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Keep An Eye on Bonds image

No sooner did I write a piece about the bond market and how reduced liquidity/increased volatility was keeping me up at night, so to speak, than the bond market takes center stage this week. Don't look now fans, but the yield on the 10-year U.S. T-Note has spiked over the last three days to the highest level of the year - and the bottom line is that the rate of ascent has some folks worried.

10-Year U.S. T-Note Yield - Weekly

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I know what you're thinking. Why are yields on U.S. bonds spiking higher when the U.S. economic data continues to come in on the punk side? Why are rates rising when the consensus is that the Fed is NOT going to hike rates in June, maybe not in September, and perhaps not at all in 2015? And why are yields going up when there is still the potential for a "Grexit" to occur at any moment?

The answer appears to lay not with the U.S. economic data but rather the happenings across the pond. Yep, that's right folks, if you want to understand the moves in the U.S. markets these days, you have to understand what is happening in Europe, or China, or... In short, THIS is what happens in today's globally interconnected markets where computers drive trading around the globe 24/7 at the speed of light.

Here's the deal. The price action in the German Bund continues to get most of the attention right now as yields on the German 10-year have traded as high as 0.99% this morning and are currently trading at 0.94%. To put this into perspective, it wasn't long ago that these very same yields were closing in on the zero bound and the current levels are the highest seen since October 2014.

Although this may not sound like a big deal, consider that the sell-off in German debt on Tuesday and Wednesday has been the biggest two-day drop seen since 1998. Yikes.

According to analysts, the catalyst for Tuesday's week's spike in German yields was the uptick in Eurozone inflation (the rate moved up to 0.3% on a year-over-year basis). Then on Wednesday, ECB President Draghi talked "tough love" to bond investors, which was not well received.

Although Draghi did say that the QE program is going well and there is no reason to talk about cutting it short, "Super Mario" also said that things in the bond market could get testy in the near-term. Draghi made it clear that the ECB would not stand in the way of further bond selling. He added that the market should get used to more volatility and this would not change the ECB's course on implementing its QE plan.

In other words, Draghi was quite a bit more hawkish than had been anticipated. Draghi also effectively said that there is not going to be any "ECB Put" available to bond traders and that the ECB wasn't going to be pushed into taking further action by a little selling in the bond pits.

So there you have it. Tanking prices in the German Bund mean a corresponding fall in the prices of U.S. bond market. And with so many investors having piled into both securities lately expecting global QE to cause prices to rise, well, the bottom line is we may be seeing a bit of a reversal in this trade. And in short, if the big bond traders of the world all start to go the same direction at the same time - or worse yet, are all forced to make the same trade - then we could be seeing the start of a "yield event" in the bond market.

To be sure, the current spike in yields is only 3 days old. And it is true that both the ECB and the BOJ are continuing to print substantial new cash via their respective QE programs. As such, it is probably not a good idea to panic about rising yields at this point. However, the action in the bond market remains something that investors of all shapes and sizes need to pay attention to in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Publishing Note: I have a very early meeting on Friday and will publish a report only if time permits.

This Morning's Pre-Game Indicators

Here are the Pre-Market indicators we review each morning before the opening bell...

Major Foreign Markets:
    Japan: +0.07%
    Hong Kong: -0.38%
    Shanghai: +0.75%
    London: -1.27%
    Germany: -1.26%
    France: -1.55%
    Italy: -1.10%
    Spain: -1.08%

Crude Oil Futures: +$0.05 to $59.69

Gold: -$3.00 at $1181.90

Dollar: higher against the yen, lower vs. euro and pound

10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 2.376%

Stock Indices in U.S. (relative to fair value):
    S&P 500: -8.47
    Dow Jones Industrial Average: -58
    NASDAQ Composite: -27

Thought For The Day:

"Do not suffer your good nature to say yes when you ought to say no" –George Washington

Current Market Drivers

We strive to identify the driving forces behind the market action on a daily basis. The thinking is that if we can both identify and understand why stocks are doing what they are doing on a short-term basis; we are not likely to be surprised/blind-sided by a big move. Listed below are what we believe to be the driving forces of the current market (Listed in order of importance).

