We frequently discuss the effectiveness of using the commercial trader position as a proxy for fundamental data. We began looking at this years and years ago in the agricultural markets due to the inelastic nature of these annual markets. Adding that these markets are controlled by individuals whose livelihoods are based on the successful calculation of supply and demand and you begin to see the value in their collective forecasting ability. Thus using the commercial hedging activity as a proxy helps put us on the side of the sellers when there is forward production to be sold above their predetermined value area just as the end users put us on the side of the long hedgers supporting undervalued prices.
The crude oil sell off has been vicious both in its depth and its speed. In fact, the market has been so negative that we last wrote about it this past June 11th. The market had provided a bit of a rally in the face a growing and overwhelmingly bearish commercial trader position which led to our headline, “Sell Crude at $65 Per Barrel.” Our primary focus is based on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly Commitments of Traders report. We use the actions of the commercial traders to help us determine value in the commodity markets like the buying opportunity in gold that we published in Futures Magazine on august 7th. Bringing this back to crude oil, here are three charts that show the crude oil market is nearing a bottom.
Traders and commentators often use the phrase, “Dog days of August” to describe market action. Unfortunately, the general public seems to view this as a statement of late summer weakness, rather than as the low volume, stagnant, range trading action that it actually means. The S&P 500 has been in a 5% sideways trading range between2020 and 2120 since February. We’ll look at option, technical and seasonal analysis that could push this market to new highs and break the summer doldrums.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission publishes a weekly report entitled, “Commitments of Traders.” This report breaks each domestic futures markets’ participants into four main categories – large speculators, small speculators, index traders and commercial traders. Our research has shown a consistently significant advantage in following the trend of the commercial trader group. This week, we’ll look at its application to the Canadian Dollar over the last year and what it says about our current position in the market’s cycle.
It is time to look at alternative ways to hedge against rising interest rates. Unfortunately, with the huge increase in volatility due to so many headline issues from Greece to trading halts on the NYSE, that it makes it tough to hold onto positions. Fortunately, the most liquid interest rate market is structured in such a way that hedging against inflation can be done with a reasonably fixed amount of risk.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission(CFTC) publishes a weekly report entitled, “Commitments of Traders.” This report classifies the markets’ largest positions by trading groups – speculators, managed money, index traders and commercial traders. Our research focuses on the commercial trader group. We’ve been able to quantify correlated movement between the commercial traders’ net position and commercial trader momentum with the underlying market movement accurately enough to use this as the first screen in our trade selection process. We hypothesize that their accuracy is due to the laser focus necessary when one’s livelihood is derived solely from the movement of an individual market.
We focused on two main themes this week. First, we looked at selling the Euro currency for TraderPlanet and followed it right up with a look at the Dollar Index on Tuesday for Equities.com. Meanwhile, our main piece focused on the grain markets ahead of Tuesday’s USDA Acreage Report.
The USDA releases its planted acreage estimates on Tuesday, June 30th. This report typically sets the tone for the coming marketing year. David Hightower’s analysis has been posted to our site and we defer to him in terms of the fundamental supply and demand numbers. We’ll pick the individual markets apart through the actions of the commercial traders, the actual producers or end line users of these grain markets. Given the depressed levels many of the grain markets have been experiencing can this report actually do further damage?
The Dollar Index made an interim high when the market appreciated Janet Yellen’s dovish statement following the March FOMC meeting. The market has consolidated over the last couple of months between the recent highs and the support that has built up around 93 in the Index. The Dollar’s decline over the last couple of weeks has been bought by commercial traders. We sent a COT buy signal last night. It was based on these factors and triggered by an upturn in our proprietary short-term market momentum indicator.
It’s been an exceptionally confusing week to trade on a discretionary basis. Rarely can I recall a time when the markets have been more unsure of their next move. Fairly well every financial market has LOUD voices on both sides making good cases for their positions and their market forecasts. Between the FOMC meeting and the constant worry about whether or not or, when Greece will default has made picking a side based on theory and economics all but impossible. Despite this, we managed to remain fairly unscathed trading feeder cattle, Eurodollar and 30yr Treasury Bond futures; even a bit profitable.