Tagged: Currency Trading

Fade the Move

Have you seen that car commercial with the bearded guy?

The car chimes when you should check the tires. To drive the point home, as it were, we viewers see our bearded fellow getting hired and, as the new boss extends a hand, going overboard with the handshake – until he hears the chime. Then he’s readying with cologne for a date and when he’s about to squirt a supply netherward, the chime stops him. He’s going in for a goodnight kiss with overmuch gusto. Chime.

The chime says fade the move.

Fading the move would be a great name for a rock band. It’s a currency-trading term that means “when your dough moves sharply, be ready for a shift back and re-weight accordingly.”

It caught my eye Tuesday early when faulty Spanish bond data caused a sharp shudder in the euro, which dropped like a stone, juicing the dollar. Adam Cole, currency analyst at RBC quoted in a Marketwatch blog, said that absent a better explanation, “We would suggest fading the move.”

Fading the move abounds in your stock. You announce a big contract win that should add something to multiples of forward cash flow, and in your trading data, speculators are fading the move.

Why? How’d the euro – a global currency second only to the dollar! – juke on jived Spanish bond data? Machines. (more…)

Macro Factors and IR

Congratulations, IR profession! It’s happened.

One of our ranks stepped up to the stock-exchange rule-filing plate, planted, and cracked that fastball out of the park. Thank you, Katie Keita, for commenting on the Nasdaq’s proposal for ETF sponsors to pay market-makers.

I hope it’s a trend. Your stocks underpin everything else. These are your markets.

More on that later. But speaking of trends, yesterday the dollar rose and stocks fell. When the greenback gains on other major currencies, things valued in dollars often decline. Stocks are stores of value, and value ebbs or flows according to the measuring tape – currencies. The dollar fell in April (after an early buck spike garroted equities), so stocks rose proportionally. Then as April ended, the dollar strengthened on mounting global worries (especially from Europe). Stocks shrank. It’s a macro effect that trumps stories.

How should you view macro factors from the IR chair? “Macro factors” is jargon for “how appraisers view the global neighborhood.” There was a good article on the Big Picture (page R9, “How the Big Picture Affects Stock Picks”) in the Wall Street Journal Monday May 7. Writer Suzanne McGee says macro factors shouldn’t make investors reflexive but can’t be ignored either.

You’re not investing, of course. But you’re selling to investors. If your target market is influenced by macro factors, and you’re not, you may be striking discordant notes. (more…)

Whew, we’re back to good.

That seems the attitude about market gyrations in August. Prices recovered. Heck, we should’ve skipped the mess and stayed on the Cape.

Across our client base, we saw few rational-price changes between Aug 1 and Aug 12. Rational investors were not responsible aside from stop losses triggering reactions. Trading data do indicate sizeable shifts in assets by global risk managers.

We talked about that last week. Responses to currency fluctuations. Institutions transferring risk by moving money continuously via electronic markets from bonds, to equities, to derivatives, to currencies. With fear of a currency meltdown rising, risk managers engaged in random, computerized, global buying and selling to discourage everyone from running to the same side of the boat and capsizing it.

We’re convinced that techniques developed after 2008 were employed to blunt this “tail risk” crowd behavior. That’s the chance that everybody does the same thing at the same time, destroying global portfolios in a mad rush. Computers randomly bought and sold. The lack of a trend reduced the risk of a rout. (more…)

Follow the Cash

Headline at 2:34 p.m. Eastern Time today: “Fed Pledges Low Rates Through 2013.”

How many recognize this as a currency-devaluation? Markets jumped 4% here in the U.S. as the DXY, the dollar index, dropped.

Last Sunday, the European Central Bank pledged to monetize debts of Italy and Spain. Monday, markets plunged globally. That’s a currency-devaluation. The central bank is promising to increase the supply of currency without a corresponding increase in economic output.

Most blamed S&P’s downgrade of US debt. But the dollar strengthened, and Treasurys increased in value. Why would the diminished instruments be more valuable?

Because that’s not what caused markets to tank. (more…)

Market Mayhem and Large Traders

Why are markets dropping like the thermometer at 8pm on Pike’s Peak?

Debt chaos, sour economic data, sure. We’re not market prognosticators, we track behavioral data. Under the skin of the news at market level, institutions shifted to managing portfolio risk about July 21. These events were observable. Algorithmic execution changed, and we saw what started it and what followed.

Large diversified asset managers swapped out of equities. That means they assigned the risk in portfolios to others through agreements that traded risk for safety at a cost. Why not just say “investors sold to manage risk”? It’s not accurate and it won’t be reflected in settlement data.

Of course, hedging produces a range of consequences too. Those underwriting hedges themselves hedge the risk they assume. That prompts speculating in whatever instruments are being used to hedge the hedges. The idea is to offset every point of exposure – like double-entry accounting, a credit for every debit.

Consider the Treasurys market – the one in peril till today. Primary dealers ranging from Banc of America to Goldman Sachs make markets in Treasurys. Average daily trading volume in Treasurys is more than $500 billion. Bond trading in total in the US averages more than $950 billion daily and nearly 80% is government securities.

(more…)