Five Hundred Words 12/13/2018

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Daily Writing

Things I’m thinking about

  • What is the long-term economic impact of quantitative tightening (QT)?  Does anyone know the answer? Is there a historical precedent?
  • Why has the hedge fund industry struggled so much over the past few years?
  • How to discover the things in the world that are permanent and enduring?
  • What kinds of things are more durable than others?
  • What is “total social financing” (TSF)?

 

Market Overview

Over the past week the market has struggled to find traction, it feels like there could still be more downside.  Early in the morning the CBOE put/call ratio was the highest I’ve ever seen at 1.94. It slowly moved downward through the day, but it remains quite elevated.  What is the root cause of all the fear in the market? Volatility spiked a small amount in the middle in the day but overall the market is basically just flat.

ECB to halt expansion of EUR 2.6 trillion quantitative easing (QE) program.

What impact will this have on European markets?

Another hedge fund veteran is quitting a brutal market.

 

 

General Notes

Types of Hedge Funds


CTA/Managed Futures

Equity Hedge

Event Driven

Fixed Income Directional

Fixed Income Relative Value

Macro

Multi-strategy

 

Trading Log

11:00 AM

I’m trying to become more aware of timing and trade selection.  Recently I realized I’ve been overtrading for the past year, this causes me to make some gains on my good trades, but those gains are quickly offset by ill-advised or poorly timed trades.  My view is that the current market environment is good for experienced active traders. My problem is I’m not experienced enough in these types of market environments to have a firm grasp of what’s really going on in this world.

I shouldn’t feel pressure to swing at every single pitch.  In fact, I shouldn’t feel pressure to ever swing at a pitch because there are not strikeouts unless I swing the bat.  I can wait a thousand pitches if I want.

3:30 PM

After meeting with a valued advisor today I left our discussion with a renewed sense of the importance of understanding and developing my own style.  The world is in a constant state of disruption, yet there are still things, people, asset classes, and equities that endure and remain constant.  It’s not enough to find one person to emulate.  It’s important that I take in everything I can from the world around me.  This includes a varied set of viewpoints and ideas.  Will continue grinding.

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

Gold Spot

1245.00
1242.90
1243.10
1245.00

Silver

14.720
14.535
14.495
14.545

Platinum

802.00
783.00
783.00
782.00

Copper

2.780
2.7854
2.7575
2.80

Crude(WTI)

51.41
51.83
51.52
51.58

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

US 10 year

2.91%
2.90%
NA
2.85%

US 30 Year

3.16%
3.13%
NA
3.13%

UK

1.26%
1.24%
NA
1.21%

Germany

0.27%
0.26%
0.23%
0.25%

Brazil

9.86%
10.02%
NA
10.12%

Italy

2.93%
3.00%
NA
3.09%

Japan

0.05%
0.04%
NA
0.03%

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

VIX

21.00
21.91
NA
23.95

DOW

245.76
245.09
NA
243.61

S&P 500

266.45
267.45
NA
263.37

NASDAQ

7096.00
7163.89
NA
7041.83

EM USD

NA
1061.96
NA
1062.41

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

December 13, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018

USD/JPY

113.6700
113.210
NA
113.1800

EUR/USD

1.1355
1.1366
NA
1.1358

AUD/USD

0.7223
0.7230
NA
0.7188

USD/MXN

20.069
20.0358
NA
6.8730

USD/CNY

6.878
6.8777
NA
6.9127

USD Index

97.15
97.46
NA
97.18

 

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Five Hundred Words 12/12/2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Daily Writing

10:15 AM

Things I’m thinking about

  • How do the best traders structure their days?
  • What is the significance of the gold/silver ratio?
  • What are the most important Chinese economic data to follow?
  • What are the industrial uses for copper, palladium, and platinum?
  • What is ‘interest rate differential’?
  • What are credit spreads?  What do spreads measure?

