Election Thoughts

October 19, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Peter Ringel  writes: 

love all of these relative strength thoughts / models.

The market is much stronger than the seasonal pattern

Thus the next seasonal low should springboard a better than usual rally

If trump wins expect larger rally than if biden carries the day (better rallies when party stays in power, thanks JH)

That’s my strategy

I don't known what drove this rally, but I assume election uncertainty is bearish. Since the mkt is not - we have a monster driver in here.

There's a humongous fungus amungus!

 … disprove my fear of a  media/swamp

Wait ! there is any doubt left ? :)

K. K. Law  writes: 

Don't know for sure, but the recent bull trend could correlate with the potential Trump November win. Will see if it will take out the Aug/Sept highs. If it forms a double top and reverses, that would be a different story.



From Chinese Netizens

September 15, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Leo Jia writes: 

They teach us to be patriotic, to follow the leader to study communism, sing communist song, and swear by the communist sign.  But did you know, the author of communism was a German, the composer of the communist song was a French, and the creators of the communist sign were Russians?  Did you also know, while teaching us to be patriotic and communists, they deposit their huge amount of money in Switzerland, send their wives, lovers, and children to America, and buy houses in Canada and Australia?

Peter Ringel writes: 

Its good to be patriotic.

The dirty little switcheroo the China gov does (and similar regimes have also done in history) , is to link patriotism to communism and the party.

Obliviously China's culture is millennia older than Marx and his intellectually confused followers.

You hinted at the hypocrisy. Did you know that Marx traded and failed doing so ?  Growing up in the east-block and learning about this fact late - I got an erection :) ! Of course the bastard did .




August 18, 2020 | Leave a Comment

 Ralph Vince writes: 

I went to look at past recessions beginning with the one that officially started in Aug '1929. I looked that the number of months, the recession officially lasted for what the highest teh unemployment rate got up to was, what the lowest GDP dropped during  it, and the drop in the DJIA. there were 14 official recessions in this period (Iam not counting the current recession we are in).Interestingly, the correlation between the depth of the unemployment  rate and the number of months the recessions lasted for was .8438. I  other words, the deeper the unemployment rate, the longer the recession lasted for to a very high correlation.

The depth ofGDP drop too was highly correlated to the months the recessoin lasted to a correlation of .75.Every recession saw  market drop-off of varrying degrees with the least being -5.727% from fb to october 1945, the worst -89.19% from  Aug 1929–Mar 1933 Of the 14 recessions, 10 saw market drops >20%, and 4 of those saw drops >45 %.

So I would expect this recession to last a long tim based on unemployment and GDP so-far. However, even though all recessions saw a market drop, th severity of the market drop and the length of months the recession lasted was only +.03. The other factors that correlated to market drop during recessions was depth of unemployment rate correlating positively by .12 to depth of market  correction, and depth of GDP drop correlating positively to market drop by .35. 

Peter Ringel writes: 

Damn Ralph!  Incredible call today.

Ralph Vince  writes: 

No but I thought it would be on much havier volume., 111/2 tims what we saw today.

Hernan Avella writes: 

maybe with more volume we get to 2150 by labor day, as you vehemently forecasted



Does anyone know if anywhere else in the world hospitals/ICUs were overrun?

After China, Italy, (Iran?), NYC?

I just checked South Africa: it seems not as severe as Italy.

Why aren't where any other extreme hot-spots?

Is it possible that the virus mutates itself to extinction? After the first jump from animals to human-quite deadly, each followup infection/generation gets less and less severe?

Denise Shull writes: 

It would appear Mexico City is over-capacity per Bloomberg.

Ralph Vince writes: 

The damage to thee economy, long-term, is immeasurable.

Who is going to go it there, borrow to their nose and beyond , risk everything, to create something now? Who, given the heavy boot of government at all levels, the precedent that has been set, all based on a comic book hoax?

Only this who have NEVER been in that situation, think the economy will just "reopen" and life go back to normal.

There is no engine now. 

Jim Sogi writes: 

Worse than the permanent damage to the economy is our loss of freedom. What good is all the money, nice house if you don't have freedom, freedom to travel.

We lost a lot after 911, but this feels more like a dictatorship by local governors and mayors.

