Monday, October 3, 2011

Thursday - Liquidation

The action today can be summed up in one word: peculiar.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 100 points and NYSE breadth was nearly 2:1 positive, but virtually every big-cap momentum name was down and the Nasdaq-100 was solidly red.

The most likely explanation is that some large momentum-based funds are being liquidated and, in fact, there are rumors of one $3 billion fund with large positions in names such as PCLN, BIDU, WYNN, NFLX, MCP, YOKU and others being sold aggressively today.

A late bounce, which was probably machine-driven, took us well off the intraday lows. It was an extremely deceptive day if you only looked at any one index in isolation. Small-caps and big-cap momentum names were very poor while the more conservative, low-beta names outperformed.

Usually this sort of mixed-up action is not a healthy sign, as market players are obviously confused. The window-dressing action in less-obvious names helped hold us up, but the liquidation of momentum names tells us that big players are in trouble and it's very likely we'll see more liquidations after the quarter ends. Stock picking is useless at this time.