After 10 straight weeks of increasingly bullish speculative positioning ('longer' stock futures and 'shorter' VIX futures), the last 2 weeks have seen short VIX bets plunge at the fastest rate since pre-Brexit and the Aug 2015 crash. At the same time as this surge to hedging, the day since The Fed's utterly farcical fold have seen bond volatility crash to its lowest in two years.
The slow motion LBO of the market by the market continues, as more debt is issued fund stock buybacks and push stocks briefly, and artificially, higher, even as corporations lever themselves up to all time highs now that the even the merest risk of rising rates has been buried for years to come.
While we sarcastically pointed out back in 2013 that with the Fed (and now every other central bank) as the market's Chief Risk Officer, there is no longer a need for anyone to do fundamental analysis, this has not only come true but the outcome is now is far worse. Because it confirms what we have said all along: not only is there no market left aside from what Central Banks decide will happen to "risk assets" on any given day, but the smart money- both hedge and mutual funds - have now completely lost the plot.
One strategy that has worked unusually well for the last several years is a simple positioning trade of selling the 10 most overweight stocks and buying the 10 most underweight stocks by active managers. This single trade has yielded over 16ppt of alpha year-to-date
While far less attention is being paid to hedge fund 13F filings, which show a stale representation of equity long stakes among the hedge fund community as of 45 days prior, than in years gone by as a result of increasingly poor performance by the 2 and 20 crowd, they still remain closely watched source of investment ideas but mostly to find out what the new cluster ideas and hedge fund hotel stocks are at any given moment. Here are the highlights from the latest round of 13F filings.
This is where we stand: 6 weeks of consecutive derisking and selling by hedge funds, institutions and private clients soaked up by what is now a record short squeeze, as well as a near record buyback spree to mask the fact that the "smart money" is bailing.
"Yest was one of the largest global net sell days over the past year and the largest sell day of 2016 so far, a 2.5 standard deviation (SD) event. L/S funds were the main sellers as they BOTH sold longs AND added shorts."
Perhaps those accusing Bridgewater of being the market-moving catalyst did have a point, because after posting a total AUM of $10.8 billion at June, this total declined by a whopping 31% to just $7.5 billion as of September 30.