Mar 27

- China’s Stock Bubble Leaves BNP Speechless: “What Happens Next Is An Unknown-Unknown” (ZeroHedge, March 26, 2015):

Earlier this month, we identified the reason why Chinese stocks have continued to rise in the face of overwhelming evidence that the country’s economy is decelerating quickly. While the first part of the 8-month run can be plausibly attributed to PSL, the furious buying that began in late November looks to be at least partly attributable to the fact that thanks to tighter regulations on lending outside the traditional banking system, China’s $2 trillion shadow banking complex needed somewhere to put cash to work and that somewhere turns out to be the giant bubble that is the SHCOMP. Here’s more:

Because according to Reuters, it is precisely China’s trust firms, with total assets of $2.2 trillion, and who together with Banker Acceptances comprise the bulk of China’s shadow banking pipeline, and no longer able (or willing) to lend to China’s small companies and individuals due to a spike in regulation, are shifting more cash into frothy capital markets and over-the-counter (OTC) instruments instead of loans.

In other words, instead of using their vast cash hoard of over $2 trillion to re-lend and stimulate China’s economy, China’s unregulated, shadow banking conduits are now directly buying stocks! Continue reading »

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Mar 25

kuroda_0

- Bank Of Japan’s 10 Trillion Equity Portfolio “Not Large” Says Bank Of Japan (ZeroHedge, March 25, 2015):

As we’ve discussed twice this month, the world has now officially given up any pretensions that Japan’s elephantine QE program isn’t underwriting the rally in Japanese stocks. Not only is the Bank of Japan buying ETFs, they’re targeting their purchases to (literally) ensure that stocks can’t fall by stepping in when things look weak at the open. Unfortunately, Kuroda looks set to run up against the extremely inconvenient fact that while, in his lunacy, he can print a theoretically unlimited amount of money, the universe of purchasable ETFs is limited and so eventually, the BoJ will own the entire market. Here’s what we said last week:

As it turns out, the central bank may now run into the same inconvenience in its efforts to control the stock market that it encountered on the way to monopolizing the JGB market: there’s only so much out there to buy. Here’s more from Bloomberg: 

BOJ held 3.85t yen ($32.0b) of ETFs at end-2014 and plans to boost these holdings by 3t yen per year; at this pace, the current market value of 11.5t yen in ETFs would be entirely bought by BOJ by end-2017, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

You read that correctly — the Bank of Japan will own the entire Japanese ETF market within about 30 months. So with all of the JGBs marked for purchase and with all of the ETFs exhausted, there’s only one place to go next: individual stocks. Continue reading »

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Mar 24

- The Biggest Threat To The S&P 500 In The Next Month: “Biggest Buyer Of Stocks In 2015″ Enters Blackout Period (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015)

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Mar 24

- DAX Is The Most Overbought Since The Peak In 2000 (ZeroHedge, March 24, 2015):

The German DAX stock market index has only been this extended relative to its 200-day moving-average once in history… March 2000 – and that did not end well…

20150324_DAX

Thank you Mr. Draghi…

Chart: Bloomberg

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Mar 23

TIME THE CRASH

- Who Left the Crash Window Open? (OfTwoMinds, March 22, 2015):

Can stocks keep hitting new highs even as sales and profits fall?

Given that we live in a world where a modest 3% decline in the stock market triggers panicky demands for more quantitative easing (QE 4), few observers expect much a correction, regardless of the souring fundamentals such as sales and profits.
A correspondent notified me of a Puetz “crash” window (based on the analysis of Stephen J. Puetz) opening in late March-early April. (Since I am not a subscriber to Puetz’s work, I can’t confirm this.) As I understand it, while these windows do not predict a crash/sharp correction, such moves tend to occur in these windows, which are based on cycles and events such as eclipses.
So I decided to look for any evidence that a sharp correction might be in the offing. Continue reading »

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Mar 21

- “Market Is Hyper Overpriced” Warns Retiring Fed President; “Significiant Correction” Coming (ZeroHedge, March 20, 2015):

Fresh from a well-publicized dollar dispute with Goldman’s Gary Cohn, recently retired Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher made an appearance on CNBC Friday and spoke with Rick Santelli. There were quite a number of notable exchanges including the following zingers..

