After a wild week with gold and silver markets soaring and major turmoil in markets in Europe and across the globe, one of the great minds in the business sent King World News a timely piece that takes a look at what's next after what quickly turned into a week of terror, desperation and total chaos.
"Today (Friday) is what it looks like when big money gets sucker punched on an enormous, international level. For old timers it's good theater. For newbies it's a terrifying introduction to chaos theory as it relates to investing. This is now officially a Very Important Day." Jeff Macke, Yahoo Finance
January 17 (King World News) – Admittedly, sometimes when I sit down to write these commentaries I really have to rack my brain and scour the Internet to find interesting themes to discuss. The blank screen is a perfect companion to my still blanker mind, the flashing cursor mocking me as the minutes tick by with no progress made. Since our memories tend to skip from one event of importance to another, it's easy to forget that the normal course of market action is very often boring and on the opposite end of the spectrum from noteworthy.
But then there are days like yesterday, when I woke up to the news that the Swiss National Bank discontinued its minimum exchange rate floor for the Swiss Franc against the Euro and then witnessed the global impact this news had on world markets. To say the least, I knew we were in for an interesting day and came into the office with more than a little trepidation since I had no idea how the U.S. equity markets might respond. And apparently I wasn't the only one a bit confused, as futures see-sawed back and forth in the early morning hours, at one point falling over 2% from the previous day's close before, thankfully, recovering. No doubt, many traders and funds were on the wrong side of the Swissie swing and were either wiped out or saw their portfolios severely damaged, with stop loss orders providing little protection in such a fast-moving market.
In a leveraged world where a 100 "pip" jump can represent a substantial move, the swift readjustment from around 1.20 EUR/CHF to under 0.86 was astronomical. Perhaps the site zerohedge.com said it best (and in true Star Wars-esque fashion): It was "as if millions of macro hedge funds suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced." The silver lining, at least to me, was that the U.S. equity markets "only" lost 0.92% and managed to hold above the 1991 support level I have recently pointed out. It could have been a lot worse with all the inherent uncertainty that comes with major global news like the SNB's surprise actions.
Gold Soars And 10-Year Continues Waterfall Decline
By now, you should be well-acquainted with our call for increased volatility this year, and that has certainly been the case so far. Astoundingly, after going the entire duration of 2014 without a 4-day losing streak in the S&P 500, we have already experienced two separate 5-day losing streaks in the past 12 sessions! Things still just don't feel right to me, and so I remain cautious. The VIX appears to be breaking out, gold is spiking, US 10-year rates continue their waterfall decline, and even oil shot back up over $50 briefly yesterday. I could devote an entire Morning Tack to each one of these, but, for now, suffice it to say that the intricate puzzle that is the global financial markets contains many pieces, and they seem to have all decided to move at the same time.
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