This morning. Today, U.S. equity futures are moderately higher after fair value adjustment and near their highs. In Asia, equity markets closed mixed, with better strength in Tokyo. In Europe, indexes are moderately higher and trade near their intraday highs. The dollar is mixed. Commodities are mostly higher. Wednesday's Nikkei 225 June 2014 (NKM4) equity futures are down -0.139%.
The week's focus is on Ukrainian/Crimean developments. Russia formally agreed to yesterday's Crimean vote to join the Russian Federation. Putin suggested no further interest in Ukrainian territory and his statement coincided with a marked improvement in U.S. equity futures. Also, the Federal Open Market Committee's 2-day policy meeting begins today. New Chair Yellen will end the meeting with her first press conference. Also, on March 20, the Federal Reserve will publish the results of its stress tests, followed on March 26th with its approval/disapproval of requested bank capital plans.
On March 13th, the U.S. equity market outlook worsened to "uptrend under pressure". Since February 7th, the U.S. equity market outlook was "confirmed uptrend", following a brief, but sharp "in correction" episode that commenced on January 23rd. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose a net +3.44% subsequently. The 4Q2013 quarter's earnings reports are complete, with U.S. materials reports particularly strong, followed by financials. The 1Q2014 earnings reports began on March 15th.
Monday, the SPX, DJ Industrials (DJI), Nasdaq, and NYSE composite closed up +0.96%, +1.13%, +0.81%, and +0.89%, respectively. The DJ Transports (TRAN) rose +0.89%. The SPX and Nasdaq are higher on the year. NYSE volume fell -5.41% to 0.85x its 20-day moving average.
Trading desks note reasonably healthy world equity markets overnight. With regard to Monday's trade, traders reported a quiet day following the brief early market surge, as investors scrambled to cover risk exposures and add risk to portfolios. Traders expect continued resistance to higher equity prices.
Indexes remain near recent record levels and P/E multiples remain elevated. With SPX equities trading at a 16.9x 2013 earnings multiple, attention focuses on 2014 earnings and valuations (16.9x times survey $117.50 2014 SPX operating earnings suggests a 1982.89 SPX level next year, a +6.67% rise).
Technicals improved. Most indexes recaptured their 5- and 20-day moving averages. All are above their respective 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. Led by industrials, all market segments closed at least +0.96% higher. Market breadth was positive, and up volume led down volume. Volatility fell. Treasury bond markets weakened. The U.S. Treasury 10-year bond yield rose +3.78 bps to 2.6921%, compared to 2.6543% at the prior close.
This morning, 10-year U.S. Treasury yields are down -0.55 bps at 2.6866%, compared to the prior close. Spanish and Italian 10-year debt yields are 3.31% and 3.37%, respectively, compared to 3.32% and 3.38% the prior day. The U.S. dollar is stronger.
U.S. options markets improved to neutral to bullish, compared to bearish to bullish the prior day. The CBOE SKEW soared +27.2% to a record 143.27, compared to 112.66 the prior day, above a neutral range (115-120) and well above 130, a level that correlates well with short-term market tops.
In pre-market futures trading, March SPX equity futures (SPH4) price near the top of a wide 1845-1860 trading range. After a fair value adjustment of +0.43 points, SPX equity futures price at 1857.50, up +6.22 points. The SPX opens +0.19%, +1.61%, +2.70%, and +6.92% above its respective 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. Initial resistance is 1866.48. Initial support is 1846.99, then 1835.16.
In Asia, equity markets closed higher, with better strength in Tokyo. Weakness was accompanied by reports that China will reduce industrial lending by 20%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index (NYSEARCA:NKY) rose +0.94% and remains in a bear market. The Hang Sang index (HSI) rose +0.51%. The SHCOMP rose +0.08%. Today's volumes are unavailable.
