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.
Disneyland is known as a place “where dreams come true” and where every story always has a happy ending. But there is going to be no happy ending for the U.S. economy. Wishful thinking has resulted in one of the greatest stock market rallies in history in recent months, but like all childhood fantasies, it won’t last. The real economy continues to deteriorate, and we can see this even right outside of the gates of Disneyland. Every night growing numbers of homeless people sleep on the pavement just steps away from “the happiest place on Earth”. It can be fun to “play make believe” for a while, but eventually reality always catches up with us.
Without a doubt, the stock market has been on a tremendous run. Since Donald Trump’s stunning election victory in November, the market has been setting record high after record high, and it is now up a total of 17 percent…
The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its 23rd all time high of 2017 yesterday closing at 21,532. There have been a total of 120 days where the markets have closed since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. The ‘DOW’ has closed at all time highs 23 of those days for nearly 20% or one-fifth of the days the market has been open. The market is up 9% since the inauguration.
Since the election on November 8th the DOW has closed at record highs an amazing 40 times! Nearly one-fourth or 24% of the 168 days the markets have closed have been record highs since the November 8th election. The market is up 17% since the election!
If this surge was supported by hard economic data, that would be something to greatly celebrate, but that has not been the case at all.
Instead, stock prices have become completely disconnected from economic reality, and now we are facing one of the greatest stock bubbles of all time. As Graham Summers has pointed out, stocks are now trading at price to sales ratios that we haven’t seen since the very height of the dotcom bubble…
Earnings, cash flow, and book value are all financial data points that can be massaged via a variety of gimmicks. As a result of this, valuing stocks based on Price to Earnings, Price to Cash Flow, and Price to Book Value can often lead to inaccurate valuations.
Sales on the other hand are all but impossible to gimmick. Either money came in the door, or it didn’t And, if a company is caught faking its sales numbers, someone is going to jail.
So the fact that stocks are now trading at a P/S ratio that matches the Tech Bubble (the single largest stock bubble in history) tells us that we’re truly trading at astronomical levels: levels associated with staggering levels of excess.
There is no possible way that this is sustainable, and just like before the 2008 crisis a whole host of experts are warning that disaster is imminent. One of them is John Mauldin…
Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it’s highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.
Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it?
And even though the stock market has been surging deeper and deeper into bubble territory in recent months, the middle class has continued to shrink and poverty has continued to grow all over the country. In fact, because so many homeless people have been sleeping at bus shelters across from Disneyland lately authorities decided to completely remove the benches that they had been sleeping on…
The vanishing benches were Anaheim’s response to complaints about the homeless population around Disneyland. Public work crews removed 20 benches from bus shelters after callers alerted City Hall to reports of vagrants drinking, defecating or smoking pot in the neighborhood near the amusement park’s entrance, officials said.
The situation is part of a larger struggle by Orange County to deal with a rising homeless population. A survey last year placed the number of those without shelter at 15,300 people, compared with 12,700 two years earlier.
But simply removing benches will not make the problem go away.
Homelessness has been growing so rapidly in Los Angeles that the the L.A. City Council actually asked Governor Jerry Brown to formally declare a state of emergency.
And in New York City, street homelessness is up 39 percent over the past year.
This is where the real economy is heading, but a rising stock market makes for much happier headlines.
Many major cities around the nation are passing laws to essentially make it illegal to be homeless. Forcing homeless people to go somewhere else may mask the problem for a while, but it certainly doesn’t do anything to solve it. In my new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, I talk about how real love is not just about loving those that are just like us. Rather, real love is about caring for people no matter what they look like and no matter what they are going through.
Unfortunately, the economic suffering that we are seeing right now is just the beginning.
Just like in 2008, the major financial crisis that is coming is going to greatly accelerate our economic problems. And just like last time, millions of people are going to lose their jobs, and millions of people are going to lose their homes.
Homelessness is already worse in many parts of the nation that it was during the depths of the last recession, and what we are going to see during the next economic downturn is going to be absolutely unprecedented.
So don’t look down on those that need a helping hand, because in the not too distant future you may find yourself needing some help.
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 Jim Rogers is right, the worst stock market crash that any of us has ever seen is right around the corner. For the past 15 years, Rogers has been a frequent guest analyst on CNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, and he is immensely respected for the depth of knowledge and experience that he brings to the table. So the fact that he is warning that we are about to see the worst stock market crash in any of our lifetimes is making a lot of waves in the financial community. And of course Rogers is far from alone. Previously, I have written about several other prominent experts that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent, and I have also discussed how a number of big investors are quietly positioning themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the markets crash. Could it be possible that all of these incredibly sharp minds could be wrong? Yes, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
I was actually quite stunned when I first learned what Jim Rogers had told Henry Blodget of Business Insider during a recent interview. Rogers has built up a tremendous amount of credibility, but now he is putting that credibility on the line by warning that a great stock market crash will happen by the end of next year. Here is the key portion of the interview …
Blodget: Well, yeah, TV ratings do seem to go up during crashes, but then they completely disappear when everyone is obliterated, so no one is hoping for that. So when is this going to happen?
