Yesterday we noted the fact that China's Shanghai Composite was now red for 2013 as inflationary fears once again raise the odd specter of a central bank suggesting less than orgasmic expansion of its free money. While the 'Pisani's of the world see the relative outperformance as some 'rotation' in the smart money, we humbly suggest he take a trip down memory lane and note how rapidly the so-called 'smart money' reverted to China's lead in the last few years as the lack of an inflation shock absorber led the PBoC to pull back and implicitly drag on the world's equity market-based linearly-extrapolated economic growth hopes. As a reminder, it's never different this time.
With the marked shift in "coolness" surrounding smartphones away from Apple and toward Samsung (one of the primary reasons why AAPL is trading at or near its 52 week low and at the price target set for it by Jeffrey Gundlach back when the Smart Money crowd was advising their soon to be broke viewers to sell AAPL puts day after day), many wonder if this is merely a drop in innovation by Apple under it new, less visionary and far more Wall Street-friendly CEO, or is it something else? A possible answer is that is may be something as trivial as marketing. As the WSJ reports, in 2012 Samsung for the first time outspent AAPL in advertising dollars, handing out $401 million to raise brand awareness compared to Apple's $333 million.
For several long months now, the market has been treated to an unadulterated diet of such gross monetary irresponsibility, both concrete and conceptual, from what seems like the four corners of the globe and it has reacted accordingly by putting Other People's Money where the relevant central banker's mouth is. Sadly, it seems we are not only past the point where what was formerly viewed as a slightly risqué "unorthodoxy" has become almost trite in its application, but that like the nerdy kid who happens to have done something cool for once in his life, your average central banker has begun to revel in what he supposes to be his new-found daring – a behaviour in whose prosecution he is largely free from any vestige outside control or accountability. Indeed, this attitude has become so widespread that he and his speck-eyed peers now appear to be engaged in some kind of juvenile, mine's-bigger-than-yours contest to push the boundaries of what both historical record and theoretical understanding tell us to be advisable.
While the topic of net Fed capital flows, and implicit balance sheet risk has recently gotten substantial prominence some three years after Zero Hedge first started discussing it, one open question is what happens when we cross the "D-Rate" boundary, or as we defined it, the point at which the Fed's Net Interest Margin becomes negative i.e., when the outflows due to interest payable to reserve banks (from IOER) surpasses the cash inflows from the Fed's low-yielding asset portfolio, and when the remittances to the Treasury cease (or technically become negative). To get the full answer of what happens then, we once again refer readers to the paper released yesterday by Morgan Stanley's Greenlaw and Deutsche Bank's Hooper, which discusses not only the parabolic chart that US debt yield will certainly follow over the next several decades, but the trickier concept known as the Fed's technical insolvency, or that moment when the Fed's tiny capital buffer goes negative. In short what would happen is that the Fed will be then forced to print money just so it can continue to print money.
Gold has come under pressure from heavy liquidation by hedge funds and banks on the COMEX this week. The unusual and often 'not for profit' nature of the selling, at the same time every day this week, has again led to suspicions of market manipulation.
Gold’s ‘plunge’ is now headline news which is bullish from a contrarian perspective. As is the fact that many of the same people who have been claiming gold is a bubble since it was $1,000/oz have again been covering gold after periods of silence.
Did Executives, who’re dumping their stock, get actionable information from the Fed?
Friday Farce: 16 Year Old Outperforms 99% Of Hedge Funds: "Oh My Gosh, That's So Easy, I Have To Do This"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2013 12:31 -0500
Forget Ackman, Einhorn, Bass, And Hendry. There is only one name in the world of equity market performance in 2012 - Rachel Fox, of 'Desperate Housewives' fame. With a 30%-plus performance, the day-trading debutante has turned from actress to activist as she day-trades her way through the day. The 16-year-old actress who made 338 trades last year, based mostly on technicals, ""...fell in love with the idea and the concept of being able to just buy something, have it go up, or have it go down, depending on which way you bet it and have it make you money. I thought, oh, my, gosh, that's amazing, and so easy, I have to do this." If ever there was a sign of the extreme bubble that central planning has re-created for us - it has to be this. Her advice: "you have to really just trade on your own instincts and not just be like, oh, this person says this is great, let me just go for it." LOL, OMG, IKR ;-( Our advice: next time readers are discussing stock tips with a random employee of Hustler Club, Scores or Spearmint Rhino - don't just stare, listen! Said 'random employee' is almost certainly outpeforming the "smart money", and the broader market, by a wide margin. Thank you Ben.
Turning your growth trade into a value trade is the quintessential sign of a losing trader on Wall Street.