Market Overview


Price of gold has been steadily rising since the beginning of the month.  The price of silver closed yesterday at 14.535, and at the time of writing the price of silver is up 1.20%.

platinum_price_12_12_2018

Trading Log

I am working to determine my precise tolerance for volatility.  On many trades I find myself exiting a position due to my emotions, then a few weeks later I will discover that the price of the security I sold had recovered or even soared higher.  How can I resolve this? Better risk management?

1:32 PM

There are times where I feel like it doesn’t make sense to follow the news as closely as I typically do.  To me it seems like it could be more productive to perhaps read the news in the morning, gain a grasp of the general undertone of the day, and move forward.  Not every day is going to be a “newsworthy” day. That doesn’t mean every day can’t be amazing from a personal standpoint, it’s just that there are so many headlines in the world that can attract attention.

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

December 12, 2018

December 11, 2018

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

Gold Spot

1242.90

1243.10

1245.00

1237.20

Silver

14.535

14.495

14.545

14.440

Platinum

783.00

783.00

782.00

788.00

Copper

2.7854

2.7575

2.80

2.7530

Crude(WTI)

51.83

51.52

51.58

53.73

 

Global Government Bond Yields

December 12, 2018

December 11, 2018

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

US 10 year

2.90%

NA

2.85%

2.89%

US 30 Year

3.13%

NA

3.13%

3.17%

UK

1.24%

NA

1.21%

1.26%

Germany

0.26%

0.23%

0.25%

0.26%

Brazil

10.02%

NA

10.12%

9.99%

Italy

3.00%

NA

3.09%

3.14%

Japan

0.04%

NA

0.03%

0.05%

 

Major U.S. Indices

December 12, 2018

December 11, 2018

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

VIX

21.91

NA

23.95

22.42

DOW

245.09

NA

243.61

24918.82

S&P 500

267.45

NA

263.37

269.45

NASDAQ

7163.89

NA

7041.83

6994.39

EM USD

1061.96

NA

1062.41

1059.54

 

Currency Cross Rates

December 12, 2018

December 11, 2018

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

USD/JPY

113.210

NA

113.1800

112.6900

EUR/USD

1.1366

NA

1.1358

1.1384

AUD/USD

0.7230

NA

0.7188

0.7227

USD/MXN

20.0358

NA

6.8730

20.338

USD/CNY

6.8777

NA

6.9127

6.882

USD Index

97.46

NA

97.18

96.80

 

Five Hundred Words 12/11/2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Daily Writing

Things I’m thinking about

  • How do the best traders structure their days?
  • What are the routines of the top traders?
  • What factors determine bond prices and yields?
  • After the point where the yield curve inverts, how do markets typically behave until recession arrives?
  • What does full conviction feel like?
  • What is the current state of global liquidity?  What are the arguments for global liquidity drying up?
  • What would happen to the UK economy under a ‘hard Brexit’?

Market Overview

Global bond yields continue to tick steadily lower.

China to cut tariffs on imported US cars.

 

What are the causes of the current global slowdown?

What are the causes of the current global slowdown?[1]

A) Much tighter dollar liquidity

  1. US dollar has served as the world’s reserve currency since World War II
  2. All major international transactions are settled in US dollars
  3. Because central banks main reserves are held in US dollars rather than local currency
  4. The Fed is the world’s de facto central bank
  5. When the Fed floods domestic banks with reserves (QE) it increases the domestic monetary base
  6. Increasing US monetary base causes US demand to start growing faster than the rest of the world
  7. This causes the US current account to swell
  8. The result is that the Fed doesn’t only increase the monetary base domestically, but it also increases the monetary base abroad and generally the global monetary base increases
  9. The Fed’s quantitative tightening (QT) policy means global dollar liquidity stopped accelerating earlier this year

B) China

  1. China’s shift began following the 19th party congress is October 2017 when the central government signaled its intent to shift from an economic model heavily reliant on exports to one driven by the services sector and domestic consumption.

