RJO FuturesCast

December 11, 2020 | Volume 14, Issue 50

The Markets

Metals - Gold is Laying a Trap

Feb gold futures have jumped significantly off the recent lows, but this is simply a trap in my opinion that is fooling traders into thinking this rally is for real. Could it be real? Yes, the answer is absolutely but not likely. There is always a calling card for big reversals in any commodity market. Volume is the single most significant indicator that managed money types simply can’t hide. If you look at the volume when gold recently hit 1767, the daily moves downward showed volume exceeding two times the daily average of 245,000 futures contracts. This to me shows confidence in a move lower. Gold moved well off those upper 1700 lows in short order, but on volume that still today has not once even hit the average trade volume. There were multiple days where volume was lucky to hit 130,000 contracts traded. Fundamentals of gold are not really something to follow right now as it seems whichever way the wind blows in the news that day is considered a “fundamental.” We will likely get stimulus at some point in the next month or so, and that’s already been priced into gold in my opinion. It’s a supportive factor don’t get me wrong as it’s a boost for inflation, but it’s not something I’m going to sit back and trade day to day on. Traders should be watching gold for a long only if can take out 1900 and get a close above 1915.

Gold Feb '21 Daily Chart
Metals - Silver Outlook - 12/11/2020
Adam shares observations of Silver in well-defined range.
Energy - Oil Set for Sixth Weekly Gain

Oil prices are correcting slightly here in the early session but are poised to make its sixth consecutive weekly gain amid continued optimism regarding vaccine rollouts and subsequent recovery in fuel demand. This comes despite a massive build in inventories of 15.2 million barrels versus an expected 1.4 million drop, according to the EIA as well as considerable inflows of product readings. Some support may have been garnered by reports of an attack on an Iraqi oil field earlier in the week in addition to some uncertainty regarding Nigerian oil supply. Further, strong vehicle sales out of China suggest an uptick in demand prospects. Oil has continued its inflation higher as it remains bullish trend with today’s range seen between  44.33 – 46.95.

Crude Oil Jan '21 Weekly Chart

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the markets further, please feel free to contact me at 800-438-4805 or aturro@rjofutures.com.
Softs - 2021 Cocoa Demand Could Look Different

As we near the end of 2020, analysts start to dissect and predict certain possibilities in the new year. Will cocoa demand be up? What will production data be? Will a Covid vaccine speed up the “back to normal process?”

Many of cocoa’s 2020 stories have been on repeat. 2021 can see cocoa prices test highs. Cocoa prices are very much demand driven. In a down year for many commodities, cocoa was able to find a few big rallies higher when the fundamentals where working with the technicals. If chocolate companies start the new year with better than expected earnings, we can see cocoa trade back towards 2800, we were just there in the March contract. If Q1 can give us direction on the production numbers, 3000 is completely possible by mid-year.

The unknowns, outside of the virus discussion, that could help a cocoa price rally are a few key indicators for the soft– what happens with the Brexit? What levels will the Euro and Pound trade? Will unrest in Ivory Coast, West Africa affect output?

With all those factors waiting to be discovered, cocoa is a market that will volatile in the coming year.

Cocoa Mar '21 Daily Chart
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the markets further, please feel free to contact me at 800-826-4124 or pmooses@rjofutures.com.
Agricultural - Grain Futures Update w/Stephen Davis - 12/11/2020
Stephen Davis discusses the latest news moving the grain markets including some interesting moves following last week's report.
Agricultural - Live Cattle Looking Shaky in 2021

The USDA came out with their WASDE report yesterday with their expectations for the 2021 year. Overall for the cattle markets show a lower price target for the first quarter of 2021 while the Q2 expectations for supply look to dry up and production looks to slow down and a rise going forward. The actual projections for Q2 production were lowered 1.8% and this seems to reflect the OCT cattle on feed placement number. The supply projections seem to be in line with the fed cattle values, which look strong come next spring. They do raise the question of what South America will do in terms of import numbers. With COVID restrictions possibly in play, come Feb 1st we will have a clearer picture of what our relationship with China will be, which would answer some questions as far as the demand coming from them.

Although a possible vaccine for COVID seems like it is coming and people do expect the demand to increase because of that, but it doesn’t seem to carry much weight/or have that much of an impact that would change the outlook for the overall market production. The USDA estimated cattle slaughter came in at 120,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 474,000 head, down from 481,000 last week and down from 491,000 a year ago. US beef export sales for the week ending December 3 came in at 2,989 tonnes for 2020 and 12,028 for 2021 for a total of 15,017. This was down from 16,912 the previous week and a four-week average of 19,416.  In Nebraska 1,962 head traded at 106-107 and an average price of 106.54, down from an average of 109.88 last week and 110.64 the week before that.

