201608.17
2
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Incongruent Logic To Balance Risks Leads To Incongruent Markets With Nothing But Risk

In February 2013, Federal Reserve Board Governor Jeremy Stein gave a speech at a research symposium produced by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve that shocked quite a lot of people. QE3 and QE4 were still quite new, but here was a Board member talking just months after their start of “reach for…

201608.01
3
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S&P 500 EPS Drops $2 In The Past Month; Index At New High

Earlier in April, analysts were projecting $26.69 in as-reported second quarter earnings for the S&P 500. By the week of June 22, just prior to the start of Q2 earnings season, that estimate had only declined slightly to $26.38. For the week of July 21, just a month later, with about one-third of companies reporting…

201607.20 0

Bring Back the ‘Fed Model’ For Stocks? Nope

A few days ago I examined the relationship between the stock market PE and CPI inflation. The reason was the sudden renewed emphasis on low inflation in the context of trying to justify increasingly outlying earnings multiples in stocks. Earnings fell sharply in 2015, but prices really didn’t; there was, at most, only more volatility…

201607.18 0

Valuation Fallacies

Everyone knows about lies, damned lies, and statistics. The quote has been attached to Mark Twain who apparently attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. It remains among popular clichés because there is universal truth to it, a sort of caveat emptor lying in the background whenever one consumes an argument. Nowhere is that more…

201607.12
8
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The Hope Trade Returns Though Severely Stunted As It Should Be

All it takes are the words “record high” and all economic or financial sins are forgiven and forgotten. The financial media cannot contain themselves whenever they get the chance to use the term, adding qualifications like “soar” and “sharply” to make sure everyone gets the message. Context need not apply because stocks are supposed to…

201607.11
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Woe To Seasonality

So much of the basis for monetary policy was put in place in the 1960’s study of the 1930’s. It has become commonplace simply to assume 21st century tactics as being directly lifted from the start of the Great Depression. One of the causes of that calamity was certainly restrictive money supply, but any dereliction…

201606.22
8
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Waiting For Earnings To Correct? Q1 And Forward EPS Update

EPS estimates are always in the practice of falling over time, so that natural process should be considered when comparing across the movement of the calendar. That said, however, earnings continue to defy projections of a rebound. This is not to say that analysts aren’t expecting one, only that the expectation keeps pushing further out…

201606.13
1
1

Illiquidity, Safe Havens, and the Search For The Trigger

If there seems to be more safe haven demand of late, the increasing odds of British exit from the EU is being blamed. According to Yahoo!Finance, Goldman Sachs sees “kinks” in the option structure, an agglomeration of hedging demand that points to maturities around the UK referendum. The absence of any heavy hedging this week…

201605.25
3
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The Remarkable Accuracy of The Ticking Clock

The People’s Bank of China today fixed the CNY exchange (reference) rate below 6.56 for the first time since early February. That means all the tremendous effort that went into erasing December and January’s “dollar” pressure (not devaluation) has been unwound, as the currency now trades just about where it was at the start of…

201605.18
1
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The Moon Is Not Random Error

On March 29, 1900, Louis Bachelier successfully defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Paris. It was breathtakingly innovative and complex, so much so that it would take decades for his ideas to be fully understood let alone adopted. This was the case even though his thesis advisor was none other than famed physicist…