Health, Real life

Don’t succumb to virus fear

UPDATE: I have followed up on this post including an important interview with Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, MIT epidemiologist whose authoritative perspective is important to consider: Reject Fear! Your immune system is robust and resilient…

 

Today I learned that schools in Monaco and all of France won’t open on Monday morning and will remain closed at least until early May 2020. This is the authorities’ emergency response to the Corona virus pandemic that engulfed much of the world.

Whether this response is appropriate or overkill, I cannot say but I think it is important that we not succumb to irrational fear of Corona virus – or any other disease. To put things into proper perspective, consider what we know about pathogens like the poliovirus, TB and malaria: Continue reading

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Asset management, Commodity price, Commodity risk, Energy crisis, Hedging, Inflation, Market psychology, Market trends, Oil market, Trend following

Market panics and trend following

Today global capital markets opened to unprecedented price dislocations. ZeroHedge captured the mood: “Panic Purgatory: Oil Crashes to $27%; S&P Futures Locked limit Down, Treasuries Soar Limit Up Amid Historic Liquidation.” Over the recent months I’ve posted many articles on this blog and on SeekingAlpha, basically along two themes:

1) Warning that the markets would experience great turbulence in the near future (see here: “Perfect Storm Gathering…” and

2) Suggesting that the best way to navigate through the storm is by using high-quality systematic trend following strategies (see here, “Trend Following Might Save Your Tail“).

It may be that the time of reckoning has begun But if you followed my advice and used systematic trend following, most likely you’d be having a good day today. The chart below illustrates the net positioning of my 493 I-System strategies at market open this morning: Continue reading

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Asset management, Behavioral finance, Commodity price, Commodity risk, Energy crisis, Hedging, Market research, Market trends, Oil market, Risk management, Trading, Trend following

In October 2019 I predicted the current oil price collapse. How I knew? Here’s how:

In January last year, Reuters polled 1,000 oil market experts who basically agreed that oil would remain anchored in the $65-$70/bbl range through 2023. Only 3% of these experts thought that oil might rise to $90/bbl or more in 2020. I posted my analysis at this link: Market Fundamentals and Forecasting Groupthink. Later that year I published my own analysis, “Next Move in Oil Prices: $5-$10 Lower,” concluding that, …oil price will likely see another leg down… with Brent falling toward high $40s and WTI toward low $40s. Continue reading

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Central banking, Economics, History, Inflation, Monetary reform, Stock market

Financial bubbles and their human toll

Bursting of an asset bubble can have grave consequences for the economy and the society at large – so grave, it’s worth paying attention at this point. I’ll elaborate.

In only six trading sessions from the 20th February peak, the S&P500 shed more than 12%, one of the fastest declines on record for the index (only the 1987 black Monday was worse). Only a week before this event I posted the article, “Bubbles Always Burst…”on SeekingAlpha, warning about the risk of this happening.

Whether last week marks the beginning of the bubble’s bursting remains to be seen, but this is only a matter of time. Bubbles always burst, no exceptions. But what’s important to understand is this: bubbles are meant to be burst! For guidance, let’s look again at the bursting of Japan’s own everything bubble of the 1980s. Continue reading

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Economics, Energy crisis, Inflation, Market research, Market trends, Oil market, Policy, Risk management, Stock market, Trend following

Perfect storm gathering: the three converging disruptions

In the near future, we are likely to experience severe consequences of three converging disruptions:

  1. Stock market crash
  2. Oil price shock
  3. Inflation

Since the last recession we’ve enjoyed the longest ever period of economic expansion with low interest rates, low inflation and subdued commodity prices. But this all could be coming to an end.

Bursting of the “everything bubble”

Throughout the west, unprecedented government and central bank stimulus programs helped inflate the current “everything bubble.” This is not a new phenomenon; monetary expansion always creates asset bubbles. The one thing we know is that without exception, asset bubbles ultimately burst. The examples are many and some of them made a mark in the collective conscious of entire generations, from the 1630s Tulip Mania to the 1990s dot-com bubble. Continue reading

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Asset management, Hedging, Market psychology, Market research, Risk management, Trading

Sack your quant!

Last few years saw something of a gold rush into quantitative investment strategies. Their appeal is obvious as a way to put discipline into trading and take the emotion and stress out. Quantitative strategies might even help improve performance. Here’s how Black Rock President Rob Kapito articulated the industry hopes:

As people get the data and learn how to use the data, I think there is going to be alpha generated and, therefore, will give active managers more opportunity than they‘ve had in the past to actually create returns.” [1]

In pursuit of the great expectations, Black Rock assembled more than 90 scientists, 28 of them with PhDs and even went as far as poaching one of Google’s leading scientists, Bill McCartney to develop the BlackRock’s machine learning applications. In practice Black Rock’s and other firms’ results have proven to be a mixed bag at best and it seems that most quantitative strategies have tended to underperform or even generate losses. The question is, why? Continue reading

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Eurasia, Policy, Politics, War and peace

CIA’s Mike Morell: the covert war in the Middle East is ongoing. It might escalate…

During the night on Sunday, 26 January, five Katyusha rockets were launched on the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Three of them allegedly made a direct hit with at least one striking the embassy dining hall. This event followed the massive demonstrations in Baghdad demanding the U.S. troops to leave Iraq. Indeed, the tensions in the Middle East are unlikely to dissipate any time soon… Hopefully however, they won’t lead to the “horrendous” and “devastating” world war that a bi-partisan panel commissioned by the U.S. Congress predicted might break out within four years. Continue reading

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Asset management, Commodity price, Commodity risk, Hedging, Market psychology, Market trends, Oil market, Risk management, Trading, Trend following

Trend following and the impact of unforeseen events

“Yes, but how can your system know if XYZ happens and markets go haywire?” This is one of the two most frequently asked questions about systematic trading strategies I’ve used over the last 20 years. Most traders tend to rely on analyses of supply and demand fundamentals to form a judgment about future price changes.

My contention is that this simply does not work and I can make a strong case to back this up (see here, here or here). I can also offer evidence that my systematic approach does work (see here or here) even if I know nothing about the supply and demand economics of most markets I cover. This usually elicits the objection that my system can’t know if some XYZ event might happen tomorrow  (recently, XYZ tended to refer to Trump tweets), upsetting the markets and rendering my strategies ineffective. Recent experience afforded me an (almost) perfect answer to this question (plus another important issue related to trend following). Continue reading

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Social development, Something completely different, Truth

100 million!

No, I did not win the lottery. “100 million” refers to an idea I’ve meant to share for a while now. If you are like me, you may be a bit frustrated seeing the many ways our world could be a better place for us all, if only we took better care of it. We could have less of what we dislike – things like pollution, poverty, lies, wars, alienation and disenfranchisement, and more of things we long for like clean air, clean water, safe streets, kindness, community, family, security, time to connect, to enjoy life and one other… Continue reading

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Asset management, Behavioral finance, Commodity price, Commodity risk, Expertise, Hedging, Market research, Market trends, Risk management, Stock market, Trading, Trend following

Do trend followers move markets? (they do).

A few months ago, when reviewing our trades on US Treasury futures, I was so delighted, I drafted a bragging article titled “How we knew yields would collapse?” summarizing the results of our trading. That performance was entirely generated by my I-System model, first built in 1999. I still find myself awestruck that this works… We generated profitable trades through both the bear and the bull market in bonds, literally without needing to know a single thing about the market fundamentals. The trades were strictly based on the knowledge framework built into the system more than 20 years ago (by the way, our strategies are still generating excellent signals in those same markets). Continue reading

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