      1. The State of Interest Rates
      2. The State of Fed/ECB/PBoC Policy
      3. The State of the U.S. Economy
      4. The State of the U.S. Dollar

The State of the Trend

We believe it is important to analyze the market using multiple time-frames. We define short-term as 3 days to 3 weeks, intermediate-term as 3 weeks to 3 months, and long-term as 3 months or more. Below are our current ratings of the three primary trends:

Short-Term Trend: Neutral
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 1 month)

Intermediate-Term Trend: Moderately Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 6 months)

Long-Term Trend: Positive
(Chart below is S&P 500 daily over past 2 years)

Key Technical Areas:

Traders as well as computerized algorithms are generally keenly aware of the important technical levels on the charts from a short-term basis. Below are the levels we deem important to watch today:

  • Key Near-Term Support Zone(s) for S&P 500: 2100
  • Key Near-Term Resistance Zone(s): 2135

The State of the Tape

Momentum indicators are designed to tell us about the technical health of a trend - I.E. if there is any "oomph" behind the move. Below are a handful of our favorite indicators relating to the market's "mo"...

  • Trend and Breadth Confirmation Indicator (Short-Term): Negative
  • Price Thrust Indicator: Negative
  • Volume Thrust Indicator: Negative
  • Breadth Thrust Indicator: Neutral
  • Intermediate-Term Bull/Bear Volume Relationship: Moderately Positive
  • Technical Health of 100+ Industry Groups: Moderately Positive

The Early Warning Indicators

Markets travel in cycles. Thus we must constantly be on the lookout for changes in the direction of the trend. Looking at market sentiment and the overbought/sold conditions can provide "early warning signs" that a trend change may be near.

  • S&P 500 Overbought/Oversold Conditions:
          - Short-Term: Neutral
          - Intermediate-Term: Neutral
  • Market Sentiment: Our primary sentiment model is Neutral .

The State of the Market Environment

One of the keys to long-term success in the stock market is stay in tune with the market's "big picture" environment in terms of risk versus reward.

  • Weekly Market Environment Model Reading: Neutral

Wishing you green screens and all the best for a great day,

David D. Moenning
Founder and Chief Investment Strategist
Heritage Capital Research


Indicator Explanations

Trend and Breadth Confirmation Indicator (Short-Term) Explained: History shows the most reliable market moves tend to occur when the breadth indices are in gear with the major market averages. When the breadth measures diverge, investors should take note that a trend reversal may be at hand. This indicator incorporates an All-Cap Dollar Weighted Equity Series and A/D Line. From 1998, when the A/D line is above its 5-day smoothing and the All-Cap Equal Weighted Equity Series is above its 25-day smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +32.5% per year. When one of the indicators is above its smoothing, the equity index has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when both are below, the equity index has lost +23.6% per year.

Price Thrust Indicator Explained: This indicator measures the 3-day rate of change of the Value Line Composite relative to the standard deviation of the 30-day average. When the Value Line's 3-day rate of change have moved above 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day average ROC, a "thrust" occurs and since 2000, the Value Line Composite has gained ground at a rate of +20.6% per year. When the indicator is below 0.5 standard deviation of the 30-day, the Value Line has lost ground at a rate of -10.0% per year. And when neutral, the Value Line has gained at a rate of +5.9% per year.

Volume Thrust Indicator Explained: This indicator uses NASDAQ volume data to indicate bullish and bearish conditions for the NASDAQ Composite Index. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of NASDAQ daily advancing volume (i.e., the total volume traded in stocks which rose in price each day) to the 10-day total of daily declining volume (volume traded in stocks which fell each day). This ratio indicates when advancing stocks are attracting the majority of the volume (readings above 1.0) and when declining stocks are seeing the heaviest trading (readings below 1.0). This indicator thus supports the case that a rising market supported by heavier volume in the advancing issues tends to be the most bullish condition, while a declining market with downside volume dominating confirms bearish conditions. When in a positive mode, the NASDAQ Composite has gained at a rate of +38.3% per year, When neutral, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +13.3% per year. And when negative, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -8.5% per year.