Dylan Distasio writes:

If it's inflicted much longer, especially with weather warming up, and the economic hardships, people are going to openly ignore the mandates. It's already starting.



I have some questions regarding eurodollars and attempted to answer them myself: Why is GE quoted as interest rates, but de facto acts like a commodity ? Why were GE quotes up (rates on eurodollar deposits down) during the 2008/2020 crises. There was lots of cash demand.

- GE futures prices DO show de facto demand for cash (any fx cash offshore demand)
- GE is priced as rate to par of deposits
- GE reacts to or anticipates FED rates, as FED reacts to cash demand
- the rate of the deposits are not directly driven by supply and demand of global cash, but are driven by "external"/ non-eurodollar-mkt interest rates
- GE quotes can not be understand by the internal supply and demand of the eurodollar mkt conclusion: even GE-quotes are interest rates, GE-quotes act de facto like commodity prices, e.g. currently show huge cash demand.

Does you agree with my answers?



Don't know the medical edge of this, but the economic one may best be measured each Thursday morning in the weekly new unemployment claims #s, which should help separate truth from bs in the economic effects with timely, relevant data.

Peter Ringel writes: 

Yes, the first real-time data of the economy under the virus/under quarantines–everything else is too full of emotions (including equities).

Yesterday the market felt more rational for the first time, even during down-legs.

Gary Phillips writes: 

Indeed, Peter. It's rational in the sense that the panic and deleveraging is probably over with and the market has become very mechanical. That is, with VIX continuing to remain above 50, options are too expensive to roll, so every time they get in-the-money, they're monetized and we get these violent squeezes. And of course, these rallies are sold into, perpetuating the feedback loop. And, will continue to be sold, until VIX resets lower. So, I don't know if the market is out-of-the -woods quite yet, but it is getting close to where a rally will be sustainable. Perhaps, we hold the current low; but imo, the market will provide one with another chance, sometime between now and opex. If we take out the current low, we could see 2535. However, that would only add fuel to the upcoming rally as the embedded options shorts are joined by new shorts deep-in-the hole. In any case, expected value is to the upside.

anonymous writes: 

The deleveraging is not over from the panic, it is over because individuals and business are going to drawdown their lines of credit fully to make sure they can still operate. Look at BA today. Tapped all their lines for 13 billion.

The drawdown at prime brokers will continue for the same reason. No one wants a capital call in this environment. I just had a treasury trader tell me he's seeing +8 tick bid-ask spreads. The street will deliver as the banks do the opposite. Regulatory capital ratios will be adjusted/waived there.

There is no liquidity. No liquidity, no upside. CB's are going to have to fund a month of negative cash flow….globally.

BTW, watch out for Canada. There's nothing going right there…the place scares me, especially the banks. I've never liked big banks based in small countries.

Gary Phillips writes: 

True, credit markets are not looking well. And, that may be where our next shock emanates from. But vol targeters, CTAs, L/S funds, retail, et al have hit the exits. Models have probably turned short and will be pressed on the next shock down, and when the market turns, they will be racing the others in a massive FOMO rally.

anonymous writes: 

I differ Gary. The street is not short; they have just deleveraged somewhat.

Think of it this way. Pretend for the month of February, every company received nothing in revenue. Zero.

They're likely to do two things, draw on their credit and cut back spending. Smart companies build this into the new amortization schedule; poorly managed companies spend time and resources trying to figure how long it will last (which they have no control over).

In December, I told a company I was advising that this was the perfect wind to sail in and buy a competitor but only if you had the balance sheet to do so. That turned out to be accurate, and it still applies. Just as in 2008, size matters in your cost of funds. Large companies are supported because they are not immediately replaceable.

A few minutes ago, I had a strong discussion with someone. They wanted to use their opportunity in a non-essential endeavor. It is the time to either get customers or buy them. You can't do that with debt or leverage. Robinhood's app is a good example. I consider this early in this cycle, as the strong have not begun to eat the weak, and few weak have acknowledged their position. BA, OXY and a few others have. There's more to come.

What is essential, is for the regulatory capital ratios to be loosened. A dollar of loss removes ten dollars of loans. Mid-tier banks have a bunch of sketchy loans right now (a lot in energy). So watch the OCC, watch the Fed's regulatory game, watch the state regulators. They invent useable capital as much as the Fed creatures liquidity in NYC.