Book recommendation

Beyond Blockchain: The Death of the Dollar and the Rise of Digital Currency

By Erik Townsend

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

Gold Spot

1243.10
1245.00
1237.20
NA

Silver

14.495
14.545
14.440
NA

Platinum

783.00
782.00
788.00
NA

Copper

2.7575
2.80
2.7530
NA

Crude(WTI)

51.52
51.58
53.73
NA

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

US 10 year

2.85%
2.85%
2.89%
2.87%

US 30 Year

3.13%
3.13%
3.17%
3.13

UK

1.21%
1.21%
1.26%
1.24%

Germany

0.23%
0.25%
0.26%
0.23%

Brazil

10.12%
10.12%
9.99%
10.00%

Italy

3.09%
3.09%
3.14%
3.20%

Japan

0.03%
0.03%
0.05%
0.05%

 

 

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

VIX

21.91
23.95
22.42
23.53

DOW

245.09
243.61
24918.82
247.27

S&P 500

267.45
263.37
269.45
265.97

NASDAQ

7041.83
7041.83
6994.39
7114.10

EM USD

NA
1062.41
1059.54
1060.39

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

  December 11, 2018 December 10, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 6, 2018

USD/JPY

NA
113.1800
112.6900
112.4800

EUR/USD

NA
1.1358
1.1384
1.1389

AUD/USD

NA
0.7188
0.7227
0.7224

USD/MXN

NA
6.8730
20.338
20.494

USD/CNY

NA
6.9127
6.882
6.8815

USD Index

NA
97.18
96.80
97.00

[1] Juliette DeClercq, JDI Research, as featured in Macrovoices

Five Hundred Words 12/10/2018

Monday, December 10, 2018

Daily Writing

9:25 AM

Things I’m thinking about

  • Do option holders receive dividends?
  • How do the best traders structure their days?
  • What are the routines of the top traders?
  • What factors determine bond prices and yields?
  • After the point where the yield curve inverts, how do markets typically behave until recession arrives?
  • What does full conviction feel like?
  • What is the current state of global liquidity?  What are the arguments for global liquidity drying up?
  • What would happen to the UK economy under a ‘hard Brexit’?

Market Overview

Brexit

The major news today revolves around Theresa May’s aborted Brexit vote upon the realization that her Brexit proposal would fail miserably.

 

How are markets reacting?

The GBP/USD currency pair dropped 67 basis points and is sitting on 0.90280 at time of writing.  The EUR/GBP currency pair is trading 92 basis points higher at 0.90261.

Our view is Theresa May is merely delaying the inevitable.

 

The Chinese Yuan has started weakening again

 

USDCNY_12_10_2018

 

Trading Log

Moving forward I will include a trading log as part of my writing.  The purpose of this activity is to gain a better sense of the price action of the market as it relates to my emotions in the market.  My to gain a better understanding of the impact of markets on my emotions.

Why do I have such strong impulses to sell when the correct decision would be to buy and vice versa?  It’s quite easy to lose track of your emotions while trading.

A lesson I learned recently is that I don’t always need to be trading.  I’ve found that 90% of my time is better spent observing the market, researching, and doing pretty much nothing.  I’ve discovered that I make my biggest mistakes when entering trades at the wrong time, mostly early.  For example,  after I conduct my research and open a position, I find I have difficulty maintaining my original reason for entering the trade initially, so when the trade starts to go in the wrong direction I begin to allow new ideas to pop into my head that eventually convinces me I’m wrong, even if I’m still right.  It’s quite confusing.

