Archive for the ‘Volatility’ Category
A funny thing happened today. For the first time, the equity and bond market closed red (and VIX green) on a Federal Reserve QE-announcement day. Gold outperformed stocks and Treasuries underperformed everything…
The S&P 500 futures contract has never closed red on the day of a QE announcement before…
VIX closed higher for the first time ever on a QE announcement day…
10Y Treasury Yields rose for the first ime ever on a QE announcement day…
From the FOMC announcement, Gold and Silver closed green but stocks, bonds, oil, financials, and apple all lost ground (as did the USD very modestly)…
Across Asset Classes – Treasury yields ended at highs, stocks at lows…
FX markets dominated by JPY weakness and EUR strength…
and across ETFs – there was an attempt to lever HYG (which has worked to grab stocks higher in the past) but it seems like rotation from TSYs to less-duration sensitive HY as stocks and vol tracked each other all afternoon…
Financials post-FOMC – look at BofA’s ‘odd’ move into the close…
Charts: Bloomberg and Capital Context
Declining volume suggests the stock market has falling participation and is thus increasingly vulnerable.
The stock market adage “Volume is the weapon of the Bull” means that Bull markets are powered by strong demand for stocks, which translates into sustained buying volume. Courtesy of The Big Picture, here is a chart displaying volume and price of the S&P 500 over the past two years.
Volume peaked in July 2009, a few months off the March 2009 bottom, and has slipped since except for a modest blip up last summer–a period of decline, which suggests the volume was selling, not buying.
This year’s dramatic rise in stocks coincides with a collapse in volume. If volume is the weapon of the Bull, and volume is declining, then what we have here is either:
1. a market that lacks buying volume and is thus held aloft by opaque interventions
2. a new kind of Bull market which rises magically despite declining participation by investors.
Magic is of course not unknown in economics or finance; stripped of academic mumbo-jumbo, economic growth arises, we are told, from the emergence of “animal spirits.” Financial speculation, we are told, is akin to dancing to the music (sounds fun!), with the only advice being to keep dancing until the music stops.
This chart is saying the Bull Market is bogus. Many excellent technicians see no real evidence of weakness, and those analysts with a fundamental perspective see the Federal Reserve’s $6-$8 billion in near-daily injections of POMO cash and rising corporate profits as reasons for the market to loft ever higher.
The value of U.S. stock markets is around $14 trillion, roughly the same as the national GDP of around $14.5 trillion (if official stats are to be believed). Can $6 billion in daily cash buying really sustain a $14 trillion market? That is asking a lot of an essentially trivial sum of money.
As for corporate profits–it’s not just the profits that count, of course, it’s the multiple people are willing to pay to own that income stream. Depending on which profit numbers you’re using (trailing, i.e. reported, or estimated, i.e. projections), then the current market is at a multiple somewhere between 12 and 16, which is near its historical average.
At market bottoms, this multiple falls to around 6 or 7. So profits could remain at their current high level and the stock market could lose half its value, and it would remain within the boundaries of historical valuations.
Thanks to unprecedented government/Fed intervention, the SPX has shot up in the past two years.
Maybe it will climb all the way back to the 1500 level to trace out a multi-year triple-top pattern, or maybe not. Without any buying volume, then what exactly is going to keep driving it higher other than legerdemaine?
Good morning, worker drones: This Week in Mayhem
by Project Mayhem
Project Censored releases top censored news stories of 2009, Market Skeptics highlights catastrophic fall in global food production, gold bounces off $1100, Copenhagen succeeds in building global governance framework, Pakistan and Yemen sink further into chaos..
LAST WEEK IN MAYHEM
Project Censored releases list of 25 censored news stories of the past year
* 1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
* 2. US Schools are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s
* 3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
* 4. Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
* 5. Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
* 6. Lobbyists Buy Congress
* 7. Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past
* 8. Bailed out Banks and America’s Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
* 9. US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza
* 10. Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
* 11. Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine
* 12. Mysterious Death of Mike Connell—Karl Rove’s Election Thief
* 13. Katrina’s Hidden Race War
* 14. Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
* 15. World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco
2010 Food Crisis for Dummies
The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions.
The following article is HIGHLY recommended for anyone trading in the commodities futures markets or interested in possible future outcomes in 2010.
“If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration.
