Markets are unusually jittery for August

There are many one-offs occurring this week in the markets.

Equity markets this week are finding it tough sledding, as stocks can’t find a direction as currency markets are taking the yen back to 101 level, meaning the Japanese currency is getting stronger against other currencies.

This strengthening is generally negative for stocks due to the carry trade, where you buy US stocks with yen to lever up your position.

On Tuesday, the Bank of England came up short as bondholders did not want to part with their longer-duration paper and central banker Mark Carney could not buy enough bonds to cover its allotted purchases for its QE operation. Again this has never happen before.

Precious metals are moving higher this week independent of currency moves. Wednesday pre-market saw silver up 2.5% or $0.50. Gold was only up 0.8% or $12. But if gold makes the same percentage jump as silver you are looking at a spike of nearly $40, which would get some notice at the Fed.

Some will attribute the one-offs as being driven by illiquid, low volume August markets as traders are away from their desks on vacation.

I don’t see that as being much of a factor anymore since most of the trading is done by high-frequency trader’s black boxes.

Let’s say I think this needs to be watched as we move through this month.