Market Data

 

Resource Commodities

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

Gold Spot

1245.00

1237.20

NA

1238.00

Silver

14.545

14.440

NA

14.505

Platinum

782.00

788.00

NA

802.00

Copper

2.80

2.7530

NA

2.7555

Crude(WTI)

51.58

53.73

NA

52.12

 

Global Government Bond Yields

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

US 10 year

2.85%

2.89%

2.87%

2.91%

US 30 Year

3.13%

3.17%

3.13

3.17%

UK

1.21%

1.26%

1.24%

1.31%

Germany

0.25%

0.26%

0.23%

0.27%

Brazil

10.12%

9.99%

10.00%

10.09%

Italy

3.09%

3.14%

3.20%

3.05%

Japan

0.03%

0.05%

0.05%

0.06%

 

 

Major U.S. Indices

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

VIX

23.95

22.42

23.53

CLOSED

DOW

243.61

24918.82

247.27

CLOSED

S&P 500

263.37

269.45

265.97

CLOSED

NASDAQ

7041.83

6994.39

7114.10

CLOSED

EM USD

1062.41

1059.54

1060.39

CLOSED

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

December 10, 2018

December 7, 2018

December 6, 2018

December 5, 2018

USD/JPY

113.1800

112.6900

112.4800

113.2100

EUR/USD

1.1358

1.1384

1.1389

1.1344

AUD/USD

0.7188

0.7227

0.7224

0.7268

USD/MXN

6.8730

20.338

20.494

20.5130

USD/CNY

6.9127

6.882

6.8815

6.8545

USD Index

97.18

96.80

97.00

97.08

Five Hundred Words 12/09/2018

Questions:

  • What is poverty?
  • What are the causes of global income inequality?
  • What creates inequalities amongst people?
  • What are the different viewpoints
  • What does China gain from stealing US intellectual property?
  • What is credit impulse?

 

How much intellectual property is China accused of taking from the United States per year?

What are the core topics currently?

  • Eurozone slowdown
  • US-China trade war tensions

 

Yesterday I received advice from two very wise people I know.  They told me it isn’t necessary to trade every pattern.  Often times it is better to wait for a pattern you understand to to ride it.  The world consists of large trends which are consisted to even smaller trends.

Use Criticism as a Tool for Growth

Criticism and feedback are the opposite of fun, but they are critical for learning

Criticism is painful. However, processing candid feedback from believable others is vital for personal development.

Here are three ways to use critical judgment for your benefit.

Make your ideas public

Making your ideas public and available for scrutiny is vital. Firstly because it can help you understand your weakness, secondly because it can help you understand the shortcomings and strengths of the thinking of others, including those of your critics.

Understand your critic’s point of view

The most important thing isn’t analyzing the direct criticism of your ideas, it’s much more important to understand why the critic feels the way he thinks about your opinion. The critic’s reaction to your opinion is merely mirroring how he or she perceives the world. Understanding the “why” behind the “what” is far more critical.

 

lonely_island
image source: Alex Milkis https://interfacelift.com/user/125683/alex_milkis.html

React unemotionally

Criticism is not inherently unpleasant. Instead, it is your reaction to it which causes the pain. If you can regulate your emotional response to unfair judgments from others, you free up space for your brain to more objectively understand their point of view.  Also, keep in mind that we do not emotionally react to praise the same way we react to criticism.

Wrapping it up

By processing criticism unemotionally, you give yourself an opportunity to accelerate your personal growth and level up your perceptions of the world.

Five Hundred Words 12/06/2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Daily Writing

Questions I would like to answer eventually

  • What is the current bull case for the overall economy, and global equities in particular?
  • What events in the late 1980’s led to the collapse of the Soviet Union?
  • Are there any parallels between USSR in late 1980’s and China today?

Market Overview

The United States has requested the extradition of the CFO of Huawei, Wanzhou Meng, from Canada.  Meng is also the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

How did Canadian authorities have the right to arrest Wanzhou Meng?

US law prohibits the exports of specific US-origin technologies in certain countries.  When Huawei pays to license specific US tech, it promises not to export to certain countries like Iran.  So it is not unreasonable for the US to punish Huawei for flouting this US law.

