Wednesday, May 1, 2013

'Sell in May' the Mantra for Almost All Asset Classes

The first day of may held true to the tried and true market adage, "sell in May and stay away," as all asset classes declined, though commodity prices were hardest hit and forex barely budged.

Stocks took it on the chin from traders who continue to see horror in economic data, today's fright fest courtesy of the ADP Employment Index, construction spending and the ISM Index.

ADP said the economy missed its target of 150,000 new jobs by a wide amount, coming in at 119,000 for April and revised March lower as well. Construction spending shrank by 1.7% on expectations of a 0.4% increase, and the ISM reading, though nearly in line with expectations, registered a relatively weak 50.7, just barely above the 50 mark which signals growth above the number or decline below it.

It was likely the ADP figure that sent stocks careening at the open, but it wasn't until after the FOMC announcement at 2:00 pm EDT that stocks really began to slump deeply, finishing near the lows of the day after the Fed said they would keeps rates as they were, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. Daily volume was moderate.

The Vix spiked above 14.50, a signal that risk was being sold off, though still mired in a low range. Gold, silver and oil all surpassed the losses in stocks, with crude take=ing the biggest dive. WTI and Brent continue to converge; the expectation is that they will align at some point so that there is a global price for oil. Currently, futures are less than $10 apart, with Brent the higher of the two, falling below $100 per barrel as Europe's recession/depression begins to reach epic proportions.

As for gold and silver, the paper prices posted don't really seem to matter any more, as the price for physical metal has departed company from the spot price in nearly every venue in every country on the planet. People are aware of currency debasement and are seeking ways to preserve what little wealth remains in this era of extreme punishment for savers.

Treasuries have fallen below the recent plateau levels and continue to point up weakness in the economy and the need for some to flee to safe havens. As inflation remains subdued - using a Fedspeak term - bond holders are not losing much over time, though durations shorter than five years are yielding almost nothing. The benchmark ten-year was last seen around 1.63% yield.

The first day of the new month brought out the bears, though it remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of a trend or just a one-trick pony. The government's non-farm payroll data, due out Friday prior to the opening, should be the highlight of the week. Anticipation is for 155,000 new jobs created in April, but, after ADP's disappointing numbers this morning, prospects appear dim.

Dow 14,700.95, -138.85 (0.94%)
NASDAQ 3,299.13, -29.66 (0.89%)
S&P 500 1,582.70, -14.87 (0.93%)
NYSE Composite 9,174.76, -102.12 (1.10%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,769,443,125
NYSE Volume 3,697,257,75o
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 1665-4789
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 377-53
WTI crude oil: 91.03, -2.43
Gold: 1,446.20, -25.90
Silver: 23.34, -0.842

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