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Bogle: 'Sheer, Unadulterated Speculation' Caused Crash

Bogle: 'Sheer, Unadulterated Speculation' Caused Crash

By    |   Monday, 31 August 2015 08:27 AM

Mutual fund legend and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle has looked at major declines back to 1951 and found that all were different and “unpleasant.”

But he told CNBC that the most recent one is “the biggest exercise in sheer, unadulterated speculation that I have ever seen,” just based “not on what speculators think will happen, but what they think other speculators think will happen.”

After a couple weeks of breathtaking volatility, Friday was a quiet day more typical of the dog days of summer, providing an opportunity to look at how to proceed in anticipation of yearend action, such as a Fed-sponsored rally.

Perhaps the only notable event was an interview CNBC’s Steve Liesman conducted with Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, which was followed by commentary from former Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher and others.

Liesman stressed that he has long interviewed Fischer as part of the annual conference at Jackson Hole hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Fischer stated that there are still two weeks left until the FOMC meets, and this allows time to digest the recent market volatility and other data “and see what is going on in the economy.”

Liesman expressed skepticism that with the Fed having gone nine years without raising rates, the decision would depend on two years of data, but Fischer held firm, and when Liesman asked whether the case shouldn’t be overwhelming, Fischer admonished him, “If you wait that long, you’ll be waiting too long.”

He added that any move will be slow, and even after two increases of 25 basis points each, the US will still have lower rates than the UK, which has pursued its own version of QE. Liesman then raised an issue this writer has mentioned for years, which is that given the uncertainty as to whether the Fed would act, once it does, the market might take the whole course in one gulp. Fischer responded that the market is now behind the Fed, and the Fed is doing its best.

Many of the Fed’s critics think the Fed has already waited too long to raise rates, and one of those has been Richard Fisher, who noted that despite the difference in spelling, he and Fischer are probably related through common ties to Rhodesia. Fisher repeated that when the increase comes it will be gradual, and he said Fischer was right to take a “perfectly neutral” stance.

He referred to a statement by Jacob Frenkel, like Fischer a former head of the Bank of Israel, that the Fed should “get on with it.” Fisher also cited recent remarks by New York Fed President William Dudley. Referring to himself as a “hawk,” while he did not acknowledge that recent market volatility is due to the Fed, he quipped that if it is, it shows “how addicted it is” to ease.

In Friday’s market commentary, Brian Stutland looked at the extreme volatility in the VIX and found some evidence that it could signal a major move upward. Carter Braxton Worth and Mike Khouw were more defensive, and Khouw said, “For this kind of volatility, I think you’d want to get paid a little bit more.” Worth thinks traders haven’t suffered enough to make a bottom.

The Fast traders expressed considerable unease about the prospects for Financials, for various reasons. Worth sees an ominous message in the recent weakness of asset managers, Brian Kelly thinks an inverted yield curve will develop that will signal a recession, and Khouw sees the trade in Financials as crowded and fears there will be no support if things start to go wrong. CNBC’s Eric Chemi has looked at the 16 previous episodes of high volatility dating back to 1950 and concluded that more volatility is in store for this market.

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Mutual fund legend and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle has looked at major declines back to 1951 and found that all were different and "unpleasant."
jack bogle, stock, investors, speculation
Monday, 31 August 2015 08:27 AM
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