"Low Volatility Everywhere" - BIS Sounds Alarm Alert On Pervasive Complacency Masking Systemic ShocksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/14/2014 12:14 -0400
"After the spell of volatility in early August, the search for yield – a dominant theme in financial markets since mid-2012 – returned in full force. Volatility fell back to exceptional lows across virtually all asset classes, and risk premia remained compressed. By fostering risk-taking and the search for yield, accommodative monetary policies thus continued to support elevated asset price valuations and exceptionally subdued volatility."
Forget the Siren calls of the impending end of days and the imminent collapse of civilization. Here is a non-polemical non-bombastic overview of three key events in the week ahead: FOMC meeting, TLTRO launch in Europe and the Scottish referendum.
Q. What are traders talking about at the present time here at the New York Stock Exchange?
Cashin: We are concerned about two questions. First, how will the Fed do in keeping money reasonably easy without causing inflation? Second, where do we stand with the current geopolitical challenges? For now, these challenges seem to be short term concerns. But should we begin to see a financial contagion and pressure building on banks in Europe, perhaps out of the Ukraine situation, things could theoretically turn into what I call a «Lehman moment». That is when markets come under pressure but seem to be under control, and then things change suddenly.
Just when we thought that the Fed is pulling an Obama and has "no strategy" to deal with what not some fringe blog but Deutsche Bank itself proclaimed was the bubble to end, or rather extend, all bubbles, when it said that "the bubble probably needs to continue in order to sustain the current global financial system" they surprise us once again when they report that, drumroll, the Fed has formed a committee led by the former head of the Bank of Israel - best known for using de novo created fiat money to buy AAPL stock as part of "prudent monetary policy" - Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, to monitor financial stability, which according to Bloomberg is "reinforcing the Fed's efforts to avoid the emergence of asset-price bubbles."
China may need to expand its goalseek template to include the other far more important measure of Chinese economic activity, such as Industrial production, retail sales, fixed investment, and even more importantly - such key output indicators as Cement, Steel and Electricity, because based on numbers released overnight, the Q2 Chinese recovery is now history (as the credit impulse of the most recent PBOC generosity has faded, something we have discussed in the past), and the economy has ground to the biggest crawl it has experienced since the Lehman crash. What's worse, and what we predicted would happen when we observed the collapse in Chinese commodity prices ten days ago, capex, i.e. fixed investment, grew at the slowest pace in the 21st century: the number of 16.5% was the lowest since 2001, and suggests that the commodity deflation problem is only going to get worse from here.
Credit Suisse warns of a self-fuelling feedback loop of rising risks and costs to the Scottish financial and sovereign sectors, and a steady migration of capital, activity, jobs and taxes if the Scots vote "Yes". However, if the vote is a close "no", they warn "the cat is out of the bag," and risk remains.
Getting out of a Liquidity Trap with monetary policy playing the lead role necessarily involves a Dornbuschian sequence of rational overshooting: The Fed must drive up Wall Street prices, which move quickly, so as to get to Main Street prices that move up slowly, most importantly, wages. This sequencing implies that Wall Street prices must become very rich relative to Main Street prices in order to achieve so-called escape velocity from the Liquidity Trap. At the transition point, Wall Street prices will be rationally “overvalued” relative to their long-term “fair value.” The dominant risk for Wall Street is not bursting bubbles, but rather a long slow grind down in profit’s share of GDP/national income. And you can stick that into a Gordon Model, too! Bonds and stocks may at present be rationally valued, but borrowing from the lyrics of Procol Harum’s Keith Reid: Expected long-term returns are turning a more ghostly whiter shade of pale.
Rents and housing costs make up 30% of CPI. They’re its largest component. They’re soaring in real life. But not in the CPI.
At a global aggregated level deflation has been non-existent over the last 80 years. Prior to the twentieth century, Deutsche Bank notes that years of deflation were almost as common as years of inflation. However this all changed over the last 100 years or so as global currency links to precious metals broke down periodically and then collapsed as of 1971. Furthermore, since then inflation has had an upward bias relative to most of prior history, and as such, Deutsche warns, the longer-term investor has evidence that they must approach the current low levels of bond yields with extreme caution.
This is why Capitalism is failing in the US: because not only is it now clear that the US economy is, for the most part, a rigged game… but that NO ONE involved in the rigging is punished.
Here is the quote that perfectly captures our era: "People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage." (John Kenneth Galbraith) The trick, of course, is to mask the unspoken second half of of that statement: everybody else gets destroyed along with the Elites when the system implodes.
One Bank Has Had Enough: FBN Says "Time To Turn The Boat Around" Switching To Bearish Outlook, 1870 TargetSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/10/2014 08:26 -0400
The sensitivity to headlines reflects an attempt by many firms to salvage performance for 2014 by augmenting their exposure aggressively over the past several weeks. Similar to the countless number of jockeys who have failed in the grueling 1.5 mile Belmont Stakes by asking for their horse to start its kick too far in front of the finish line, these funds moved too soon as year-end still sits far off on the horizon. This incremental positioning grossly inflated the average monthly NYSE closing TICK which extended to +338 on Monday. Thus, the muscle for a protracted selloff is intact.
"Washington is absolutely correct, in my opinion, to want to boost American consumption, but the Fed seems to be trying to boost consumption by igniting another asset bubble in the hopes that, like before 2007, Americans will feel “richer” and so will consume more. This isn't sustainable, however, and will leave us, as Paul and Druckenmiller fear, even more heavily indebted and more dangerously exposed to the underlying weakness in demand."
Anyone looking at the Federal Reserve's own data set, that provided with the generous "free" funding of the US taxpayer by way of the St. Louis Fed's FRED database, will notice something quite welcome, if magical: total US debt held by the public - that which is not part of intragovernment holdings, read Social Security - has mysteriously collapsed from $12 trillion to $5 trillion. Somehow, with nobody looking, the Fed managed to reduce US total debt by $7 trillion.
As I have said for at least a year now, until and unless we see a weekly close (ideally consecutive weekly closes) in the VIX index below 10, then I judge risk-on has more to go. We got close in June/early July, but we did not get there. I would expect that, if I am right about the next quarter or two, then VIX should hit this target during this timeframe. At that point, positioning for the big turn and reversal of large chunks of the nominal wealth/asset price gains since early 2009 would take over as my key investment strategy.