Santelli: “If you had to rate the US economy 0-10 where would you peg it?”

Fisher: “We’re #1., we’re a 10. We’re the epicenter of growth and in the sweet spot.”

Santelli: “Do you think any part of the stock market being high has anything to do with the committee you just left and if you didn’t grade the economy on a curve would you still give it a 10?” 

Fisher: “Well, what worries me is how totally lazy investors have gotten, totally dependent on the Federal Reserve and I find this to be a precarious situation.”

Fisher: “Are we vulnerable in my personal opinion to a significant equity market correction? I believe we are.” 

Then Santelli pulls out a Pavlov reference suggesting that the Fed has in fact conditioned retail investors to be lazy prompting Fisher to point out the irony in the fact that global financial markets are depending on a “diminutive woman” (Yellen) to play Atlas. “What worries me is that the people that watch this show are completely dependent on the Fed — look at the volatility. I could see a correction taking place of substantial magnitude.”  Continue reading »

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Mar 21

- Japanese Pension Funds Dive Into Stocks To “Increase Risk-Taking” (ZeroHedge, March 19, 2015):

One thing we’ve discussed on a number of occasions lately is the fact that pension funds the world over are increasingly adopting the same behavior as other investors in a world characterized by artificially suppressed yields: they’re shifting to riskier assets. In the case of US public sector pension funds this is a necessity because assumptions about investment rates dictate the discount rate used to calculate the present value of liabilities and so as soon as you admit you can’t make 8% when risk-free assets are yielding less than 2% in the US and close to or less than 0% in other locales, you effectively become even more underfunded than you already were. The solution is to take more risks in order to justify return expectations and in the US the percentage of funds’ capital dedicated to equities has risen from under 30% in the mid-eighties to as high as 60% more recently while the fixed income allocation has steadily fallen.

As you might expect, Japanese public pension plans are also feeling the heat as the BOJ has driven yields on JGBs into the ground by planning to monetize the entirety of gross issuance. The result has been a truly epic shift out of domestic government bonds. As Bloomberg reports, Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund sold nearly $50 billion in JGBs in Q4, opting instead to chase after higher returns in the stock market: Continue reading »

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Mar 20

kuroda_0

- Bank Of Japan’s Plunge Protection Desperation: “May Buy Individual Stocks” (ZeroHedge, March 19, 2015):

Earlier this month, the BoJ surveyed 40 dealers and discovered something shocking: buying the entirety of JGB gross issuance has had a rather dramatic effect on liquidity. In fact, two thirds of the firms who participated reported having “some or a lot” of problems and described bid-asks as “not very tight.” Today, an internal report from the central bank indicates officials are slowly coming to accept the fact that their actions have consequences although as you can see from the following, the fact that the BoJ is literally buying all of the bonds is still low on the list of factors the central bank figures might be negatively affecting liquidity…

Via Bloomberg:  Continue reading »

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Mar 19

SnapChat

- Surprise: Tech Company Valuations Are Completely Made Up (ZeroHedge, March 18, 2015):

Talk of a massive bubble in the red hot world of private tech companies is getting louder of late. As we noted last week, Prem Watsa recently highlighted what he called excessive “speculation” in tech stocks and predicted that at the end of the day, habitually slapping billion-dollar valuations on unproven companies that often have little more than an app and a dream will end “very badly.” This comes on the heels of Mark Cuban’s warning that stretched valuations in private tech companies are far more dangerous than any perceived Nasdaq bubble 2.0, as at least with overvalued publicly traded firms there’s liquidity.

Well, now that everyone is jumping on the “there’s no way that app is worth $50 billion” bandwagon, Bloomberg is out with a startling revelation: “Snapchat, the photo-messaging app raising cash at a $15 billion valuation, probably isn’t actually worth more than Clorox.” 

No, probably not, but it sure is more fun than doing laundry, which is why it absolutely makes sense that the number VCs are putting on the app makes absolutely no sense.

