Crisis

The Biggest Event Risks In June

The Biggest Event Risks In June

Today being the first day of June, and the start of the last month of the first half of 2016, we thought it would be aptly appropriate to list down some of the biggest event risks that June will bring. These are the known unknowns — uncertainties which we already know about but not their outcomes.

The biggest risks in June (in our opinion) will be the EU referendum by the UK in the later part of the month, the June ECB monetary policy decision and press conference, the June FOMC statement and interest rate decision, and lastly the BoJ's monetary policy decision.

We feel markets will likely be most sensitive to these types of events, having chopped around for almost half a year now. There is great anticipation for guidance on where to go next, and we feel markets will likely take cues from central banks, chiefly the Fed.

Goldman Says Overweight Cash On Mounting Global Risks

Goldman Says Overweight Cash On Mounting Global Risks

More and more are jumping on the "sell in May and go away" bandwagon but for good reason. As U.S. stocks base around in short term trading awaiting more cues about a potential June rate hike from the April FOMC minutes to be released later today, the big players have their eye on the bigger picture.

This is something we've talked about on these pages, and something we buy, on the caveat that technical factors turn conducive. The month of May has historically heralded volatility in the financial markets.

The key takeaways from Goldman are: Overweight cash, avoid equities, look to profit from up in quality carry, and perhaps buy some volatility.

Expect Nasty Volatility & Shocks This Summer

Expect Nasty Volatility & Shocks This Summer

With the stock market heading no where for the last 4 months of this year, it is high time we took a step back and view things from a systematic angle. As we approach the "sell in May and go away" phase of the year, equity returns are looking more vunulrable to adverse shocks, and flares in volatility.

YTD, the S&P 500 is almost unchanged, down marginally. Bonds (quality) and commodities (short USD) have been the best performers for the last 4 months. Vol of vol (VVIX) has remained elevated but is not yet deemed to be at alarming levels. What's in store for us may be a surprise. Or actually maybe not.

When we piece this puzzle back in a way BofAML calls the "3P's of Positioning, Policy & Profits", we can come to the conclusion that the risks are skewed south, and things could turn uglier very promptly. Therefore, it may be wise to expect very moderate returns from equities. One may wish to overweight cash, bonds, and gold while avoiding equities and non-IG corporate credit.

Bill Gross: About Helicopter Money

Bill Gross: About Helicopter Money

Technology and mass robotization are probably the single biggest threats to our jobs. Jobs of both the blue and white collars are gradually being replaced by robots that are much more cost efficient and productive. Plus, robots have no want for minimum wages, or hold strikes in protest for what is now a huge skill deficiency in the labor force across the world.

So will politicians and central planners dabble with the risk of upsetting the status quo for a potential change in direction? Unlikely.

Rather, Janus Capital's Bill Gross believes central planners will stick to what they have always been best at: Printing money (QE), lowering interest rates or bringing them sub zero as we've seen recently, and fiscally stimulating economies with debt funded programs thereby creating a false impression of prosperity when there isn't.

Bill Gross: Careful Of What You Wish For With Negative Rates

Bill Gross: Careful Of What You Wish For With Negative Rates

"30-40% of developed bond markets now have negative yields and 75% of Japanese JGB’s do" is how Bill Gross likes to drop some perspective onto the world that has become so numb to the new age central banking tool known as NRIP, or negative interest rate policy. It's absolutely perverse, and it's everywhere like how Vampire Squid has its tentacles all over political campaigns in America.

Business cycles have become so influenced by asset price inflation, or in some cases deflation, that they have lost a good deal of traction with the more traditional Keneysian theory of aggregate demand and aggregate supply.

Gross ultimately warns that if global economies continue to merely drift on stagnant waters, failing to see a breakaway renaissance in output growth, we might be in for a rude awakening when the chickens come home to roost. Eventually they shall.

