Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Prieur Perspective: New Wave of Risk Aversion Hits


Uncertainty takes its toll on markets worldwide.

Despite having crisscrossed Heidi's country, I've yet to find the elusive Swiss gnomes to glean what they make of financial markets at this juncture. Meanwhile, the past week has been characterized by a fresh wave of risk aversion, as uncertainty over the global economic outlook took its toll on stock markets, commodities, and precious metals, and investors favored safe-haven assets such as government bonds and the Japanese yen.

The S&P 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Index and the Reuters/Jeffries CRB Index -- all now in corrective mode -- closed down for a fourth consecutive week, while US Treasuries recorded gains for a fifth straight week and the Japanese yen for 4 out of the past 5 weeks.

The yen is often seen as a global barometer of risk aversion. The graph below demonstrates the strong inverse relationship between the movements of the yen (against the euro, in this case) and those of the Dow Jones World Index. As shown, a falling yen indicates risk tolerance (and a willingness to buy risky assets) and a rising yen shows risk aversion (and an indisposition towards risky assets). A downturn in the yen exchange rate could be a good indicator to keep an eye out for confirmation of better times ahead for stocks and commodities.

Also featuring prominently in investment discussions during the week were the viability of the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) and the merits of a second stimulus package -- calls for this comes at a time when estimates of trillion-dollar fiscal deficits and unsustainable debt levels are raising inflation expectations and putting upward pressure on long-term yields, thus partly undoing the Fed's monetary easing.

The past week's performance of the major asset classes is summarized by the chart below -- a set of numbers that indicates risk aversion is creeping back into financial markets.

A summary of the movements of major stock markets for the past week, as well as various other measurement periods, is given below. As the second-quarter earnings results in the US start rolling in, the American and most other markets closed the week in negative territory, with the Shanghai Composite Index being one of the few major benchmarks to make headway.

With the exception of the NASDAQ Composite Index, the major US indices are all back in the red for the year to date.

Stock market returns for the week ranged from top performers Nepal (+5.3%), Croatia (+3.0%), Uganda (+3.0%), Ecuador (+2.9%), and the Philippines (+2.4%) to India (-9.4%), Egypt (-8.5%), Argentina (-8.2%), Russia (-8.1%), and Kuwait (-7.6%) at the other end of the scale.

Of the 98 stock markets I keep an eye on, a majority of 64% recorded losses, 34% showed gains, and 2% were unchanged. (Click here to access a complete list of global stock market movements, as supplied by Emerginvest.)

John Nyaradi (Wall Street Sector Selector) reports that as far as exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are concerned, the winners for the week included "all things short" such as ProShares Short MidCap 400 (MYY) (+3.5%), ProShares Short SmallCap 600 (SBB) (+3.2%) and ProShares Short S&P 500 (SH) (+2.0%). Among the long ETFs, WisdomTree Dreyfus Japanese Yen (JYF) (+3.7%), CurrencyShares Japanese Yen (FXY) (+3.7%) and iShares MSCI Taiwan (EWT) (+2.9%) performed well.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos