After a sudden rout in financial markets that wiped $2 trillion in global market cap over the past week showed signs of easing, overnight stocks tried to stage another "BTFD-type" comeback with European stocks climbing for the first time in five days as oil and metals prices gained. S&P futures were modestly in green, although they faded earlier gains, on the back of a slide in the USDJPY which initially spiked to 103.31 only to fade back to the mid 102-range.
Confirming his previous op-ed, the founder of the world's largest hedge fund warned that the current environment is analogous to the 1935 to 1945 period in America as we "reach the limits" of [central banks] "ability to stimulate" the economy " and raise global asset prices."
"Big bills are a curse... understand this: Cash is not forever... in fifty years there will be no cash... it’s one very important step towards enabling central banks to have much more effective tools in fighting a financial crisis and in particular to use negative interest rates in an effective way... people who are older need to think about having a larger share of stocks than the traditional wisdom..."
The old Wall Street expression is “They don’t ring a bell at the top.” This snarky adage is usually employed by those saddened financial managers who ride a successful investment to a peak and then watch in horror as it reverses course to a level below their cost basis. A pity this notion is misguided, since the market frequently “rings the bell.” It is just that most market participants are not listening. Perhaps they should be listening now.
It ain't working. Eight years after the outbreak of the financial crisis, central bank chiefs suggest they have saved the world, but have they? We argue central banks have become part of the problem, not the solution. At its core, their indoctrinated focus on inflation may well do more harm than good, with potentially perilous implications for investors.
Nowhere else is the impact of central banks more evident than the total decoupling of global stock markets from global economic developments. However, as money managers attempt to diversify away from what they all know will not end well, Credit Suisse warns the overwhelming flow from central bank interventions "are driving everything" pushing their so-called cross-market contagion indicator to levels more worrisome than anytime since 2008's Lehman-inspired financial crisis.
“Given the backdrop of one of the most uncertain macroeconomic, systemic, geopolitical and monetary outlooks both the U.S. and the world have ever seen, we are likely to see gold do well in its traditionally seasonal strong period...”
As the market's comatose trading range continues with no notable moves for nearly 40 consecutive days, there is some hope volatility may return after today's main event, the ECB's announcement due in just two hours, when Mario Draghi may surprise the market in either direction. As of today, the S&P500 has held in a band of 1.5% for 39 days, the narrowest ever for that length of time.
With the ECB running dangerously low on bonds to monetize even as its QE program has failed to spur inflation, Mario Draghi may have no choice but to unveil drastic changes to the central bank's QE programm tomorrow. Here are the options available to the central banker, and some ideas of how markets may react.
The unprecedented period of low volatility, in which the S&P hasn't moved more than 1% in either direction, is now well into its 40th day and the muted overnight session has done nothing to put this streak in jeopardy with S&P futures once again hugging the flatline ahead of the widely expected 3:30pm ramp. European stocks were likewise little changed while Asia was fractionally higher depite a modest dip in the Nikkei.
"I don’t see a reason [for the ECB not to buy stocks]" said Joseph Gagnon, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "It isn’t obvious to me why a central bank wouldn’t always want a diversified portfolio, including equities."