Bond market worries: What implied volatility says about the week ahead

The volatility playbook for the week ahead

After a week where markets have had to try and understand the potential fallout on the Chinese economy from the coronavirus outbreak, a more dovish BoC, a reasonable Aussie jobs report, and solid UK data, we head into the new week with a number of moving parts through which to navigate.
One aspect that I have addressed in the ‘Week Ahead’ playbook is the message I am seeing from the US bond market and it is a play that is progressively suggesting more risk averse positioning. It gives me some belief that implied volatility in markets could start to respond and move higher. I have mentioned in reports of past that the bond market has never fully bought into the reflation trade that so many economists had got quite excited about going into 2020. Where, if I look at the long end of the US Treasury or German bund curve, or even the copper/gold ratio, the market is saying reflation is a pipe dream, and instead, we may actually be too optimistic about the global growth story.

(Green – US 10-year inflation expectations, white – copper/.gold ratio)

US 10-year inflation expectations, white
We know the FOMC meeting is this coming week and while no one expects a change in the fed funds rate, we are expecting Jay Powell to be intensely probed about the Fed’s balance sheet and measures to support the repo market. Risk markets, such as equities, have been supported by changes to excess reserves, which despite calls to the contrary from the Fed, the market has taken these changes as QE, and this may well be coming to an end – or, should I say, the expansion of reserve growth will soon abate.

(White – excess reserves, yellow – Fed’s balance sheet, purple – USD index)

White - excess reserves, yellow


USD/JPY: Intra-day range In 2019 narrowest since 1976; Where next? – MUFG

Can the low volatility continue?

MUFG Research discusses USD/JPY outlook and targets the pair at 107, 106, 105, 104 in Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 respectively.

The intra-day high-to-low trading range for USD/JPY in 2019 was 7.6% – that’s the narrowest trading range since 1976 according to Bloomberg data. Taking the last three years the trading range has been just 13.5% underlining the remarkable stability of USD/JPY. 3mth ATM implied volatility fell to 4.99% in December, a record low underlining the conditions conducive to carry. These conditions helped keep the yen weak but failed to trigger any notable sell-off of the yen,” MUFG notes.

“In our view that is a reflection of underlying positives for the yen that will contribute to yen strength this year, even if financial market conditions remain relatively benign…We see limited upside for USD/JPY from current levels. The factors above will act to limit yen weakness. We do not assume any major risk-off event this year but the assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3rd January is a clear near-term upside risk for the yen that has emerged as 2020 commences,” MUFG adds.

South Korea’s vice fin min says watching markets for impact of North Korea issues

Sounding a warning for volatility related to NK missile tests and other geopolitical issues

This comes after North Korea’s state media KCNA reported on Sunday that the country had conducted a “very important” test at its Sohae rocket-testing ground. NK have previously agreed to close the facility. But, no, they have not.
US President Trump had words on the NK tests over the weekend:
  • “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore,” 
  • “He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November” 

Trading Time Frames

Trading across multiple-time frames must be one of the hardest things to do as a trader. Many I know have chosen to avoid this completely while others wait patiently until all time frames correlate with their general read, which sometimes can take weeks if not months depending on the various time frames in question.

Some struggle with the volatility of the tape, while others struggle with a psychological bias. At present I am struggling with the different pictures on different time frames. Currently I have trades on both sides of this argument taking index shorts against the weekly pattern while playing daily longs as they setup. The net gain has been a whole bunch of nothing which is making me ask the question if the different trades are worth it or if it would have been better to simply wait for one picture to resolve itself and correlate with the other. In hindsight this certainly sounds like it would have been the smarter play.

—Patience is never fun but until we have some solid resolution I still believe it to be the best play.

There’s that ‘P’ word again…

Risk Management

  1.  Risk of Ruin-Never risk more than 1% of your total account capital on any one trade.
  2. Position Sizing-Use your capital at risk to understand the right amount to trade based on the securities volatility.
  3. Capital at risk: Never put more than 6% of your total capital at risk at any given time on all positions.
  4. Trailing stops- Always have an exit strategy to lock in your winners.

10 Trading Thoughts

ten101. You only have three choices when you are in a bad position, and it is not hard to figure out what to do:
(1) Get out
(2) Double up, or
(3) Spread it off.

I have always found getting out to be the best of all three choices.

  1. No opinion on the market or you are doubtful about market direction? Then stay out. Remember, when in doubt, stay out.
  2. Don’t ever let anyone know how big your wallet is, and don’t ever let anyone know how small it is either.
  3. If you snooze, you lose. Know your markets, when they trade, and what reports will affect the market price.
  4. The markets will always let you in on the losers; the market’s job is to keep you out of winners. Dump the dogs and ride the winning tide.
  5. Stops are not for sissies.
  6. Plan your trade, then trade your plan. He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
  7. Buy the rumor and sell the fact. Watch for volatility in these situations; it usually marks tops or bottoms in the markets.
  8. Buy low, sell high. Or buy it when nobody wants it, and sell it when everybody has to have it!
  9. It’s okay to lose your shirt, just don’t lose your pants; that is where your wallet is.

