Friday, June 15, 2012

The G20 endorse SYRIZA

The story came across the tape in the last hour of trading yesterday. Central banks ready to combat Greek market storm:
Central banks from major economies stand ready to stabilize financial markets and prevent a credit squeeze should the outcome of Greek elections on Sunday cause tumultuous trading, G20 officials told Reuters.
I nearly fell off my chair! Did the G20 really say that ahead of the Greek elections this weekend? Apparently, the answer is yes.
"The central banks are preparing for coordinated action to provide liquidity," said a senior G20 aide familiar with discussions among international financial diplomats. His statement was confirmed by several other G20 officials.
In effect, the G20 just told the Greek population, "Don't worry about how you vote this weekend, the world won't fall apart whatever you do. Everything will be fine."
Isn't that just encouragement for Greeks to vote for SYRIZA? The G20 just told them that any adverse consequences of a SYRIZA government won't be that serious and the fallout will be contained.
Not enough capitulation
Here's is what I worry about. While most sentiment models are indicating excessive bearishness, which is contrarian bullish, I am concerned that there hasn't been enough capitulation for the market to make an intermediate bottom.
I have heard anecdotally that investment advisors are getting calls from their individual clients asking if it's time to buy. That's generally not a sign that sentiment has been washed out and not the sign of a capitulation bottom.
In addition, the latest BoAML fund manager survey was encouraging and discouraging from a sentiment viewpoint. On one hand, fear is definitely rising, which is bullish.
Fears of a global economic slowdown have come sharply back into focus, and expectations of decisive action by policy makers have grown, according to the BofA Merrill Lynch Survey of Fund Managers for June.
A net 11 percent of the global panel believes that the global economy will deteriorate in the coming 12 months – the weakest reading since December 2011. Last month, a net 15 percent believed the economy would strengthen and the negative swing of 26 percentage points is the biggest since July-August 2011 as the sovereign crisis built. The outlook for corporate profits has suffered a similarly negative swing. A net 19 percent of the panel believes that corporate profits will fall in the coming 12 months. Last month, a net 1 percent predicted improving corporate profits.
Investors have adopted aggressively “risk off” positions. Average cash balances are at their highest level since the depth of the credit crisis in January 2009 at 5.3 percent of portfolios, up from 4.7 percent in May. The Risk & Liquidity Composite Indicator fell to 30 points, versus an average of 40. Asset allocators have moved to a net underweight position in global equities and increased bond allocations.
On the other hand, investors haven't capitulated yet, which is bearish [emphasis added]:
Investors have taken extreme ‘risk off’ positions and equities are oversold, but we have yet to see full capitulation. Low allocations in Europe are in line with perceptions of growing risk levels in the eurozone,” said Gary Baker, head of European Equities strategy at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.
What's more, central bank intervention is almost taken as a given. That begs the question, how big a bazooka will the Fed, ECB et all have to unveil this next round?
“Hopes expressed last month of a policy response have now become expectations. Markets are keenly anticipating decisive action from key policy meetings in June,” said Michael Hartnett, chief Global Equity strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.
Another BoAML analyst, Mary Ann Bartels, also wrote that she was not seeing sufficient capitulation [emphasis added]:
The Volume Intensity Model (VIM) has had a negative reading since 09 April, but last week accumulation (up volume or buying) rose while distribution (down volume or selling) declined, narrowing the spread between distribution and accumulation. Since VIM remains negative and VIGOR continues to decline, this mild improvement in the VIM only supports the case for a tactical rally.

One concern is that distribution did not reach the “capitulation” readings near 80 seen in May 2010 and August 2011. The risk is that sellers are not yet completely exhausted and an adverse macro news event could trigger a future shakeout.

Announcements like the one Thursday by the G20 are not helpful in the current environment for investors. They prevent the sentiment washout that is necessary for a new intermediate term bull market to start. All the G20 Put does is prolong this agony of choppy Summit-Advance the half/baked idea-Market selloff and Summit cycle again and again.

Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. ("Qwest"). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.

None of the information or opinions expressed in this blog constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other instrument. Nothing in this article constitutes investment advice and any recommendations that may be contained herein have not been based upon a consideration of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. Any purchase or sale activity in any securities or other instrument should be based upon your own analysis and conclusions. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Either Qwest or Mr. Hui may hold or control long or short positions in the securities or instruments mentioned.

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