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No, you’re not imagining it. The markets really are dead quiet.
Deutsche Bank has crunched the numbers:
Last night we saw yet another sub +\- 0.20% close in the S&P 500 (+0.11%) which saw the index fail to hold above what’s appearing to be an elusive 2400 level. This now makes it 10 out of 11 days with such a small move in either direction. By our estimates this has only ever happened on 1 other occasion in data going back to 1927. Technically it has occurred 3 times but it was all in one sequence in November 1961. By our estimates there has never been a run of 12 out of 13. So today has the potential to be a record-equalling day.
This crushing tedium is broad. Earlier this week, the German bank also pointed out that currencies are in a deep slumber – one that it expects to snap soon. We’ll wake you up if it does.
Bilal Hafeez at Nomura (and formerly of Deutsche), thinks investors are trapped by indecision:
It seems uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration’s policies and French elections have resulted in cautious investor positioning and even inactivity. The recent decline in commodity prices, seemingly driven by a slowing China, has also been remarkably contained.
Even though risk measures are at low levels, we would be hesitant about arguing this implies investor euphoria. Instead, external triggers will be needed to trigger a bout of risk aversion. An obvious one would be policy action such as an overly hawkish Fed or a growth-insensitive PBoC.