Alarm Bells are ringing everywhere in the hedge fund industry.
The problem is that no one seems to hear them.
Liquidity, Liquidity, liquidity.
That’s all you need to know about this market.
Chaos in Washington doesn’t count.
The economy doesn’t count.
Geopolitics don’t count.
Even the weather doesn’t count, unless you’re a long suffering, but recently happy owner of corn, wheat, soybeans, or the (DBA).
The relentless rise in share prices is starting to resemble price action last seen during the Dotcom bubble.
My friend, Fed governor Janet Yellen was a relentless coconspirator in this most recent move, hinting, again, that interest rates will stay lower for longer, thanks to Amazon inspired deflation.
Traditional brick and mortar stores are now closing so fast that you have to check if they are still in business before you go shopping, as happened to me last weekend.
Yes, there are no more Desigual stores in San Francisco.
So, prospect of another rate rise in September has thus been firmly taken off the table.
The only consolation is that my Mad Hedge Market Timing Index is finally, finally starting to edge off of neutral, where it has lived for two months, and is starting to move into short selling territory with a reading of 64.
Predictions of imminent doom are breaking out like acne at a high school prom.
I refer below to two charts.
One, The “Buffett Index” shows that share prices as a percentage of GDP are approaching highs only seen twice in the last century (1929 and 1999).
The Oracle of Omaha has gotten so nervous about elevated share prices that he has most ceased buying them in the public, preferring to focus on direct takeovers, where better value is found.
The second shows that commodity prices relative to stock prices are at 50-year lows.
If you look at all “RISK OFF” assets, like precious metals (GLD), (SLV), energy (USO), bonds (TLT), they have all been universally pummeled in recent months.
This probably makes them all a screaming buy right here, right now.
The scary thing with trading a bull market that is eight years old is that ALL trades are high-risk trades.
Here is the problem for we investors.
Market bottoms are easy to quantify, thanks to reliable benchmarks like price earnings multiples, cash flow, dividend yields, and price to book.
There was no way the S&P 500 was going to drop below $666 in 2009, when the market multiple was at 9 times earnings.
Market tops are entirely another story.
Here, the sole criteria is human greed, which is inherently immeasurable and unpredictable.
Yes, the current run in stocks could go on for YEARS longer.
It all makes us analysts and strategists look like idiots, and the older you are, the bigger moron you appear.
To see all of this unfolding just a head of August, a month notorious for wild price moves and extreme volatility, is particularly disturbing.
We have not seen a 5% drop in 12 months, the longest such period in 22 years, when the Dotcom bubble first began (remember Netscape?).
It all makes me want to take a bite out of the Volatility Index (VIX), (VXX) during the next dive into singe digits, which started on Friday.
The ultra low (VIX) level is hiding a lot of leverage longs and systemic risk that must eventually come back to bite big time.
It is only when the tide goes out when you find out who is swimming without a suit. Calm waters do not make safe sailors.
Provided you haven’t slit you wrists yet, the major market driver for the coming week will be the first of the Q2 earnings reports.
FANG stock Netflix (NFLX) reports on Monday, Bank of America (BAC) and Citicorp (C) on Tuesday, American Express (AXP) and Morgan Stanley (MS) on Wednesday, Blackstone Group on Thursday (BX), and General Electric (GE) on Friday.
On Monday, July 17 at 8:30 AM EST, we will see the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, a read on economic conditions in New York State.
On Tuesday, July 18 at 10:00 AM EST we get another real estate indicator with the Housing Market Index, a weighted average of separate national diffusion indexes:
On Wednesday, July 19, at 7:00 AM EST MBA Mortgage Applications are published.
At 10:30 AM EST the weekly EIA Petroleum Status Report is out, probably with more awful news. This could be the low of the week for oil traders.
Thursday, July 20 at 8:30 AM we learn the Weekly Jobless Claims. Last week’s number saw a bearish slight tick up.
At 10:00 AM we learn the Index of Leading Economic Indicators, a composite of 10 forward-looking components including building permits, new factory orders, and unemployment claims.
On Friday, July 21 we have the last of the July equity options expire.
Wrapping up the week at 1:00 PM is the Baker-Hughes Rig Count, which has been up for most of the last year, boding ill for oil prices. Last week saw a doubling of year earlier rig numbers, and over a year of rises.
As for me, I will be doing some rare work in my garden, launching a new War Against the Gophers.
Does anyone have any ideas?
My latest gimmick is a plastic, battery driven stake that plays an endless recording of an angry gopher.
Good luck and good trading!
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