Notes From Underground: Hell Has Frozen Over. Greenspan and Harris Agree

December 7, 2017

Over the last 30 years I have not had much regard for Alan Greenspan. He has been wrong on many of the issues on which he has opined, not least his speech on home bias and his pleadings for U.S. homeowners to refinance their mortgages and use home equity as a piggy bank. But like Holden, I digress. In his CNBC interview Wednesday he was adamant that fiscal stimulus was ill-advised, but tax reform was necessary. He said Congress should use the reform to close tax loopholes and run budget surpluses while we are at some modicum of full employment. I agree with this and as Greenspan maintained, the beginning of this tax reform OUGHT to be the reconsideration of Bowles/Simpson. Greenspan also stressed “… the folks in Washington do not understand that reducing the size of the system portfolio is a necessary condition for normalizing the price of credit.” I also agree with this viewpoint. And, in regards to BITCOIN, Sir Alan explained you can’t create VALUE out of nothing.

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Notes From Underground: Putting Things In Perspective

December 5, 2017

Just a few quick points that are relevant to the markets at the end of the year:

1. Tonight I am including charts of the U.S/German two-year yield differentials. The U.S. two-year note is yielding 256 basis points above the German rate. This is relevant because both instruments are high quality assets that play an important role as collateral in the funding markets. I’ve also included a 25-year chart of the U.S. 2/10 yield curve. Note that the last two INVERSIONS occurred before significant equity market corrections. Does this current flattening portend a stock market correction? We can’t be certain because the role of the central banks has certainly created an investment environment where markets suffer from a lack of RISK PREMIA in all asset prices.

 

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Notes From Underground: In An Algo-Driven World Headlines Matter

December 3, 2017

Friday: Dateline. INACCURATE NEWS.

There is GOLD to be found in the digital world where headlines can move financial markets faster than your eyes can blink or your brain can separate fact from fiction. ABC investigative journalist Brian Ross published a report that said President Trump asked Michael Flynn to reach out to Russia during the campaign. The network was forced to correct the story, clarifying that the request was carried out during the transition period, and suspended Ross. President Trump tweeted that investors harmed by ABC’s action should sue for damages. Trump may actually have a legitimate opinion but I believe the President’s Tweets carry the same litmus test.

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Notes From Underground: An Arthur Fonzarelli Moment for Yra

November 29, 2017

Six weeks ago I did a podcast with Anthony  Crudele and Rick Santelli about markets. I brazenly said the S&Ps would experience a 10% break before a further 3% rally. The S&Ps were at 2550 and as of this morning the 3% has been actualized long before the 10%. My respects to Rick Santelli, who was right on target with his call to purchase all equity markets for the next period of time. In true FONZI ways, I was wrong. But I have been liquidating long-held stocks into this rally and will continue to do so as I view this 23% rally since the Trump election as a great gift. If I had predicted on November 9 that the S&Ps would be 23% higher a year later, you would have had me committed.

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Notes From Underground:

November 26, 2017

(Click on the image to watch me and Rick discuss yield curves and central bankers.)

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Notes From Underground: A Podcast With Top Step Trader

November 21, 2017

During this thin holiday market as markets, it’s important to remind ourselves of the tools that are necessary to have in order to profit in the global financial markets. I had the pleasure to sit down with Eddie to reprise many stories that bring laughter but also knowledge of the markets. Please enjoy the podcast.

As far as Tuesday goes, the equity rally powers on and the yield curves continue to flatten, causing angst among many asset managers. But as the U.S. curves flatten the European curves are actually steepening, which is in contravention to conventional wisdom. The ECB is still building its balance sheet while the FED has actually begun shrinking its $4.5 trillion accumulated asset base. The U.S. curve OUGHT to be steepening while the European should be flattening. My opinion is that the emphasis is on buying the short end of Europe but forcing global investors to seek duration risk in the U.S. with its higher sovereign yields. Just last week, the European junk bond market was actually yielding less than U.S. 10-year Treasuries. I can’t stress it enough: The international market for pricing risk has been terribly distorted by the central banks. This is the environment we exist in for the business we have chosen. I will be on with Rick Santelli on Wednesday at 9:40am CST. Enjoy your Thanksgiving for anyone reading this BLOG has much to be thankful for. All the best, Yra

Notes From Underground: Klaatu Barada Nikto (Stop The Printing Presses!)

November 19, 2017

In this famous science fiction phrase from the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” I extract my own meaning: Stop the printing before the world’s financial system is destroyed. Sci-fi writer Edmund North never deciphered the English translation of this “alien” phrase but I believe my interpretation applies to these tumultuous times in central banking. The ROBOT GORT is prevented from destroying the world when the words are spoken to him. Thus I say to Mario Draghi: “Mario Barada Nikto.” The continued use of large-scale asset purchases to enhance global liquidity in a period of increased economic growth is preventing the markets from stabilizing. The proof is in the continued mispricing of corporate debt. Last week, the BBB-rated French firm Veolia sold 500 million euros of three-year notes for -0.026%. Yes, a mediocre credit was able to borrow at less than zero. This is the insanity of the financial world to which the central banks continue to provide liquidity.

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Notes From Underground: But Subjectivity Is Objective (Woody Allen, Love and Death)

November 15, 2017

The airwaves fill with the narrative of the coming corporate tax cut benefiting profits, growth and higher wages. Each side argues that their data is closer to reality: one being static analysis the other dynamic scoring of increased growth. My view continues to be, REAL TAX REFORM, NOT A TAX CUT. Genuine tax reform would provide tax relief for the middle-income earners and most probably result in a tax increase for the high-income earners. Congress has mucked up TAX REFORM as the starting point OUGHT to have been a return to BOWLES/SIMPSON. The problem with the Bowles plan is that it meant spending cuts as well as an effort to broaden the tax base by closing many tax loopholes. Also, Alan Simpson was in favor of defense cuts so it was a genuine tax restructuring as all “OXES WOULD BE GORED.”

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Notes From Underground: A Few Quick Points

November 12, 2017

Two things to think about as the new week begins. The German DAX put in a very rare technical formation as the futures made all-time highs last week and closed below the previous week’s LOWS by almost 0.75%. We have seen this formation in the S&Ps and Nasdaq 100 this year, which  resulted in some momentary weakness in the stock markets. Every pundit on CNBC and Bloomberg has pushed the European equities as the better choice for developed market investors but this new signal raises a caution flag. So caution it is until we see if the market can follow through.

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Notes From Underground: An Answer to a Rohr and Chicken

November 7, 2017

As I noted on Sunday night we FINALLY closed below the 73 basis point level that has held for almost two years after several attempts to flatten through that support. The FED is in a difficult situation. Similar to the central bank openly stating that it doesn’t understand what is going on with the Phillips curve and lack of wage inflation, it doesn’t want to admit that the FLATTENING curve is due to the ECB’s ongoing asset purchases that is compressing yields. Some MOOKS maintain that it is a global savings glut but when you have printing how can you discern what constitutes savings and not just central bank intervention?

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