All posts by NY Times Bestselling author Lawrence McDonald

Larry McDonald; founder of THE BEAR TRAPS REPORT investment letter, is a political policy risk consultant to hedge funds, family offices, asset managers and high net worth investors. As former Managing Director, Head US Macro Strategy at Societe Generale, he's a frequent guest contributor on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Fox Business, and the BBC. Larry is a NY Times bestselling author, his book "Colossal Failure of Common Sense" is now translated into 12 languages. He ran a $500 million proprietary trading book at Lehman Brothers, made over $75 million betting against the subprime mortgage crisis and was consistently one of the most profitable traders in the firm. His "Bear Traps" letter is one of the most highly regarded on Wall St. He's participated in 3 major financial crisis documentaries: Sony Pictures, Academy Award winning documentary the "Inside Job," BBC‘s "The Love of Money" and CBC‘s "House of Cards." He's delivered over 72 keynote speeches in 17 different countries, at Banks, Investment Firms, Conferences, Law Firms, Insurance Companies and Universities.

Risk On after Round One in France

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*Euro 1-Month Volatility Drops Most on Record After French Vote

*U.S. Treasury Yields spike up near 2.31%, that’s 10bps higher since Friday afternoon

Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron will make the second round of the French elections, a positive for euro and French government bonds.  So far, populism’s rage has taken a rest in France, but it is much too uncertain to lay claim to final round winner.

Currency Volatility Plunge, Post the Election Results

Euro Vol

EUR/USD’s one month implied volatility plunged nearly 3.7 vol points to 9.4 vol, the steepest slide on a closing basis, going back to 1998.

This Cover Says It All

Elite France

“For the week ahead, this is a nearly perfect risk on scenario for markets, there were concerns Le Pen would cross 27-28%.  This territory has been viewed strong enough to foreshadow a second round victory for the far right, euro skeptic party.  Short term, the uncertainty of a Le Pen – Melenchon (the extreme scenario) final has been put to bed, this will provide markets relief over the next several trading days.  Make NO MISTAKE, this is still a shock to the political establishment in Europe, the National Front Party is in the French final, something that was UNTHINKABLE just a year ago.  The people of France are NOT happy.”

Larry McDonald, Creator of the Bear Traps Report

Populism’s Rage: Nearly 50% in France voted for far-right or far-left Candidates

France Rage

National Front leader Le Pen was on course to take 24.3 percent in Sunday’s election, with Macron, a first-time candidate and political independent, on 22.2 percent, according to projections from the Interior Ministry based on more than a third of votes counted, Bloomberg reported.

Markets Looking Risk On, Gold’s Biggest Drop in Two Months

Gold PlungeAcross the board, risk on assets are moving higher, risk off assets lower.

Soaring Income Inequality Fueling Le Pen in France


Richest 1%: +103%
Rest of Population: +24%

Piketty data

Lets not kid ourselves, when you combine failing fiscal policies with central banking steroids ($14T of asset purchases since 2008), you get an inequality explosion that results in populism.

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Euro Surge

Euro Le PenThe euro surged against the dollar after the initial count of ballots in the first round of the French election showed that entrist Emmanuel Macron and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen were on a path to reach next month’s run-off.  Euro moved to highest since November; trimmed gains as hedge funds fade the rally, now 1.8% higher to $1.0919.

None of the candidates won an absolute majority, the two leading candidates will head for a run-off vote on May 7.

Similar to Clinton – Trump in October 2016, nearly every poll has Macron beating Le Pen 60% to 40% in the final round.  Not so fast, this is Le Pen’s best showing of her long political career.   A far right candidate should not be doing this well in France, Le Pen’s strength speaks to an electorate shifting right in France.

Bond Sell Off Picks Up Steam

Treasuries LowerThe Trump trade has some life left.  We recommended clients short bonds last week in our Bear Traps Report, pick up our latest – click on the link below.

Socialist Benoit Hamon conceded defeat as soon as the projected figures came through. He told his remaining supporters to rally behind Macron, in order to defeat Le Pen.

Republican Francois Fillon also called on his supporters to back Macron in the run-off vote.

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Fresh New Highs for Unloved Bonds

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Updated at 7:30pm, April 18, 2017


U.S. 10 Year Treasuries surged to fresh 2017 highs after Friday’s soft economic data and testosterone filled rage coming at markets out of the North Korea.

