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from Breakingviews:

Fragility is bigger worry than volatility for the markets

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

It has been impossible to escape the V-word for the past week. Turn on the television, and it is easy to conclude that central bankers, corporate chiefs, investors and politicians think volatility is the biggest problem vexing global markets. The rollercoaster ride recently experienced by financial assets is nettlesome. But it’s merely a symptom of a bigger malady: the fragility of widely accepted assumptions about where the world is headed.

The see-sawing of markets is succinctly illustrated by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX. It uses the prices of S&P 500 Index options to give an indication of investors’ expectations of near-term swings in the stock market. Conventional wisdom suggests that the higher the index goes, the greater the fear is among investors that markets will forge an unstable path in the weeks ahead.

Market volatility makes it hard for people in the real economy to plan ahead. So, a fund manager fearing zigzagging prices may be better off keeping funds invested in cash. Company executives may hold back on hiring new staff or buying new equipment until things calm down. And central bankers pondering what to do about interest rates may have a change of heart.

from Breakingviews:

FX business now shares equities’ harsh economics

By Dominic Elliott

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Currency trading is taking over from equities as the challenged business in investment banking. Resurgent volatility in foreign exchange markets during September and October is unlikely to offer more than a temporary respite for the business.

from Hugo Dixon:

Markets right to worry about euro zone

By Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is Editor-at-Large, Reuters News. The opinions expressed are his own.

The markets are right to worry about the euro zone, the epicentre of last week’s fright. Its three big economies – Germany, France and Italy – are, in their own ways, stuck.

from Breakingviews:

Rampant market fear clarifies global divide

By Richard Beales

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Suddenly, fear has overwhelmed greed. Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds slumped below 1.9 percent at one stage on Wednesday, and the 2 percent slide in the S&P 500 Index erased what remained of this year’s gains, although the index ended the trading day down just under 1 percent. It all augurs poorly for the expected end next month of the Federal Reserve bond-buying program. Yet the domestic economy has been steadily improving. Slowing growth elsewhere presents the bigger worry.

from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

Five and Five

Just when the market thought it was out, it got pulled back in. The Federal Reserve will release its minutes later in the day that details what it was thinking during its most recent September policy meeting, but of late, the markets have been of a mind that the expectations for higher rates ought to be tempered a bit.

On Tuesday, New York Fed head William Dudley suggested in remarks that the chances of economic growth in the long-run coming in faster than anticipated is a fantasy that people should get shut of - and so that helped take down the market and not ironically contributed to a further decline in the five-year/five-year forward spread that serves as one of the market's best barometers of inflation expectations.

from Breakingviews:

Russian central bank intervention is a dead end

By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Russian central bank is doing what it can. The problem is that it cannot do much. It spent $1.4 billion on Oct. 3 and 6 to try stemming the rouble’s slide. But the currency keeps falling. Spending foreign exchange reserves can make sense – a little – when markets seem lost in a temporary moment of insanity. And the Russian central bank has $470 billion worth of it to spend. But there is nothing irrational about the rouble’s weakness. Its root causes are the deep flaws of the Russian economy, and the country’s new aggressive foreign policy.

from Global Markets Forum Dashboard:

GMF @HedgeWorld West, World Bank/IMF and Financial & Risk Summit Toronto 2014

(Updates with guest photos and new links).

Join our special coverage Oct. 6-10 in the Global Markets Forum as we hit the road, from the West Coast to Washington to the Great White North.

GMF will be live next week from the HedgeWorld West conference in Half Moon Bay, California, where we’ll be blogging insight from speakers including Peter Thiel, former San Francisco 49ers great Steve Young and other panelists' viewpoints on the most important investment themes, allocation strategies, reputation risk management ideas and more.

from Global Markets Forum Dashboard:

More volatility expected as Fed rate rise looms – Cumberland Advisors’ David Kotok

David Kotok, Cumberland Advisors

David Kotok, Cumberland Advisors

A healthy dose of fear has re-entered financial markets in the final three months of the year. The Chicago Board Options Exchange VIX, a widely tracked measure of market volatility, rose to a two-month high on Wednesday.

Varying news reports offered threats from the Ebola virus and a stagnating European economy as tangential reasons. Perhaps another point is many investors view the U.S. Federal Reserve’s pending decision to raise interest rates as a rumbling train far off in the distance that they now hear headed their way. Closer to the horizon are headlines that can no longer lean on “Fed easing” to explain away rising asset prices and a rising stock market.

from Breakingviews:

Sovereign doom loop haunts EU bank stress tests

By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The euro zone’s nascent banking union was supposed to unpick the “sovereign doom loop” by which ropey banks endangered weak countries, and vice versa. Its first task was to be a rigorous test of how much capital each lender could count on in adverse scenarios. Yet the new single banking supervisor’s exercise could tighten, rather than loosen, the state/bank co-dependency.

from Breakingviews:

Commodity bear market looks entrenched

By Swaha Pattanaik

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The commodities bear market looks entrenched. Strong supply-side responses, or successful economic stimulus by the European Central Bank, would be required to reverse price falls. Neither looks terribly likely.

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