Daily Market Update – August 24, 2015 (Close)
Last night when looking at the thinly traded US futures, things were looking pretty bleak as the overseas futures were again pointing much lower.
However, the last time I looked before going to bed the tone had changed considerably as the US futures were down only 95 points.
Based on the way Friday had closed, with a loss of more than 500 points on the DJIA and accelerating at that, a mere 95 points would have felt like a rally.
This morning that picture was again totally different. The picture facing us this morning reflected the fact that the Shanghai market essentially had an entire correction in a single trading session, having gone down just shy of 10%, although not to the same degree.
Japan followed and the European markets aren’t being left too far behind.
Our own futures, now with trading less thin in the morning session was rapidly deteriorating and within 10 minutes of the opening bell the DJIA was down just over 1000 points.
None of what we are seeing on our shores reflects anything on our shores, but that doesn’t matter for now.
Yesterday;’s decision by China to allow the nation’s pension funds invest in stocks may have had one intent, but it sent an entirely different message.
That message was one of desperation and exasperation and when the Chinese government gets to the point that it feels as if it is being backed up against a wall, everyone needs to be very cautious.
A cash strapped China can have very powerful impact on us if they decide they need to get out of their immense Treasury holdings, which are now trading at below 2% for the 10 Year. That represents a 25% decline in rates at a time when everyone was banking on rising rates, although at the same time widespread selling by China could send those rates much higher again.
Then, add Saudi Arabia into that picture as oil falls even more this morning and is now below $40/barrel. Even Saudi Arabia may begin to have a need for cash soon.
This morning the futures were trading nearly 700 points lower and the S&P 500 was on track to join the DJIA in official correction territory if the futures trading losses would have persisted into the trading session.
They did. Then they didn’t and then they did again to finish the day.
Some of these individual stock price drops that have been seen and were being seen in the morning’s futures trading were really stunning. They are the kind that we really haven’t seen in 7 years, as it’s hard to imagine companies such as Apple and others being down 25% in such a short time frame.
There’s very little to do in the face of that kind of selling.
The one thing to look for is any opportunity to take advantage of should be increasing option premiums and the use of out of the money strikes. That was actually a good combination in 2008 and early 2009, as it was again in the latter half of 2011.
Volatility, while so very significantly higher over the past 2 weeks is still afar cry from 2008, 2009 or even 2011, but the search for those premium opportunities can at least begin to take place.
There are no positions set to expire this week and that was partially by design as last weeks rollovers specifically sought to buy some time as the market was already deteriorating. Seeing this morning’s sharp decline the first thought is that more time should have been bought.
While I didn’t plan on being one of those brave ones to try and figure out where the market’s bottom will be, I surprised myself with 2 new positions added this morning. I thought tha today’s focus would be on where income generation can be found to try and offset the broadly distributed declines.
At least there was one of those, as well.
The one positive note this morning was that, if on heavy volume, it may have represented a “blow off” kind of selling that is very often followed by a bounce higher.
That bounce higher came and did so very emphatically, but had no staying power, as there may have been lots of mutual fund and ETF redemptions that still needed to be dealt with.
The late in the day sell off will undoubtedly leave a hangover for tomorrow as there were very likely an additional wave of sell orders hitting mutual funds as the market came to its close.
If that’s the case, the question will again fall to China to see what its next step will be and then back to the FOMC to see whether it begins to look at the loss of wealth experienced over this summer in deciding what to do regarding interest rates.
For now, the only hope may be that whoever has cash overseas may begin to look to the United States as their safety haven and flee with whatever cash they have to our shores to at least inject some buying.
While people are divided over the issue of immigration, right now most everyone would welcome foreign cash on our shores, even if caked in white powder.