Llast week, during which the S&P 500 was up 0.9% as the market rebounded off of Tuesday’s lows, BofAML clients were net buyers of $5.6bn of US stocks—the biggest inflow in our data history (since ’08) following five weeks of selling. The last time flows were close to these levels was during the (less extreme) volatility in early January of this year, as well as following the Tech/Biotech sell-off in early 2014 (see chart below). Net buying last week was broad based—while no client group saw record flows relative to its own history, hedge funds, institutional clients and private clients were all big net buyers which led to record inflows when combined.
It doesn’t make sense to you. And it shouldn’t to anyone. Unless – they first go directly to the ‘house bar and media entertainment center’ that is always open and always free with spiked Kool-Aid™. It works better and is cheaper than actual liquor. It’s not actually a drink per se. It’s just hoopla and endless propaganda for the masses. That’s why it’s free and encouraged. It keeps everyone happy within the walls and enhances the experience, while simultaneously acting as one non-stop running commercial to entice anyone foolish to think they too can get rich quick. All legal by the way. The laws were adapted to fit the criteria.
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."
The week that passed has left many of the so-called “smart crowd” flummoxed, disheveled, dismayed, and disrobed from their expensive facades of “expert insightful analysis.” It seems all that “expert” as well as “insight” wasn’t all it was made out to be. In less than a week: historic records weren’t only broken – they were smashed to smithereens. And the one’s that were the most historic? They weren’t set for positive things.
Luckily we didn't hear anything more about Vomiting Camel formations but there was certainly an ample amount of "it's priced in" blaring in the background.
Simply put, a perfect storm of failing trends...
During Monday's flash crashing mayhem, the fragility of the ETF pricing system was exposed for all to see. While common sense dictates that the extreme market moves, trading halts, and tripped circuit breakers may have had quite a lot to do with the epic divergences between NAV and unit pricing, the real culprit was a "computer glitch" caused by a botched "systems change" last Saturday. The fact that the trouble calculating NAVs across nearly 800 mutual funds happened on the very same day as the flash crash is strictly coincidence.
While oil prices are surging (global economic meltdown averted), stocks are back in the green on the week (crisis averted), and bonds are collapsing (not because of China selling according to the mainstream because "everything is awesome" again), we point traders' attention to the continued inversion in the VIX term structure. While well off the peak crisis levels, we have a long way to go to "normalized" levels of risk...
In the past week, ever since the Fed's FOMC minutes which sent the S&P tumbling from 2100 to their lows in the overnight session, some 13% lower, the US economy underwent the functional equivalent of a 15 bps rate hike, or more than half the rate hike that the Fed has been so terrified to engage in for years.
Take your pick - here's three good reasons to engineer a "crash" that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
Whether it’s intentional or accidental. The more Mom and Pop tunes out – the less to feed on for the HFT’s till eventually there’s no one left to feed on except for themselves – and I believe you are witnessing in real-time this exact phenom which will be brought on not only quicker, but with more ferocity moving forward. For Mom and Pop are not coming back to either the “markets” or CNBC. They’re done.
Following the biggest (and only) market correction in years, the biggest weekly surge in the VIX ever, the second wholesale market flash crash in history coupled with the first ever limit down trade in the Nasdaq and the E-Mini, not to mention the biggest intraday bearish reversal since Lehman, it would appear that the "smart money" actually was aptly named.
One of the fallacies being propagated about yesterday's flash crash, is that somehow HFTs came riding in as noble white knights and rescued the market from a collapse instead of actually causing it. This particular lie is worth a few quick observations and explanations of what really happened.
With professionals proclaiming yesterday's meltdown "historic," and generously telling investors "don't try to overthink what you're seeing," it is clear that the real impact of the carnage wrought by a combination of Fed-indiced crowded trades and HFT illiquidity-providers is yet to be fully appreciated. While Financial advisers, almost unanimously, have cautioned clients not to panic... As one retail investor exclaimed, yesterday's open "was a life-changing 20 minutes."
So to be technically accurate, what happened in May 2010 was one marketwide flash crash, while today we had a market paralysis which was the direct result of countless isolated mini flash crashes, all of which precipitated the market from failing for the first 30 minutes of trading.