US-Europe Decoupling At All Time Record As SovX - Implied Correlation Spread Indicates Historic Domestic ComplacencySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/30/2010 12:40 -0400
In last night daily report by BofA's Jeffrey Rosenberg, one chart stands out: the spread between the 12 month S&P 500 top 50 Implied Correlation (generically a proxy of broad US equity risk) and the Sov X, or the blended sovereign risk as indicated by CDS, which recently hit an all time high. In a nutshell: the spread has never been bigger, confirming that US domestic complacency over all things European (and the continuing levitation in stocks) has reached unprecedented levels, as absolutely no fundamentals can stand in the path of the hedge fund levered beta year end rally. In other words the China-US fatally flawed "decoupling" of 2007 has been replaced with a decoupling between the US and Europe. This will also end in tears. And this is happening even as European markets are unraveling, and as the EURUSD is tumbling, guaranteeing a drop in both US exports and the top line for US MNCs. But why worry: as 58 year old Valerie Whelan yesterday summarized it best: "It's capitalism gone mad." Every move in risk assets higher is merely a bet that central bankers can kick the can down the road for one more day. Nothing else. That it is unsustainable is guaranteed. Willem Buiter makes the case all too clearly that Europe will go bankrupt soon. We expect someone to make the same argument about the US very soon, especially if China does in fact commence tightening, leaving the chairman no other choice than to open the liquidity floodgates in one last attempt to preserve the dying economic system, however, this time without the benefit of being able to export inflation to China.
The 10 Year under 2.5%, Bunds, Gilts, JGBs all following suit to record risk-aversion levels, the EURCHF at record lows, the USDJPY at 15 year lows, and now this: the CBOE Implied Correlation index has just hit another historic plateau, touching on 85 earlier in the day, which means that all those who believe relative value can still be found are about to be carted off. Aside from the fact that the current level of JCJ would be the highest closing level in history, the intraday high of 84.50 is a very troubling indicator, which once again confirms that stocks continue to trade not on fundamentals, and probably not on technicals, but on ever increasing amount of leverage applied to some indication of beta. Essentially, market participants are likely levered to the gills like never before and betting it all on another daily Hail Mary. Another way of looking at the reading, as we have pointed out previously, is that stock dispersion: the most critical indicator of a healthy market, is at 15%! And let's not forget we are currently still in the H.O. regime (and to all naysayers we remind that the market has dropped almost 4% since the first Hindenburg Omen appeared). So many coincident records, can hardly be a coincidence... We look forward to getting Matt Rothman's thoughts on this increasingly disturbing trend, and for the NYT to pick up on this theme within 4-6 weeks.
It was only Wednesday when we were lamenting the collapse of alpha after implied correlation hit an all time intraday high of just under 80. Well, today should be the day when all long/short funds are shutting down: implied corr just closed at an all time record high of 79.57, after also posting an absolute intraday record of 80.08. It is getting ever more obvious that stocks continue to trade more and more as just one asset class, as seen by the constant increase in JCJ below, which has risen almost 15% in this week alone. At this rate, every stock will trade just like every other stock in under 3 weeks when alpha is officially put to rest and stock dispersion has undergone an extinction level event (better known as HFT and ETF encroachment, in which it is the price that determines value and not the other way around).
Over the last 3 days implied correlation has surged back to extreme levels as professional investors once again see rising correlation throughout 2010 - traditionally seen as an alternative reading to the VIX as amarket crash predictor. With the VIX still sustained at artificially low levels, keep a close eye on this indicator.
The implied correlation reading between all asset classes has hit a 6 month high at 65.50, a jump which mimics the surge in the VIX. High implied correlation readings are indicative of crash risk expectations.
Could it be that after several months, the "sophisticated" investors are betting on a high-correlated event? One thing to keep in mind as one follows the meanderings of the VIX.