup the week ended August 3rd, when it closed at 1.2387, and the setup perfected on September 28, with a 1.2860 close. On January 18th, the index completed a sell setup at 1.336. The week of February 15th, the index fell -1.70% to end at 1.3365, compared to 1.3640 the prior week and 1.3343 4 weeks prior. The sell countdown associated with the September 28th perfection rose was unchanged at 9. The cross closed -0.12% below the 1.3381 risk level, which is based on the April 6, 2012 1.3381 high and 0.298 day's range. On a daily basis, the EURUSD cross perfected a sell setup on September 12th. The subsequent trend was lower until a buy setup initiated on November 2nd and perfected on November 14th with a 1.2736 close. The index initiated a buy setup the following day and perfected the setup on November 27th at 1.2943. On January 11th, the sell countdown stemming from the November 27th completed, setting a 1.3393 risk level. On January 24th, a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup which rose to an unperfected 9 on February 5th. On February 14th, the associated sell countdown rose to 2, but is subsequently unchanged. On February 14th, a bearish price flip rose initiated a buy setup. With Friday's -0.02% lower close, the EURUSD cross was 1.3360, compared to 1.3363 the prior day and 1.3406 four days prior. The buy setup rose to 2. The cross closed -0.29% below the risk level.
    • USGG10YR - On a monthly basis, the USGG10YR perfected a buy countdown on February 29th, and a buy setup on May 31st. The subsequent trend has been weak. The rate ended January at 1.9849%, compared to 1.6156% the prior month and 1.5484% 4 months prior. The sell setup rose to 5. The buy countdown pertaining to the May 2012 perfection was unchanged at 3. On a weekly basis, the index perfected a buy setup on June 8th, but subsequent trends were weak until a December 7th bullish rate flip initiated a sell setup, which perfected on February 1st, when the rate ended at 2.0149%. The rate has subsequently shown little trend, and the associated sell setup is unchanged at 1. The rate ended the most recent week at 2.0017, compared to 1.9499% the prior Friday and 1.8416% four weeks prior. On a daily basis, the USGG10YR completed a downward setup on May 8th, followed by two downward countdowns on May 17th and June 4th. Subsequent trends were weak until August 3rd, when the rate rose nearly 9 bps to end at 1.5905%, a bullish rate flip that initiated a new upward setup. This setup perfected on August 15th, when the rate ended at 1.8155%. A new downward setup commenced on August 21st, when the rate rose to 1.8610% before ending at 1.7984%, below the prior 4 day's close of 1.8155%. The downward setup perfected on August 31st, when the rate ended at 1.5484%. The trend reversed upward on September 3rd, and the upward setup reached an unperfected 9 on September 18th. After a late October intraday spike to 1.861%, the trend was lower until November 16th, when the rate closed at 1.580%. A bullish price flip on December 7th initiated a sell setup. On December 12th, the rate completed a sell countdown, with a 1.9213% risk level, based on the October 25th 1.8542% high and 0.0671% intraday range. On December 19th, the rate perfected its sell setup and initiated a sell countdown. On February 12th, a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup. On Friday, the rate ended at 2.0017, compared to 1.9974% the prior day and 1.9548% four days prior. The sell setup rose to 4. The sell countdown associated with the December 19th perfection was unchanged at 11.
    • NKY - On a monthly basis, the NKY perfected a buy setup on April 30, 2009, and subsequently has traded narrowly. In November, the index rose +5.80%, following an increase of +1.50% in October. On November 30th, a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup. The index closed January at 11,138.66, up from 10,395.18 the prior month and 8,928.29 four months prior. The sell setup rose to 3. The sell countdown associated with the April 2009 perfection was unchanged at 11. On a weekly basis, the NKY perfected a sell setup on March 9th, and a subsequent buy setup on June 1st with a countdown of 8. The index initiated a sell setup on October 26th, and on December 21st, the sell setup perfected, initiating a sell countdown. Notably, on December 28th, the index closed at 10,395.18, +2.01% above 10,190.35 resistance (its April 4th weekly high), suggesting further upside. On February 15th, the index closed up +0.19% at 11,173.83, compared to 11,153.16 the prior week and 10,913.30 four weeks' prior. The sell countdown was unchanged at 8. The index closed +9.65% above resistance. On a daily basis, the NKY perfected an upward setup on March 27th, and two consecutive downward setups on April 12th, and May 14th, with completed downward countdowns on May 16th and June 4th. The index rallied through August 21st, but then strung together multiple lower closes, perfecting a downward setup on September 5th. The index subsequently rallied, initiating a sell setup on September 7th, which it perfected on September 20th. A buy setup commenced on September 21st, which was perfected on October 3rd. Subsequent trend and momentum were weak until November 15th, when a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup and countdown. The sell setup perfected on November 30th. The associated sell countdown completed on December 28th, when it set a 10,544.28 resistance level. On January 4th, the index opened after the New Year's holiday, and closed above resistance, suggesting further upside. Though the index subsequently moved higher, it was without strong trend. The most recent sell setup initiated with a bullish price flip on February 15th. Monday, the index rose +2.15% to 11,407.87, compared to 11,173.83 the prior day and 11,346.72 four days prior. The sell setup rose to 2. The index closed +8.19% above resistance.
