One mystery trader has made an extremely large bet that the stock market is going to crash by October, and if he is right he could potentially make up to 262 million dollars on the deal. Fortunes were made and lost during the great financial crisis of 2008, and the same thing will happen again the next time we see a major stock market crash. But will that stock market crash take place before 2017 is over? Without a doubt, we are in the midst of one of the largest stock market bubbles in U.S. history, and many prominent investors are loudly warning of an imminent stock market collapse. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this stock market bubble is going to end very badly just like all of the other stock market bubbles throughout history have, but if you could know the precise timing that it will end you could set yourself up financially for the rest of your life.
I want to be very clear about the fact that I do not know what will or will not happen by the end of October. But one mystery investor is extremely convinced that market volatility is going to increase over the next few months, and if he is correct he will make an astounding amount of money. According to Business Insider, the following is how the trade was set up…
- To fund it, the investor sold 262,000 VIX puts expiring in October, with a strike price of 12.
- The trader then used those proceeds to buy a VIX 1×2 call spread, which involves buying 262,000 October contracts with a strike price of 15 and selling 524,000 October contracts with a strike price of 25.
- For reference, bullish call spreads are used when a moderate rise in the underlying asset is expected. Traders buy call options at a specific strike price while selling the same number of calls of the same asset and expiration date at a higher strike.
- In a perfect scenario, where the VIX hits but doesn’t exceed 25 before October expiration, the trader would see a whopping $262 million payout.
I will be watching to see what happens. If this mystery investor is correct, it will essentially be like winning the lottery.
But just because he has made this wager does not mean that he has some special knowledge about what is going to happen.
For example, just look at what Ruffer LLP has been doing. They are a $20 billion investment fund based in London, and they have been betting tens of millions of dollars on a stock market crash which has failed to materialize so far. But even though they have lost so much money already, they continue to make extremely large bearish bets…
As of earlier this week, Ruffer had spent $119 million this year betting on a stock market shock, $89 million of which had expired worthless, according to data compiled by Macro Risk Advisors. The investor has gradually amassed holdings of about 1 million VIX calls through three occasions so far in 2017, and each time a significant portion expired at a loss.
Blame a subdued VIX for the futility. The fear gauge was locked in a range of 10 to 14 for the first three months of 2017, and while it has since climbed to as high as 15.96, it has been stuck well below 14 since a single-day plunge of 26% nine days ago. Earlier this week, the index closed at its lowest level since February 2007.
But that doesn’t mean Ruffer is giving up. Already loaded up on May contracts, the firm has continued to buy cheap VIX calls expiring later in the year — wagers costing about 50 cents.
I can understand why Ruffer has been making these bets. In a rational world, stocks would have already crashed long ago.
The only way that stock prices have been able to continue to rise is because of unprecedented intervention by global central banks. They have been pumping trillions of dollars into the financial markets, and this has essentially completely destroyed normal market forces. The following comes from David Stockman…
The Fed and its crew of traveling central banks around the world have gutted honest price discovery entirely. They have turned global financial markets into outright gambling dens of unchecked speculation.
Central bank policies of massive quantitative easing (QE) and zero interest rates (ZIRP) have been sugar-coated in rhetoric about “stimulus”, “accommodation” and guiding economies toward optimal levels of inflation and full-employment.
The truth of the matter is far different. The combined $15 trillion of central bank balance sheet expansion since 2007 amounts to monetary fraud of epic proportions.
In the “bizarro world” that we are living in today, many companies are trading at prices that are more than 100 times earnings, and some companies are actually trading at prices that are more than 200 times earnings.
Stock prices have become completely and totally disconnected from economic reality. As I discussed the other day, U.S. GDP has only risen at an average yearly rate of just 1.33 percent over the past 10 years, but meanwhile stock prices have been soaring into the stratosphere.
Nobody in their right mind can claim that makes any sense at all. Just like in 2000, and just like in 2008, this absolutely ridiculous stock market bubble will have a horribly tragic ending as well.
Once again, I don’t know what the exact timing will be. Stocks could start crashing tomorrow, but then the Swiss National Bank could swoop in and buy 4 million shares of Apple just like they did during the months of January, February and March earlier this year.
The biggest players in this ongoing charade are the global central banks. If they decide to keep pumping trillions of dollars into global financial markets, they may be able to keep the bubble going for a little while longer.
