As it turns out it is not just in the US that the "smart money" is bailing out as fast as it can: according to Bloomberg, the wealthiest investors in China’s stock market are also scrambling for the exits. To wit: "The number of traders with more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) of shares in their accounts shrank by 28 percent in July, even as those with less than 100,000 yuan rose by 8 percent, according to the nation’s clearing agency. While some of the drop is explained by falling market values, CLSA Ltd. says China’s rich have taken advantage of state buying to cash out after the nation’s record-long bull market peaked in June."
At the peak of bull markets, when stock prices have been rising long enough for people who just recently started paying attention to conclude that they always go up - that’s when retail investors traditionally go all-in to snag some of that apparently easy Dow Jones money. That’s also when markets tend to peak and then roll over, once again transferring a sizable chunk of societal wealth from late-to-the-party “dumb money” investors to the pros who have been here before and recognize a peak when they see one. So it’s interesting to hear that retail investors are departing from the script in 2015.
Guess who was responsible for Wednesday's magical levitation that allowed U.S. stocks to stage the biggest turnaround in three years?
Something tells us the "CNBC Oil Outlook Survey" was not exactly scientific. Or perhaps it was double scientifically-adjusted.
Late in June, BofAML noted that during the previous week "sales [of US stocks] were the largest since January 2008, led by institutional clients [whose] net sales were the largest in data history." Whether that particular bout of smart money dumping was simply an effort to get out ahead of what threatened to be a rather ugly conclusion to six months of bailout negotiations between Greece and creditors we can't say, but what we do know is that not only is the smart money (still) selling, but now even the dumb money has joined the party.
One senior UK bank director said: “The problem with Martin was that he made so many enemies, partly for good reason because banks did rightly need firm treatment after the crisis. But he seemed to have a mindset that all bankers were evil.”
According to BofA's Jill Hall, "BofAML clients were big net sellers of US stocks in the amount of $4.1bn, following four weeks of net buying. Net sales were the largest since January 2008 and led by institutional clients—after three weeks of net buying, institutional clients’ net sales last week were the largest in our data history."
There has been an odd trend of late in stock sentiment readings. Despite major averages that are near all-time highs, sentiment has dropped considerably across many of the measures we track. One such example comes from options trading on the VIX. The interesting thing about present conditions in VIX options is that the Put/Call Ratio (using a 21-day average) is at the lowest level since the summer of 2008. That means that there are more bets on a rising VIX versus bets on a falling VIX than we have seen in 7 years. And again, a rising VIX is associated with bad markets. Contrarians would say this is extremely bullish but history shows it is anything but...
U.S. companies announced $141 billion of new stock buyback programs last month and $243 billion of new M&A deals. Both figures are all-time records, and according to bubblevision are further evidence that CEOs are bullish on their companies and the economic outlook. You might say that. Then, again, it might put you in mind of swarming moths heading for a light bulb. The baleful truth is this. In its arrogant and misbegotten seizure of all financial power, the nation’s central bank has turned the C-suite of corporate America into a destructive agent of bubble finance. That’s ‘dumb money’ with a vengeance.
Successive rounds of government bond monetization have worked to destroy the Treasury, JGB, and EU core markets while the post-crisis regulatory regime has seen dealers back away from providing liquity in the secondary market for corporate credit just as the very same monetary policy that broke government bond markets has led to an explosion of new issuance from corporate borrowers, creating the potential for a self-feeding catastrophe in the event of selloff in corporate bonds.
With HFT algos now firmly entrenched in FX markets we weren't surprised to learn that volatility is rising, bid-ask spreads are blowing out, and liquidity is vanishing. Expect things like last October's algo-driven, Fed-assisted Treasury flash crash to become par for the course in FX markets as well, with harrowing USD, EUR, JPY, [fill in the blank] ramps and flash crashs becoming the norm and leaving panicked central bankers desperately trying to figure out what happened after the fact.
It appears a slew of dismally disappointing economic data has finally broken the back of the camel... WTI Crude - on the heels of Saudi proclamations that they are winning the fight against US Shale - has tumbled back to the key $59.50 level...
Today, Virtu released its first public financials since going public, and our speculation has been proven correct: FX is now the largest revenue generator for VIRT, amounting to 28.4% of revenues in the quarter ended March 31, at $42.2 million, well above the $29.1 million generated from trading America Equities and the $34.7 million from global commodities. In fact, as the chart below shows, on an LTM basis, FX is now not only the biggest revenue item for the world's dominant HFT firm at $131.1 million, but is also the fastest growing source of profit, rising 103% on a year over year basis!
Einhorn just found his next target: U.S. onshore E&Ps or the oil fracking companies.