You can’t say Nassim Taleb didn’t warn you: the outspoken academic-philosopher, best known for his prediction that six sigma “fat tail”, or black swan, events happen much more frequently than they should statistically (perhaps a main reason why there is no longer a market but a centrally-planned cesspool of academic intervention) just had a black swan land smack in the middle of the Universa hedge fund founded by ardent Ron Paul supporter Mark Spitznagel, and affiliated with Nassim Taleb.
The result: a $1 billion payday, translating into a 20% YTD return, in a week when the VIX exploded from the teens to over 50, and which most other hedge funds would love to forget.
Damian McBride is the former head of communications at the British treasury and former special adviser to Gordon Brown, erstwhile Prime Minister of the U.K. Yesterday he tweeted some surprising advice in response to the plunge in global equities markets.;
Advice on the looming crash, No. 1: get hard cash in a safe place now; don’t assume banks & cashpoints will be open, or bank cards will work.
Crash advice No. 2: do you have enough bottled water, tinned goods & other essentials at home to live a month indoors? If not, get shopping.
Crash advice No. 3: agree a rally point with your loved ones in case transport and communication gets cut off; somewhere you can all head to.
Evidently, McBride interprets the wipe-out of over $3 trillion in total global market cap during the three-day rout as a prelude to a much broader and deeper financial crash that will precipitate civil unrest. Continue reading »
This is the first time that the 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day moving average since August 2011, creating the ominous-sounding “death cross.” The month following this ‘event’ has produced negative returns 80% of the time…
The Chinese government’s heavy handed efforts to contain recent stock market volatility – the latest move prohibits short-selling and sales by major shareholders – have seriously damaged its credibility. But China’s policy failures should come as no surprise. Policymakers there are far from the first to mismanage financial markets, currencies, and trade. Many European governments, for example, suffered humiliating losses defending currencies that were misaligned in the early 1990s.
Still, China’s economy remains a source of significant uncertainty. Indeed, although the performance of China’s stock market and that of its real economy has not been closely correlated, a major slowdown is under way. That is a serious concern, occupying finance ministries, central banks, trading desks, and importers and exporters worldwide.
“Price insensitive” flows are starting to materialize, and our goal is to estimate their likely size and timing. These technical flows are determined by algorithms and risk limits, and can hence push the market away from fundamentals. The obvious risk is if these technical flows outsize fundamental buyers. In the current environment of low liquidity, they may cause a market crash such as the one we saw at the US market open on Mondaay”
Take your pick–here’s three good reasons to engineer a “crash” that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
There is an almost touching faith that markets are rigged when they loft higher, but unrigged when they crash. Who’s to say this crash isn’t rigged? A few things about this “crash” (11% decline from all time highs now qualifies as a “crash”) don’t pass the sniff test.
Exhibit 1: VIX volatility Index soars to “the world is ending” levels when the S&P 500 drops a relatively modest 11%. The VIX above 50 is historically associated with declines of 20% or more–double the current drop. Continue reading »
With some of the biggest hedge funds – including Greenlight, Third Point, Glenview, Lone Pine, Fir Tree, Steadfast, Omega, York, and Canyon – all heavily invested in Sun Edison, we can’t help but wonder if the total and utter collapse in the stock from yesterday’s highs indicated forced liquidations that smashed it another 18.6% lower today with dramatically escalating volumes into the last hour (when stocks collapsed…)
SUNE is now down 27% from yesterday’s bounce highs…
The CNBC bubble headed bimbos and brainless stock touting twits will be in ecstasy today as the ever predictable rebound is under way. The market will soar by over 500 points at the opening as the excuse of the day is China’s desperate interest rate cut to try and stem their downward spiraling economy and markets. The Wall Street captured boob tube brigade will tell their almost non-existent viewership that all is well. The terrifying plunge is in the past. The economy is great. Housing is strong. Stocks are now a bargain. It’s the best time to buy.
Now for some factoids. Six of the ten largest point gains in the history of the stock market occurred between September 2008 and March 2009. That’s right.
During one of the greatest market collapses in history, the market soared by 5% to 11% in one day, six times. Here are the data points: Continue reading »
Back in July, after a dramatic unwind in the half dozen or so backdoor margin lending channels that had helped drive Chinese stocks to nosebleed levels triggered a terrifying 30% decline (vaporizing billions in paper profits in the process), the Politburo predictably stepped in to rescue the market.
However, when it started to become clear that a succession of declarations, directives, policy rate cuts, and even threats weren’t going to be enough to alleviate the pressure on equities, Beijing looked to take back the narrative by banning the use of certain undesirable phrases.
Curious why few if any traders can actually execute any trades, whether buys or sells? The reason is that despite the relative calmness of the index prints, what is going on beneath the surface is an unprecedented wave of constant halt and unhalts as all stop levels were taken out, many in circuit breaker territory, making it virtually impossible for any matching enginge to, well, match buyers and sellers.
Here is a sample:
The resulting halts made it impossible for regular traders to step in, requiring central banks to buy via the CME’s Central Bank Incentive Program, to restore some market stability.
And just to add to the pain, there is absolutely no liquidity in either stocks…
“China is using pension funds to try and shore up their failing markets. How would you like your pension funds used by the government to stop the implosion? This tells me they are in deeper trouble than they have admitted…..”
And it is the Chinese people that are in real trouble.
A polluted environment, toxic food and a failing illusion of economic growth & prosperity.
And you don’t want to live in Shanghai when the greatest financial collapse in world history will happen.
Back in August 2007, just as the quant funds had their first taste of what the upcoming collapse would look like and when the Fed for the first time realized that the subprime woes were “not contained” despite what Ben Bernanke had promised previously to Congress, financial comedy TV’s best known mascot, Jim Cramer had a meltdown on CNBC following Bear Stearns’ CFO admission that the fixed-income market turmoil was the worst in 22 years, ranting how the Fed “knows nothing” and how it should promptly bail out the financial system.
Little did Bear Stearns know that less than 9 months later it would no longer exist, but not before the same Jim Cramer proclaimed Bear Stearns was “fine” and is not in trouble when it was trading at $62/share. A week later the company was insolvent and was handed to JPM for a forced take-out at $2/share.
Fast forward 8 years when we just witnessed the biggest weekly market rout in 4 years and largest VIX surge in history, and when – like clockwork – the financial “experts” come crawling out demanding, you guessed it, another Fed bailout.
We witnessed something truly historic happen on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 530 points, and that followed a 358 point crash on Thursday. When you add those two days together, the total two day stock market crash that we just witnessed comes to a grand total of 888 points, which is larger than any one day stock market crash in U.S. history. It is also interesting to note that this 888 point crash comes in the 8th month of our calendar. Perhaps that is just a coincidence, and perhaps it is not. It just struck me as being noteworthy. This is the first time that the Dow has dropped by more than 300 points on two consecutive days since November 2008, and we all remember what was happening back then. Overall, this was the worst week for the Dow in four years, and there have only been five other months throughout history when the Dow has fallen by more than a thousand points (the most recent being October 2008). Of course we still have six more trading days left in August, so there is plenty of time remaining for even more carnage.
By itself, the 530 point plunge on Friday was the ninth worst stock market crash in all of U.S. history. The following list of the top eight comes from Wikipedia… Continue reading »