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Weekly Commentary: Issue 2018: Market Structure 

Weekly Commentary: Issue 2018: Market Structure 

Financial conditions are much too loose. They remain too loose at home; they remain too loose abroad.

January 3 – ETF.com (Heather Bell): “…ETF flows really blew away previous records. Flows into exchange-traded funds were going full blast throughout the year and finished on a particularly strong note. A whopping $51 billion in new money came into U.S.-listed ETFs during December, pushing inflows for the year to $476.1 billion. Total assets now top $3.4 trillion. The data, which comes from FactSet, includes flows for every trading day of 2017. The $476.1 billion figure was far and away a record for annual inflows, blowing past the previous all-time high from last year of $287.5 billion.”

Think of this: 2017 ETF flows surpassed the previous year’s record flows by 66%. And while U.S. equities attracted the strongest flows at $180 billion, international equities were not far behind at $162 billion. There’s never been anything comparable to this Market Structure.

The Nasdaq100 jumped 4.0% in 2018’s initial four sessions. The Nasdaq Computer Index surged 4.2%. The Semiconductors jumped 5.8%. The Nasdaq Industrials gained 3.1%, the NYSE Healthcare Index 3.2%, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Oil Services Sector Index 5.1% and the S&P500 Index 2.6%. The mania is global. Germany’s DAX jumped 3.1% in four sessions, France’s CAC 40 3.0%, Spain’s IBEX 3.7%, and Italy’s MIB 4.2%. Japan’s Nikkei jumped 4.2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 3.0%, and the Shanghai Composite 2.6%. Notable EM gainers included Brazil (3.5%), Russia (4.6%), Argentina (7.1%), Poland (2.5%), Czech Republic (2.5%), Romania (3.0%), Philippines (2.5%) and Pakistan (5.1%). Portending a wild year in the currencies, a number of EM currencies went nuts this week.

Bubbles are self-reinforcing but inevitably unsustainable inflations. Asset Bubbles are fueled by some underlying source of unsound monetary inflation. Major speculative Bubbles and manias are always propelled by key misperceptions and resulting monetary disorder. Bubble flows intensified in 2017, as misperceptions became only more deeply embedded in the Structure of Securities Market Pricing. Loose finance is ensured indefinitely.

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