Comey Circus

BarroMetrics Views: Comey Circus

It’s impossible to ignore the circus events posing as US politics. The problem is the ‘circus’ has the possibility of impacting market volatility.

Let’s see if we can take an objective view of the situation.

There is no doubt Trump has the authority to sack Comey UNLESS the sacking is for reasons of self-protection or self-aggrandisement. What do I mean by that? If it is subsequently established that a reasonable man could infer that the sacking was Trump’s attempt to block or hamper the FBI enquiry into possible Russian links with Trump’s staff, that would probably constitute grounds for impeachment.

Trump detractors argue:

  1. The dismal was due to the FBI’s investigation of the Russian connection, and not for the reasons stated in Roenstein’s memo recommending dismissal. (Figure 1)
  2. They point out that had the real reason been the handling of Clinton’s email server, the dismissal would have come once Trump became President.
  3. There are reports “A longtime friend who talked to the President over the weekend described him as “over Comey investigating the Russian meddling and not investigating enough the leaks from the White House”.

The fear is not the dismissal but that the replacement will kill the FBI investigation.

  • Trump supporters argue that:
  1. Trump acted within his constitutional powers
  2. His failure to sack Comey earlier was because having sacked Yates, Sessions need to be approved before a move could be made against Comey. The matter was further delayed when Sessions had to recuse himself from the investigation. It was only when Roenstein was appointed that Comey could be sacked.
  3. Comey brought the sacking upon himself through his poor performance at the Senate testimony on May 3. Moreover, he refused to preview his testimony with Trump.

If we bear down on the essentials, we are left with this picture:

  • The FBI is investigating the Trump team (and perhaps Trump if the evidence leads there)
  • To date, the FBO has not disclosed any evidence that the Trump was involved.
  • In an ongoing investigation, the FBI seldom reports on its findings, doing that only when it concludes.
  • It’s a convention that ‘justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done’. Sacking the head of the FBI at a time when there is an investigation that may link you and your staff to a wrongdoing breaches that cannon.

All the rest is fluff and smoke. Trump did the wrong thing by sacking Comey at this time. Let’s see if he makes the next error – appoints a head who puts an end to the Russian investigation.

Roenstein memo

FIGURE 1

Impact of French Elections Results on EC

BarroMetrics Views: Impact of French Election Results on EC

The French elections are over. With Macron in place, can we say that Frexit is dead and buried? After all, the pundits say that one of the reasons he won was because the French want to stay in the EC.

It seems to me, the threat is there – just dormant for the moment – ready to raise its head unless Macron delivers on his promises. But, that is easier said than done.

Let’s have a look at the challenges facing him.

Firstly, his party, En Marche, needs to win enough seats in the elections on June 11 and 18 to pass his program. The first poll by Opinionway suggests En Marche will not win an outright majority and will need a coalition to govern – casting doubt on whether Macron can deliver.

Opinionway projects:

  • 240-286 for En Marche
  • 200-210 for centre-right Republicans and their allies UDI
  • 15-25 for Le Pen’s NF and
  • 28-43 Socialist Party (down from the current 280).

Secondly, he has promised to improve the French economy. Two of the fundamental planks are:

  1. Reducing Government expenditure from the current 56% of GDP. Here he’ll face resistance from the far left and far right, the Unions and some politicians. To date, all attempts to slash spending have been defeated.
  2. Persuading Merkel that his demand for less austerity is a request by a fiscally responsible state and not one from a spendthrift nation. To do that, he needs to reduce Government spending.

The internal challenges are linked, and unless he can overcome them, the door is there for a Frexit party to walk in 2022.

In the meantime, the EC has to face the German elections on September 24 and the Italian elections, possible in 2018.

For traders, those dates are a long way away. So is the EUR likely to move North or South against the major currencies? Yesterday’s blog, “Impact of French Election Results on ECImpact of French Election Results on EUR” set the short-term picture. Let’s see which way that goes before we guess the longer-term outlook.

