Category Archives: Stock Markets

21/7/20: Stonks and Stinks: S&P500 Net Profit Margins

Stonks reporting season is rolling on. And so far, things are predictably gloomy:

Yeeks! But wait, by sector:

  • Seven out of eight sectors are reporting lower net profit margins than 5 year average, with Utilities being the only sector reporting above average margins;
  • Nine out of nine sectors reported so far have lower net profit margins than in 2Q 2019.
Per Factset: "For the second quarter, the S&P 500 is reporting a year-over-year decline in earnings of -44.0% and a year-over-year decline in revenues of -10.5%."

Double yeeeks!

Meanwhile, what's S&P and stonks are doing? 1 month chart:

and 3 months

Because happiness is just around the corner for all.

7/5/20: No Value in Them, Stonks

No, folks, the markets are still not in line with fundamentals:

And that applies to all three sets of fundamentals: pre-COVID19 conditions in the underlying economy (secular stagnation), during-COVID19 collapse of the economy, and post-COVID19 expectations for the economy.

Which, of course, explains why Buffett sees no opportunities for buying, given the above chart is one of his favourite indicators of value.

4/12/17: The Other Hockey Stick (not Bitcoin)

Financialization of the global economy is now complete, thanks to the world's hyperactive Central Banks and the age of riskless recklessness they engendered.


The notable 'hockey stick' that is, dynamically reminiscent of the Bitcoin craze is now evident in the stock markets too, and it has zero parallels in the period. In fact, this is the highest global market capitalization level on record, as data from the World Bank augmented with current data through November 2017 shows:

You can think of the stratospheric rise in world equities valuations as a reflection of liquidity supply generated by the Central Banks since 2007. You can also think of it as a wealth buffer built up by the world's wealthy elites to protect themselves against potential future stagnation and political populism. You can equally think of it as a bubble.

Whichever way you spin these numbers, the rate of increase since 2015 has been simply unprecedented by historical standards, faster than the bubble and faster than the pre-GFC bubble.

14/10/17: Happy Times in the Rational Markets

Two charts, both courtesy of Holger Zschaepitz @Schuldensuehner:

In simple terms, combined value of bond and stock markets is currently at around USD137 trillion or 179% of global GDP. Put slightly differently, that is 263% of global private sector GDP. There is no rational model on Earth that can explain these valuations. 

Since the start of this year, the two markets gained roughly USD15 trillion in value, just as the global economy is now forecast to gain USD3.93 trillion in GDP over the full year 2017. Based on the latest IMF forecasts, the first 9.5 months of stock markets and bonds markets appreciation are equivalent to to total global GDP growth for 2017, 2018, 2019 and a quarter of 2020. That is: nine and a half months of 'no bubbles anywhere' financial growth add up to thirty nine months of real economic activity.

Happy times, all.

7/9/17: Long-Term Stock Market Volatility & the Influence of Terrorist Attacks

We just posted three new research papers on SSRN covering a range of research topics.

The first paper is "Long-Term Stock Market Volatility and the Influence of Terrorist Attacks in Europe", available here:


This paper examines the influence of domestic and international terrorist attacks on the volatility of domestic European stock markets. In the past decade, terrorism fears remained relatively subdued as groups such as Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) relinquished their arms. However, Europe now faces renewed fear and elevated threats in the form of Middle Eastern and religious extremism sourced in the growth of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), who remain firmly focused on maximising casualty and collateral damage utilising minimal resources. Our results indicate that acts of domestic terrorism significantly increase domestic stock market volatility, however international acts of terrorism within Europe does not present significant stock market volatility in Ireland and Spain. Secondly, bombings and explosions within Europe present evidence of stock market volatility across all exchanges, whereas infrastructure attacks, hijackings and hostage events do not generate widespread volatility effects. Finally, the growth of ISIL-inspired terror since 2011 is found to be directly influencing stock market volatility in France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the UK.