|11.||Having traded below 20 for most of 2012 the VIX Volatility Index surges 33% to 30, providing a bonanza for traders. The decline in the S&P 500 increases market volatility.|
|12.||The Newtown, Connecticut, massacre finally convinces Congress to do something about gun control. As a first step they ban future civilian purchases of automatic weapons, including handguns, with clips of more than ten rounds and require more extensive background checks on all gun purchases. “It should not be easier to buy a gun than rent a car” becomes a slogan.|
|13.||Frustrated by an inability to increase revenues through raising income taxes, Congress begins to consider different approaches. There is more talk of a value-added tax as well as a wealth tax, and these ideas appear to be slowly gathering momentum.|
|14.||Congress decides that high-frequency and other computerized algorithmic-based trading practices are putting the individual investor at a disadvantage. A transaction fee designed to slow down frenetic activity and protect against “flash crashes” and glitches is imposed on intra-day trades.|
|15.||The planet finds itself saturated with technology. Semiconductor companies, software providers, social media favorites and personal computer manufacturers all report disappointing earnings and provide discouraging guidance. They lead the overall market lower. Users finally agree the present state of the art is fast enough and connected enough, and that they have more “apps” than they know what to do with. Apple bucks the trend and trades above $700 as its products continue to enjoy enormous success abroad.|
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The views expressed in this commentary are the personal views of
Byron Wien of Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. (together with its
affiliates, “Blackstone”) and do not necessarily reflect the views of
Blackstone itself. The views expressed reflect the current views of Mr.
Wien as of the date hereof and neither Mr. Wien nor Blackstone
undertakes to advise you of any changes in the views expressed herein.
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