Quantitative easing

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.

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.

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.

Bill Gross: Worry About "Return Of Capital" Instead Of "Return On Capital"

Bill Gross: Worry About "Return Of Capital" Instead Of "Return On Capital"

In this month's investment outlook, Janus Capital's Bill Gross warns about the mounting stresses in the global financial markets and why you should be much more concerned about the return of your capital, than the return on your capital.

Clearly for the bond king, size does matter. The size of recent market movements, during a time when most central banks in major developed markets have stopped their balance sheet expansion programs, is telling us participants that all is not well and that there may be something lurking behind the shadows.

Gross talks about how nearly 8 years of zero bound interest rates and QE have led to a global economy that is now so out of whack it would take a shock, in the form of secularly higher interest rates and borrowing costs, to fix. But therein lies the rub. Markets get absolutely spooked on any mention of a rate hike or a cut back in existing expansionary monetary policies (ECB, BoJ, PBoC, ect...).