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Did The Nasdaq Bubble Just Burst?

Regular readers will recall when back in March, Bank of America cautioned that after the tech bubble in 2000, the housing bubble in 2006, we were witnessing the third biggest bubble of all time: the e-Commerce bubble.

Well, after several weeks of sharp volatility which has hammered tech stocks, slammed momentum trades and hurt growth factors, the tech sector is once again sharply lower after hours largely on the back of disappointments from Google and Amazon, with the  ETF which tracks the Nasdaq 100 dropping about 2%, and threatening to slide back into a bear market.

The reason for this latest weakness in the QQQs may be that investors are finally realizing that the latest Nasdaq bubble may have popped, if for no other reason than what is shown in the Bloomberg chart below: namely revenue growth at the two e-commerce titans, Google and Amazon, appears to have finally peaked.

Granted, the decline is not in revenue but in revenue growth, however when investors are already beyond skittish about peak earnings, a slowdown in the second derivative may be all they need to sell now and ask questions later. Which may explains why FANG stocks are all sharply lower after hours as the market begins to reasses just how much longer the “e-commerce bubble” as defined by Bank of America has left before it pops…

MARKET MELTDOWN CONTINUES: Gold & Silver Prices Begin To Disconnect

MARKET MELTDOWN CONTINUES: Gold & Silver Prices Begin To Disconnect

As the BLOOD continues to run on Wall Street, gold and silver were the few assets trading in the green today.  As I have mentioned in past articles and interviews, investors need to get used to this sort of trading activity.  Even though the Dow Jones Index ended off its lows of the day, it shed another 458 points while the Nasdaq declined 190 points and the S&P fell 60.

As the broader markets sold off, the gold price increased $15 while silver jumped by $0.25.  However, if we look at these markets during their peak of trading, the contrast is even more remarkable:

At the lows of the day, the Dow Jones Index fell 730 points or 3%, while the S&P 500 fell 3.2% and the Nasdaq declined by 3.8%.  Also, as I expected, the oil price fell along with the broader markets by dropping 2.7%.  If individuals believe the oil price will continue towards $100, due to supply and demand fundamentals put forth by some energy analysts, you may want to consider one of the largest Commercial Net Short positions in history.  Currently, the Commercial Net Short position is 738,000 contacts.  When the oil price was trading at a low of $30 at the beginning of 2016, the Commercial Net Short position was only 180,000 contracts.

Furthermore, if we agree that supply and demand forces are impacting the oil price to a certain degree, does anyone truly believe oil demand won’t fall when the stock market drops by 50+%???  I forecast that as market meltdown continues, the oil price will decline as oil demand falls faster than supply.

Now, when the markets were at their lows today, gold at its peak was up $20 while silver increased by $0.44.  Of course, this type of trading activity won’t happen all the time, and we could see a selloff in all assets some days.

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

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

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The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Tom Petty’s anthem for today’s investors

Man, what an awful stretch of events.

When I penned last week’s article on tragedy, little did I expect something as horrible as the Las Vegas massacre would immediately follow. And nearly lost in the headlines was the untimely passing of rock legend, Tom Petty, one of my all-time favorite musicians. Sure can’t wait for this week to be over…

In memory of Tom, I’ve been listening to a lot of his and the Heartbreakers’ best hits. The lyrics to one song in particular, The Waiting, well-captures an important message today’s investors should take to heart:

The waiting is the hardest part
Don’t let it kill you baby, don’t let it get to you

Those waiting for the financial markets to experience some sort (any sort!) of pullback have been waiting a long, looong time. How long?

  • It has been over 100 months (more than 8.5 years) since the current bull market began in April of 2009
  • It has been 15 months since the last (and very brief) drop of 5% in the S&P 500
  • This past September saw record low volatility, including a stretch now claimed to be “the most peaceful days in the history of the markets
  • Since last year’s presidential election, at which point the markets were already considered dangerously overvalued, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up over 20%
  • As of this article’s publishing, the Dow, the S&P and the NASDAQ are all trading at record highs

Or, to put it visually:

The stock market is now 70% higher than it was at the previous bubble peak immediately preceding the 2008 Great Financial Crisis.

Reflect for a moment how painful the crash from Oct 2008-March 2009 was. How much more painful will a crash from today’s much dizzier heights be?