P.S. - many loans and bonds have short time windows starting around 30 days, where they can miss a payment and make it up later without legally defaulting. Unfortunately, I expect that window to close right around quarter end, when banks will have to move them into special assets and reserve against the expected loss (at the same time as they assign a value to the loan for capital ratio purposes).



Allen Gillespie comments on this post from Feb 7th:

Having covered the gaming sector and written posthumously on the death of DARPA's Policy Analysis Market - I could not let this post pass without a more detailed consideration, for a few reasons: First, market structure matters in the predictive accuracy of a market. I also think the death of these projects has resulted in a mentality of more data, is better, so we are going to suck it all in regardless of personal liberties even if we cannot accurately analyze it. I personally think a better study of cross correlation analysis would lead to better and more timely insights without the violations to personal privacy we now experience - that is what I proposed to DARPA but they didn't seem interested.. After this latest Corona Virus - our biology will now be collected as well and full tracking will probably be mandatory. Gotta love Big Brother you know. In addition, certain projects have been pushed into private enterprises then the data repurchased data to get around restrictive laws.

1. Spot markets reflect a market's current discounting of future cashflow for stocks, however, a futures market would reflect the spot market at that future point in time. As a result, they both have predicative abilities but they are focused on different periods of time. This is why many do not understand how to use yield curve data, for example, because it reflects varies leads and lags. Spot data, because it is a discounting mechanism, also reflects futures events - anyone have an idea of the best sector in the 2016 election year or the 2008 election year - what about 200? I will give you a hint, what is good for government is bad for business and what is good for West Virginia may not fly in California both identified, and the low in defense spending dates back a few years. This year, China, biology, guns, HSA, student loan, and work and staying at home related names seem to be the themes - just be aware of the weather cycles. Informational warfare is a different game - as there are lots of potential cross-currents and beneficiaries this year - its the Strike You Know - how do you clear a street of protesters? Who says rates should be zero and we should not have sent manufacturing overseas? Who went on strike? What was the policy on Iran's nuclear program and what was the Stuxnet virus? What is the lab safety record in China? Does containing an outbreak lead to more money and nationalization of the healthcare systems? Many competing vested interests here.

2. Political markets are unique given that markets are designed to balance money to the real odds, but in political markets - every man can independently influence the final outcome through actions outside the market. In short, political markets are more likely to be imbalanced by the Palindrome's reflexive function - as a bettor is not only a bettor but potentially a participant with a single vote - different rule set than the markets. Therefore, the number of bets on a side may be more predictive than the money on a side provided each market participate can vote. This was the problem with the PAM and why after 9/11 certain rules were created - if one has inside knowledge - well then certain activities become self-financing. The insurance claims on the World Trade Center are an interesting financial case.

Victor Niederhoffer writes:

What evidence is there that future markets predict actual future events better than spot prices. This will be relevant now that polls give dems almost an even chance while betting markets are highly in favor of Rep. One expects a deluge of articles from newspapers showing that polls in recent years are just as good as betting markets.

Stefan Jovanovich writes:

The betting markets that are serious because they accept sized wagers–those of the bookies in Britain–are options. That is why you can get a quote on a bet that is clearly going to expire out-of-the-money.

If you use linear polling, the spot and futures prices converge nicely the nearer you get to an election.

"Linear polling" is what I call regular sampling over time of an unchanged initial sample–what the LA Times and the private Trump polls did in 2016. The USC Dornsife poll is my current favorite, and they are–not a surprise!–predicting Trump's re-election.

Peter Ringel writes: 

Whatever threatens the old information monopoly will be attacked.



 The chronic need of economic doom topics…

New time series on FRED from the Atlanta FED. (New on FRED. The project is not new.) It is derived via keywords from US/ world newspapers. Methodology. Home. I find the uniformity over long phases fascinating. The Jerry Seinfeld joke come to mind: Isn't it surprising, that newspapers never run out of pages or have blank ones. Whatever happened fits perfectly the space available.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

PR's usual cleverness and my coach potato contemplations of this year's World Championship in track and field (this was a glorious year) have me thinking that the steeplechase is a better metaphor for the markets than rock climbing. The worries are repeating hurdles more than they are walls.



