Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

After the flash crash, the crash camp takes over

(Read article summary)
View video

Henny Ray Abrams/AP/File

(Read caption) In this May 6 file photo, traders from Barclays Capital work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. That day's flash crash has led to wide speculation of another market plunge.

View photo

About these ads

Here a Swan, there a Swan, everywhere a Black Swan...

Newsletter writers, hedge fund managers, journalists, bloggers, technicians, fundamental analysts, economists and strategists are joining the crash camp left and right. Not the bear camp...the crash camp.

I've been running around Manhattan all day taking care of business, meeting clients etc. After scanning today's articles and blog posts, I can honestly say that I've never heard more chatter about an imminent market crash, all at once, in my life. It's like the May 6th Flash Crash got everyone in the mood to talk cataclysm all of a sudden.

I'm not one of those guys who takes everything as a contrarian signal. I abhor knee-jerk contrarianism. Samuel Lord once said "Do not choose to be wrong for the sake of being different," and I think that's kind of apropos here.

As avowed contrarian Dougie Kass likes to remind us, the crowd usually outsmarts the remnant when herd mentality takes over. So what is the herd hearing/ seeing?

* First of all, the macro guys are disturbed by the Euro Zone's crisis and its ripple effect/ contagion risk. This isn't new but it is more pervasive. And the possibility of a China collapse scares the hell out of almost everyone.

* The technicians and Dow Theorists are grossed out and have dusted off all the 1937 charts again. Specifically, they are looking at the highly distinct pattern of a big drop (May 6th) followed by a failed rally (euro bailout day's 4% gap open) followed by another fast sell-off. Richard Russell's latest missive, in which he tells us that we won't recognize America by year's end, will make you want to kill yourself.

* Equity analysts are all pointing to year-over-year comps which will start getting harder now. They may feel OK about the "E" but they're shaky about the "P" - will the tax hikes and regulatory headwinds we now face really allow for a high-teens multiple on whatever the earnings turn out to be?

* Bond guys are freaking out about sovereign stuff, obviously. We've transferred corporate risks onto government balance sheets with bailouts, the Piper still awaits his payment in many cases.

About these ads

* Eddie Elfenbein posted the results of a CNBC poll yesterday in which 40% of respondents predicted a 50% haircut for the Dow. Seriously, almost half the respondents predicted Dow 5000 by the end of this year.

* The hedgies are vocally bearish again as well. Seth Klarman's got some cautious commentary out today and Jeremy Grantham's "sell everything" stuff is being quoted everywhere. Raoul Pal put out a newsletter this week with a 2 day-to-2 week crash prediction.

We're not talking garden variety bearishness here. We're talking about ubiquitous crash predictions. My comment is that I've never seen so much certainty in so many places of a coming crash. Will it be self-fulfilling or are we talking major contrarian signal?

Worth noting no matter what.

Add/view comments on this post.


The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.