But if at any point they decide to withdraw their artificial assistance, those that have placed huge bets against the market are going to make absolutely enormous piles of cash.
Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
If you have ever wondered why our leaders in Washington D.C. seem to act so strangely, the truth is that it almost always comes down to just one thing. It has been said that “money makes the world go round”, and that is definitely true in Washington. This year the federal government will spend more than 4 trillion dollars, and that represents well over one-fifth of our national GDP. With so much money coming in and so much money going out, the stakes are incredibly high, and that is why so much money is poured into political campaigns on the national level.
And it shouldn’t surprise anyone that those that live the closest to this gigantic money machine have benefited greatly. Forbes just released their brand new rankings for 2017, and they found that five out of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the entire country are suburbs of Washington D.C.…
Virginia’s Loudoun County holds the title of the nation’s richest county with a median household income of $125,900. While nearly 10,000 residents commute to the District, according to Forbes, about 11,700 businesses employ 161,000 county residents, with Dulles International Airport, Loudoun County Public Schools and the Department of Homeland Security leading that charge.
The nearby city of Falls Church, Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland also lead the nation based on wealth.
In general, salaries for federal workers are significantly higher than in the private sector, and benefit packages are usually much better.
But in addition to having a very high concentration of federal workers, the D.C. area is also home to hordes of lawyers, lobbyists, defense contractors and other government vendors. Big government means big business for those guys, and business has been very good in recent years…
The federal government has a lot to do with this: The Capitol and the economy orbiting around it (including lawyers, defense contractors, computer engineers along the Dulles Corridor, and doctors near NIH) attract college graduates who reliably contribute to six-figure households. Crucially, there was a $1.7 billion increase in lobbying between 1998 and 2010, as Dylan Matthews explained. With each $1 million of lobbying “associated with a $3.70 increase in the D.C. wage premium,” the money pouring into Washington wound up in the pockets of its residents.
This certainly isn’t the limited government that our founders intended.
So where did we go wrong?
One of the big turning points came in 1913. That is the year when the Federal Reserve and the modern version of the income tax were established. The Federal Reserve was designed by the elite to get the federal government very deeply into debt, and an income tax was needed to help service that debt and to help pay for the much larger government that the progressives were wanting.
Back then, D.C. was nothing like it is today. In fact, even in the 1970s there were still large farms inside the Beltway. But the federal government just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and now it is a four trillion dollar monstrosity.
What I believe we should do is to dismantle as much of that monstrosity as we possibly can. Instead of asking which government agencies we should close, I believe that we should be asking which government agencies we really need to leave open.
A great place to start would be by abolishing the Federal Reserve, the IRS and the income tax. Those institutions are at the very core of the Washington money machine, and so it would essentially be like tearing the heart out of big government.
And don’t worry, the federal government would still have plenty of money coming in. The individual income tax only accounts for about 46 percent of all federal revenue, and theoretically we could still have an absolutely enormous federal government without an income tax. I once wrote an article that listed 97 different ways that various levels of government get money out of us each year, and so getting rid of the federal income tax would still leave 96 ways for the politicians to extract money from us.
As I remind my readers so frequently, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no income tax and no central bank. But I know that a lot of people out there love the 1.33 percent average yearly GDP growth rate that we have been experiencing over the past decade and would have a really hard time giving that up.
Unfortunately, it would actually be a very tough transition to a much more limited federal government because so much of our society is geared around the enormous money machine in Washington. In 2018, more than a billion dollars will be spent on the mid-term elections, and most of that money will be going to incumbents that are committed to maintaining the status quo.
If we ever want things to really start changing in Washington, we have got to start sending people there that haven’t been bought off by the big money interests.
In my congressional district there is no incumbent running in 2018, and nobody else in the race is nearly as conservative as I am. But since I can’t be bought by the special interests, I am going to have to rely on grassroots support.
Donald Trump showed us that anything is possible in American politics. When Jeb Bush decided to run for president, he had an extremely long list of endorsements and a hundred million dollars behind him, and he still got trounced by Trump because Trump had a much stronger message.
If we stand united, we can take our government back and there won’t be anything that the establishment will be able to do about it.
But if we sit back and do nothing, the cesspool of corruption in Washington D.C. will just continue to get deeper and deeper.
Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
Whenever you let federal bureaucrats get their hands on anything they are probably going to ruin it. During the Obama administration, the Department of Education spearheaded a transformation of American education that was absolutely breathtaking. Over a period of about five years, Common Core standards were implemented in almost every state in the entire nation. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a huge step backward for public education in this country. Common Core has been called “state-sponsored child abuse”, and it is a big reason why U.S. students are scoring so poorly on standardized tests compared to much of the rest of the world.
According to Wikipedia, at one point 46 states had adopted Common Core, but now some states are having second thoughts…
46 states initially adopted the Common Core State Standards, although implementation has not been uniform. At least 12 states have introduced legislation to repeal the standards outright, and Indiana has since withdrawn from the standards.
Sadly, many parents don’t even understand how dramatically our system of education has been tampered with. In her book entitled The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids, Joy Pullmann exposes how the Gates Foundation has been one of the key players in the effort to get Common Core introduced into classrooms all over America…
Organized in seven chapters, her book describes how the Gates Foundation promoted and continues to promote one extremely wealthy couple’s uninformed, unsupported, and unsupportable ideas on education for other people’s children while their own children are enrolled in a non-Common Cored private school. It explains how (but not exactly why) the Gates Foundation helped to centralize control of public education in the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains why parents, teachers, local school boards, and state legislators were the last to learn how the public schools their local and state taxes supported had been nationalized without Congressional knowledge or permission; and why they were expected to believe that their local public schools were now accountable for what and how they teach … not to the local and state taxpayers who fund them or to locally-elected school boards that by law are still supposed to set education policies not already determined by their state legislature … but to a distant bureaucracy in exchange for money to their state department of education to close “achievement gaps” between unspecified groups.
But this isn’t just an issue about control. The truth is that the approach to teaching basic fundamentals such as how to add and how to subtract is fundamentally different under Common Core.
Let me share just three examples that show how much Common Core is changing the way that U.S. students learn math. All of these examples have been floating around Facebook, and if you have never seen these before they are likely to make you quite angry.
If I asked you to subtract 12 from 32, how would you do it? Well, the “new way” is much, much more complicated than how we were all taught to do it…
If that first one seemed bizarre to you, than you really aren’t going to like this one…
And this last one was so confusing that a parent with a degree in engineering decided to include his own commentary on his child’s homework…
How are kids supposed to function in the real world if this is how they are learning to do basic math?
Personally, I am going to teach my daughter that 9 + 6 equals 15. But that isn’t how it is supposed to be done under Common Core. You can watch a video of a teacher explaining the very convoluted Common Core way to solve that math equation right here.
And of course it isn’t just math that is the problem. Common Core is systematically “dumbing down” our young people, and that may help to explain why the average U.S. college freshman now reads at a seventh grade level.
So what is the answer?
The first step in fixing our education system is to repeal Common Core. But even in red states such as Idaho there is a lot of resistance…
Since their inception, the Idaho Core Standards have been enmeshed in controversy.
Some legislators and citizens have pushed for a repeal of the Idaho Core Standards, the state’s version of Common Core standards in math and English language arts. Those repeal efforts have gone nowhere in the Legislature.
I don’t know what is wrong with our legislators. The Republicans have full control in this state, and so there is absolutely no excuse for not getting something done.
As I end this article, I want to give you an idea of just how far the quality of education in America has fallen over the past 100 years. In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 made a lot of headlines when it was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum. As you can see, it is doubtful whether many of our college students would be able to pass such an exam today…
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is quite convinced that the United States will not experience another financial crisis for a very long time to come. In fact, she is publicly saying that she does not believe that another one will happen “in our lifetimes”. But there are other central bankers that see things very differently. In fact, a new report that was just released by the Bank for International Settlements is warning that a new financial crisis could soon strike “with a vengeance”. So who is right?
It would be nice if it turned out that Yellen was right. Nobody should want to see a repeat of what happened in 2008, and Yellen seems extremely confident that she will never see another crisis of that magnitude…
“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be,” Yellen said at an event in London.
Even though the U.S. national debt has roughly doubled since the start of the last financial crisis, and even though corporate debt has roughly doubled since then as well, and even though U.S. consumers are more than 12 trillion dollars in debt, and even though the top 25 U.S. banks have 222 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives, Yellen believes that our financial system “is much safer and much sounder” than it was in 2008…
“I think the system is much safer and much sounder,” she said. “We are doing a lot more to try to look for financial stability risks that may not be immediately apparent but to look in corners of the financial system that are not subject to regulation, outside those areas in order to try to detect threats to financial stability that may be emerging.”
