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Hi guys,submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert.
I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning.
When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions.
The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts
Why it mattersThe first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.”
You have to keep it before you grow it.
Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around.
The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices.
Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizingThe first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose.
Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market.
A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples.
So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000.
We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be?
We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator".
So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital.
You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk.
Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later.
The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work.
As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you.
Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints.
For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly:
To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you.
Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown.
It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance.
Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k.
Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money.
Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
Kelly CriterionIf you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number?
The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round.
This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet.
Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin.
Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips.
Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds.
Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this:
Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio
If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically.
If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss.
So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%.
Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit!
With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not.
Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account.
Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see.
This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders.
Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How to use stop losses sensiblyStop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them.
A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter.
The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’.
This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK.
Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty.
You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter.
Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders.
A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not.
Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates
There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”.
It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong.
Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear levelWhere you leave your stop loss is key.
Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible.
If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop
You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200.
The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up.
Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD.
If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend.
So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level.
There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section.
There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high.
Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument.
Here are some guidelines that can help:
For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part IIEDIT: part II here
Letting stops breathe
When to change a stop
Entering and exiting winning positions
Coming up in part IIISqueezes and other risks
Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Thanks to everyone who responded to the previous pieces on risk management. We ended up with nearly 2,000 upvotes and I'm delighted so many of you found it useful.submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
This time we're going to focus on a new area: reacting to and trading around news and fundamental developments.
A lot of people get this totally wrong and the main reason is that they trade the news at face value, without considering what the market had already priced in. If you've ever seen what you consider to be "good" or "better than forecast" news come out and yet been confused as the pair did nothing or moved in the opposite direction to expected, read on...
We are going to do this in two parts.
IntroductionKnowing how to use and benefit from the economic calendar is key for all traders - not just news traders.
In this chapter we are going to take a practical look at how to use the economic calendar. We are also going to look at how to interpret news using second order thinking.
The key concept is learning what has already been ‘priced in’ by the market so we can estimate how the market price might react to the new information.
Why use an economic calendarThe economic calendar contains all the scheduled economic releases for that day and week. Even if you purely trade based on technical analysis, you still must know what is in store.
Why? Three main reasons.
Firstly, releases can help provide direction. They create trends. For example if GBPUSD has been fluctuating aimlessly within a range and suddenly the Bank of England starts raising rates you better believe the British Pound will start to move. Big news events often start long-term trends which you can trade around.
Secondly, a lot of the volatility occurs around these events. This is because these events give the market new information. Prior to a big scheduled release like the US Non Farm Payrolls you might find no one wants to take a big position. After it is released the market may move violently and potentially not just in a single direction - often prices may overshoot and come back down. Even without a trend this volatility provides lots of trading opportunities for the day trader.
Finally, these releases can change trends. Going into a huge release because of a technical indicator makes little sense. Everything could reverse and stop you out in a moment. You need to be aware of which events are likely to influence the positions you have on so you can decide whether to keep the positions or flatten exposure before the binary event for which you have no edge.
Most traders will therefore ‘scan’ the calendar for the week ahead, noting what the big events are and when they will occur. Then you can focus on each day at a time.
Reading the economic calendar
Most calendars show events cut by trading day. Helpfully they adjust the time of each release to your own timezone. For example we can see that the Bank of Japan Interest Rate decision is happening at 4am local time for this particular London-based trader.
Note that some events do not happen at a specific time. Think of a Central Banker’s speech for example - this can go on for an hour. It is not like an economic statistic that gets released at a precise time. Clicking the finger emoji will open up additional information on each event.
Event importanceHow do you define importance? Well, some events are always unimportant. With the greatest of respect to Italian farmers, nobody cares about mundane releases like Italian farm productivity figures.
Other events always seem to be important. That means, markets consistently react to them and prices move. Interest rate decisions are an example of consistently high importance events.
So the Medium and High can be thought of as guides to how much each event typically affects markets. They are not perfect guides, however, as different events are more or less important depending on the circumstances.
For example, imagine the UK economy was undergoing a consumer-led recovery. The Central Bank has said it would raise interest rates (making GBPUSD move higher) if they feel the consumer is confident.
Consumer confidence data would suddenly become an extremely important event. At other times, when the Central Bank has not said it is focused on the consumer, this release might be near irrelevant.
Knowing what's priced inNext to each piece of economic data you can normally see three figures. Actual, Forecast, and Previous.
