With the BOJ already a top-five owner of 81 companies in Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average, the BOJ is on course to become the No. 1 shareholder in 55 of those firms by the end of next year. Just as insane, the central bank owned about 60% of Japan’s domestic ETFs at the end of June. This is up from just over half as of a few months ago suggesting that the BOJ is gobbling up equities at an unprecedented pace.
Stocks are very expensive. Bonds are insane. Bank rates are negative for many large investors. These trends are pretty clear - there will likely be more debt, more money printing, more capital controls, and more monetary insanity in the future...And if you understand them, the case for owning at least a small amount of gold is obvious.
On the surface, China is talking the reform talk. But is it also walking the walk? There are many examples to demonstrate it isn’t. The most recent one is a directive from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) to not cut off lending to troubled companies and evergreening bad loans.
Employee files sexual harrassment complaint where Bridgewater is described as a “cauldron of fear and intimidation" where employees are exposed to constant video surveillance and encounters with patrolling security guards that "silence" employees who do not fit the Bridgewater mold. In light of these new developments, we're left wondering which particular "values" Comey carried with him to the FBI and exactly how far he "spread" them within the organization.
Overnight China's Banking Regulatory Commission drafted new rules curbing the nation’s multi-trillion market for wealth management products, which was not taken well by the local stock market, leading to a plunge in stocks in early Chinese trading, before rebounding at the close of trading. China's ChiNext index of smaller companies sank as much as 5.5%.
A strange paradox emerges when flipping though the latest BofA Fund Managers' Survey: with the S&P trading at all time highs, investor buying of protection against sharp decline in stock market at record high, something which would not be happening if the market was "normal" and if traders expected a continuation of the recent upward trend in stocks.
Sales plunged by about half and home prices fell sharply in the second quarter in the toniest enclaves of the Hamptons, New York's weekend haunt for the wealthy, as stock market jitters earlier in the year damped the appetite to buy.
With the S&P500 at all time highs, it is time to look at the US housing market where, however, courtesy of some recent data by RealtyTrac, Bank of America and Credit Suisse we find that not all is well.
"I don't think we should be at new [stock] highs... We are seeing investors worldwide pausing, we are seeing quite a large sum of money being pulled out of equities over the last year. And yet we are at record highs. That's just a sign of how much money is being taken out by central banks in their bond purchases, and stock repurchases from companies."
"Any state intervention will likely be small, in our view, confined to a very small number of lenders and broadly within EU rules. As such, it is unlikely to represent a decisive fix of Italy’s banking problems. Retail investors will probably be protected as fears of a severe market backlash and subsequent deposit outflows may prevail. Such a compromise may limit the negative political fallout for PM enzi, but increased concerns among households about their savings are likely to hit the already-dwindling popularity of the government in any case."
The "In Gold We Trust" Annual Report by fund managers, Ronald-Peter Stöferle and Mark Valek has just been published and is as ever essential reading for all seeking to better understand the gold market.
A funny thing has happened below the surface of the markets since late last year. As first The Fed, then The BoJ, and The ECB respectively saw their credibility crushed into a mumbling excuse pool of elite utterances as global bond yields crashed along with global growth and inflation expectations, professional investors have been busily buying crash protection.