Commentary focused on Chinese credit concerns, and developer debt was disgorged following a recent bankruptcy filing. Economic reporting was light. Other foci are Chinese lending policies, the implied worsened associated corporate credit outlook, and recent weak economic reports. In China, short-term interbank lending rates remain volatile, with 7-day Shibo rates at 2.88%, compared to 2.67% the prior day, up from a 2.26% low on March 11th, but down from the February 7th 5.41% recent high.
Regional relative strength indexes (RSI) show Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, which are in the lower end of a neutral range. The NKY RSI rose to 41.59, compared to 38.41 the prior day, up from an oversold 27.92 on February 4th. The HSI RSI ended at 35.70, compared to 32.58 the prior day and an oversold 24.02 on February 5th. The SHCOMP's RSI closed at 44.25, compared to 43.85 the prior session. On June 27, 2013, the index's RSI fell to a low of 15.27, which was also last year's low index close.
This week, the NKY, HSI, and SHCOMP are up +0.58%, +0.20%, and +1.04%, respectively. Last week, the NKY, HSI, and SHCOMP closed down -6.20%, -4.95%, and -2.60%, respectively. In March, the NKY, HSI, and SHCOMP are down -2.90%, -5.49%, and -1.51%, respectively. In February, the NKY closed down -0.49%, while the HSI and the SHCOMP gained +3.64% and +1.14%, respectively.
In 2014, the NKY, HSI, and SHCOMP are down -11.5%, -7.39%, and -4.29%, respectively. In 2013, the NKY rose +56.7%. The HSI closed up +2.87%. The SHCOMP closed down -6.75%.
In Japan, the NKY closed at 14,411.27, compared to 14,277.67 the prior day, -11.5% below its recent year-end 16,291.31 high and -63.0% below its late-1989 38,915.87 high close. The index rallied to an early 14,533.25 intraday high, then eased to the 14,399.72 intraday low by late morning. During the afternoon, the index rallied back to 14,520, but sold off in the final hour to narrow the day's gain. The index closed -2.90%, -4.34%, -4.42%, and -0.64% below its respective 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. All market segments gain at least +0.33%. Leaders were telecommunications, health care, and technology, which rose at least +1.10%. Financials rose +0.78%. Laggards were utilities, consumer services, and consumer goods.
In China, the HSI closed at 21,583.50, compared to 21,473.95 at the prior close. The index opened above 21,540, but found support at 21,480 twice in early trading before strengthening and rallying to an early afternoon 21,606.98 intraday high. Most market segments closed lower. Leaders were technology, telecommunications, and utilities, which rose at least +1.08%. Financials fell -0.08%. Laggards were basic materials, consumer services, and consumer goods, which fell at least -0.50%. The index closed -9.73% below its recent December 3rd 23,910.47 high, but +18.7% above its 18,185.59 June 4, 2012 low.
In Shanghai, the SHCOMP closed at 2,025.20, compared to 2,023.67 at the prior close, +3.86% above the 1,950.01 June 27th close, last year's low. The index opened at 2,026 and tested support at 2,022 through the session, with the exception of a mid-session rally, which took the index to its 2,034.91 intraday high. Most market segments closed higher. Leaders were consumer services, utilities, and technology, which rose at least +1.04%. Financials fell -0.24%. Laggards were basic materials, oil and gas, and telecommunications, which fell at least -0.28%.
In Europe, major equity indexes have reversed higher to moderate gains and trade near their intraday highs. The Euro Stoxx50, FTSE 100, CAC 40, and DAX are up +0.84%, +0.28%, +0.64%, and +0.67%, respectively. The Spanish IBEX 35 is up +0.92%, and the Italian FTSE MIB is up +1.21%. Economic reporting is slight. Commentary focuses on Ukrainian developments and associated currency and commodity price movements.
European bourses have recently outperformed U.S. equity indexes. Euro Stoxx50 relative strength (RSI) is 48.53, compared to 44.23 the prior day, in the middle of a neutral (30-70) range, but better than its recent February 5th 33.57 low, which coincided with its 2014 low. The indexes lowest recent RSI level was 25.77 on June 24th, which marked the 2013 2,494.54 closing low.