Once you understand that markets move based on the news vs expectations, you will be less confused by price action around events
This is a common misunderstanding. Say everyone is expecting ‘great’ economic data and it comes out as ‘good’. Does the price go up?
You might think it should. After all, the economic data was good. However, everyone expected it to be great and it was just … good. The great release was ‘priced in’ by the market already. Most likely the price will be disappointed and go down.
By priced in we simply mean that the market expected it and already bought or sold. The information was already in the price before the announcement.
Incidentally the official forecasts can be pretty stale and might not accurately capture what active traders in the market expect. See the following example.
An example of pricing inFor example, let’s say the market is focused on the number of Tesla deliveries. Analysts think it’ll be 100,000 this quarter. But Elon Musk tweets something that hints he’s really, really, really looking forward to the analyst call. Tesla’s price ticks higher after the tweet as traders put on positions, reflecting the sentiment that Tesla is likely to massively beat the 100,000. (This example is not a real one - it just serves to illustrate the concept.)
Tesla deliveries are up hugely vs last quarter ... but they are disappointing vs market expectations ... what do you think will happen to the stock?
On the day it turns out Tesla hit 101,000. A better than the officially forecasted result - sure - but only marginally. Way below what readers of Musk's twitter account might have thought. Disappointed traders may sell their longs and close out the positions. The stock might go down on ‘good’ results because the market had priced in something even better. (This example is not a real one - it just serves to illustrate the concept.)
SurveysIt can be a little hard to know what the market really expects. Often the published forecasts are stale and do not reflect what actual traders and investors are looking for.
One of the most effective ways is a simple survey of investors. Something like a Twitter poll like this one from CNBC is freely available and not a bad barometer.
CNBC, Bloomberg and other business TV stations often have polls on their Twitter accounts that let you know what others are expecting
Interest rates decisionsWe know that interest rates heavily affect currency prices.
For major interest rate decisions there’s a great tool on the CME’s website that you can use.
See the link for a demo
This gives you a % probability of each interest rate level, implied by traded prices in the bond futures market. For example, in the case above the market thinks there’s a 20% chance the Fed will cut rates to 75-100bp.
Obviously this is far more accurate than analyst estimates because it uses actual bond prices where market participants are directly taking risk and placing bets. It basically looks at what interest rate traders are willing to lend at just before/after the date of the central bank meeting to imply the odds that the market ascribes to a change on that date.
Always try to estimate what the market has priced in. That way you have some context for whether the release really was better or worse than expected.
Second order thinkingYou have to know what the market expects to try and guess how it’ll react. This is referred to by Howard Marks of Oaktree as second-level thinking. His explanation is so clear I am going to quote extensively.
It really is hard to improve on this clarity of thought:
First-level thinking is simplistic and superficial, and just about everyone can do it (a bad sign for anything involving an attempt at superiority). All the first-level thinker needs is an opinion about the future, as in “The outlook for the company is favorable, meaning the stock will go up.” Second-level thinking is deep, complex and convoluted.
He explains first-level thinking:
The first-level thinker simply looks for the highest quality company, the best product, the fastest earnings growth or the lowest p/e ratio. He’s ignorant of the very existence of a second level at which to think, and of the need to pursue it.
The above describes the guy who sees a 101,000 result and buys Tesla stock because - hey, this beat expectations. Marks goes on to describe second-level thinking:
The second-level thinker goes through a much more complex process when thinking about buying an asset. Is it good? Do others think it’s as good as I think it is? Is it really as good as I think it is? Is it as good as others think it is? Is it as good as others think others think it is? How will it change? How do others think it will change? How is it priced given: its current condition; how do I think its conditions will change; how others think it will change; and how others think others think it will change? And that’s just the beginning. No, this isn’t easy.
In this version of events you are always thinking about the market’s response to Tesla results.
What do you think they’ll announce? What has the market priced in? Is Musk reliable? Are the people who bought because of his tweet likely to hold on if he disappoints or exit immediately? If it goes up at which price will they take profit? How big a number is now considered ‘wow’ by the market?
As Marks says: not easy. However, you need to start getting into the habit of thinking like this if you want to beat the market. You can make gameplans in advance for various scenarios.
Here are some examples from Marks to illustrate the difference between first order and second order thinking.
Some further examples
Trying to react fast to headlines is impossible in today’s market of ultra fast computers. You will never win on speed. Therefore you have to out-think the average participant.
Coming up in part IINow that we have a basic understanding of concepts such as expectations and what the market has priced in, we can look at some interesting trading techniques and tools.
Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Thanks for all the upvotes and comments on the previous pieces:submitted by getmrmarket to Forex [link] [comments]
Before you understand the core concepts of pricing in and second order thinking, price reactions to events can seem mystifying at times
We'll add one thought-provoking quote. Keynes (that rare economist who also managed institutional money) offered this analogy. He compared selecting investments to a beauty contest in which newspaper readers would write in with their votes and win a prize if their votes most closely matched the six most popularly selected women across all readers:
It is not a case of choosing those (faces) which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinions genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.
Trading is no different. You are trying to anticipate how other traders will react to news and how that will move prices. Perhaps you disagree with their reaction. Still, if you can anticipate what it will be you would be sensible to act upon it. Don't forget: meanwhile they are also trying to anticipate what you and everyone else will do.
Preparing for quantitative and qualitative releasesThe majority of releases are quantitative. All that means is there’s some number. Like unemployment figures or GDP.
Historic results provide interesting context. We are looking below the Australian unemployment rate which is released monthly. If you plot it out a few years back you can spot a clear trend, which got massively reversed. Knowing this trend gives you additional information when the figure is released. In the same way prices can trend so do economic data.
A great resource that's totally free to use
This makes sense: if for example things are getting steadily better in the economy you’d expect to see unemployment steadily going down.
Knowing the trend and how much noise there is in the data gives you an informational edge over lazy traders.
For example, when we see the spike above 6% on the above you’d instantly know it was crazy and a huge trading opportunity since a) the fluctuations month on month are normally tiny and b) it is a huge reversal of the long-term trend.
Would all the other AUDUSD traders know and react proportionately? If not and yet they still trade, their laziness may be an opportunity for more informed traders to make some money.
Tradingeconomics.com offers really high quality analysis. You can see all the major indicators for each country. Clicking them brings up their history as well as an explanation of what they show.
For example, here’s German Consumer Confidence.
There are also qualitative events. Normally these are speeches by Central Bankers.
There are whole blogs dedicated to closely reading such texts and looking for subtle changes in direction or opinion on the economy. Stuff like how often does the phrase "in a good place" come up when the Chair of the Fed speaks. It is pretty dry stuff. Yet these are leading indicators of how each member may vote to set interest rates. Ed Yardeni is the go-to guy on central banks.
Data surprise indexThe other thing you might look at is something investment banks produce for their customers. A data surprise index. I am not sure if these are available in retail land - there's no reason they shouldn't be but the economic calendars online are very basic.
You’ll remember we talked about data not being good or bad of itself but good or bad relative to what was expected. These indices measure this difference.
If results are consistently better than analysts expect then you’ll see a positive number. If they are consistently worse than analysts expect a negative number. You can see they tend to swing from positive to negative.
Mean reversion at its best! Data surprise indices measure how much better or worse data came in vs forecast
There are many theories for this but in general people consider that analysts herd around the consensus. They are scared to be outliers and look ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ so they instead place estimates close to the pack of their peers.
When economic conditions change they may therefore be slow to update. When they are wrong consistently - say too bearish - they eventually flip the other way and become too bullish.
These charts can be interesting to give you an idea of how the recent data releases have been versus market expectations. You may try to spot the turning points in macroeconomic data that drive long term currency prices and trends.
Using recent events to predict future reactionsThe market reaction function is the most important thing on an economic calendar in many ways. It means: what will happen to the price if the data is better or worse than the market expects?
That seems easy to answer but it is not.
Consider the example of consumer confidence we had earlier.
One clue is to look at what happened to the price of risk assets at the last event.
For example, let’s say we looked at unemployment and it came in a lot worse than forecast last month. What happened to the S&P back then?
2% drop last time on a 'worse than expected' number ... so it it is 'better than expected' best guess is we rally 2% higher
So this tells us that - at least for our most recent event - the S&P moved 2% lower on a far worse than expected number. This gives us some guidance as to what it might do next time and the direction. Bad number = lower S&P. For a huge surprise 2% is the size of move we’d expect.
Again - this is a real limitation of online calendars. They should show next to the historic results (expected/actual) the reaction of various instruments.
Buy the rumour, sell the factA final example of an unpredictable reaction relates to the old rule of ‘Buy the rumour, sell the fact.’ This captures the tendency for markets to anticipate events and then reverse when they occur.
Buy the rumour, sell the fact
In short: people take profit and close their positions when what they expected to happen is confirmed.