So far the crisis has been driven by the slow and steady increase in defaults on mortgages and other loans. This is about to change. What will drive the financial crisis in 2010 will be panic about food supplies and the dollar’s plunging value. Things will start moving fast.”
Gold bounces off $1100
Gold has bounced off $1100, as expected, but the question is whether this level will hold. This is almost impossible to predict…what we do know is that gold is going much higher intermediate-term. Short-term, we could see pricing pressures on gold until we get a new leg down in the economic crisis and/or war in Central Asia. Things are heating up around the world, particularly in Yemen and Pakistan. Regardless, we expect a hard floor for the gold price in the range of $1000-1050. We will watch carefully for the next two business weeks leading into Jan 1st, as this will involve year-end mark-to-market for gold on many balance sheets so expect volatility. In terms of the next year (2010) we are expecting a dollar crisis so it would be wise to own gold under such circumstances.
Copenhagen Treaty yields start of Global Governance
The Copenhagen treaty was a success despite the massive scientific scandal; the global bankster-gangsters got precisely what they wanted. The objective was to establish the framework for a world government, which is often called ‘global governance’ in policy planning circles. The seeds of this were successfully planted. There were two main accomplishments at Copenhagen: 1) agreement on a global transaction tax on GDP, paid to the World Bank and 2) agreement on preliminary funding for global governance, conservatively $100bn by 2020 but we believe this number will be much much higher (probably in trillions).
“In 2004, it was less than $300 million. But in 2005, the trade really started to soar, ending the year with $10.8 billion-worth of transactions. A year later, in 2006, the “carbon” market had grown to $31 billion. In 2007, again it more than doubled its turnover, to $64 billion. Last year, it did it again, reaching a colossal $126 billion. By 2020, some estimates suggest the annual value will reach $2 trillion.”
“This is the biggest heist in history. As they poured carbon over snow-covered Denmark from their gas-guzzling jets, world leaders were congratulating themselves on securing a deal which will make their backers and financiers a trillion pounds a year. These riches will come from buying and selling permits, the so-called ‘carbon credits’ which allow industry and electricity generators in developed countries to emit carbon dioxide.
The frenzied negotiations we have just seen were never about ‘saving the planet’. They were always about money.”
Copenhagen accord keeps Big Carbon in business
“The part played at Copenhagen by all the tree-huggers, abetted by the BBC and their media allies, was to keep hysteria over warming at fever pitch while the politicians haggled over the real prize, to keep the Kyoto system in place.
The only tree they were concerned with hugging was the money tree and all the vast political apparatus that now supports it, allowing governments to tax and regulate us into handing over ever more of our money, largely without realising it, every time we drive a car, fly in a plane, pay our electricity bill or carry out any of a vast range of activities that involve the emission of CO2. ”
Saudis rain missiles down on Yemen
Saudi warplanes rain ’1,011 missiles’ on Yemen
“Houthi fighters say Saudi warplanes have fired some 1,011 missiles on the borderline with Yemen where the Shia population is already under heavy state-led and US-aided bombardment. “
US air raids kill 63 civilians in Yemen
“Yemen’s Houthi fighters say scores of civilians, including many children, have been killed in US air-raids in the southeast of the war-stricken Arab country.”
Pakistan on brink ; Obama feigns surprise
Internally displaced Pakistani women and children, aka alQueda
Pakistan continues to deteriorate, as we have been expected since the election of Obama. There is definitely a new war brewing in the region. The most likely conflict is either an event justifying going into Pakistan, or an event justifying going into Iran. In either case, doing so would land us in deep deep trouble, and would escalate into a regional war. Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country, with ballistic and cruise missiles, and Iran has advanced Russian weaponry. War in either country would be a big mistake with catastrophic consequences for the world, but our fearless leaders do not seem to care about the people of the world or their lives. Regardless, the CIA and ISI are doing an excellent job of destabilizing Pakistan, which seems to be the policy objectiive.
Pakistan political crisis deepens
“THE political crisis in Pakistan has deepened after the Government’s anti-corruption agency sought a warrant for the arrest of the country’s Interior Minister.”
Symptom of a Deeper Malady Pakistan’s Refugee Disaster
In the meantime, with the winter months fast approaching, hundreds of thousands of “unintegrated” refugees who do not find more durable shelter, even as military sweeps continue, could face exposure and starvation. Some aid groups are demanding that the United States pressure Pakistan to respect international humanitarian law and allow independent access to the refugees.
