Tom Essaye was Quoted in InvestmentNews on August 5, 2019

Wall Street reactions to China trade escalation marked by fear, uncertainty

“It’s not good, obviously. I think that it really surprised a lot of people and I think it underscores that this is not a problem that’s going to be solved in the near-term…” said Tom Essaye, a former trader who founded “The Sevens Report” newsletter. Click here to read the full article.


Will Politics Add to the Volatility?

What’s in Today’s Report:

  • Will Politics Add to the Volatility?
  • Why Natural Gas is Surging

Futures are slightly higher as more positive U.S./China commentary was offset by Brexit upheaval.

The outlook for U.S./China trade continued to improve as it was confirmed “high level” talks are occurring.  But, that positive was offset by Brexit turmoil as the British Brexit Minister resigned over the proposed deal.  The Brexit upheaval isn’t a material macro headwind, but it can be filed in the “things this market didn’t need right now” category and it’ll add to volatility.

Fed Chair Powell’s comments after the close were a non-event (he acknowledged some mild softening of economic momentum but didn’t hint at any shift in the policy outlook).

Today there is a lot of important economic data to watch (in order of importance):  Retail Sales (E: 0.5%), Empire State Manufacturing Index (E: 20.0), Philly Fed (E: 20.0) and Jobless Claims (E: 215K).  There are also multiple Fed speakers today including Quarles (10:00 a.m. ET), Powell (11:00 a.m. ET), Bostic (1:00 p.m. ET), Kashkari (3:00 p.m. ET) but I don’t expect any of them, including Powell, to reveal anything new.

Finally, I’ll be joining Liz Claman on Countdown to the Closing Bell on Fox Business today between 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET to discuss the outlook for this market.

Volatility—What Goes Down Must Come Up, But It Can Take a Long Time!, May 10, 2017

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Historically low volatility is becoming a bigger topic in the markets these days, and while earlier in the year low volatility was referenced with more of an observational tone, recently I’ve been hearing the bears touting low volatility as something that simply must revert soon, and as such we should be cautious on markets.

VIX volatility - What goes up must come downI don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t know when normal volatility will return. However, I do want to spend a few moments pushing back on the idea that low volatility by itself means a correction is coming (obviously volatility will return, but as usual the key question is “when,” and ultra-low volatility doesn’t always mean it’ll return to normal levels soon).

First, you’re not seeing things. Volatility is at multi-decade lows, and that can be seen in multiple ways. First, the VIX hit a 23-year low yesterday, falling to the lowest level since 1993.

Second, so far in 2017 the S&P 500 has moved more than 1% on just three separate days, all of which were in March. By this time of year we’ve normally had 19 days where the S&P 500 has moved more than 1%.

Third, with a close at 9.98 yesterday, the VIX now is lower than nearly 99.5% of all the closes since Jan. 1, 1990. Put another way, it’s only closed this low about 0.05% of the time during the last 27-plus years. So, the VIX is extraordinarily low.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s going to bounce back soon.

First, According to a note from ConvergeEx, the all-time low for the VIX 50-day moving average is 10.8, which it hit in Feb. 2007. Right now, the 50-day moving average for the VIX is 12.17.

Takeaway: It’s very unlikely that the VIX will stay at these ultra-low levels for very long, but that doesn’t mean a big rally is looming. It would take several more weeks of VIX at these levels to drag the 50-day MA down towards the all-time lows.

Second, looking at the VIX to measure volatility can cre-ate a bit of an odd picture, because again the VIX is based on options prices and not the actual price move-ments of the S&P 500. Looking at actual stock price movement, it confirms what our eyes tell us.

Going back to the 1950s, the current volatility of stock prices is 48% of its longer-term average. That’s really low. And, this period of historically low volatility has been going on for 78 days (including yesterday). But, that doesn’t mean it necessarily will bounce back.

First, there have been two specific periods of similarly low volatility in the last 20 years. First in mid-2014 (75 days) and second from Nov. ’06 to March ’07 (79 days).

Second, we’re not even close to the record for low volatility. In 1992/1993 and 1995/1996 we saw respective periods of ultra-low volatility last for 179 and 254 days, respectively. That’s double and triple what we’ve seen so far in 2017.

The Sevens Report helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s truly driving markets, as this new political and economic reality evolves.