Call it the rigor mortis of the robo-machines. About 430 days ago the S&P 500 crossed the 1973 mark for the first time - the same point where it settled today. In between there has been endless reflexive thrashing in the trading range highlighted below. As is evident, the stock averages have not “climbed” the proverbial wall of worry; they have jerked and twitched to a series of short-lived new highs, which have now been abandoned. Surely most thinking investors have left the casino by now. So what remains is chart driven trading programs, racing madly up, then down, then back up again - rinsing and repeating with ever more furious intensity.
Attempts to explain exactly what happened last Monday when prices for a whole host of ETFs and mutual funds diverged markedly from fair value abound and while there's no way to know for sure exactly what went wrong, FactSet has drawn some tentative conclusions after conducting a bit of "voodoo, tea-leaf reading."
China's Ministry of Public Security says the accused are very, very sorry for their actions, in which they "misled society and the public, generated and spread fearful sentiment, and even used the opportunity to maliciously concoct rumors to attack [Communist] Party and national leaders."
The stability of global capital markets, the ECB meeting and US employment data are highlights. Risk seems to be greater than discounted that Sept rate hike is still a distinct possibility.
News That Matters
In the midst of turmoil among asset classes, investors tend to make irrational decisions, such as panicking and liquidating at inopportune times. Nobel Prize-winning Psychologist Daniel Kahneman helps explain ill-conceived reactions to the market with his concept of loss aversion. That’s the fear and feelings of loss surpass the joy one may receive from a similarly sized potential gain. In order to frame this discussion of volatility, we dug up old surveys of institutional and individual investors that recorded their responses to the 1987 market crash
Given Monday's flash-crashing mayhem, and given how predisposed household investors are to mistrust Wall Street in the post-crisis, post-Flash Boys world, retail outflows during uncertain times shouldn’t come as a surprise, but as Credit Suisse notes, something happened in July and August that hasn’t happened since Q4 of 2008...
"As soon as people sense the government is withdrawing from direct intervention, there will be lots of investors starting to dump stocks again."
"Despite a slight tightening in the maize carryover, global grain stocks are forecast at 447m t, a 29-year peak."
During Monday's flurry of tripped circuit breakers and flash crashing mayhem, ETF investors learned the hard way that Howard Marks was precisely correct when he warned that ETFs "can't be more liquid than the underlying and we know the underlying can become highly illiquid." The question now, is whether subsequent flash crashes will trigger even more spectacular divergences between fair value and ETF unit prices on the way to proving, once and for all, that ETFs may indeed be the new financial weapons of mass destruction.
Full Witch Hunt: Chinese Police Probe Securities Regulator While Securities Regulator Probes BrokersSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2015 12:35 -0400
Not satisfied with having arrested a reporter and a prominent investment banker, China is also looking into alleged improprieties at CSRC, the regulator which runs the CSF equity plunge protection team. Meanwhile, CSRC is conducting its own investigations into multiple brokers.
For Saudi Arabia, The Music Just Stopped: Scramble To Slash Spending Begins As Oil Math Reveals Dire PictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2015 17:20 -0400
With declining crude revenues clashing head on with the cost of simultaneously financing the state while intervening militarily in Yemen, the Saudis are looking to tap the bond market (a move which could increase debt-to-GDP by a factor of 10 by the end of next year) and some are speculating that the riyal’s dollar peg could ultimately prove unsustainable. Now, as Bloomberg reports, "Saudi Arabia is seeking to cut billions of dollars from next year’s budget because of the slump in crude prices."
Every Federal Reserve Chair since 1979 has faced a notable challenge in the first 12-20 months of their tenure – something akin to capital markets “Bullies” hazing the new kid at school. Paul Volcker had the 1979-1980 Iranian oil shock/recession, Alan Greenspan the 1987 Stock Market Crash, and Ben Bernanke the 2007 Financial Crisis. Their responses shaped market perceptions about Federal Reserve priorities and set the stage for the remainder of their tenures, from Inflation-Fighting Volcker to Save-the-World Bernanke. Now, it is Chair Yellen’s turn...
"... others took us to task a great deal more disconcertingly, calling upon us to close our business; to take up another vocation; to stop making “calls” and as one “pundit” rather comically suggested we should go have sexual relations with our self."