Musical Chairs

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.

Is This The Most Successful Trade Of The Last Decade?

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.

This Is The 714 Sq. Foot Hovel In LA That Can Be Yours For Just $1.1 Million

This is full on mania and with inventory building up, people are starting to crunch the numbers more carefully.  I’m curious, how does someone justify a 144% increase on this place?  As we all know, real estate is essentially a game of musical chairs, especially in boom and bust California.  Someone is trying to cash in on a lottery ticket here for Venice.

When Money Dies

When Money Dies” is the title of a 1975 book by Adam Fergusson, in which he describes the downfall of the Reichsmark in Weimar Germany. A fascinating look at that period of history, one can glean quite a few useful pieces of advice on how to survive a currency crisis. But “when money dies” could also describe the current currency crisis in Greece, in which many Greeks seem to have taken those lessons from Fergusson’s account of the Weimar hyperinflation to heart.

The Only Good Deal For Greece Is NO Deal

"We've won a few months' respite but the problem will come back," France's Marine Le Pen said of Greece... "Today we're talking about Grexit, tomorrow it will be Brexit, and the day after tomorrow it will be Frexit." We shouldn’t need Le Pen to voice the obvious. But that no other ‘leader’, save for Nigel Farage, puts it into these crystal clear terms, does tell us a lot about all other European leaders. And unfortunately that includes Alexis Tsipras. Though we hold out some hope for him yet. Here’s hoping he will not sign that deal, whichever it may be in the end, and thereby set in motion the disintegration of the unholy Union.

Jakobsen: Why Stocks Will Fall - "Consensus Is Wrong On US Rate Hikes"

Stock markets in the US and Europe are in for a correction, while the euro is set to rise, according to Saxo Bank’s Chief Economist Steen Jakobsen, nomatter what happens between Greece and its creditors. Steen also looks at the impact a rate hike from the US Federal Reserve would have on USD and what currencies could gain once the Fed decides to move on rates, noting that "the consensus has it wrong on the timing of US rate hike," as the credit cycle topped in June 2014. He believes that commodities and metals in particular offer opportunities for investors.