October 22, 2009

Crowded Trades

Shorting the US dollar has become a crowded trade.

Macro players are buying US equities and shorting dollars as an asset inflation play. My concern is that they are driving that trade by the weight of investment.

Underweighted Equity books are then forced into the equity market even though fundamentals don't support it.

CTA's and Momemtum traders are drawn in: pushing equity and currency moves further.

And finally, we hear that these equity movements are a "response to the sucess of fiscal stimuli" and "further proof that the market is re risking".

All of these lead me to conclude that:

Equities are riskier at these levels than the market believes.
The US Dollar is a less compelling short than it has been for the last year.

Look for round two of derisking.

October 3, 2009

Options, Terms and Conditions

In the Four Agreements of Terms and Conditions, a paper I wrote earlier this year, I postulate that terms and conditions can be re-characterized as the conferment of real options. Here the real in real options is the tangible asset cash. As cash is the basis of exchange and fungible into all other tangible assets, in my world it is also a tangible asset.

I claim that the ability to "game" a compensation agreement relies on the ability to exercise a real option. The grantor can confer a real option without being compensated for or realizing it, thereby creating an misalignment of incentives. "Gaming" on the part of the option holder occurs when he exercises an option to profit from a misalignment.

I claim that without the existence of an option, no arbitrage can exist. I will go one further and claim that without at least one option, no zero sum game can exist.

In either case I am available for hire on the matter.