Here’s Bloomberg: Continue reading »

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Mar 18

20150319_EOD

- Fed Growth Cut Unleashes Panic Buying Of Everything; Dollar Plunges Most Since 2009 (ZeroHedge, March 18, 2015):

Oil spiked 6% because “The Fed said the economy is slowing”; Stocks are up because “The Fed said the economy is slowing”; USD strength is a signal of the strength of the US economy which “The Fed said is now slowing”; Small Caps hit Record Highs because “The Fed said the economy is slowing”; and Nasdaq Tops 5,000 because “The Fed said the economy is slowing” – really only one thing for it…

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Mar 18

GS1

- Options Market Signals 2007-Like Crash Risk, Goldman Warns (ZeroHedge, March 17, 2015):

Although US equity prices have demonstrated a remarkable propensity to completely disregard apparently unimportant things like macro fundamentals, forward earnings estimates, and top-line growth projections, we’ve long argued that eventually, reality will come calling and the farther stretched valuations become in the meantime, the more painful the correction will be. As we noted on Sunday, the cracks are starting to form as DB became the first sell-side firm to predict that EPS will in fact not grow in 2015, prompting us to remark that “EPS growth in 2015 [is] now a wash (if not negative), which implies the only upside for the S&P 500 will once again come from substantial multiple expansion.” Against this backdrop of declining revenues, declining earnings, and pitiable economic projections (thanks a lot Atlanta Fed Nowcast), we bring you yet another sign that a “correction” may indeed be in the cards: an epic decoupling of put prices and S&P P/E ratios. 

Here’s Goldman:  Continue reading »

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Mar 17

- Meet The Relentless, Mystery Buyer Of Chinese Stocks Even As China’s Economy Grinds To A Crawl (ZeroHedge, March 16, 2015):

Unlike the late summer and early fall of 2014, when the rise in the Chinese stock market could be attributed to the PBOC’s PSL “QE Lite”, the relentless buying leg that started in mid-November has stunned most people, as nobody has been able to figure out just who is responsible for all this buying. Until now. According to Reuters, it is precisely China’s trust firms, with total assets of $2.2 trillion, and who together with Banker Acceptances comrpise the bulk of China’s shadow banking pipeline, are shifting more cash into frothy capital markets and over-the-counter (OTC) instruments instead of loans. In other words, instead of using their vast cash hoard of over $2 trillion to re-lend and stimulate China’s economy, China’s unregulated, shadow banking conduits are now directly buying stocks!

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Mar 15

- Michael Lewis is Right “Spoofing” Proves Market Rigged on Daily Basis (ZeroHedge, March 14, 2015):

Accordingly, Michael Lewis is right markets are rigged, but he really is underestimating the extent of market manipulation, financial markets really are the wild west, investors should always be wary of how they are being taken advantage of in financial markets. The phrase Caveat Emptor ‘Let the buyer beware’ applies here.

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Mar 14

Flash Boys’ Michael Lewis Warns “The Problem’s Not Just HFT, The Problem Is The Entire System” (ZeroHedge, March 13, 2015): 

As HFT shops begin to turn on each other, it seems appropriate to reflect on the impact that Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys book had on exposing the ugly truth that many have been discussing for years in US (and international) equity (and non-equity) markets. As Lewis concludes, after explaining the attacks he has suffered from the HFT industry, “If I didn’t do more to distinguish ‘good’ H.F.T. from ‘bad’ H.F.T., it was because I saw, early on, that there was no practical way for me or anyone else… to do it. …  The big banks and the exchanges [have] been paid to compromise investors’ interests while pretending to guard those interests. I was surprised more people weren’t angry with them.”

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Mar 13

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- One American’s Rage Spills Over: Shut Your Mouth & Start Fighting These Political Parasites (ZeroHedge, March 13, 2015):

Warning: NSFW, for the weak of heart, look away…

Submitted by Thad Beversdorf via First Rebuttal blog,

I was shocked today by the absolute gaul of the Fed releasing a statement about Net Worth in America reaching record levels.  Now I get that they are under extreme pressure to sell the story that everything is rainbows and butterflies.  But surely they understand that working class Americans are going along with the story because they really don’t have any say in our nation’s policies anymore.  That doesn’t mean they want it thrown in their faces that the Fed has spent 6 years now inflating the wealth of the top 10% so much that it actually lifts the total wealth of the nation’s citizens to record highs.

