It looks like the Greek Drama happening overseas ended up being a comedy more than a tragedy. That is good for investors and good for the Greeks. We will revisit the issue in June but for now that looks like the only thing that was holding up implied volatility.
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I don’t know what the rally was from, a pop in oil, AAPL to the moon or a de-escalation in the Ukraine but a rally we had. Stocks fallen into a pattern of rally and retreat and today was no different. The last downturn was a mix of Greek elections and 10% of the market cap of the SPX going into the ash can with oil. Tech is leading now and the market loves tech leadership. NDX 5000, a sop to swinging 90’s is now a realistic target.
The NFP number was pretty good by most accounts. If we did not have the Euro issues, one would almost think the USA was getting back in the swing. Lower deficits, low rates with job and wage growth is looking pretty good right now. The problem is almost too good.
Stocks ended the week in an ugly fashion with the SPX down about 1.25%. There was enough in the bad sentiment train with Greece, Euro Area deflation, poor GDP and Russia annexing another part of the Ukraine. Not the stuff of rising markets with earnings only tepid this season. So far most companies that are reporting are doing better than estimates. Not 80% to blow it out but just ok.
The weekend provided little real excitement as the Greek elections turned out worse than expected and no one cared. The leftists are in power but what they are going to realize is they have little choice. That seems to be the consensus from the reaction in European and US stocks. VIX managed to turn in a new short term low to close 15.58.
Stocks made a little run down today on bad UPS earnings and some worries about the weekend vote in Greece. If folks are paying up for SBUX coffee, things cannot be that bad so we will blame the Greeks. Even after the ECB made their made policy announcement the Euro continued to sell off. I guess the question is why would you buy European sovereign debt? Spain yields nothing, you have to pay the Germans and Greece is always on the brink of default. The 10 year Treasury is still looking pretty good even after the dollar rally.
The ECB finally announces a bond buying program of their own. We will call it Euro QE. At the rate the Euro is crumbling there won’t be much left of the bond buying program in dollar terms as the Euro rushes pack to parity with the US dollar. Stocks love the QE since they takeoff after a whiff of it is announced.
We are finishing a volatile week for global markets and it most likely will stay that way until the ECB comes up with some announcement on Jan 22nd and/or the Greeks decide to elect a new government by the end of the month. Earnings reports so far have been mediocre and without the promise of domestic QE, stocks have not been able to recover. Short term things will stay choppy.