Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs

Economics is a bit like musical chairs. In a recession, the economy takes a hit and there are some casualties. Some players fail to get a chair in time and are out of the game. The game then goes on without them. The economy eventually recovers. But a depression is a different game entirely...

Frontrunning: August 3

  • European bank rebound not enough to save world stocks from further losses (Reuters)
  • Republican rift widens as Trump declines to endorse Ryan, McCain (Reuters)
  • New Rough Patch for Trump Campaign Roils Republicans as Defections Grow (WSJ)
  • Obama says Trump unfit to be president (FT)
  • World’s Largest Oil Hedge Set to Make Billions for Mexican State (BBG)

Is Being Unemployed Just "Bad Luck"? (Spoiler Alert: Don't Be Stupid!)

Washington Post writer Matt O’Brien proposes Getting Stuck Without a Job is Mostly a Matter of Bad Luck. That notion is ridiculous. While there may be instances of 'bad luck', in general, the employees with the weakest skills were the first to be let go and the last to be rehired.

Is The Market Priced For A Summer Rate-Hike?

Last November, capital markets were discounting a rate hike five months later, based on Fed Funds futures. Same story today. Last November, the S&P 500 was trading near 2100. Same story today. Last November, VIX levels were around 14. Same story today. Last November, instead of waiting five months, the Fed hiked rates one month later; the S&P dropped by 10% over the next eight weeks... And as BofAML's Savita Subramanian warns, hiking during a profits recession usually hasn't ended well.

Another Unicorn Bites The Dust

More bad news for the unicorns after Theranos, uBeam and Lending Club scandals with the latest T. Rowe Price quarterly slashing the value of equity in Upwork, a player in the online staffing platform space. The initial investment of $15.8 million in 2012–4 is now worth a mere $7.3 million, and is now in free fall as third CEO in two years more than doubles the fees charged by the troubled staffing platform.

Foreign Central Banks Furiously Dump US Treasuries: Record $47 Billion Sold In First Two Weeks Of 2016

According to the latest Fed data, after a drop of $12 billion in the first week of the year, another $34.5 billion in Treasurys held in custody was sold in the week ended January 13, bringing the total to just $2.962 trillion, below the previous recent low recorded in early November, and at levels not seen since April 2015. Adding up the flows from the first two weeks of the year reveals the worst and most custody holdings "outflowing" start to the year in history.

"The Only Way The Rich Get Richer Is If The Rest Of Us Get Poorer"

Deflation is a bitch. The only way the rich can keep getting richer is if the rest of us keep getting poorer. Economic growth is a thing of the past. Deleveraging has started for real. Huge amounts of zombified ‘money’ are disappearing as we speak. That leaves the world with a lot less wealth. And still the rich seek to get richer, and they are in charge. The math is simple... but there is a point when the can gets so big and heavy, no-one can kick it down any road anymore.

VIX ETF Surges Off Record Low Crushing Contango Cruisers

Following our discussion of perhaps the most successful (and/or most risky) trades of the last decade - that of shorting the front-month VIX - we were less than surprised that VXX -the VIX ETF has collapsed to new record-lows this morning. A snap higher in VIX has been met by an avalanche of vol selling and, as we discuss below, the accelerating contango as expirations loom has encouraged yet more to take on unlimited risk positions to pick up pennies in front of the steamroller. All the time "The Fed has your back," it appears traders believe the steamroller driver has his foot on the brake... As if on cue - VIX has spiked and VXX surged.