I have a feeling that these words may come back to haunt her, and the fact that she has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than anyone else does is more than just a little bit frightening.
The truth is that signs of a major new economic downturn are emerging all around us, and many are warning that the next great financial crisis is just around the corner. For example, just consider what a new report from the Bank for International Settlements is saying. The Bank for International Settlements is widely regarded as “the central bank of central banks”, and this new report is warning that we could be heading for “a financial boom gone wrong”…
A new financial crisis is brewing in the emerging economies and it could hit “with a vengeance”, an influential group of central bankers has warned.
Emerging markets such as China are showing the same signs that their economies are overheating as the US and the UK demonstrated before the financial crisis of 2007-08, according to the annual report of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
Claudio Borio, the head of the BIS monetary and economic department, said a new recession could come “with a vengeance” and “the end may come to resemble more closely a financial boom gone wrong”.
And of course many of the most trusted analysts in the financial world agree with the BIS. In fact, Dr. Doom Marc Faber is predicting that stocks could soon decline “by 40 percent or more”…
If the man often hailed as the original “Dr. Doom” is right, the stock market could see another “lurch” higher — at which point investors may want to cash out quickly and run for cover.
Marc Faber, the editor of “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report’ and a perennial bear, isn’t backing down from his latest dire prediction that would send stocks plummeting by 40 percent or more.
A drop of that size could take the S&P 500 Index down from Friday’s closing price of 2,438 to 1,463.
In the end, we shall see who is right and who is wrong.
And let us certainly hope that another crisis like the one we saw in 2008 does not happen any time soon, because tens of millions of Americans are completely unprepared for one.
According to a brand new survey that was just released, almost half the country currently spends as much or more money than they make each month…
Nearly half of Americans say their expenses are equal to or greater than their income, according to a new study from the Center for Financial Services Innovation. And for those 18 to 25 the percentage is over half, up to 54%.
“Half of America has no financial cushion,” says Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of CFSI, which released the study. “They are living really close to the edge.”
And another recent survey discovered that 69 percent of all Americans do not have an adequate emergency fund.
With so many of us living on the edge, our society is extremely vulnerable to a major financial shock. And when one finally does happen, a lot of people are going to get knocked out of the ranks of the middle class very rapidly.
Even though things seem relatively stable for the moment, poverty is on the rise all over the country. For example, according to the Daily Mail the number of homeless people in Los Angeles has risen by 23 percent over the last year…
According to a new count released in May, the number of homeless people in the Los Angeles area jumped by 23 percent in the last year to reach nearly 58,000. Of those, some 5,000 are veterans, the highest number of homeless veterans of any city in the country and a near 60 percent increase over the previous year.
And we are seeing similar things in cities all over the nation.
The United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline that goes back for decades. Our economic infrastructure has been gutted, our middle class is now a minority of the population, and we have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world in a desperate attempt to maintain a standard of living that we have not earned.
Hopefully Janet Yellen is right and hopefully the next major financial crisis will be put off for as long as possible.
But whether the next financial crisis comes quickly or not, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to continue to decline if we continue to make the same kinds of incredibly poor decisions that we have been making for a very long time.
Did you know that the sixth largest bank in Spain failed in spectacular fashion just a few days ago? Many are comparing the sudden implosion of Banco Popular to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and EU regulators hastily arranged a sale of the failed bank to Santander in order to avoid a full scale financial panic. Sadly, most Americans have no idea that a new financial crisis is starting to play out over in Europe, because most Americans only care about what is going on in America. But we should be paying attention, because the EU is the second largest economy on the entire planet, and the euro is the second most used currency on the entire planet. The U.S. financial system is already teetering on the brink of disaster, and this new financial crisis in Europe could turn out to be enough to push us over the edge.
If EU regulators had not arranged a “forced sale” of Banco Popular to Santander, we would probably be witnessing panic on a scale that we haven’t seen since 2008 in Europe right about now. The following comes from the Telegraph…
Spanish banking giant Santander has stepped in to the rescue ailing rival Banco Popular by taking over the failing lender for €1 in a watershed deal masterminded by EU regulators to avoid a damaging collapse.
Santander will tap its shareholders for €7bn in a rights issue to raise the capital needed to shore-up Popular’s finances in a dramatic private sector rescue of Spain’s sixth-largest lender.
It will inflict losses of approximately €3.3bn on bond investors and shareholders but crucially will avoid a taxpayer bailout.
