On Friday we roughly had 100 daily DeMark 9 setup counts (to close shorts) out of our database of over 580 ETFs and indexes. Monday the number grew to over 300. Technically, when DeMark indicators cluster it generally indicates a trend reversal which happened on this Turnaround Tuesday. No, there wasn't much in the news to account for the rally beyond some obvious spin. New Housing starts were strong but 25% of that was due to rental apartment construction. Reuters and others would have you believe this indicated a bottom for housing: "Housing starts and permits for future construction jumped to a 1-1/2 year high in November as demand for rental apartments rose, suggesting the housing market was starting to recover." People looking for rentals aren't looking to buy any of the excess inventories for sale making this quote misleading.
There was also a better bond auction in Spain. It was also noted Monday that the available funds for purchasing euro bonds was only ¿150 billion. This was too little and meant Spain and Italy had to kick-in cash to the ECB which then in turn would lend it back to them. Perhaps buyers Tuesday remain a mystery but don't count out our own Fed which has proven itself a willing participant in such schemes. In fact, according to this note from SocGen's Aneta Markowska: "Nuclear options -- Can the Fed buy European bonds? This was a question that came up in Friday's testimony by NY Fed's Dudley to a congressional panel. Dudley confirmed that the Fed has the legal authority to buy foreign sovereign debt if the collateral is considered good and with appropriate haircuts. Though he wouldn't rule anything out, Dudley noted that this has never been done and the bar is extraordinarily high. Theoretically speaking, this could actually be seen as a good option that solves a number of economic challenges: the US would see a weaker dollar, helping to rebalance its economy, while Europe would see its funding costs go down. Yet, we believe that the Fed would be facing tremendous political resistance in the US to such a decision. To date, the Fed's crisis fighting operations have not led to any losses; buying foreign assets would expose US taxpayers not just to credit risk but also to currency risk. The Fed would probably think long and hard before taking such a step, particularly during a politically charged election year." More of her comments continue HERE.
While most will give Santa his due for the rally, I'll give most credit to DeMark and the pressure from portfolio managers and HFTs to lift markets higher. Just remember it was only recently markets rose nearly 500 points and shortly thereafter all that, and then some were given back. There are plenty of hedge fund types with redemptions to meet and fees to earn to mark stocks up before the year ends. The rally will please many but remind others of the casino-like environment that highlight contemporary markets.The Fed has returned to "too big to fail" plans to protect (bailout) those companies (read: Primary Dealers and other associates of the Fed) from failure. Or as this article from Bloomberg points out "The Federal Reserve sought to curb the risk of financial turmoil by strengthening the central bank's tools for preventing the collapse of large firms and demanding stricter oversight by companies' boards of directors. "The proposal would create an integrated set of requirements that seeks to meaningfully reduce the probability of failure of systemically important companies and minimize damage to the financial system and the broader economy in the event such a company fails," the Fed said in the draft rules today. So once again Moral Hazard issues are set aside and the debt end game get postponed for another day. Meanwhile Americans are growing poorer as exemplified by the following graph. Stocks rallied sharply Tuesday; commodities (oil, gold, grains and etc) advanced while the dollar fell. Bond prices gave back some of their previous gains. Earnings from Red Hat Software (RHT) and General Mills (GIS) came in below expectations and both were sold with little fanfare. Volume was light which is typical for holiday periods (Hanukkah today and Christmas this weekend) and for recent rallies. Let me repeat, heavy volume sell-offs, light volume melt-ups have been the hallmark of recent market movements (HFT algos don't give a rip about holidays.) Breadth per the WSJ was quite positive and perhaps scored a 90/10 day at least on the NYSE. You can follow our pithy comments on twitter and become join banter with me on facebook. Continue to U.S. Sector, Stocks & Bond ETFs
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