Early to the Unattended Short Party Again

Just wanted to apologize for a lack of posting activity. For newer readers expecting a little more activity, it gets tough around the holidays with family demands and traveling. My goal going forward is to post at least twice a week, and at the very least, once a week. I know that’s not on par with your favorite daily reads, but I hope I can continue to potentially add value to your investment life.

The markets just keep running, even with this past week’s slight consolidation. Hell, Friday’s pop was enough to put the S&P 500 at basically even for the week, the Russell 2000 a touch off the highs for the year, the NASDAQ at post-2000 highs, and the DOW in the same position as the Russell at a touch off the highs. Some consolidation, huh? Previously, I reasoned that a correction was on the horizon and illustrated with some charts why I thought that a correction was imminent. The results…

WRONG! The markets have been looking like a small blow-off would occur since the summer. Those signals were all false though and chartists who have been attempting to short the market keep coming up just that…short. The lesson that you should not fight the Fed keeps getting firmly taught in 2013, as noted by the under-performance of hedge funds, shorts artists, and tape readers. None the less, have a look at the following set of charts from several weeks ago. In a normal world that’s not flooded with liquidity chasing up financial assets around the world, these charts would generally portend of a change in trend. However, this ain’t a normal world to be speculating in.

These charts depict several factors of risk taking and risk abating, which one would think would normally affect the greater markets. Divergences abound and yet the rising continues. Observe:

1. SentimentTrader displayed the Rydex family of funds’ 12 year low in assets allocated to their money market funds


2. The stock to bond ratio – one of SentimentTrader’s daily charts showing periods of over/under value in equities


3. S&P 500 to JNK (junk bond ETF) – notice the previous downturns in the S&P 500 earlier this year when JNK turned down


4. ZeroHedge provides a Bloomberg terminal snapshot of a nosedive in IWM shares outstanding while price remains stable


5. Here’s another junkbond relative performance chart. Apologies to the author. I forgot from which blog I nicked it.


6. Courtesy of DecisionPoint, going back to to 1999 one can see what a divergence from the PBI for the SPX generally means for the SPX


Alright, enough with the slide show. There are so many more squiggle pictures that chartists could call upon to attempt to prove that a downturn is imminent but why bother? Liquidity is not going to dry up. Interest rates aren’t going to spike up past 6% and send the planet into recession tomorrow. Based on the performance of equity markets and despite a ton of divergent indicators, I’m beginning to get the feeling that the markets may just consolidate in a semi-volatile sideways range. There’s a real possibility that the markets just bounce along up and down plus or minus 1% – 3% into the new year before resuming an advance.

We keep coming back to this now overly used quote from 2007 by Chuck Prince, former head of CitiBank: “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.” This little gem has popped up almost everywhere in the financial blogosphere recently, so I figured I’d find a gratuitous reason to post it too as it is quite apropos. Good old Chucky “Cheese” Prince made this statement at the peak of the markets back in 2007 because he knew how unstable things were and yet he continued to allow the SIFI(systemically important financial institution) he ran to trade and underwrite garbage.

And while I’m at it, in case you don’t know what the co-crown prince of golden parachutes looks like; here’s his picture. Truly a face you can trust with managing hundreds of billions.

clip_image012(picture courtesy of:  Yamaguchi/ Bloomberg/BLOOMBERG NEWS)

For those ill-informed about Mr. Prince, he walked away from Citi with a cool $100M for overseeing the destruction of the bank. The reason he’s a co-crown prince of the golden parachute set is because he shares the crown with Stanley O’Neal, but I digress. We’re talking about the potential for a sideways consolidation in the market and not rehashing sour grapes on a who’s who behind the SIFI’s that have changed our world as we know it. As for speculative advice, well I have exited my short positions. I hedged my last move against the SPY and simply broke even. I’m currently taking a step back and allowing for the picture to clear up a little for a trader such as myself.

In my next post, I intend to touch on what matters and what doesn’t matter anymore in finance, investing, and economics. And there just may be a hint of informed sarcasm. As for speculating, if you are positioned long, stay long. Enjoy your paper profit ride, but don’t forget to mind your stops and make those profits real if needed. If you’re trading and miss the lack of real volatility, then now may be a good time to catch up on some insightful reads. Seriously, look at that picture up above one more time. Tell me that’s not exactly who my last post was describing. Cheers!

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