It seems David Tepper's "frigging" "dangerous" market is hitting home as asset managers have greatly rotated their portfolios to hold the most cash in 2 years. Of course, as BAML is quick to point out - this is great "wall of worry" climbing news, "it’s people taking money off the table and playing defensive. There is some inherent buying power." We have now seen almost 6 months of institutional selling and retail investor buying and Bloomberg does a great job rounding up the best market mantras for why it's different this time, and everything is fine... remember "Today’s bearish investors are tomorrow’s bulls."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) Index is the only stock market index that covers both the second and the third industrial revolution. Calculating share indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and showing this index in a historical graph is a useful way to show which phase the industrial revolution is in. Changes in the DJIA shares basket, changes in the formula and stock splits during the take-off phase and acceleration phase of industrial revolutions are perfect transition-indicators. The similarities of these indicators during the last two revolutions are fascinating, but also a reason for concern. In fact the graph of the DJIA is a classic example of fictional truth, a hoax.
Confused by the market? You are not alone with irrational and "Fear of Missing Out" momentum trades and (not so great) sector re(un)rotation all that matters (as has been the case for years with fundamentals not relevant for about 24 months now), so here are some tips from Scotiabank's Guy Haselmann who believes "market noise can be simplified into the following: QE= risk on, End of QE=risk off. QE is now half way toward ending, so now is the time to adjust. The fact that…… EM central banks are hiking, China is attacking its credit bubble, and Japan hiked its VAT tax while the “third arrow” is M.I.A., are also reasons to de-risk. If sanctions on Russia expand to products or industries, then real problems to EU growth will arise. This is something to watch carefully."
Having called for the demise of the hype/hope growth stocks, biotech, and social media schemes at the end of 2013, Marc Faber believes the weakness in those sectors is a signal of things to come (and that the so-called "rotation" to quality stocks is fallacious in the medium-term). Faber carefully notes that the size of markets allows some stocks to move up as others move down and so the overall market "looks" ok, but warns "we have already had a big break in parts of the market... but we haven't had the big break in the overall market," adding that "it's too late to buy the US stock market," confirming what we noted about Jeremy Grantham's dismal outlook for US equities in the medium-term (and how and when the bubble bursts). Simply out, given yields around the world and the fundamentals, "individual investors have excessively optimistic expectations about their future returns," which is terrible news for the record amounts of Greater Fools piling in as professionals pile out.
- EU regulators unveil details of bank stress tests (FT)
- Just use NSAfari: U.S., UK advise avoiding Internet Explorer until bug fixed (Reuters)
- China’s Income Inequality Surpasses U.S., Posing Risk for Xi (BBG)
- US races to refuel infrastructure fund as revenue dries up (FT)
- New Era Dawns at Nokia as Company Appoints CEO, Plans $1.4 Billion Special Dividend, Share-Repurchase Program (WSJ)
- Obama reassures allies, but doubts over 'pivot' to Asia persist (Reuters)
- Dissent at SEC over bank waivers (FT)
- U.S. Banks to Help Authorities with Tax Evasion Probe (WSJ)
- U.S., Europe Impose New Sanctions on Russia (WSJ)
- Why the U.S. Is Targeting the Business Empire of a Putin Ally (BBG)
- Euro-Area April Economic Confidence Unexpectedly Declines (BBG)
- Bitcoin traders settle class actions over failed Mt. Gox exchange (Reut
This eruption of late cycle bubble finance hardly needs comment. Below are highlights from a Bloomberg Story detailing the recent surge of leveraged recaps by the big LBO operators. These maneuvers amount to piling more debt on already heavily leveraged companies, but not to fund Capex or new products, technology or process improvements that might give these debt mules an outside chance of survival over time. No, the freshly borrowed cash from a leveraged recap often does not even leave the closing conference room - it just gets recycled out as a dividend to the LBO sponsors who otherwise hold a tiny sliver of equity at the bottom of the capital structure. This is financial strip-mining pure and simple - and is a by-product of the Fed’s insane repression of interest rates.
A ‘Perfect Storm’ of demography and debt will economically and financially doom almost every country on earth. It will be TEOTWAWKI – ‘The End Of The World As We Know It’. No, it’s not the end of life or even the end of civilization. However, when it’s all over, nothing will ever be the same and that includes the disappearance of much of the middle class. The good news - The storm won’t last forever. The bad news is there will be much more pain before it ends unless you make an effort to understand what’s happening and why.
Dear Gennady, ...So you see, Gennady, we are actually quite prepared to see the stock market crash, to see all the stock markets in the world crash, and the yields on our dollar bonds rise to whatever level. We are prepared for much worse things... The inevitable economic setback may result in some political opposition within Russia itself, but in the context of an escalating confrontation with Europe it shouldn’t be too difficult to cope with.... I hope that makes things a little clearer. Yes, it is a risky strategy, but a Europe dominated by Russia, or at least detached from the United States and disunited, is a prize worth risking everything for. Beppo is worth a crash.... Think about what I’ve said – some of it may come as a shock, but in the end, I think you’ll agree that it’s actually good news that the long tense period of waiting is finally over. We can’t win a conventional or a nuclear conflict, but this plan really might succeed. If not, well, we Russians are used to overcoming adversity.. Your Friend, Sasha
I am sure those who were buying the "Kool-aid" at the market highs feel that way, but the numbers tell a different story.
In the aftermath of Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys" there has been a renewed surge in interest in High Frequency Trading. Alas, much of it is conflicted, biased, overly technical or simply wrong. And since we can't assume that all those interested have been followed our 5 year of coverage of a topic that finally has earned its day in the public spotlight, below is a simple summary for everyone.
On Monday, in "High Frequency Trading: Why Now And What Happens Next" we predicted that "the high freaks are about to become the most convenient, and "misunderstood" scapegoat, for when the market finally does crash. Which means that those HFT-associated terms which very few recognize now, especially those on either side of the pro/anti-HFT debate who have very strong opinions but zero factual grasp of the matter, such as the following:
- Layering: multiple, large orders are placed passively with the goal of “pushing” the book away
Of course, another name for "layering" is "spoofing" which is precisely the term that the SEC used today when it announced that it charged the owner of a New Jersey-based trading firm and several other defendants "in a scheme to manipulate the market through an illegal practice known as "spoofing."
High Frequency Trading (HFT) covers such a broad swathe of 'trading' and financial markets that Mark Cuban (yes, that Mark Cuban), who has been among the leading anti-HFT graft voices in the public realm, decided to put finger-to-keyboard to create an "idiots guide to HFT" as a starting point for broad discussion. With screens full of desperate "stocks aren't rigged" HFT defenders seemingly most confused about what HFT is and does, perhaps instead of 'idiots' a better term would be "practitioners."
We doubt it: first wait until the next market crash is blamed on HFT (as we speculate it will)... and then watch as the entire world suddenly goes all tar and feathers on a few million vacuum tubes.
For all the talk about how High Frequency Trading has rigged markets, most seem to be ignoring the two most obvious questions: why now and what happens next?