Charting the Markets: Watch Out for the Spikes
Comment of the Day

October 09 2015

Commentary by David Fuller

Charting the Markets: Watch Out for the Spikes

Here is the opening of this market report from Bloomberg, complete with their charts:

Global stocks keep on rising. The MSCI All Country World Index gained for an eighth day, the longest stretch of increases since February, as minutes from the Federal Reserve's September meeting bolstered the view interest rates won't budge until 2016. The Fed's healthy view of the domestic economy is tempered by external threats, like China's slowdown. The eight-day 8 percent rally is the biggest since December 2011. $3.2 Trillion of value has been added to global stocks in that period after the worst quarter in four years. European stocks gained for a sixth day, the longest winning streak since July 20.

Asian stocks are heading for the biggest weekly rise in almost four years as investors push back expectations for when the Fed will raise interest rates. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index has jumped 6 percent to the highest level since Aug.20. The move comes after the gauge sank 15 percent in the third quarter, the biggest drop in four years, after China devalued its currency. Now investors believe Chinese authorities will be forced to implement more measures to prop up its faltering economy. The region's best-performing equity index this week is Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index, which has soared 20 percent.

A Bloomberg index tracking 20 emerging market currencies is on track for its best week in more than six years, rising 3.3 percent. It's been some turnaround from the third quarter when the gauge registered its biggest quarterly loss since 2011. Last quarter's biggest laggards - the Indonesian rupiah, the Russian ruble and the Malaysian ringgit - are this week's biggest gainers. Those three currencies have jumped 9 percent, 8 percent and 7 percent respectively as U.S. rate hike expectations get pushed back and oil rebounds. Any gains may prove fleeting. According to the latest analysts' forecasts, all 23 emerging market currencies tracked by Bloomberg are projected to weaken against the dollar by the first quarter because of the worsening global economic outlook.

David Fuller's view

Investors benefitting from this sudden rally can be forgiven for rubbing their eyes and pinching themselves, fearing that they have just awakened from a nice dream, and now face more of the scary meltdown that had wiped many billions off stock market valuations. 

You will see plenty of mixed messages in the financial press, and less than two weeks ago, a significant majority of them were bearish.  Indeed, reports emanating from that International Monetary Fund gathering in Lima Peru sound funereal. 

You are entitled to ask: What is going on here?

We have experienced a series of corrections, including Wall Street’s first setback of over 10% in four years.  Many of these other corrections qualify as statistical bear markets, by the popular definition of a setback which exceeds 20%.  However, the biggest market routs have occurred among the mainly commodity exporting countries, including their currencies and the actual commodity prices. 

Cyclical overproduction and questionable governance have been among the usual problems.  Moreover, the casino player element within international markets had a triple whammy field day, simultaneously shorting the stock markets of commodity exporting countries, their currencies, and the actual commodities themselves.

As they were driven to extremes, the usual exaggeratedly bearish stories and reports emerged, temporarily driving many potential buyers and long-term investors to the sidelines.  In the middle of last week, a few wise old heads led by Mark Mobius of Templeton announced that they were buying. Others soon followed and the short sellers have been squeezed.

A consecutive day global rally of this magnitude and persistence, albeit after only a few days, nevertheless looks like much more than a temporary rebound.  Instead, it is typical of recoveries following corrections in what are still bull markets for Wall Street and most other developed country stock markets. 

Fundamentally, mining companies led by Glencore have begun to reduce supply on a needs must basis. OPEC leaders would be better off if they followed this same policy.  I have seen similar action at the lows of every other highly cyclical commodity cycle that I have lived through.  Industrial resources need only partial recoveries from extreme oversold positions to reduce justifiably widespread fears of destructive deflation and global recession.  This would ease financial pressures on the economies and stock markets of commodity exporting countries, considerably reducing the biggest recent drag on the global economy. 

(See also from Bloomberg: Five Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today)

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