SmartStops comment: Its why this service was brought to fruition. Follow SmartStops and you can be protected before you lose it all.
Unprecedented Monthly Volume Sell-Off Suggests Now’s the Time to Take Shelter – published at Minyanville by Kevin A. Tuttle
Do not concern yourself if the market goes up today, tomorrow, or a month from now. The risk of entering is not worth the reward.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of speaking with a very prominent European money manager – overseeing hundreds of billions – about the “across-the-pond” financial crisis unwind and looming hazard of a potential domino-effect coming to fruition. Without rehashing the entire conversation, the consensus is not “if,” it’s “when” will the developing pressure finally blow. He actually went so far as to say it could truly begin unraveling within the next few weeks considering the catalysts currently in play.
The intent of providing the conversation synopsis is not for sake of fear, but understanding the potential ramifications. About three years ago, in one of my firm’s quarterly reports, we opined on a unique situation in regard to the GDP measurements of Global Nations. It stated the unprecedented growth statistics from the 56 nations tracked. “History is currently being made in the sense that all the globally tracked economic growth nations (56), every one… 100%…, are showing expansion.” This lead to my next comment… “If the economic cycle pendulum swings in both directions what would happen if the inverse occurred?” Are 2011/2012 the years we are about to find out? Maybe that’s somewhat extreme, but yet… is it possible?
We at my firm do not pretend to be intelligent enough to figure out all the nuances, catalysts, causes and reasons why the markets could fall apart; we’ll leave it to the team of economists and officials to attempt to sort that out. What we do instead is try to determine when the storm is coming and how to take shelter, which brings me to my point: Now is the time. Take shelter! Do not concern yourself if the market goes up today, tomorrow or a month from now. Clarity is key! Would you sail your boat into rocky waters with a potential hurricane looming because of your love of sailing? Is the risk worth the reward? For some, maybe; but for most, probably not.
Since the “2011 Channel of Indecision” broke on August 4, the seas have picked up dramatically and have begun swallowing ships. The markets have never seen this type of monthly volume sell-off – 47% above average (unprecedented), as seen in the monthly chart above. As Kenny Rogers put it so eloquently… “Know when to hold em’ and know when to fold em’, know when to walk away, know when to run!”
With the market largely treading water over the last 10 years and investors experiencing several gut wrenching corrections over this period, it is no wonder that investment psyche has evolved from one of buy and hold to buy and protect.
Unlike a roller coaster, in investing the fun comes with the ride up, not with the nail biting ride down. Yet in the past 18 months alone buy and hold investors experienced a 30% decline in Google, a 46% decline in Ford, a 50% decline in Cisco and a 67% decline in Bank of America. Not a lot of fun here. Especially when you consider it takes a 43% gain to make up the ground on a 30% pullback. As a result of this experience, investors find themselves asking, why ride out these storms if I don’t have to? How can I do a better job at identifying and sidestepping risk?
Traditionally, investors have turned to the VIX as a tool to help forecast market sentiment and risk levels. Unfortunately, the VIX often spikes in unison with significant market pullbacks providing little forewarning. The financial industry has responded with a slew of new and creative solutions that aim to help investors gain visibility and better listen for the footsteps of the next pullback. Following we take a quick look at three novel solutions, one which combines fundamental analysis with crowd sourcing, one which analyzes market sentiment, and a third that leverages technical analysis to identify periods of above normal risk. Read More…
By Bill Gross – Originally published at Investment News: The following is the commentary of Bill Gross, managing director and co-CIO at Pimco, for the month of September. For a complete archive of his commentaries, click here.
“Just an old-fashioned love song, comin’ down in three-part harmony.” –Three Dog Night
In many ways the global economic crisis is like a marriage gone bad. As the Three Dog Night sang years ago, global economies have functioned harmoniously for many years, but suddenly the love songs have become strident and cacophonous, the policy coordination morphing into a war of the roses as opposed to a giving of them. Instead of three-part harmony we are now experiencing, at a minimum, tri-party disharmony, teetering on the brink of “divorce,” which in economic parlance means a possible “developed economy” recession – a downturn from which reconciliation may be difficult due to a lack of policy options and cooperation. But I get ahead of myself. Let’s first ring the wedding bells, then take you through an explanation of three separate global marriages and how each of the partners have grown apart.
Oh those feisty Europeans! Always fighting like a dating couple and then finally resolving their differences by saying “I do” sometime in the 1950s with the creation of the Common Market and the European Economic Community (EEC). In doing so, France and Germany said “never again,” and even though they didn’t like each other (read “hate”) they decided to make economic lurv in the hopes that they wouldn’t destroy the continent again. It later turned into a formal union, a European Community (EC), where they invited lots of witnesses to the ceremony and created instant family members, if that’s metaphorically possible. Twenty-seven of them, including Italy, Spain and the U.K. were now relatives despite some liking pasta and others preferring horrid cuisines featuring Shepherd’s Pie or fish and chips. The marriage progressed to the point of a smaller monetary union sometime in 1999, but critically, without a common budget. Husband and Wife – Germany and Greece – decided to have a joint bank account, but with separate allowances and no oversight. Greece could issue bonds at nearly the same yield as could its Northern hard-working neighbors, but were free to spend it any way they chose. This was an economic version of an open marriage where one party gets to have all the fun and the other worked nine-to-five and came home too exhausted for whoopee. Well sometime last year, global lenders said enough is enough and soon the whole cheating European Union (EU) was at each other’s throats, hiring lawyers and threatening to break up. Calmer heads prevailed when the ECB decided to make nice and use its checkbook. Last week Angela Merkel and France’s Sarkozy sort of got engaged for at least the second time, nixing expanded funding for their Southern neighbors and placing the burden even more on the ECB. Who knows where it goes now, but let’s put it this way – Germany and France are sleeping in a king-size bed while the rest of its EU family are sleeping in separate bedrooms. As a result Euroland faces economic contraction.