The ugly reality is that the bottom 80% of Americans experienced none of that gain.  That’s right a big ole goose egg.  And so when the Fed via its ass pamper boy, Steve Liesman, start banging on about the fact that some sliver of society is being handed extraordinary wealth while the working class has lost 40% of their net worth since 2007, well a big fuck you right back at ya bub!  The Fed is very aware that the bottom 80% of Americans own less than 5% of US equity markets.  And so the Fed is very aware that its manipulation of stock prices such that it creates immense unearned wealth to those in the markets doesn’t reach the bottom 80%.  So why celebrate the results of the stock market price manipulation??

Continue reading »

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Mar 13

20150312_EOD

- Worst Macro Data Since Lehman Sparks Stock Buying Frenzy (ZeroHedge, March 12, 2015)

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Mar 13

wow chart eurozone PEs

- Albert Edwards’ “WOW!” Chart, Or Why “Draghi Makes Greenspan Look Like A Rank Amateur” (ZeroHedge, March 12, 2015):

Back in January, when European stocks were only starting their unprecedented QE ramp, we presented the “Driver Behind The European Stock Surge” in which we showed that ever since Mario Draghi’s “whatever it takes” speech in July 2012, European equity prices were up 50% (even higher now) even as corporate earnings had actually declined by 7%. Continue reading »

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Mar 12

kuroda_0

- Plunge Protection Exposed: Bank Of Japan Stepped In A Stunning 143 Times To Buy Stocks, Prevent Drop (ZeroHedge, March 11, 2015):

Since 2010, The Bank of Japan has ‘openly’ – no conspiracy theory here – been a buyer of Japanese stock ETFs. Their bravado increased as the years passed and Abe pressured them from their independence to ‘show’ that his policies were working to the point that in September 2014, The BoJ bought a record amount of Japanese stock ETFs taking its holdings to over 1.5% of the entire market cap, surpassing Nippon Life as the largest individual holder of Japanese stocks. However, as WSJ reports,The BoJ has now gone full intervention-tard – buying Japanese stocks on 76% of the days when the market opened lower.

As The Wall Street Journal reports,

The Bank of Japan’s aggressive purchasing of stock funds has helped Japanese shares climb to multiyear highs in recent months. But some within the central bank are growing uncomfortable about the fast-paced rally and the bank’s own role in fueling it. Continue reading »

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Mar 10

 GM

- GM Authorizes $5 Billion Stock Buyback, Will Return All Cash Over $20 Billion To Shareholders (ZeroHedge, March 9, 2015):

Doubting if the growth ahead of GM is now over, and the great post-bankruptcy “success story” is rapidly fading as the company has been pushed to resort to the kind of financial engineering which has pushed the S&P higher for all of 2014, and follows a record month of stock buyback announcements? Then doubt no more: moments ago GM announced it is authorizing an immediate $5 billion stock buyback, and plans to return all cash above a $20 billion floor to shareholders.

From the Press Release: Continue reading »

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Mar 09

Stock-Market-Crash

- 7 Signs That A Stock Market Peak Is Happening Right Now (Economic Collapse, March 9, 2015):

Is this the end of the last great run for the U.S. stock market?  Are we witnessing classic “peaking behavior” that is similar to what occurred just before other major stock market crashes?  Throughout 2014 and for the early stages of 2015, stocks have been on quite a tear.  Even though the overall U.S. economy continues to be deeply troubled, we have seen the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq set record after record.  But no bull market lasts forever – particularly one that has no relation to economic reality whatsoever.  This false bubble of financial prosperity has been enjoyable, and even I wish that it could last much longer.  But there comes a time when we all must face reality, and the cold, hard facts are telling us that this party is about to end.

The following are 7 signs that a stock market peak is happening right now:

#1 Just before a stock market crash, price/earnings ratios tend to spike, and that is precisely what we are witnessing.  The following commentary and chart come from Lance Roberts

The chart below shows Dr. Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted P/E ratio. The problem is that current valuations only appear cheap when compared to the peak in 2000. In order to put valuations into perspective, I have capped P/E’s at 30x trailing earnings. The dashed orange line measures 23x earnings which has been the level where secular bull markets have previously ended. I have noted the peak valuations in periods that have exceeded that 30x earnings.

markets-are-cheap

At 27.85x current earning the markets are currently at valuation levels where previous bull markets have ended rather than continued. Furthermore, the markets have exceeded the pre-financial crisis peak of 27.65x earnings. If earnings continue to deteriorate, market valuations could rise rapidly even if prices remain stagnant.