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

Virtually Everyone Agrees That Current Stock Market Valuations Are Not Sustainable And That A Great Crash Is Coming

Virtually Everyone Agrees That Current Stock Market Valuations Are Not Sustainable And That A Great Crash Is Coming

Stock Market Collapse Toilet Paper - Public DomainCurrent stock market valuations are not sustainable.  If there is one thing that I want you to remember from this article, it is that cold, hard fact.  In 1929, 2000 and 2008, stock prices soared to absolutely absurd levels just before horrible stock market crashes.  What goes up must eventually come down, and the stock market bubble of today will be no exception.  In fact, virtually everyone in the financial community acknowledges that stock prices are irrationally high right now.  Some are suggesting that there is still time to jump in and make money before the crash comes, while others are recommending a much more cautious approach.  But what almost everyone agrees on is the fact that stocks cannot go up like this forever.

On Tuesday, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all set brand new record highs once again.  Overall, U.S. stocks are now up more than 10 percent since the election, and this is probably the greatest post-election stock market rally in our entire history.

But stocks were already tremendously overvalued before the election, and at this point stock prices have reached a level of ridiculousness only matched a couple of times before in the past 100 years.

Only the most extreme optimists will try to tell you that stock prices can stay this disconnected from economic reality indefinitely.  We are in the midst of one of the most outrageous stock market bubbles of all time, and as MarketWatch has noted, all stock market bubbles eventually burst…

The U.S. stock market at this level reflects a combination of great demand, great complacency, and great greed. Stocks are clearly in a bubble, and like all bubbles, this one is about to burst.

If corporations were making tremendous amounts of money, rapidly rising stock prices would make logical sense.

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

A New Digital Cash System Was Just Unveiled At A Secret Meeting For Bankers In New York

A New Digital Cash System Was Just Unveiled At A Secret Meeting For Bankers In New York

Secret - Public DomainLast month, a “secret meeting” that involved more than 100 executives from some of the biggest financial institutions in the United States was held in New York City.  During this “secret meeting“, a company known as “Chain” unveiled a technology that transforms U.S. dollars into “pure digital assets”.  Reportedly, there were representatives from Nasdaq, Citigroup, Visa, Fidelity, Fiserv and Pfizer in the room, and Chain also claims to be partnering with Capital One, State Street, and First Data.  This “revolutionary” technology is intended to completely change the way that we use money, and it would represent a major step toward a cashless society.  But if this new digital cash system is going to be so good for society, why was it unveiled during a secret meeting for Wall Street bankers?  Is there something more going on here than we are being told?

None of us probably would have ever heard about this secret meeting if it was not for a report in Bloomberg.  The following comes from their article entitled “Inside the Secret Meeting Where Wall Street Tested Digital Cash“…

On a recent Monday in April, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions gathered for a private meeting at the Times Square office of Nasdaq Inc. They weren’t there to just talk about blockchain, the new technology some predict will transform finance, but to build and experiment with the software.

By the end of the day, they had seen something revolutionary: U.S. dollars transformed into pure digital assets, able to be used to execute and settle a trade instantly. That’s the promise of a blockchain, where the cumbersome and error-prone system that takes days to move money across town or around the world is replaced with almost instant certainty.

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

A Contagious Crisis Of Confidence In Corporate Credit

A Contagious Crisis Of Confidence In Corporate Credit

Credit is not innately good or bad. Simplistically, productive Credit is constructive, while non-productive Credit is inevitably problematic. This crucial distinction tends to be masked throughout the boom period. Worse yet, a prolonged boom in “productive” Credit – surely fueled by some type of underlying monetary disorder – can prove particularly hazardous (to finance and the real economy).

Fundamentally, Credit is unstable. It is self-reinforcing and prone to excess. Credit Bubbles foment destabilizing price distortions, economic maladjustment, wealth redistribution and financial and economic vulnerability. Only through “activist” government intervention and manipulation will protracted Bubbles reach the point of precarious systemic fragility. Government/central bank monetary issuance coupled with market manipulations and liquidity backstops negates the self-adjusting processes that would typically work to restrain Credit and other financial excess (and shorten the Credit cycle).

A multi-decade experiment in unfettered “money” and Credit has encompassed the world. Unique in history, the global financial “system” has operated with essentially no limitations to either the quantity or quality of Credit instruments issued. Over decades this has nurtured unprecedented Credit excess and attendant economic imbalances on a global scale. This historic experiment climaxed with a seven-year period of massive ($12 TN) global central bank “money” creation and market liquidity injections. It is central to my thesis that this experiment has failed and the unwind has commenced.

