I Spy, Volatility!

As sell-side strategists parse the entrails of positioning data, and update their greed & fear models, to guess whether markets are due a rebound, investors should not forget the big picture. The conditions for further weakness remain in place. On the macro-level, the sharp slowdown global liquidity has been warning for a while that global—more specifically U.S.—equities had been rallying on borrowed time. Closer to the ground, the sell-off suggests that the multiple-crushing rise in bond yields and oil prices finally got the better of risk assets. The perma-bears will tell you that this is the drawdown to end all drawdowns, dragging global equities down to the netherworld of 2008 and 2009 price-levels. They have absolutely no justification for making such a call, but it won’t stop them peddling this narrative. Prudence suggests that we keep a close eye on liquidity in the credit market and, more specifically, signs of illiquidity in corporate bond funds and ETFs. The short-run is anybody’s guess, but if the recent past is a guide, it’ll go something like this: The market will rebound, eventually, retracing about half of the initial plunge. It will then roll over again, making a new low—the classic double-bottom—which can be bought aggressively.

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