Geopolitics, What is it Good For?

with No Comments

Geopolitics, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin’!

In January, Robert Kahn of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote in Global Economics Monthly:

“Markets showed impressive resilience in the face of a range of geopolitical shocks in 2016, but recent market moves suggest this year could be different…It should be the year that global geopolitical risks provide the volatility in markets that I, and many other economists, have been predicting for some time.”

Kahn may share the bemusement of bond market prognosticators who have anticipated the end of the bull market in bonds for years and have yet to see their predictions prove out.

So far in 2017, investor confidence has remained impervious to geopolitical threats. Bloomberg reported, while diplomats at the United Nations stress over North Korea’s threat to drop a hydrogen bomb, Russia’s provocations along the borders of Eastern Europe, rising Middle East tensions, and conflict between the United States and China in the South China Sea, investors remain relatively sanguine.

The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, which measures market expectations for near-term volatility in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500), finished below 10 on Friday. Historically, the VIX has finished below 10 on just a few days in its history.5 While the very low level of the VIX doesn’t tell us much about the future, Barron’s reports it indicates investors are not too concerned about “what’s happening now and what has happened.”

That contention appears to be supported by U.S. stock market performance. Despite hostile rhetoric between the United States and North Korea last week, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both finished slightly higher.

market commentary graph

Sources:

https://www.cfr.org/report/global-economics-monthly-january-2017

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/bond-market-s-biggest-rally-of-2017-amazes-traders-as-fed- looms

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-20/stress-at-un-not-shared-on-wall-street-as-stocks-set-records

http://www.cboe.com/products/vix-index-volatility/vix-options-and-futures/vix-index/vix-historical-data

http://www.cboe.com/blogs/options-hub/2017/06/02/vix-index-closes-below-10-again-as-professor-called-vix-level- the-biggest-financial-mystery

http://www.barrons.com/articles/the-pros-and-cons-of-vix-the-markets-fear-gauge-1505942074 (or go to https://s3- us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-25-17_Barrons-The_Pros_and_Cons_of_VIX- the_Markets_Fear_Gauge-Footnote_6.pdf)

http://www.barrons.com/mdc/public/page/9_3063-economicCalendar.html?mod=BOL_Nav_MAR_other (Click on U.S. & Intl Recaps, then “The Fed and BoJ do the expected”) (or go to https://s3-us-west- 2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/09-25-17_Barrons-Global_Stock_Market_Recap-Footnote_7.pdf)

Disclaimer

*These views should not be construed as investment advice. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index. * The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. * The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index. * The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market. * Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce. * The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998. * The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones. * Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods. * This newsletter was prepared in whole or in part by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with Skygate Financial Group. * Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. * Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful. * Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. * You cannot invest directly in an index. * Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. * Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.