But now that a “too big to fail” bank like Banco Popular has failed, investors are immediately trying to figure out which major Spanish banks may be the next to collapse. According to Wolf Richter, many have identified Liberbank as an institution that is highly vulnerable…
After its most tumultuous week since the bailout days of 2012, Spain’s banking system is gripped by a climate of fear, uncertainty and distrust. Rather than allaying investor nerves, the shotgun bail-in and sale of Banco Popular to Santander on Tuesday has merely intensified them. For the first time since the Global Financial Crisis, shareholders and subordinate bondholders of a failing Spanish bank were not bailed out by taxpayers; they took risks in order to make a buck, and they bore the consequences. That’s how it should be. But bank investors don’t like not getting bailed out.
Now they’re worrying it could happen again. As Popular’s final days showed, once confidence and trust in a bank vanishes, it’s almost impossible to restore them. The fear has now spread to Spain’s eighth largest lender, Liberbank, a mini-Bankia that was spawned in 2011 from the forced marriage of three failed cajas (savings banks), Cajastur, Caja de Extremadura and Caja Cantabria.
On Thursday, shares of Liberbank dropped by an astounding 20 percent, and that was followed up by another 19 percent decline on Friday.
Spanish authorities responded by banning short sales of Liberbank shares, and that caused a short-term rebound in the stock price.
But we haven’t seen this kind of chaos in European financial markets in a very long time.
Meanwhile, Nick Giambruno is sounding the alarm about a much bigger bubble. At this moment, more than a trillion dollars worth of Italian government bonds have negative yields…
Over $1 trillion worth of Italian bonds actually have negative yields.
It’s a bizarre and perverse situation.
Lending money to the bankrupt Italian government carries huge risks. So the yields on Italian government bonds should be near record highs, not record lows.
Negative yields could not exist in a free market. They’re only possible in the current “Alice in Wonderland” economy created by central bankers.
You see, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been printing money to buy Italian government bonds hand over fist. Since 2008, the ECB and Italian banks have bought over 88% of Italian government debt, according to a recent study.
The moment that the ECB stops wildly buying Italian bonds, the party will be over and the Italian financial system will crash. Unfortunately for Italy, the Germans are pressuring the ECB to quit printing so much money, and the Germans usually get their way in these things.
But if the Germans get their way this time, we could be facing a complete and utter nightmare very quickly. Here is more from Nick Giambruno…
Once the ECB—the only large buyer—steps away, Italian government bonds will crash and rates will soar.
Soon it will be impossible for the Italian government to finance itself.
Italian banks—which are already insolvent—will be decimated. They hold an estimated €235 billion worth of Italian government bonds. So the coming bond crash will pummel their balance sheets.
It’s shaping up to be a lovely train wreck.
And all of this is happening in the context of a global economy that appears to be headed for a major downturn.
For example, the last time that global credit growth showed down this rapidly was during the last financial crisis…
From peak to trough the deceleration in global credit growth is now approaching that during the global financial crisis (-6% of global GDP), even if the dispersion of the decline is much narrower. Currently 55% of the countries in our sample have experienced a -0.3 standard deviation deterioration in their credit impulse (median over 12 months) compared to 77% of countries in Dec ’09 when the median decline was -1.4 stdev.”
Of course the last time global credit growth decelerated this dramatically, global central banks intervened on a scale that was unlike anything that we had ever seen before.
But this time around it is happening at a time when global central banks are very low on ammo…
More importantly, back in 2009, not only China, but the Fed and other central banks unleashed the biggest injection of credit, i.e. liquidity, the world has ever seen resulting in the biggest asset bubble the world has ever seen. And, this time around, the Fed is set to hike for the third time in the past year, even as the ECB and BOJ are forced to soon taper as they run out of eligible bonds to monetize. All this comes at a time when US loan growth is weeks away from turning negative.
As such, what “kickstarts” the next spike in the credit impulse is unclear. What is clear is that if the traditional 3-6 month lag between credit inflection points, i.e. impulse, and economic growth is maintained, the global economy is set for a dramatic collapse some time in the second half.
There are so many experts that are warning about big economic trouble in our immediate future. I would like to say that all of the experts that are freaking out are wrong, but I can’t do that.
I have not seen an atmosphere like this since 2008 and 2009, and everything points to an acceleration of the crisis as we enter the second half of this year.