Tag Archives: Greece

Global Macro: Long/Short Hedge Funds Have Done Something Stupid

Now that InteractiveBrokers is turning up the heat and joining the “unbundling movement” by offering independent research via its world-class trading platform, MarketsMuse editors spotlighted the following comments courtesy of global macro sage Neil Azous, Founder/Managing Member of Rareview Macro LLC from today’s IB feed..If you’re a hedge fund-type, you will either smile, smirk or throw a rock at your computer..

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

A few of our hedge fund buddies have asked us to bring back “the old-school Neil” and tell you what I think will happen in the next 48-hours. We aim to please, at least sometimes, so therefore today’s note has a lot of “hedge fund speak” and is very short-term in nature. Here we go.

If you ban selling, threaten to arrest short sellers and suspend over half the market, then at some point Chinese equities will inevitably close positive. Add in some good old fashioned government buying of what actually remains open and it is no great surprise that equity markets closed positive in China.

Of the 2,754 shares traded in Shanghai, 1,700 were suspended but the ones that were opened had virtually a 100% up-day. All 194 of the 484 shares that are still open for trade on the ChiNext Board – the poster child for speculation – rose limit up 10%. The three main index futures – CSI 300 and CES China 120 – closed limit up 10% and FTSE China A50 futures closed up +17%. The 5.8% gain in the Shanghai Composite was the largest since 2009.

While the invisible hand of China’s government has set a positive bid-tone for the rest of global risk assets today, it also increased the probability of further PnL duress for long/short hedge funds here in the old US of A.

Sadly, the desire by the long/short hedge fund strategy to reduce overall gross exposure over the last week has been very low.

The fact is that the majority believe that the earnings bar going into this reporting season is so low that you can crawl over it on your knees, and that the dispersion of opportunities remains high due to M&A activity or event-driven catalysts. The last thing this investor base wants to do is lose core positions on account of Greece or China. In Greece, the opportunity cost has been high over the years, and in China’s case, since none of them have really any meaningful direct exposure, the mindset is that the spillover effect to US equities is marginal at best.

As a result, long/short hedge funds remain long on single stocks, and to at least show some appearance to their investors that they are being prudent given the top-down concerns globally they have OVER-purchased a lot of market-related protection, or have used blunt instruments to get really short of the market outright. Put another way, their gross exposure is roughly the same as where it was last month, before the very recent global margin call kicked in, but there is large contingency now running TOO NET SHORT.

To continue to dazzle you with words like “code-red”, it does not take a genius in this business to look at all the usual short-term hedge fund indicators and recognize that many of them are at extremes – that is, put/call option ratios are at 18-month highs, prime brokerage position reports show the net short position at multiple standard deviations above the average over the past year, etc.

So what does the fact that long/short hedge funds are extremely long single stocks and over-hedged actually mean? Continue reading

FinTech-Wall Street Wonks v. Silicon Valley Socializers

MarketsMuse special update-courtesy of MarketsMedia reporting with a refreshing reprieve from all-things Greece …While Silicon Valley salivates over the next social media-powered “Unicorn”, the global financial industry is fixated on FinTech. Just like the litany of aspiring app companies accelerating the ‘next great idea’ produced by West Coast Wonks, as noted in today’s coverage by the Wall Street-focused, tech-centric media platform, MarketsMedia.com, financial-technology startups need capital to turn their idea into a viable business, and more important in most cases, they need the right strategic advice to operate, expand and then potentially merge or sell the enterprise.

Venture capitalists and angel investors can provide initial funding; consultants can help with operations; investment banks can arrange additional capital raises and advise on M&A. SenaHill Partners is unique in that it has stitched together all that is needed over the ‘fintech’ lifecycle.

Our merchant-banking value proposition connects the dots at every strategic level between global financial institutions and the entrepreneurial innovators of financial technology,” SenaHill Managing Partner and Co-Founder Justin Brownhill told Markets Media in a June 29 telephone interview. “We feel that we can get the right ideas in front of the right people better than anyone else. That’s the mission of our organization.”

