In a repeat of Thursday's action, Chinese stocks which had opened about 1% lower, remained underwater for most of the session before attempting a feeble bounce which took the Shanghai Composite fractionally into the green, before the now traditional last hour action which this time failed to maintain the upward momentum and the last day of the month saw a surge in volume which dragged the market to its lows before closing roughly where it opened, -1.13% lower. This caps the worst month for Chinese stocks since since August 2009, as the government struggles to rekindle investor interest amid a $3.5 trillion rout, one which has sent the Shanghai market lower by 15% - the biggest loss among 93 global benchmark gauges tracked by Bloomberg.
Last week was a complete dead zone for US macro, however with the peak of Q2 earnings season there was more than enough commotion for everyone. This week US macro starts to pick up again, with Durable Goods on Monday, followed by Case Shiller, Q2 GDP, the Chicago PMI, various consumer confidence indices, and of course, the July FOMC meeting on Wednesday.
It all started in China, where as we noted previously, the Shanghai Composite plunged by 8.5% in closing hour, suffering its biggest one day drop since February 2007 and the second biggest in history. The Hang Seng, while spared the worst of the drubbing, was also down 3.1%. There were numerous theories about the risk off catalyst, including fears the PPT was gradually being withdrawn, a decline in industrial profits, as well as an influx in IPOs which drained liquidity from the market. At the same time, Nikkei 225 (-0.95%) and ASX 200 (-0.16%) traded in negative territory underpinned by softness in commodity prices.
Would you rather have one “Share” of the S&P 500 at $2,124, or 41 barrels of crude oil, or 1.86 ounces of gold? Yes, they are all worth the same amount at the moment, but the price relationship between the three has shifted over the decades.
When Warren Buffet put $5 billion in Berkshire Hathaway funds into Goldman Sachs the week after Lehman failed, amidst total turmoil and panic, it appeared from the outside a high risk bet. Buffet had long tried to portray himself as a folksy engine of traditional stability, investing only in things he could understand, so jumping into a wholesale run of chained liabilities may have seemed more than slightly out of character. We have no particular issue with Buffet making those investments, only the pretense of intentional mysticism that surrounds them. The reason the criticism of crony-capitalism sticks is because this was not Buffet's first intervention to "save" a famed institution on Wall Street. If Buffet's convention is to stick with "things you know" then he has been right there through the whole of the full-scale wholesale/eurodollar revolution.
A state's economy is nothing without the businesses that call it home. However, these companies are not created equally - bigger businesses naturally have outsized influence, generating more revenue, employing more people and (at least theoretically) paying more taxes. So given that corporations are now 'people', who really runs your state in this crony-capitalist land of the free?
"Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power," Bloomberg reports, in the latest example of the world's ultra-rich not practicing what they preach.
"I love how he criticizes hedge funds, yet he had the first hedge fund. He criticizes activists, he was the first activist. He criticizes financial services companies, yet he loves to invest in them. He thinks that we should all pay taxes, yet he avoids them himself.”
If yesterday's laughable lack of volume (helped by the closure of Japan and the UK) coupled with hopes that the end of the buyback blackout period was enough to send stocks surging if only to end with a whimper below all time highs despite what is now looking like three consecutive quarters of Y/Y EPS declines according to Factset, today's ramp will be more difficult for the NY Fed and Citadel to engineer, not least of all due to the headwind of the overnight "incident" by China's stock bubble which saw the Shanghai Composite tumble by 4%, the most since January.
On a day full of exultation for The Oracle of Omaha, we could not help but see the irony of Warren Buffett losing yet another bet and not paying up...
Holidays in Europe and Asia left things quiet overnight after some traders used the last day of April to frontrun the old "sell in May and go away" market adage. Market closures also kept the Chinese day trading hordes from using a tiny beat on the official manufacturing PMI print as an excuse to pile more money into the country's equity mania, while Japanese shares ended mostly unchanged as investors fret over when the BoJ will deliver the next shot of monetary heroin. In the US we'll get a look at ISM manufacturing and the latest read on consumer confidence as we head into the weekend.
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- Greek Banks Get More Funds as ECB Weighs Collateral Discount (BBG)
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Bank Of England Exposes US Cronyism: Questions Why Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Is Not Too Big To FailSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2015 18:00 -0400
If you thought currency-wars were a problem, just wait until crony-wars begin. In a stunning show of disagreement among the omnipotent, The FT reports that a Freedom of Information Act request has confirmed The Bank of England wrote to US authorities seeking clarity about Berkshire’s absence from a provisional list of "systemically import" (Too Big To Fail) financial institutions (SIFIs). The US Treasury declined to comment...
In so many ways, Warren Buffett and modern America are the same thing. An idea packaged and marketed so brilliantly, most of humanity unquestionably believes the myth. However, when you look beneath the surface, it becomes increasingly clear that neither of them actually come close to what’s printed on the package.
Warren Buffett is revered all over the place, but in reality, he’s the schoolbook example of everything that’s wrong with America. That whole money before and over anything else (including people’s health and well-being) mentality. It makes people stupid, and it makes for stupid people. And sick ones, too. This Tragedy of the Commons abuse is so ingrained in the economy that it’s hard to see how it can be changed. And that does not bode well for anyone except the Warren Buffetts profiteering from it.