Showing posts with label sovereign wealth funds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sovereign wealth funds. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Saudi Purge Prompts Higher Prices for Oil, Precious Metals

Midday Monday, the commodity complex (especially gold, silver and WTI crude oil) took off to the upside, and, by the end of the day, had maintained their newfound levels, oil hitting a nearly three-year high.

This dramatic rise in the price of oil coincides with tumultuous incidents in Saudi Arabia, wherein 11 princes, four ministers and several former ministers have been detained. Some prominent businessman have also been placed on a so-called "no fly" list, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman purges his enemies in an overt effort to considerate power in the kingdom.

Oil rising and Saudi unrest are not isolated events, as neither is the incidental visit by President Trump some months ago and the more recent visit by Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The Saudis have seen their profits collapse as oil has languished under $50 for years, but the political shakeup may have more to do with overall foreign interests, primarily focused on investments in US companies such as Citibank and Twitter, via the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund.

Silver and gold also rising at the same time during the day as oil confirms that there was coordinated buying of commodities in the futures market. The move was far from insignificant and was presaged by a similar move to the downside in the complex on Friday, prior to the Saudi purge, which went public on Sunday.

With President Trump safely traveling in the Pacific, the intrigue is high that something major is afoot globally, recalling Trump's cryptic tweet a few weeks ago, "the calm before the storm."

It seems that the storm has arrived, at least in the middle East. Whether it continues to lash out across Europe and the United States is, at this time, still conjecture.

As has been demonstrated periodically in the past, commodity futures can be highly volatile and can have profound effects further into the supply and demand chain. If oil continues to rise, it may be time to take any number of protective measures, from purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle, to selling the dollar, to buying precious metal in anticipation of a major - and long overdue - breakout.

While nothing in the interconnected world of finance operates in a vacuum, stocks could also feel some heat, though the markets have more than ample protection on the downside via central bank stealth and overt (Swiss National Bank) purchases.

It is apparent, however, that given the Saudi purge and the rise in the price of oil, something big is happening.

At the Close, Monday, November 6, 2017:
Dow: 23,548.42, +9.23 (+0.04%)
NASDAQ: 6,786.44, +22.00 (+0.33%)
S&P 500: 2,591.13, +3.29 (+0.13%)
NYSE Composite: 12,400.93, +27.87 (+0.23%)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Don't Count on a Market Correction in this Environment

For a change, stocks took a little dip to open the week, but it was certainly nothing by which anybody was rattled or otherwise deterred from buying ever more expensive stocks.

Since the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2009, the favorite acronym of traders has been BTD, otherwise known as Buy The Dip, which is exactly what is to be expected when markets open on Tuesday.

Almost without fail - actually, fully without fail - US equity indices, since March of 2009, have never fallen much more than a few percentage points before ramping back to new all-time highs. While there have been occasions in which the dip in stocks has persisted over a period of weeks or months, there has been no failure to recover in recent years.

Anybody invested on more than a casual basis is aware that central bank largesse and stock buybacks have been the primary drivers of stock market prosperity, and even with the Federal Reserve beginning to engage in the process of unwinding its balance sheet - selling off much of its horde of $4.5 million in bonds and other sketchy assets - there seems to be little to scare investors away from he equity bandwagon.

It's largely a controlled environment, nothing like the heydays of the 50s and 60s, when America was a growing concern and didn't need monetary boosts to fuel investment markets. Today's markets and investors are completely synthetic, consisting mainly of larger brokerages and funds of all types, from sovereign wealth types to hedges to mutuals to pensions. The general public and governments are so heavily invested in stocks that a collapse in markets would likely trigger catastrophic consequences to all parties. Private individuals would be harmed by pension promises unable to be met, while the large funds would face liquidation, bankruptcy or dissolution. Governments, likewise would be under attack for making pledges to the populace that could not be manifested over time, such as social security and other entitlements.

It is for those reasons, and the overall interconnectedness and fragility of markets that corrections do not occur. People in power would be without and instead of order, there would be chaos, and that is something that central bankers and their cohorts in the government realm simply cannot stomach.

At the Close, Monday, October 23, 2017:
Dow: 23,273.96, -54.67 (-0.23%)
NASDAQ: 6,586.83, -42.23 (-0.64%)
S&P 500: 2,564.98, -10.23 (-0.40%)
NYSE Composite: 12,384.42, -46.10 (-0.37%)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Weekend Wrap: Stocks Pop and Stop After FOMC Meeting

With the Fed's $4.4 trillion balance sheet overhanging the global economy, US stocks spent Thursday and Friday treading water as investors try to figure out just how the added weight from tranches of MBS and various maturities of treasury bonds will affect liquidity and markets in the coming months and years.

While the Fed's stated goal is to reduce the size of its balance sheet alongside an attempt to normalize interest rates, the structure of their policies leaves open many questions and uncertainties, chief among them being just wo is supposed to sop up all of the excess the Fed will be releasing into markets.

More than likely it will be the usual suspects, money center banks, hedge funds, and possibly sovereign wealth funds, which may consider buying up bonds on the cheap a strategy for preserving wealth rather than increasing it.

Equity markets being particularly overvalued by nearly any metric, large players should be more cautious than they have been during eight years of unprecedented gains in US markets.

How it all plays out may turn out to be an exercise in futility from the sidelines because the Fed and their inner workings are not generally what one would call transparent.

Effects from the whirlwind of bond offerings in private settings will probably only be felt after the fact and in widely-varied segments of the economy. One thing is certain: the Fed is intent on unloading some highly toxic assets in the case of the mortgage-backed securities, something that could lead to unforeseen circumstances with homeowners and real estate speculators possibly exposed to long-standing, but previously hidden, claims.

With uncertainty as a backdrop following Wednesday's FOMC announcement, the record highs from Monday and Tuesday were not built upon, US equity indices generally taking a wait-and-see attitude into the weekend.

At the Close, Friday, September 22, 2017:
Dow: 22,349.59, -9.64 (-0.04%)
NASDAQ: 6,426.92, +4.23 (+0.07%)
S&P 500: 2,502.22, +1.62 (+0.06%)
NYSE Composite: 12,151.79, +18.17 (+0.15%)

For the week:
DOW: +81.25 (+0.36%)
NASDAQ: -21.55 (-0.33%)
S&P 500: +1.99 (+0.08%)
NYSE Composite: +71.66 (+0.59%)