Why Is The Market Mispricing Uncertainty By 50%?
By now there can be no doubt that due to Bernanke et al's endless intervention in any and all capital markets, the "market" is no longer a mechanism that discounts the future in any way. In fact, instead of predicting the future, all the market has become is a backward looking race in which collocated algos respond to historical data - flashing red headlines - and attempt to out run each other in who can buy or sell more free for all, knowing full well at least one other greater fool will be behind them to pick up the pieces.
Sadly, fundamentals as a driver to valuaton no longer exist. But such is life under central planning.
Yet there is one thing that the market responds to - it is politicians and the uncertainty that political risk brings with it. This certainly includes that most political of organizations, the Federal Reserve, whose stimulative intervention into capital markets two months before the presidential elections was without precedent. Yet even here, the market has managed to decouple from reality, and is trading at level far greater than what political uncertainty risk implies.
As the chart below from Citi's Matt King shows, a correlation between BBB spreads and a broader proprietary uncertainty index, there is currently a roughly 50% political risk premium that is not being priced into stocks.
This is certainly evident in stock prices, as with just 23 days left until the end of the year, politicians are nowhere nearer a Fiscal Cliff resolution than when they started the debate. Yet the biggest catalyst that could force an immediate compromise - the Dow Jones Industrial Average (D.C. continues to be oblivious about the SPX) - refuses to decline on the expectations that the cliff will be resolved. The paradox is that it won't unless the market tumbles.
So who blinks first, and what does the complete failure of any capital market to accurately reflect any and all risks (largely onboarded by every central bank in the world), macro, micro and political, mean for the future of asset prices?
One thing is certain: in a market addicted to $85 billion in monthly Fed-funded Flows each and every month: a nominal amount needed to avoid an all out collapse, the last thing the Fed will ever be able to do, is unwind its balance sheet which is now a $3 trillion (rising to $5 trillion by the end of 2014) buffer between myth and reality.
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