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Back-Door Bazooka: The EU Solution?

The concept of a "back-door bazooka" is based on a recent policy change made by the European Central Bank (ECB). Reuters summed up the pros and cons of the stealth bazooka concept this way:

Instead of unlimited bond buying, the ECB will offer banks this week an opportunity to borrow money for three years for the first time, extending the current one year maximum ceiling for refinancing. France hopes banks will use the money to buy euro zone bonds, and ease the upward pressure on yields, but Italy's Unicredit bank said last week this "wouldn't be logical" for banks under pressure to reduce risk and rebuild capital.

Given the record bearish stance relative to the euro and the strong correlation between the currency and stocks, the markets may rally in the short-term, with the back-door bazooka adding another reason to assist with the much anticipated Christmas rally. However, as described in the video below, it is unlikely the ECB's three-year loans will calm the markets longer-term.

We all know debt levels around the globe are high, but when does the level of debt become unsustainable? Kyle Bass, of Hayman Advisors LP, studied sovereign debt levels, the size of a country's banking system, and government revenues to identify where debt levels cross over into "unsustainable" territory. The video below references Mr. Bass' research, which identifies problem countries and the importance of their balance of trade.

After you click play, use the button in the lower-right corner of the video player to view in full-screen mode. Hit Esc to exit full-screen mode.

Video: How Far Do Stocks Fall?

With the holiday season kicking into full swing, low trading volume should create an environment where volatility will remain the order of the day. If the euro and U.S. dollar make some noise this week, it could get very interesting. All things being equal, a rally in the euro tends to be bullish for stocks (SPY) and commodities (DBC). If the greenback (UUP) continues to strengthen, conservative assets, such as Treasuries (TLT), and shorts (SH) will have the upper hand

 

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