Having warned earlier in the week of the potential for a significant crash in US equities and the appeal of owning gold, UBS goes one further in their recent report warning of "record spikes" in volatility should the following levels break...
Generally, the late September bottom in equities has an absolutely pivotal character for a lot of markets. In Europe, the September low represents the 2009 bull trend. In the Russell-2000 or the MSCI World, it is the neckline of a huge head & shoulder formation and in the S&P-500 it is an obvious double bottom, which would be negated as well as breaking the 32-month moving average.
Analytically, this moving average has a very good track record in signaling whether the US market is still in a bull market or not. Even the 1987 crash was just a pullback and mean reversion to this moving average, whereas in 2001 and 2008 the break of the 32-month average was confirmation that a real bear market had started.
So regardless of when we get this signal, a break of the late September low at 1867 in the S&P-500 would be the ultimate confirmation that the US market is also in a real bear market and in this case we would recommend to fasten your seatbelts.
If we look into the macro world we are obviously living in a world of extremes. We have record debt in the Emerging Market complex, in Europe, in Japan and in the US; with margin debt in the US at record levels, M&A hitting record levels, record ETF holdings in corporate bonds, record auto loans in the US, and the list continues.
We would be surprised that in this highly leveraged world, in combination with a structural decline in market liquidity, a 7-year cycle decline would just be mild. We think it’s actually just the other way around and in this context we see last year’s rise in volatility as just the start of a period with exceptionally high volatility where we wouldn’t be surprised to see record spikes in volatility over the next 12 to 17 months. So another key call we have for the next 12 to 15 months is to be long volatility.
Particularly with regards to the ongoing bear market in high yields, we think that volatility in equities is too low and this will be one of the key charts for 2016.
Last year we argued that we generally see all these divergences as a leading indicator for an important top in global equities. 12 months later we are in the next phase of the global rolling over process, where we see more and more markets having already fallen into a bear market, and where on the other hand we can clearly say that without a new momentum impulse coming from the fundamental world the air for the remaining outperformer markets will get increasingly thin.