"... the next 12-18 months will be divided into three periods corresponding to the three distinct regimes of market dynamics. They can be summarized by the following modes of the curve: short-term tactical bear flatteners on the back of a Fed liftoff story, followed by volatile bear steepeners of the “taper-tantrum” type around mid-year, and a bull-flattening finale as structural factors deem rate hikes to be a policy mistake."
Why - after commodities - China is set to change the landscape on energy in the coming years
The Ghost Cities Finally Died: For China's Steel Industry "The Outlook Is The Worst Ever Amid Unprecedented Losses"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/29/2015 21:35 -0500
In late 2014 something happened: for whatever reason the most unregulated aspect of China's financial system, its shadow banks, not only stopped lending money but actually went into reverse, thus putting a lid on China's Total Social Financing expansion, which had been the world's "under the radar" growth dynamo for so many years. At that moment not only did China's ghost cities officially die, but it meant an imminent collapse for China's steel industry. That collapse has arrived.
The recent bi-polar behavior in spot-VIX empirically supports the theory that a structural weakness now exists in this market by crowding of short volatility players. Short volatility sellers ridicule the fact that the prospectus for the iPath Long Volatility ST Index (VXX) clearly states that the ETF has an expected long-term return of zero. They should ask themselves, is it better to know with certainty you are going to go bankrupt slowly, or be completely ignorant of the fact you will go bankrupt suddenly.
Central banks are fearful and unwilling to normalize but artificially high valuations across asset classes cannot be sustained indefinitely absent fundamental global growth. Central banks are in a prison of their own design and we are trapped with them. The next great crash will occur when we collectively realize that the institutions that we trusted to remove risk are actually the source of it. The truth is that global central banks cannot remove extraordinary monetary accommodation without risking a complete collapse of the system, but the longer they wait the more they risk their own credibility, and the worse that inevitable collapse will be. In the Prisoner’s Dilemma, global central banks have set up the greatest volatility trade in history.
The single most important “unknown unknown” today is any random event that may unexpectedly cause global central banks to withdraw their stated support of markets. Moral hazard has contributed to a significant build up in short and leveraged volatility creating a shadow ‘volatility gamma’ that reinforces the current trend in volatility direction. Rising volatility is followed by more rising volatility and vice versa. The pattern is creating a pro-cyclical monster of short volatility that, if left unchecked will contribute to a repeat of the May 2010 Flash Crash or 1987 Black Monday Crash. August 2015 was just an appetizer.
We would argue the main reason for Blackrock’s attempt to persuade the exchanges to adopt its recommendations on trading halts is that Blackrock itself is inconvenienced by downside volatility. Presumably the company is no stranger to leverage (how else can it squeeze out large returns with a portfolio this large in a ZIRP world?) and is therefore forced to exercise stop loss orders itself when the market declines fast. Such attempts to “regulate” everything, even the price swings markets are allowed to make, are attempts to stem oneself against nature.
Volkswagen's CEO Is Out, To Be Replaced By Porsche CEO Mueller: What's Next For The Troubled CarmakerSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/22/2015 07:01 -0500
A series of dramatic moves at the helm of Germany's iconic carmaker leaves many wondering what's next. Here are some thoughts.
While the rest of the levered-beta 2 and 20 chasers formerly known as "hedge funds" recently accused risk parity of blowing up their August returns (September is not shaping up much better) the biggest risk-parity fund in the world also found a scapegoat: the global economy, which according to Dalio, is the reason for All Weather's dramatic August slump. Bridgewater's message is simple: absent far more easing, what the charts above signal is that the US economy is about to slam head-on into an economic recession.
The current VIX level of 26 is equal to the median VIX level over the last three recessions. As Goldman warns, while extreme VIX levels periodically occur, our analysis shows that VIX levels in the high-twenties to low-thirties for extended periods of time are rare outside of recessions. Furthermore, this was foreseeable as equities were ignoring potential warning signs from other asset classes prior to the recent sell-off.
We show the answer on the chart below: it shows the current price of the S&P energy sector juxtaposed with where the sector would be if one applied a 13.6x multiple to every EPS data point in its history. Not surprisingly, it reveals an energy sector trading at 262.3, about 50% below the current price. It means that the current energy sector price of 506, which is 93% higher to the implied price, has a long way to drop if and when multiple mean-reversion finally sets in.
These are Goldman's four reasons why the bank expects the S&P 500 will end 2015 unchanged from the current level: High starting valuation, negligible earnings growth, outflow from domestic equity mutual funds and ETFs, and modest economic growth. Offsetting these headwinds to a higher market, buybacks remain robust and serve as a pillar of support in the current environment.
Retail money tends to chase returns, resulting in a "positive" rather than a "negative" feedback loop, where mean reversion simply falls by the wayside.
If the longs use VIX products as hedging instruments, then why would anyone take the other side? Because, being short volatility can be very profitable, according to Goldman. Year-to-date this short vol index is up 56%, and selling the front-month VIX has earned a massive 114 vol points... The introduction of weekly VIX futures (and the exponential decay implied by these volatility-inducing instruments) offers, according to Goldman Sachs, even more opportunity for active risk takers to sell vol, scrape premium, and face unlimited downside risk... playing the contango collapse game until there are no more musical chairs left.
...while the media gets overly excited about monthly job growth, the reality is that job growth has been little more than just a function of overall population growth. This isn't something the fosters long-term economic expansions that generate higher levels of prosperity... and if you think low interest rates necessitate high stock prices, that wasn't the case in the 1940s when interest rates were low and stock prices were below their long-term average relative to past earnings.