"Mystery" Central Bank Buyer Revealed, Goes On Q1 Buying Spree

Tyler Durden's picture

In the first few months of the year, a trading desk rumor emerged that even as institutional traders dumped stocks and retail investors piled into ETFs, a "mystery" central bank was quietly bidding up risk assets by aggressively buying stocks. And no, it was not the BOJ: while the Japanese Central Bank's interventions in the stock market are familiar to all by now, and as we reported last night on sessions when the "the BoJ comes in big, the average return on the [Nikkei] is about 14 basis points higher" with Nomura calculating that "the BoJ has provided a cumulative boost to the Nikkei of about 1,400 points"...


... the one thing about the BOJ is that it keeps its interventions local, and tends to mostly prop up Japanese stocks, whether the Nikkei 225 or the Topix.

The answer was revealed on Friday when the hedge fund known as the "Swiss National Bank" posted its latest 13-F holdings. What it showed is that, as rumored, the Swiss National Bank had gone on a record buying spree in the first quarter, boosting its total equity holdings to an all time high $80.4 billion, up $17 billion from the $63.4 billion at the end of 2016, the biggest quarterly increase in "AUM" in history.

Yet while we are long beyond the point of debating the central bank intervention in equity markets (we do want to remind readers that until several years ago, it was considered "fake news" to even mention it, and those who accused central bankers of manipulating stock markets were said to be paranoid tinfoil basement dwellers), we want to point out that unlike the BOJ, which at least keeps its capital markets distortion local, the SNB, which likewise creates money out of thin air (then sells it for dollars in an attempt to keep the Swiss franc depressed) is actively resulting in even greater price distortions in the US.

While we doubt this will be investigated with stocks are at all time highs, we look forward to the Congressional hearings after the crash when the scapegoating and fingerpointing begins, and everyone is "stunned" to learn that central banks were responsible for blowing the biggest asset bubble the world has ever seen by directly buying stocks.

What else did the SNB reveal in its 13F? Two main things.

First, its top 20 holdings are as shown in the following chart. The central bank was clearly not shy in adding to its top positions, especially the top position.

And while we don't know if Warren Buffett was actively frontrunning the SNB when he more than doubled his AAPL stake in Q1, making him a top 5 holder of the tech giant, a look at the SNB's holdings of AAPL stock which increased from 15 to 18.9 million shares, shows why the Nasdaq - as observed earlier in the day by Goldman Sachs - just refuses to drop hitting daily all time highs.

The chart above may also explain why Goldman is bullish on the Nasdaq 100: after all, when a central bank can and does create money out of thin air, then splurges on the company that accounts for 12% of the weight in the Nasdaq, pushing the Nasdaq and all indices higher, what is the point of even talking about "risk"?

Source: SNB 13-F

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manofthenorth's picture

Yea, why protect your currency with gold when you can do so with PAPER !!!!

Just BTFD you geniuses.


auricle's picture

print money and buy stocks. Exponential charts are so much fun to look at. 

MalteseFalcon's picture

One day the FED will be audited.

And when an audit (of a sort) takes place, the FED's laundry will be clean.

Because all of the illegal activity will be temporarily shifted to all the other central banks.

NotApplicable's picture

How about systemic risk? Can we talk about that now?

El Oregonian's picture

And they wonder why when the SHTF how come there are so many torches, pitchforks, ropes, and lampposts all being prepared...

BaBaBouy's picture

HOW Can they Get Away With this SHIT ???

... NIX my $45K target for GOLD...
It's now $80K ...

DetectiveStern's picture

They get away with it because most people don't understand this shit. The schools teaching nothing about how global finance works. If they did it'd be over within the decade and replaced with a system that works.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

The whole economy went into a gypsyfication state, all fundamentals have been abandoned and replaced with speculation and anyone engaging into it looks into using gullibility as the first & main strategy to generate a margin. We live the times of the global Ponzi scheme and don't think anyone decently smart doubts how it is going to end.


IShrugged's picture

Can these central banks be taking these company's private? What would stop them? Laws? Rules? Lol. So what if by the time they acquire all the shares the Nasdaq is at 50,000 and the Dow 200,000. In fact wouldn't it be the most amazing coop over any pretense of open markets.

But what happens then? Oh yeah, one world order, one world currency so our benefactors can continue to provide for us with SDR based food stamps. Likely rebranded as basic income for all "free" people.

Seems fair(er) that way to me. Sheople will trade the world for the security globalism promises. Id bet on it.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

Agree, that's why the system works so well for millennia already, because there are enough sheeple. The realiy is just a consequence of our decisions and as long as majority decides from a sheeple position, there we go, the reality at hand, just as simple as that.

giovanni_f's picture

no bank stocks in the portfolio

TheReplacement's picture

Been saying it here for years.  They are buying everything.  This is the way to global communism.  As Lenin said, the capitalists will sell the communists the ropes with which they (commies) mean to hang them (capitalists).  It is almost over.


J J Pettigrew's picture

the government or the GSEs or the psuedo federal operations....all can create money....

so they do,they buy up industry....keep bullish interest rates pegged.....

feet up, hands behind the head, cigars for everyone....

whats the problem?

SoDamnMad's picture

And Apple's new product will be a "feel good meter" that is inserted in the (you know where. hint: sun doesn't shine there).  When things start to come apart, NSA will broadcast a special signal that causes these devices to release a "feel good suppository" thus calming the population.  All the rage so everyone will buy one and the newer models will also releases skittles too.

otschelnik's picture

The Fed cannot buy equities, its not in their charter.  So why do we allow foreign central banks to do it ? ? ?


J J Pettigrew's picture

The Fed can't promote inflation either.....per their charter....

who is going to stop them?

The Fed bought S&P futures in 1987 to stop the stock slide.....ask anyone in the markets from back then....
The Fed IS a central bank btw.

They buy ETFs....mostly......or futures

and the working arm of the Fed is the NY Federal Reserve Branch.......owned and operated by Goldman Sachs

got it?  Just look at the people from Goldman who have run that branch or been on the inside....

Start with Steve Friedman


he ran the New York Fed when he was a director at Goldman....conflict?


Stuck on Zero's picture

These are brilliant moves by central banks. All that money buys equity and value and then when it comes back it drives down the value of the currency to aid local industries.

9Ball's picture

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

max2205's picture

I'm shocked they aren't exempt from disclosing this

Giant Meteor's picture

How do they keep printing, keeping it out of the REAL economy, keeping all those plates in the air, ..

Question answered ...

Macavity's picture

USSA: "somebody's manipulating market prices."
Minion: "it seems to be a vassal central bank, sir."
USSA: "alrighty then, carry on."

TPTB and CBs are snowploughing all of their risks (which are different now they're playing global-print-em-if-you-got-em buying spree). In reality, they have minimal risk--in the meanwhile they're buying everything and "legally". SHTF and the masses will be blind to their sins.

Yukon Cornholius's picture

SNB, FED, BOE, BOJ, ECB...all proctected by the mighty (((RED SHIELD))). Goy audits will never happen

curbjob's picture

The only reason G7 central banks are dancing to the Feds tune is that they realize the consequences of the music stopping will be apocalyptic. But rest assured, before the last note is played these parasites will turn on each other in an attempt to frontrun an empty chair. The dungeons of 33 Liberty St are no closer  to discovering the philosophers stone than at any other point in history, regardless of what Krugman says.

shizzledizzle's picture

Well, to truely audit the FED one would have to audit the Exchange Stabilization Fund, The Working Group on Financial Markets and the FED simultaniuosly... Otherwise it would just be a shell game.

Sam Clemons's picture

I must wonder.. will stocks ever go down again until this whole exponential experiment blows up?  Maybe we ARE in that hyperinflationary blow off of stocks.  It feels like it.

GUS100CORRINA's picture


Since SNB is involved in the CB market manipulation, I sincerely hope that CERN blows up in their faces.

Paul Kersey's picture

It's easier to buy in than it is to sell, but when the SNB does sell, look out below (and Apple really will be subject to the law of gravity).

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Do any of the banks have ANY REASON to sell? They print money for free and buy stuff with it.

Giant Meteor's picture

Correct, the short version of "modern finance" ..

People say, well where is all that Zimbawe like hyperinflation ...

Well, the FED has better knobs and dials, digital printing presses, no accountability, and just the right touch to "inflate" with of course willing co-conspirators, like GOVERNMENT, to you know, boil the frogs slowly with it ..

Hedonic pricing, there is a fucking hoot ..

Stealth inflation, pay more for much less, frogs in thy pot ..

Blow more bubbles, get your inflated college degrees, get em while their HOT ! Meaningless for many, accept to again, support the great bubble machines of OZ .. Get your seven year auto loan! Get dem fresh cars while supplys last ! 

Bubble bubble boil and trouble,

eye of newt

wings of bat ..

Fucking financial Lies Zation ..

Speech--Chair Janet L. Yellen

The Importance of Asset Building for Low and Middle Income Households

At the Corporation for Enterprise Development's 2014 Assets Learning Conference, Washington, D.C. (via prerecorded video)

Not surprisingly "everyone else", namely America's low and middle income households, aren't even worth a live appearance, hence the "prerecorded video."

But the punchline is the actual message, in which Janet Yellen tells those mired in debt to build more assets.

In other words, the Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as "the middle."

Her message? It is important to build assets, or said otherwise...  get rich.


_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Once they own everything it's game ovah.

Giant Meteor's picture

In a practical sense, as strictly a rhetorical exercise, under the present arrangement, do they not already own everything, discounting of course unfortunate boating accidents and such.

Try not paying your real estate vig, a.k.a. property tax .. a.k.a extortion payment.

Well they have not yet made claim to a man's hand tools, and other survival implements, nor can they fuck much with the experience to actually do something productive with them, as long of course those productive things can somehow bypass them, which is, increasingly no easy feat .. So, we may say in some regard, for all intents and purpose, the game is already over , if not the exact nature of the outcome, well assured ..