If Feb futures breakdown below the $110 level we could see the basis narrow and trade near the $108 level. The near-term resistance $114 but the $116 level has shown to be very strong resistance  so if by chance we even get through $114 there would have to be pretty drastic change in supply for Feb cattle to trade above $116.

Live Cattle Feb '21 Daily Chart
Equity - Stocks Lower with Stimulus Talks Stalling Again

U.S. stock futures are trading lower this morning with the Covid-19 stimulus talks stalling once again.  There were some positive signs that the bipartisan stimulus deal, roughly 900 billion, was going to pass but they could not reach an agreement on some aspects of the deal.  The stimulus package has largely been priced in the market so any negative news should hit the market harder than a positive reaction to good news.  “There is a nontrivial chance that we get a deal in the coming weeks,” said Jeff Mills the chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust,” if it doesn’t come by late January, when the new congress is sworn in, then I think we could see markets starting to get a bit nervous.”  Without this new stimulus package millions of Americans could lose their unemployment benefits starting the new year.  Weekly jobless claims also increased to 853,000 this past week, the highest since Sept. 19th , as new lockdown orders took its toll on businesses from new corona virus cases.

Support is checking in today at 364000 and 362000 with resistance showing 368000 and 370000.

E-mini S&P 500 Dec '20 Daily Chart
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the markets further, please feel free to contact me at 888-861-1656 or jyasak@rjofutures.com.
Economy - Futures Market Outlook w/John Caruso - 12/11/2020

I’m not sure what the narrative is going to be, all that I know is that there will be one….

Studying macro cycles for 2 decades now, it’s funny how the “news” and “narratives” presented on CNBC and in the WSJ seem to always fit perfectly to the tune of markets.  When we make a call for “Scenario 4”, its not because we’ve reached into our bag of “narratives” and pulled one out and said LOOK, here’s the political or geopolitical reason why we’re making this call.  Absolutely not…It’s the data, it’s always about the DATA, and the news, coincidentally just some how ultimately cozies up right next to it.  Whenever we’ve been wrong on calling a turn in the cycle, it’s not because our “narrative” is incorrect, it’s because the incoming data doesn’t match up with our forecasts, and back tests better or worse on a 1 yr and 2yr lookback.  Yes I said we’ve been wrong in the past, and we’ll be wrong again – have you ever heard another financial asset manager say that before?  Certainly not on CNBC or Twitter that’s for sure, where everyone’s batting 1.000% of course (at least we’re showing our work).  This is why our process is multi-faceted.  We’re consistently checking not only our view of the market cycle as it relates to the incoming data, but also our quantitative methods in measuring multi-duration trend changes in markets.  9/10 times the quantitative signal turns first, followed by the data, i.e. a bullish to bearish or bearish to bullish phase transition. 

Speaking of bullish to bearish phase transitions, here’s a look at the 10yr yield with some bullet points below of what we see…..

*First thing you notice is probably the massive drop over the past 2yrs from the cycle peak of 3.25% in Q3 of 2018.  Yes Q3 2018 was when the cycle peaked in bonds and subsequently the economy.

*Secondly, the range analysis shown, which is a reflection of price and volatility….you can see how wide the ranges were on the left side of the chart – that’s sign of elevated volatility which is a BEARISH indicator for price…we all knew that though.

*Third, check out the momentum indicator, which changes from Red (Negative) to Purple (Neutral), to Green (Positive) coupled with a NARROWING range….hmm, how about that.  Not to mention the trend has also shifted to now pointing (albeit slowly) to the upside.  Turns in the bond market are like an Oil tanker turning in the ocean…it happens very slowly and then it begins to happen faster.  Risk happens slowly and then all at once – a mentor of mine once issued those words, and I believe them never to be truer than in this case right now. 

*Finally, the bottom chart is an OB or OS indicator, which you can clearly see is well below the OS line (6.12 to be exact).  So putting this all together, I’m reading this chart as, wait for it….

BULLISH TREND, BULLISH MOMENTUM, AND IMMEDIATE OVERSOLD….AND falling Volatility!  Yes I would short more US Treasuries right here, right now. 

This was all for the purpose of showing some my work.  I know its hard to simply just take my word for it, especially for our newcomers, but this is just a small part of what we do in terms of studying quantitative signals,…getting the Growth/Inflation cycle can be much more tedious and tricky, and requires a lot of “nose to the grindstone” style work.  But as a former athlete, I know that anything that is hard, or tedious….is usually the best thing for you.  As Ray Dalio would say….Go towards the PAIN!

That’s all…Good luck…..I’ll get the ranges out soon!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the markets further, please feel free to contact me at 800-669-5354 or jcaruso@rjofutures.com.

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