Rogers: Later this year or next.
Blodget: Later this year or next?
Rogers: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Write it down.
There is no backing out of a statement like that.
If Rogers is wrong, he will never hear the end of it.
Subsequently, Blodget and Rogers also discussed how severe the coming crisis would be…
Blodget: And how big a crash could we be looking at?
Rogers: It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.
Blodget: I’ve had some pretty big ones in my lifetime.
Rogers: It’s going to be the biggest in my lifetime, and I’m older than you. No, it’s going to be serious stuff.
So that means that Rogers is convinced that the coming crisis is going to be even worse than what we went through in 2008.
Of course this is something that I have been warning about for quite a while, but for Jim Rogers to make a statement like this is a really, really big deal.
Later in the interview, Rogers shared more details about what he believes the coming crisis will look like…
You’re going to see governments fail. You’re going to see countries fail, this time around. Iceland failed last time. Other countries fail. You’re going to see more of that.
You’re going to see parties disappear. You’re going to see institutions that have been around for a long time — Lehman Brothers had been around over 150 years. Gone. Not even a memory for most people. You’re going to see a lot more of that next around, whether it’s museums or hospitals or universities or financial firms.
That definitely sounds like an “economic collapse” to me. Of course the truth is that the U.S. economy is already in the midst of a slow-motion economic collapse that stretches back for decades, but this coming crisis that Rogers is talking about is going to great accelerate matters.
Let us hope that it is put off for as long as possible, but at some point we are simply going to run out of time.
And when markets do start falling, they can move very, very rapidly. Just look at what happened on Friday. Technology sector stocks were down 2.7 percent, and the FAANG stocks were some of the biggest movers…
Facebook fell $5.11, or 3.3%, to $149.60.
Apple fell $6.01, or 3.9%, to $148.90.
Amazon fell $31.96, or 3.2%, to $978.31 now demoted from the elect group for 4-digit stocks back to the large group of 3-digit stocks.
Netflix plunged $7.85, or 4.7%, to $158.20.
Alphabet – the G in FAANG – fell $33.58, or 3.4%, to $952.23, moving further away from everyone’s dream of closing at $1,000.
If we are indeed moving toward a new crisis, one of the things that we will want to watch for is an inverting of the yield curve.
We saw this happen in 2000 and in 2006, and on both occasions it foreshadowed that a huge stock market crash was coming in the not too distant future.
Unfortunately, CNBC says that a new inversion of the yield curve could happen “by the end of this year”…
The bounce in Treasury yields witnessed after the election of Donald Trump is now decaying in the D.C. swamp. If the Federal Reserve continues to ignore this slow growth and deflationary signal from the bond market and continues along its current rate hiking path, the yield curve will invert by the end of this year and an equity market plunge and a recession is sure to follow.
An inverted yield curve, which has correctly predicted the last seven recessions going back to the late 1960’s, occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than longer-term rates. Why is an inverted yield curve so crucial in determining the direction of markets and the economy? Because when bank assets (longer-duration loans) generate less income than bank liabilities (short-term deposits), the incentive to make new loans dries up along with the money supply. And when asset bubbles are starved of that monetary fuel they burst. The severity of the recession depends on the intensity of the asset bubbles in existence prior to the inversion.
Another key indicator is the growth of commercial and industrial loans. According to Zero Hedge, this indicator has correctly foreshadowed every single recession since 1960…
While many “conventional” indicators of US economic vibrancy and strength have lost their informational and predictive value over the past decade (GDP fluctuates erratically especially in Q1, employment is the lowest this century yet real wage growth is non-existent, inflation remains under the Fed’s target despite its $4.5 trillion balance sheet and so on), one indicator has remained a stubbornly fail-safe marker of economic contraction: since the 1960, every time Commercial & Industrial loan balances have declined (or simply stopped growing), whether due to tighter loan supply or declining demand, a recession was already either in progress or would start soon.
So considering the fact that this indicator has been so accurate, it is extremely alarming that we could see our “first negative loan growth” since the last financial crisis “in roughly 4 to 6 weeks”…
After growing at a 7% Y/Y pace at the start of the year, which declined to 3% at the end of March and 2.6% at the end of April, the latest bank loan update from the Fed showed that the annual rate of increase in C&A loans is now down to just 1.6%, – the lowest since 2011 – after slowing to 2.3% and 1.8% in the previous two weeks.