Market Participants Growing Doubt over the Fed’s Rate Hike Plans

FFF Curve

Bond futures players have grown more skeptical the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates aggressively this year.  The Fed’s dot plot, central banker’s view on future hikes is up at two more for 2017.  Implied rates on the fed fund futures curve are fully pricing in a September rate increase, with only a 20% percent chance of another by year-end.  Bottom line, the spread between market participants and Fed governors views on future rate hikes has widened dramatically.  Special thanks to Bloomberg’s Alexandra Harris (chart above).

New Highs for Unloved Bonds

10s Rally New

Overweight bonds, gold miners and emerging markets; we’ve done a solid job from clients in 2017.   This week we’re focused the 50 percent retracement of the Trump Reflation Trade selloff at 2.178%.

All those “bond bears” have been hit with some heavy punches in recent weeks, a short covering capitulation climax is near.

1. A Dovish Surprise Fed Meeting with no movement in the Dots.

2. Paul Ryan’s Fumble – ACA repeal vote failure in the House, Tax Reform curveballs from Washington.

3. FOMC’s Dudley Bloomberg interview on the Fed’s balance sheet.

4. Soft March Jobs data.

5. Mother of all Bombs in Afghanistan, U.S. Missile Strikes in Syria, North Korea-Trump testosterone filled Verbal Slugfest.

6. Friday’s Colossal CPI, Retail Sales miss.

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“There is a disconnect between the Trump stimulus execution risk and how far we’ve come in terms of expectations. An actual fiscal boost is more than 12 months away in reality, Obamacare took well over 300 days to land on the President’s desk while the Dems controlled the House, Senate and the White House. As much as well all want to believe Mr. Gridlock is dead, he’s still breathing.  As we head into 2017, gold miners, bonds, gold miners and utilities continue to be our favorite options as the street has unanimously bought into the “reflationary trade” narrative.”

The Bear Traps Report, January 5, 2017

Friday, the Atlanta Fed revised their Q1 2017 GDP forecast down to 0.5%, dangerously close to recession levels.

Atlanta Fed GDP Now Outlook


In just a few months the Atlanta Fed has moved from 3.4% to 0.5% economic growth outlook for Q1 2017.  The Bottom line is wage data is NOT consistent with full employment.  Average hourly earnings have risen at a very soft pace in recent months.  Our Bear Traps Report wage tracker is treading water at 2.4% YoY over the past few quarters, that’s 0.60% below the rate is should be in a “full employment” economy.

On Bond Yields, Why Has Wall St. Been the Gang that Can’t Shoot Straight?

In our view, the current expansion’s full time job creation is 5 to 15 million short of what it should have accomplished.

1. The result is a large increase in underemployed, unemployed and idle individuals.
2. They number 129 million, 1.5 million less than the end of November 2016 and are over 50% of workforce.
3. In the eight years ended November 2016, their ranks increased over 10% by 12.53 million to 130.5 million.
4. The 129 million are unemployed, not in labor force and usually working part time.

With our Friend Chip Dickson

CPI Plunge

For the first time since February 2016, the cost of living in the U.S. declined in March.  From 1986 to 2006, CPI inflation -month over month- results never printed below 0.0%, but since red prints have occurred seven times, the latest in March.

Core Fell, Most Since 1982

Core 1982

The drop in the core rate was the – recession like – eye opener.   A reading this low almost never occurs outside meaningful economic contractions.   Leading the way south were apparel and vehicle prices.  It’s clear, the colossal supply of unsold automobiles has created substantial price dislocations in the USA.  March light vehicle sales equate to 16.62 million seasonally adjusted annualized rate of cars sold – the slowest pace in 25 months.   In our view, the glut of unsold automobiles had a heavy hand in the biggest drop in core CPI in over 30 years this week.

“If the bond market was open this morning, 10s (10 year U.S. Treasuries) would have traded at 2.00%, that’s a far cry from Wall St’s call for 3.20% by year end (Street yield consensus estimate).”

Larry McDonald, Creator of the Bear Traps Report

CPI newCPI M/M -0.3%, Exp. 0.0%
CPI Core M/M -0.1%, Exp. +0.2%

The data shows “just a crawl” for inflation, after such sky high expectations from Wall St’s “reflation trade.”

