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As The Markets Sell-off The Precious Metals Rebound

As The Markets Sell-off The Precious Metals Rebound

To the surprise of many investors, the precious metals have rallied while the broader markets continue to sell-off.  Currently, both gold and silver are solidly in the green while the major indexes were all the red following a huge sell-off yesterday.  The Dow Jones Index has lost nearly 1,000 points in the past two days while the gold price is up nearly $25.

However, even though we could see a late-day rally in the markets, and even higher stock indexes over the next few months, the bear market for stocks is still coming.  The Dow Jones Index has now suffered two large sell-offs in the past ten months:

In January, the Dow Jones Index fell by more 3,000 points, and the current correction is only one-half of that amount.  So, I expect to see a continued correction over the next month.  Because October is the worst month for market Crashes, this could be one hell of a blow for not only the economy but also, for investor confidence.

For example, according to the Zerohedge article, Used-Car Prices Plunge Most In 15 Years:

Looking deeper at the core inflation print, it reflected a 3% monthly drop in prices for used cars and trucks following increases in each of the last 3 months, and the biggest drop in 15 years…

And then, of course, the continued disintegration of the U.S. Retail Market, Sears Creditors Push For Bankruptcy Liquidation As Vendors No Longer Paid:

Amid recent reports that Sears is set to file for bankruptcy as soon as this weekend ahead of a $134 million debt payment due on Monday, the only question is whether the filing will be a Chapter 11 debt for equity reorganization or a Chapter 7 liquidation. And contrary to the desires of Sears CEO and biggest creditor, Eddie Lampert, who would like to preserve the core business, others are pushing for an outright liquidation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Wednesday’s Rout Was An 8-Sigma Event: The 5th Largest Tail Event In History

With markets in rebound mode today, the sellside’s fascination with Wednesday’s sharp, unexpected selloff continues.

In the latest “hot take” on Wednesday’s dramatic drop, Goldman’s derivatives strategist Rocky Fishman takes on a different approach to the Wednesday rout, looking at it in terms of pre-event realized vol (of 6.4%), and notes that in this context, “Wednesday’s 3.3% SPX selloff naively represents an 8-standard deviation event, the 5th-largest tail event in the index’s 90-year history, as 6.4% annualized vol implies a 40bp one-standard deviation trading day; instead the drop was more than 330 bps.

As Fishman adds, what makes the drop unique is that most of the top events of this severity, and listed in the chart above, “have often had a clear, dramatic, catalyst (1987 crash, Eisenhower heart attack, Korean war, large M&A event breakup).”

Part of the reason this week’s volatility looks like a tail event is that realized volatility had been surprisingly low prior to Wednesday: the five least-volatile quarters for the SPX over the past 20 years were Q1/2/3/4 of 2017, and Q3 of 2018.

For Goldman, the Wednesday spike is reminiscent of the Feb. 27, 2007’s China-led selloff, “which marked the end of an extended low-vol period.”

That said, Fishman also notes that mathematical tail events have been more common recently, almost as if central bank tinkering with markets has broken them, To wit, “five of the top 20 one-day highest-standard deviation moves (comparing the SPX selloff with ex-ante realized vol) since 1929 have happened in 2016-8.”

Fishman then shift focus to the VIX, which while not as violent as the February record spike, “was also the 25th-largest one-day VIX spike on record.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We Have Entered The Zone When Yields Trigger Market Selloffs

With payrolls now in the rearview mirror and nothing too outlandish revealed in the generally goldilocks data, traders have resumed contemplating the one question that is on everyone’s mind: how much higher (and at what pace) will rates rise before stocks are slammed?

To be sure, the recent spike in US yields – driven by a combination of very strong US growth data, sturdy equity gains, rising oil prices and improving global growth expectations – and the dollar can extend in the near-term, but as UBS points out, only as long as risk tolerates this (another key aspect is the recent speed of yields increase, which “might become problematic”): naturally, once rates rise high enough there will be a capital reallocation out of stocks and into bonds. The question, of course, is what is  “high enough.”