This impending divorce in America is not about sex or sleeping around, but more about romancing the now stone-cold notion that anyone could be a millionaire in the good old U.S. of A. if only they worked hard enough. Our Statue of Liberty proclaimed “give us your tired, your poor…” and sent many of them West to build a little house on the prairie or strike it rich in the goldfields of Sacramento, California or Skagway, Alaska. Many of them did and a century later, the option-laden fields of Silicon Valley provided modern-day examples of rags to riches fairytales come true. But this odd couple marriage of rich (and poor hoping to be rich), now seems on rather shaky ground. Instead of boundless opportunity, the nursery rhyme describing Jack Sprat – who could eat no fat – and his wife – who could eat no lean – appears to be the starker of the two realities. There are the poor and there are the very rich, with the shrinking middle class resembling Mr. Sprat rather than his wife.
During this country’s recent economic “recovery,” real corporate profits increased by four times the amount of working wages in dollar terms, and, as the chart below shows, are 50% higher than at the turn of the century while wages remain relatively unchanged, something that has not occurred since this country’s nuptials were concluded over three centuries ago. Is it any wonder that preliminary battlefield skirmishes in Wisconsin and Ohio between labor and capital promise to spread across every state of this land? (Not Texas!) Is it any wonder that Republican orthodoxies favoring tax cuts for the rich and Democratic orthodoxies promoting entitlements for the poor threaten to hamstring any constructive efforts to reduce unemployment over the foreseeable future? We are witnessing romantic love turning into a spiteful, bitter clash between partners in name only.
The Asian Miracle
Confucius say, “Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object?” While not a marriage, there has definitely been a love affair between Western consumers and their Chinese producer “objects” for several decades now. Read More…
Are VIX ETFs Breaking Out? originally published at ETFTrends
Some traders have been keeping a close eye on the CBOE Volatility Index as a possible “tell” that the rally in risk assets since March 2009 may be due for a breather.
That’s why the VIX’s move above its 200-day moving average Wednesday drew the attention of investors with a technical bent.
The index, which measures the implied volatility of options contracts on the S&P 500, has been relatively subdued during the market’s recent rocky stretch. The benchmark is known as Wall Street’s favorite fear gauge.
However, the VIX was up 18% in the final hour of U.S. trading Wednesday to its highest level since March.
The largest exchange traded product following VIX futures, iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXX), rose 8%.
In stock ETFs, a Nasdaq-100 fund was pushed below a key indicator in Wednesday’s sell-off. [Nasdaq ETF Lower]
CBOE Volatility Index
Again, moral is that Buy & Protect is a must in our 21st century markets. Buy & Hold and modern portfolio theory are missing a key layer of risk management to be effective in our stock markets today.
SPY from January 1, 2006 – Dec 31, 2010.
100 year study shows following:
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — A new report from TrimTabs, the investment analysts, has blown the whistle on what really went on behind the stock-market “boom” we saw in the first quarter, when the S&P 500 Index rose more than 5%.
No wonder everyone turned bullish by the end of March — just before the market started tanking again.
So who was driving up the market? What was creating this boom?
Turns out it was the companies themselves. TrimTabs says companies spent a thumping $124 billion in the first three months of the year trying to boost their share prices by buying up stock.
That works out at about $2 billion for every day the market opened.
Meanwhile, according to Trim Tabs, guess who avoided buying stock during the first quarter? Company executives. The “insiders.”
These are the guys whose stock purchases tend to strongly signal bull markets and genuine booms. They were spending investors’ money buying their stock, but weren’t spending their own.
TrimTabs says insiders’ stock purchases came to less than $2 billion for the entire quarter, a comparatively low level.
“We’ve never seen such a sharp contrast between what insiders are doing with their own money and what they’re doing with the money of the companies they manage,” TrimTabs Chief Executive Charles Biderman wrote in a note. Stock buybacks outnumbered executive stock purchases by the highest ratio TrimTabs has seen since it started tracking the numbers back in 2004.
No kidding. When it comes to insiders, follow what they do, not what they say.
When company executives are spending their own money buying stock, it’s a bullish sign. After all, who better knows their companies’ prospects? But when they are sitting on their hands or cashing out, it’s not so good.
As for companies buying up their own shares, this needn’t be a bad thing. After all, if you drive up stock prices, all shareholders benefit.
Share buybacks also are a pretty good way of returning cash to investors. They’re not as good as paying dividends, but they are a better investment than most of the other things management likes to do with the money — like investing in pet projects, or providing more executive perks or making ill-timed acquisitions.
Alas, in this case, there’s another chapter to this story.