Neil DeSena, Senahill Partners
Neil DeSena, Senahill Partners

As profiled by MarketsMedia.com, New York-based SenaHill, founded in 2013 by Wall Street veterans Neil DeSena and Brownhill, offers principal investing via its SenaHill Investment Group, LLC unit, and investment banking through SenaHill Advisors, LLC.

Wall Street is a relationship-driven business, a fact that is not lost on SenaHill. The company splits its formidable roster of talent into two categories: active advisors, formerly top people in the financial industry who can help startup and emerging fintech companies get the right exposure and introductions; and inactive advisors, who provide guidance, insight and background from their current positions in the industry.

SenaHill’s advisors include Stanley Young, formerly the chief executive officer of NYSE Technologies; David Ogg, CEO and founder of Ogg Trading; Joseph Wald, CEO of Clearpool Group; Sam Ruiz, an independent advisor and former head of equities trading at Nomura; and Craig Marshall, a start-up vet who is credited with creating the general-purpose prepaid category. Network Advisors include among others, The JLC Group, whose principal and securities industry veteran Jay Berkman has helped “connect the tag line to the bottom line” for various fintech platforms during the past two decades, including the corporate bond market’s BondNet Systems, OEMS operator OMEX Systems, insurance claims receivables management firm ViaNovus Capital, SROcalendar, the provider of “Compliance Officer-In-A-Box” solutions and KeyID, the secure messaging platform for the banking industry.

“As companies come to us, we can reach back out into the industry to these senior resources in our network and ask them about the space, the people, the product and more,” said DeSena, who headed REDI in 2000-2006, when the global multi-asset trading system was owned by Goldman Sachs.

For the full story from MarketsMedia.com, please click here

Greece and The True Pain Trade-A Rare Global Macro View

The True Pain Trade in Yields and Euro…Not the Wall Street Pain Trade of Equities

Greece, Grexit and the notorious ‘pain trade’ commentary below is courtesy of MarketsMuse’s extracted rendition of today’s above-titled edition of “Sight Beyond Sight”, the global macro commentary and investment insight newsletter published by Rareview Macro LLC. Added bonus: a thesis for trading EEM.

Neil Azous, Rareview Macro
Neil Azous, Rareview Macro

Those like us who have been in this business for some time will be familiar with Futures Magazine, a cornerstone property of The Alpha Pages and its sister publication FINalternatives. Their new flagship publication, Modern Trader, has just been launched and hit the newsstands last week. The full publication can be viewed HERE (Password: prophets). Our article “Riding The Dollar Bull” begins on page 28. We were pleased to be a centerpiece of this inaugural issue and would like to use this moment to wish CEO Jeff Joseph and Editor-in-Chief Daniel Collins the best of success in this new endeavor.

The True Pain Trade in Yields and Euro…Not the Wall Street Pain Trade of Equities

 

The professional community is fixated on a “pain trade” – that is, a durable European equity relief rally that lifts all other risk assets in sympathy.

The “Shenzhen-style” bid in European equities this morning argues in favor of that theory and clearly validates the view that risk reduction has been thematic the past two weeks and professionals are left without enough of a position should risk assets continue to appreciate.

This is where this theory stops working, however.

We think this is the wrong way to think about what a Greece resolution means for asset prices going into the third quarter of 2015 and it also tells you why this conversation is about much more than just a 5-10% rally in the German DAX.

Now those who have followed us for years appreciate that we actually have two definitions for the widely-touted phrase “pain trade” – one for the true meaning – that is, lower prices because that leads to investors actually losing money – and one for sales people on Wall Street – that is, some terminology that makes them  sound like a “cool kid” who is “in-the-know” for their hedge fund clients who do nothing more than try to capture 60% of any market move up or down so they can justify their existence for a bit longer.

While we appreciate that the “cool kids” believe equity markets can go higher, we think real investors, ones that are not forced to be “close to the Street”, are much more concerned about a breakdown in the correlation of the European carry trade relative to the US dollar.

