This is where we stand: 6 weeks of consecutive derisking and selling by hedge funds, institutions and private clients soaked up by what is now a record short squeeze, as well as a near record buyback spree to mask the fact that the "smart money" is bailing.
Trading Desks Stunned By 'Brutal' Selling: "The Crowded Trades Have Come Unglued On Obvious Unwinds"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2016 13:46 -0400
"Yest was one of the largest global net sell days over the past year and the largest sell day of 2016 so far, a 2.5 standard deviation (SD) event. L/S funds were the main sellers as they BOTH sold longs AND added shorts."
Perhaps those accusing Bridgewater of being the market-moving catalyst did have a point, because after posting a total AUM of $10.8 billion at June, this total declined by a whopping 31% to just $7.5 billion as of September 30.
Oil companies have sold $61.5 billion in stocks and bonds since January as oil prices have tumbled. However, the fees geneated are a tiny fraction of the bank's real exposure to the energy sector, at over $150 billion. So have the banks learned their lesson? "The bankers have gone through this before,” says Oscar Gruss’s Meyer. “They know how it works out in the end, and it’s not pretty." Then again, perhaps banks are just sailing on an ocean of liquidity allowing them to postpone the day of Mark to Market reckoning, especially since this time, everyone is in it together....
Asian markets are bouncing modestly off a weak US session, buoyed by more unbelievable propaganda from Japan. Abe's proclamations that "deflationary mindset" has been shrugged off was met with calls for more stimulus, more debt monetization, and an admission by Etsuro Honda (Abe's closest adviser) that Japan "is not growing positively" and more QE is required despite trillions of Yen in money-printing having failed miserably, warning that raising taxes to pay for extra budget "would be suicidal." Japanese data was a disaster with factory output unexpectedly dropping 0.5% and retail trade missing. Markets are relatively stable at the open as China margin debt drop sto a 9-month low. PBOC strengthened the Yuan fix for the 3rd day in a row to its strongest in 3 weeks.
Another rip sold. Dow futures are down over 140 points in the pre-open (as it appears Cramer's pajama-wearers are derisking again). Following the 4th day of Yuan weakness, EUR-based carry trades continue their unwind and that pressure is driving USD Index notably lower, bond yields gapping lower, and commodities tumbling... except gold
Having cited China and EM concerns, The Fed's chickening out from a rate-hike was 'supposed' to provide some support from the drastically derisking emerging markets of the world... it did not. In fact, MSCI Emerging Market FX index just crashed to its lowest since September 2009 with Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia seeing the biggest plunges post-Fed.
US equity futures have retraced the late-day ramp from Friday with Dow down around 65pts. Asia is opening weaker (NKY -900 from Thursday highs) with EM FX appearing not to get the "but we didn't hike" message from The Fed with MYR the worst hit for now (after a few days of strength). EM outflows accelerated according to Morgan Stanley, down 6% AUM in 12 weeks. PBOC devalued the Yuan fix by 0.11% (the most in 2 weeks). While Fed uncertainty and fears about China have caused global derisking, PBOC chief Fan says "the economy is stable," and China's Beige Book suggests 'everything is awesome', as the survey summarizes, "perceptions of China may be more thoroughly divorced from facts on the ground than at any time in our nearly five years of surveying the economy." If that's the case, then why is Janet in panic mode?
"The 17-year river [of reserve currency buildup and QE around the world] is no longer flowing," warns Appaloosa's David Tepper, and "turbulence" is now the norm. VIX 22 is too low - "expect surging volatility", 18x PE is too high - "margins are set to drop - I have problems with earnings growth and problems with multiples"
Simply put - "Flat stocks is not a bad place to be...unless central banks are on our side again, then every rally should be sold."
It is what happened in investment grade fund flows in the latest week that is making CEO, especially those whose compensation is a direct function of how much stock they repurchase, very nervous because as Lipper reported overnight IG funds just saw $1.8 billion in outflows, the most in over two years or since June 2013. And without the fund inflow train into IG funds operating smoothly, suddenly stock buybacks appear in jeopardy...