So we have to decide which driver is most important to the market at any point in time. You obviously cannot ask every participant. The best way to do it is to look at what happened recently. Look at the price action during recent releases and you will get a feel for how much the market moves and in which direction.
Trimming or taking off positionsOne thing to note is that events sometimes give smart participants information about positioning. This is because many traders take off or reduce positions ahead of big news events for risk management purposes.
Imagine we see GBPUSD rises in the hour before GDP release. That probably indicates the market is short and has taken off / flattened its positions.
The price action before an event can tell you about speculative positioning
If GDP is merely in line with expectations those same people are likely to add back their positions. They avoided a potential banana skin. This is why sometimes the market moves on an event that seemingly was bang on consensus.
But you have learned something. The speculative market is short and may prove vulnerable to a squeeze.
Two kinds of reversalsFairly often you’ll see the market move in one direction on a release then turn around and go the other way.
These are known as reversals. Traders will often ‘fade’ a move, meaning bet against it and expect it to reverse.
Logical reversalsSometimes this happens when the data looks good at first glance but the details don’t support it.
For example, say the headline is very bullish on German manufacturing numbers but then a minute later it becomes clear the company who releases the data has changed methodology or believes the number is driven by a one-off event. Or maybe the headline number is positive but buried in the detail there is a very negative revision to previous numbers.
Fading the initial spike is one way to trade news. Try looking at what the price action is one minute after the event and thirty minutes afterwards on historic releases.
Some reversals don't make sense
Sometimes a reversal happens for seemingly no fundamental reason. Say you get clearly positive news that is better than anyone expects. There are no caveats to the positive number. Yet the price briefly spikes up and then falls hard. What on earth?
This is a pure supply and demand thing. Even on bullish news the market cannot sustain a rally. The market is telling you it wants to sell this asset. Try not to get in its way.
Some key releasesAs we have already discussed, different releases are important at different times. However, we’ll look at some consistently important ones in this final section.
Interest rates decisionsThese can sometimes be unscheduled. However, normally the decisions are announced monthly. The exact process varies for each central bank. Typically there’s a headline decision e.g. maintain 0.75% rate.
You may also see “minutes” of the meeting in which the decision was reached and a vote tally e.g. 7 for maintain, 2 for lower rates. These are always top-tier data releases and have capacity to move the currency a lot.
A hawkish central bank (higher rates) will tend to move a currency higher whilst a dovish central bank (lower rates) will tend to move a currency lower.
A central banker speaking is always a big event
Non farm payrollsThese are released once per month. This is another top-tier release that will move all USD pairs as well as equities.
There are three numbers:
In general a positive response should move the USD higher but check recent price action.
Other countries each have their own unemployment data releases but this is the single most important release.
SurveysThere are various types of surveys: consumer confidence; house price expectations; purchasing managers index etc.
Each one basically asks a group of people if they expect to make more purchases or activity in their area of expertise to rise. There are so many we won’t go into each one here.
A really useful tool is the tradingeconomics.com economic indicators for each country. You can see all the major indicators and an explanation of each plus the historic results.
GDPGross Domestic Product is another big release. It is a measure of how much a country’s economy is growing.
In general the market focuses more on ‘advance’ GDP forecasts more than ‘final’ numbers, which are often released at the same time.
This is because the final figures are accurate but by the time they come around the market has already seen all the inputs. The advance figure tends to be less accurate but incorporates new information that the market may not have known before the release.
In general a strong GDP number is good for the domestic currency.
InflationCountries tend to release measures of inflation (increase in prices) each month. These releases are important mainly because they may influence the future decisions of the central bank, when setting the interest rate.
See the FX fundamentals section for more details.
Industrial dataThings like factory orders or or inventory levels. These can provide a leading indicator of the strength of the economy.
These numbers can be extremely volatile. This is because a one-off large order can drive the numbers well outside usual levels.
Pay careful attention to previous releases so you have a sense of how noisy each release is and what kind of moves might be expected.
CommentsOften there is really good stuff in the comments/replies. Check out 'squitstoomuch' for some excellent observations on why some news sources are noisy but early (think: Twitter, ZeroHedge). The Softbank story is a good recent example: was in ZeroHedge a day before the FT but the market moved on the FT. Also an interesting comment on mistakes, which definitely happen on breaking news, and can cause massive reversals.
The first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, a preliminary analysis shows.
Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.