Should the current rate of loan growth deceleration persist – and there is nothing to suggest otherwise – the US will post its first negative loan growth, or rather loan contraction since the financial crisis, in roughly 4 to 6 weeks.
And when you throw in all of the other signs that the U.S. economy is slowing down, a very clear picture begins to emerge.
It has been said that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. As a society, we certainly didn’t learn much from the horrible financial disaster of 2008, and now so many of the exact same patterns are repeating once again.
An unprecedented financial crisis is most definitely heading our way, and the only thing left to be answered is how soon it will get here.
I keep hearing from people that think that the stock market is going to crash by the end of the year. Hopefully that will not happen, but the ridiculous stock prices that we are seeing right now certainly cannot last forever. On Sunday, I was chatting with a friend that had just been to a financial conference. He was quite surprised that one of the things being taught to the attendees of this conference was how to position themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the stock market crashes dramatically in the near future. Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up, and so when the inevitable market crash does take place those that have made large bets against the market will make huge fortunes. It happened in 2008, and it will happen again. But it was unsettling to my friend Robert that there were so many people that were gleefully looking forward to this.
Of course some of the biggest names in the investing world are also anticipating a major downturn very soon. I have previously written about how Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is sitting on a pile of 86 billion dollars in cash right now. Nobody ever knows exactly what Buffett is thinking, but it isn’t too hard to figure out that he plans to use those billions to buy up stocks for a song after a big market crash happens.
I have also previously written about many other big names throughout the financial world that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent. The last time I saw so many prominent investors sounding the alarm was just before the market crash of 2008, but most people didn’t listen that time around either.
And of course those that believe that a market crash is coming are doing a lot more than just talking about it. According to Zero Hedge, there are now more short positions betting against the Russell 2000 than we have seen at any time in the last six years…
The Russell 2000 Index posted a 2.2% decline in May, its worst month since October, and it appears a large swath of investors is now betting it has further to fall.
As Bloomberg notes, hedge funds and other major speculators have a combined net short position of 73,030 contracts in the small-cap index’s futures, according to the latest data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Russell 2000 sentiment has sharply declined since January, when future contract positioning reached record bullishness. It’s now the most short since May 2011.
The last time investors were this short the Russell 2000, it fell by almost 30 percent.
Can we expect something similar this time?
We will just have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, there has also been a surge in the number of investors betting that we will soon see increased market volatility…
As Bloomberg notes, with the VIX down more than 30% this year through the end of last week, investors have been using options to bet on volatility.
As the chart above shows, the volume of contracts wagering on a resurgence of market turmoil has reached its highest level since last February relative to those calling for a drop in price movements.
Because markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, most of those that bet on increased volatility are typically doing so because they believe that a stock market crash is coming very soon.
And it is also interesting to note that hedge funds are jumping into gold at a rate that we have not seen since 2007…
Hedge funds are jumping back into gold.
Money managers boosted their long positions in U.S. futures by the most in almost a decade in the week ended May 23, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.
Gold is a safe haven asset, and it is a very good place to be during a major financial crisis. So if hedge funds are anticipating that we are on the verge of a major market downturn, it would make sense for them to be piling into gold.
All of the moves that I have discussed above will end up looking quite foolish if stocks just keep going up and up and up.
But if the market crashes, those that have positioned themselves ahead of time will end up making a killing.
Today the stock market bears absolutely no resemblance to economic reality, but at some point that will change. And with each passing day we just continue to get more bad economic news.
Yesterday, I showed that according to official U.S. government figures there are 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now. Today, we got more confirmation that the U.S. economy is slowing down. We learned that new vehicle sales fell on a year-over-year basis for the fifth month in a row in May, and we learned that factory orders and new orders for durable goods both declined last month. And for a lot more numbers just like those, please see this article.
The U.S. economy is not “healthy” and it hasn’t been for a very long time. Because we have shipped so many jobs overseas, manufacturing’s share of U.S. employment has fallen to an all-time record low. The middle class is shrinking, and somewhere around two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck. We have been able to maintain our national standard of living by going on the greatest debt binge of all time, but every additional dollar of debt that we take on makes our long-term outlook even worse.
Just because he is living in the White House does not mean that Donald Trump can automatically turn things around. Without the help of Congress, he cannot cut taxes, repeal Obamacare, eliminate unnecessary federal agencies or implement many of the other items on his economic agenda.
And the truth is that because of the way that our system is structured, the Federal Reserve actually has much, much more power over the economy than Donald Trump does. When the financial markets crash and we officially enter the next recession, most of the blame will be placed on Trump, but it won’t be his fault. Instead, it will be primarily the Federal Reserve’s fault, and we need to educate the American people about this ahead of time.
What goes up must come down, and this irrational stock bubble has been living on borrowed time for quite a while now.
