• Steve H. Hanke
    02/11/2016 - 16:08
    The burgeoning literature contains a great deal of hype, which validates the 95% Rule: 95% of what is written about economics and finance is either wrong or irrelevant.

Capital Markets

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Retail Investors Have Never Been More Bullish Based On Record VIX ETF Selling





Courtesy of JPM we find something curious: it is no longer the Fed, nor its capital markets proxy, Citadel, nor even the banks or hedge funds that are the primary sellers of volatility. It is retail investors themselves!

 
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Liquid Alts - The World's Most Popular Hedge Fund Strategy Explained





Today's most popular hedge fund strategy among institutional investors globally is "Alternative Global Macro Funds". Also known as a “go anywhere” investment style, active managers employ opportunistic trading tactics across asset classes, financial instruments, and geographic regions. Like many liquid alts, global macro funds grew rapidly following the financial crisis as investors looked for strategies that could diversify their portfolios in the midst of volatility in the global marketplace and historically high sector correlations against the S&P 500, thereby improving their risk-return profiles. Ultimately, success in this classification resides in selecting the right active manager given the strategy’s wide dispersion of returns.

 
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The Fed's Troubling Clarity Of Confusion





Over the past few years no institution has had more consequences beholden to their words than the Federal Reserve. So much so one could reasonably argue in response to prevailing circumstances their communiques overshadowed most others; including presidents and other leaders. The problem today is; in their effort to bring more clarity via press-ers, and more as to what might be transpiring behind the doors at the Eccles building, they’ve now communicated more confusion in the last two weeks nullifying all previous efforts. In our eyes it seems to be working exactly the same as its other policy outcomes: adding confusion, uncertainty, and having the exact opposite of intended results.

 
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QE Infinity Calls Continue: "QE4 Will Be Their Next Move"





"What we have had is a jobless recovery in the US and so the Fed could not afford to cause another depression by raising interest rates. QE4 will be their next move, which is now much more likely than a rate hike."

 
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China's "Credit Mystery" Deepens, As Moody's Warns On Shadow Financing





Are some Chinese banks ramping up their exposure to shadow conduits on the way to obscuring massive amounts of credit risk? Moody's says yes...

 
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The Table Is Set For The Next Financial Crisis





Some people will never learn... ever. What is happening today is nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The iceberg has been struck, we’re taking on water, and this sucker is going to sink. Game Over.

 
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Weekend Reading: Fed Confusion





The current surge in dis-inflationary pressures is not just due to the recent fall in oil prices, but rather a global epidemic of slowing economic growth. While Janet Yellen addressed this "disinflationary" wave during her post-meeting press conference, the Fed still maintains the illusion of confidence that economic growth will return shortly. Unfortunately, this has been the Fed's "Unicorn" since 2011 as annual hopes of economic recovery have failed to materialize. However, it is these ongoing views of optimism that have collided with economic realities.

 
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"Nothing Is Working" - The Markets Just Aren't That Into You





With just 3 months left on the calendar, many investors are down on the year for one simple reason: nothing is really working.  That leaves them only a short period to show a positive return, or at least a less-negative result than whatever index they track. To do that, many will have to make very specific and concentrated bets. It might be about equities generally – will they recover from the current growth scare?  Or it might be asset allocation – will bonds finally go up on the year?  For stock pickers, the key question is certainly “Play the winners, or look for laggards?” All we know is that with 69 days left to play catchup, time favors the fleet.  And the bold.

 
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David Petraeus, "Treasury Analyst": Please Don't Quit Your Day Job





Somehow everything in the following statement from David Petraeus is wrong: "There is no shortage of customers for the purchase of U.S. Treasuries," said Petraeus.... "Given the relative strength of the U.S. economy and the prospect of the Fed raising interest rates at some point in the months ahead, I suspect there will continue to be very keen interest in U.S. Treasuries." 

 
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Budget Deficit Explodes Higher In Portugal After Government Throws In Towel On Bad Bank Sale





Newly-upgraded Portugal unleashed a budget bombsell on Wednesday when it revised its 2014 deficit higher by some 60% after a failure to liquidate the predecessor to bailed out Banco Espirito Santo left taxpayers holding a €5 billion bag. 

 
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Mario Draghi Shuns Yellen, "Sees No Financial Stability Risks" - Live Feed





From Novotny, Coeure, and Jazbec, the leaks this morning have been clearly angled towards "do not expect any more Q€ anytime soon," so one wonders if, having seen the reaction in EUR weakness still whether Mario Draghi will try and talk these 'hawkish' comments back?

 
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Why Stocks Are Sliding: For The First Time Since 2009 Spending On Buybacks Surpasses Free Cash Flow





The aggregate Buybacks to Free Cash Flow ratio for the S&P 500 exceeded 100% for the first time since October 2009. The ratio hit 108% on a TTM basis at the end of Q2, which represented a 12.9% increase quarter-over-quarter and a 42% increase year-over-year. The 10-year median ratio was 72.2%. And that, in a nutshell, is why the market is tumbling today - the biggest buyers of stock in the past 2 years, the corporations themselves, just priced themselves out of the market and no longer generate the cash needed to push their own stock to new all time highs.

 
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