Fading The Rally

S&P 500 made intraday ATHs, but the upswing was sold into heavily – pre-FOMC positioning raising its head? Bonds didn‘t crater, and the risk-off move wasn‘t all too pronounced. Tech weakness was the key culprit, with value barely hanging onto opening gains. Russell 2000 breaking below its Wednesday‘s open nicely illustrates how late in the topping process we are. What is needed for the upswing to go on, is tech leading the daily charge once again – and it remains to be seen for how long and to what degree would value be able to participate.

I‘m taking today‘s S&P 500 weakness as squaring the prior quick long gains, which felt practically as a short squeeze. Now, we‘re working through the faster taper impact, not having shaken the news off yet. We‘re though getting there, if precious metals seeing through the fresh policy move inadequacy, and commodities likewise, are any clue. As I wrote yesterday:

(…) pretty much everything else surged as the Fed didn‘t turn too hawkish. Predictably. The day of reckoning is again postponed as the central bank effectively kicked the can down the road by not getting ahead of inflation. Taper done by Mar 2022, and three rate hikes then, doesn‘t cut it. This illustrates my doubts about serious inflation figures to still keep hitting (hello latest PPI), and above all, their ability to execute this 1-year plan. If you look under the hood, they don‘t even expect GDP to materially slow down – 4.0% growth in 2022 with three hikes against 3.8% actual in Q3 2021 on no hikes. Something doesn‘t add up, and just as the Bank of England raising rates to 0.25% now, the Fed would be forced to hastily retreat from the just projected course.

Markets are interpreting yesterday as the punch bowl effectively remaining in place, and crucially, copper is participating after the preceding weakness. The metal with PhD in economics has been hesitating due to the darkening real economy prospects even though manufacturing data aren‘t a disaster. Consumer sentiment isn‘t though positive, and inflation expectations among the people aren‘t retreating as much as bond spreads would show. The red metals is balancing out the economic prospects in favor of participating in the renewed rush into commodities – the super (let alone secular) bull run isn‘t over by a long shot. Stockpiles are tight, and whatever the odds of the infrastructure bill being passed any time soon, copper isn‘t budging. That‘s great for real assets across the board.

The reason I quoted the above copper part, is the importance of its yesterday‘s move – not too hot, not too cold in pursuing the broader commodities. Keeping above $4.28 with ease today, would be an important signal that the bears aren‘t able to step in convincingly, including in stocks. Oil would sort itself out above $71 while gold and silver would extend their preceding gains today. All in all, stocks would join early next week, and apart from bonds not going more risk-off, Ethereum outperformance would be another confirmation of a broader risk-on upswing to happen.

Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of www.stockcharts.com).

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook

S&P 500 and Nasdaq

S&P 500 downside reversal isn‘t to be trusted on a medium-term basis – but the downswing hasn‘t run its course, looking at volume. Good Nasdaq showing is sorely missing.

Credit Markets

HYG, LQD and TLT

HYG retreat while the quality debt instruments stayed more or less flat, is concerning for today – and for Monday, should we get follow through in bonds later on. Given the volume comparison, it‘s not certain in the least, which would set up conditions for a broader rally early next week.

Gold, Silver and Miners

gold, silver and miners

Precious metals downside is clearly over, and a fresh upswing well underway. Correction in equities is marginally helping, and the reaction of Fed‘s underwhelming move with more inflation news, would be the juiciest catalyst.

Crude Oil

crude oil

Crude oil is building up the springboard once again – the current consolidation including in oil stocks, would be resolved to the upside next week. We haven‘t seen a genuine trend change in Nov.

Copper

copper

Key vote of confidence has come from copper – more willing participation from the red metal is called for next (as a minimum, not losing momentum vs. CRB Index).

Bitcoin and Ethereum

Bitcoin and Ethereum

Bitcoin and Ethereum haven‘t kept Wednesday‘s gains, and could very well provide an early sign of buying appetite more broadly returning.

Summary

Bonds remain in wait and see mode, and aren‘t as bearishly positioned as stocks at the moment. Neither are precious metals or commodities, raising the odds of a bullish resolution to the S&P 500 rally that‘s been faded. The usual constellation is what‘s required – recovering bonds taking the pressure off tech, mainly. Ideally accompanied by solid HYG outperformance, value rising, copper extending gains, and Ethereum doing better than Bitcoin. Tall order, especially for today – but nothing unsurmountable for say Monday-Tuesday as argued for in detail in today‘s report.

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Disclaimer: All essays, ...

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