The Wheels are Coming off for U.S. Stocks, This Classic Gauge Shows
Classic collectables could show the way stocks are driving.
Another day, another Trump controversy.
Fresh reports that the president’s team was in contact with the Russkies during the presidential race are keeping the White House drama alive and well, setting investors up for another thrill ride. Dow futures are down around 100 points in the early going today.
That’s after traders on Wednesday got a taste of how a “Trexit” (as an early Trump exit now is called) could upset the snoozefest on the U.S. stock markets — the S&P 500 sank the most since last September and the VIX went through the roof.
Now, the big question is whether this was just a blip in the Trump rally or something more serious? The jury is still out this morning, with analysts arguing about whether to buy the dip or throw in the towel altogether.
According to our call of the day, you’d probably be better off taking the latter course. And the tell is coming from a somewhat unexpected arena: prices of classic cars, according to Wolf Richter from the Wolf Street blog.
The index for collector cars — the Hagerty Market Index — has already slumped to an almost three-year low, flashing a warning signal that other assets will take the same downhill route.
“The global asset class of collector cars … is quietly but persistently and very unenjoyably experiencing a downturn that parallels and in some aspects already exceeds the one during the financial crisis,” Richter notes.
And here’s why that’s important. Classic car prices move similarly to other assets, such as equities and real estate. The Hagerty index peaked and then plunged in April 2008, a few months before U.S. stocks suffered the biggest crash in decades, suggesting it’s an early indicator of what could be in store for other asset classes.
The index is down around 10% over the past year, but there are no signs of complete panic yet, Richter says. Instead, we are seeing the slow unwinding of the post-crisis asset bubble created by cheap central bank money.
“Collector car prices indicated what’s in store: Despite all liquidity and QE, prices can rise only so far, and then investors back away, gradually, one after the other,” he says.
Key market gauges
Investors are backing away again on Thursday. Dow YMM7, S&P 500 ESM7 and Nasdaq-100 NQM7 futures are all under pressure again, set to continue Wednesday’s beatdown.
Asian markets ADOW closed in deep red, while Europe SXXP is suffering another day of sharp losses.
Crude oil CLM7 and the dollar DXY are sliding too, while gold GCM7 is moving higher.
While panic selling was all the rage yesterday, it may not be a good idea to continue the stock dump in the near future.
A look at the top 20 largest spikes in the VIX VIX shows that the S&P tends to rise over the next day, week and month, as the chart above from Charlie Bilello at Pension Partners shows.
In almost 74% of cases, the S&P was trading higher a month after the selloff, with an average return of 0.5%.
“Will we see the same today? I have no idea. These are just averages, and there have been a number of times in the past where volatility spiked and bad things followed,” Bilello notes in a blog post. “But more often than not, the opposite occurred, with volatility coming back down in the near term and stocks bouncing.”
The VIX is slightly higher Thursday morning.
Cisco’s stock CSCO is selling off after a disappointing revenue forecast. The networking giant, which is laying off another 1,100 workers, is complaining about a “lack of budget visibility” in its dealings with the federal government.
Facebook FB is feeling a little heat after being hit with a $123 million EU fine over the WhatsApp buyout.
Retailers are in focus again, with Wal-Mart WMT, , L Brands LB and Ralph Lauren RL on the earnings docket premarket.
General Motors says it will stop selling cars in India to focus on more lucrative markets.
Brazilian stocks EWZ are plunging as the country’s opposition lawmakers called for the president to resign.
Also adding to the Russia-related pressure on Trump was a report he knew about an FBI probe into Mike Flynn, but still chose him as national security adviser. Meanwhile, former FBI chief Robert Mueller has been named as special counsel for the Kremlin probe.
Comingup are weekly jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by the latest on leading indicators at 10 a.m Eastern. The Cleveland Fed’s Loretta Mester will give a speech around lunchtime.
41,318 — That’s how many immigrants the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested in Trump’s first 100 days in office. It’s an increase of 38% over the same period last year.