Despite a denial by the Russians, and now an outright statement that Russia "doubts any freeze deal is possible in the foreseeable future," crude prices are surging as momo algos jump on every headline!
In mid-February, we warned of the looming carnage for equity market-neutral funds, and sure enough, as Bloomberg reports, one of the most popular (and successful) hedge fund trades - playing the difference between high- and low-momentum stocks - crashed by the most since 2009 in Q1. After 6 years of almost unstoppable gains, equity market-neutral funds suffered their biggest losses since 2012 - comparable to the 2007 quant crisis devastation - as weak momo stocks massively outpeformed crushing the hedgies' models.
Be careful, Deutsche Bank warns, in a reiteration of Goldman's call from Sunday: if the Fed leans hawkish causing the USD to jump and commodities to fall anew, equities won't like what they see and we could be headed back to the turmoil that kicked off the year - Draghi or no Draghi.
As the dollar weakens, it supports the most beaten down, energy, sector (which has now undergoing a record short squeeze), but it ultimately will pressure the broader market lower through Tech and Momo. As Kolanovic called it: "a market trapped by the USD."
The last few days have been "odd" according to one veteran trader and today's moves, with USDJPY plunging, S&P 'steady', and XIV (the inverse VIX ETF soaring) left the same trader exclaiming "what the hell is going on?" More unwinds from equity market-neutral funds? OPEX impacts? Or just the death-throes of a Fed-fueled market gasping its last breaths...
Not all is beautiful in Ray Dalio's "beautifully deleveraging" world.
For equity market-neutral funds, there is a phrase more chilling than "worst since Lehman" and that is the quant meltdown in "August 2007" that put many funds out of business. While the mainstream media remains focused elsewhere, the last two weeks have seen equity market-neutral funds 'crash' (and today it is getting worse) as momentum factors diverge and memories of the 2007 bloodbath come back... as this forced unwind drives the current ramp.
"The biases of momentum investing and passive indexation have resulted in valuation distortions across assets as well as equity segments including Technology. Over the past years this trend has picked winning assets, sectors, and stocks often with less regard to fundamental valuation and more regard to momentum and extrapolated growth. We believe that 2016 may result in a reversion of this trend.... Even if this rebalancing comes as a result of market volatility and broader equity declines, long term it will benefit capital markets and the efficient allocation of capital."
With faith in "growth" faltering and the momo leaders rolling over, there are still worries for the bears in the intermediate term...
In Historic First, Massachusetts Attorney General Warns Gilead To Lower Cost Of Hep C Drug Or Face LawsuitSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2016 10:31 -0400
In a Jan. 22 letter to Gilead chief executive John C. Martin, made public Wednesday, the attorney general wrote that the high price of the company’s Sovaldi drug, which cost $84,000 for a full course of treatment, and its Harvoni drug regimen, which cost $94,500, “may constitute an unfair trade practice in violation of Massachusetts law.” The newspaper adds that Healey’s letter said her office was looking into bringing an unfair commercial conduct complaint against the company. It is rare, if not unprecedented, for a state attorney general to confront a drug maker on the cost of a therapy.
The global economy has had its artificial boom and CapEx frenzy already and years of deflationary liquidation and correction lie ahead. Money printing has failed. Any effort by the central banks to double down on another $20 trillion of bond purchases would blow the world’s financial casinos sky high. Contemporary central bankers function like a team of monetary wranglers, herding the retail cattle toward the asset gathers. At the end of the day, the asset gathers will profoundly regret what they are clamoring for.
Since last May, the stock price of SHAK has... declined, to put it politely. As a result, we decided to update the chart below to show the valuation per restaurant (updated for the most recent number of restaurants). Here is the sad result...
At the end of the day, the current preposterous $325 billion market cap has nothing to do with the business prospects of this firm or the considerable entrepreneurial prowess of its leader and his army of disrupters. It is more in the nature of financial rigor mortis - the final spasm of the robo-traders and the fast money crowd chasing one of the greatest bubbles still standing in the casino.