THIS WEEK IN MAYHEM
Not much happening this week due to the Christmas holiday. Tuesday brings us the GDP number and existing home sales, Wednesday is new home sales, and Thursday is durable goods orders and jobless claims. This week we are watching Yemen and Pakistan.
Have a great week and Merry Christmas
Project Mayhem Research (PMR) is a DC/Baltimore-based grassroots think tank dedicated to exposing corruption worldwide. PMR is affiliated with Zerohedge.com, a popular and growing anti-corruption site, through contribution of free articles for the public. Topics include the politics of war and weapons systems, unexpected applications of cybernetics, the growing international surveillance state, global warming ‘deindustrialization’ economics, broad systemic international corruption , in-depth policy analysis of studies from bank and military funded research groups, genetic analysis and surveillance of pandemic influenza, corruption in the international gold market, the power structure and history of the global elite, and analysis of their political objectives expressed through monopolistic international finance capital (read: powerful banks) between now and 2050.
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David Rosenberg And A Few Good Economic Observations: "Can You Handle The Truth?" His 2010 "Outlook"
Courtesy of David Rosenberg of Gluskin-Sheff
It’s that time of the year when ‘sell-side’ research departments publish their Year-Ahead Reports (as I once did in the not-too-distant past); as do all the financial magazines.
I realized after countless emails and phone conversations (in that order) that there is a very high expectation that I publish one too. I honestly have no intention of publishing a specific set of forecasts in my current role as the Chief Economist and Strategist for Gluskin Sheff for public consumption — the granularity of my recommendations is reserved for our Investment team and our client base. Be that as it may, I am more than happy to comment on what I see as an emerging consensus and my general view on the direction of the economy and the markets in the coming year without getting into too much detail or numerical forecasts, which are the domain of the ‘sell-side’ macro teams globally.
At the outset, let it be known that when I read everyone else’s year-ahead prognostications, all I can think of is, “where do I store this stuff for a year so I can look back and say ‘That was so wrong!’.” It’s not that the reports are always bullish every year; it is that they seem so contrived. And, as I mentioned in the December 10th edition of Breakfast with Dave, this year, probably like most years, there seems to be a remarkable level of agreement. Based on my reading, here is what I conclude the consensus views are as we head into 2010:
- Muted recovery, but positive growth, for sure! No risk of a ‘double dip’.
- Equity markets up!
- A barbell strategy of domestic multinational blue chips and emerging market equities.
The U.S. dollar is…neutral, but we did locate more bulls than bears (so much for the ‘carry trade’ thesis).
- Positive on commodities for the most part.
- Concerned about government balance sheets, and therefore…
- …Bearish on long term government bonds because they are the ‘competition’ and, after all, who would tie their money up for 10 years at 3.5% when you can lose 22% in stocks? And, therefore…
- …Bullish on spread product (as long as it’s not long-term). And, therefore…
- …Really comfortable with high yield (just for the coupon and the view that default rates will come down).
- Certain that volatility will not be an impediment.
- The Fed will begin to raise rates in the second half of the year, but that this will have no impact since they will still be low.
So here we are with a glorious opportunity to reintroduce Bob Farrell’s Rule 8: “When all forecasts and experts agree, something else is going to happen.”
That being said, these economists and strategists, many of whom I know, are smart guys (and gals) and they are human. To ‘talk your book’ is human; to have the courage to ‘buck the consensus’ is divine. I too am human; I also like to feel that I have courage of my convictions; and I too have a “book” (of sorts — it’s called reputation). But I have decided to take the opportunity of the “Year-Ahead Moment” to transition from sell-side to buy-side and more importantly, to reflect on the past year and really try to prognosticate from the gut. You would be surprised how a blend of intuition and experience can make a difference in a cycle like the one we are in that has absolutely nothing in common with the other recessions of the post-WWII era.
Forecasting is a humbling profession even in the best of times and I have learned a lot in the past year, especially from my partners here at Gluskin Sheff who realizes all too well that:
1. It is what is embedded in asset prices benchmarked against the forecast that is of utmost importance for investors;
2. The focus of any forecast must take into account the reality that minimizing portfolio risks is at least as critical as maximizing the returns, and;
3. Every forecast has an error term and the range around any projection in a post-bubble credit collapse can be extremely wide.