The Dow opened down 400 points amid China trade tensions stemming from the arrest of Meng, and fears of economic slowdown.

I believe there are strong headwinds coming stemming from China, and our view is that a recession is on the horizon.  To be wrong would require a major turnaround in the Chinese economy, and interest rates must remain at historic lows.

We’ve exited all positions to mitigate risk and we now sit solely on cash.  We do not have any equity or bond positions.

From Bloomberg:

“The biggest qualm is the trade war escalating and this is haunting the markets,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K. in London, in an email. “It is arduous to find bulls in the market and it seems to me that this game is about to become uglier.”

US 10-year Treasury yields continue pushing lower, threatening to break through 2.80%

 

Parallels between economies of modern China and late-1980’s USSR

  • Economic statistics unreliable and often outright fudged
  • Steps taken to liberalize economy via centralized policy
    • USSR: Perestroika
    • China: 1980 economic reforms, 2019 opening of Chinese financial sector
  • Increasing influence of regional elite beyond central authorities
    • USSR: Ethnic minority regions
    • China: Xinjiang
      • From Beijing’s perspective, Xinjiang represents an existential threat to the CCP
  • Entrenched industrial, military, and legacy regime interests

“Political paralysis produced by the powerful forces who opposed economic reform was the ultimate cause of the Soviet Union’s collapse.”

Hypothesis:

Xi Jinping is terrified of losing authority over the military and regional elites in China.  If China enters economic downturn, Xi will lose his ability to influence these groups.  Therefore, Xi has no choice but to continually consolidate his power to ensure his total control.

I’m most interested in studying the collapse of the Soviet Union to gain an understanding of how modern superpowers decline.  I want to understand what sorts of events transpire on the ground during a period of economic turmoil.  Who are the victims?  Who are the aggressors?  Who gains, who loses?  Which groups or individuals have the most to lose from collapse?  Which individuals or groups stand the most to gain from collapse?  These are the types of questions I am hoping to answer before I go to China.

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

  December 6, 2018 December 5, 2018 December 4, 2018 December 3, 2018

Gold Spot

NA
1238.00
1230.30
1228.28

Silver

NA
14.505
14.355
14.385

Gold/silver

NA
85.47
84.84
85.29

Platinum

NA
802.00
806.00
806.00

Copper

NA
2.7555
2.8075
2.8571

Crude(WTI)

NA
52.12
53.25
52.97

 

Global Government Bond Yields

  December 6, 2018 December 5, 2018 December 4, 2018 December 3, 2018

US 10 year

2.87%
2.91%
2.95%
3.02%

US 30 Year

3.13
3.17%
3.38%
3.38

UK

1.24%
1.31%
1.31%
1.33%

Germany

0.23%
0.27%
0.28%
0.31%

Brazil

10.00%
10.09%
9.95%
9.82%

Italy

3.20%
3.05%
3.15%
3.12%

Japan

0.05%

 

0.06%
0.06%
0.07%

 

 

Major U.S. Indices

  December 6, 2018 December 5, 2018 December 4, 2018 December 3, 2018

VIX

23.53
CLOSED
16.84
16.04

DOW

247.27
CLOSED
257.53
257.80

S&P 500

265.97
CLOSED
278.34
280.38

NASDAQ

7114.10
CLOSED
7158.43
7421.77

EM USD

1060.39
CLOSED
1059.93
1054.71

 

 

Currency Cross Rates

  December 6, 2018 December 5, 2018 December 4, 2018 December 3, 2018

USD/JPY

112.4800
113.2100
112.8100
113.590

EUR/USD

1.1389
1.1344
1.1339
1.1334

AUD/USD

0.7224
0.7268
0.7338
0.7369

USD/MXN

20.494
20.5130
20.356
20.0611

USD/CNY

6.8815
6.8545
6.8342
6.8893

USD Index

97.00
97.08
96.97
97.02