Friday, the U.S. dollar plunged to the lowest level in nearly six months versus the yen.   After very weak inflation data, he greenback touched its the 200-day moving average first time since February 2016.  In January, once again Wall St. sold their clients up the river on the “reflation trade” fantasy.   In reality, today’s data shows core CPI (ex food and energy) fell for the first time since 2010.

Dollar Heading South after the Soft Data
CPI AirballThe decline — reflecting cheaper motor vehicles, wireless phones services and apparel — interrupts a recent pickup in inflationary pressures. Businesses have been regaining some pricing power on the heels of improving global demand and steady sales in the U.S. The Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of inflation, a separate figure that’s based on what consumers purchase, exceeded its 2 percent goal in February, though some officials focus on the measure excluding food and energy, which is still below their target. The year-over-year gain in the March core CPI was the smallest since November 2015. – Bloomberg reported

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“The Trump election surprise impact on markets presents us with a unique opportunity, rarely have we ever seen trades this crowded headed into the new year.  We’ll take the road less traveled; recommend clients overweight utilities, bonds and emerging markets heading into 2017.”

The Bear Traps Report, December 12, 2016

-The consumer-price index decreased 0.3 percent (forecast was unchanged) following a 0.1 percent advance the prior month.
-From a year earlier, prices were up 2.4 percent (forecast was 2.6 percent) after a 2.7 percent gain.
-Excluding food and energy, the so-called core CPI fell 0.1 percent from the prior month, the first decrease since January 2010
-Core rate was up 2 percent from March 2016

Retail Sector Jobs and Core Inflation

When we look at retail sector employment growth, the plunge has been spectacular.

Historical Trend: +17 to +22k per month*
Last 4 Months -6k per month

*BLS data 1996-2006

How much of this weakness is due to the structural shift of retail sales from brick and mortar stores toward less labor-intensive e-commerce firms, and what is the likely future pace of retail job growth?  Pick up our latest report.

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Goldman, Before Today’s News

Even before today’s soft retail sales and CPI data, Goldman was hedging their bets lower:

“Our economists’ real GDP tracking estimate for Q1 has edged down further to just 1.4%, and other estimates are even lower. By contrast, even after Friday’s partly weather-driven slowdown in nonfarm payroll growth to 98k, our economists’ current activity indicator (CAI) for March is 3.6%, down from the February reading of 4.2% but still strong in absolute terms. In averaging these numbers, our analysts would put most of the weight on the CAI, partly because they think it is generally more stable and partly because GDP in the first quarter suffers from a downward seasonal bias of about 1pp. Our economists think that true growth is well above the US economy’s underlying trend of around 1.75%.”

Goldman Sachs, April 13, 2017



U.S. Equity Investors Have Eyes on this in France

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Its been repeated one thousand times, the words are establishment group therapy in Europe, “Macron seen beating Le Pen in second round 62% vs 38%.”  Have no fear, “populism will not come here” is the mantra, but credit markets are singing a very different tune.

You now get 0.52% more on a two year bond in France than you do in Germany, the most in five years.

Listen to Credit Markets, NOT Establishment Tainted Polling

• First-round support for Francois Fillon was stable at 20% while support for Marine Le Pen dropped by 1 percentage point to 23%
• First-round support for Benoit Hamon gains 1 percentage point to 9%
• Fillon seen beating Le Pen in second round 58% vs 42%

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What are Equities Saying?


The CAC 40 is up 27% from the June – Brexit lows, with the S&P 500 only 17% better.

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A Surge from the Far Left is NO Establishment Friend

FR ElectionFirst-round support for French presidential election candidate Emmanuel Macron declined by 1 percentage point from yday to 22% while support for Jean-Luc Melenchon remained stable at 17%, according to daily Opinionway poll results published today.

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Trump Tweet, Catches Gold Bid

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Updated, April 11, 2017 at 9pm

Safe haven assets advanced after the White House press secretary issued a warning to Syria and as tensions over North Korea surged to the highest level in over a year.

Ten Year Bond Bull Market

Lower Yields, Soaring Bond PricesUS 10s Gap

Yes, Wall St. was all beared up on bonds for 2017.  If we close at this level on 10s (U.S. 10 Year Treasury), it would be the best mark since November 15.   For the fourth year in a row, the Street’s consensus has been dead wrong on bond prices.

