Displaying items by tag: volatility
Bonds and stocks are at odds right now. Yields have dropped considerably as the bond market is predicting pain to come. Stocks have sold off, but are still around all-time highs. If you look at how money markets are currently priced they imply a whopping 20% decline in stocks. There is not a much macro data to support the money markets’ pricing, but it is certainly a sign to pay attention to. “The rates market has probably overreacted relative to other asset classes in the last two weeks. However, the macro backdrop is fundamentally more uncertain today”, says Deutsche Bank, continuing “The renewed trade tensions create downside risks which were deemed to be negligible 2 months ago”.
FINSUM: Stocks are going to react to economic data and the trade war, so the current forecasts for stock prices are only as good as one’s ability to prognosticate those factors.
Whenever serious volatility strikes, investors get very nervous and don’t know how to react. One of the big questions is should I stay in the market? The other is which assets should I buy? Surprisingly, there is a fairly simple solution to handle volatility: every time the market moves wildly, hedge your portfolio with cash and/or options. When the markets calm down, unwind the hedge. Returns on stocks have actually been historically strongest during periods of low volatility (not the opposite).
FINSUM: The most interesting aspect here is that studies show that market returns have been highest in low volatility periods. Many people think that you have to stay in the market during volatile periods to make great returns, but that is simply not the case.
The trade war is scaring investors and tightening up markets. Benchmark indices have had a rough time this week and new data on investor flows should add to worries. UBS group, the world’s largest wealth manager, has just put out data on the holdings of its high net worth portfolios. The info shows that the world’s wealthy have 32% of their capital sitting in cash. In the US the figure was lower, at just 23%. UBS think that investors have become too conservative.
FINSUM: This is actually quite a bullish indicator for us. The markets have managed to rise a lot this year and there is still a lot of dry powder to push them higher.
One of the behaviors that we like to follow to see the underlying health of markets is whether investors are “buying the dip”. Such behavior tends to indicate a fundamental belief in the direction of the market. Therefore, the recent drop off in investors doing so is worrying, but not for the reason that seems obvious. The lack of buy the dip is because until this week, the market had rarely fallen this year. That has meant buying behavior has been concentrated in the hands of bulls not afraid the buy into a rich market, which left many discount-seekers looking from the outside in. Now, many top analysts, and likely investors alongside them, have turned bearish.
FINSUM: The velocity of the market’s gains this year has been very impressive, but it naturally makes a lot of people worry it could come down just as fast.
The markets are gleeful right now. Stocks are up 25% since their bottom in December, and things on the economic and Fed fronts look rosy. However, Citi says investors need to get out of some assets before “rain spoils the picnic”. The bank is worried about the difference between asset prices and underlying economic conditions (when looking globally). Its biggest area of worry is in corporate bonds, which have seen spreads to investment grade narrow sharply, especially in high yields, which look overvalued. Investment grade debt is troubling too, as debt levels jumped by their biggest amount in 18 years over the last 4 months. Citi thinks companies are burning through way too much cash for the growth levels they are achieving.
FINSUM: So Citi thinks this is going to be a bond market reckoning (which would surely impact stocks too). That is different than the consensus, but perhaps a good way to view the situation.