The domestic stock markets have been looking weaker and weaker as they head into the ultra important Black Friday and holiday shopping season. Tuesday’s weak open as the result of Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter jet is the confirmation needed to issue a sell signal in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures. The Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 and DJIA are all exhibiting the same pattern but the textbook example lies in the Dow futures.
The sugar market has been one of the few bright spots in the commodity futures. Since most commodity exposure is long only and this market has rallied between 45%-50% since bottoming in late August it has become a commodity darling. There are three primary reasons for the recent rally. Of these, only one is structural. We feel the transitory nature of the other two will conspire to bring prices back down as the #11 sugar futures tighten their link to domestic prices in the primary growing regions.
We’ve been bearish on on gold, platinum, copper and silver the entire fall. So far, so good. However, as we approach the lows for the year in these markets, it seems a prudent time to evaluate our positions, specifically, the silver futures market.
The current interest rate scenario has been by far the loudest nothing I’ve heard since Greece was about to collapse. The confounding factors have sent us back through 45 years of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decisions line by line. This was tedious, to the say the least, relevant at its best. Aside from FOMC data perusals and the hopeful nuggets of useful information, price and time appear to be doing their best to draw our attention back to where the rubber actually meets the road. That being said, we’ve reached a critical point in price and time that should yield big clues in the future direction of interest rates.
Sugar futures have rallied more than 40% since the August 24th low. Let that sink in for one second. That’s 40% in 37 business days, a solid rally to say the least. This rally has brought the market back to exactly, unchanged on the year yet, well below the $.30 and $.36 per/lb highs of 2011’s rallies. Interestingly, this rally appears to have been fueled by supply fears shifting to short covering. The main growing regions are preparing for the impacts of this year’s El Nino event even though our own El Nino research has shown that historically, El Nino fears spur rallies to be sold in the sugar market. Furthermore, the recent rally has finally forced many long-term short positions to cover in the face of heavy commercial selling as this rally has progressed.
We stretched this chart of the Australian Dollar out over a longer timeline in order to show nearly the complete decline over the course of the last couple of years since making the all-time high around $1.10 to the U.S. Dollar. The long-term nature of this chart also provides a good example of the commercial trader category’s typical behavior, both good and bad. Finally, we’ll tie this back in at the end as we are nearing a critical juncture in the Australian Dollar and, commodities in general.
We were early selling December lean hog futures in September. Our expectations were based on solid technical resistance that had built up near $0.645 per pound along with an early onset of seasonal weakness. Fortunately, our protective stop kept the loss manageable. December hog futures continued to climb through September. The mid-September head fake didn’t fall far enough to to actually trigger a sell signal but it did fall far enough to setup a bearish divergence pattern triggered by yesterday’s price action. We’ll briefly review the premise for the current hog trade while illustrating the power of divergence analysis supplemented by the Commitment of Traders report.
The interest rate sector has been going crazy trying to determine what to do since the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) chose not to raise rates at the September meeting. My email has been inundated by interest rate related mailings. The basic point of most them was, “Now that the Fed held steady, what corner have they backed themselves into?” Most of the boxing in is focused on the FRB’s historical actions. I went back through 45 years of data to determine the scarcity of an October or, December rate hike along with Presidential election cycle analysis which isn’t supposed to be linked to the FRB in any way, shape or, form (wink.) We’ll also move through the individual futures charts to determine what the big money is suggesting with respect to FRB action, history be damned.
There’s been no shortage of talk surrounding the interest rate complex. I believe the recent Federal Reserve Board’s meeting was the most highly anticipated since the economic collapse. Their decision to leave rates unchanged sent everyone back to their drawing boards. I’ve read tons analysis since then by people who really know the inner workings of the Fed, the economy and the interest rate markets. The general consensus among these people is as clear as mud. When the brightest of minds come down on opposite sides of an argument it leaves us mere mortals incapacitated in a head shaking way. Since we can’t count on the experts, we’ll go straight to the source, the markets themselves.
Historically, September is a bad month for soybeans. This is about the time the harvest numbers begin to crystallize, shortly to be followed by the actual harvest. October, on the other hand, tends to be one of the strongest months of the calendar year for beans as the battle begins between Mother Nature and the farmers in the fields. Given the benign weather patterns we’ve been experiencing and expect to continue into the near future, we believe the September sell off could’ve gotten ahead of itself. Correspondingly, October’s strength may have arrived a week early.