Earlier today we reported that one of the reasons why futures slumped after rising as high as 2,500 in the overnight session following the announcement that a fiscal stimulus deal had been reached between the White House and Congress, is that according to CHuck Schumer, the bill would "ban stock buybacks for the term of the government assistance plus 1 year on any company receiving a government loan from the bill."
This spooked investors, who were afraid that the buyback backlash would affect more companies than just those on "government assistance."
However, just a few hours later, the exact same news was seen as positive, because stocks blasted off to session highs, and the Dow was up more than 1,000 points, when CNBC's Kayla Taushe reported basically what we said 5 hours earlier, namely that "Per text circulated among lawmakers before a call with Sec. Mnuchin, a company that takes a government loan cannot buy back its stock until 1yr after the loan is paid..."
Per text circulated among lawmakers before a call with Sec. Mnuchin, a company that takes a government loan cannot buy back its stock until 1yr after the loan is paid back --> pic.twitter.com/VspnHpbEya— Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) March 25, 2020
And that "While the loan is outstanding? No dividends."
AND: While the loan is outstanding? No dividends. pic.twitter.com/Ru9b1YjxQV— Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) March 25, 2020
While there was no actual news in that report vs what we - and others - had reported earlier, it appears that sentiment had flexed so much that what was earlier seen as bad news, was now viewed as good as there was no incremental "punishment" aimed at companies repurchasing their stock. And since most companies would be allowed to continue splurging on buybacks, and with trillions injected in the economy everyone would benefit from the Fed's liquidity not just those companies directly receiving a government loan, this meant that once the crisis is over, the record number of buyback observed in the past two years will explode higher as virtually every company will do everything in their power to recover the pre-crisis price levels only this time it will have the explicit backstop of the Fed.
The result: this.