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“History is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments.” – Friedrich August von Hayek

Morning stock market summary

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Futures have been rallying this morning as bond yields move higher as investors breathe a sigh of relief due to the fact that there were no additional bank blowups overnight.  Regional banks are seeing the most strength as a stock like First Republic (FRC) is up over 60% in the pre-market.  That’s great if you bought the stock yesterday, but it’s still down sharply from where it closed last Friday, let alone where it was coming into the year.

The big number of the morning is obviously the February CPI and that reading came in right in line with forecasts at the headline level (0.4%).  Ex Food and Energy, the reading was 0.5% which was slightly higher than expected (0.4%).  On a y/y basis, both headline (6.0%) and core (5.5%) were right in line with forecasts.  Markets were worried about another hot reading, so the immediate reaction has been a modest bounce in equity futures.

While the moves have been the most pronounced in the Treasury market and regional banks stocks, volatility and extreme reversals have been showing up all over global financial markets in the last several days.  Take the equity market of Japan.  Last week, the TOPIX finally broke above multi-month resistance to new 52-week highs on Thursday.  From a technical standpoint, the action looked like a textbook breakout with well-defined support at former resistance near the 2,000 level.  That was Thursday.

In the three days that followed, the TOPX has been down at least 1.5% every day for a total decline of 6%. And that support around the 2,000 level? It was more like Swiss cheese.  In last night’s trading, the TOPIX also sliced right through its 50-day moving average (DMA) although it did find some support at the 200-DMA.

Going all the way back to the mid-1980s, the last four trading days for the TOPIX represent just the second time that the index hit a 52-week high and then followed that up with three straight declines of at least 1%.  The other period was in October 2003 when the TOPIX hit a 52-week high on 10/20 and then followed that high up with daily declines of 1.1%, 1.8%, and 5.3%, respectively for a total decline of 8.8%.  During that correction, the TOPIX’s total decline from that 52-week high pullback was 14.5% before the index went on to recover and resume its upward trend.

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