Impact of French Election Results on EUR

BarroMetrics Views: Impact of French Election Results on EUR

I was wrong: I thought Macron’s win would give the EUR one more up day. Instead, we saw the currency head South from the time my platform opened for business.

So what now?

Turning first to the technical aspects. I’ll use the EURJPY as a proxy for the EUR complex.

Figure 1 shows the 12M Swing. I see this as a Market Profile pattern seeking to establish a sideways congestion between ‘A’ and ‘B’. The current price action bounded by ‘a’ and ‘b’ is seeking to form the congestion’s Value Area by establishing a swing low at ‘b’. When complete, we’ll see a move to ‘A’. But, an acceptance below ‘b’, suggests at least a retest of ‘B’ and perhaps its breach.

Figure 2 shows the 18-day price action. You’ll also observe the gap created following the first round French elections; you also see that the Primary Sell Zone of ‘c’/’d’ held yesterday’s move south.

A bearish conviction close below 122.93 will suggest at least a test of the 114.84 to 116.00 Primary Buy Zone and probably its breach. A bullish conviction close above yesterday’s high (124.48) suggests we will see a test of ‘A’ in Figure 1.

Tomorrow, I’ll consider the challenges facing Macron since his success or failure in meeting them will impact the survival of the EC.

FIGURE 1 12M EURJPY

FIGURE 2 18d EURJPY

French Voting Turnout Favours….?

BarroMetrics Views: French Voting Turnout Favours….?

Tracking the numbers voting I read that the turnout so far is said to be the same as the first round. If so, the turnout favours Macron.

So what can expect from a Macron win?

May 8: we should see a strong rally in the European Stock indices, especially the CAC and Dax.  Will the rally continue into next week? I am not too sure – indeed, I’d say it’s only a 50-50 bet that it will. Here’s problem as I see it.

Macron (or Le Penn) does not have enough seats in the legislature to carry out his policies. Yet, the markets have been behaving as if a Macron victory will guarantee reform. (See Figure 1 DAX Daily). It seems to me we’ll probably see selling pressure coming into the European indices after Monday. If the selling does come in, the probability is we’ll see a retest of 12000.

What about the EUR pairs? Similar story: strong rally Monday, followed by a break possibility.

So, the safe trade is long EUR pairs and European Indices Monday. Then monitor to see if a sell signal transpires.

Figure 1 DAX Daily

Backfire Effect

BarroMetrics Views: Backfire Effect

I received a couple of emails and one comment against my assertion that Macron would probably win the French Elections. Before I comment, I thought a brief excursion into the ‘Backfire Effect’ would be in order.

“The ‘backfire effect’ is a name given for the finding that, given evidence against their beliefs, people can reject the evidence and believe even more strongly” (Rational Wiki Backfire Effect).

Can Le Pen win? Of course. But, as a trader, I would not be taking a position on her success. Here’s why:

  1. She failed to win the first round, even though she had the best conditions for her campaign, viz, the terrorist attack just before the voting commenced.
  2. French polls, unlike the US and UK, have been remarkably accurate.
  3. Based on their findings, Le Pen can only win if there is a 50% abstention rate. While possible, the rate is unlikely. The polls have the rate at 25%, in which case, Macron will win.

So how am I going to the elections?

I’ll be focusing the EURJPY – win or lose for Macron, this pair should offer opportunities. But, I’ll need to see the result and wait till around 9:00 am HK before I am willing to devise a strategy.

Non-Farm 2017-05-05

BarroMetrics Views: Non-Farm 2017-05-05 

As expected, the FOMC meeting left rates unchanged. In fact,  in its statement, it said little outside expectations. As far as market reactions go, it was a non-event.

The next event for ‘inflexion week’ are the Non-Farm Payrolls due 8:30 am EST on Friday.