What is the significance if any of recent money market stress and Fed actions?

Larry Williams writes: 

If it is a mini QE-4, as I suspect, bullish.

Peter Ringel writes: 

I had decreasing excess commercial bank reserves as bullish factor for equities, because it is an indicator of optimism.

People are less in cash and invest more and more in other assets.

Pete Earle writes: 

A colleague and I wrote an article about this two days back. "This is Not QE4, Yet"

Mr. Isomorphisms writes: 

If it's due to quarterly tax payments, why doesn't this happen every quarter?

Pete Earle replies:

It's not just because of taxes. Read the article.



Watch "Bridgewater's Ray Dalio Discusses the Impact of China's Growth on the World Economy" on YouTube

Watch "Gordon Chang: On Hong Kong Protest, Chinese Economy, Trade War, & Trump's New Tariffs" on YouTube 

Very distinct views. What is yours? Btw, any news on Jim Chanos' latest China results? Seems like he backed out his short earlier?

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

When Cantillon shorted "France" - i.e. John Law's system, he went to the Bourse in Amsterdam and bought gold with a promise to deliver assignats. The difficulty with shorting "China" is who are your buyers? Cantillon's counter-parties were not AIG fools; they needed Law's paper to pay their French taxes, which could only be done with Law's paper legal tender. But who outside the jurisdiction of the PRC has a need for the delivery of Yuan?

Mr. Chanos' shorts, to the extent he disclosed them publicly, were derivative bets against exporters to China that did not touch the currency at all. Kyle Bass' hints at his short position, which he has closed, involved the exchange between renminbi and the Hong Kong dollar. A question for the List: where, in fact, can a sizable bet be made right now that shorts Chinese legal tender? A bet against the dollar in BitCoin can be laid on in volume but not Yuan. The price CNBC puts on its screens is no more a market quote than the exchange rate for Venezuela's money. Or, have I answered my question already. A purchase of BitCoins in China with the domestic currency would seem to be, for now, as good as selling assignats for future delivery in Holland in 1719. 

Peter Ringel writes: 

Hi Leo, I don't see necessarily a contradiction between the two.

Dalio seems to highlight opportunities in the Chinese private sector. Chang points to the many issues and question marks, that arise from the behavior of the Chinese government.

Anecdotally, I only hear of foreigners exiting China's "physical" sector. I don't know what foreigners are doing in the financial sector in China.

Isn't Dalio concerned about the rule of law? Will he get his money out at some point? I believe Dalio talks a bit to his book and to ears in China. His historical analysis of past global powers, which was also posted on his blog a little back, is aimed in this direction. I do see contradictions mid and long term. With all due respect to China's culture and idiosyncrasies, how can an economic power house and a police state coexist? (Mainly corruption will rip any economy apart).

What do you think the prospects are (in case as an analogy)? The ear on the ground is always the best source.

anonymous writes: 

Hi Peter,

I have been quite negative since a few years ago, and so started long term traveling outside the country since 2015.

I feel quite the same that Dalio was talking to his book and the top ears in the country, and suspect that might be a precondition for him to take his money out now.

His data presentation looks convincing, but it seems dated without considering the country's abrupt shift to the far left in these few years. One may argue that he is looking at a trend on a century level and a few years time can thus be well neglected. Well, people in the West really lacks the experience of what "far left" means. That alone, not to mention about other big issues in the country, will cause a deep and likely long hiccup in the near term, which might well expire everything imagined for the long term.

Larry Williams writes: 


Never forget: the Long Term Trend Is Up…do not fear the future. Fear does not create death. Fear limits life.



We had extreme ranges and drops this week. A couple thoughts… Chair and Rocky argued about percent vs absolute points. Since each point is always $50, points matter most to the wallet. As the absolute value goes up, absolute ranges rise as well.

Questions arise about extreme events: clustering, duration, time between, distributions of returns. Pareto distributions are a key idea according to the book.

Peter Ringel writes: 

From a base of extremely less experience: I think in points. It is more intuitive. The market seems to move in chunks of points. E.g. NQ seems to like 30pts.