The U.S. repudiation of the gold standard in 1971 was a critical development. The seventies oil shocks, “stagflation” and the Latin American debt debacle were instrumental. Yet I view the Greenspan Fed’s reaction to the 1987 stock market crash as the defining genesis of today’s fateful global Credit Bubble.

The Fed’s explicit assurances of marketplace liquidity came at a critical juncture for the evolution to market-based finance.

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

A Disturbing Warning From UBS: “Buy Gold” Because A 30% Bear Market Is Coming

A Disturbing Warning From UBS: “Buy Gold” Because A 30% Bear Market Is Coming

As Wall Street axioms (Santa rally, January effect, as goes January etc.) are rapidly falling by the wayside at the start of 2016, following a chaotic but return-less 2015, the UBS analysts who correctly forecast last year’s volatility are out with their forecast for 2016. It’s simple – Sell Stocks, Buy Gold.

UBS Technical Analysts Michael Riesner and Marc Müller warn the seven-year cycle in equities is rolling over. 

UBS expects S&P 500 to move into a 2Q top and fall into a full size bear market, with risk of a 20% to 30% correction into minimum later 2016 and worst case early 2017

“The comeback of volatility was the title of our 2015 strategy. Last year’s rise in volatility was in our view just the beginning for a dramatic rise in cross-asset volatility over the next few years,”

Noting that while equities have had a good run, Risener and Muller warn, “we are definitely more in the late stages of a bull market instead of being at the beginning of a new major breakout.”

Our key message for 2016 is that even if we were to see another extension in price and time, we see the 2009 bull cycle in a mature stage, which suggests the risk of seeing a significant bear cycle event in one to two years.

S&P-500 trades in 4th longest bull market since 1900 Bear markets are defined by a market decline of 20% and more. It’s a fact that since its March 2009 low, with 82 months and a performance of 220%, the S&P-500 now trades in its 4th longest and 5th strongest bull market since 1900. So from this angle alone we suggest the 2009 bull cycle has reached a mature stage.

Keep in mind, since 1937 the average downside in a 7-year cycle decline was 34%…

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

 

The Big Short is a Great Movie, But…

The Big Short is a Great Movie, But…

 

Paris — Michael Lewis is the chronicler of Wall Street.  He takes the complexity behind which the inhabitants of the financial world hide and weaves a tale that is both understandable and compelling.  Starting with the classic “Liars Poker” (1989), Lewis has produced a number of books about the financial markets including “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” (2014) and “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” (2010).  Working with director Adam McKay and some great actors and screen writers, Lewis has managed to produce what is perhaps the most accessible and relevant treatment of the mortgage boom and financial bust of the 2000s, and the subsequent 2008 financial crisis.

The beauty of “The Big Short,” both as a movie and a book, is that it provides sufficient detail to inform the general audience about events and issues that are not part of everyday life.  Wall Street is a secretive place, but “The Big Short” manages to convey enough of the details to make the story credible as a journalistic effort, yet also enormously entertaining.  Lewis does this with two essential ingredients of any film: a simple story and compelling characters.

Images of greed and stupidity are presented like Italian frescos in “The Big Short,” pictures that are memorable and thought provoking.  Indeed, what many people know and remember years from now about the 2008 financial crisis will be shaped by creative efforts such as “The Big Short” for the simple reason that Lewis has simplified the description into a manageable portion.  Unlike hedge fund manager Michael Burry (played by Christian Bale), most people lack the patience and expertise to sift through and understand reams of financial data.

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

Stock Market Crash October 2015? 9 Of The 16 Largest Crashes In History Have Come This Month

Stock Market Crash October 2015? 9 Of The 16 Largest Crashes In History Have Come This Month

Crash Warning Danger SignThe worst stock market crashes in U.S. history have come during the month of October.  There is just something about this time of the year that seems to be conducive to financial panic.  For example, on October 28th, 1929 the biggest stock market crash in U.S. history up until that time helped usher in the Great Depression of the 1930s.  And the largest percentage crash in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average by a very wide margin happened on October 19th, 1987.  Overall, 9 of the 16 largest single day percentage crashes that we have ever seen happened during the month of October.  Of course that does not mean that something will happen this October, but after what we just witnessed in September we should all be on alert.

Clearly, there is a tremendous amount of momentum toward the downside right now.  As you can see from the chart below, all of the gains for the Dow since the end of the 2013 calendar year have already been wiped out…

Dow Jones Industrial Average October 2015

And as I wrote about just the other day, last quarter we witnessed the loss of 11 trillion dollars in “paper wealth” on stock markets all over the planet.  The following comes from Justin Spittler

The S&P 500 fell 8%… and so did the Dow and the NASDAQ. It was the worst quarter for U.S. stocks since 2011.

