Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The 'Risk Out' Scenario

I don't want to wait for our lives to be over
I want to know right now what it will be
I don't want to wait for our lives to be over
Will it be yes or will it be...sorry?
--Paula Cole

Interesting proposition by Peter Atwater that the ultimate indicator that a secular bottom has arrived may not be one where individuals have moved out of more risky financial assets and into less risky assets. Instead, perhaps it will be a 'risk out' situation, where market participants flee securitized financial assets altogether.

There is, of course, a decent argument to be made that the probability is non-zero of a systemic meltdown that chases participants away. With systemic leverage thru the roof and issues of re-hypothecation raised by last year's blow-up of MF Global, it isn't that difficult to envision a scenario where the financial system ceases to function. Cascading bank failures, sovereign debt defaults, and other contagious events could bring the system to its knees.

Indeed, a good case for owning physical gold or other 'hard assets' is that they are tangible and outside the 'paper' financial system.

I'm going to keep Peter's proposal in mind. Perhaps the time to 'buy the list' is not when people are selling the list, but when both buyers and sellers have gone home en masse.

position in SPX

1 comment:

dgeorge12358 said...


Hayek's motivation for writing The Road to Serfdom was the shocking speed at which so many Europeans — especially in Germany — had simply forgotten all that they had learned over the centuries about the virtues of a free society, the need for limitations on government power, the dangers of centralized power, and the workings of capitalism as a worldwide network of mutually advantageous exchange. It only took a couple of decades of socialistic sloganeering to persuade Germans to abandon their classical-liberal roots and embrace Big Government of the worst sort.
~Thomas DiLorenzo