The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
Pfizer believes it will be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of this year, and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
There are logistical challenges, as the vaccine has to be kept in ultra-cold storage at below minus 80C. There are also questions about how long immunity lasts and the companies have not presented a breakdown of the vaccine's effectiveness in different age groups.
Dr Albert Bourla, the chairman of Pfizer, said: "We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis."
Markets are looking to the Federal Reserve to be a soothing force when it meets in the week ahead, but stocks could remain choppy if the central bank disappoints and as investors focus on the election and the economic recovery.
The Fed’s two-day meeting is expected to end Wednesday with minor tweaks to its statement and some clarity on how it plans to use forward guidance. The Fed also updates its economic and interest rate outlook, including forecasts for 2023 for the first time.
But Quincy Krosby, chief investment strategist at Prudential Financial, said the stock market could easily be disappointed because the Fed is unlikely to offer more clarity on monetary policy, such as plans for bond buying.
“The market is concerned the Fed is not going to give us explicit readings on their plans for monetary policy,″ she said. The Fed’s extraordinary policies have been an important factor behind the stock market’s 50% surge from the March 23 low, and it’s also seen as a major factor limiting the depth of the market’s sell-off.
Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said the Fed is not likely to tweak much and it continues to buy $80 billion a month in Treasurys. “I don’t think they’ll do anything to the markets either way,” he said.
Stocks were volatile in the past week, falling hard, rallying, falling and rallying again. That left the S&P 500 with a weekly decline of about 2.5%, its worst week since June. The harder hit Nasdaq was down about 4.1% for the week, its worst weekly decline since March. The quadruple expiration of options and futures at the end of the coming week could add to the volatility.
Bank of America strategists said the bond market is watching the Fed for any balance sheet adjustments and the changes to its forward guidance, which includes the Fed’s recent tweak in its inflation policy. The Fed changed its policy of focusing on a target inflation rate to an average rate, meaning it may not tighten policy if inflation overshoots its 2% target.
“We see risk the rates market is underwhelmed by the guidance provided by the Fed, which would support higher back-end rates and a steeper curve,” the Bank of America strategists noted. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield slid in the past week, touching 0.67% Friday, and it could move higher, meaning bonds may sell-off, if the Fed does not clarify policy around its bond buying program.
Krosby said the stock market is hoping for a dovish Fed. “The market needs that now because fiscal policy is going nowhere,” she said.
BTIG strategist Julian Emanuel said the market could focus on the fact that Congress failed to make headway on fiscal stimulus, if the economic data begins to disappoint.
Retail sales for August are expected Wednesday morning, as the Fed meets. They are expected to rise by 1%, and that should be an important look at whether the lack of enhanced unemployment benefits, which expired July 31, impacted consumer spending. Among other things, Republicans and Democrats could not agree how to replace the $600 weekly payment to the unemployed.
“Depending on the polls and the economic data, the probability of stimulus rises and falls,” said Emanuel, head of equity and derivatives strategy.
“Our view is that next week is just going to be lots of back and forth with the potential for a further extension of the range for the downside, if the political narrative gets more inflamed,” said Emanuel. Emanuel expects the market to remain choppy and fall further into the month of October, as investors worry about the uncertainty around the presidential election.
The Fed’s meeting this week is its last before the election, and analysts expect Fed Chairman Jerome Powell to sound reassuring that the Fed will do whatever it takes to support the economy. Powell holds a briefing after the meeting Wednesday, and he is expected to also be asked about the potential for higher inflation. The Fed has said it is more concerned about disinflation, but recent inflation data has been hotter than expected, though still well below 2%.
“There is a tug of war between those who say buy chips now because inflation is moving higher, versus those why are saying deflationary forces are still weaving their way into the economy,” said Krosby.
Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex, said he expects the Fed to sound reassuring but it’s not likely to discuss a target for bond purchases or the yield curve controls some investors were hoping for. Yield curve control would mean the Fed would try to manage interest rates by targeting its purchases of specific Treasurys. For instance, it may focus on trying to keep longer duration yields lower, and buy the 10-year.
Chandler also noted the Fed’s $7 trillion balance sheet has recently declined by about $100 billion from its peak, and its bond purchases are falling behind the European Central Bank.
“My sense is the Fed is going to keep saying it’s not worried about inflation. Its bigger worry is downside risks. They’ll repeat their call for fiscal stimulus which after this week seems less likely,” he said.
Chandler said the stock market could remain choppy in the coming week, but he does not expect a sharp selloff. The dollar could decline, if the Fed sounds dovish, and that is a positive for stocks.