Stocks around the world dropped too. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks 85% of global stocks, also had its worst quarter since 2011. The STOXX Europe 600 Index, which tracks 600 of Europe’s largest companies, fell 10%. It was the worst quarter for European stocks since 2011 as well.

China’s Shanghai Composite fell 28% last quarter, its largest quarterly decline in seven years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 19%. It was the worst quarterly decline for emerging market stocks in four years.

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

Panic!! All Major US Equity Indices Halted

Panic!! All Major US Equity Indices Halted

Nasdaq was the first to be halted at 0758ET.

The Dow is now down 850 points from Friday’s close and halted…

The S&P 500 Futures is halted for the first time in history.

 

Why It Really All Comes Down To The Death Of The Petrodollar

Why It Really All Comes Down To The Death Of The Petrodollar

Last week, in the global currency war’s latest escalation, Kazakhstan instituted a free float for the tenge. The currency immediately plunged by some 25%.

The rationale behind the move was clear enough. The plunge in crude prices along with the relative weakness of the Russian ruble had severely strained Kazakhstan, which is central Asia’s largest crude exporter. As a quick look at a chart of the tenge’s effective exchange rate makes clear, the pressure had been mounting for quite a while and when China devalued the yuan earlier this month, the outlook for trade competitiveness worsened.

What might not be as clear (on the surface anyway) is how recent events in developing economy FX markets following the devaluation of the yuan stem from a seismic shift we began discussing late last year – namely, the death of the petrodollar system which has served to underwrite decades of dollar dominance and was, until recently, a fixture of the post-war global economic order. 

In short, the world seems to have underestimated how structurally important collapsing crude prices are to global finance. For years, producers funnelled their dollar proceeds into USD assets providing a perpetual source of liquidity, boosting the financial strength of the reserve currency, leading to even higher asset prices and even more USD-denominated purchases, and so forth, in a virtuous (especially if one held US-denominated assets and printed US currency) loop. That all came to an abrupt, if quiet end last year when a confluence of economic (e.g. shale production) and geopolitical (e.g. squeeze the Russians) factors led the Saudis to, as we put it, Plaxico’d themselves and the US.

The ensuing plunge in crude meant that suddenly, the flow of petrodollars was set to dry up and FX reserves across commodity producing countries were poised to come under increased pressure. For the first time in decades, exported petrodollar capital turned negative.

 

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

We Have Already Witnessed The First 1300 Points Of The Stock Market Crash Of 2015

We Have Already Witnessed The First 1300 Points Of The Stock Market Crash Of 2015

New York Stock Exchange - Photo from Wikimedia CommonsWhat has been happening on Wall Street the past few days has been nothing short of stunning.  On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 358 points.  It was the largest single day decline in a year and a half, and investors are starting to panic.  Overall, the Dow is now down more than 1300 pointsfrom the peak of the market.  Just yesterday, I wrote about all of the experts that are warning about a stock market crash in 2015, and after today I am sure that a lot more people will start jumping on the bandwagon.  In particular, tech stocks are getting absolutely hammered lately.  The Nasdaq has fallen close to 3.5% over the past two days alone, and it has dropped below its 200-day moving average.  The Russell 2000 (a small-cap stock market index) is also now trading below its 200-day moving average.  What all of this means is that the stock market crash of 2015 has already begun.  The only question left to answer at this point is how bad it will ultimately turn out to be.

When stocks were booming, tech stocks were leading the way up.

But now that the market has turned, tech stocks are starting to lead the way down

The Dow and the S&P 500 are negative for the year. The so-called “FANG” stocks – Facebook, Apple, Netflix, and Google – were some of the biggest losers, and helped send the Nasdaq more than 2% lower. Biotechs also suffered big losses; the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF fell 4% to a three-month low. The Vix, which gauges market expectations for near-term shifts in the S&P 500, surged more than 21%.

And Twitter is absolutely imploding.  It has fallen below its IPO price, and at this point it is now down 65 percent from the peak.

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

 

The HFT “Treasure Map” – Presenting The Rigged Stock Market’s Full “Latency Abritrage” In One Chart

The HFT “Treasure Map” – Presenting The Rigged Stock Market’s Full “Latency Abritrage” In One Chart

Last week, when poring through the SEC’s complaint over ITG’s criminal frontrunning of client order flow in a “experiment” prop trading group within its Posit dark pool known as “Project Omega”, we clearly laid out the “criminal fraud” that allowed the original dark pool to make money without any risk, and explained why HFT’s never lose money.