I've learned a lot from the DailySpec. Larry's advice that the market rewards patience is good. Ralph's formula for leverage is good. I realize they go hand in hand (their advice). It's hard to have patience when over levered.

Larry Williams writes: 

Leverage is pressure. There is enough of that in this business as is. Why compound it?

Ralph Vince writes: 

This is life and death, and I have NO interest in comfort.

Steve Ellison writes: 

When the game is to shake out the weak, a game plan of being strong, which would preclude excessive leverage, just might work.

I thought the Chair summarized it perfectly in a tweet on Monday:

A typical fri-mon almost identical to the feb 2018 decline with down another 1.5% on Mon nite 1100 pm est and then ready to resume its inevitable bullish climb on tues. anything to force the weak to give their chips to the strong.

Peter Ringel writes:

This is a wonderful tendency. Worked like a charm.



One important thought is that capitalism produces a better citizen (the base for democracy).

In capitalism every entrepreneur is a little king of his house and business.

It creates healthy individual self-confidence. This creates a healthy society.

In contrast, in socialism we find little personal self-confidence.

There self-confidence is replaced by something/a cause to make the little peasant not feel too bad about himself and his fate.

This is the road to Nazism, communism or religious fanaticism.



 Nelson Lichtenstein wrote interesting books about $WMT, noting that Sears was excluded from the initial 1955 Fortune 500 list "simply because it was a retailer".

His "retail revolution" is the transfer of power from manufacturers down the line and closer to the consumer. WMT now significantly controls the supply chain "up" the line.

(Nike and Starbucks have been noted in this regard, but not so far in this book.)

There is a second reason why Burger King management has put the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statement at the very top of the application. Americans consider workplace discrimination on the basis of race and religion and creed un-American. For nearly a third of a century we have had a national debate over the definition of such discrimination and the remedies that are useful and legal to eliminate it. But there is practically no debate about the need to stop it and compensate individuals for it, when discovered.

The overwhelming majority of workers, employers, and politicians believe that the government has a right to insist that active discrimination not take place against anyone covered by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or those many statutes that followed in its train. This seems so commonplace and common sensible, that we forget the radical character of this law. If you own a restaurant or a factory or a motel or run a college, you can't make use of your property as you wish. The state mandates you to hire, fire, promote, and otherwise deal with your employees or clients according to a set of rules laid down in Washington and refined by the EEOC and the courts. If litigated, the courts will force an employer to pay real money in compensation and rehire or promote a worker if management is found to have transgressed this new kind of labor law.

Peter Ringel writes: 

Yes, the "point of sale" has the dominant power position.

Like the US has it towards China: US is the point of sale.

Mr. Isomorphisms writes: 

I think this was a point made by Michael Pettis (shows up on twitter.com/jaredwoodard feed) as well.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

Some of us are happiest as counter uppunchers. But for I's and PR's wonderful (as always) comments, I would not have spent the first part of the morning rummaging through my books and pestering the wife about her encyclopedic knowledge of employment law. So, I pray these remarks will be taken as merry grumbling, not smart-ass smugness.

1. The EEOC placard is like putting In God We Trust on the Money. It does no harm but it is not proof of anything real. Companies put it up for the same reason water fountains in my birthplace and the nation's capitol once had labels that said colored only; the law made them do it.

2. Labor Union's flourished in the 1930s for the same reason the water fountains had the signs; the Federal law made companies do it. What it did not do, of course, was make the labor unions allow memberships to be open to people regardless of gender and race. On the contrary, those awful capitalist employers had shown a shocking willingness to allow women and Negroes and Mexicans to come to the same workplace. They had, of course, shown the same terrible openness to letting rich black and Creole people in Louisiana ride in the same passenger carriages as white people. In both cases the law put a stop to the dreadful egalitarian idea that anyone could be a source of profit.

3. One should be careful about drawing any inferences from the Fortune List. When Henry Luce ran Time-Life editorial selection had a simple rule: our advertisers are the news. Sears was not a major advertiser in expensive magazines in the 1940s and 1950s. They did not need to be any more than Google (forgive me: Alphabet) needed to buy ads on television in the 1990s and 2000s.



If we imported goods from, say, the Gaza, would that be a good thing?