Expectations:

  • Consensus:  185K
  • Consensus Range: 150K to 225K
  • Unemployment Rate Consensus: 4.6%
  • Unemployment Rate Consensus Range: 4.5% to 4.6%

One thing the FED made clear: it feels a need to raise rates twice this year and a need to change its balance sheet program. I expect the balance sheet announcement to made in December 2017. So, that leaves only the timing of the rate rises. The FED has signaled it wants one in June, so that leaves only the final rise to determine.

If the rate rise is to occur in June, then Friday’s data will have to come in at least within consensus, especially given the 98K number last month (expectations were for 175K).  And, given my view that the job numbers are driven by FED needs, normally I’d say that my confidence rating for a consensus (and above consensus) number would be 8 (where 0 is ‘no confidence’ and 10 is ‘certain).

This month there is, however, an additional wrinkle. Studies show there is a correlation between the ADP month to month trend with the Non-Farm month-to-month.  This month’s ADP came in at 177K (consensus 170K) BUT down from last month’s 263K.  If the indicator is on track, then we should see a Non-Farm number below 98K.

So, we have a conflict between my two indicators. My resolution is an easy one: I’ll go with my gut with an allowance for the ADP signal. This means I’m looking for a number between 150K to below 175K.

Such a number will probably produce a ho-hum reaction in the USD and US stock market.

Let’s see what happens.

(Message for Michael Hack: Please see my comment to your request posted at ‘Trading A Fundamental Event)

The French Elections

BarroMetrics Views: The French Elections

The results are in, even before the elections are held: Macron will win. He will secure 64% of the vote – and he has been endorsed by Fillon and Hamon.

So, is there any chance of Le Pen winning? If she does, what market reaction can we expect? If she loses what market reaction can we expect?

I must admit to not following French politics as closely as I follow the US and UK. Consequently, I don’t have a feel for the French outcome. The bookies say Le Pen is a 13/2 chance. Are these odds true? Because I don’t have a feel, I’ll assume they are.

So, what can we expect to see if she loses?

EUR and European stock markets up. If the first round results are anything to by, the move North should be something to see. I expect US stocks to follow suit. (Figures 1 to 3)

The more interesting question is: how will both asset classes react if Le Pen wins?

Undoubtedly, the EUR and the CAC will dive. I expect the FTSE and DAX to follow suit. The US? I am not so sure. It did follow the European bourses following the first round results. But, we didn’t have the Non-Farm ahead of the 1st Round as we do this time. Will a Le Pen victory overturn a poor Non-Farm?

What will I be doing on this occasion? Probably standing aside, but I’ll make up my mind closer to the event.

Figure 1 CAC Daily

Figure 2 DAX Daily

Figure 3 EURUSD Daily

Figure 4 S&P Daily

Budget Deal?

BarroMetrics Views: Budget Deal?

I am commenting today rather than tomorrow because it looks like the markets were correct about the potential of a US Government shutdown.

Last night, Democrats and Republicans agreed on a USD 1t spending agreement.  The bill needs to be passed and signed off by Trump by Friday, May 5.

The agreement has something for both sides. For the Democrats, money for funding the National Institutes of Health (Obamacare), and continued funding for federal government activities. For Trump, there will be increased spending for the military.

Because of the Democratic support, Trump does not need to worry that the House Freedom Caucus will upset the deal like they did the Health Bill.

Once thing is certain, it doesn’t look like Trump, despite all the promises to the contrary, will be doing much to balance the budget. This spending bill will clearly increase rather than decrease the deficit.

So far as the markets are concerned, it’s unlikely the news will have much impact.

Inflection Week?

BarroMetrics Views: Inflection Week?