Let us explain what we mean…

The three drivers of global macro investing during 2012-2015 have been and still are:  the US Carry Trade (SPX + UST 10-yr), the Japanese Yen, and the US dollar.

The additional driver of global macro investing during 2015 is:  EU Carry Trade (DAX + German 10-yr BUND).

Now, let’s combine a key long-term driver with the additional driver…In today’s edition of Sight Beyond Sight, we provide our readers with an illustrative of the EU Carry Trade (DAX + German 10-yr BUND) versus the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), and a detailed thesis as to our proposed trade idea.

Model Portfolio – New Position – Emerging Markets Book Hedge

On Friday, in the model portfolio, we spent 10 bps of the NAV and added a long emerging market volatility position in the portfolio overlay return stream to protect the existing long risk positions in the Real-Yen (BRL/JPY) and crude oil (CLX5).

Specifically, we purchased 10,000 iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) 06/26/15 C41– 39.5 option strangles for $0.31. For the purposes of this model portfolio being liquidity verified, not just time-stamped, we paid $0.02 through the asking price.

Given the binary risk around possible Greek capital controls, we were genuinely shocked to see that such a trade existed in the marketplace. Additionally, the hedge was cheaper than using S&P 500-related options, and has a higher correlation to the Greek stock market. This makes EEM one of the best kept secrets in the market.

The break-even for the trade at the time of execution was 2.23% by next Friday, or exactly the historical 1-sigma move by the end of this week. On a 2-sigma move, the expected profit return is 2.5:1.

On further analysis, we discovered that about 33% of the weekly occurrences during the last 12 months (i.e. last 52 weeks) exceeded the expected 1-sigma move, and that doesn’t even include the potential Greek risk next week!

Ultimately, this means that upon entering the trade there is statistically a 1 in 2 probability that we turn a profit on the position. We like those kind of odds.

Neil Azous is the founder and managing member of Rareview Macro LLC, a global macro advisory firm to some of the world’s most influential investors and the publisher of the daily newsletter Sight Beyond Sight.

 

Convergence of Credit Markets and GeoPolitics-Its All Greek This Week

MarketsMuse.com Fixed Income Fix update is courtesy of extract from 06 April commentary from Mischler Financial Group’s “Quigley’s Corner”, Wall Street Letter’s 2015 winner of “Best Research-BrokerDealer.”

How Low Will Greece Go?

Ron Quigley Mischler Financial
Ron Quigley
Mischler Financial

When one broaches the subject of German war reparations, it opens up perhaps modern civilization’s most sensitive human drama to one-sided debate.  But when the cries come from the Hellenic Republic, it also points to an audacity on the part of Greece to hold back nothing for money.  Is it a callous, cowardly blackmail of Germany or is it an appropriate claw-back provision?  You be the judge, I am merely putting it out there.  Last March, Alex Tsipras accused Germany of reneging on World War II compensation owed his nation by Germany which occupied his country from the year 1941 thru 1944.  Angela Merkel’s office reiterated several times that Germany had made good on those payments – end of story!  Clearly a case to stir up emotions against Germany and to garner support from laggard nations like France and Italy to secure additional financial recompense and negotiation leverage for the nearly bankrupt Greece.  Continue reading

PIIGS Bring Home the Bacon For The Eurozone

MarketMuse update is courtesy of Tom Lydon from ETF Trends. 

Continuing with what has turned out to be exhausting coverage of European ETFs, the Portuguese, Irish, Italian, Spanish and Greek stocks (the PIIGS) ETFs are showing a bright immediate future for the Eurozone. 

Though still controversial, due in part to looming speculation that Greece could potentially depart the Eurozone, exchange traded funds tracking Portuguese, Irish, Italian, Spanish and Greek stocks (the PIIGS) have the look of value propositions.

Even with Greece’s change in government, one that threatens the country’s ability to pay its debts, meet funding needs and could hasten the country’s Eurozone departure, the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca:GREK) has mustered a small year-to-date gain.

