Posts Tagged ‘ currency ’

Deja Déjà Vu – A Third Summer of European Crisis

May 18, 2012
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Deja Déjà Vu – A Third Summer of European Crisis

Over the past week, it has become clear that a third annual conflagration throughout Europe is upon us. The crisis has morphed yet again, and like The Hydra, it has come back in a more menacing form. The issue this summer is more profound than the “sovereign debt crisis” which struck last summer. Last summer’s issues were always containable with simple resolve from the ECB. The market forced the issue in sudden manner and eventually a fix came in the form of 3-year long-term refinancing operations (LTRO). Astute observers will notice that today, sovereign debt rates, while higher, have not flared up to the levels they reached last year. European interest rates should not approach summer levels because there is a set playbook that works to contain sovereign rates...

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First the Japanese Yen and then Gold – There is No Safe Haven Currency Panacea

March 1, 2012
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First the Japanese Yen and then Gold – There is No Safe Haven Currency Panacea

Beware of the one-way, one-speed runaway train! Usually in the normal chain of events the train stops, lets the passengers off, turns around, and starts going the other way. In a rare circumstance, all hell breaks loose and the train can’t be turned around and runs off the track and over the cliff. In the investment world it is rare to find this type of “accelerating in your favor (or against you)” investment theme. Two recent moves highlight how risks can be largest in the most comfortable havens. In less than a month, the seemingly invincible Yen has sold off from 76 to 81 (the USD dollar now buys 5 more) which is a 6.6% move, and a very large one-month move for the currency market. Not to be...

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Investing Ahead of a European Recession

December 14, 2011
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Investing Ahead of a European Recession

Investing ahead of a recession is like a trip to the dentist for a filling when the Novocain isn’t quite right. You know you are in for some pain, but it’s unclear just how much, and how long it will last. Europe is accepting the German path forward, which will at a minimum, lead to plenty of pain for many countries. Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Italy, and France are all experiencing, or likely to experience, a recession. Forward looking indicators are declining, confidence is dashed, austerity being implemented, European financial assets down sharply, and interest rates higher. The ECB is taking a minimalist approach to fighting the recession and the 17 countries in the Eurozone have different agendas, interests, and policy aims. In the background of the economic recession, there...

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Emerging Market Currencies Signaling More Risk Aversion

November 22, 2011
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Emerging Market Currencies Signaling More Risk Aversion

For almost a decade, emerging markets have been in a bull market with high growth rates, declining interest rates, and capital inflows. During the financial crisis, emerging markets were hit like financial assets around the world, and capital flowed out of the asset class. Over the course of 2010, and most of 2011, emerging market currencies strengthened once again. Recently, the European financial crisis cast doubts on the risk appetite for emerging market investment. EM currencies experienced a sharp, across the board, selloff in September 2011. Currencies such as; the Brazilian Real, Mexican Peso, and Indonesian Rupiah quickly declined by 20%. Part of the decline was based on the start of EM central bank rate cuts but the majority of the move was simply risk aversion. Many of the...

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EM Stock Markets – Destabilized by Currency Sell-offs and Capital Outflows

September 26, 2011
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EM Stock Markets – Destabilized by Currency Sell-offs and Capital Outflows

Developed market equities are attempting to stabilize based on additional talks from Eurozone leaders who are meeting with the IMF and reported to be discussing items such as expanding the size of the EFSF, creating a TARP-EU, and recapitalizing more of the European financials. Developed market investors are attempting to look ahead during scary times. This contrasts to the overnight session in Asia, which saw another spiral into panic selling towards the Asian close. Most markets were down 3-6% again, and for a short period last night the S&P futures were down 15 points (2.5% lower than 8:00am NY time). There are a number of signs that this round of selling is liquidation with little regard to fundamentals in the region. The selling is indiscriminant when you look across...

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Nike’s Strong Results Indicative of Solid Global Consumption

September 23, 2011
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Nike’s Strong Results Indicative of Solid Global Consumption

Nike (NKE) reported an excellent set of results after the close last night. Headline earnings were $1.36 vs a street consensus of $1.21 (12.4% beat). I listened to the Nike earnings conference call and was really impressed with the strong business trends relative to the obvious dislocations we are seeing in the market and talk of global recession. Nike is one of the world’s strongest global brands and has a diversified business across both developed and emerging markets, across product categories such as footwear, apparel, and equipment, and across income demographics. If there was a global slowdown taking place right now it would be something that should impact Nike’s business. Basketball and running sneakers are mature categories in most countries. Nike’s earnings were driven by strong sales trends around...

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