Friday, January 15, 2016

Equities and the Battle of Jutland: "There's something wrong with our bloody ships today, Chatfield"

Those were the words of Admiral David Beatty to his flag captain after HMS Queen Mary blew up, 31 May 1916. We're fast approaching the 100th anniversary
16:00 hrs-16:05 hrs, Indefatigable explodes leaving two survivors.
16:25 hrs, Queen Mary disintegrates, twenty survive.
2200 of his sailors vaporized.
Admiral Beatty was a bit of a dimwit so he was, of course, promoted, appointed First Sea Lord and granted an Earldom.

All in all, DJIA down 500 not so bad.

From Barron's Stocks to Watch 12:15 ET:

Do the Collapse: Dow Drops 420 Points as Oil, China Tumble
Stocks are collapsing this morning after oil dropped below $30, China entered a bear market and retail sales in the U.S. fell. 
The S&P 500 has dropped 2.6% to 1,872.31 at 12:15 p.m. today, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 423.84 points, or 2.6%, to 15,955.21. The Nasdaq Composite has tumbled 3.4% to 4,458.08. 
Evercore ISI’s Dennis DeBusschere and team ponder the market’s collapse:
Equity markets are lower again this morning despite the rebound in U.S. stocks yesterday. Oil prices are back below $30 helping drag down inflation expectations and putting more downward pressure on the yield curve. Falling inflation estimates and weaker global growth weigh on earnings estimates and put upward pressure on volatility. The Fed is increasingly unlikely to raise rates four times this year, but that is cold comfort for investors adjusting to a weaker path of earnings growth and higher volatility.
RBS strategist Alberto Gallo and team argue that investors need to focus on return of capital, not return on capital:
As in a troubled relationship, investors are increasingly now doubting the love they’ll get from their partner so far – central banks. Needing constant reassurance is generally not a good sign in any relationship, and often anticipates a breakup. We think investors should take decisions not based on monetary stimulus going forward, and focus on return of capital: and the reality is that central banks are running low on ammunition (and love). China’s slowdown will continue, and extra policy ammunition for stimulus is low – the result will be more currency depreciation, which will in turn affect other EM which rely on commodities and hard-currency funding. But the spill-over from the Chinese slowdown will also impact the US recovery, by hurting the energy sector, and in turn also manufacturing and retail (see below for our thoughts on the latest manufacturing data and today’s retail sales). Eventually, the combination of external shocks from China/EM and persistent imbalances in the US recovery (e.g. labour markets) may lead to a sudden stop in the Fed’s hike cycle, which will hurt market confidence....

And Barron's Stocks to Watch 1:14 ET:

Stocks: Where’s the Bottom?
As the S&P 500 tries to bust through its August low of around 1,867, Wellington Shields’ Frank Gretz explains what he’s looking for before he’s willing to declare a bottom in the stock market: 
When it comes to making a low, the key to the process is getting the selling out of the way. What might be missing here is a piece of real bad news. Seeing your net worth slip always creates a certain amount of fear, but there’s nothing like bad news to provide the excuse to sell. By selling, we’re not talking about your garden-variety selling, we’re talking about your 90%- down day type of selling, days where 90% of the up-down volume is to the downside. This is not so easy as even Wednesday’s 365-point loss saw only an 89% reading. However, with a few such readings now under our belt, we’re not about to quibble if we see some upside confirmation. This would come in the form of an 80-90% up-day. If prices are washed-out, they should move up with relative ease. 
Everyone likes to throw around the term “oversold,” but we are oversold. Looking at the percent of S&P 500 stocks above their 10-day average, Friday’s reading was 4%. Granted last August-September we saw 1%, but it’s close enough for government work, and close enough for us....