"This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards - and the Ebola events leading into it - it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I've seen before. After going up for a record-breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows... After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to "stimulate" our economy by directly buying stock index futures."
In the final part of Hugh Hendry's 3-part (part 1 and part 2 here) interview with MoneyWeek's Merryn Somerset the Sanguine Scot, perhaps surprisingly to some given his previous negativity - though fitting with his world view of fiat currency destruction - believes "to bet against China or Chinese equities, or the Chinese currency is to bet against the omnipotence of central banks. One day that will be the right trade, just not ready or sure that that is the right trade today."
Since 1987, all of the positive equity returns have accrued during these seven trading days, and the average returns during the rest of the month have been negative.
What follows is a top 10 list of challenges only people who have tied their personal fates to Wall Street will probably understand. And for those of you who’ve managed to avoid these pitfalls, read on to see what you’ve been missing. And pat yourself on the back.
There are things going on with the financial markets currently that seem just a bit "out of balance." For example, asset prices are rising against a backdrop of global weakness, deflationary pressures and rising valuations. More importantly, there is a rising divergence between sentiment and hard data. While weather can't be blamed yet, it will likely be the main "excuse" in the months ahead as early record snowfall is already impacting economic production. However, it isn't just the manufacturing data that seems "out of whack."
Here we go again. By now everyone, including 2 year old E-trade babies and Atari algos know, that the only reason the market soared from the October 15 bottom, a move which we showed was entirely due to multiple expansion and thus nothing to do with earnings and everything to do with faith in even more free central-planning liquidity (something the PBOC was all too happy to provide overnight), was James Bullard's casual "QE4" hint on Bloomberg TV. And now that the market is at ridiculous all time highs and trading above 19x GAAP PE, far above the level when in September the IMF, the G-20, the BIS and even the Fed all warned of assets bubbles, here is Bullard once again, with a fresh mea culpa and a new attempt to jawbone stocks, only this time back down, because as Dow Jones reports, "Bullard Says Markets Misread Him In October Bond-Buying Dustup."
Russia finds itself in familiar territory after a controversial half-year, highlighted by the bloody and still unresolved situation in Ukraine. Nonetheless, the prospect of further sanctions looms low and Russia’s stores of oil and gas remain high. Shortsighted? Maybe, but Russia has proven before – the 2008 financial crisis for example– that it can ride its resource rents through a prolonged economic slump. Higher oil price volatility and sanctions separate the current downturn from that of 2008, but Russia’s economic fundamentals remain the same – bolstered by low government debt and a large amount of foreign reserves.
A year ago, when we reported that "Hedge Funds Underperform The S&P For The 5th Year In A Row", we thought there is no way this underperformance can continue: after all who in their right mind could possibly anticipate that a "risk-free" centrally-planned world could last for 6 years (well, maybe the USSR). Back then we explained this now chronic, "new abnormal", regime as follows: "hedge funds are "hedge" funds and appear to have done a great job managing performance over time... but in the new normal world in which we live, where downside risk is irrelevant (until it runs you over), all that matters is return (not risk-reward)." And yes, as the chart below shows we were wrong: because as of this moment the average hedge fund is not only underperforming the market for a record, 6th year in a row but as Goldman pointed out last night, the return of the entire hedge fund universe as of NOvember 19 is... negative 1%.
Stability is a myth yet it’s what we humans strive for...
Following the October swoon, stocks have vaulted to all-time highs. As we discussed previously in "Sentiment Is Off The Charts Bullish," there have only been few occasions where investors have felt so "giddy" about the financial markets. Such periods of exuberance have never ended well for investors as they were deluded by near-term "greed" which blinded them to the building risks. One of the things that we pay attention to is the ratio of the S&P 500 compared to longer duration bonds.
For the 25th day in a row (one short of an all-time record), the S&P closed above its 5-day moving-average. Despite dismal Asian, European, and US PMIs, US equity markets sreaked higher at the US Open, tagging yesterday's highs, then stalling when Europe closed. Small Caps led the day as shorts were squeezed once again but Trannies and Russell 2000 remain negative on the week. US Treasury yields dropped notably after European and ended the day 2-3bps lower (with 30Y unch on the week). The USD rose very modestly close-to-cvlose but traded lower thru the EU and US sessions (AUDJPY was in charge of stocks today). Copper dropped on China growth fears but oil, silver, and gold rose on the day (leaving gold +0.5% on the week). HY credit slammed tighter with stocks early then decoupled after EU closed. Dow & S&P close at record highs.
Joint statement by NYC Health Department and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
An individual who came to the United States from Mali, a country with limited Ebola transmission, was taken to HHC Bellevue Hospital Center today. Due to the individual's travel history and symptoms, the patient has been isolated, and an Ebola test will be performed. Results are expected later today.
"The multiple expansion phase of the current bull market ended in 2013. The strong S&P 500 YTD price gain of 10% roughly matches the realized year/year EPS growth of the index. The index has climbed by 17% annually during the past three years as the consensus forward P/E multiple surged by nearly 60% from 10x to 16x. ... We forecast US stocks will deliver a modest total return of 5% in 2015, in line with profit growth. The US economy will expand at a brisk pace. Corporations will boost sales and keep margins elevated allowing managements to both invest for growth and return cash to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. Investors will cheer these positive fundamental developments."
Instead of reading between the lines of the 28 page FOMC minutes, we have The Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath to explain to us what we should believe. His message is not dovish. Despite tumult in financial markets, weak economic conditions abroad, and risks that low inflation could drift lower, Hilsenrath notes that the Fed forged ahead with a decision to end the central bank’s bond-buying program because the domestic economy and labor market appeared to be on course for further improvement. Furthermore, officials added a new twist: a debate about whether they should add new information in their official policy statement on how quickly rates will rise once increases commence.
"... members considered the advantages and disadvantages of adding language to the statement to acknowledge recent developments in financial markets. On the one hand, including a reference would show that the Committee was monitoring financial developments while also providing an opportunity to note that financial conditions remained highly supportive of growth. On the other hand, including a reference risked the possibility of suggesting greater concern on the part of the Committee than was actually the case, perhaps leading to the misimpression that monetary policy was likely to respond to increases in volatility."