Today, the Euro Stoxx50 trades at 3,077.67, -3.97% below its 3,168.76 January 15th post-2008 high close, and -42.0% below its 5,249.55 March 31, 2000, all-time closing high. From its prior day 3,049.19 close, the index traded moderately lower through the morning session, with an early 3,029.12 intraday low, but rallied following President Putin's speech to the Russian Duma. The index then reversed higher to its mid-session 3,081.89 intraday high. Most market segments are higher. Leaders are oil and gas, financials, and utilities, which are up at least +1.38%. Laggards are industrials and technology, which are up at least 0.17%, and consumer services, which is down -0.02%.
This week, the Euro Stoxx50, FTSE 100, CAC 40, and DAX are up +2.38%, +0.94%, +2.29%, and +2.07%, respectively. Last week, the Euro Stoxx50, FTSE 100, CAC 40, and DAX closed down -2.93%, -2.75%, -3.44%, and -3.15%, respectively. In March, Euro Stoxx50, FTSE 100, CAC 40, and DAX are down -2.32%, -3.24%, -2.16%, and -4.62%, respectively. In February, the indexes closed at least +4.14% higher.
In 2014, the indexes are mostly lower. The CAC 40 is up +0.40%, while the Euro Stoxx50, FTSE 100, and DAX are down -1.05%, -2.37%, and -3.23%, respectively. In 2013, the indexes closed up +18.0%, +14.4%, +18.0%, and +25.5%, respectively.
1Q2014 SPX Earnings. Of 1 (of 497) reporting companies, 0 or 0.00% surprised positively on earnings, with an average -10.0% surprise average. Of reporting companies, 1 or 0.00% reported sales or revenues above estimates. The average sales/revenue surprise is -1.21%. Consumer staples lag with a -10.0% EPS and -1.21% revenue surprise.
Valuation. The SPX trades at 16.9x estimated 2013 earnings ($110.15), 15.8x estimated 2014 earnings ($117.50), 14.2x estimated 2015 earnings ($130.73), and 12.9x estimated 2016 earnings ($144.17). The 10-year average median price/earnings multiple is 15.9x. Analysts expect 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 earnings to grow +6.52%, +6.67%, +11.3%, and 10.3%, respectively.
The BKX trades at 13.6x 2013 adjusted EPS ($5.16), 12.7x estimated 2014 earnings ($5.55), 11.5x estimated 2015 earnings ($6.14), and 10.2x 2016 earnings ($6.90). Analysts expect 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 EPS will grow +19.4%, +7.60%, +10.6%, and +12.4%, respectively.
Composite, index, and equity options. Options markets improved to neutral to bullish, compared to bearish to bullish the prior session. Composite options are bullish, index options are bullish, and equity options are neutral. The composite put/call ratio is 0.83, compared to 0.77 the prior day, and better than 5- and 10-period moving averages of 0.88 and 0.84, respectively. The index put/call ratio is 0.83, compared to 0.59 the prior day, and worse than its 5- and 10-period moving averages of 0.83 and 0.93, respectively. The equity put/call ratio closed the day at 0.84, compared to 0.96 the prior day, and worse than its 5- and 10-period moving averages of 0.94 and 0.84, respectively.
NYSE Volume, Breadth Indicators. Volume fell -5.41% to 605.83 million shares, compared to 640.48 million shares the prior day, 0.85x the 709.85 million share 20-day moving average. Market breadth was positive, and up volume led down volume. Advancing stocks led by +1,369 (compared to +445 the prior day), or 2.66:1. Up volume was 3.47:1 down volume.
Distribution day count and market outlook. Since March 13, the market outlook is "uptrend under pressure". On February 7th, with the SPX at 1797.02, the market outlook improved to "confirmed uptrend" after a brief corrective episode that began on January 23rd. The subsequent distribution day count is 3 for the SPX and 7 for the Nasdaq. The SPX's subsequent rise is +3.44%. Today, the SPX opens -1.02% below its March 7th 1878.04 record closing high.
