Markets are living unusual situations since the beginning of the Great Crisis in 2007-2008. We are now living the 8th anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Since that moment, markets have been intervened by central banks (in fact) and their operations are not really free.
One of the chapters that we have recently lived is a “black swan”: Brexit in Europe has shaken the markets with a crash at the end of June and a continuous bullish trend in July. On the other hand, low volatility dominated the trading in August. For instance, volatility hit a 2-year-low in this month in Wall Street. Now, in September, investors tend to be negative and bears have taken their positions. In other words, markets are getting messy.
What can we expect in the last quarter of this year? BlackRock head Russ Koesterich bets that the US election will hardly move the markets, either Clinton or Trump win. He proposes that market volatility can come from near elections in Europe, where populist parties are winning support amongst electors in several countries, even the most powerful as France or Germany.
Some investors are watching carefully the evolution in emerging markets. They are currently performing fine, mostly in Latam. Moody’s has recently raised the outlook for Brazil, Russia and China. If we look at the chart, we also find that Argentina is performing quite well after the change in the Presidential Seal.
But the deep discussion in the market operators is not about the influence of the politics, but the current bubble and overvaluation linked with what we mentioned at the beginning: the intervention by the central banks.
54% of investors requested by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its Global Fund Manager Survey think that stocks and bonds are overvalued. This was also the perception before the dotcom crash in 2000. What does it mean? Are we near a new crash? Do markets experience a new “irrational exuberance” as Greenspan asserted in 1996?
We receive signals, because we cannot guess the future. The clear signal is that markets are not operating free: is it logical that several countries and companies are paying negative interests for the bonds? Is it logical that central banks keep their interest rates so low? Not at all, but the crash of this bubble can create a wave difficult to control.