Monday, December 28, 2015

Santa Takes a Little Off the Top

Stocks fell today, first hard, then made a daylong comeback to close near the unchanged mark.

It was rather a random day in the world of high finance. Ten-year and 30-year treasuries each closed off a pip, 2.21 and 2.93, respectively, while the 2-year note budged upward from 0.97 to 0.98, tightening and flattening the spread. It wasn't a monumental move, but noticeable to anyone paying attention. The market didn't really appreciate the boost in the fed funds rate and the displeasure is being voiced by various, subtle means, like the desperation in high yields, and the shut-off of the banking spigot that funded stock buybacks for most of the last five years.

It's probably better, right now, to keep a close eye on the bond market. It may turn out to be the place for volatility and profit in 2016, especially if the Federal Reserve follows through on their plans for three or four more rate hikes by this time next year. That is an unlikely event, though "normalization" is what the Fed continues to say they are aiming for, though a truly normal economy won't likely materialize for three or four more years, if they're lucky.

To have a 10-year treasury yielding 4-5% would be quite an accomplishment by 2019 or 2020, considering all the damage already done by over a decade of fed fund rates at one percent or lower.

Equity markets were decidedly dull, as there are few trades to be made of any importance this late in the game, though the markets are still well below all-time highs reached in May, especially the broad gauge of the S&P, which cannot seem to get out of its own way.

Today was mostly gibberish, as will likely be the case the remainder of the week, and the year. It's hard to draw any conclusions from the last week's trading in a calendar year. The first week of January will be much more insightful.

WTI crude was slapped back down from last week's euphoric and ridiculous closing level, finishing the day at 36.72/barrel. Anyone calling a bottom around here just hasn't considered the slack in the economy and the production glut facing producers. It's a huge problem, but nobody wants to cut production, even at these lower prices, constituting a possible new normal.

S&P 500, 2,056.50, -4.49 (0.22%)
Dow, 17,528.27, -23.90 (0.14%)
NASDAQ, 5,040.99, -7.51 (0.15%)

No comments: