Finance

Michael P. Regan is a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering equities and financial services. He has covered stocks for Bloomberg News as a columnist and editor since 2007. He previously worked for the Associated Press.

It seems the higher the market goes, the more nervous everyone seems to get that they're standing near an overinflated balloon that's about to pop. 

Well, maybe not everyone is nervous around big balloons. Bill Clinton, at least, didn't look nervous on Thursday night, showing a level of enthusiasm for balloons rarely seen outside of the parking lot of a Phish concert. 

But elsewhere, as this recap of the week's financial news shows, everyone from the "Mad Hedge Fund Trader" to the mild-mannered Tom Lee is nervous about August because the dog days of the summer tend to be more like pitbulls than friendly puppies. 

And while some are comforted by the fact that the stock-market balloon is no big deal compared with the bond market balloon, here comes former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to get us nervous about Treasuries. “We get very nervous when the stock price index goes to high P/E; we ought to be somewhat nervous when the bond rate does the same,” he told Bloomberg Television this week. “What I’m concerned about mostly is stagflation, meaning I think we’re seeing the very early signs of inflation beginning finally to pick up as the issue of deflation fades."

Stag Party
Alan Greenspan is worried that the continued decline in Treasury yields is a sign of stagflation
Source: Bloomberg

Now might be a good time to start getting nervous if you're an investor in Joseph A. Meyer Jr.'s hedge fund, which is under investigation in Georgia for “multiple irregularities," as Simone Foxman reported. How does he manage to guarantee clients will never lose money and get his Arjun LP -- run out of a "part-time office" outside Atlanta -- to the top of the rankings of hedge fund returns year after year? "I’ve got a spreadsheet that did the calculations," he said. “And then I just got coders to code it." Oh, OK then. Case closed. 

Speaking of "multiple irregularities," check out the big article in the New York Times headlined: "At World’s Largest Hedge Fund, Sex, Fear and Video Surveillance." You should probably be nervous if you are a Bridgewater employee looking forward to getting loaded and skinny-dipping at the next retreat because it's now likely to be frowned upon. Bridgewater called the tale a "distortion" with "significant mischaracterizations,” but then again accusing the media of mischaracterizations is starting to look like an all-weather strategy for Bridgewater. 

The analysts who cover Nintendo sure sound nervous, not to mention befuddled, after the Pokemon Go craze caused a huge surge and subsequent crash in the stock. And at the risk of getting you more nervous, the China yuan bears are back. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Pimco and Societe Generale say the People's Bank of China is more likely to let the currency weaken because its drop since March didn't cause a market rout as it had in the past. So what could possibly go wrong?

Are they nervous at Harvard? Oh, yes, they sure sound nervous at Harvard, as Michael McDonald and Sabrina Willmer report: "Harvard is once again confronting the same, uncomfortable question that has dogged it for years: Why can’t the world’s richest university, for all its brains, make smarter investments?"

Maybe the lead of Dani Burger's article says it best: "The stock market may be getting too complicated to be left to ordinary money managers." It's certainly getting too complicated for some of the residents of the southern English countryside who don't want to see Eiffel Tower-sized radio masts erected simply so high-frequency traders can fill their "greedy boots."

Robot Wars
A mix of algorithmic trading and retweeted news stories were blamed for some wild moves in the yen.
Source: Bloomberg data

Not that currency markets are any less complicated. "Robots and retweets" were the reasons given for a mysterious surge in the yen. Algorithmic-trading programs that search for keywords picked up earlier news reports reposted at the market open in Asia, unidentified traders told Garfield Clinton Reynolds and Chikako Mogi. Well, this explains everything! Who knew that all you had to do to fool our robot overlords and get the market moving your way was retweet some old news articles?

Losing money on your Under Armour position? Go ahead and retweet Steph Curry's trophy emojis from last year. Not satisfied with Apple's gain this week? Press the RT button on this Carl Icahn tweet that added $8 billion in market cap in hours last year and let's see what happens. Need to cover some biotech shorts? Let's see what the robots think of this Hillary Clinton tweet from September.

So obviously while retweets do not necessarily equal endorsements, they certainly equal the Trade of the Week! 

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Michael P. Regan in New York at mregan12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Daniel Niemi at dniemi1@bloomberg.net