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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.

ECB Cuts Rates, Boosts QE & Murders Euro Shorts

ECB Cuts Rates, Boosts QE & Murders Euro Shorts

Read that again. Does the title make any sense? Just how did the ECB murder euro shorts with even more easing?

The ECB has made its move this week. Even lower negative interest rates, more QE, and rhetoric that should all else equal send the euro tumbling to new lows.

But exactly the opposite happened an hour after news hit the wires. Baffled yet? Well, most traders were. The stupendous volatility this single event has brought to the financial markets is difficult to overstate.

Contrary to intuition, the euro (EURUSD) is some 420 pips north of Thursday's lows, making this one of the largest and most brutal intraday reversals we've seen in a long while. Yields on core European sovereign debt are all higher, instead of lower. Such moves make little sense considering how much looser monetary policy is now in the Eurozone. Or does it? Let us explain.

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.

Bill Gross: QE Has Failed Terribly

Bill Gross: QE Has Failed Terribly

Central banks aren't stupid, they're just stubborn. The unintended consequences, a palpable word for not heeding the lessons of history, of zero bound rates have never been further reaching.

Businesses lose foresight they used to have. Savers and pensions suffer the most because savings cannot earn a high enough return to justify the value of time and opportunity costs. It's all about the yield curve, which has never been as flat as it is today.

Things have gotten so out of whack that even Gross himself openly admits that the 'necessary' changes will most probably not be effected. Entire financial systems have been built on this new paradigm.

Unfortunately for the real economy, this new paradigm has hindered long term economic growth and stability. Will anything change? Perhaps not.

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.

 

China's Stock Buying Mania In 3 Charts

China's Stock Buying Mania In 3 Charts

Back in December, we wrote about how China was playing Palov's dog when on one hand it tried to clamp down on "excessive" speculation, while continuing to provide fodder for hungry speculators with the other. Fast forward 4 months and the results of the Politburo's efforts become evident, and rather grotesquely so.

As Xi Jing Ping along with his administration continues attempting to orchestrate a soft landing of China's economy, much to the hilarity of those that actually watch real economic and financial data emanating from the world's second largest economy, it seems the retail community has been much less patient about another economic growth renaissance and has taken their tokens directly to the financial markets in hopes of striking it big. 

If readers need a definition of what a mania is, the charts below should shed some light. Enjoy..