What The Smartest Minds Think Of The Current Rout

What The Smartest Minds Think Of The Current Rout

2016 is shaping up to be like the latter half of 2015 but with a lot of additional dynamic forces warping and twisting the financial markets. Higher than average volatility has been the common theme so far but we're also noticing an incredible rapid shift in cross asset correlations. All this means that the current market environment is extremely rough, giving traders (ourselves included) a hell of a hard time.

It is no surprise that this is indeed the case. Policy uncertainty amongst central banks, oil prices that are stick in a moribund rut, very idiosyncratic technical flows that have caused traditionally lower beta assets to trade like mad donkeys, and of course the deep polarization of sentiment across the board.

It is on this note that we turn to JP Morgan's quantitative desk for answers, albeit nebulous. The desk analyzes markets in a less traditional manner, approaching this landscape with mathematical and technical tools most retail traders have zero access to.

Here's Why Dumping Risk & Buying Cash Might Be The Smartest Move This Year

Here's Why Dumping Risk & Buying Cash Might Be The Smartest Move This Year

It's been an extremely busy first week of 2016 for Business Of Finance. Global markets are in a state of frenzied chaos, much like a chicken running around without its head.Only this time every risk asset has been sold with reckless abandon while liquidity is conversely bid to the moon. Anyone who shorted risk, went long volatility, and stayed in cash since Christmas week would be gleefully grinning at the poor folks who are trapped in 2015's outdated ideologue 

While we are hard pressed for time, we feel we need to put this piece out to give readers a first glance of what 2016 might be like for the markets all across the world. We have a feeling 2016 may be markedly different from the past 5 years where cash might actually be the best performing asset. Yes, being in cash is a position in and of itself.

In layman's speak, you ether go big or go home in 2016. At least that's what we think. You could make a hack a lot of profits or loose your shirt in the kind of markets we've been greeted with so far. So buckle up, sit tight, sell risk and buy cash.

Guest Post: China Is Not What It Seems

Guest Post: China Is Not What It Seems

On June 12, we saw carnage in the Chinese stock markets. The Shanghai composite has since tumbled in just three weeks, 30% from its seven-year high, wiping out more than $3 trillion worth of wealth.

What is even more curious is the stock market boom starting in June 2014, which saw the index surging up 110% to a seven-year high of 5166 points in June 2015, just before the crash.

Does this irrational exuberance in the Chinese stock markets make sense, especially with arguably ugly economic figures?

The fear of losing out in the great bull run has caused many young Chinese investors to employing excessive leverage. Over the past few months, margin finance has risen from a mere 1 trillion yuan to 1.46 trillion yuan in march 2015. 

And there we have it. The equation explaining the bull run in the Chinese market: Increase in retail investor participation + increase in leveraged stock trading.

 

Oil Prices Either Crash Or Rebound At This Juncture

Oil Prices Either Crash Or Rebound At This Juncture

Oil prices are at a major inflection point. They either turn higher or break multi-year support levels and cause more pain to oil producers. 

Nearly 2 months ago, we put out a note describing how we speculated on the upside of crude oil prices. We then subsequently implored if prices had indeed bottomed, and we made a case for both sides of the trade. Regular readers that follow our trades that we make public, will know that from the period spanning 1/27 till today, we have had 5 trades on oil. The results of these trades can be found in our most recent commentary dated 3/10.

In this note, we will share with readers a few takeaways we have gained, as well as what we expect going forward.

A Crazy Week In Charts

A Crazy Week In Charts

What a week of utter craziness! After last week's inexhaustible flurry, we thought we'd see some respite. But no, the events just ratcheted one notch higher; with volatility in the financial markets at year-to-date highs and global developments on geopolitical, financial and economic fronts, we can barely keep up the the trance that is raving. So rather than using narrative to summarize what has been a very busy week, we thought of using charts to highlight the key talking points of the past 7 days or so.

This edition of the Daily Grail will be the first ever to feature a compendium of graphics and charts but we might indeed start to adopt a similar format in future editions for time constraints. We have tried to broaden the subjects covered under each piece while ensure each note remains relevant to our readers.