PCLN hit a milestone today, although a bearish one, as it plunged through the $1,000 level for the first time since October 2013. January 1000 monthly put options expiring on the 17th (technically tomorrow) skyrocketed from a low of $0.55 to a high of $10.60 before closing at $8.70, representing a 625% return overnight! Many other momentum names have fallen through key levels this week, including AMZN, AAPL, BABA, GPRO, NFLX, and TSLA.
Even ‘Turnaround Tuesday’ could not save the broader indices as an initial rally was quickly sold off, with the S&P 500 down again today for the fifth straight day, closing 52 points lower since last Friday at 1,992. The 30-year yield has also been cratering all week as evidenced by fresh highs in TLT. And the VIX has been hovering above the 20 level for the 3rd day in a row.
There were a couple of monster moves in commodities, notably natural gas, which surged almost 10% yesterday after already being up 5% the previous day off year lows. After this morning’s EIA inventory report it continued to rally briefly before giving back some of the week’s gains. The other big gainer was gold, up over $30 this morning as it breached the $1,250 level, reaching a high of $1,267 before settling just below $1,260. The catalyst for this appeared to be the Swiss National Bank’s decision to unpeg the Swiss Franc from the Euro, causing the franc to jump 30% vs. the Euro and 25% vs. the USD before paring some gains. FXF would be the ETF vehicle to trade this if you are so inclined. And of course, what week would be complete without volatility in oil? WTI crude rallied briefly above $51 before settling sharply lower at $46 today. For the strong of stomach DWTI has been an excellent ‘buy the dip’ tool to ‘sell the rip’ off any spikes in the commodity at this point, hitting a low of $144.81 this morning before closing near the HOD of $174.55.
With monthly options expiration tomorrow expect another volatile day as Goldman Sachs caps off a week of financials reporting disappointing results with BAC, C, JPM and WFC having all taken a beating. As always, trade well and stay disciplined!
Gold is starting to look like Swiss cheese these days, with a lot of holes and ready to meltdown into a fondue… the shortened trading day in the US markets on Friday started off with a modest 0.7% drop in gold from $1,190 to $1,182, but it eventually cascaded into a massive 2.65% decline, ending down over $31 for the day to close at $1,165, ahead of the weekend Swiss referendum on whether the SNB should hold a minimum of 20% gold in its reserves. Today, we got the answer, and it was a resounding ‘No’ at 77% of the vote.
Someone seemed to know something during Friday’s equities session as junior miners were shellacked, with GDXJ down more than 12%, and the corresponding 3x leveraged bull (JNUG) and bear (JDST) ETFs making 35%+ moves. Interestingly there seemed to be a lot of new goldbugs and gold bulls joining StockTwits in the last couple of weeks, and their recent bravado led me to believe we were at an inflection point. Of course, the biggest news was the stunning (or maybe not so stunning, if you had been expecting OPEC to not cut their production) 10.3% plunge in oil, which roiled energy names like CVX, COP, XOM. Another double-digit winner was ERY, the 3x energy company ETF (ERX is the bull ETF with a corresponding move in the opposite direction). Even though the S&P 500 was green for most of the morning it eventually succumbed to the selloff in the energy sector, closing red for the day, having touched yet another all-time high. However, airlines were a huge beneficiary of the double whammy of lower oil prices and holiday travel, with UAL, AAL, LUV and JBLU leading the charge.
On the economic calendar this week we have China Manufacturing PMI numbers out tonight at 8pm ET as well as HSBC Manufacturing PMI at 8:45pm. Europe Manufacturing PMI is out tomorrow morning at 4am, US ISM Manufacturing follows at 10am, with Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaking on Tuesday at 8:30am, and an ECB interest rate decision and press conference on Thursday at 7:45 and 8:30am respectively. US jobless claims will be out at 8:30am that day, and all payroll numbers out on Friday at 8:30am.
Have a great week all, trade well, and stay disciplined!