Big round numbers always encourage reflection. Turning 40 or 50, for example, or making (or losing) a million dollars. Or a billion. And so it is with “Dow 14,000.” ConvergEx's Nick Colas has three critical observations as we traverse this particular “Big round number.” First, it is clear that equity prices (and volatility, for that matter) are much more a direct tool of central bank policy than in prior economic cycles. Second, the rally off the bottom in March 2009 has left the investing world with very few money managers who can legitimately claim the title of “Smart money.” Lastly, you have to consider the way forward. The roadmap from Dow 6600 (March 2009) to Dow 14,000 was – in retrospect – clearly marked by signs labeled “Follow the central bank yellow brick road.” Good enough signage to get us here, clearly. But, as Nick notes, fundamentals – corporate earnings, interest rates, and economic growth – those are the metrics which will have to guide us as central banks inevitably reduce their liquidity programs. As he considers the way forward for U.S. stocks, he reflects on Spring 1994 - U.S. stock investors thought they had it all figured out as they exited 1993, just as they do now...
Many of the banks, now predicting gold’s bull market will end in 2013, never predicted gold’s bull market in the first place. Most were bearish on gold in the early to mid years of the bull market and most only became bullish quite recently.
Many of these banks' primary focus is short term profit, often trading profits, and therefore they do not understand the long term, passive diversification benefits of gold in a portfolio or as financial insurance.
If yesterday's indications of the near-record overweight net long positioning in Russell 2000 Futures & incredible net short VIX futures positioning, along with the extreme flows contrarian indication was not enough to concern investors that the 'money' is in, then the following four charts should cross the tipping point. Citi's Panic/Euphoria guage for US stocks has only been more euphoric on two occasions - Q4 2000 & 2008; Goldman's S&P 500 positioning has only been this extremely long-biased on two occasions - Q4 2008 & Q2 2011; and Barclays' credit-equity divergence has only been this over-bought stocks on two occasions - Q4 2008 & Q2 2012. It doesn't take a PhD to comprehend the extent of excess priced into stocks currently - no matter what Maria B tries to tell us.
No one typifies the bullish euphoria of the last year better than Appaloosa's David Tepper (except perhaps Laszlo Birinyi). It appears, however, that everyone's favorite perma-bull is up to his old tricks again. The manager who infamously opened his mouth about how he couldn't be more "balls to the wall" bullish of US financials - and then proceeded to reduce his positions notably in the quarter following that media appearance - has seemingly done it again. His appearances earlier this month on CNBC and Bloomberg were both full of hubris and arrogance as he encouraged the world to grab financial stocks with both hands and feet. However, as Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino reported yesterday, Tepper's Appaloosa is now seeking bids (to unwind a long position) for $400mm of European bank debt - doesn't seem so balls-to-the-wall bullish to us? With two weeks left to the great unveiling of the Q4 13Fs, we wait anxiously to see just how big Tepper's 'balls at the wall' really were/are.
Swiss banks, UBS and Credit Suisse, have moved to offer allocated gold and silver accounts to their clients – including high net worth, hedge funds, other banks and institutions. The move allows these entities to take direct ownership of their bullion in allocated accounts. According to the Financial Times, the banks say that they are making the move in order to reduce exposure and risks on balance sheets and in an effort to be more transparent. “Under more common "unallocated" gold accounts, depositors' bullion appears on the banks' balance sheets, forcing them to increase their capital reserves. Like their global peers, UBS and Credit Suisse are under pressure from regulators to reduce capital-intensive activities ahead of the introduction of new Basel III global banking rules.” It is more likely that the banks made the move to allocated storage due to an increased preference from their investors who are weary of continuing systemic risk.
The World Gold Council and leading academics and international think tanks believe that using a portion of a nation's gold reserves to back sovereign debt would lower sovereign debt yields and give some of the Eurozone's most distressed countries time to work on economic reform and recovery. According to research done by the World Gold Council using the European gold reserves as collateral for new sovereign debt issues would mean that without selling an ounce of gold, Eurozone countries could raise €413 billion. This is over 20% of Italy's and Portugal's two year borrowing requirements. The move to back sovereign bonds with gold would lower sovereign debt yields, without increasing inflation, which would help to calm markets. This should give European countries some vital breathing space to work on economic reform and recovery. Some citizens would be concerned that there may be a risk that the sovereign nations who pledge their gold as collateral could ultimately end up losing their gold reserves to the ECB, or whoever the collateral of the gold reserves are pledged to, in the event of a default. Unlike currency debasement and the printing and electronic creation of money to buy sovereign debt, under schemes such as Draghi's “outright monetary transactions” (OMT), the use of gold as collateral would not create fiscal transfers between Eurozone members, long term inflation or currency devaluation risk.
The run to 1500 for the S&P 500 is over, and these three tech companies are either complete no growth dogs, or over-priced retailers!