IS THERE A “DISTURBING MACHINATION OF THE EQUITY MARKETS?”

Legendary hedge fund manager Stan Druckenmiller lamented whether or not the markets will ever return back to a normal macro trading environment?  Many iconic market luminaries are commenting about the “disturbing machination of the equity markets over the past several years” where speed and cost of execution is paramount to everything else.  There is no rational thought given that 60% of equity volume is done by algorithms according to Blackstone’s Byron Wien.  Steve Cohen commented liquidity is all but absent.

Unfortunately the industry did this to itself in an attempt to capture as many assets as possible using cost of execution as the only variable.  A race to the bottom always ends ugly.

Unfortunately it will take a crisis to effect change.

Because of today’s lopsided environment, JP Morgan is suggesting the averages will not have any returns over the next 10 years.  There are other bulge bracket firms, including Goldman that has made similar pronouncements.

This circles back to the introductory sentence as whether or not the markets will ever return back to a normal macroeconomic trading environment?  I believe the markets are in the very nascent phase of such a return given the decimation of many algorithmic trading models.  The only strategy that has not imploded is indexing.  IfGoldman’s and JP Morgan’ forecast of 0% return during the next 10 years is accurate, indexing/passive investing will die an inglorious slow death.

Speaking of a slow death, the Dow was up almost 175 points early yesterday only to close lower by 100 points.  The NASDAQ also opened higher by over 125 points to close almost unchanged.  Typically such reversals indicate selling into strength and lows are not yet visible in the immediate future.

Speaking of lows, oil plunged over 8% yesterday, the biggest drop in three years and is now the most oversold on record according to Bloomberg.   Five weeks ago long positions were at a near term record and $100 oil was all but a certainty.  Today prices are down about 25% and “shorts” are around a near term record.

It is a massive five week reversal that I will argue is the result of the machination of the markets.   Did all capitulate in the oil market yesterday?  As discussed several times the speed and the depth of the current decline is a record.

I shudder to think if such a decline were to occur in either equities or Treasury market.  If such did occur I am certain there would be calls for a change in market mechanics.

What will happen today?  The CPI is released at 8:30.  Will it confirm the inflationary implications of last week’s CPI?

Last night the foreign markets were down.  London was up 0.06%, Paris down 0.36% and Frankfurt down 0.25%.  China was down 0.85%, Japan up 0.16% and Hang Sang down 0.54%.

The Dow should open nominally lower.  Oil edged higher.  Will FRB Chair Powell make any market moving comments as he is scheduled to give a speech today?  The 10-year is unchanged at 3.14%.

 

The views expressed herein are those of Kent Engelke and do not necessarily reflect those of Capitol Securities Management. Any opinions expressed are statements of judgment on this date and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated or projected. Any future dividends, interest, yields and event dates listed may be subject to change. An investor cannot invest in an index, and its returns are not indicative of the performance of any specific investment. Past performance is not indicative of future results. This material is being provided for informational purposes only. Any information should not be deemed a recommendation to buy, hold or sell any security. Certain information has been obtained from third-party sources we consider reliable, but we do not guarantee that such information is accurate or complete. This report is not a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material and does not include all available data necessary for making an investment decision. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. There is no guarantee that the statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. If you would like to unsubscribe from this e-mail distribution, please reply to this e-mail and indicate that you wish to unsubscribe in your response.