“I don’t think a 10% pullback [in Nasdaq] has caused enough pain to have people capitulate. This is just an ordinary correction, and we’re going to make new highs,” he said.
Election Charts You Need To See: Part 1First off, our thoughts go out to everyone who was impacted by the tragic events of September 11, 2001—19 years ago today. It is a day to reflect and remember those who were lost.
One of the top requests we’ve had here at LPL Research is for more charts on the election. Over the next week, we will share some of our favorite charts on this very important subject.
Here’s how the S&P 500 Index performs under various presidents and congressional makeups. The best scenario has historically been a Democratic president and Republican Congress, while a Republican president and Democratic Congress has been the weakest.
Active Managers Do an About FaceThe National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) has an index which tracks the exposure of its members to US equity markets. Each week, members are asked to provide a number that represents their exposure to markets. A reading of -200 means they are leveraged short, -100 indicates fully short, 0 is neutral, 100% is fully invested, and 200% indicates leveraged long. Two weeks ago, in our Bespoke Report, we highlighted the fact that the exposure index had moved to one of the highest levels in its 15-year history. Now, just two weeks later, these same active managers have reigned in their exposure considerably as this week's reading dropped from just under 100 to 53.1.
This week's drop was the second-largest one week decline in the index's history and just the 10th time that the index lost more than a third (33 points) in a single week. The most recent occurrence was back in early March in the middle of the Covid crash, and every other prior period where the index saw a similar drop, the S&P 500 was also down every time by an average of 2.3%. Therefore, it's not much of a surprise to see the big drop this week given the big declines in the market. But what about going forward? Do big drops in the NAAIM Index mean a bounce back for markets or further declines?
The Most and Least Heavily Shorted Stocks in the Russell 1,000Below is an updated look at the most heavily shorted stocks in the Russell 1,000. Each of these 30 stocks has at least 15% of its equity float sold short.
At the top of the list is Nordstrom (JWN) with 38.66% of its float sold short. With a YTD decline of 61.86%, the shorts have crushed it with JWN this year.
With its huge portfolio of office and retail real estate, Brookfield Property REIT(BPYU) has the second highest short interest in the Russell 1,000 at 33.7%. BPYU is down 35.7% YTD.
There are plenty of other well-known companies on the list of the most heavily shorted stocks. Examples include American Airlines (AAL), Virgin Galactic (SPCE), LendingTree (TREE), Wayfair (W), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), ADT, TripAdvisor (TRIP), Beyond Meat (BYND), and Kohl's (KSS).
One name that is no longer on the list of most shorted stocks is Tesla (TSLA). When we provided an update on short interest back in February (a pre-COVID world), Tesla (TSLA) had more than 17% of its float sold short, but that number is all the way down to 8.3% as of the most recent filing.
These 30 stocks with the highest short interest are down an average of 3.01% since last Wednesday (9/2) when the S&P 500 made its last closing high. That's actually a little bit better than the 3.55% average decline for the rest of the stocks in the Russell 1,000. And year-to-date, these 30 stocks are up an average of 0.60% versus an average gain of 0.81% for the rest of the index. That's not much of a difference!
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has the lowest short interest as a percentage of float in the Russell 1,000 at just 0.36%. Microsoft (MSFT) -- one of the key mega-cap Tech names -- has the second lowest short interest, followed by Merck (MRK), Eli Lilly (LLY), and Medtronic (MDT).
Somewhat surprisingly, Amazon (AMZN) is the sixth least shorted stock in the entire Russell 1,000. While AMZN is still thought of as a high-flying momentum name by many investors, its short interest levels tell a much different story, painting it as more of a non-cyclical stock like Pepsi (PEP), Procter & Gamble (PG), or Coca- Cola (KO).
While the 30 most heavily shorted stocks in the Russell 1,000 are up 0.60% YTD, the 30 least shorted stocks in the index are up much more at +8%. This group has MSFT, AMZN, HD, and AAPL to thank for that strong performance!
5 Lessons Learned About Rising RatesWhile the direction of the 10-year Treasury yield over the last cycle was decidedly lower, as shown in LPL’s Chart of the Day, there were still six extended periods where it rose at least 0.75%, and in two of those it rose almost 2%. Looking ahead, economic growth below potential, slack in the labor market, and an extremely supportive Federal Reserve (Fed) may limit rate pressure in the near term, but with interest rates already low and massive stimulus in place, we believe the overall direction is likely to be higher.