Alternatively, US yields could rise further, if global growth firms up and ex-US yields rise independently – and also if the neutral rate (r-star) is seen as rising in tandem with yields – but in that case the dollar rally would come to an end. Which is why, to UBS long term, US yields are likely to peak in the 12 months ahead “and the higher we go from here the closer we get to that peak – at least levels-wise.”

But the biggest question whether US yields keep rising will depend on whether risky assets tolerate the spike. Earlier this year, UBS looked at the uptick in US yields and subsequent equities sell-offs of at least 5%. What the Swiss bank found is that the more gradual the rise, the higher the threshold to generate equity pain, and inversely the faster the move higher – and the latest episode has seen a 40bps move higher in just over a month – the more acute the equity reaction.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why the most-recent selloff was just the beginning

Why the most-recent selloff was just the beginning

On October 19, 1987, the Dow experienced its biggest one-day percentage loss in history – plunging 22.6%.

The day will forever be known as “Black Monday.” The selloff was so fast and so severe, nothing else even comes close.

The second worst percentage loss for the Dow was October 28, 1929 (also Black Monday) when the exchange fell 12.82%. It fell another 11.73% the next day (you guessed it… “Black Tuesday”). Then the Great Depression hit.

A lot of people blame portfolio insurance for the severity of the market drop in 1987.

At the time, portfolio insurance had become a super popular product for the largest institutional investors. Portfolio insurance would “hedge” their portfolios by selling short S&P 500 futures (which profit when the market falls) when stocks fall by a certain amount. The idea was the gains from selling the S&P futures would offset the losses from the falling prices of the underlying portfolio.

If stocks fell more, the big investors would sell more futures.

The problem with portfolio insurance is it was programmatic. And when the losses inevitably came, it created a feedback loop. Selling begot selling.

But what initially ignited that selling back in 1987?

Matt Maley is a former Salomon Brothers executive who was on the trading floor for Black Monday. He shared his thoughts with CNBC last year to mark the 30th anniversary of the event.

Maley reminded us of the popularity of another strategy in those days – merger arbitrage. This was the time of Gordon Gekko, when corporate raiders would borrow tons of money – typically via high-yield bonds – to buy other firms.

Merger arbitrage is simply buying shares of the takeover candidate and shorting shares of the acquiring firm. It’s a speculative strategy that tries to capture the spread between the time the deal is announced and when it (hopefully) closes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Global Market Rout Resumes: Asian Bloodbath Spills Over Into Europe, US Sharply Lower

Global markets were routed for the second day in a row on Monday, with Asian and European indexes opening lower and bond yields rising as resurgent U.S. inflation raised the possibility central banks would tighten policy more aggressively than had been expected.

Asian stocks suffered broad losses, with the MSCI Asia-Pacific index ex-Japan plunging as much as 2%, its largest daily drop since late 2016, while S&P futures extended Friday’s decline; the Nikkei dropped 2.6% while Hang Seng plunged as much as 2.7% before rebounding. The selling fed through into Europe, however without heavy continuing momentum.

Meanwhile, U.S. equity futures are above initial lows printed straight from Globex electronic re-open, helped in part by reports that China’s regulator would act to “mitigate” the equity selloff, which helped Chinese indices to rally into close, and close green.

Friday’s payrolls report showed wages growing at their fastest pace in more than eight years, fuelling expectations for both inflation and interest rates would rise more than previously forecast. That sparked a global sell-off that continued on Monday. Futures markets priced in the risk of three, or even more, rate rises by the Federal Reserve this year.

“This added fuel to a bond market sell-off, pushing US 10 year Treasury bond yields closer to the magic 3 percent level, which will only increase borrowing costs for corporates following years of cheap financing, thus ushering equities further from recent highs,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

As a result, all eyes remain on the 10Y US Treasury for indication if last week’s rout would continue, and while treasuries remain under pressure, with the yield briefly touching 2.885%, the selloff appears to have since moderated.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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