Earlier this month, Standard & Poor’s pared its rating on Greece’s sovereign debt to B- from B. The ratings agency is keeping the long- and short-term ratings on Greece on CreditWatch with negative implications. Greece’s B- rating is just one notch above CCC, a rating that implies vulnerability to nonpayment “and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation,” according to S&P, scenarios that Greece is unlikely to meet in the near-term.

The iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWI) and the iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EIRL), often seen as the steadiest hand of the five PIIGS ETFs, have been far more alluring than GREK this year. EWI and EIRL are up an average of 6.5% with average volatility of about27%. GREK is up about 2% with 93% volatility.

Investors looking for exposure to multiple PIIGS through the convenience of one ETF that emphasizes value investing can turn to the actively managed Cambria Global Value ETF (NYSEArca: GVAL).

Cambria’s Mebane Faber “Faber employs a statistic called the Cyclically Adjusted Price-Earnings (CAPE) ratio to evaluate countries. First developed by Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller, the CAPE has proven effective at predicting the future performance of U.S. stocks. The lower the ratio is, the higher the expected return. Faber has applied the CAPE to other countries in his own research. Examining a period from 1980 through 2013, he found that those countries’ markets with a CAPE below seven subsequently produced a 14.4% 10-year annualized return while those with the highest CAPE above 45 produced only 1.2%,” reports Lewis Braham for Barron’s.

GVAL targets the cheapest, most liquid picks in countries where political or economic crisis have depressed valuations. GVAL’s eligible country universe includes Greece, Russia, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal.

At the end of 2014, the five PIIGS member nations combined for 46% of GVAL’s weight,according to Cambria data.

Portugal’s CAPE is 7.7, Italy’s 9.6, Ireland and Spain about 11. The U.S.’s, by contrast, is 27, according to Barron’s.

Helped by its PIIGS exposure and what was an 8% weight to suddenly resurgent Russian stocks at the end of last year, GVAL is up 6.4% over the past month, giving the ETF an advantage of 60 basis points over the iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. ETF (NasdaqGM: ACWX).

For the original article from ETF Trends, click here

Catch Europe’s Rebound With $GVAL ETF

MarketMuse update profiling Europe’s market rebounding is courtesy of ETF Trends’ Tom Lydon

With Greece seemingly in the headlines every day, and rarely with good news, it is easy for investors to perceive European equities as damaged and vulnerable to more declines.

On the brighter side of the ledger, history is littered with examples that highlight the profitability of contrarian investing and buying when others are fearful. Enter the Cambria Global Value ETF (NYSEArca: GVAL).

GVAL debuted in March to 2014 and to say the ETF was the victim of inauspicious timing is to understate matters. While an ideal way to gain access to some attractively valued developed European markets, GVAL also features ample emerging markets exposure. Neither emerging nor non-U.S. developed markets were the places to be soon after GVAL debuted.

“GVAL has gotten off to a humble start. But if you’re a believer in value investing as a discipline, then GVAL deserves a serious look. In a market in which the U.S. has outpaced its foreign competitors for years, I consider GVAL to be an excellent, diversified rebound play on Europe and emerging markets,” according to Charles Sizemore.

GVAL’s current emerging markets exposure among its top 10 country weights does not lack for controversy. Brazilian stocks, embroiled in a graft controversy surrounding Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), made up 12% of GVAL’s weight at the end of the fourth quarter. Russia and Greece, rarely deliverers of good news, combined for another 14% of GVAL at the end of 2014, according to Cambria data.

“But herein lies the beauty of GVAL. Few investors would have thick enough skin to take a large position in any of these countries individually. But even investors with nerves of steel would have trouble building a viable portfolio of stocks from most of these markets due to the lack of available U.S.-traded ADRs to buy.   Very few investors have access to the small and mid-cap foreign stocks that dominate GVAL’s portfolio,” notes Sizemore.

