Bank of America
Ever since it started making complicated bets against some leveraged ETFs, Miller’s Catalyst Macro Strategies Funds has since grown from $500,000 in assets at the start of the year to about $170 million. It achieved a more than 50 percent return this year, placing it far ahead of its competitors.
Perhaps mom and pop investors should show the following chart to their financial advisors, who directly or indirectly work for these institutions, and ask them: why should they be buying, when the counterparty they are buying from is, most likely, this very same financial advisor?
Wait, isn't direct funding of the Treasury against US policy: after all, hasn't Bernanke been on the record countless times repeating that the Fed does not monetize the US deficit? Not anymore...
As oil prices wallow near multi-year lows, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the new cartel controlling oil prices is not OPEC but world credit markets. From Saudi Arabia’s record $100 billion deficit to shale oil’s continuing reliance on cheap credit funding, it’s clear that no major oil producer or company in the world right now is economically self-sufficient based on oil revenues alone. This situation has left the flow of oil and the decision on when to stop pumping the increasingly tarnished black gold in the hands of banks rather than oil men.
With just two days left in 2015, the main driver of overnight global stocks and US equity futures remains the most familiar one of all of 2015 - crude oil, which, after its latest torrid bounce yesterday has resumed the familiar "yoyo" mode, and again stumbled dropping below $37 on yesterday's surprising API 2.9 million crude inventory build, as well several more long-term "forecasts" by OPEC members, with Kuwait now budgeting for $30 oil, while Venezuela's Maduro said the oil price fell to $28/bbl and is "headed downward." As a result U.S. futures declined and European stocks fell, extending their worst December drop since 2002 in thin volume on the last full trading day of the year.
Another hedge fund has decided to call it quits, this time chess-afficionado Doug Hirsch's event-driven $500 million Seneca Capital, which according to Bloomberg is returning outside capital today.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
While most hedge funds will be glad to close the books on a year in which they once again dramatically underperformed a market which hugged the flatline courtesy of just a few stocks (even as most stocks posted substantial declines) and where "hedge fund hotels" such as Valeant suffered dramatic implosions, a handful of traders generated impressive returns for their investors and made billions by going against the herd.
Two weeks ago we said that "those who have savings at US banks, please don't hold your breath to see any increase on the meager interest said deposits earn." We were wrong: some should certainly have held their breath, because as the WSJ reports today, "some bank customers won’t have to wait much longer to reap benefits from the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates." Some, such as clients of J.P. Morgan, which will begin raising deposit rates for some of its "biggest clients" in January. "Biggest" clients, of course, is a universal euphemism for "wealthiest."
"Essentially central banks, by unfairly inflating asset prices have compressed risk like a spring to unfairly tight levels. Unfortunately, the market is aware the price of risk is not correct, but they can’t fight it, and everyone is forced to crowd into the same trade. By manipulating markets they have also reduced investors’ inherent conviction by rendering fundamentals less relevant."
More and more countries are jumping on the gold bandwagon...
Because we squandered our opportunity to correct our own problems, our problems shall be our legacy. It’s wretched how dumb we are in our greed to have everything right now in the cheapest way possible and how willing we are to force the debts of that consumption upon our grandchildren and to pretend that won’t hurt them. We live in economic denial.
Banks have finally woken up to the risk their billions in C&I loans issued to fund "financial engineering" are exposed to. The reaction: an unprecedented surge in loan collateralization, with the percent of total loans secured by collateral soaring by nearly 50% in the past quarter to a record 55.9%, the highest ever!
There has been a "continued shunning of fixed income" with over $25 Bn of outflows from bond funds in three weeks, of which $6.4 Bn took place in the past week, resulting in outflows in 6 of past 7 weeks.However, the biggest outflow risk is not to Junk but to investment grade, that main funding source for trillions in corporate stock buybacks: it was the IG space that took another beating with largest outflows ($3.5bn) in 17 weeks!