*Gold Miners GDX is up 3.1% today and 15.7% since March 9th.

All the Asia Risk Off Indicators are Surging:

S Korea CDS
Cost of borrow on S Korea Equities
VIX, highest level since November 10th
VIX Futures Curve flattening, most since November 7th


S Korea Thai

The Euro was lower against the Japanese Yen for 11 consecutive session, that’s the longest losing streak on record.  The Yen is seen as a safe haven refuge in a rising Asia risk off environment.  The Yen’s surge is viewed confirmation of the N. Korea high drama.  In recent weeks we’ve witnessed a sharp divergence, the cost of default protection on S. Korea has surged relative to their neighbors in Asia.  South Korea is a substantially stronger credit  than Thailand, nearly five levels higher per Moody’s.  On the other hand, the cost of insuring the South Korea’s bonds against default is now more expensive than Thailand’s, a powerful divergence indeed.

Treasuries, Reflation Trade Hype Faces the Deflation Risk

Treasuries 2 vs 10s

Wall St lectured their clients on the “reflation trade” in December, they were unanimously calling for a STEEPER yield curve.  If you look above, the curve is FLATTENING, not steepening.   As investors grow more concerned about the growth initiatives coming out of Washington, they’ve been loading up on bonds.  Key technical levels are being violated as the reflation trade loyalists panic out of their positions.

U.S. bond yields fell following Federal Reserve Chair Yellen’s confirmation the central bank has shifted gears from post-crisis healing to sustaining economic gains. Oil wobbled after five days of gains as EIA data due Wednesday was expected to show U.S. stockpiles retreated from a record, Bloomberg reported.

“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”

President Donald Trump, April 11, 2017

Gold Break New

Gold and Treasuries strengthened with the Japanese yen on lingering investor concern about global security risks and the path of U.S. interest rates. Crude struggled to extend this years.

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South Korea 5 Year CDS

S Korea 5 YearThe cost of default protection on South Korea rose to the highest level since July on the surge in geopolitical nerves.  S. Korea’s stock loans for short-selling hit record high amid the tensions. 



Upside Down Cars, Replace Homes

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We heard so much about the upside-down home in the years since the financial crisis.  From 2008-2013, many Americans found themselves in homes with negative equity, they owed more to the bank than they could sell their property for.   Today, after eight years of an easy money gravy train from the Federal Reserve – too low interest rates for far too long – we’re seeing a surge in defaults in Auto Loans, Commercial Real Estate, Credit Card Receivables and Student Loans.

Average Percentage of Auto Loans with Negative Equity

2017: 34.1%*
2016: 32.2%
2015: 28.3%
2014: 27.1%
2013: 24.6%
2012: 23.3%
2011: 21.8%
2010: 19.2%
2009: 24.1%
2008: 26.1%**
2007: 25.9%

Edmunds, FED data

**Financial Crisis high
*At the current pace of defaults, 2017 projection

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense

Book CoverNow translated into 12 different languages, our New York Times bestseller is a perfect gift for that college student.

Securitized Auto Loans

Auto Loans new

In Q4, over 32% of all “trade ins”  toward the purchase of a new car were under water, an all time record.  In Q4 of last year we witnessed a sharp deterioration in U.S. consumer credit quality.   This by no means is on the same scale of the 2008-9 financial crisis, but we expect the current debacle to be drawn out and have implications for U.S. equities.  Pick up our latest report on consumer credit, click on the link below.

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U.S. Jobs, Consumer Credit Leaving a Stain, Gold Miners Soar

Blog Updated April 10, 2017 at 7:20am

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“In December, half of FOMC participants started to factor in fiscal policy economic growth conditions into their 2017 and 2018 outlook. With the Obamacare Repeal and Replacement legislation of life support, the stalled growth engines in Washington are piling up. The execution bar has rarely been higher for D.C. politicians to come together and pass their much heralded agenda. To us, the probability of caution coming out of the FOMC is surging. We think they walk back their fiscal policy assumptions for 2017-18. Bottom line: we are long term U.S. Treasury bulls through the TLT ETF and long Gold miners through the GDX ETF.  We still see 2% before 3% on 10 Year Treasuries.”

