Five Hundred Words 11/30/2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Daily Writing

10:14 AM

Today is the final trading day of November.  Yesterday we exited our short US 10-year Treasury position as it is becoming clear that yields are struggling to keep their head over the 3.00% support level.  Although the historical volatility of the PST exchange-traded instrument was within a tolerable range of 7.00% to 9.00%, the underlying narrative was struggling to hold up after Jerome Powell’s announcement on Wednesday that interest rates are inching closer to a range considered to be “neutral”.

We are focusing on outperforming the SPX benchmark.  Our primary goal into the next year is focusing on exceeding this benchmark.  Our methodology will focus on large-cap, high dividend U.S. equities. We expect portfolio allocation of U.S. equities to fall within 50 – 75%.  At least 60% of portfolio allocation will consist of low beta assets, aiming for below average correlation to the S&P 500 benchmark.

Market Data

 

Resource Commodities

November 30, 2018

November 29, 2018

November 28, 2018

November 27, 2018

Gold Spot

1223.90

1220.70

1214.60

1221.60

Silver

14.285

14.285

14.120

14.190

Gold/silver

85.76

85.39

86.13

85.81

Platinum

818.00

822.00

831.00

842.00

Copper

2.824

2.7955

2.75

2.73

Crude(WTI)

50.52

51.07

51.23

51.58

 

Global Government Bond Yields

November 30, 2018

November 29, 2018

November 28, 2018

November 27, 2018

US 10 year

3.02%

3.02%

3.06%

3.07%

US 30 Year

3.38%

3.33%

3.33%

3.32%

UK

1.36%

1.34%

1.37%

1.39%

Germany

0.31%

0.32%

0.35%

0.35%

Brazil

9.89%

10.05%

10.08%

10.10%

Italy

3.21%

3.22%

3.26%

3.25%

Japan

0.08%

0.08%

0.09%

0.08%

 

Major U.S. Indexes

November 30, 2018

November 29, 2018

November 28, 2018

November 27, 2018

VIX

19.18

NA

18.87

19.41

DOW

253.39

NA

248.33

246.40

S&P 500

273.98

NA

269.61

265.76

NASDAQ

7296.39

NA

7120.56

7081.85

EM USD

1053.73

NA

1048.40

NA

 

Currency Cross Rates

November 30, 2018

November 29, 2018

November 28, 2018

November 27, 2018

USD/JPY

113.5300

NA

113.6300

113.6300

EUR/USD

1.1316

NA

1.1367

1.1326

AUD/USD

0.7306

NA

0.7304

0.7242

USD/MXN

20.226

NA

20.2442

20.623

USD/CNY

6.95557

NA

6.9538

6.9486

USD Index

97.20

NA

96.84

97.15

Five Hundred Words 11/06/2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Daily Writing

9:21 AM

The U.S. mid-term elections take place today.  The outcome is uncertain but there is a strong possibility that the Democrats retake the house of representatives.  This opens the door for Trump impeachment in 2018.  The markets have not fully priced in a democratic agenda for 2019.

Bond yields reflect the health of a state’s balance sheet.  Is this a fair way to approach government bond yields?  Brazil’s 10-year government bond currently yields more than 10.00%.  Will we see lower yields as newly elected right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro’s policies begin to take root in Brazil?  Bolsonaro is widely viewed as a right-wing fascist who will be willing to sacrifice capitalism in favor of dictatorship and “rule of law”[1].  At 0.42% Germany’s balance sheet looks quite “healthy”.

Most Asian bond yields are ridiculously low.  Japanese Government Bonds (JGB’s) currently yield 0.12%.  Isn’t this effectively a negative yield?  Why would anyone buy Japanese bonds?  (No one does apparently).[2]

The price of WTI crude has dropped considerably since the start of October.  What could be the cause of this?  Is Saudi Arabia facing heightened pressure to increase demand after the Khashoggi incident?  What is the impact of newly enacted U.S. sanctions against Iran on global oil prices?

Volatility continues to tick downward, with the CBOE Volatility Index falling below 20.00 for the first time since September 2018.  However, things can change drastically tomorrow following the results of the mid-term election.  Our thinking is that the market does not like surprises, if the market is surprised by the election outcome (i.e. Republican victory in the house race), then we could see a considerable spike higher in volatility.

Yesterday European Union Ministers called on Italy’s populist government on Monday to engage in talks with Brussels on a revised draft budget for 2019, backing the European Commission’s view that the plans violate previous commitments by Rome to shrink the deficit next year.  The populist Italian government does not view the EU’s terms favorably.  What does Italy want to include in its budget that the EU is opposed to?  Italy wants to include three things in its budget that fall outside of EU rules: flat tax, reduced retirement age, and citizens’ income.  In its current form, Italy’s 2019 budget deficit will balloon to 2.4% of GDP, well outside the 0.8% cap mandated by EU authorities.  Things could get ugly here if the issue is not resolved.  We are following the deeper impact on the Euro.

[1] https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/10/29/after-win-brazilian-fascist-jair-bolsonaro-worlds-capitalists-salivate-over-new

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/09/something-strange-is-happening-with-japans-bond-market-hardly-anyone-is-trading-it.html

 

Market Data

Resource Commodities

 

November 6, 2018

November 5, 2018

November 2, 2018

November 1, 2018

October 31, 2018

Gold Spot

1230.60

1232.20

1232.55

1218.30

1215.20

Silver

14.610

14.715

14.77

14.38

14.33

Platinum

864.00

NA

NA

NA

NA

Crude(WTI)

63.23

63.49

63.34

65.16

66.35

 

Global Government Bond Yields (10 year)

 

November 6, 2018

November 5, 2018

November 2, 2018

November 1, 2018

October 31, 2018

U.S. 10 Year

3.20%

3.19%

3.18%

3.16%

3.15%

Germany

0.42%

NA

NA

NA

NA

Brazil

10.19%

NA

NA

NA

NA

Italy

3.40%

NA

NA

NA

NA

Japan

0.12%

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

 

Major U.S. Indexes

 

November 6, 2018

November 5, 2018

November 2, 2018

November 1, 2018

October 30, 2018

VIX

19.84

20.18

19.24

20.96

22.72

DOW

254.52

254.44

254.84

252.42

248.75

S&P 500

273.36

271.89

274.75

271.64

267.77

NASDAQ

7378.25

7356.99

7407.46

7332.72

7161.65

 

Currency Cross Rates

 

November 6, 2018

November 5, 2018

November 2, 2018

November 1, 2018

October 31, 2018

USD/JPY

113.2900

113.1600

113.28

112.750

113.240

EUR/USD

1.1407

1.387

1.1385

1.1405

1.1318

AUD/USD

0.7229

0.7204

0.7193

0.7192

0.7086

CHF/USD

0.9964

1.0044

0.9955

0.992

0.993

USD/CNY

6.9166

6.9273

6.8893

6.9346

6.9737

USD Index

96.29

96.45

96.53

96.41

97.13

‘Spirited Away’ and Japanese Culture

This post is an essay written by Erica Guo and Hsiao-hui Ho on the significance of traditional Japanese culture in the award-winning 2001 film Spirited Away.  

Spirited Away, a masterpiece by the famous Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, is undoubtedly one of the most popular animations in the twenty-first century. The story and the setting around the movie seem illusional and illogical, however, a lot of the elements and structures could trace back to Japanese cultures and religious traditions. Ranking among the greatest animated films and receiving awards all over the world, it was never any special effects but the meticulously Continue reading “‘Spirited Away’ and Japanese Culture”