Breadth Thrust Indicator Explained: This indicator uses the number of NASDAQ-listed stocks advancing and declining to indicate bullish or bearish breadth conditions for the NASDAQ Composite. The indicator plots the ratio of the 10-day total of the number of stocks rising on the NASDAQ each day to the 10-day total of the number of stocks declining each day. Using 10-day totals smooths the random daily fluctuations and gives indications on an intermediate-term basis. As expected, the NASDAQ Composite performs much better when the 10-day A/D ratio is high (strong breadth) and worse when the indicator is in its lower mode (weak breadth). The most bullish conditions for the NASDAQ when the 10-day A/D indicator is not only high, but has recently posted an extreme high reading and thus indicated a thrust of upside momentum. Bearish conditions are confirmed when the indicator is low and has recently signaled a downside breadth thrust. In positive mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +22.1% per year since 1981. In a neutral mode, the NASDAQ has gained at a rate of +14.5% per year. And when in a negative mode, the NASDAQ has lost at a rate of -6.4% per year.

Bull/Bear Volume Relationship Explained: This indicator plots both "supply" and "demand" volume lines. When the Demand Volume line is above the Supply Volume line, the indicator is bullish. From 1981, the stock market has gained at an average annual rate of +11.7% per year when in a bullish mode. When the Demand Volume line is below the Supply Volume line, the indicator is bearish. When the indicator has been bearish, the market has lost ground at a rate of -6.1% per year.

Technical Health of 100 Industry Groups Explained: Designed to provide a reading on the technical health of the overall market, this indicator takes the technical temperature of more than 100 industry sectors each week. Looking back to early 1980, when the model is rated as "positive," the S&P has averaged returns in excess of 23% per year. When the model carries a "neutral" reading, the S&P has returned over 11% per year. But when the model is rated "negative," stocks fall by more than -13% a year on average.

Weekly State of the Market Model Reading Explained:Different market environments require different investing strategies. To help us identify the current environment, we look to our longer-term State of the Market Model. This model is designed to tell us when risk factors are high, low, or uncertain. In short, this longer-term oriented, weekly model tells us whether the odds favor the bulls, bears, or neither team.


Disclosures

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are those of Mr. David Moenning and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Moenning's opinions and viewpoints regarding the future of the markets should not be construed as recommendations. The analysis and information in this report is for informational purposes only. No part of the material presented in this report is intended as an investment recommendation or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed nor any Portfolio constitutes a solicitation to purchase or sell securities or any investment program.

Any investment decisions must in all cases be made by the reader or by his or her investment adviser. Do NOT ever purchase any security without doing sufficient research. There is no guarantee that the investment objectives outlined will actually come to pass. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Neither the editor, employees, nor any of their affiliates shall have any liability for any loss sustained by anyone who has relied on the information provided.

The analysis provided is based on both technical and fundamental research and is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Although the information contained is derived from sources which are believed to be reliable, they cannot be guaranteed.

David D. Moenning, an advisor representative of CONCERT Wealth Management Inc. (CONCERT), is founder of Heritage Capital Advisors LLC, a legal business entity doing business as Heritage Capital Research (Heritage). Advisory services are offered through CONCERT Wealth Management, Inc., a registered investment advisor. For a complete description of investment risks, fees and services review the CONCERT firm brochure (ADV Part 2) which is available from your Investment Representative or by contacting Heritage or CONCERT.

Mr. Moenning is also the owner of Heritage Capital Management (HCM) a state-registered investment adviser. HCM also serves as a sub-advisor to other investment advisory firms. Neither HCM, Heritage, or CONCERT is registered as a broker-dealer.

Employees and affiliates of Heritage and HCM may at times have positions in the securities referred to and may make purchases or sales of these securities while publications are in circulation. Editors will indicate whether they or Heritage/HCM has a position in stocks or other securities mentioned in any publication. The disclosures will be accurate as of the time of publication and may change thereafter without notice.

Investments in equities carry an inherent element of risk including the potential for significant loss of principal. Past performance is not an indication of future results.