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Busch: Capital Markets Carnage Not 2008

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011 | 11:13 AM ET

Retail-cash outflows from bank loan mutual funds totaled $2.1B last week and were the largest outflow on record surpassing last week's $1.5B outflow. This represents the third consecutive week of outflows after 57 weeks of inflows. The combined three-week outflow is $3.9B, bringing the four-week trailing average to negative $960.0MM.

Year-to-date, approximately $13.0B has flowed into loan funds, compared to a $5.2B inflow at this point last year. Remember, investors will generally buy bank loan funds when they expect interest rates to move up so they have exposure to floating rates.

Retail-cash flows from U.S. high-yield mutual funds and exchange-traded funds fell $408.0MM over the past week, representing the third consecutive week of outflows for a total of $4.6B over that time. The four-week trailing average fell further into the red to negative $1.1B. Year-to-date inflows have now turned negative with $349.0MM of outflows, compared to a $4.9B inflow at this point last year.

One final market segment, there were 8 fully marketed IPOs pulled a week ago week and the backlog has swollen to 120. While this is normally a quiet period, this doesn't bode well for future IPOs. Remember, these generally are the first to cancel and the last to come back after severe, negative market movements.

Keep in mind, the structure of the markets is significantly less leveraged than it was in 2008. As an example, there were over $300 billion in bridge loans in 2008 and there are only about $20 billion today.

Also, banks have much higher capital levels today than they did in 2008. Today's news of a drop in banks the US government calls "problem" underscores the healing that is going on in this sector. Finally, US corporations have much higher levels of cash at over $2 trillion than they did in 2008. Therefore, the predictions for a financial Armageddon like 2008 will be much more difficult to actualize.

For these reasons, the predictions for a major US dollar rally stemming from heavy Risk-Off trading is not materializing.

Andrew B. BuschDirector, Global Currency and Public Policy Strategist at BMO Capital Markets, a recognized expert on the world financial markets and how these markets are impacted by political events, and a contributor to CNBC's Money in Motion Currency Trading.You can comment on his piece and reach him hereand you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/abusch .

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