Libor, LOIS, Currencies, Treasuries, Commodities:
· USD LIBOR is 0.08860%, compared to 0.08780% the prior day. USD 3-month LIBOR is 0.23445%, up from 0.23485% the prior day, and compares to the January 4, 2013, recent peak of 0.58250%.
· The US Libor-OIS (LOIS) spread is 14.945 bps, compared to 15.085 bps the prior day, and compares to the recent June 12, 2012, 46.785 bps high. Euribor-OIS is 13.000 bps, down from 13.500 bps the prior day, and down from the December 27, 2011, high of 98.800 bps. Moves in the LOIS indicate changes in intra-bank lending risk premiums.
· The 3-month Euro basis swap is -3.623 bps, compared to -3.905 bps the prior day, up from a trough of -147.00 bps on December 14, 2011, but far better than a normal -10 bps and -40 bps range.
· German 10-year debt yields are 1.56%, compared to 1.57% the prior day. Japanese 10-year debt yields are 0.62%, compared to 0.62% the prior day. Spanish 10-year debt yields are 3.31%, compared to 3.32% the prior day. Italian 10-year debt yields are at 3.38%, compared to 3.41% the prior day.
· U.S. Treasury yields are slightly higher, with 2- and 10-year maturities yielding 0.351% and 2.670%, respectively, compared to 0.359% and 2.692% Monday. The yield curve narrowed -1.380 bps, with the 2- to 10-year spread at +2.320%, compared to 2.334% the prior day. In the past year, the 2- and 10-year spread varied from a low of +1.429% on May 1, 2013, to a high of +2.648% on December 31, 2013.
· The U.S. dollar is stronger compared to the euro and British pound, but weaker compared to the Japanese yen. The dollar trades at US$79.437, compared to a US$79.480 intraday high and US$79.385 the prior day, and worse compared to its $80.418 50-day, US$80.485 100-day, and US$80.958 200-day averages. The euro trades at US$1.3897, compared to a US$1.3890 intraday low and US$1.3922 the prior day. The euro trades better compared to its US$1.3693 50-day and US$1.3651 100-day averages, and compares to a multi-year low of US$1.1877 on June 7, 2010. In Japan, the dollar trades at ¥101.36, compared to ¥101.77 the prior day. The yen trades better than its 50-day moving average ¥102.71, and better than its January 1st 105.31 closing low, its weakest prior multi-year closing low.
· Citigroup Economic Surprise Index worsened to -35.80, compared to -32.70 the prior day, its 19th consecutive negative reading. The index is mixed compared to its respective -33.26 5-day and -30.37 10-day moving averages. The index fell to a 52-week low of -33.26 on June 10th. The index improved and turned positive on July 30th and rose to 53.30 on October 1st, but subsequently fell on dollar weakness to -2.10 on October 31st. It subsequently strengthened to a +72.70 high on January 15th, but then subsequently trended lower and turned negative on February 19th. After a lag, the CESIUSD correlates with EPS revisions.
· Commodities prices are mixed, with mostly higher energy, lower precious metals, mixed aluminum and copper, and mostly higher agriculture prices.
· The CBOE SPX Volatility Index (VIX) fell -12.2% to 15.64, compared to 17.82 at the prior close. The VIX is +6.18% below the 14.73 20-day moving average. Its 30-day high is 21.48. Its 30-day low is 13.44. The index's all-time closing low is 9.31 on December 22, 1993. The long-term average is 20.14.
· The Euro Stoxx 50 volatility index (V2X) is 21.20, down -1.22% from 21.46 at the prior day's close. The V2X index trades +12.5% above its 18.85 20-day moving average, -12.9% below the 24.36 30-day high, and +32.6% above the 15.99 30-day low.
· The Hang Seng volatility index (VHSI) closed at 18.25, down -6.22% from 19.46 at the prior close. The VHSI index trades +2.85% above its 17.74 20-day moving average. Its lowest historical close was 11.72, on June 30, 2005.