Bear Traps Report, March 14, 2017

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey of 200 global fund managers showed just a net 8% say gold looks undervalued.  The gold miners $GDX is up 26% from the December lows.  In January, Wall St’s brain trusts lectured us, “underweight gold and emerging markets this year.”  They argued with the Federal Reserve raising rates Gold and Emerging Market equities would under-perform in 2017.  Wrong again Wall St.


Gold Miners GDX: +12.4%*
Emerging Markets EEM: +12.2%*
Utilities XLU: +6.7%*
S&P 500: +5.6%
Bloomberg Dollar Index BBDXY: -3.2%

*Consensus of Wall St’s economists recommended an underweight in 2017, pure comedy year after year.  Weak dollar winners here: Emerging market debt ETF inflows continued for a 14th straight week, bringing the tally since late December to $7 billion, or 18% as a share of assets under management.

A more cautious Federal Reserve and a soft job market have been a colossal tail wind for gold miners and emerging markets.

Stocks 2017

Argentina +27%
Chile +20%
Poland +20%
Mexico +19%
India +19%
Spain +13%
Taiwan +13%
Korea +13%
Austria +11%
Brazil +11%
S&P 500 +5%

Jobs Recap

– Biggest ADP – NFP spread in 5 years!

ADP vs NFP new

Once again, the ADP jobs number (Wednesday) faked out Wall St.  We witnessed the largest spread between the ADP and NFP result in years.

– We’ve pounded the table on bonds since December, think Yellen’s (surprise) speech Monday will take us well toward 2.10% on the U.S. 10 year Treasury Bond.   We believe there was a secular shift in consumer credit in Q4. Hardly anyone has noticed, but in the fourth quarter of 2016 there was a surge in financial stress across America, a shift in financial conditions that may have had a hand in the election outcome. The credit cycle is turning, right before our very eyes. In recent months, we’ve found a substantial amount of evidence in capital markets pointing to credit formation reaching a saturation point. If you look at high quality prime loans, there’s more evidence of a credit event in December 2016. Across the board in consumer credit we witnessed spikes in credit card charge offs, auto loans gone bad, sour commercial real estate, student loans and an uptick (above) in Prime Mortgage Delinquencies. We’ll be out with a consumer credit note later today.

With the Crowd Short Bonds, all they Do is Grind Lower in Yield, Higher in Bond Prices

10s Range

As we stated to clients in December, we’re bullish – not bearish on bonds.  We believe we’ll get close to 2% before 3% this year.

– Big miss in the NFP number, 98k, vs 180k expected, has led to a further bid in bonds, taking them below 2.3% Friday morning. Wage growth was in line, as we expected, the drop in the work week also helped this case in the February numbers. While the headline data points of this report do not look strong, some of the internals are not so bad.

  • As we said in our report to clients, we would be surprised if today’s jobs date is enough for rates *the 10 year bond) to make a meaningful break of its trading range.
  • Today’s ugly jobs data does not shift policy path at the Fed, considering the three month average is still +178k and wage growth is “decent” at 2.7% y/y.

Gold – Copper Spread, Speaks to the Coming Reflation Trade Exit Capitulation

Gold Copper

In December, Wall St. backed up the truck on the relation trade, they recommended clients buy financials, short bonds, underweight gold miners.  Year after year they’re wrong again.  They lectured us, “you need to be in infrastructure plays like copper.”  Today, like scared rabbits they’re running for the hills.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

General George S. Patton

– Friday’s jobs number was pathetic for this stage of a mature economic recovery.  The number came in 82k below Wall St’s forecasts – and job growth for earlier months was revised down by 38k.  Based on industry data and household survey details, of course the Street blamed severe winter weather for the result.

-Employment growth in private service-providing industries also slowed sharply to 61k (compared to +125k in February and +153k in January), with the deceleration led by education and health services (+16k vs. +66k in February) and leisure and hospitality (+9k vs. +27k).

– While the headline NFP number was lousy, especially relative to the ADP number of 263k, some of the unemployment figures were positive. The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 4.5% without us seeing a move in the labor force participation rate. This suggest the labor market is in fact tightening. It is also the lowest the lowest reading in U3 since May 2007 (4.4%). This was seen in the U6 number, measure of underemployment, had a big drop from 9.2% to 8.9%. Prime age employment to population figures also ticked up to 78.5%. These fundamentals are strong.

