Market Preview: Feeling the Fear?
The surge got its mojo from a rather perfunctory statement from Europe's leaders ahead of their informal dinner meeting. More wishful than weighty, the sentiment boils down to a desire for everything to go right from here on in: Greece quickly forms a new government, decides to stick with the austerity program, stays a part of the single-currency bloc.
No word on eurobonds. No detail on what contingency plans may or may not be being made for a Greek exit. No real substance.
Yet it was enough to bring stocks back for an hour, a day at least. That means there just isn't enough fear out of there yet. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase addressed the subject in a strategy note earlier Wednesday.
Pavan Wadhwa, global rates strategist with the firm, puts a 50% chance on Greece exiting the European Monetary Union within the next two months and he sees "severe negative consequences" should this come to pass, including a continued deposit and capital flight from the country; a drop in access to capital markets for other sovereigns, most notably Spain and Italy; and good old debt contagion as he estimates "the Euro-area's exposure to peripheral countries is about 2.5T
Wadhwa expressed surprise that the potential direness of the situation didn't seem to be reflected in the current environment.
Now Wednesday at least saw some real volatility and the swings across asset classes were notable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury revisited record lows; the euro hit a 22-month low; oil settled below $90 for the first time in more than six months; gold is close to correction territory; and the U.S. dollar's strength continued.
S&P Capital IQ sees signs that a bottom could be close for stocks but warned that the greenback's continued robustness -- a sign of its growing safe-haven status -- presents a hurdle to dreams of a snap-back.
"We think the stock market is close in both time and price to a bottom, but we think there will be more volatile, sideways trading as stocks hammer out a bullish reversal pattern," wrote Sam Stovall, the firm's chief equity strategist. "Market sentiment is quickly tilting toward the bearish side of the street, and from a contrarian viewpoint. We think this represents a positive for stocks."