David Rosenberg notes the incredible lop sided trading environment. The dollar short/long equities trade has become the no-brainer trade and is beginning to appear crowded. David notes:
Looking at the latest Commitment of Traders (COT) report, we can see some pretty interesting (and potentially disturbing) trends taking place (data for November 3rd):
- The only areas where the speculators (non-commercial accounts) are net short are in Treasuries and in the U.S. dollar. Everything else has massive net speculative longs and hence near-term vulnerable to a reversal.
- There is still a NET speculative short position in both the 10-year Treasury note of 85,551 contacts (on the Chicago Board of Trade). There are 95,648 net short contracts on the long bond too.
- But there are 29,608 net LONG positions on the 30-day Fed funds contract —down from the highs, but it means that Fed tightening is completely off the radar screen. At the same time, there are 152,311 net longs on the 2-year Treasury note, so it would seem as though we have a crowded trade among the speculators on a bear curve steepening trade.
- There is a significant net long position on the S&P 500 to the tune of 208,448 contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
- There is also a huge net speculative short position on the U.S. dollar (the ‘carry trade’). For example, on the CME, we have 24,389 net speculative long CAD positions; 50,264 net speculative long contracts on the Australian dollar, and 28,036 net longs on the Euro. These are huge numbers. What happens if/when the U.S. dollar ever undergoes a countertrend rally?
- The largest speculative long positions are in the commodity space (this is near-term bearish) … 271,564 gold contracts (a record) on the Commodity Exchange (COMEX); 44,312 net longs on silver (near-record but not quite), West Texas Intermediate oil contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (also a record); 10,871 net long copper contracts (a new cycle high); 5,538 net speculative long contracts on the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index.
Who knows how long the short dollars/long equities trade can go on, but I know when a trade is this crowded it’s generally best to step to the side and let the speculators have their fun. These sorts of lop-sided trading environments rarely end well.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.