During Monday's flash crashing mayhem, the fragility of the ETF pricing system was exposed for all to see. While common sense dictates that the extreme market moves, trading halts, and tripped circuit breakers may have had quite a lot to do with the epic divergences between NAV and unit pricing, the real culprit was a "computer glitch" caused by a botched "systems change" last Saturday. The fact that the trouble calculating NAVs across nearly 800 mutual funds happened on the very same day as the flash crash is strictly coincidence.
Gold has a place in high-net worth individuals portfolios as an insurance policy against systemic risk in the banking system, says Carmignac fund manager Michael Hulme.
You can stop waiting for a global financial crisis to happen. The truth is that one is happening right now. All over the world, stock markets are already crashing...
At the peak of bull markets, when stock prices have been rising long enough for people who just recently started paying attention to conclude that they always go up - that’s when retail investors traditionally go all-in to snag some of that apparently easy Dow Jones money. That’s also when markets tend to peak and then roll over, once again transferring a sizable chunk of societal wealth from late-to-the-party “dumb money” investors to the pros who have been here before and recognize a peak when they see one. So it’s interesting to hear that retail investors are departing from the script in 2015.
If you’re into mysteries, there’s certainly no shortage of them around the world. Enjoying them is one thing, solving them is quite another.... Mysterious hounds and mysterious criminals certainly help keep our minds razor sharp as well as entertained. Yet, perhaps the biggest mystery in the world today involves - pension plans. Many people have them, and most people fully know what their eventual pension payout will be. Unfortunately, the average person doesn’t know how their pension plan is actually taped together, and fewer still, appreciate that the “promise” of their “eventual pension payout” is not as guaranteed as they may believe.
...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.
Ten Members of the U.S. Congress – along with 32 of their staff members – received secret payments from Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company to travel to Baku in 2013, to cover the cost of travel, including souvenirs of “silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs.”
A look at the drivers for the week ahead.
There is a financial crisis on the horizon. It is a crisis that all the Central Bank interventions in the world cannot cure. It is a financial crisis that will continue to change the economic landscape of America for decades to come. No, we are not talking about the next Lehman event or the next financial market meltdown. Although something akin to both will happen in the not-so-distant future. It is the lack of financial stability of the current, and next, generation that will shape the American landscape in the future.
84% of JPMorgan’s 10-year long-term mutual fund AUM is ranked in the top two quartiles, while 70% and 81% of JPM US equity mutual funds have outperformed their benchmark on a 1- and 3-year timeframe, respectively according to an investor presentation. In last year’s presentation, the bank cited Morningstar and Lipper (who know a thing or two about calculating mutual fund returns) as sources. The only problem is that it later turned out that Morningstar and Lipper had no idea how JPM calculated the returns.
As the dash-for-trash continues in US equities, Neuberger Berman sums up the state of investing currently, "there has certainly been little reward for owning high-return, superior business models that are conservatively financed," as Bloomberg notes, Fed policy has had the “unintended consequence” of boosting the stocks of companies with heavy debt and little or no earnings. Typically after a recession, such companies lose out to firms that generate more cash and have better balance sheets; this time, no “Darwinian” shakeout happened and low-quality stocks ruled. Managers say they haven’t changed, the market has.
The overwhelming mainstream media message continues to be everything is strong and the future is absolutely as bright as ever, as measured by the all time high markets; but the facts and the data clearly tell a different story. While memories are short, 2008/9 (and 199/2000) taught us that pundits will always tout the ‘everything is great’ story until it is too late. They laugh and ostracize anyone who attempts to rock the boat with a message of reality. And they do it to deter others from delivering such a message. That message is that there exists no catalyst mechanism to pull us out of this economic slumber. So you can listen to and laugh along with the ‘all knowing’ pundits or you can take heed of history and protect yourself now. But do remember the choice was yours. You will have nobody to blame but yourself when and if it all comes tumbling down and you were too busy laughing.
This past week has been a virtual tennis match watching the evolution of the Greek bailout negotiations. No Deal, Deal, No Deal, Deal. However, despite the fallout that would likely come from a Greek "exit," the markets have largely managed to ignore the risk and hit an all-time high this week. Market valuations, bullish sentiment and complacency are all pushing higher as the focus remains on the ignition of the ECB's QE program as a stimulus for the markets. In fact, this is so much the case that the net percentage of managers overweight Eurozone equities is at the highest level on record.
- 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
- Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
- Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
- Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
- Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
- In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
- AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
- Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
"Michael Hasenstab is all about the big trade," is the 'masters-of-the-universe'-esque introduction by Bloomberg for Franklin Templeton's "famous" bond fund manager. “His success speaks for itself, but he does take bets,” notes one financial planner but it appears Hasenstab has BTFD one time too many - after loading up on more than $7 billion of Ukraine's bonds (equal to almost half of all Ukraine’s foreign bonds) he has seen them almost cut in half to around $4 billion. And it appears clients are seeing the bond guru's BTFD-iness for what it is - extreme risk with OPM - as investors last year pulled a record $14 billion from the U.S. and European versions of the Templeton Global Bond Fund.