‘Tis the season to be liquid
Year-end profit taking spreads to Asia
Hedge funds and other institutional investors have had their best year in quite some time. All the good news is in the market (for example the US tax cut), and the better part of valor is to lock in profits before year-end.
The rush to the exits began with American technology favorites earlier in the week and spread to Asia. In general the stocks hurting the most this week were 2017’s biggest winners, for example, Guangzhou Automobile group (2238 HK), down 9.8% in the Wednesday session. The issue had more than doubled in the course of the year before giving back a bit this week.
Otherwise, markets are remarkably placid. In a real panic investors buy high-quality, long-term bonds. US and German government bond yields, though, are barely changed. Gold is up just $5. Meanwhile the economic news from around the world remains encouraging. The last Europe-wide reading, the Markit Eurozone retail PMI, printed today at 52.4, vs. a prior 51.1, showing continued consumer gains. Germany’s retail PMI came in at 54.6 (vs. 53.3 in October), and factory orders are up 6.9% year-on-year.
Nothing to see here, folks. Keep moving.