Only, in this particular case, the fraud was so egregious, even the SEC had to step in and slam ITG with the biggest fine on record for a private Wall Street exchange (at least until the fine about to be levied at Credit Suisse’s own dark pool, the biggest in the US, Crossfiner is revealed).

The reality is that most HFTs do not engage in such brazen criminal activity – most act within the confines of the law. And yet, as Virtu has shown year after year, they never lose money. How can the two coexist?

Simple: the answer is that in the aftermath of Reg NMS, and the terminal capture of regulators by those who benefit from market fragmentation, regulators blessed a two-tier market, one in which HFTs can frontrun non-HFT order flow and not be worried one bit about the consequences.

The technical term for this gross aberration of market fairness and efficiency is latency arbitrage, and it is best shown on the following annotated “map” courtesy of Nanex’ Eric Hunsader, laying out the embedded, and regulator blessed, latencies between the three big New Jersey exchange centers: Mahwah (NYSE), Secaucus (BATS), and Carteret (Nasdaq) for everyone but the top tier – the High Frequency Traders, whose only advantage is having the millions to spend both in one-time collocation setup as well as recurring microwave/laser fees to obtain faster data access which thenallows them to frontrun everyone else and generate massive returns on their investment. Returns that are due only to done thing: frontrunning.

 

What the map clearly shows is the unprecedented timing advantage HFTs have not only over the Securities Information Processor (SIP), which is used by virtually all non-HFT participants, who pay millions for real time feeds.

 

Futures Soar On Hope Central Planners Are Back In Control, China Rollercoaster Ends In The Red

Futures Soar On Hope Central Planners Are Back In Control, China Rollercoaster Ends In The Red

For the first half an hour after China opened, things looked bleak: after opening down 5%, the Shanghai Composite staged a quick relief rally, then tumbled again. And then, just around 10pm Eastern, we saw acoordinated central bank intervention stepping in to give the flailing PBOC a helping hand, driven by the BOJ but also involving NY Fed members, that sent the USDJPY soaring which in turn dragged ES and most risk assets up with it. And while Shanghai did end up closing down -1.7%, with Shenzhen 2.2% lower at the close, the final outcome was far better than what could have been, with the result being that S&P futures have gone back to doing their thing, and have wiped out all of yesterday’s losses in the levitating, zero volume, overnight session which has long become a favorite setting for central banks buying E-Minis.

As Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow comments, the majority of Asian equity indexes finished with losses but on an upbeat note, helping most European markets to start with modest gains that have increased with the morning, thanks to the aforementioned domestic and global mood stabilization. S&P futures have been positive all day other than a brief dip negative at the worst of the day’s China levels. Chinese equities opened quite weak and were down another 5% before the authorities assured the market that speculation they would withdraw from market supportive measures was misguided. This began a rally of over 6% before a mid-afternoon swoon.

 

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

Chinese Stocks Suffer Second Biggest Crash In History, 1,500 Companies Halted Limit Down

Chinese Stocks Suffer Second Biggest Crash In History, 1,500 Companies Halted Limit Down

This was not supposed to happen.

After pledging, investing and otherwise guaranteeing the Chinese stock market to the tune of 10% of GDP, and intervening on at least 40 different occasions in the past month ever since China’s stock bubble burst in late June, with the subsequent crash nearly taking the Shanghai Composite red for the year, overnight China officially lost control for the second time, when after a weak start to the Monday trading session, things turned very ugly in the last hour, when the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.48%, closing nearly at the lows, and tumbling some 345 points for its biggest one-day drop since February 2007 and its second biggest crash in history!

The selling was steady throughout the day, but spiked in the last hour on concerns China would rein in its market-supporting programs following IMF demands to normalize its relentless market intervention. According to Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow: “fear that the extraordinary support measures employed to hold up the market may be scaled back caused heavy afternoon selling resulting in a down 8.5% day.” Of course, one can come up with any number of theories to explain the plunge: for example the PBOC did not buy enough to offset the relentless selling.

The last thing the communist party and the PBOC wanted was another massive sell off after having not only fired the “bazooka” but come up with a different bazooka to halt “malicious sellers” virtually every day, including threats of arrest.

Nobody was spared in the selloff and of the 1,114 stocks in the Shanghai Composite, 13 closed higher on Monday.

Here, courtesy of the WSJ, are some of the more amazing numbers of today’s selloff:

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

 

 

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