Monday, June 16, 2014

Global Equity Ponzi scheme ? ( June 16 , 2014 ) -- The FT reports "a cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets." The report, to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), confirms $29.1tn in market investments, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries...... How to keep the ponzi going ? Herd investors out of bond funds by threatening ( and thereafter imposing ) Gates ? BTW , is there any implication here that bank accounts also could be gated ????? Apart from Central banks , stock buybacks appear to be other major leg of great ponzi scheme stool -- According to the most recent CapitalIQ data, the single biggest buyer of stocks in the first quarter were none other than the companies of the S&P500 itself, which cumulatively repurchased a whopping $160 billion of their own stock in the first quarter !



http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-16/fed-prepares-bond-fund-runs-looking-imposing-bond-exit-fees-gates


Fed Prepares For Bond-Fund Runs, Looking At Imposing "Exit Fee" Gates

Tyler Durden's picture




 
It was two short years ago that the Fed, in its relentless attempt to push everyone into the biggest equity bubble of all time, did something many thought was merely a backdoor ploy to forcibly reallocate capital out of the $2.7 trillion money market industry and into stocks when, as we wrote in July 2012, it contemplated imposing suspensions of fund redemptions to "allow for the orderly liquidation of funds assets." Or in other words "gate" money markets.
Since then various iterations of this proposal have been attempted, either by the Fed or the SEC, however due to stern industry push back (and the relatively modest amount of money at stake) the attempt to force investors to rotate their funds out of money markets (because it is quite clear that if the Fed is hinting at gating issues with a given asset class, it is only a matter of time before the hint becomes a reality) has failed, and as a result the total amount of notional capital held at money market funds has been largely unchanged in recent years.
Here comes attempt number two.
Only this time it is no longer aimed at money market funds, but that other most hated, by the Fed, asset class:bond funds, whose relentless inflows, we shouldn't have to remind readers are the main reason why the propaganda myth of a recovery, and the resultingcon game, keep crashing and burning, as it is impossible to spin a 2.5% 10 Year yield as indicative of anything remotely resembling a recovery, and shows at best, a semi-deflationary world. Said inflows also are recurring evidence that whatever retail money remains unallocated, continues to go into the one asset class which is actively disparaged by the Fed at every opportunity.
In brief, if anything, the Fed would prefer that all retail investors pull their money out of bonds funds (and money markets of course), and invest them into 100x+ P/E biotech stocks. Because after all, today's stock market is nothing but the biggest Fed-propped Ponzi scheme in existence.
And in order to achieve that, according to the FT"Federal Reserve officials have discussed imposing exit fees on bond funds to avert a potential run by investors, underlining regulators’ concern about the vulnerability of the $10tn corporate bond market."
FT justifies this latest unprecedented pseudo-capital control by saying that "officials are concerned that bond-fund investors, as with bank depositors, can withdraw their money on demand even though the assets held by their funds are long-term debt and can be hard to sell in a crisis. The Fed discussions have taken place at a senior level but have not yet developed into formal policy, according to people familiar with the matter."
“So much activity in open-end corporate bond and loan funds is a little bit bank like,” Jeremy Stein, a Fed governor from 2012-2014 told the Financial Times last month, just before he stepped down. “It may be the essence of shadow banking is ... giving people a liquid claim on illiquid assets.”
The Fed's justification for this latest bazooka approach in forced capital reallocation:
Exit fees would seek to discourage retail investors from withdrawing funds, thereby making their claims less liquid and making a fire sale of the assets more unlikely.
"Oddly" there is nothing in the Fed's proposal about gating the most overvalued asset classes of all, equities, or say, biotechs and momo stocks, where the drawdowns, when they happen, are so fast and vicious, the bulk of hedge funds are still down for the year precisely because they were all led like obedient sheep into the Div/0 PE slaughter. Also, memory is a little fuzzy, but in the days after Lehman, it was equity hedge funds that promptly gated all their investors.... not bond hedge funds, which in fact were scrambling to deal with the influx of new funds.
Also, it goes without saying that "discouraging investors" from withdrawing funds is the last thing on the Fed's mind, which knows very well that when it comes to investor behavior all that matters is how the Fed's future intentions are discounted.
And with this unprecedented step, the Fed is sending a very clear message: it may be next year, or next month, or next week, but quite soon you, dear retail bond-fund investor, will be gated and will be unable to pull your money.
The only thing that was missing from the FT piece was a casual reference to Cyprus.
So what is the obvious desired outcome, at least by the Fed? Why a wholesale panic withdrawal from bond funds now, while the gates are still open, and since those trillions in bond funds have to be allocated somewhere, where will they go but... stock funds.
In other words, now that the Fed is pulling away from injecting tens of billions of liquidity into the market every month, it is hoping the investing population will pick up the torch. And since it has failed to incite the mass reallocation of funds from bonds to stocks, the Fed is willing to use every trick in the book to achieve its goal.
Sure enough, "introducing exit fees would require a rule change by the Securities and Exchange Commission,which some commissioners would be expected to resist, according to others familiar with the matter." However, those commissioners would be promptly silenced when a joint effort between the NSA and the Fed were to threaten the release of embarrassing photographs or conversations to the general public. And watch how all dissent promptly disappears, and the Fed once again demonstrates it is increasingly more helpless in not only preserving the biggest asset bubble in US history, but at modeling and nudging human behavior.
Sadly for the Fed, America is now on to its endless bullshit experiments. Because absent an executive order from Obama demanding that Americans invest every spare Dollar in a Ponzi scheme, this too attempt to forcibly reallocate capital from Point A to Point B will fail.
Which, however means one thing: since the Fed is so desperate it has to float trial balloons of this nature in the financial press, the untapering can't be far behind, and with it QEternity+1.
Finally, just like in Europe with its revolutionary NIRP experiment, it will also confirm that the real economy has never been worse than it is now.
















