Certain of one thing in these uncertain times….

Thursday, 15th November 2018

Certain of one thing in these uncertain times….

‘One should never disregard it. It is the leading fear gauge. It scares the hell out of investors when it moves….’

That’s what Stephen Innes said earlier this week….

He’s the Head of Trading for Asia Pacific out in Singapore. And he’s talking about the VIX – or the CBOE Volatility Index….

2018 is the year that volatility returned to global stock markets – with a vengeance….

  • Spooked ahead of Christmas….

Back in February the reading on the VIX was 29.06….

What that figure told us is that stock market investors were more fearful in February 2018 than they had been at any time since the last global financial crisis almost a decade earlier….

And that feeling of fear was all-the-more shocking because it suddenly spiked after a year of relative calm – a 12-month period of supine investor complacency….

Let me be clear, the markets are not experiencing those February levels of fear right now. Not quite….

But a current VIX reading  of 21.25 tells us that stock market investors are plenty spooked as we head towards Christmas – and not just in the US and the S&P 500 index that the VIX reading is most-closely associated with….… Click here to read more

Three reasons why I’m turning bullish on Bitcoin….

Thursday, 8th November 2018

Three reasons why I’m turning bullish on Bitcoin….

Bitcoin climbed a mountain for most of 2017. Then it fell off a precipice at the end of the year. It has lost more than 65% of its value since mid-December….

Speculators who got in too late or stayed in too long got their fingers burnt….

But that’s one of the features of new tech. And one of the risks associated with investing in it. Progress is anything but reliable and straightforward….

Market prices are prone to periods of intense volatility – serious swings in sentiment and value; ups and downs that will turn your stomach; corrections and crashes interspersed with purple periods of recovery….

A month ago, we were looking at extreme volatility in the Bitcoin price – with the market not seeming to know which way to turn….

But that choppiness in the water has eased off lately….

  • A narrower band….

Over the last fortnight, the coin that remains the flagship of the crypto fleet has traded within a narrower band….

This new-found calm in the action has prompted some commentators to ask whether Bitcoin has finally hit bottom. Opinions are the usual mixed bag….… Click here to read more

Taking stock….

Wednesday, 31st October 2018

Taking stock….

Stocks are down across the month of October. Not just in Britain – but everywhere. Significantly so….

The British FTSE 100 index is down 4.81% on the month….

The S&P 500 has fallen 8.6%….

The German Dax is down 7.21%. The French CAC 40 is down 7.5%. In Japan, the NIKKEI 225 has lost 9.6%….

It’s down, down, down – across the board – and investors are worried….

  • Fear levels on the rise….

The VIX measures how fearful S&P 500 investors are feeling about the future….

The current VIX reading is not at the heights of mid-October’s 25.97. But yesterday’s closing mark of 24.70 says investors are still plenty scared….

Here in Britain, the Hargreaves Lansdown Investor Confidence Index says investor sentiment has fallen to a record low. The index fell five points to 53 this month….

That’s the lowest measure of sentiment towards the UK stock market since the Investor Confidence index was launched back in 1995….

And it’s not just man-on-the-street investors feeling fearful. US fund managers also have a stomach knot….

The latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Managers Survey says optimism among institutional investors about the outlook for economic growth and corporate profits has reached its lowest level since the aftermath of the last financial crisis….… Click here to read more