Weekend Update

By: Erik Swarts | Fri, May 16, 2014
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Weekend Update

At this time last year we had commented on the continued loosening of correlations in the markets from the historic extremes witnessed in the fall of 2011. Our general impression was that underlying market conditions across asset classes buttressed the case that risk appetites would continue to be hearty and it didn't make much sense from a strategic point of view to be overtly bearish in the market. From an inter-market perspective today, we are starting to see some major correlation relationships begin to re-establish themselves - as markets dislocate from offsides expectations and positioning.

Throughout this year, one of our major focuses has been on 10-year yields, as we expected the market to move harshly against the consensus opinion - likely, introducing greater kinetic conditions across asset classes. Broadly speaking, we felt that the financial sector - which leaned on the steepness of the yield curve, was at risk in a declining yield environment - and if the broader market lost such leadership it became vulnerable for the first time since 2011. Conversely, the commodity markets which had remained under pressure in a rising rate environment would begin to outperform - bolstered by atypical market conditions exemplified with rising inflation expectations, declining yields and a Fed that would continue to be more bark than bite when it came to actually raising rates.

This week, 10-year yields continued to move lower against the consensus, although we did notice anecdotally that many participants were quick to comment and weigh its context that the move was already over-extended. While from a short-term perspective this may well be true, with respect to what we see across our own research - it has considerable room to run and its effects are just beginning to influence other markets. Moreover, the very real risk of creating a negative feedback loop in yields is present.

While yields have started to accelerate their breakdown, the Japanese yen has remained in a flagging and narrowed range. Our expectations remain that it's only a matter of time before the yen converts its potential energy and broadly influences downstream markets. The Nikkei once again made a return trip to ~ 14,000 - even after a strong GDP report was digested by the market. Going into next week, the Nikkei looks increasingly vulnerable of loosing 14,000 as the yen appears on the brink of a breakout.

Led by silver, precious metals firmed this week - albeit coming in considerably in the back half. We remain bullish and expect more material weakness in the equity markets to support an upside breakout for the sector. The confluence of trends noted in the yen, the US dollar and yields also strongly supports positions in precious metals.

From a historical perspective over the last forty years, the relationship between long-term yields and gold reached a relative extreme last December. Momentum continues to favor the upside, which from a comparative perspective would suggest a minimum target of ~ 1515.

We continue to like the strong relative performance from what we expect was a cyclical low in Q1 in emerging market equities (EEM) and China (FXI) relative to the SPX and expect these trends to strengthen as the US dollar once again pivots lower.

Yen and 10-Year Yields Daily Charts
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Nikkei 1980 - Today Chart
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10-Year Yields 50-Year Chart
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Yen and GDX Weekly Charts
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SPX and Gold Monthly Charts
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Gold:TNX and Gold Monthly Charts
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Gold and 10-Year Yields Monthly Chart
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BKX and 10-Year Yields Monthly Chart
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10-Year Yields 2009-2014 and 1979-1984 Weekly Chart
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10-Year Yields 2013-2014 and 1994-1995 Daily Chart
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US Dollar and 10-Year Yields 60-Minute Chart
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USDX 1994 and USDX 2014 Weekly Chart
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Silver and USDX Weekly Chart
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Yen 1998-2005 Daily Chart versus Euro 2010-2014 Daily Chart
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GDX:GLD, CRB:SPX and EEM:SPX Weekly Charts
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Erik Swarts

Author: Erik Swarts

Erik Swarts
Market Anthropology

Although I am an active trader, I have always taken a broad perspective when approaching the markets. I respect the Big Picture and attempt to place each piece of information within its appropriate context and timeframe. I have found that without this approach, there is very little understanding of ones expectations in the market and an endless potential for risk.

I am not a stock picker - but trade the broader market itself in varying timeframes. I want to know which way the prevailing wind is blowing, where the doldrums can be expected and where the shoals will likely rise. I will not claim to know which vessel is the fastest or most comfortable for passage - but I can read the charts and know the risks.

I am not a salesperson for the market and its many wares. I observe it, contextualize its moving parts - both visible and discrete - and interpret.

I practice Market Anthropology - Welcome to my notes.

Erik Swarts is not a registered investment advisor. Under no circumstances should any content be used or interpreted as a recommendation for any investment, trade or approach to the markets. Trading and investing can be hazardous to your wealth. Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her registered investment advisor. This is strictly for educational and informational purposes only. All opinions expressed by Mr. Swarts are subject to change without notice, and the reader should always obtain current information and perform their own due diligence before making any investment or trading decision.

Copyright © 2011-2014 Erik Swarts

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