It’s shaping up to be an interesting week:

  • I expect today to be quiet given that for the most influential Asian countries (Japan and China) as well as many European countries (notably the UK, France and Germany), we have the Labour Day hols.
  • May 3 is also likely to be quiet because HK (where much of the Chinese trade is done) and Japan have another holiday.
  • On May 3, 14:00 EST the FOMC announce their decision – rates should remain unchanged given last month’s GDP, inflation and Non-Farm.
  • Then on Friday, May 5, we have an important Non-Farm Payrolls number.
  • On May 7, we have the French elections.
  • Sometime this week, but no later than Friday. May 5, the US Funding Bill (funding the US Government to Sept 30) has to be passed – UNLESS there is another stop-gap vote. So far, the stock market and dollar have ignored the possibility of a Government shutdown.

Today, I’ll have a look at the Non-Farm payrolls and on Thursday, May 4, I’ll comment on the French Elections as well as sending out the video to those who requested it. I’ll comment on the Funding Bill on Wednesday, May 3.

This month’s Non-Farm will be important as an indicator to the FED’s interest rate raising roadmap. Yellen has signalled a rise in June followed by one more rise.

Last month the consensus number was 175K new jobs and an unemployment rate of 4.7%. The rate came in at 4.5% (better than expected), but new jobs came it at 98k. The shortfall was attributed to the weather.

On Friday, the consensus number is 185K with a range of 150K to 225K; the unemployment rate is expected at 4.6 with a range of 4.5% to 4,6%. Numbers below the consensus range will cast doubt on the three-rise plan; numbers above the range will probably give birth to the idea of more than three rises in 2017.

My view is we’ll see consensus numbers. This result should pretty much keep the USD and US stock market on an even keel. Below consensus numbers will send the USD down; above consensus numbers, the USD and stock market, up.  I’m not sure what effect a below consensus number will have on the US stocks.

OCD Help

BarroMetrics Views: OCD Help

The Mastery blog hit a nerve with quite a number of you. I received emails along the lines in the attached doc (Posting it to this piece would have made the entry too long). Essentially, all were asking for help. I wondered how many readers were, are, suffering the same issues but did not write in.

(The author of the email suggested that he may be suffering from OCD given he had not learnt from his mistakes. Hence the title of this blog).

Here are some general words of advice.

Make sure you Method has an edge. Optimally, you will backtest the system (or setup), then forward test before you start trading it. This testing forms your first step to acquiring confidence in the Method. If you don’t know how to test, then find a service to do it for you. Drop me a line in the comments section if you need referrals.

After backtesting, test it on a micro account. The best asset class for this is CFDs. Unfortunately, they are not available in some jurisdictions, like the US and HK. I’m not sure if US residents are allowed to open overseas accounts. If you are, then I’d take that step. Just be careful, there are more than a few brokers that are less than legitimate. The best jurisdiction is Singapore – its Monetary Authority is the strictest I know of. Or you can go to Forex Peace Army and do your own due diligence. Most Forex brokers offer CFDs.

I emphasise, use the micro account size. Your objective is to get a feel for your method. Around 15 or so trades should do the trick. To give you an idea of the micro size: the S&P mini is USD 250.00 per point. The S&P CFD is USD $1.00 per point. Consequently, the CFD allows you to practise without being a danger to your wealth.

If you can’t or won’t use CFDs, then at least spend some time trading a simulated account using Deliberative Practice. The practice will acclimatise you to the way your trading rules react to market conditions.

Have Money rules: a way of calculating your position sizing, portfolio risk and when to add profits to your capital and when to subtract your losses. The Turtles ideas are a good starting point. I have attached some info here.

Finally, you need to manage your impulse trades. Having a Method in which you have confidence helps – immensely. Also, use Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT). The Happiness Trap book is a great starting point. There are some free resources at the Happiness Trap website.

ACT Made Simple is a more complete introduction but is also more difficult to read. The Happiness Trap resource page also has some freebies for this book.

You could also Google ACT. But, be warned, much of the material is for practitioners, and I found the reading heavy going.

The 5 Money Management And Position Sizing Secrets Of The Turtle

Traders turtle rules

2017-04-28 email