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Alternative Market Briefing

The Big Picture: Party like it's 2007? Maybe not

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Janet Yellen
Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva:

Are we on the verge of another crunch and partying unaware (bringing to mind Prince’s "1999" song). Some think that today’s financial environment – especially stock markets, and especially in the US – looks like that of 2007. Others see nothing in common with pre-crisis times.

The market conditions resemble that of 2007, claimed The Economist last month. Credit spreads, house prices, volatility, and interest rates are low; M&A price levels, the Dow and the S&P, and buy-back levels are high. There are also high ratios of long-term debt to total assets, and signs of weak profits. The general view is that stock markets will continue to do well and that central bankers will remain supportive. But either interest rates will be kept low, or rates will be increased more rapidly than the markets expect. To quote the paper, both outcomes seem likely to bring more uncertainty and thus more volatility. Investors are reluctant bulls, but there seems no alternative.

Hedge fund managers are among the bullish investors. A recent monthly TrimTabs/BarclayHedge Survey of Hedge Fund Managers......................

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