· CBOE SKEW (SKEW) soared +27.2% to a record 143.27, compared to 112.66, above a neutral (115-120) range for the first time since last September, and above 130, a level that correlates well with short-term market tops. The recent prior high was 143.20 on December 20th. Its recent low was 112.47 on May 25, 2013. Spikes in excess of 130 correlate well with short-term market tops, though not in October or November. 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. Economic Reporting and News:
- At 8:30, February MoM CPI rose +0.1%, compared to +0.1% survey and prior.
- MoM CPI ex food and energy rose +0.1%, compared to +0.1% survey and prior.
- February MoM housing starts fell -0.2%, compared to +3.4% survey and -16.0% prior.
- February MoM building permits rose +7.7%, compared to +1.6% survey and -4.6% revised prior.
Overseas Economic Reporting and News:
- Japan - Final February YoY machine tool orders rose 26.1%, compared to 26.0 prior.
- Eurozone - March ZEW survey expectations were 61.5, compared to 68.5 prior.
- Germany - March ZEW survey expectations were 51.3, compared to 52.0 survey and 55.7 prior.
- Spain - 4Q2013 YoY labour costs rose +2.1%, compared to +0.2% prior.
Monday's Trade. On lower and below average NYSE volume, U.S. equity indexes ended with strong gains. Equities traded to early intraday highs, eased by late morning, then strengthened again through late session. The SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite rose +0.96%, +1.13%, +0.81%, and +0.89%, respectively. Both the SPX and Nasdaq are higher this year.
On March 13th, the U.S. equity market outlook worsened to "uptrend under pressure". Since February 7th, the U.S. equity market outlook is "confirmed uptrend". The subsequent distribution count is 3 on the SPX and 7 on the Nasdaq. The SPX closed +3.44% above the February 7th 1797.02 close and -1.02% below the recent March 7, 2014 record close.
Market breadth was positive, with gainers +2.66x losing stocks. All SPX market segments closed at least +0.63% higher. Leaders were industrials, technology, and financials, which rose at least +1.09%. Laggards were consumer services, utilities, and oil and gas.
NYSE volume fell -5.41% to 605.83 million shares, compared to 640.48 million shares the prior day, 0.85x the 709.85 million share 20-day moving average volume. On the day, bond markets weakened. The U.S. 10-year yield opened at 2.6382%, and generally rose through the session, to a late 2.6975% intraday high. The yield ended at 2.6921%, up +3.78 bps compared to the 2.6543% prior close.
From its prior day 1841.13 close, SPX futures signaled a strong open. On short covering, the index moved 9 points higher at the open, then rose to an early 1862.30 intraday high. The index eased back below 1855 by mid-morning, then improved again to 1860, where it traded narrowly to the close. The index ended at 1858.83, -1.02% below its March 7th record close. The index closed +73.0% above the 1074.77 October 4, 2011, intraday low.
The DJ Transportation index (TRAN) rose +0.89%, compared to DJI's +1.13% gain. From its prior 7,475.79 close, the TRAN gapped higher to open above 7,500 and set an early 7,568.74 intraday high. The TRAN fell back to 7,520 support by mid-morning, then ease higher again to nearly 7,560 by mid-afternoon. The index closed at 7,542.40, -0.66% below its recent March 7 record close. Volume fell -16.0% to 11.600 million shares, compared to 13.071 million shares the prior session, and 0.93x the 15-day moving average volume. The TRAN closed +1.83% and +2.64% above its respective 20- and 50-day moving averages, and +4.04% and +10.2% above its respective 100- and 200-day moving averages.
Market volatility fell -12.2%, as the CBOE SPX volatility index (VIX) closed at 15.64, compared to 17.82 at the prior close. The VIX opened at 16.40, fell to the 15.37 intraday low in early session, then rose back to a mid-morning 16.40 intraday high before easing again to 15.60 by early afternoon, where it steadied to the close. The VIX's all-time closing low was 9.31, on December 22, 1993. Its lifetime average is 20.09.
