Friday, August 20, 2010

Any Place Left For US Investors To Hide? - Impending Bond Bubble Burst

Bond markets and bullion markets are considered as safe haven for risk averse investors. For risk tolerant investors stock markets and forex markets are supposed to be the places to be in. But when risks in stock markets increase to untenable and unbearable levels, even the risk tolerant investors seek out the safety of bond markets and bullion markets. This action of investors is often described eloquently as "flight to safety".

Now there is disaster lurking around the corner in US bond market in the shape of a bubble burst. Abysmally low interest rate regime coupled with high demand for bond papers has resulted in high price of bond with extremely low yield. Hence investors chasing some decent yield end up buying high-yield-junk bonds. This has caused a bubble like situation in US Bond Market. The last bastion of safety for US investors is on the verge of a collapse. Will there be no place for US investors to hide?

I have no ready answer to offer for US investors. They surely will have some Plan B tucked up their proverbial sleeves. After all they are the most sophisticated and evolved investors on this planet with the deepest pockets. But of late in US stock markets they have been behaving like small school children. Almost everyday some weekly economic data or the other is churned out from various US organisations. And everyday US investors act according to the sentiment of the data. That means if the data is negative they sell off in stock market and vice versa. Hence you have two days of gain and on third day all your gains are erased because that day some weekly data is negative in tone.

It is a sad commentary on the sophistication of supposedly the most evolved financial wizards and savvy investors of the world. Then tell me how are they any different from investors of Banana Republics? Going forward if that is how US stock markets are going to keep behaving, it will not be long before other markets stop looking for direction from US markets. That will be the stepping stone to the oft quoted concept of  "Decoupling"