BlackRock said there is a 20% risk that world events could go badly wrong, either because the eurozone acts too late to head off deflation or because of a chain reaction as the Fed starts to wind down stimulus in earnest. As The Telegraph notes, BlackRock’s risk indicator is almost as high as it was just before the dotcom bust. "The ratio of the two is the key. High valuations combined with low volatility can make for a lethal mix. This market gauge sounded the alarm well before the Great Financial Crisis." Furthermore, the largest asset manager in the world warns, "troubling trends of growing inequality and weak wage growth, bring into question the sustainability of profit margins." What is good for investors is corrosive for societies, hardly tenable equilibrium.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
See why the Fed is unlikely to taper in December, but Q1 14 is much more likely. Read a preview of the highlights from the week ahead.
Having discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the crypto-currency and noted the extreme volatility of the last few weeks, it seemed only a matter of time before some ambitious entrepreneur tried to monetize the volatility. What better way to "manage the risk" of your virtual currency horde than buying (or selling) options (in a more levered way). Predictious, the Dublin-based prediction market, this week unveiled Bitcoin Option Spreads enabling both long- and short-positions to be constructed on the already extremely volatile 'asset'. Regulatory clamp-down in 3..2..1...
Janet Yellen is readying herself to take over the duties of Ben Bernanke. What can we expect from her?
"Just be long. Pretty much anything. So here’s how I understand things now that I am no longer the last bear standing. You should buy equities if you believe many European banks and their sovereign paymasters are insolvent. You should buy shares if you put a higher probability than your peers on the odds of a European democracy rejecting the euro over the course of the next few years. You should be long risk assets if you believe China will have lowered its growth rate from 7% to nearer 5% over the course of the next two years. You should be long US equities if you are worried about the failure of Washington to address its fiscal deficits. And you should buy Japanese assets if you fear that Abenomics will fail to restore the fortunes of Japan (which it probably won’t). Hey this is easy… And then it crashed"
- Hugh Hendry
Below some leading economists and financial commentators give their perspective regarding the risks of bail-ins or deposit confiscation. If you manage money in any way, your own or others,it will be prudent to heed their warnings.
Nearly a year ago, we penned "Return = Cash + Beta + Alpha": in which we performed "An Inside Look At The World's Biggest And Most Successful "Beta" Hedge Fund. The fund in question was Bridgewater, and Bridgewater's performance was immaculate... until the summer when the sudden and dramatic rise in yields as a result of the Bernanke Taper experiment, blew up Bridgewater's returns for 2013 and at last check, at the end of June, was down 8% for the year. As further explained in ""Yield Speed Limits" And When Will "Risk Parity" Blow Up Again", an environment in which rates gap suddenly higher (and in the current kneejerk reaction market all moves are purely in the form of gaps as risk reprices from one quantum to another in milliseconds) is the last thing Ray Dalio's strategy wants. Be that as it may, and successful as Dalio's fund may have been until now, tonight James Montier of Jeremy Grantham's GMO takes none other than Bridgewater to task, in a letter in which among other things, he calls risk parity "just old snake oil in new bottles", and sums up his view about the strategy behind Bridgewater in the following equation:
Risk Parity = Wrong Measure of Risk + Leverage + Price Indifference = Bad Idea
and proceeds to skewer it: 'At a fundamental level, risk parity is the antithesis of everything that we at GMO hold dear. " Read on for his full critique.
David Woo's earlier discussion of the 'maximum' fair value for Bitcoin, we thought his colleague Ian Gordon's view on the advantages and disadvantages of the virtual currency were worth noting. Woo believes Bitcoin can become a major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers. As a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has clear potential for growth, in his view, but its high volatility, a result of speculative activities, is hindering its general acceptance as a means of payments for on-line commerce...
Bitcoin could become a major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money-transfer providers, BofAML notes in a report today, adding that as a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has clear potential for growth, in our view. Despite Greenspan's inability to find "value", BofAML prefers not to call the crypto currency a bubble, and assigns a maximum fair-value of $1,300, but does warn that the 100 fold increase in Bitcoin prices this year is at risk of running ahead of its fundamentals.
Despite a modest beat at the headline Factory Orders (-0.9% vs -1.0% expectation), this is still the largest drop in orders since July following a revision upward for last month.
*U.S. OCT. DURABLES ORDERS DROP 1.6%; NON-DURABLES FALL 0.2%
Non-defense capital goods saw a 3.4% plunge (SA) - also the largest drop since July and defense capital goods orders tumbled 15.8% (from a 19.1% rise last month). The volatility and broken seasonality (due to the government shutdown) makes this series extremely noisy but overall, despite the modest beat, the trend is down notably.
It is important that one owns physical gold and not paper or electronic gold which could be subject to bail-ins. Owning a form of paper gold and derivative gold such as an exchange traded fund (ETF) in which one is an unsecured creditor of a large number of custodians, who are banks which potential could be bailed in, defeats the purpose of owning gold.
Physical Gold, held in secure conferring outright legal ownership through bailment remains the safest way to own gold.
If yesterday's "great" news in the form of a 200K+ ADP, which sent the market sliding, was offset by the "ugly" news of the Service ISM which sent stocks soaring, today there are only "good cops" - first it was the revised Q3 GDP number print far above most expectations, purely on the back of inventory accumulation which however will now detract materially from Q4 growth, and at the same time, feeding the taper fire, the DOL announced that claims for the week ended November 30, which tumbled to 298,000 a 23K drop from a last week's upward revised 321K, the best print since September 2013, and the biggest beat of expectations of 320K since also September 2013, which was when the DOL started upgrading various computer systems making all data unreliable. And while futures assume the number immediately means the probability of a December taper surges, the DOL quietly added that it is "not unusual for claims to be volatile in holidays."
It is only fitting that on the morning in which Europe levied the largest cartel fine in history against the criminal syndicate known as "banks", that Goldman Sachs would issue its #6 "Top Trade Recommendation" for 2014 which just happens to be, wait for it, a "long position in large-cap bank indices in the US, Europe and Japan." Supposedly, in a reflexive back and forth that should make one's head spin, this also includes Goldman Sachs (unless they specifically excluded FDIC-insured hedge funds, which we don't think was the case). So is Goldman recommending... itself? Joking aside, this means Goldman is now dumping its bank exposure to muppets.
The broad-based measure of Treasury bond volatility - MOVE - has broken higher, and, as BofAML's MacNeil Curry notes, confirms a base and change in trend (to higher or more volatility). With the month of December traditionally a strong month for the MOVE Index and Treasury volatility in general, Curry warns there are two ways the volatility can move higher - either higher rates or lower equities.