Bad China data?.Russia threatens the Ukraine?.more bad China data?.maneuvers at the Russia-Crimea border. The bull has been punched out with a market that was down every day last week, China and Russia both taking turns thrashing investors, like tag team wrestlers. When will it end?
The canaries in the coal mine will be found in the charts below. This is where you will first hear the all-clear signal, when it is safe to return with an aggressive ?RISK ON? posture.
As always, watch the bond market. If the current rally in the (TLT) fails anywhere short of $110, it?s a sign that traders are fleeing the safety of the Treasury bond market and are happy to return to riskier assets, like equities. That equates to a ten year Treasury bond yield of just over 2.50%. A breakout of prices above this, and yields below suggest that more trouble is coming.
Keep close tabs on the Chinese Yuan (CYB). After an unrelenting five-year appreciation, it started a swan dive two weeks ago. That is when a banking crises in the Middle Kingdom started picking up steam. This prompted currency traders to unload Chinese renminbi for more stable dollars. The collapse of copper mirrors this. New signs of life in the Yuan and copper will hint that trouble there is over for now.
The Japanese yen is another big one to monitor. Most hedge funds borrow yen and sell them to finance long positions around the world. This is why the yen has been perennially week for the past two years. But when they dump these positions and hide under their beds, the reverse happens.
They buy back their yen shorts, pushing it up. That?s why the latest round of jitters has the Japanese currency probing four-month highs. If the yen fails here, it?s because investors are going back into the market for other assets.
Of course, the Russian stock market (RSX) is a no brainer to watch. Thanks to the antics of Vladimir Putin, it is down 28% so far in 2014, making it the world?s worst performing market this year. Invading your neighbors and threatening to incite WWIII is not good for your equities. I doubt he cares, but emerging market investors do.
Gold (GLD) is certainly earning its pay as a flight to safety instrument. It has been flying like a bat out of hell all year and is now testing major resistance. If the barbarous relic suddenly loses its luster, the memo will go out to buy paper assets once more.
Finally, keep the chart for the Volatility Index (VIX) planted on the top of your screen. Recent tops have been around the $21 level, only $3 higher than the current level. When cooler heads prevail, the (VIX) will collapse once again. Puts on the (VXX) are the way to play this move.
The interesting thing about these charts is that they are all moving to the extreme edges of multi month ranges. So we could be one more flush away from the end of this move.
That?s unless Russia really does invade Crimea in force. Then all bets are off.