Peter Ringel responds:

Please allow the kraut to interject:

Hamas bombed Israel with >1200 missiles (and counting) during the last 3 weeks.

Hamas tries to trick Israel into a broad attack because Hamas is losing support in Gaza fast.

Israel showed tremendous restraint so far. Something politically extremely costly during an election year.

It is on the shoulders of the Palestinians to get rid of Hamas. Economic sanctions help with that IMHO.

Then we will see.



Mises wrote in 1940 what it is still difficult to say 80 years later: the "working class" in Germany were the Nazis most dedicated supporters precisely because Hitler offered "full employment" through public spending. Hitler's dilemma in 1939 was that the German central government had no more usable FX with which to pay for its imports. The only means of continuing the supplies from Scandinavia and the Baltic and Romania was to make German IOUs as good as cash in the same way Napoleon persuaded Continental Europe to accept the "reformed" (sic) French currency. The Soviets could not be so easily threatened, but they could be bribed with half of Poland, the Baltic and a slice of Finland. Even so, everything depended on the French and British believing that an invasion to the Rhine would only bolster Hitler's popularity, not destroy it. So, as Mises notes, leaflets were dropped instead of bombs.

Peter Ringel writes:

The left here always gets a little bit annoyed when one highlights, that NAZI stands for National SOCIALISM (A member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party NSDAP). It would be nice if more (in Germany) understand, that economics is the driving force of history–not political or religious "ideas".



From a NYT article:

In the past 60 years, every recession has been preceded by an inverted yield curve, according to research from the San Francisco Fed. Curve inversions have "correctly signaled all nine recessions since 1955 and had only one false positive, in the mid-1960s, when an inversion was followed by an economic slowdown but not an official recession," the bank's researchers wrote in March.

anonymous writes: 

Cleveland Fed has a dedicated website on the YC. Lately the probability of recession in the next year has increased to 20%+ some good literature on the subject by the NY Fed.

While historically it has been a solid predictor, the timing is tricky and not stable (can you afford to be short the market at least a year before a recession) and its predictive power has decreased over the years. The evidence in foreign markets is also mixed (look at the UK in 2000s where a decent portion of the time the YC was flat/inverted). It is what someone will call a weak predictor. One would think that you might find a better forecast in specific industries/sectors (eg financials) than the market as a whole.

It's worth mentioning that inverted yield curves were the norm before 1900. Most academics attribute that to wars; if a country survived in the short-term (wars), it had less risk over the long term. Similar to the VIX term structure during sell-offs. 

Peter Ringel writes: 

We had so many bogymen on the news-wire today.
Everyone is free to choose the fear he or she desires:
- yield curve 
- Russia military aggression (old news- but displayed as new)
- Italy risk (old news)
- Brexit fail
- Trump-China back paddling ("China is puzzled" <- this one is real IMO )
- FED talk
- IRAN war (old news)

Probably all a campaign.

Ralph Vince writes: 

Alright, since the media is yield curve obsessed, I'm copying what I posted to another list, expletives deleted.

This talk of an inverted curve by taking segments out is the most ignorant discussion in the media on the topic i have ever seen. When there are inflection points in the curve, which are COMMON, historically, there are portions of inversion, of course.Throughout the late 90s, when the 20 was above the 30 year, was anyone calling it an INVERTED YEILD CURVE!!!!! (and screaming about it, as they do now?)

In late 1998, there were at least FIVE inflection points using the main maturities on the constant curve, and three segments that were inverted. Things were pretty strong in the economy until hints of slowness in 2001Q2.

This is more bull***it financial writing, along the lines of "longest expansion in history," etc.

Who knows, maybe a slowdown is upon us (not evident in any numbers I keep - yet) but the yield curve is NOT inverted.

Russ Sears writes: 

Perhaps they have learned after Trump's election that making the first move instills confidence in the dip buyers Trump optimism. But selling after a big up Trump day the opposite.

anonymous writes:

It would seem that those that believe Trump knows what he is doing now move regularly before those who doubt him.  

Kora Reddy writes: 

1. When T10Y2Y goes below zero for the first time in 250 days (one year) and forward $SPX index returns:




2. When t10y3m goes below zero for the first in a yr:




3. When T10YFF goes below zero for the first time in a year:








Resources & Links