The market's technical factors improved. The SPX and DJI recaptured their 5- and 20-day moving averages. All exchanges closed above their 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. SPX relative strength (RSI) rose to 55.17, compared to 48.18 the prior day, in a neutral range, and much better than an oversold 31.24 on February 3rd. The RSI is also down from an overbought 71.26 on December 31st, when the SPX closed an earlier record high, but above earlier oversold levels of 35.14 on August 27th and 39.19 on October 9th. The CBOE put/call SKEW sared +27.2% to a record 143.27, compared to 112.66 the prior day, above a neutral 115-120 range.
Last week, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, NYSE composite closed down -1.97%, -2.35%, -2.09%, and -2.16%, respectively. The prior week, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite closed up +1.00%, +0.80%, +0.65%, and +0.83%, respectively. In March, the SPX, DJI, and Nasdaq are down -0.03%, -0.46%, -0.65%, and -0.47%, respectively. In February, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite closed up +4.31%, +3.97%, +4.98%, and +4.60%, respectively.
In 2014, the SPX and Nasdaq are up +0.57% and +2.47%, respectively, while the DJI and NYSE composite are down -1.99%, and -0.22%, respectively. In 2013, the SPX, DJI, Nasdaq, and NYSE composite closed up +29.6%, +26.5%, +38.2%, +23.2%, respectively. All closed at least +5.91% higher in 2012.
KBW Bank Index (BKX). On lower and below average volume, the BKX closed at 70.41, up +1.25% from 69.54 at the prior day's close, its 1st close above 70.00 since March 12th. The index gapped higher to open above 69.90 and rose to an early morning 70.52 intraday high. The index eased back to late morning support at 70.10, then improved through the close. Volume fell -15.4% to 38.727 million shares, compared to 46.090 million shares the prior day, and 0.78x the 49.495 million share 15-day moving average.
Large cap banks outperformed the regional banks, as the KBW regional banking index (KRX) rose +0.71%.
Last week, the BKX closed down -2.89%, compared to a gain of +3.36% the prior week. In March, the BKX is up +2.01%. In February, the BKX closed up +2.41%, compared to January, when the BKX closed down -1.07%. In 2014, the BKX is up +0.40%. In 2013, the BKX rose +35.1%, better than the SPX's +29.6% rise.
The BKX is now +19.0% better than the June 24th 59.19 close, its worst since May 13, 2013. The index crossed above 50 on December 17, 2012, 60 on May 15, 2013, and 70 on January 8, 2014, but then dropped back below 70 on January 24th, which persisted until March 6th. The BKX closed +116.3% above the 32.56 intraday low on October 4, 2011. Large-cap bank stocks have outperformed the broader market's rebound, with the SPX up +73.0% in the same period.
The BKX index closed -41.8% below its February 20, 2007, record 121.06 high. The BKX is up +278.1% from its 18.62 March 6, 2009, closing low.
Technical indicators were little changed. The index closed +1.51%, +1.85%, +3.71%, and +7.223% above its respective 20-, 50-, 100-, and 200-day moving averages. The 20-day moving average rose +8 bps to 69.36. The 69.13 50-day moving average rose +3 bps. Its 100-day moving average rose +5 bps to 67.89, and the 200-day moving average rose +4 bps to 65.67. The 20-day closed (by +0.23 points) above the 50-day, and the gap widened +5 bps. The 50-day moving average closed (by +3.47 points) above the 200-day moving average, and the gap narrowed -1 bp. The 100-day moving average closed (by +2.22 points) above the 200-day moving average, and the gap widened 1 bp.
The directional movement indicator widened to +9.576, compared to +8.664 the prior day, its 11th consecutive positive reading. Relative strength rose to 57.11, compared to 51.51 the prior day, in a neutral range, up from the recent 32.95 low on February 3rd, but down sharply from an overbought 75.56 and 71.88 on January 9th and 10th, respectively. The recent low RSI level 31.08 on November 14, 2012, which is also the date of the BKX's 2012 closing low. Next resistance is 70.68; next support is 69.98.