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.
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.
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.
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.