Will the Stock Market Trade Full Circle?
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Well the joint was jumpin,' going 'round and 'round
Hey now realin' and a rockin,' what a crazy sound
I remember the end of April as if it were yesterday; I was readying for a month-end hip replacement and the stock market was at an inflection point.
As bulls fingered the cup-and-handle pattern that pointed higher, and bears kept close tabs on a potential double top, the market showed us the way and rallied 5% before retesting that level and subsequently working higher still.
Fast-forward six months; equities, a shade from all-time highs, are again the judge and jury in the "What Matters Now" sweepstakes.
While I, too, believe the US will sidestep the worst-case —it's not 100% when the human condition is involved—two elements remain unknown. The first is what will happen if politicians continue to drag their feet and use the debt ceiling as a weapon—the longer this lasts, the more real it becomes—and the second is how unintended consequences take root, be it a credit downgrade or actions taken by foreign holders of our debt.
Yesterday was the sixth consecutive test of the S&P 50-day moving average. With each probe, an incremental layer of demand was chewed through.
Consistent with earlier discussions, traders continue to "front" the resolution rally. The prevailing logic is that consequences of a credit event would be so catastrophic that politicians will avert it by hook or by crook.
Back in 2007, we eyed the Battle Royale, with the credit crunch in one corner and global central banks in the other. Now we're witnessing a more traditional confrontation between political factions with the fate of capitalism hanging in the balance. We may have seen this standoff before, but the stakes are higher this time around.
Should politicians drag this out for maximum splash, markets could get spooked, hence this process of price discovery. Should they sing Kumbaya and put their differences aside, the tape will gap higher and punish the naysayers anew. All the while, earnings season is set to begin today with Alcoa (NYSE:AA) and with select banks, including JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYC:WFC) reporting Friday.
If we were to rank our four primary metrics, they would likely be 1) psychology (the perception surrounding the risk of the standoff and to a lesser degree, the reaction to the FOMC minutes tomorrow), 2) structural (rates and/or the ability to service debt), 3) fundamentals (as earnings are released), and 4) technical levels (see our levels from this morning).
Gold $1275 is the right shoulder of dandruff that "would" work to the summer lows, if and when.
- Equities are more colorful but rates are the ultimate tell right now. As Thornton Melon famously said, and the same applies for stocks and bonds, "I never get physical, I just get upset. And when I get upset ...he gets physical."
Follow Todd and over 30 professional traders as they share their ideas in real-time with a FREE 14 day trial to Buzz & Banter.
Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at email@example.com.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.