My bets on rising volatility have been hammered in the last few days. The December 20 Call Options on the CBOE S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX) at $280 a contact dropped another 21% today to $121 a contract. The January 17 Call Options at 17 that I bought for $268 closed at $211, down another 16%.The VIX itself ended the day at 14.23, down 7% for the session. It’s sure hard looking at losses like this. But I would remind you that the VIX is very volatile. The volatility index was at 21.71 on October 20. And that the calendar is marked with two big events that could reunite financial market volatility, one courtesy of the House of Representatives and the other courtesy of the Federal Reserve.
Credit card debt surged again during the third quarter and so did the number of people missing payments, according to data released today, November 7, by the Federal reserve Bank of New York. Credit card balances rose by $48 billion in the third quarter to a record high of $1.08 trillion The $154 billion year-over-year gain in debt was the largest such increase since of this beginning of this data in 1999.
To catch you up in case your eyeballs have been focused elsewhere (and there’s certainly a lot of elsewhere to watch right now). First, the Russell 2000 broke below its July high. Then the NASDAQ Composite followed (down 12.2% from the July 31 high at the close on October 26.) Then the NASDAQ 100 joined in (down 10.9% as of the close on October 26.) And finally on Friday, October 27, the Big Daddy, the Standard & Poor’s 500 extended its slide from its July high to 10%. All thee indexes are now in correction. (Defined as a drop of 10% or more from the previous high.) The index and correction that worries me the most? The NASDAQ 100.
The U.S. economy grew by an annual rate of 4.9% in the third quarter, the strongest pace since 2021 and twice the pace of growth in th second quarter. Before the report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting annual growth of 43%. Growth at that rapid a pace, they worried then, could lead the Federal Reserve to consider raising interest rates at its November 1 meeting. Obviously now, after growth at 4.9% far exceeded projections of 4.3% growth, those worries are a little more pronounced. But only a little.
I’ve hi-lighted the key characteristics of the coming global debt bomb explosion that investors MUST include in any plan to protect a portfolio from the explosion of this bomb.
I know the bond market is getting most of the headlines at the moment. And it should be. By some measures, volatility in the Treasury market, you know, the old safe haven Treasury market, exceeds volatility in equities. And then there’s the drama of watching the assault on 5% yield on the 10-year Treasury. The drama isn’t just theatrics either. Above 5% yield on the 10-year Treasury there’s an increasing likelihood that something in this over-stretched credit market will break. But…you can’t ignore the stock market. The technical picture is increasly scary. Here too something looks like it could break–and not in a good way.
The U. S. economy, economists project, grew at the fastest rate in nearly two years in the third quarter. The actual figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis get released before the market opens on Thursday, October 26. Gross domestic product grew at a 4.3% annualized pace in the quarter, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Today the yield on the 10-year Treasury closed at 4.71%. That was down 2 basis points on the day but in the year the yield is up 96y basis points. Almost a full percentage point. How high can yields go? Bond traders and investors want to know. Investors in other financial assets, stocks, for instance want to know. The Federal Reserve, which is supposed to set interest rates but is increasingly a sideline spectator on rates, wants to know.
Yesterday, October 3, the yield on the 30-year U.S. Treasury hit 5% for the first time since 2007. The yield on the German 10-year bond hit 3% for the first time since 2011. In one financial market after another higher U.S. yields are driving global bond prices lower and bond yields higher.
Where did the slow-moving, deep and placid Treasury market go? The yield on the 10-year benchmark Treasury–you know the one used to set the interest rate on things like mortgages–moved up another 13 basis points today, October 3, to 4.80%. That’s a jump to 24 basis points in just two days. The Treasury market just doesn’t move like this. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is now up 63 basis points in the last month.
Despite the Wall Street consensus that there won’t be an interest rate increase at the Federal Reserve’s November 1 meeting, Treasury yields keep climbing. The yield on the 10-year Treasury closed at 4.68% today, October 2.
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity, rose an annualized 0.8% in the April-to-June quarter, according to the third estimate of gross domestic product from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The last estimate put the annualized growth rate at 1.7%.