I do not view the economic events of the last two years as a classic recession/recovery phase. They only exist in the context of a secular credit expansions and contractions. We are in a post-credit bubble credit collapse that is ongoing, à la Bob Farrell’s Rule 4: “Exponential rapidly rising or falling markets usually go further than you think, but they do not correct by going sideways.”
Mainstream economists called this downturn “The Great Recession”. This is truly a gentle way of saying “Depression”. When we can have the courage to come to grips with the fact that we did in fact experience a depression of sorts, which is by definition a credit event, then and only then can we draw a conclusion that a sustainable recovery will not get underway until the ratio of household credit to personal disposable income reverts to the mean (and goes to an excess in the opposite direction). I know it sounds harsh, but we shall endure — believe it. Transition is rarely without pain.
The ratio of household debt to disposable income is up from a 30% ratio back in the 1950s to 125% today (though down from 139% at the peak in 2007). Mean reverting to a ratio closer to 60% means that the deleveraging process will be a multi-year event and by the time it is over, more than $7 trillion in additional household credit will have to be extinguished. For more on this see the unbelievably grotesque article on the front page of last Thursday’s (December 10) Wall Street Journal — The New American Dream.
Perhaps inflation is a consensus forecast but deflation is the present day reality and often lingers for years following a busted asset and credit bubble of the magnitude we have endured over the past two years. The fact that China’s voracious appetite for basic materials will continue to exert upward pressure on commodity prices does not detract from this view, especially given the widespread excess capacity in the manufacturing sector and the new frugality that has gripped, and in many cases, been embraced by the retail sector. Higher raw material prices, owing to developments in Asia as opposed to demand pressures here at home, will prove to be a sustained source of profit margin compression for many sectors and companies linked to finished consumer goods and services.
So, much of what I have read in various Year-Ahead Reports predict corporate earnings, GDP growth here and abroad, interest rates and relative values of currencies. As I mentioned earlier, the error term is bound to be very wide in this new paradigm (since WWII) of a secular credit collapse. GDP growth in 1934 was 10%, but the Depression wasn’t over until 1940.
Since 1989, the Japanese stock market has had no fewer than four 50%-plus rallies and there still has been no period of growth that can be called a sustained expansion. Today, we have our own special set of conditions and it is bound to be tricky as is typical during a post-bubble credit collapse, no matter how intense the government reaction. Prematurely committing to the ‘risk’ trade is probably going to be the most lamentable action over the next few years.
Suffice it to say, we believe that the dominant focus will be on capital preservation and income orientation, whether that be in bonds, hybrids, hedge fund strategies, and a consistent focus on reliable dividend growth and dividend yield would seem to be in order. To reiterate, I see the range of outcomes in the financial markets and the economy to be extremely wide at the current time. But one conclusion I think we can agree on is the need to maintain defensive strategies and minimize volatility and downside risks as well as to focus on where the secular fundamentals are positive such, as in fixed-income and in equity sectors that lever off the commodity sector.
This, in turn, underscores my primary focus of favouring Canadian dollar based investments over the U.S. because at no time in my professional life have the downside risks — economic, fiscal, financial and political — been so low on a relative basis and the upside potential so high as is the case today. The near-2,000 basis point gap this year between the TSX and the S&P 500 — the former leading — should be taken in the context of being just past the halfway point of a secular (ie, 16-18 year) period of outperformance. Northern exposure never felt this hot.
Head of California's Cap and Trade Offsets Program: Cap and Trade Won't Work for Climate, It's a Scam
Paul Krugman argues that cap and trade worked to reduce sulfur dioxide and stop acid rain, and so it will work to reduce C02.
However, two EPA lawyers with more than 40 years of cumulative
experience – including the guy who has been head of California’s cap
and trade offset programs for more than 20 years – say that sulfur
dioxide was different, and that cap and trade for climate is a scam which only
benefits the financial players.
Specifically, they point out that:
- Cap and trade was tried in Europe, but ended up raising energy
prices, creating volatility, produced few greenhouse gas reductions,
but made billions for the financial players
- Even the guy who invented the cap and trade concept doesn’t think it will work in regards to climate change (see this and this)
- Carbon offsets – which are part of the cap and trade plan – increase pollution
- One reason that offsets lead to more pollution is that investors
fight to keep toxic chemicals legal, so they can make more money off of
trading the offsets
- Like subprime mortgages and other creative financial instruments
which brought us the economic crisis, carbon offsets lack integrity and
don’t work (see this)
Watch the video: