Institutional Investors

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"Housing Bubble 2.0" - Same As "Housing Bubble 1.0"; Just Different Actors





In order to achieve the greatest risk/reward asymmetry from the 2014 single-family housing stimulus “hangover”, or “reset”, happening right now you must change the way you think about this asset class.  When doing so, clarity emerges (at least to us)... This housing market is “resetting” right now;  for the third time in six years. It might look and feel a little different, but as we detail below, it’s not really different this time around.

 
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Is The Perfect Storm Coming For Gold?





Due to western central bank price manipulation, the mining sector is in critical condition, the supply line is all but halted, and the physical supply is being swallowed up by Asia. The last shoe to drop is for major mining companies to start closing down production at major mines. Though this would be perceived as the end for gold, speculators will be happy to know that this would be the beginning of the biggest Fed induced bubble in history! But unlike previous Fed bubbles where they support the price increase, the gold bubble will be a result of western central planners mis-managing the gold price for the past 3 decades and finally losing control. As Peak Resources explains in the brief clip, the perfect storm is coming for gold...

 
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HFT Algos Force Institutional Investors Off-Exchange





Having discussed market microstructure and the parasitic impacts of high-frequency-trading for the last 5 years, it comes as no surprise that the block-trade-sniffing algos have had very significant impacts on the way institutional investors trade now. As WSJ reports, in fact the big boys are conducting more "upstairs trades," in which deals are executed among big institutions, bypassing the broader market, because the proliferation of algorithmic trading and other structural issues, including the fragmentation of the market, are hurting their ability to get the best prices and execute large trades quickly. While the concerns aren't all new, big investors say the cat-and-mouse games are growing more elaborate - and counterproductive - by the day.

 
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Frontrunning: December 9





  • Glass-Steagall Fans Plan New Assault If Volcker Rule Deemed Weak (BBG) ... "if"? The banks control the legislators and regulators...
  • Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA (USA Today)
  • Major tech companies push for limits on government surveillance (Reuters)
  • Shanghai Warns Kids to Stay Indoors for Seventh Day on Smog (BBG)
  • Protesters fell Lenin statue, tell Ukraine's president 'you're next' (Reuters)
  • Everyone must be flying private these days: EADS to cut 5000-6000 jobs, close Paris HQ in restructuring (FT)
  • Big Players Trade 'Upstairs' (WSJ)
  • There’s no way to tell how many people who think they’ve signed up for health insurance through the U.S. exchange actually have (BBG)
  • Slower China inflation reduces worries of tighter policy (Reuters)
 
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Bill Gross Explains What "Keeps Him Up At Night"





"What keeps us up at night? Well I can’t speak for the others, having spoken too much already to please PIMCO’s marketing specialists, but I will give you some thoughts about what keeps Mohamed and me up at night. Mohamed, the creator of the “New Normal” characterization of our post-Lehman global economy, now focuses on the possibility of a” T junction” investment future where markets approach a time-uncertain inflection point, and then head either bubbly right or bubble-popping left due to the negative aspects of fiscal and monetary policies in a highly levered world.  ... investors are all playing the same dangerous game that depends on a near perpetual policy of cheap financing and artificially low interest rates in a desperate gamble to promote growth. The Fed, the BOJ (certainly), the ECB and the BOE are setting the example for global markets, basically telling investors that they have no alternative than to invest in riskier assets or to lever high quality assets. “You have no other choice,” their policies insinuate....  Deep in the bowels of central banks research staffs must lay the unmodelable fear that zero-bound interest rates supporting Dow 16,000 stock prices will slowly lose momentum after the real economy fails to reach orbit, even with zero-bound yields and QE." - Bill Gross

 
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RealtyTrac: "Institutional Investor Housing Purchases Plummet Nationwide"





Concluding the trifecta of today's housing data, we present perhaps the most authoritative report on what is actually going on in the market, that by RealtyTrac. What RealtyTrac has to say is in direct contradiction with both the Permits and Case-Shiller data, both of which are now openly reliant on yield-starved institutional investors dumping cash into current or future rental properties. In fact it's worse, because if RealtyTrac is accurate, the great institutional scramble for any housing is now over - to wit: "Cash Sales Pull Back From Previous Month, Still Represent 44 Percent of Total Sales Institutional Investor Purchases Plummet Nationwide...  Institutional investor purchases represented 6.8 percent of all sales in October, a sharp drop from a revised 12.1 percent in September and down from 9.7 percent a year ago. Markets with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases included Memphis (25.4 percent), Atlanta (23.0 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (22.2 percent), Charlotte (14.5 percent), and Milwaukee (12.0 percent)." And plunging.

 

 
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5 Things To Ponder This Weekend





It is hard to believe that the end of the year is fast approaching.  This weekend's list of things to ponder covers a range of issues that caught our attention this week. Will the economy continue to grow, are stocks under owned, what about Fed - rising credit risk (and collapsing credit risk premia) and the question of "when or if to taper?"  These are all important questions that all investors must answer as the new year rapidly approaches.

 
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Senate Grills Bitcoins - Live Webcast





"Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats, and Promises of Virtual Currencies" is the title of today's Senate hearing (from Homeland Security) on th eperils of Bitcoin. We are sure the exaggeration and exasperation will run high as Government offers up its Financial Crimes (and missing and exploited children) directors, and the de-centralized unregulated crypto-currency faces them down...