Chupacabra-322's picture

"Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves."
- Andrew Jackson

Worse than the bankers rigging gold and silver prices and not having the gold that they sold you (or selling gold that they don't have via fraudulent COMEX Futures contracts) is the fact that we don't even have MONEY today.  Therefore all financial transactions and economic numbers predicated on the existence of money are FRAUD and FORGERIES presently.??

Electronic digits and paper fiat currencies in use today are NOT money, according to the law of the country that issues the reserve currency of the world, the US Dollar (Article 1, Section 10 of the US Constitution); or by the tenets of the science of Economics (i.e., fiat currencies are not money because they are not a store of value nor a unit of account due to the fact that NOT ONE fiat currency's value is actually determined or stipulated in concrete legal terms).  Dollars and Euros and Yens are not even lawfully DEFINED as to what they all are exactly; what their economic worth and transactional value is. Hence, fiat currencies simply cannot constitute the legal foundation of any lawful contract!

(Also, there cannot be either inflation nor deflation in the ABSENCE of money.  Both inflation and deflation are monetary events which cannot take place where there literally is no money.

What we have today is massive GLOBAL FRAUD mascarading as a monetary system based on the (fraudulent) US dollar because all fiat currencies are basically only a derivative of the US dollar, including the Euro, the Yen, the Yuan, the Rouble, the Shekel and the Riyal.


Why do a few people get the right to print fake fiat money out of nothing and buy your goods and  services with it whereas you have to WORK to obtain the same worthless money created out of nothing?

THAT is the question at the heart of the matter.  That the bankers manipulate interest rates or the price of gold via fraudulent Futures trading (by selling gold that they don't have) with fiat money is a moot point.
To put it differently: why do the bankers get to have anything that they want without working for it and you, you don't?

All this talk about market rigging, monetary theory and fraudulent (paper) gold trading is a cover-up for INJUSTICE.

The US Constitution FORBIDS the use of debt as money; the US Constitution proscribes (debt) notes which is what the US dollar is presently.  Think, all other currencies are just another name for the US Dollar.

What passes for money today is a CRIME, no more no less.

You are all aiding and abetting this crime every time you buy, sell, pay or get paid.
And then you ask, Why our leaders, the politicians, the bankers, and our military men and women are EVIL?

The answer is, because they are just like YOU. They are your sons and daughters.

illuminatus's picture

Spot on Chupa. Is there anything we, the few that get it, can do about it though? Even though most people work for the paycheck and will do just about anythig ( and some will do anything) for money, most have no clue what it is they are actually grubbing for. It's certainly not rocket science, yet people just don't seem to care. It amazes me. To me it seems the most urgent and important issue. Unless we the people get control of money, we will never be able to have a civilisation in the true sense of the word, but we will continue under the yoke of tyranny run by our parasitic masters.

SeuMadruga's picture

"Is there anything we, the few that get it, can do about it though?"

Yes, at last: www.goldmoney.com

Start using this payment system to put yourself back into the gold standard.

11b40's picture

This morning, I got up early and went to breakfast.  It was very good.  I gave them about $9.00 for it, and another $2 for a favorite waitress.  

As long as we can hand others fiatskies, and they give us goods and services in exchange, nothing much will change...so long as inflation remains bearable.

As to what we can "do", we are doing it.  The Internet is the world's greatest teaching tool, and every day new people are added to the list of those have their 'light bulb' moment.  It is hard to wrap your head around the scope of the corruption, theft, manipulation and deceit.  It is hard to understand that Central Banks would actually do the things they have done.  It had never happened before, and even those of us who were paying attention were still unbelieving for a long time in the period between 2009-11.  I know it took me that long to fully come to my senses about this market.  I kept expecting the fundamentals to kick in and the economy to to revert to normalcy.  As a business owner and self-directed investor for over 25 years, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of things worked.  Sales and marketing to & for the retail trade keeps me attuned to consumer spending trends and the health of the retail community.  It was not healthy at all, and there was nothing pointing to revitalization on the horizon.  We were over-stored then, and we are still over stored now.  Not much has fundamentally changed....except the size of the Fed balance sheet and the citizen's (including gov) debt load.

Ballin D's picture

Good way to try to force communism on us again. Use our money (through deflation) to buy majority stakes in the biggest companies in the world.

PontifexMaximus's picture

Will not happen, they did costly maintenance.....taking debts, with the target of weakening the CHF, win win!

I woke up's picture

How to get people to agree to go to war
Central banks inflate portfolios by directly buying stocks.
They coordinate pulling the plug, blame it on the Russians or Chinese
CB's rob everyone blind and the wrath of the people goes to whoever the media deems the culprit

HRClinton's picture

Looks like a great template for an Investment Portfolio, for the DIY kinda guy.

Don't want to emulate the big boys? That's OK. You can always listen to the doomers, stackers and preppers. 

holgerdanske's picture

They are worse than criminals.

Conax's picture

When the shit blows up and the dust finally settles, we'll look around and find out that the central banks own everything through counterfeiting and market abuses, at which time we will happily string them up in the town square. 

I can dream, can't I?