“Even in a falling rate period there are lessons from the last cycle about rising rates,” said LPL Financial Chief Investment Officer Burt White. “Among them: Careful when the Fed stops buying and sometimes the best defense is a good offense.”
With the Fed still providing strong stimulus and economic growth potentially poised to accelerate, we currently see an increased risk of rates moving higher. We are playing some offense with our equity exposure, which allows us to emphasize a focus on higher-quality bonds. Among bond sectors, we are emphasizing MBS and still prefer investment-grade corporates over Treasuries. History may not repeat, but if it rhymes, this positioning may help add resilience to a fixed income portfolio if rates extend their move off recent lows.
- Careful when the Fed stops buying. The two drivers of rising rates last cycle were economic growth and Fed bond purchases, also known as quantitative easing (QE). The Fed buys bonds to keep rates down, but the start of Fed buying has actually been the time when rates rise—likely on expectations that the purchases would help strengthen the economy. These periods also often followed large rate declines either because markets anticipated the start of Fed buying or the economy was faltering. The takeaway: unless the economy is really taking off, any rising-rate period may pause for an extended period, or even reverse, when the Fed backs off bond purchases.
- Sometime the best defense is a good offense. Lower-quality, more economically sensitive bond sectors actually performed well during periods of rising rates during the last cycle. Rate gains were largely driven by economic improvement rather than a large pick-up in inflation, and that’s typically a good environment for sectors like high-yield bonds and bank loans. The downside is that these are much riskier bond sectors and don’t provide the potential diversification benefits of higher-quality bonds during periods of stock declines.
- Don’t expect TIPS to provide much resilience because of their inflation adjustment. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are high-quality bonds that have provided a little extra insulation against rising rates compared to similarly dated Treasuries when inflation expectations increased. TIPS prices are adjusted for inflation, but even with the adjustment, they are still very sensitive to rates.
- Investment-grade corporates can both hurt and help. If credit spreads narrow when rates are rising, investment-grade corporates can post some solid gains in a rising-rate environment, but if spreads are holding steady or even widening, they can be very sensitive to changes in Treasury yields, potentially (although not often) even more sensitive than Treasuries.
- Mortgage-backed securities (MBS) have not provided as much insulation as corporates, but they also have had less downside. While MBS have certainly outperformed Treasuries during periods of rising rates, they have not performed as well as investment-grade corporates. But they also have come with less downside, losing only 1.4% in their worst performing period compared to a 4% loss during the worst period for corporates. With the Fed still providing strong stimulus and economic growth potentially poised to accelerate, we currently see an increased risk of rates moving higher. We are playing some offense with our equity exposure, which allows us to emphasize a focus on higher-quality bonds. Among bond sectors, we are emphasizing MBS and still prefer investment-grade corporates over Treasuries. History may not repeat, but if it rhymes, this positioning may help add resilience to a fixed income portfolio if rates extend their move off recent lows.
Best and Worst Performing Stocks Since the 9/2 HighSince the S&P 500 and Nasdaq peaked on September 2nd, we've seen rotation out of the post-COVID winners and rotation into laggards in the value space. Below we take a look at the best and worst performing stocks in the Russell 1,000 since the 9/2 high for the S&P. For each stock, we also include its YTD total return and its percentage change from the 3/23 COVID Crash low through 9/2.
Capri Holdings (CPRI) is up more than any other stock in the Russell 1,000 since 9/2 with a gain of 17.43%. Even after the recent gains, however, Capri -- the holding company for brands like Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, and Versace -- is still down 52.9% year-to-date.
Only four other stocks are up more than 10% since 9/2 -- Beyond Meat (BYND), PVH, Virtu Financial (VIRT), and Reinsurance Group (RGA). Interestingly, BYND and VIRT are also up big (~80%) year-to-date, while PVH and RGA are both down more than 35% year-to-date.
What stands out the most about the list of winners is that only one Technology stock made the cut -- Sabre (SABR). Most names come from the two consumer sectors including cruise-liners like Carnival (CCL), Royal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise (NCLH), Kohl's (KSS), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), Six Flags (SIX), Foot Locker (FL), and Ralph Lauren (RL). Both UBER and LYFT also made the cut with gains of 6% since 9/2. The 30 biggest winners since 9/2 are still down an average of 20% year-to-date, while the rest of the stocks in the Russell 1,000 are up an average of 1.46% YTD.
