Will they, won't they, should they or shouldn't they? Those are the questions being hotly contested by the mainstream media on a daily basis. Of course, the reality is the Federal Reserve faces the huge obstacle of weak global growth and deflationary pressures which could very well keep them on hold well into 2016. The potential loss of credibility in the Fed by the markets could be the bigger issue to be concerned with. For now, we wait.
"After many years of ultra-accommodative polices, it is clear that ongoing interventions have failed to boost actual economic growth and only exacerbated the destruction of the middle class. It is clear that employment growth has only been a function of population growth, as witnessed by the ongoing decline in the labor-force participation rates and the surging levels of individuals that have fallen out of the work-force. While we will continue to operate to foster maximum employment and price stability, the reality is that the economy overall remains far to weak to sustain higher interest rates or any tightening of monetary policy."
While there are certainly reasons to be "hopeful" that stocks will continue to rise into the future, "hope" has rarely been a fruitful investment strategy longer term. Therefore, let's analyze each of the optimist's arguments from both perspectives to eliminate "confirmation bias."
If this is indeed a rerun of the post-LTCM/pre first tech bubble days, then oil is about to soar by 150%
After earlier in the year exposing "the greatest shorting opportunity since 2007-2009" and trading it profitably through September with "front row seats to an imminent market shock," Billionaire Crispin Odey's flagshipfund has suffered recently. As Bloomberg reports, the fund plunged 16.8% in the first 16 days of October, after the fund profited in August and September from Odey’s negative view of the Chinese economy. Odey believes that the only way economies will be able to work their way through the next downturn is by writing off capacity. Therefore, with credit tightening as well, according to Odey, it’s a good time to be short...
"It could simply be 1998/99 all over again. After all, a “speculative blow-off” in asset prices is one logical conclusion to a world dominated by central bank liquidity, technological disruption & wealth inequality. What worked back then? What rose from the rubble of 1998? How would one position for one final melt-up on Wall Street..."
Following the latest hedge fund underperformance, it is no longer possible to ignore the obvious:in the year in which central banks will unleash the greatest amount of liquidity in the "markets" in history, and where we have seen at least 77 easing steps taken by global central banks, hedge funds are poised to record their worst performance since 2011, according to JPM.
"Three topics dominated our client discussions this week: (1) Hedge fund performance in the wake of the collapse in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) during the past five days; (2) cash return to shareholders, especially buyback activity; and (3) 3Q results."
Correction continues, but it is only a correction.
"The strong stock market rally during the last few days has pushed the S&P 500 near its highest closing level since the correction began in late August. This has boosted optimism that the recent selloff may be ending. While this could certainly prove to be the case, we remain less sanguine that the vulnerabilities, which initially produced this correction, have yet to be resolved. Ultimately, we expect a more fearful investment culture suggesting a final capitulation and more importantly, a lower stock market valuation level able to withstand a less hospitable recovery as the economy nears full employment."
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.
The market has delivered a warning shot in August, but it seems investors aren’t taking it seriously yet. This could turn out to be a costly mistake. If (or rather when) faith in the omnipotence of central banks crumbles, we could see an unusually severe market dislocation.
Last week’s volatility to the downside was entirely predictable, as the first leg down during this ongoing market crash reached the correction stage of 11%. The technical bounce was a given, as the 30 year old HFT MBAs on Wall Street have been trained like rats to BTFD. In their lemming like minds, it has worked for the last six years of this Federal Reserve created “bull market”, so why wouldn’t it work now. Last week was their first lesson in why it doesn’t work during bear markets, and we’ve entered a bear market. John Hussman seems amused at the shallowness of the arguments by Wall Street shills and CNBC cheerleaders about the future of the stock market in his weekly letter. After this modest pullback from all-time highs, the S&P 500 is still overvalued by 92%...
Rickards said that gold is like “fire insurance on your house” ... “Nobody wants their house to burn down but if it does you are glad you have some insurance”.