It isn’t going to take much to push things over the edge, and there are all sorts of candidates for what the next “trigger event” will be.
How can a company that is going to generate $2,000,000,000 in negative free cash flow in 2017 be worth 70 billion dollars? Netflix has soared in popularity in recent years, but so have their financial losses. Just like during the original tech bubble, investors are ignoring basic fundamentals and are greatly rewarding firms that are bleeding giant mountains of cash year after year just because they are trendy “tech companies”. But somewhere along the line you actually have to quit losing money if you are going to survive. Just ask tech bubble 1.0 victims Pets.com, Webvan and Etoys.com. The investors that poured enormous amounts of money into those companies ended up losing everything, and similar tragedies will play out as tech bubble 2.0 bursts.
So far in 2017, the S&P 500 is up about 8 percent, but FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) are up a whopping 30 percent.
But at least Facebook, Amazon and Google are making money.
Netflix is not.
So why in the world has the stock shot up by more than 30 percent so far this year? It just doesn’t make any sense at all. According to CNBC, during the first quarter Netflix had $423 million in negative free cash flow, and for the entire year it is being projected that it will have $2 billion in negative free cash flow…
The California-based company is now dumping cash into original content to maintain its dominance over its growing field of rivals. The company’s had $423 million negative free cash flow during the quarter, wider than the $261 million negative free cash flow a year ago. Netflix expects to have $2 billion in negative free cash flow this year.
The bleeding of cash at Netflix only seems to be accelerating. The number for the first quarter of 2017 was 62 percent worse than the number for the first quarter of 2016, and it was more than twice as bad as the number for the first quarter of 2015.
It is hard to imagine that Netflix will ever be more popular than it is right now.
So if Netflix is not making a profit at this point, when will it ever make a profit?
Similar things could be said about Twitter. This is a company that has never made a yearly profit and that is actually starting to see revenues decline. But somehow the stock just continues to go up. Since the last time I wrote about Twitter, the market cap has shot up another 1.5 billion dollars.
At this point, the market values Twitter at 13 billion dollars, but in the entire history of the company it has actually lost 2 billion dollars.
What we are witnessing is a modern day version of “tulip mania”, and at some point this irrational euphoria will come to a sudden end. In fact, there are already some signs that tech bubble 2.0 may be in a significant amount of trouble. The following is an excerpt from a Bloomberg article entitled “Investors Go All-In on Tech Giants”…
The tech-powered rally has catapulted the sector to a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.4, or 41 percent above the 10-year average. But as Google and Amazon stretch to nearly $1,000 a share, not everyone is comfortable with the valuations. Investors pulled more than $716 million from the most popular technology exchange-traded fund last week — the $17.4 billion Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund, or XLK — its largest weekly outflow in over a year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“Most everybody remembers 2000, so they might be getting a little nervous with this development,” said Maley. “I just wonder how many people have said to themselves, ‘If AMZN gets to $1,000, I’m going to take at least some profits.’”
All over the financial world, prominent voices are warning that the enormous financial bubbles that we see all around us are not sustainable and that a major crisis is heading our way. I wrote about some of these voices yesterday, and today we can add Paul Singer to the list…
Given groupthink and the determination of policy makers to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent the next market ‘crash,’ we think that the low-volatility levitation magic act of stocks and bonds will exist until the disenchanting moment when it does not. And then all hell will break loose (don’t ask us what hell looks like…), a lamentable scenario that will nevertheless present opportunities that are likely to be both extraordinary and ephemeral. The only way to take advantage of those opportunities is to have ready access to capital.
When the financial markets collapse, Donald Trump will likely get most of the blame.
But Donald Trump did not create the stock market bubble, and he will not be responsible for ending it either.
Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, we have seen this same story play out over and over again. There have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions since the Fed was established, and the more the Fed interferes in the marketplace the larger the booms and busts tend to be.
And it could be argued that this time around the Fed has manipulated financial markets more than ever before. Interest rates were pushed as low as possible and trillions of dollars were pumped into the financial system during the Fed’s quantitative easing programs. Of course those actions were going to create a huge bubble, and of course that bubble is going to inevitably burst.
Unfortunately, this is not just a game. Real people with real hopes and real dreams are going to be absolutely devastated. Millions of Americans that were carefully saving for retirement are going to be financially crippled, and pension funds all over the nation are going to be wiped out.
I don’t know why we can’t seem to learn from history. And I am not talking about events that happened decades ago. The build up to this coming crisis is so similar to what we witnessed just before the crashes of 2000 and 2008, but we just keep getting fooled over and over again.
But once things fall apart this time, I think that the American people will finally be fed up. I think that they will be sick and tired of an unelected, unaccountable central bank that creates endless booms and busts, and I think that they will finally be ready to push Congress to shut the Federal Reserve down for good.