Congress gave the Fed a mandate to “promote maximum employment, production, and price stability”; it never explicitly authorized propping up stocks. Yet through a remarkable theoretical stretch called the “wealth effect,” that’s exactly what the Fed is doing.
some such as JPM, are already rushing to the defense of their clients (i.e., the people to whom JPM's prop desk may have some selling left to do) by providing a handy backtest of which key technical indicators proved useful in the past when determining market bottoms (if not tops - that one JPM will probably never, ever disclose), and what these are saying at this moment. So for all those who need convincing that the "bottom is now in", and are desperate to BTFD because other, greater fools will also BTFD and so on, here it is, straight from Jamie Dimon's mouth.
This past week investors took a blow from a sharp selloff in the financial markets. Now that the correction has occurred, at least to some degree, the question that must be answered is simply: “Is it over?” That is the basis of this weekend’s reading list which is a compilation of reads that debate this point. The bulls remain wildly bullish, believing that this is simply a “dip” in the ongoing “bull market.” The more pessimistic crowd sees the opposite.
There is this whole idea of state dependence that we have to consider when we’re talking about the market. Uou might have a plan to buy stocks when the index gets below a certain level, but when the market gets to that point, you: a) may not have the capital; and b) might be panicking into your shorts. It’s nice to have a plan, but, paraphrasing Mike Tyson, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. It’s been so long since we’ve had a correction, I’m guessing that most people have forgotten what a correction feels like.
Is the stock market about to crash? Hopefully not, and there definitely have been quite a few "false alarms" over the past few years. But without a doubt we have been living through one of the greatest financial bubbles in U.S. history, and the markets are absolutely primed for a full-blown crash. That doesn't mean that one will happen now, but we are starting to see some ominous things happen in the financial world that we have not seen happen in a very long time.
The rising fear may reflect a shift in sentiment from faith in the omnipotence of central banks to skepticism.
Just when you think the selloff couldn’t get any scarier, it did. The last hour of trading took over 1% out of the S&P 500 in rapid fashion, reportedly on fears of an Ebola check at a major U.S. airport. Today we offer up a “Top 10” list of specific markets and indicators to watch for signs of a near term market bottom. They include the CBOE VIX Index (key levels at 26 and 32), the action in small cap stocks and crude oil, and the dollar. Less quantifiable issues – but important nonetheless – are headlines related to Ebola (probably getting worse before better), 10-year Treasury bond yields (2.0% and 1.5% possible here), and European policymakers addressing a host of difficult monetary and fiscal policy issues. Bottom line: this is unlikely to be a dramatic “V-bottom” low given the range of issues of concern to investors. Look for the majority of our “Top 10” to stop going down before calling a bottom.
- Liberian Rubber Farm Becomes Sanctuary Against Ebola (WSJ)
- The World’s Most Powerful Central Banker: Janet Who? (BBG)
- Islamic State moves into south west of Syrian Kurdish town (Reuters)
- Waldorf to Be Biggest Chinese Property Purchase in U.S. (BBG)
- Spain Seeks People in Contact With Ebola-Infected Nurse (BBG)
- Hong Kong protests at crossroads as traffic, frustration pile up (Reuters)
- Immigration: Grim Caseload at the Border (WSJ)
- China Cuts Thousands of ‘Phantom’ Workers From State Payroll (BBG)
- U.S., U.K. Regulators Push to Settle Deutsche Bank Libor Case This Year (WSJ)
- Wall Street Moles Go to NY’s Top Cop, Spurning SEC Cash (BBG)
- Pimco's outflow headaches only just beginning (Reuters)
- Japan Lawmakers Flag Need for Exit Strategy as Yen Falls (BBG)
As the late-day VIX slamdown began, and stocks levitated off the lows, CBOE's Futures Exchange "broke." At 1542ET, VIX futures/options stopped trading (though the VIX index continued to push lower).
The key question now is “Can the U.S./global economy handle a meaningful downturn in financial asset prices?” The short answer is that it may not have a choice. The Federal Reserve has done what it can to juice the American economy and has the balance sheet to prove it. Central banks, for all their power, do not control long term capital allocation or corporate hiring practices. Fed Funds have been below 2% for six years. If the U.S. economy can’t continue to grow in 2015 as the Federal Reserve inches rates higher, there are clearly larger issues at play. And those private sector problems will need private sector solutions.
Sometimes, when you go looking for trouble... you find it!
It appears Rule 575 is having an impact today. Quietly this morning, CBOE traders were told at 1027ET that the S&P 500 index was "currently unavailable for trading." As the following chart shows, this halted a drop in the market and instantly enabled a levitation to near the day's highs. Unrigged?
- Obama orders U.S. airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State (Reuters)
- Obama Relying on Mideast Allies to Counter Islamic State (BBG)
- Scotland Nationalists Claim U.K. Oil in 40-Year Campaign (BBG)
- Scottish Polls Embolden Catalans Pushing Rajoy for Vote (BBG)
- Royal Bank of Scotland: RBS will leave Scotland if voters back independence (Guardian)
- Most Hedge-Fund Managers Are Overpaid, Unigestion Says (BBG)
- China Inflation Softens to Four-Month Low (WSJ)
- Munger Hosts Groupies, Mocks Wall Street, Praises Buffett (BBG)