Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

Notes From Underground: Let’s Not Mince Words, Pepper Spray Davos

January 20, 2019

Let me begin by reiterating that this is NOT a political blog but a place for the exchange of ideas dedicated to those who desire to improve trading and investing in order to increase profits. My STRENGTH is bringing an in-depth knowledge of political economy and 40-plus years of trading my own funds (while also managing other people’s money via hedge funds).

My personal political views OUGHT not to be relevant for when it comes to generating ideas. I adhere to the wisdom of Deng Xiaoping: “I don’t care if the cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.” While I might criticize certain persons in any political administration it is merely to criticize actions as a way of comprehending policy outcomes. (For example, my disdain for Steven Mnuchin is solely based on what I deem to be his incompetence, a similar contempt that I held for Tim Geithner.)

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Notes From Underground: The Government Shutdown, Or Lots of Media Drama

January 16, 2019

While I was off visiting my children and grandchildren, the government took its own hiatus. However, while I am back at it, the government is still shuttered (partially, at least). For years the pundits have ranted about the negative effects on the economy (and some even singled out the markets). For all of the noise, the bond market is stable and stocks have rallied 8 percent since the shutdown began on December 22.

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Notes From Underground: Hello, 2019

January 6, 2019

“I am a sick man. I am a wicked man.”

So opens the Dostoyevsky novella Notes from Underground. Sometimes I seem to be caught in a similar existential trap as I analyze the global macro data and fundamentals. I am sick because I continue to pursue the opportunities that explode before me. I have taken a turn for the worse and become sick because of the constant flow of manipulated headlines crafted to purposely activate the trading algorithms. Tweets and headlines with no context have become the coin of the realm, especially for high frequency trading operations. But their role in the market jungle does little to dissuade me  from honing my craft. The bottom line: Greater preparation and more patience is needed.

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Notes From Underground: And To All a Good Year

December 23, 2018

We are heading into the last trading week of the year and it’s setting up to be volatile, to say the least. The FED is in motion. Equity investors are harvesting profits from a long-run bull market. Bond markets are uncertain as how to react to the end of QE since the central banks are now beginning to shrink global reserves (at least the Fed is). Commodity prices are struggling due to the fear of a global economic slowdown. And the political backdrop adds great uncertainty as the Trump administration never misses an opportunity to open its mouth and detract from any policy success it may experience. China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and even Saudi Arabia are watching the Western Democracies to see how they respond to Trump’s efforts to disrupt the current trading system and, more importantly, the rollback of PAX AMERICANA.

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Notes From Underground: Not Such Benign Neglect for the Payrolls Report

December 9, 2018

In what appeared to be a “soft” unemployment report, the equity markets discarded the  traditional Goldilocks response to weaker data and spent the entire session in sell mode. That sent the S&Ps to a 4.5% LOSS for the week. The BULLS are in trouble for the market rejected what was regarded as POSITIVE news and continued the 11-week long correction. The G-20, “dovish” FED and softer data were cast aside as new negative stories, like the arrest of a significant Chinese business leader and the Mueller investigation closing in on the president. OPEC’s agreed cut in oil production sent crude oil prices moderately higher on Friday, which would have given a boost to the S&Ps as energy stocks would have been bid in past occasions.

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Notes From Underground: Bye, Bye Pappy Van Winkle

December 6, 2018

At the end of 2017, my readers may recall that I did an unusual thing. I made a prognostication as where the 10-year yield will end the year. I said the 10-year would end the year at 3.41 percent, to which a friend offered up a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon if the rate reached that level. (The yield was 2.60 percent at the time.) Well, I’m throwing in the towel as it looks like 3.26 percent looks to be the top for the year. I guess I will have to enjoy a lesser-quality libation.

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Notes From Underground: A Riddle, Wrapped In a Mystery, Inside an Enigma

December 4, 2018

I’ve been thinking about the Churchill quote referring to Russia. Rather than referencing Russia my thoughts turn to the flattening yield curves that began on Monday. As commodity, global equities markets, the Chinese yuan and the precious metals all staged strong rallies, the long-end of the yield curve also rallied, especially the 10-YEAR. As a result, the 2/10 curve flattened to a 10-year low of 15 basis points. On Tuesday, the curves flattened even more as the 2/10 closed at 10.7 basis points. As Vizzini from the Princess Bride would say, “INCONCEIVABLE!” To support the rally in the long-end of the curve there was a retracement of the recent rally in global equity markets (the NIKKEI, DAX and S&Ps were all down substantially). This suggests that the positive news from the G-20 meeting has now been cast asunder because investors are struggling to comprehend what actually took place in Buenos Aires between the U.S. and Chinese delegations.

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Notes From Underground: Trump Will Channel His Inner Nixon

November 7, 2018

In 1971, after President Nixon relieved the U.S. of the burden of the gold exchange-standard he paraphrased Milton Friedman by proudly proclaiming, “We are all Keynesians NOW.” In preparing for the 1972 election, Nixon realized that Keynes provided the ability for a sitting president to throw fiscal responsibility to the side and open up the spigots of fiscal stimulus in order to PUMP PRIME the economy. Keynes is focused on demand management.

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Notes From Underground: Tell Me Why You Are Crying

October 23, 2018

The current market temperament is causing angst among investors. A relatively strong earnings season is failing to provide support to the U.S. equity markets that many analysts have been promoting. The media is wondering what will halt the continuing slide in stocks around the globe. We at Notes From Underground have pondered what the primary catalyst would be

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Notes From Underground: Powell Seeks to Reestablish the Authority of Markets … Maybe?

October 7, 2018

I am positing this idea because I think it’s critical to current valuations of various asset classes. The nine-year rally in the U.S. (and to some extent the global equity markets) has stretched valuations as ultra-cheap money has pushed investors into taking risks larger than what many money managers and retail investors would do “normal” circumstances. This was ultimately the Bernanke plan the former chairman laid out at Jackson Hole in 2010 (simplified in Bernanke’s Washington Post op-ed as the PORTFOLIO BALANCE CHANNEL). The long-term problem for investors is that Bernanke and Janet Yellen were terrified of market reactions whenever they desired to halt the massive QE programs and their beloved use of FORWARD GUIDANCE.

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