Volatility Ratchets Higher as Markets Gap Lower

Steve Kanaval  |

US Markets continue the volatile overnight moves netting out to lower prices while global markets continue on a trek to full a correction. This mornings 3% move lower tests important support on the way to our expected 25% pullback in 2016. Oil continues to drive prices as the market stands in shock as prices head to the $20 per barrel level. One note to consider is the level of a widely watched volatility index (VIX) which reached 26 today compared with a 46 level during the massive August decline. Expect higher volatility as global markets gap higher and lower each session.

News from AP/Bloomberg that everyone uses below:

Hong Kong's Hang Seng (-3.8%) led markets lower in Asia, and France's CAC (-3%) is the laggard in Europe. S&P 500 futures are down 32.50 points at 1840.75.

Wednesday's 3.7% plunge in Tokyo nearly paced the losses in Asia, and has Japan's Nikkei in bear market territory. The Nikkei is now down 21.6% from its August 2015 high, and at its lowest level since October 2014.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell all the way to $27.32 per barrel in early trade, a fresh 12-year low. Action has worked its way off the lows, but still remains under significant pressure. Currently, WTI trades lower by 2.9% at $27.63.

The latest sell off in oil prices has caused the Russian ruble to breach the 80 per dollar mark for the first time ever. Alexei Egorov, an analyst at PAO Promsvyazbank in Moscow, told Bloomberg there is likely more pain to come. "Even at 80 rubles against the dollar looks optimistic relative to the current oil price," he said. The ruble is weaker by 3.8% at 80.6580 per dol

Unemployment in the UK ticked down to 5.1% in November from the 5.2% print in October. Wednesday's report showed 74% of the UK is employed, the highest since record keeping began in 1971. However, wage growth remains a bit of a concern as total pay for the 3 months to November grew 2.1% versus last year, compared to the 2.4% reading for the 3 months to October. The British pound is unchanged at 1.4153.

Tuesday on CNBC Bill Gross said, "I would stick to high-quality sovereign debt, as in U.S. Treasuries." So far that's looking like the right call as a strong bid has Treasury yields down as much as 8 basis points. The US 10-year yield has fallen to a near 4-month low at 1.97%.

The streaming-video service earned $0.10 per share, easily beating the Bloomberg consensus of $0.02. Revenue climbed 23% to $1.82 billion, but ended up just shy of the $1.83 billion analysts were hoping for. US subscriber growth was a bit light at 1.56 million (1.62 million expected), but international subscriber growth handily beat estimates, coming in at 4.04 million (3.50 million expected). In regards to China, Nextlfix said, "We are starting by primarily targeting outward‐looking, affluent consumers with international credit cards and smartphones. As with every market we've launched, our approach is to listen, learn and improve rapidly, adding more content." The stock is up 3.4% in early trade.

The enterprise behemoth beat on both the top and bottom lines. IBM earned $4.84 per share, topping the $4.81 that was expected by the Bloomberg consensus. Revenue posted at least its 15th straight quarterly decline, slumping 8.5% to $22.06 billion, but that was good enough to beat the $22.04 billion that Wall Street was anticipating. On the call, management announced EPS guidance of "at least" $13.50 per share, which was well below the $15.00 per share Wall Street consensus. The stock is down about 5% in pre-market trade.

Goldman Sachs reported ahead of the opening bell. Goldman Sachs reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations on Wednesday. The company posted quarterly earnings of $4.68 a share, compared to $4.38 a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue for the quarter came in at $7.27 billion, against the comparable year-ago figure of $7.69 billion.

Analysts had expected Goldman to report earnings of about $3.53 a share on $7.07 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.The investment banking giant is expected to earn an adjusted $3.57 per share on revenue of $7.17 billion, according to the Bloomberg consensus. Goldman has beat on both adjusted EPS and revenue in 7 of the past 8 quarters. The stock is trading

US economic data picks up. CPI, housing starts and building permits will all be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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