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“People don’t pay attention until they have to.” – Meredith Whitney
In yesterday’s email, we noted that “Lower interest rates are good for equity prices, but when the pace of the downside move picks up steam, equity investors take pause.” This morning, we are seeing that trend play out in real-time. As treasury yields continue to plunge, equity investors are reading the rally in the bond market as a sign of weakness ahead and taking profits now. The S&P 500 is currently indicated to open down about 1.25%, and in a sign of just how uniform the decline has been, both the Dow and Nasdaq futures are also in the red by about the exact same amount.
Naturally, all sorts of catalysts are being blamed for the decline ranging from the growing threat of the Delta variant, a weaker than expected economic recovery, or lack of an infrastructure deal. Sometimes, though, the market doesn’t need an excuse to sell off and it just needs to let off some steam.
In economic news, the only major data point of the day is initial jobless claims which came in 23K above forecasts (373K vs 350k). Continuing claims, however, managed to fall more than expected falling to a post COVID low of 3.339 million.
Read today’s Morning Lineup for a recap of all the major market news and events from around the world, a discussion of growth in the Delta variant, economic data from around the world, the latest US and international COVID trends including our vaccination trackers, and much more.
There was a time not long ago when a number of sentiment indicators showed a healthy degree of skepticism on the part of investors. That time is no longer. One indicator we don’t highlight on a regular basis is the TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index (IMX). Calculated by TD Ameritrade, the IMX is designed to measure individual investor sentiment based on what investors are actually doing in their brokerage accounts.
Back near the 2020 lows, the IMX index dropped to its lowest level since early 2012 and while it bounced with the overall market when the S&P 500 was back at all-time highs last September, it was much slower to recover and well below its record highs from late 2017. Since the start of this year, though, investor sentiment has really started to surge, rising from 5.49 last November to a record 9.08 in June. In the eleven years that TD Ameritrade has been publishing this index, it has never seen as sharp of a surge as it has over the last several months.