Flattener

Calm Before The Storm - Coming Out Of The Voldrums

Implied volatilities - the market's best guess at short-term-future uncertainty - collapsed last week across every asset class from FX to equity. For now, as Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes, markets seem comfortably calm amid the real storm of macro, micro, and geopolitical risks, but many of the same 'calm' markets are at critical technical levels putting them all "in play."

"This Is The Capitulation Phase" - Why Treasury Yields Are About To Really Plunge

For the rates market, the significance of this acceptance phase by pensions cannot be understated, in our opinion. A $3 trillion industry running a $500 billion funding gap and a significant duration gap waking up to reality is likely to have major implications for the market. In the extreme case, entire pensions could be offloaded from corporate balance sheets to insurance companies (increasingly like the UK, Exhibit 1)–generating significant demand for long-end duration during such transactions.

One Of The Two Most Crowded "Consensus Trades" Of 2015 Just Ended With A Whimper

One year ago, the two most crowded trades going into 2015 were being long the USD and short US Treasurys. While the former trade had questionable success, the latter most certainly did not work and while hedge-fund managers and other large speculators spent December 2014 setting the biggest bets against Treasuries in four years, fast-forwarding 12 months later we find that the smartest money in the room has fully abandoned those massive short Treasury bets.

These Are Deutsche Bank's Two Top Trades After A Fed Rate Hike

"either the Fed achieves its goals quickly to a very low terminal Funds rate. Buy bonds. Or they need to be even more aggressive. Buy even longer duration bonds. The choice is more about where to put the long leg of the curve flattener not about whether to steepen or flatten the curve."

How To Trade The Fed's Upcoming "Policy Error" In Three Parts

"... the next 12-18 months will be divided into three periods corresponding to the three distinct regimes of market dynamics. They can be summarized by the following modes of the curve: short-term tactical bear flatteners on the back of a Fed liftoff story, followed by volatile bear steepeners of the “taper-tantrum” type around mid-year, and a bull-flattening finale as structural factors deem rate hikes to be a policy mistake."

The Mechanics Of The Fed As Seen By The Eurodollar Curve

Eurodollar curve captures the mechanics of Fed expectations in a simple way. Away from the very front end, the curve dynamics is displays a rather rigid structure where a single risk premium parameter explains bulk of the spreads movement in different sectors of the curve. Typically, in anticipation of Fed hikes or cuts, the market makes up its mind about the terminal Fed funds (Greens) and begins to price in the rates path around that. The more aggressive the initial hikes are, the less they will have to do later

Futures Flat As Algos Can't Decide If Chinese "Good" Data Is Bad For Stocks, Or Just Meaningless

The key overnight event was the much anticipated, goalseeked and completely fabricated Chinese economic data dump, which was both good and bad depending on who was asked: bad, in that at 6.9% it was below the government's 7.0% target and the lowest since Q1 2009, and thus hinting at "more stimulus" especially since industrial production (5.7%, Exp. 6.0%) and fixed spending also both missed; it was good because it beat expectations of 6.8% by the smallest possible increment, and set the tone for much of Europe's trading session, even if Asia shares ultimately closed largely in the red over skepticism over the authenticity of the GDP results. Worse, and confirming the global economy is now one massive circular reference, China accused the Fed's rate hike plans for slowing down its economy, which is ironic because the Fed accused China's economy for forcing it to delay its rate hike.

Markets Are Now Beyond The Control Of The Fed

During the last several years of uber-accommodation by the Fed, both stock and bond prices rose. It would not be surprising if both fell in price as the Fed proceeds with a June “lift-off”.   However, stocks might be the worse of the two performers. In a sense, markets are now beyond the control of the Fed.  They were able to change investor behavior for a few years, but the herd mentality is now becoming dislodged: “lift-off” could possibly cause a steep reversal. We expect SPX to dip below 2000 by the time of the March 18th Fed Meeting.

Greater Fool Theory, Cognitive Dissonance, & Financial Instability

"I am concerned that a sizable equity market correction looms. In order to justify general equity market over-weights, either risk premiums needs to fall further, or the economy and financial markets need to have reached a level of ‘escape velocity’ powerful enough to push them forward, even in the face of Fed rate hikes. I find such a ‘soft landing’ scenario improbable at best."