Commitment Of Traders, Futures And Hedge Fund Positions, Sunday Jan. 24

Sales of new homes tumbled 11 percent m/m in November to 841,000 units (SAAR). July’s 979,000 was the highest since December 2006.

Friday brings the employment cost index (4Q20), personal income/spending (December) and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index (January, final).

Compensation costs for private industry workers rose 2.4 percent in the 12 months to September. This was the slowest growth rate in 13 quarters.

In the 12 months to November, core PCE (personal consumption expenditures), which is the Fed’s favorite measure of consumer inflation, rose 1.39 percent. This was the slowest pace in four months. The last time core PCE grew with a two handle was December 2018.

Consumer sentiment dropped 1.5 points m/m in December to 79.2. Sentiment dropped to 71.8 in April before recovering, but was 101 in February.

WTI crude oil: Currently net long 555.5k, down 9.8k.

Oil bulls defended the 10-day moving average in the first three trading sessions but only to lose it on Friday. All along, they were unable to take out last week’s doji high. Since posting $53.93 intraday on the 13th, WTI ($52.27/barrel) has essentially gone sideways, with rising risks of downward pressure. A weekly doji formed both this week and last. This preceded a break two weeks ago out of horizontal resistance at $49-$50. Even before that, in late November, the crude took out $42-$43.

WTI has had quite a move since last March. Conditions are overbought. And, both this week and last, the highs kissed a falling trend line from October 2018 and retreated. In the event of a pullback – likely – what transpires at $49-$50 will be telling.

E-mini S&P 500: Currently net short 1.9k, down 15.7k.

Bears – once again – were unable to cash in on a potentially bearish weekly hanging man from two weeks ago. Last week’s mini selloff stopped right at the 20-day. This week, the S&P 500 (3841.47) rallied 1.9 percent, to a new intraday high of 3861.45 notched on Thursday.

Bulls now have new short-term support at 3820s, and 3740s after that. In the week to Wednesday, they sent in $3.6 billion to US-based stock funds. This comes on the heels of inflows of $5.4 billion in the prior week (courtesy of Lipper).

In the meantime, it turns out foreigners bought $61.9 billion in US stocks in November. The S&P 500 jumped 10.8 percent in that month. In the 12 months to November, they accumulated $316.2 billion worth – a record (chart here). Margin debt is another metric that is in uncharted territory (chart here).

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