The actively managed GVAL targets the cheapest, most liquid picks in countries where political or economic crisis have depressed valuations. GVAL’s eligible country universe includes Greece, Russia, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal. At the end of 2014, 56% of the ETF’s country weight was allocated to Eurozone nations.

Investors can also access a sliver of GVAL via the Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF (NYSEArca: GAA). Known as the ETF without an annual fee, GAA debuted in December and holds other ETFs. At the time of launched, GAA held a 4% weight to GVAL.

Greece ETF Crumbles to Ruins

MarketMuse update is courtesy of Business Insider’s Sam Ro

MarketMuse has previously reported on the volatility the Greece elections created early this year now even more problems have ensued for the country. Following the the European Central Bank’s announcement that it lifted its waiver on minimum credit rating requirements for marketable instruments issued or guaranteed by Greece, Greece’s ETF crashed leaving just ruins left.

The Greek stock market closed hours ago, but the exchange-traded fund that tracks Greek stocks, GREK, crashed during the final minutes of trading in the US markets.

The euro is also getting walloped, falling 1.3% against the US dollar.

This comes following bad news from the European Central Bank (ECB) to Greece’s debt-laden banks.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET, the ECB announced that it lifted its waiver on minimum credit rating requirements for marketable instruments issued or guaranteed by Greece.

To put it another way, Greek banks can no longer exchange their junk-rated sovereign bonds for cash.

“The waiver allowed these instruments to be used in Eurosystem monetary policy operations despite the fact that they did not fulfill minimum credit rating requirements,” the ECB said in a press release. “The Governing Council decision is based on the fact that it is currently not possible to assume a successful conclusion of the programme review and is in line with existing Eurosystem rules.”

“In other words, the ECB doesn’t see Greece complying with existing bailout rules,” Bloomberg’s Lorcan Roche Kelly explained.

However, it’s not all bad. The ECB has another way for Greek banks to exchange their securities for liquidity. The cost of borrowing will however be higher.

“Liquidity needs of Eurosystem counterparties, for counterparties that do not have sufficient alternative collateral, can be satisfied by the relevant national central bank, by means of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) within the existing Eurosystem rules,” the ECB said.

“The move from the ECB today is a copy of the suspension of Greek debt that occurred in February 2012,” Kelly noted.

“For Greek banks, this move by the ECB will not directly be a disaster as they have reduced their exposure to the Greek sovereign since 2012 and so are less reliant on that debt as collateral,” Kelly argued.

Still, it appears to be more bad than good. And judging by the reaction in the currency and equity markets, investors and traders were hoping for better.

For the original article, click here.

Upcoming Elections in Greece Make ETF Markets Volatile

MarketMuse update courtesy of Todd Shriber from ETF Trends.

The Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK) is off 3% to start 2015 and with anxiety running high that Greece is still a candidate for departure from the Eurozone, global equity market volatility and investors’ skittishness is on the rise.

With Greek elections slated for Jan. 25, global investors are understandably nervous about what the Eurozone will look like in the future. While Moody’s believes Greece’s Eurozone departure probability is not as high today as it was in 2012, there are still negative implications with such an event for fellow Eurozone nations.

Investors can mitigate Greek volatility with a familiar source: U.S.-focused low volatility ETFs, which outperformed traditional benchmarks in 2014. That group includes thePowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPLV).

“The relative performance of the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index during the Greek crisis in 2011 and 2012 offers insight into risk mitigation,” according to a recent note by PowerShares.

A favored measuring stick for gauging Eurozone volatility is 10-year government bond yields, but combining that with how SPLV’s underlying index performed against the S&P 500 during periods of elevated Eurozone stress proves instructive for investors.

In the chart below, “the red line shows the performance of the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index relative to the S&P 500 Index, based on weekly closing data. When we compare the red line with the blue line, we see that the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index outperformed the S&P 500 Index during each wave of credit stress in the Eurozone,” notes PowerShares.548x445xsplv.png.pagespeed.ic.RdYuDOmWxM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For original article from ETF Trends, click here.