Bank of America
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“.
Since the beginning of this year the markets have primarily treaded water. The primary support for the bulls has been continued acknowledgement by the Fed on an inability to remove accommodative policy by raising interest rates. (Which should make you question what happens the first time they do.) The bears have been feasting on weak economic data and deteriorating fundamentals.
There is hardly a better signal that inflection points in asset classes have been reached than major shifts in capital in/outflows. As a reminder, Bank of America has practically made a career of dragging out the old "great rotation" canard every time there has been a, well, great rotation, out of bonds and into stocks for the past 4 years... only to always top (and bottom) tick said capital flows. Overnight it did it again, when it reported that based on EPFR data, bond funds just suffered the biggest weekly outflow in 2 years of some $10.3 billion matched by a $10.8 billion inflow into stock funds: the largest since March.
With The Spread Between CPI And PCE Blowing Out The Most Since 2009, Is The Fed Making A Big MistakeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/17/2015 12:53 -0400
With a small possibility that later today the Fed may hike rates for the first time in nearly a decade, and if not today then in 65 days (per the Bank of America countdown to the repeat of the "Ghost of 1937") at the September 17 meeting on which consensus has congregated as the historic rate hike day, there is one particular chart that if not readers, then certainly the Fed, should focus on: the near historic difference between the two primary inflation measures, core CPI and the Fed's preferred, core PCE which is now at the lowest level since the financial crisis.
"While most are focused on the risks around a withdrawal of liquidity, we believe the biggest hit to confidence could be the opposite: if another round of US QE is necessary to prop up the economy," BofAML says, suggesting the Fed is now cornered as raising rates risks destabilizing markets and QE4 risks betraying the futility of successive central bank interventions.
The last time the Fed tried to exit a period of massive balance sheet expansion coupled with ZIRP - back in 1937 - its strategy completely failed. The Fed tightening in H1’37 was followed in H2’37 by a severe recession and a 49% collapse in the Dow Jones. This is the ghost of 1937 and it is about to make a repeat appearance.
On the heels of resignations from co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, Deutsche Bank loses another high profile employee as the bank's global head of commercial real estate departs for Blackstone. Jonathan Pollack's departure comes just one month after the bank's head of structured finance Elad Shraga left to start his own fund and seems to lend credence to the idea that Deutsche Bank may be in trouble.
In Dramatic Decision Judge Finds Fed Bailout Of AIG Was "Illegal", Government "Violated Federal Reserve Act"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/15/2015 16:44 -0400
"Starr alleges in its own right and on behalf of other AIG shareholders that the Government’s actions in acquiring control of AIG constituted a taking without just compensation and an illegal exaction, both in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.... Having considered the entire record, the Court finds in Starr’s favor on the illegal exaction claim. As the Court noted during closing arguments, a troubling feature of this outcome is that the Government is able to avoid any damages notwithstanding its plain violations of the Federal Reserve Act. "
- U.S. Court of Claims Judge Thomas Wheeler
Approximately two years ago, a commentary was published entitled “The One Bank”. The empirical foundation for the article (and the paradigm) was an extensive computer model, produced by a trio of academics at a university in Switzerland, and originally reviewed in an article from Forbes.
Emboldened by its recent “unprecedented” prosecutorial success, the DoJ will now pursue a fresh round of MBS-related settlements with banks that knowingly packaged and sold shoddy CDOs. Banks expected to settle in coming months include Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC,UBS AG and Wells Fargo & Co.
"Central bank distortions have forced investors into positions they would not have held otherwise, and forced them to be the ‘same way round’ to a much greater extent than previously... unless fundamentals move so as to justify current valuations, when central banks move towards the exit, investors will too.... The way out may not prove so easy; indeed, we are not sure there is any way out at all."
According to just released final data by the BLS, in Q1 labor productivity barely rose, growing 0.3% in Q1, following a -0.1% drop in the fourth quarter. Worse, on a sequential basis, productivity dipped by a -0.8% in Q1 (a 3.1% SAAR), after a -0.5% drop (-1.9% SAAR) in Q4. This is the first sequential drop in nonfarm productivity in 22 years, or since 1993!
That, in a nutshell, is also the real reason the US economy refuses to grow no matter how many billions in liquidity the Fed stuffs into it.
If the central banks' intention was to convert "hedge" funds into what are essentially plain vanilla long-onlies (understandable in a world in which being long the most shorted names generates outsized returns year after year), they have succeeded.