In a month, quarter and year, in which many have scratched their heads trying to answer just who is buying stocks, as both retail and smart money investors have been aggressively selling...
... yesterday we got the answer.
In the second quarter, the Swiss National Bank added $7.3 billion to its US equity portfolio, and according to its just filed 13-F, is now long a record $61.8 billion in US stocks, up from $54.5 billion a month ago. In fact, rising from $41.3 billion in total US stock holdings as of December 2015, this means that the Swiss central bank increased its total US holdings by a record 50% in the first half of 2016.
That's just a small fraction of the central bank's total assets, which amounted to CHF690 billion of which CHF635 was in the form of foreign currency investments, which include bonds and stocks.
Of this CHF635 billion, the activist central bank had invested 20% in global equities, with about 60% of that being allocated to US stocks.
Going back to the SNB's US equity focus, here is a breakdown of the top 15 holdings, most of which posted substantial increases in the second quarter.
And, of course, the top holding which as regular readers know, is Apple. In fact, with its latest holdings of 15.6 million in AAPL shares, the central bank is a bigger holder than Calpers, Janus, Invesco, Oppenheimer, Franklin Resources, Morgan Stanley and hundreds more.
Shortly, we will show the just as unprecedented buying of US stocks by another state actor, Japan's $1.3 trillion General Pension Investment Fund, which also acquired billions of stocks in the past few months, but even absent that we now have the answer to the recurring question of who has been buying stocks as others were selling: central banks.