Friday, December 11, 2015

A bad day for the markets all around

This Friday, today, was not a good one for financial assets.  Oil prices continued to collapse and other commodities were under pressure.  At some point this could become more than just one off information based on supply and demand, and instead a clear signal that commodities markets see global investment growth, particularly in China, as evaporating.

The high yield bond market took a stinger with Third Avenue Management's shut down of a fund rather than continue with honoring requests to redeem.  The fund was apparently an extremely high risk patchwork of securities that were at the lowest ratings or unrated.  Nevertheless, Third Avenue is a well known name and for them to take such an action was a jolt to fixed income markets.

U.S. banks were weak all week.  That is a puzzle here, unless the activity in the commodity and bond markets has some thinking that the Fed will be too timid to have a rate hike next week, and premiums built into the banks based on expecting an actual yield curve to emerge were being taken away.

From Google to Facebook to Apple and others, even major tech names have been leaking for the last three days.  Is this seasonal trading related to tax timing?  What pressure are they under at this point. It is unclear.

We enter the weekend with questions and concerns.  Maybe a weekend is just what we need to get a grip and carry on through for the rest of 2015 with some clarity and strength.  Maybe a weekend is what I need.

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