When ‘Nothing’ Means a Lot… The Ultimate Height of Volatility (Reuters)
Sure the VIX index gives investors a visual representation of market volatility. But no one needs to draw us a picture to know volatility seems to be at a tipping point, when the world’s third-largest economy decides to do nothing new, and shares around the globe tumble… When the Bank of Japan decided not to follow up its own $1.4-trillion stimulus plan with an addendum to keep bond yields low, it sent Asian investors scrambling for the exit. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.2 percent, the Shanghai Composite Index dipped1.33 percent, and the Nikkei 225 fell 1.45 percent. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a green number from Asian markets. Ironically, the country also ended up shooting itself in its un-shoed foot, as the yen also lost ground versus the dollar, based on the decision. Who knew “nothing” could mean so much?
Germany Takes ECB to Task… And to Court (CNBC)
European investors seem bound and determined to follow their Asian brethren down, as well. As the time of this writing, England’s FTSE 100 was down 1.77 percent, Germany’s DAX was losing 1.74 percent and the STOXX 50 was giving back 2.12 percent. However, investor fear here also is based on an impending decision expected from Germany’s constitutional court regarding the legality of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond-buying program and whether a cap should be instituted. Yet, some observers are viewing the case as reflective of a power struggle between Europe’s largest economy and the ECB. About the only thing that IS certain about the landmark case is how investors are seeing it… as another indication that it’s time to back away from the table…
Sony Strikes First in Next-Gen Gaming Wars (YahooFinancial)
Sony’s next generation gaming console, the PS4, will go on sale Monday for $399 this year, about $100 less than main competitor: Microsoft’s Xbox. And it’s high time Sony made a move like this one, since it was getting crushed by its rival. New York-based research firm NPD released data showing that Xbox has been the best-selling console for 24 straight months — making this year’s PS4 launch critical to Sony’s bottom line. More importantly for gamers and investors alike, this year will be the first that Microsoft and Sony both will have new versions of their products available to gamers over the holiday season, as Microsoft’s Xbox One is set to launch in November. Let’s hope the consumer is the ultimate winner in this epic battle.