Retail jobs and Weather are the Big Culprits

Jobs in U.S Retail Industry

2017: 15.2m
2016: 15.5m
2015: 15.7m
2014: 16.1m

BLS data

Retail RollThis is a profound secular change in the retail shopping experience, no one has a clue where it’s going to stop.

Manhattan Vacancy Rates, Retail Store Fronts

2017: 18%
2016: 10%
2015: 7%
2014: 5%

C&W Research, Douglas Elliman data

Retail jobs dropped 30k in the March reading and has now dropped almost 90k jobs since the recent high in October. The weather effects in the northeast were manifested in the weaker than expected construction job gains. At only +6k for March, construction jobs were much lower than the 59k number we saw in February.

– A continued poor showing in the headline figures was in the revisions. The revisions for January and February were 38k less than previously reported, taking the three month average job gains total 178k. However, this a number the Fed is more than pleased with.


“Our US Economics team increased their subjective probability that the next hike occurs at the June 2017 meeting from 60% to 70%, with the corresponding odds at 10% for July and 15% for September (down from 20% previously).”

Goldman Sachs, April 7, 2017

Goldman doubled down on a June Rate Hike from the Fed, even with the soft jobs data.  By raising their chances of a June hike to 70%, they’re trying to project confidence in light of an economy which still has many structural deficiencies. 

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U.S. Missile Strike in Syria, Implications for Oil and Europe

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In cooperation with ACG Analytics in Washington: Impact Areas, Oil and European Elections

Tillerson Heading to Moscow on the 12th, for Now

Six months ago, if we told you Donald Trump will be elected President, and the first quarter of his administration would see calmest stock market ever?  Would you believe us?

Household and Small Business Sentiment has Surged the Trump Election:

1.  University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index reached a 13-year high.

2. Last week the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose to its highest level in 16 years.

3. The NFIB’s small business optimism index is at a 12-year high after having recorded its largest-ever two-month increase in November and December.

If we look at Q1 U.S. stock market volatility found in the S&P 500, the average VIX level was down at 11.74  That’s the lowest Q1 level on record, smallest quarterly average since Q4 2006.   Of course, this all changed in April.

U.S. Missile Strike: Syria Implications

If Assad falls, Syria will look like Libya. ISIS moves in for power grab. Proxy groups fight for power amongst themselves and v ISIS. Meanwhile the US consolidates in neighboring Iraq. In Syria, Russia will either pull or commit, US will likely do the opposite (Russia also likely knew about this as the U.S. warned them to leave, to avoid casualties, they told Assad so his air assets scrambled to avoid the strike. Bottom line: Assad has not fallen yet).

VIX Futures Curve Flattening, Speaks to Geopolitical Risk Surge

1 v 3 VIX Future

The 1 Month v 3 Month VIX futures curve, flattest since (Brexit / Trump election).  If hedge funds are paying up for near term protection, typically comes in front of some pain, lower equities.  Our model measures the speed of the flattening, it’s accelerating at an alarming rate. Cash is pouring into the front end, meaning market participants want insurance against a possible near term drawdown in stocks.  Bottom line: the cost of the April contract is nearly the same for three much insurance on the market.  Typically, as in most of this year – the front end is far cheaper than outer months, NOT today. 

Oil Futures Spike on U.S. Strike

Lets be Clear, Syria’s Oil Output is Less than 0.65% of Global Production 

Brent ES1Syrian production is not the entire story here. We think oil implications are meaningful, it is no secret Turkey would like close oil access. This could give Russia a mandate to take ISIS’ oil fields in the south and then deal with Turkey. Assad regime is also ISIS’s biggest customer in the blackmarket oil trade which is protected by Russian air assets, they still hold the oil fields,  Implications here point to the White House.  Trump must decide to commit in the region if Russia doesn’t or see where the dust settles and risk the power vacuum. Shifts in refugee flow could impact Europe – depending on Turkey’s reaction, it’s likely U.S. military action in the region will exacerbate anti-Islam nationalist sentiments in Europe as ISIS fragments move north.  Bottom line, the migration risk from Syria into Turkey and on to Europe is higher now than ever.  This gives populist candidates like Le Pen in France another argument for more aggressive border controls – the influx of refugees into Europe has already created collateral political stress.

Where’s the Trade?

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