    • HSI - On a monthly basis, the HSI perfected a downward countdown on March 31, 2009, and two subsequent perfected upward setups on December 31, 2009 and May 31, 2011. The index has yet to reach its 24,923.28 price exhaustion target. The index has risen in each of the past four months and ended January at 23,729.53, compared to 22,656.92 the prior month and 21,641.82 four months prior. The sell setup rose to 5, with a countdown of 12. On a weekly basis, the HSI perfected an upward setup on March 2nd, and subsequently traded to a low close of 18,185.59 on June 4th. After a period of weak trend, the index established a new sell setup and countdown in the week ending September 14th. The index perfected the setup on November 9th, and initiated a new sell setup on December 7th, which perfected on February 1st. On February 15th, the index closed at 23,444.56, compared to 23,215.16 the prior week and 23,601.78 four weeks prior. The sell setup rose to 2. The sell countdown stemming from the November 9th perfection was unchanged at 10. The index closed -4.31% below resistance at 24,260.77, the April 29, 2011, intraweek high. On a daily basis, the HSI perfected a sell setup and completed an upward countdown on August 8th. After September 5th's lower close, the index perfected a buy setup. A sell setup commenced on September 9th, followed by a completed countdown on October 24th, with a trend of 22,071.74, and another perfected setup on October 25th. It completed another sell countdown on December 6th. The index perfected another sell setup on December 14th, and completed the associated countdown on January 23rd, when it set a 23,881.32 risk level. On Friday, the HSI closed up +0.13% at 23,444.56, compared to 23,413.25 the prior day, and 23,256.93 four days prior. The sell setup rose to 2. The index closed -1.83% below resistance.
    • SHCOMP - On a monthly basis, the SHCOMP perfected a buy setup on September 30, 2008, and subsequently rallied to an August 31, 2009, high, but without perfecting a subsequent sell setup. Since then, the SHCOMP resumed a downward trend perfecting another buy setup on January 31, 2012. The index ended January 2013 at 2,385.42, above support at 1,987.13, and compared to 2,269.13 the prior month and 2,086.17 four months prior. The sell setup rose to 2. The current monthly buy countdown was unchanged at 6. On a weekly basis, the SHCOMP last perfected a buy setup on April 8, 2011. The index has subsequently trended lower, with a downward perfected setup on September 23, 2011, and January 6, 2012 countdown completion, when it closed at 2,163.40. The index rallied to a high of 2,476.22 during the week ending March 16th, but without perfecting an upward setup. On July 13th, the index perfected a buy setup. In subsequent weeks, it traded below the sales exhaustion target of 2148.45 to a 1980.12 close on November 30th, when the buy countdown reached 11. On February 8th, the index closed the week up +0.55% at 2,432.40, compared to 2,419.02 the prior week and 2,243.00 four weeks prior. The sell setup perfected and initiated a sell countdown. On a daily basis, the SHCOMP perfected a buy setup and a completed a downward countdown on June 28th, but sold through the 2,170.95 exhaustion target on July 23rd to the September 5th 2037.68 closing low. On August 20th, the index perfected a buy setup carryover from August 2nd, and the index perfected another buy setup on August 27th, with completed buy countdowns September 5th and 24th. On September 25th, the index perfected another buy setup. The buy countdown was completed on November 19th. On November 8th, when the index initiated a buy setup at 2,091.25. The index perfected that buy setup on November 20th at 2,004.17. On December 4th, a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup. On January 14th, the sell setup that began on December 25th perfected; also, the bullish price flip initiated a follow-on sell setup. Friday, the index rose +0.57% to 2,432.40, compared to 2,418.53 at the prior close and 2,428.15 4 days prior. The bullish price flip canceled a 1 buy setup and initiated a sell setup. The sell countdown associated with the January 14th perfection was unchanged at 9.
    • SX5E - On a monthly basis, the Euro Stoxx50 last perfected an sell setup on May 31, 2007. It perfected a buy setup on September 30, 2008. The buy countdown completed in May 2012. A bullish price flip in August initiated a sell setup, which rose to 6 in January. The index closed at 2,705.09, compared to 2,635.91 the prior month and 2,454.26 four months prior. On a weekly basis, the index trends are more pronounced, having perfected an sell setup on March 16th (at 2,511.42), which perfected on May 25th, when the index closed at 2,161.87, down 13.9%. On June 15th, a bullish price flip initiated a sell setup with a 2,181.23 close. The index subsequently rallied to perfect a sell setup on August 10th, when it closed at 2,362.69, up +9.29%. A bullish price flip the week of November 23rd (2,557.03 close) initiated a sell setup that perfected on January 18th at 2,709.59, up +5.97%. The sell countdown associated with the August 10th perfection also completed on January 18th, when the index 2,709.59 close up +24.2% over the June 15th bullish price flip. Subsequent trend was lower. In the week ended February 8th, the index fell -2.94% to close at 2,630.30, compared to 2,708.97 the prior week and 2,717.79 at the 4 weeks' prior close. The buy setup rose to 2. The sell countdown stemming from the January 18th perfection was unchanged at 1. On a daily basis, the index perfected a downward setup on May 14th, when it closed at 2,201.95. The index subsequently rallied through a perfected sell setup on June 18th and completed its sell countdown on July 24th. On September 13th, the index perfected an upward setup. Daily trends were weak through November 16th, without sustained upward or downward setups and countdowns. Strong gains on November 19th initiated an upward setup. On November 29th, the index perfected an upward setup. On January 3rd, the index completed the associated countdown and set a 2,786.57 risk level, based on the prior day's 2,711.25 high and 51.46 intraday range. Friday, the index fell -0.76% to 2,615.26, compared to 2,635.35 the prior day and 2,622.61 at the prior 4 days' close. The bearish price flip canceled a 3 sell setup and initiated a buy setup. The index closed -6.15% below the risk level.