 

 
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Frontrunning: November 18





  • What can possibly go wrong: Tepco Successfully Removes First Nuclear Fuel Rods at Fukushima (BBG)
  • Japan's Banks Find It Hard to Lend Easy Money (WSJ)
  • U.S. Military Eyes Cut to Pay, Benefits (WSJ)
  • Airbus to Boeing Cash In on Desert Outpost Made Field of Dreams (BBG); Dubai Air Show: Boeing leads order books race (BBG)
  • Sony sells 1 million PlayStation 4 units in first 24 hours (Reuters)
  • Russian Tycoon Prokhorov to Buy Kerimov's Uralkali Stake (WSJ)
  • Google Opening Showrooms to Show Off Gadgets for Holidays (BBG)
  • Need. Moar. Prop. Trading: Federal Reserve considering a delay to Volcker rule (FT)
  • Raghuram Rajan plans ‘dramatic remaking’ of India’s banking system (FT)
  • SAC Capital's Steinberg faces insider trading trial (Reuters)
 
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"Frustrated" Liquidity Addicts Demand Moar From BOJ As Nikkei Rally Stalls, Abenomics Founders And "Hope Fades"





While the only topic of discussion for "sophisticated" investors everywhere is when (and if) the Fed will ever dare to reduce its monthly flow injection into US markets from $85 billion to a paltry $75 billion, everyone has forgotten that across the Pacific, for the past seven months the BOJ has been calmly injecting another $75 billion each and every month into the market, with no risk of this liquidity boost ever being tapered (since the broad 2% inflation target relies on ever broader wage increases that will never come). However, much to Japan's chagrin, in the current insta-globally fungible capital markets, over the past five months the bulk of this liquidity has found its way to the US stock bubble, leaving the Nikkei in the dust. As a result, the local Japanese liquidity junkies have started to loudly complain once again, and now the FT reports that "as excitement over the world’s second-biggest stock market has faded, some are now crying out for another jump-start." In other words: the BOJ must do "moar" to push the Nikkei bubble even higher following its rangebound trade since May which, worst of all, is now the primary reason why "hope is fading."

 
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Blackberry Craters After Report Company Abandons Sale, To Replace CEO, To Issue 19.2% Dilutive Convert Instead





Just over a month ago, when we shared our cynical view on the "hopium" inspired LBO of Blackberry, we commented as follows: "In other words an LBO, one which however has not only one but many outs: "There can be no assurance that due diligence will be satisfactory, that financing will be obtained, that a definitive agreement will be entered into or that the transaction will be consummated." Which means that once the buyers figure out the potential disaster on the books, expect the final price (if any) to be revised lower as one after another MAC clause is triggered." Not even we were right: as it turns out moments ago, the Globe & Mail reported that having looked at the BBRY, not only will the price be revised lower, but the "purchase" price will be eliminated altogether as any deal is now dead, the company will do a convert offering instead and deadpan CEO Torsten Heins is history.

 
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John Taylor Explains Why Economic Failure Causes Political Polarization





It is a common view that the shutdown, the debt-limit debacle and the repeated failure to enact entitlement and pro-growth tax reform reflect increased political polarization. John Taylor believes this gets the causality backward. Today's governance failures are closely connected to economic policy changes, particularly those growing out of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite a massive onslaught of legislation and regulation designed to foster prosperity, economic growth remains low and unemployment remains high. Claiming that one political party has been hijacked by extremists misses this key point, and prevents a serious discussion of the fundamental changes in economic policies in recent years, and their effects.

 
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SPX Options SKEW Vs VIX





The recent strong rise in the so-called CBOE SKEW index is yet another among the various divergences that make the stock market's current advance suspect. Skew measures the perceived tail risk of the market via the pricing of out-of-the-money options. Generally, a rise in skew indicates that 'crash protection' is in demand among institutional investors. An unusual move in the skew index (which historically oscillates approximately between a value of 100 and 150) is especially interesting when it diverges strongly from the VIX, which measures at the money and close to the money front month SPX option premiums. Basically what a 'low VIX/high skew' combination is saying is: 'the market overall is complacent, but big investors perceive far more tail risk than usual' (it is exactly the other way around when the VIX is high and SKEW is low). In other words, a surprising increase in realized volatility may not be too far away.

 
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Ordinary Americans Priced Out Of Housing: Institutional Purchases Hit Record, Half Of All Deals Are "All-Cash"





If there was any doubt that the US housing "recovery" is anything but the latest speculative play by deep-pocketed (namely those who already have access to cheap funding) investors, who are now engaged in rotating cash gains out of capital markets and into real estate, on their way hoping to flip newly-acquired properties to other wealthy investors, then the most recent, September, RealtyTrac report will put that to rest. To wit: Institutional investors (purchasing 10 or more properties in the last 12 months) accounted for 14 percent of all sales in September, up from 9 percent in August and also 9 percent in September 2012. September had the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases of any month since RealtyTrac began tracking in January 2011....All-cash purchases nationwide represented 49 percent of all residential sales in September, up from a revised 40 percent in August and up from 30 percent in September 2012. In other words, institutional purchases are now at all time highs, with all-cash accounting for half of all transactions!

 
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