http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-15/cluster-central-banks-have-secretly-invested-29-trillion-market

"Cluster Of Central Banks" Have Secretly Invested $29 Trillion In The Market

Tyler Durden's picture





Another conspiracy "theory" becomes conspiracy "fact" as The FT reports "a cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets." The report, to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), confirms $29.1tn in market investments, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries, which "could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices." China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has become “the world’s largest public sector holder of equities”, according to officials, and we suspect the Fed is close behind (courtesy of more levered positions at Citadel), as the world's banks try to diversify themselves and "counters the monopoly power of the dollar." Which leaves us wondering where are the central bank 13Fs?
While most have assumed that this is likely, the recent exuberance in stocks has largely been laid at the foot of another irrational un-economic actor - the corporate buyback machine. However, as The FT reports, what we have speculated as fact for many years now (given the death cross of irrationality, plunging volumes, lack of engagement, and of course dwindling credibility of central planners)... is now fact...
Central banks around the world, including China’s, have shifted decisively into investing in equities as low interest rates have hit their revenues, according to a global study of 400 public sector institutions.

“A cluster of central banking investors has become major players on world equity markets,” says a report to be published this week by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (Omfif), a central bank research and advisory group. The trend “could potentially contribute to overheated asset prices”, it warns.

...

The report, seen by the Financial Times, identifies $29.1tn in market investmentsincluding gold, held by 400 public sector institutions in 162 countries.

...

China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange has become “the world’s largest public sector holder of equities”, as the report argues is “partly strategic” because it “counters the monopoly power of the dollar” and reflects Beijing’s global financial ambitions.

...

In Europe, the Swiss and Danish central banks are among those investing in equities. The Swiss National Bank has an equity quota of about 15 per cent. Omfif quotes Thomas Jordan, SNB’s chairman, as saying: “We are now invested in large, mid- and small-cap stocks in developed markets worldwide.” The Danish central bank’s equity portfolio was worth about $500m at the end of last year.
So there it is... conspiracy fact - Central Banks around the world are buying stocks in increasing size.
To summarize, the global equity market is now one massive Ponzi scheme in which the dumb money are central banks themselves, the same banks who inject the liquidity to begin with.
That would explain this.

That said, good luck with "exiting" the unconventional monetary policy. You'll need it.




http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-27/here-mystery-and-completely-indiscriminate-buyer-stocks-first-quarter

Here Is The Mystery, And Completely Indiscriminate, Buyer Of Stocks In The First Quarter

Tyler Durden's picture




With the Fed having tapered its liquidity injections into the stock market from $85 billion to "only" $45 billion per month, retail investors getting burned by the recent high beta and momentum stock flame out and "greatly unrotating" into the renewed safety of bonds, not to mention a churning market that until last week was unchanged for the year, and hedge funds ever shorter into this latest ramp, many are asking themselves: who is buying?
Here is the answer.
According to the most recent CapitalIQ data, the single biggest buyer of stocks in the first quarter were none other than the companies of the S&P500 itself, which cumulatively repurchased a whopping $160 billion of their own stock in the first quarter!
Should the Q1 pace of buybacks persist into Q2 which has just one month left before it too enters the history books, the LTM period as of June 30, 2014 will be the greatest annual buyback tally in market history.
And now for the twist.
Unlike traditional investors who at least pretend to try to buy low and sell high, companies, who are simply buying back their own stock to reduce their outstanding stock float, have virtually zero cost considerations: if the corner office knows sales and Net Income (not EPS) will be weak in the quarter, they will tell their favorite broker to purchase $X billion of their shares with no regard for price: the only prerogative is to reduce the amount of shares outstanding and make the S in EPS lower, thus boosting the overall fraction in order to beat estimates for one more quarter.
Compounding this indiscriminate buying frenzy is that ever more companies (coughaaplecough... and IBM of course) are forced to issue debt in order to fund their repurchases. So since the cash flow statement merely acts as a pass-through vehicle and under ZIRP companies with Crap balance sheets are in fact rewarded (as even Bloomberg noted earlier) the actual risk of the company mispricing its stock buyback entry point is borne by the bond buyer who in chasing yield (with other people's money) serves as the funding source for these buybacks.
In short, corporate CEOs and CFOs couldn't care less if your friendly Wall Street broker uses the repurchase allocation to buyback the stock at all time highs.
In fact, since a vast majority of executive compensation agreements are tied to company stock "performance" C-suites are perversely happy if their own corporate cash is used to buy the stock near or at all time highs: after all management year end bonus will simply benefit that much more, while keeping activist investors delighted (and away from the embarrassing public spotlight).
So the next time someone asks who keeps on buying stock despite all the negative newsflow, despite the bond yield sliding ever lower despite relentless broken-record pleas that a "recovery is just around the corner", and with vol near all time lows confirming peak complacency... now you know.
* * *
Want more data? Here is buyback activity by year. While the 2007 S&P500 buyback record of just over $560 billion is safe for a few more weeks, should companies buyback as much stock in Q2 as they did in Q1 2014, then the Q2 2014 LTM buyback total will rise an all time high:

Don't forget: there is no such thing as a free lunch, bought with stock buybacks or otherwise. Contrary to all the lies you may have heard, corporate debt - both total and net - is now at an all time high!


Finally, these are the companies that are the most aggressive repurchasers of their own stock, or said otherwise, the companies that have no organic use for the cash and have zero ideas how to grow their top and bottom line or what capital projects to invest their excess capital, they only have stock buybacks as an option to give the impression of "growth."
Source: CapIQ