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“The daily blips of the market are, in fact, noise — noise that is very difficult for most investors to tune out.” – Seth Klarman
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After a ‘rare’ rally yesterday, equity futures are lower again this morning even as crude oil and treasury yields are lower on the day. Treasury yields were lower, but jobless claims were just released and came in lower than expected on both an initial and continuing basis. The strength in initial jobless claims has been especially impressive as the four-week moving average has dropped to its lowest levels since February. With bonds looking for any excuse to sell off, the better-than-expected jobless claims report has sent yields higher.
The title of yesterday’s Morning Lineup post was “And Then There Were None”, and we discussed the fact that after the Energy sector’s decline to kick off the week, the ETF that tracks it (XLE) joined the ten other S&P 500 sector ETFs in trading below its 50-day moving average. That was the first time since October 3rd of last year that every sector was below their respective 50-DMAs, and while the Energy sector was only marginally below its 50-DMA, it quickly made up for lost time yesterday by falling more than 3% and into oversold territory. As shown in the chart below, after hovering just below its 50-DMA yesterday morning, by the close it was treading water just above its 200-DMA, and the uptrend line that had been in place since late June has been shattered. Moving forward, both the 50-DMA and the former uptrend line have the potential to act as resistance.
Along with the weakness in the Energy sector, crude oil has been on its heels as well. A week ago, WTI briefly traded above $95 per barrel after rallying more than 42% from its June lows. Anyone who knew anything was saying that crude was back on its way to a triple-digit price. In just a week, though, prices have slumped over 10%, and in yesterday’s swoon, prices broke below the uptrend line from June, the 50-day moving average, and the high from August – that’s a lot of broken support all at once! If crude continues to follow the recent path of the Energy sector, it could be a painful few days.
Regarding the recent moves in crude oil, it’s funny to think that less than two weeks ago the run-up in prices was attributed to a stronger economy. Now that prices have started to fall, the narrative has quickly shifted to an economy that’s slowing. Does the direction of the global economy really turn that fast? If you’re using day-to-day moves in a volatile commodity like crude oil as your gauge for the health of the global economy, you’re going to go deaf.
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