This weekend's reading list is a smattering of articles to enjoy between your favorite beverage, grilled meat and really fattening desert. Just remember to go back to the gym on Monday...
The "Smartest Money" Is Liquidating Stocks At A Record Pace: "Selling Everything That’s Not Bolted Down"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/02/2015 06:23 -0400
Buyout firms conducted 97 stock offerings in the second quarter, more than in any other three-month period. "It’s clear that we are currently in an environment of frothy valuations,” said Lise Buyer, founder of IPO advisory firm Class V Group. Her disturbing punchline: "The insiders - those with the most knowledge - are finding this a very good time to take some money off the table." In an echo of Leon Black, Frank Maturo, vice chairman of equity capital markets at UBS AG, said, “Private equity is selling everything that’s not bolted down."
Every quarter ConvergEx's Nick Colas reviews a raft of unusual and less examined datasets with an eye to refining and adding perspective to the more traditional macroeconomic analyses. This quarter’s assessment of everything from large pickup truck and firearms sales to Google search autofills for “I want to buy/sell” shows a U.S. economy that is reasonably strong but growing only very slowly. The chief areas of concern: Food Stamp participation is still very high at 45.6 million Americans (14% of the total population) and indicators like used car prices and large pickup sales are flat.
Despite the Greek stock market being closed there is an option for hedging the exposure that all the smart money has been building to Greece in the past few days - GREK - the US-trade Greek ETF. In the pre-open, GREK is trading down 17%. While the best efforts of the SNB are underway to protect the markets from unease, European banks are suffering the exact 'contagion' that we were told numerous times would be contained... led by limit down moves in Italy.
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."
As we move toward the second half of 2015, signs of financial turmoil are appearing all over the globe. Slowly but surely, we are starting to see the smart money head for the exits. As one Swedish fund manager put it recently, everyone wants “to avoid being caught on the wrong side of markets once the herd realizes stocks are over-valued“.
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...
A rumour has been making its way around the blogosphere suggesting that gold coins are not available for purchase from retail outlets across Europe. This information is misleading and incorrect.
At the end of every quarter there is a scramble by the financial public to peek at what the biggest hedge fund holdings were as of 45 days ago. And yet, one wonders why: as Goldman notes, "the low dispersion market continues to challenge stock-pickers as the average hedge fund lags the S&P 500 for the seventh straight year (2% vs. 4% YTD)." In fact, even the barbarous relic known as gold has outperformed the average hedge fund YTD. Then again, as we have said since 2012, the only informational value comes not from looking at hedge fund longs, but their biggest shorts, since short squeezes remain perhaps the only source of major outperformance. So for all those curious, here are the biggest hedge fund shorts as of March 31, 2015.
Smart money continues to maintain allocations or accumulate positions. U.S. mining financier Oskar Lewnowski is preparing to launch a base and precious metals fund. The 50 year old New Yorker has already invested almost $1 billion and hired a physical metals trader to handle supply.
"Loans take time to season and go bad, and Wall Street loves to package and pass along risk. The music will stop — it always does — and this will not end well.”
Artificially low prices for the metal have forced mines to close in recent years. Supply may not be able to match increasing demand in the coming years.
Q: How do you make a small fortune on Wall Street?
A: Start with a large fortune.
~ old investing adage