Friday, April 3, 2020

Morning Note


Equity futures have literally been all over the place this morning. Going from notably red to slightly green on news that Russia agrees to cut oil production, then back and forth on the -701,000 jobs print. The remarkable thing about the hugely negative jobs number is that it covered the early part of March, before the government-mandated shutdown. Expectations were for -100,000.

The $350 billion small business loan program begins (taking applications) today. While markets know it’s coming, it won’t surprise me to see movement in equities as reports come in regarding the smoothness of the process, or lack thereof. Markets are presently short-term headline-sensitive, to the extreme.

Earnings announcements in the coming week will be instructive, not in terms of guidance (there’ll essentially be none), but in terms of clues as to how companies were performing coming into the crisis. Our take was that conditions had been waning, so it won’t surprise me if companies were set to disappoint pre-shutdown.

Market action of late looks like your classic bear market rally/consolidation, post the first deleveraging wave. Although, while past bear markets suggest that this could go on for several more weeks, I am a bit surprised that stocks haven’t yet re-tested the lows given the enormity of what the economy is facing. This I believe speaks to the experience of the last bull market -- as in the 2011, 2015/2016 and 2018 corrections: I.e., the faith that the Fed can always save the day. In those instances general conditions had us staying the course (in terms of our then growthy allocation). Wasn’t the case coming into this one…  

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