    4Q2012 Earnings. Earnings reports are positive, beating on both EPS and sales/revenues. Of 391 reporting companies, 288 or 73.7% surprised positively on earnings, beating by an average +5.19%. Of reporting companies, 259 or 66.6% have reported sales and revenues in excess of estimates.

    Valuation. The SPX trades at 14.7x estimated 2012 earnings ($103.41), 13.7x estimated 2013 earnings ($110.70), and 12.3x estimated 2014 earnings ($123.65). The 10-year average median price/earnings multiple is 15.9x. Analysts expect 2012 and 2013 earnings to exceed actual 2011 earnings ($96.97) by +8.89% and +16.5%, respectively.

    Options. Options markets are mixed. Composite options are bullish, index options are bullish, and equity options markets are neutral. The composite put/call ratio is 0.82, compared to 0.90 the prior day, and better compared to its 5- and 10-period moving averages of 0.92 and 0.95, respectively. The index put/call ratio fell to 0.75, from 0.80 the prior day, and better compared to its 5- and 10-period moving averages of 1.04 and 1.13, respectively. The equity put/call ratio closed the day at 0.88 compared to 0.99 the prior day, and mixed compared to its 5- and 10-period moving averages of 0.88 and 0.88, respectively.

    NYSE Indicators. Spurred by options expirations,volume rose +39.8% to 939.50 million shares, from 671.84 million shares the prior day, 1.32x the 712.33 million share 20-day moving average. Market breadth was modestly negative, though and up volume lagged down volume by a greater margin. Advancing stocks lagged decliners by -93 (compared to +14 the prior day), or 0.94:1. Up volume was 0.69:1 times down volume.

    BKX. Volume rose +59.3%, and the KBW bank index closed at 55.11, down -0.65% from 55.47 at the prior close. Volume rose to 87.936 million shares from 55.205 million shares the prior day, or 1.47:1x the 59.702 million share 15-day moving average. The index gapped open at its 55.56 intraday high and slid through 3:00 to its 54.90 intraday low. The index eased higher into the close. Large cap banks underperformed the regional banks, as the KRX fell -0.03%.

    Last week, the BKX closed up +0.20%, compared to +0.49% the prior week. In February, the BKX is up +2.38%. In January, the BKX rose +4.97%, compared to +5.60% and -2.10% in December and November, respectively. The index rose +0.04% in October, and +5.06% and +3.67% in September and August, respectively. For the year, the BKX is up +7.47%, well ahead of the SPX's +6.56% rise. In 2012, the index rose +30.2%, compared to a +13.4% rise in the SPX.

    The BKX has closed above 50 since December 17th. The BKX closed -4.90% below its 57.95 April 23, 2010 close (the post-2008 high point), but +69.3% above the 32.56 low on October 4, 2011. Large-cap bank stocks have outperformed the broader market's rebound, which is up +41.4% in the same period. Technical indicators are positive as the index closed +1.11%, +4.57%, +7.90%, and +13.6% above its 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. Its 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages have a positive slope. The 20-day moving average crossed above its 50-day moving average on December 21st. The index has closed above its 100-day moving average since August 7th. The 20-day moving average rose +8 bps. The 50-day moving average rose +14 bps. Its 100-day moving average rose +5 bps, and the 200-day moving average rose +3 bps. The 20-day closed (by +1.88 points) above the 50-day, but the gap narrowed -7 bps. The 50-day moving average closed (by +4.20 points) above the 200-day moving average, and the gap expanded 11 bps. The 100-day moving average closed (by +2.57 points) above the 200-day moving average since March 19th, and the gap widened +1 bps.

    The directional movement indicator is positive and narrowed to 15.107, from 19.221 the prior day. Relative strength fell to 61.35, from 66.51 the prior day, in a neutral range. Next resistance is 55.48; next support at 54.82.

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