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Tag: tail risk

Assessing the new ‘Recession Fear’ Narrative

The following is an amended version of the Dec. 8 Daily Contrarian. This briefing and accompanying podcast are released to premium subscribers each market day morning by 0700. To subscribe, visit our Substack or Supercast.

The emerging narrative this week is concerns about recession and interest rate hikes. These have been voiced from authoritative sources, including from two major Wall Street bank CEOs: Goldman Sachs’s David Solomon and JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon. The former spoke at a conference about a slowing economy and the latter went on CNBC to talk about how inflation would erode consumer confidence next year. Dimon also expressed concerns about geopolitical issues.

"It could be a hurricane" -- Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO, on economic pressures facing markets next year

Dimon is certainly one individual worth listening to when it comes to economic forecasts. As the CEO of the country’s largest lender he will be keenly aware of the kinds of issues that consumers in particular might have to deal with. Some context is necessary here as Dimon did hedge his comments (watch the video).

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Crypto’s Great Unwind and Risks to Financial Markets

The following is an amended version of the Nov. 9 Daily Contrarian. This briefing and accompanying podcast are released to premium subscribers each market day morning by 0700. To subscribe, visit our Substack or Supercast.

These are difficult times in cryptocurrency markets. The industry is dealing with unfolding fallout from the FTX meltdown and digital currencies are tanking. Bitcoin has dropped by about 20% so far this week.

Crypto bros' hypocrisy: 'Have fun staying poor' in 2020 vs 'don't dance on graves you POS' in 2022
Source: Author’s work, inspired by actual tweets. Created on

There is plenty of Schadenfreude (a German word you should be familiar with) to go around over this crypto meltdown. It’s been a long time coming. Some of these crypto bros have been so obnoxious on the way up (and continue to be annoying AF with their denial on the way down) that you can’t help but root for the entire industry to incinerate in a giant mushroom cloud.

That’s all fine and good, but there could (and likely will) be second-order effects that transcend the goofy world of cryptos. That’s the concern, that this could lead to a liquidity event in other asset classes. So far stocks are holding up fine. But it’s early days as they say. You figure somebody somewhere is going to take a massive markdown on their crypto portfolio that will require selling in other assets. Moves like this are very rarely contained.

Remember that investors hate uncertainty more than they hate bad news. So far all the uncertainty has remained isolated to cryptos. At current levels, that may even be justified, but does anybody think $16k is the bottom for Bitcoin? A drop of 20% is nothing for an ‘asset’ with no intrinsic value that is backed by nothing other than an algorithm and the seemingly blind faith of its adherents. So yeah, the risk that crypto just dies is real, as Noah Smith writes here.

To summarize: It’s hard to see how the crypto damage is a) contained and b) over. But that’s just one person’s opinion. Do your own research. Make your own decisions.

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There’s Still Time to Hedge Tail Risk — At Least for Stocks: Kris Sidial (Szn 4, Ep. 29)

Kris Sidial of The Ambrus Group joins the podcast to discuss tail-risk hedging: how it works, why it’s important, and how investors can still take advantage of volatility mispricings to protect themselves against further downside — at least in stocks.

Content Highlights

  • What is tail risk hedging? (3:19);
  • Traditional hedges haven’t worked, starting with the 60:40 approach. How might investors hedge stock and bond exposure? (6:15);
  • There are numerous options for investors to protect against downturns. But it’s not always as easy as buying put contracts on indexes (8:24);
  • Variance swaps, one way to compound returns on movements in volatility (10:25);
  • Thoughts on UK pensions and what might have caused issues in that segment of the market (15:27);
  • What investors are doing in this environment in terms of tail-risk hedging — there are still opportunities to hedge (20:02);
  • Background on the guest (30:08);
  • Discussion of systemic risk as a result of the layers of options trades and counterparties: “There is a systemic hazard taking place right now in the derivatives market” (39:32);
  • Speaking of risk, what about the regulatory environment? Are regulators asleep at the switch? Reasons to believe Dodd-Frank is perhaps not as effective as people think.. (43:37)
  • Thoughts on cryptocurrencies (50:01).

More About Kris Sidial

Quick Highlights From Our YouTube Channel

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