The Last Time This Happened, The World Ended…

Earlier this month, SocGen warned that U.S. equity investors are a bunch of “boiling frogs.” And no, that is not a distortion of the bank’s message. Here’s the actual quote:

The parable of the boiling frog refers to how a frog in a pot can get slowly boiled alive without even realising it. The frog is so comfortable as the water gradually warms up that it is unaware of the danger it faces and ends up cooked. Today’s current dynamics put the US equity market at a similar risk as the frog.

“Come on in, the water’s warm – and seemingly getting warmer.”

Well on Tuesday, the bank is out with their latest Multi-Asset Portfolio piece called “Be ready for the end of Goldilocks”, and in the editorial portion they’re reiterating their contention that you are slowly being cooked alive. They were nice enough to substitute “we” for “you” although you’ve got to think they’ve taken measures to ensure they do not suffer the same fate. So it’s more of a “what do you mean, ‘we,’ Kemo Sabe?” type of deal.

“With asset prices reaching record high levels, and pushing volatility down, we as investors run the risk of reliving the parable of the boiling frog: the gradual heating is so comfortable that the frog does not perceive the danger and ends up cooked,” SocGen writes, before noting (again) that “it seems that markets, for now, are unwilling or unable to perceive the gathering threats.”

In case you were wondering what it means when cross-asset vol. is suppressed across the board, they’ve added a Trump-ish exclamation point to the chart in the lower pane:

(Click on image to enlarge)


Yes, “too much complacency!” and that, the bank writes, is simply “not sustainable.”

Or, in other words, “someone DO SOMETHING!”

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Louis Jackson 3 years ago Member's comment

The boiling frogs makes a lot of sense. There seems to be almost no fear right now, and I don't see that many bears around,--even on (and especially on!) days when North Korea launches missiles.

Alexa Graham 3 years ago Member's comment

Good article, but "world ended?" I think I would have remembered that!

The Heisenberg Report 3 years ago Author's comment

"I think I would have remembered that!"

no, actually you wouldn't. no "remembers" the world ending by definition.