One last thought to leave with you. It applies not only to every-day life but to trading the markets as well:
Success is measured not so much by the wealth or position you have gained, but rather by the obstacles you have overcome to succeed!

Trading Hints and Tips


1. OPPORTUNITY. There are dozens of these every day, unfortunately you can’t buy them all, so only pick the top 10 and then narrow them down to 2 to 3.
 This is done by using your buying criteria which is part of your trading plan which you already have written down. (Hopefully you have one?)

 2. BUYING and SELLING. I have a pre planned strategy which I have developed by trial and error; this was achieved by learning by my trading mistakes  and the mistakes of others.
 3. PATIENCE.This is definitely a virtue worth developing. Sometimes the market is going up in the right direction, but is not going as fast upwards as you  would like.  Be patient and use a “stop loss” to lock in those profits. However small they may be.  Also don’t always be in a hurry to “buy that next share” just because you have that money burning a hole in your pocket.  Do your homework and then you have chosen the right share for the right reasons and not just because it looked good 

 4. STRESS.If it is hurting! Don’t do it, cut your losses or be content with a small profit and get out. (more…)

Confusion and Frustration for Traders

Maslow one commented that, when all you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as a nail. So it is with psychologists that involve themselves in markets. Lacking an understanding of actual speculative strategies and tactics–not to mention portfolio construction–they reduce performance problems to the lowest, psychological denominator. In so doing, they confuse cause and effect: they observe frustrated traders and assume that relieving frustration is the key to making money.

The professional speculator, unlike the retail daytrader, rarely falls into performance problems because of derelict discipline or runaway emotions. Rather, it is the very competence of the professional that leads to performance challenges. *It is when pros are most in sync with markets, identifying and profiting from themes and patterns, that they are most vulnerable to ever-changing patterns of direction, volatility, and correlation*. The confidence that permits healthy risk-taking under the best of speculative conditions inevitably gives way to confusion and frustration when skilled participants are no longer in sync with their markets. (more…)

Lessons From Warren Buffett’s 2014 Letter to Shareholders

The education of any business person is incomplete if it doesn’t include a thorough reading of Warren Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders. I often say that I have learned more from reading his annual letters than I have reading anything else. And I spend much of my days reading! That said, this year’s letter was no different than usual. In fact, it was even more jam packed than normal because Buffett spends more and more time these days focusing on Berkshire AFTER Buffett. So his life lessons are more widely discussed than ever.You should go read the letter yourself, but in case you don’t have the time I’ve jotted down some of the key takeaways:

Macro Matters. As much as Buffett focuses on the micro (specific companies) he’s always mindful of the macro. And he certainly understands that his success couldn’t have happened without riding the biggest macro wave of the last 100 years – the amazing growth of the US economy:

“Who has ever benefited during the past 238 years by betting against America? If you compare our country’s present condition to that existing in 1776, you have to rub your eyes in wonder. In my lifetime alone, real per-capita US output has sextupled. My parents could not have dreamed in 1930 of the world their son would see.”

As I always say, it’s easy to look like a great swimmer if you can figure out the direction of the current. Figure out the macro and the micro more easily falls in place.

Accounting, accounting, accounting. If you read a Buffett letter you’ll notice that it’s filled with accounting tables. I’ve stated in the past that the language of economics is accounting. It is the way we communicate the health of our economy, our institutions and our people. Buffett knows this. Buffett’s a masterful businessman because he understands the language of economics.  If you’re not well versed in accounting do yourself a favor and spend more time learning the language of economics – accounting. (more…)

Two Facts

Iam tracking Indian Stock Market and Global Market since 1992.Yes after 17 years ..I had seen these are two real facts of Trading.

#1: Small-range market periods lead to large-range market periods. Low volatility breeds high volatility, which in turn leads to low volatility.
Just about the time everyone is resigned that market conditions will never change is exactly when conditions will change.
#2: Trading is a business where you can never be right. Never. No matter what we do, our mistakes will always outnumber our correct decisions. That’s why grading ourselves on every minute` decision will come up with more of a batting average score than college test score.
Mistakes can always outnumber correct actions… so long as correct actions outweigh mistakes. It ain’t the size of our right or wrong actions that counts: it’s how much they weigh in $$ values. Size does matter.
The great news is, as traders we never have to be perfect. We don’t even have to be 50% perfect. We only need to maximize our wins and minimize our losses. And we only need to win once per day, more days than not to be good. Just barely profitable = the top ten percentile of our profession. Anything beyond that is outperforming 90% of the field.

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