This Is Getting Old

Lots of calls and emails yesterday from folks wondering how the hell the market could be up so strongly in the face of the violent unrest in D.C.

When the capitol was breached, shortly after 2pm, the S&P 500 was already up 55 points on the day.  This came on the heels of a sharp 22-point plunge on the open.  Altogether, the S&P 500 rallied 78 points from the daily lows before finally topping out.

We know why this happened. As is so often the case, the algos were directed to erase any signs of dissatisfaction with the events of the day: an abysmal ADP employment reading, FOMC minutes, a brewing constitutional crisis, etc.

Note the slight breakdown of the futures around the time ADP employment (-123K vs prior month +304K and +120K consensus) was released at 8:15.  Now, see if you can tell when Fed minutes, which the Fed obviously knew reflected a less than rosy assessment of the economy, were released.

I’ve marked it in case it’s not obvious.  Note that it didn’t stop until ES had made a new all-time high (by 1.5 points at 2:15.)Now, here’s what happened to VIX as the market opened and the day progressed.  The breakdown of a falling red channel and the 10-day moving average are pretty common and effective algo signals. I’ve marked the release of the Fed minutes with a yellow arrow. As fate would have it

Sure, there’s too much liquidity in the markets thanks to central banks’ obvious agenda to prop up stocks. But, the cash on the sidelines we always hear so much about didn’t suddenly materialize yesterday at 9:30.

Let’s be honest about what’s really moving markets like this: the systematic and deliberate crushing of volatility which, in turn, signals the machines to buy anything that isn’t nailed down. It happens over and over – and especially when the market’s protectors fear a potential downturn.

As I wrote yesterday…

Either this is the start of a chart-busting rally, or things are about to get very ugly right as ES’ 50-day SMA has reached its Dec 21 lows.


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