Typical Early September Weakness Recovers Mid-Month Sells Off Month-EndAs of yesterday’s close the market was down more than the historical average performance in September. DJIA was down nearly -3.3%, S&P 500 was down -4.8%, NASDAQ was off 7.9%, Russell 1000 was down -5.2% and Russell 2000 lost 3.7%. Today’s rally looks like the beginning of a textbook mid-month recovery rally However, the second half of September has historically been weaker than the first half. The week after options expiration week can be treacherous with S&P 500 logging 23 weekly losses in 30 years since 1990. End-of-quarter portfolio restructuring, and window dressing can amplify the impacts of any negative headlines.
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FedEx Corp. $232.79FedEx Corp. (FDX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.54 per share on revenue of $17.46 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.78 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 78% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 16.72% with revenue increasing by 2.42%. Short interest has decreased by 15.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 46.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 54.3% above its 200 day moving average of $150.90. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, August 28, 2020 there was some notable buying of 3,504 contracts of the $250.00 call expiring on Friday, September 18, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 10.7% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.6% move in recent quarters.
Adobe Inc. $471.35Adobe Inc. (ADBE) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.41 per share on revenue of $3.15 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.47 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of approximately $2.40 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 12.62% with revenue increasing by 11.15%. Short interest has decreased by 14.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 15.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 25.2% above its 200 day moving average of $376.45. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, August 27, 2020 there was some notable buying of 18,006 contracts of the $455.00 put expiring on Friday, September 25, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 12.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 6.2% move in recent quarters.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. $136.79Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (CBRL) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 8:00 AM ET on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.55 per share on revenue of $483.68 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.49) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 28% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 120.37% with revenue decreasing by 38.55%. Short interest has decreased by 2.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 30.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.5% above its 200 day moving average of $121.64. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Thursday, August 27, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,012 contracts of the $190.00 call expiring on Friday, January 15, 2021. Option traders are pricing in a 10.6% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.9% move in recent quarters.
Aspen Group, Inc. $11.54Aspen Group, Inc. (ASPU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Monday, September 14, 2020. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.04 per share on revenue of $14.26 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.03) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 49% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 63.64% with revenue increasing by 37.67%. Short interest has increased by 56.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 16.0% from its open following the earnings release to be 32.3% above its 200 day moving average of $8.72. The stock has averaged a 11.1% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Lennar Corp. $77.48Lennar Corp. (LEN) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:35 PM ET on Monday, September 14, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.51 per share on revenue of $5.33 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.67 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 65% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 5.03% with revenue decreasing by 9.00%. Short interest has decreased by 16.5% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 20.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 29.6% above its 200 day moving average of $59.78. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 8.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.9% move in recent quarters.
Endava $53.03Endava (DAVA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:20 AM ET on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.19 per share on revenue of $107.96 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.22 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 33% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of $0.18 to $0.20 per share on revenue of $105.00 million to $106.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 26.92% with revenue increasing by 9.61%. Short interest has increased by 56.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 11.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.7% above its 200 day moving average of $47.06. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 6.7% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Brady Corp. $45.34Brady Corp. (BRC) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.55 per share on revenue of $260.00 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.56 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 31% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 19.12% with revenue decreasing by 11.95%. Short interest has decreased by 37.3% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 0.6% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.5% below its 200 day moving average of $49.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 5.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 2.6% move in recent quarters.
Cantel Medical Corp. $49.12Cantel Medical Corp. (CMD) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:00 AM ET on Thursday, September 17, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.08 per share on revenue of $232.80 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 39% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 87.30% with revenue decreasing by 2.79%. Short interest has decreased by 19.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 4.5% from its open following the earnings release to be 3.7% below its 200 day moving average of $51.02. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 17.8% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.9% move in recent quarters.
IsoRay Inc $0.63IsoRay Inc (ISR) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, September 17, 2020. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.01 per share on revenue of $2.77 million. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 25% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 50.00% with revenue increasing by 43.97%. Short interest has decreased by 26.8% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 33.7% from its open following the earnings release to be 6.7% below its 200 day moving average of $0.68. Overall earnings estimates have been unchanged since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 8.2% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Apogee Enterprises, Inc. $19.49Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (APOG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:30 AM ET on Thursday, September 17, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.34 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 19% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 52.78% with revenue increasing by 179.79%. Short interest has decreased by 4.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 7.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 23.9% below its 200 day moving average of $25.63. Option traders are pricing in a 10.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.4% move in recent quarters.
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