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“Why Stocks Rebounded After Russia Invaded Ukraine” (WSJ Opinion & Analysis)

edited February 27 in Other Investing
(A few of the key points from a rather lengthy WSJ article - Author: James Mackintosh.)

Lead / Opening question:

“Russia invaded Ukraine to start the biggest land war in Europe since Hitler. U.S. stocks soared. What gives? It isn’t that Wall Street secretly loves Vladimir Putin. A close look at the market’s performance on Thursday shows the reality: U.S. equities had a near-perfect reverse of what had been going on this year. It was a great stock-market switcheroo. Stock gains continued on Friday in the U.S. and elsewhere, with Russian shares leaping by a fifth in ruble terms. But it was Thursday’s move that set the tone, and which was so extraordinary on the day Ukraine was invaded… Quite why is less clear, but I have theories …

Possible factors leading to the reversal:

- “Sentiment was depressed, and a moment of panic-selling hit when the market opened, with the CBOE Vix index of implied volatility hitting its highest opening level since 2020 …

- “Attributed to legendary banker Nathan Mayer Rothschild: ‘Buy on the sound of cannon, sell on the sound of trumpets.’ When fear dominates, it’s time to buy, and many did.

- “Investors were already so worried that it didn’t take much to hit rock-bottom and so rebound. The regular American Association of Individual Investors survey this week found the highest proportion of self-described bears in almost a decade, and close to the lowest proportion of bulls.

- “Last week’s Investors Intelligence examination of newsletter writers found bearish sentiment almost equal to bullish for the first time since the March 2020 selloff. And a 10-day smoothed measure of investor opinion from the options market showed the equal-highest proportion of buying of bearish puts (used to protect from falls) to bullish calls (used to bet on rising stock prices) since shortly after the pandemic panic began.”


- There’s also some mention that the sanctions against Russian gas and oil exports (primarily to Western Europe) weren’t as harsh as first expected and are less likely to inflict economic damage.

- Elsewhere (WSJ and this week’s Barron’s) there is speculation that the crisis may cause the Federal Reserve to slow the pace of interest rate hikes in coming months - a positive for equities.

All of the above notwithstanding, I thought commentary overall in both the WSJ and Barron’s on Saturday leaned somewhat towards the bearish camp with one newsletter cited in Barron’s advising its readers to “pile up cash”.


Excerpts from: The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2022 / Here’s a link; but you’ll likely need a subscription to access.

Comments

  • I thought it was just a case of the market appreciating certainty.
  • Thanks @hank for summarized the article.
    - “Attributed to legendary banker Nathan Mayer Rothschild: ‘Buy on the sound of cannon, sell on the sound of trumpets.’ When fear dominates, it’s time to buy, and many did.
    Now the invading has materialized, the market moved upward. Next week they can worry about the mid-March's rate hike and its consequence on the market.
  • I imagine there is a certain amount of money being moved away from emerging markets to “safer” U.S. blue chips.
  • "Next week they can worry about the mid-March's rate hike and its consequence on the market."

    Am I the only one who thinks that has already been priced in? Maybe that will fluctuate based on the magnitude of the raise should there be any.
  • @Mark you’re not the only one.
  • edited February 27

    I imagine there is a certain amount of money being moved away from emerging markets to “safer” U.S. blue chips.

    Weird. But I purchased a small bit of an EM fund for first time in years Thursday (DODEX). An area normally way outside my risk perimeter. But my general reading of various (possibly flawed) sources over time convinces me there’s some relative value there. Just MHO.

    I’ll be watching the futures late tonight. Putin’s placing his nukes on higher alert can’t be good for global equities of any sort. Gold may benefit. But spending it later problematic …:(

    Re the OP - I thought the insights into investor sentiment of interest. Obviously, there’s no one reason why equities do what they do on any given day.

  • @LewisBraham, agree with your thoughts, investments might be leaving intl/EM into US Blue Chips...

    What are your thoughts re derivatives of that thinking....things could easily go wacko doodle pertaining to Russia/Ukraine/West...get even more insane etc...wouldn't then folks be selling said US Blue Chips bigly due to everyone bailing out of SPY ETFs...easier to sell those due to potential liquidity issues and run to US long bond Treasuries.... and food commodities, wheat, strong dollar/weak Euro, etc??

    Maybe US long bond as a safety play...maybe "clean energy" bounces up hard...should be obvious that the world needs more energy and that it likely, might not come from Russia anymore?

    What if Putin antes up the the crazy factor...who is going to do what then? Put their own country at risk of annihilation...he might test the resolve of the West...

    Let's hope that we are still talking about whether the Fed raises by a 1/4 or 1/2 or nothing over the next few weeks and not talking about market circuit breakers instead...


    Baseball Fan
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