Trader: "Investors Are Struggling More With The Known Knowns Than The Unknown Ones"

For any carbon-based traders who are up at this hour, here are some early overnight thoughts from Richard Breslow, Bloomberg's former FX trader and fund manager, about the challenges facing investors when in addition to contending with central banks and macro when crafting a narrative, they now have to deal with constantly changing politics and geopolitics. As he puts it: "In today’s environment, investors seem to have more confidence in their longer-term outlook than on what is going on now."

From his Tuesday Trader's Note

Investors Probably Wish They Could Know Less

The markets would like to break out. But they keep being told they’re getting ahead of themselves and promptly back-off. Typically, traders have a pretty strong opinion of how they think things currently stand and then try to craft a narrative of where they believe asset prices may be going. In today’s environment, investors seem to have more confidence in their longer-term outlook than on what is going on now.

It’s hard to position beyond the short-term when you allow the very foundation of your thesis to keep being pulled out from under you. And it doesn’t appear to matter whether you’re a peppy Pollyanna or a gloomy Gus.

We’d like to believe that current prices reflect all of the known facts. But we differ on the facts. Primarily because we can’t agree on what so many important things mean.

Will financial deregulation augur the next banking crisis crisis or free up banks to lend? Can we live with or will we die by looser environmental laws? We can’t even settle on what the term “fair trade” implies for the global supply chain. The economy is strong but growth weak. Then throw in the latest geopolitical events and red-lines and everyone channels their biases. Analysis to follow later.

One thing I’m sure of is that 30 pips in USD/JPY or three basis points in the 10-year are no way to draw conclusions about these topics. Hence we stay violently in quiet ranges,,,,,,,,,,.

Last Friday’s non-farm payrolls was a disappointing number that was interpreted positively. After all, won’t the mix of the labor participation and unemployment rate mean wage pressure? Sounds very plausible. There are just as many people looking at it and saying so how come no one’s showing me the money. How can I be more productive with that robot staring at me?

You can’t plan on what you’ll be doing at your destination with no clue as to how you’re going to get there. Investors are struggling more with the known knowns than the unknown ones, and won’t make headway until we sort this out.


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