Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reversals in US Bonds and Yen Provide Some Minor Relief

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With the entire stock market now one computerized trade, the 'US bonds/Japanese Yen' safety trade reversed after some huge runs, providing some relief to equities.   Throughout 2008 and 2009, and indeed even during the European debt crisis in early 2010 the US dollar was the safe haven in currencies (almost all major world currencies are representative of poor structural economies so buying among the Euro, Yen, or Dollar is just picking amongst the ugliest swan).  Remember all those months you did not have to do anything other than stare at a US dollar chart?  Each time it rallied you had to sell any risk asset and vice versa - the true dumbing down of investing in the computerized, highly correlated age.

However with the U.S. economic situation deteriorating dramatically the past 90 days, it appears the Japanese Yen has replaced the dollar as the 'safety trade' this time around.  The fact the U.S. is comparing unfavorably to Japan says just about all you need to know about our country.  The yen is actually at 15 year highs to the dollar - ironically hurting Japanese exporters (Japan cannot catch a break).

So with the intraday reversals in these 2 names, the algos can go buy equities and our "monolithic market" where every instrument is just a S&P 500 derivative continues on.  These charts need a breather, especially the U.S. Treasuries, although the move in the yen - considering its a currency - is 'break neck' in relation to how currencies usually move.



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