#2 The average bull market lasts for approximately 3.8 years. The current bull market has already lasted for six years.

#3 The median total gain during a bull market is 101.5 percent.  For this bull market, it has been 213 percent.

#4 Usually before a stock market crash we see a divergence between the relative strength index and the stock market itself.  This happened prior to the bursting of the dotcom bubble, it happened prior to the crash of 2008, and it is happening again right now

The first technical warning sign that we should heed is marked by a significant divergence between the relative strength index (RSI) and the market itself. This is noted by a declining pattern of lower highs in the RSI as stocks continue to make higher highs, a sign that the market is “topping out”. In the late ‘90s this divergence persisted for many years as the tech bubble reached epic valuation levels. In 2007 this divergence lasted over a much shorter period (6 months) before the market finally peaked and succumbed to massive selling. With last month’s strong rally to new records, we now have a confirmed divergence between the long-term relative strength index and the market’s price action.

#5 In the past, peaks in margin debt have been very closely associated with stock market peaks.  The following chart comes from Doug Short, and I included it in a previous article

Margin-Debt

#6 As I have discussed previously, we usually witness a spike in 10 year Treasury yields just about the time that the stock market is peaking right before a crash.

Well, according to Business Insider, we just saw the largest 5 week rate rally in two decades…

Lots of guys and gals went home this past weekend thinking about the implications of the recent rise in the 10-year Treasury bond’s yield.

Chris Kimble notes it was the biggest 5-week rate rally in twenty years!

#7 A lot of momentum indicators seem to be telling us that we are rapidly approaching a turning point for stocks.  For example, James Stack, the editor of InvesTech Research, says that the Coppock Guide is warning us of “an impending bear market on the not-too-distant horizon”

A momentum indicator dubbed the Coppock Guide, which serves as “a barometer of the market’s emotional state,” has also peaked, Stack says. The indicator, which, “tracks the ebb and flow of equity markets from one psychological extreme to another,” is also flashing a warning flag.

The Coppock Guide’s chart pattern is flashing a “double top,”  which suggests that “psychological excesses are present” and that “secondary momentum has peaked” in this bull market, according to Stack.

“All of this is just another reason for concern about an impending bear market on the not-too-distant horizon,” Stack writes.

So if we are to see a stock market crash soon, when will it happen?

Well, the truth is that nobody knows for certain.

It could happen this week, or it could be six months from now.

In fact, a whole lot of people are starting to point to the second half of 2015 as a danger zone.  For example, just consider the words of David Morgan

“Momentum is one indicator and the money supply. Also, when I made my forecast, there is a big seasonality, and part of it is strict analytical detail and part of it is being in this market for 40 years. I got a pretty good idea of what is going on out there and the feedback I get. . . . I’m in Europe, I’m in Asia, I’m in South America, I’m in Mexico, I’m in Canada; and so, I get a global feel, if you will, for what people are really thinking and really dealing with. It’s like a barometer reading, and I feel there are more and more tensions all the time and less and less solutions. It’s a fundamental take on how fed up people are on a global basis. Based on that, it seems to me as I said in the January issue of the Morgan Report, September is going to be the point where people have had it.”

Time will tell if Morgan was right.

But without a doubt, lots of economic warning signs are starting to pop up.

One that is particularly troubling is the decline in new orders for consumer goods.  This is something that Charles Hugh-Smith pointed out in one of his recent articles…

The financial news is astonishingly rosy: record trade surpluses in China, positive surprises in Europe, the best run of new jobs added to the U.S. economy since the go-go 1990s, and the gift that keeps on giving to consumers everywhere, low oil prices.

So if everything is so fantastic, why are new orders cratering?New orders are a snapshot of future demand, as opposed to current retail sales or orders that have been delivered.

Posted below is a chart that he included with his recent article.  As you can see, the only time things have been worse in recent decades was during the depths of the last financial crisis…

Charles-Hugh-Smith-New-Orders

To me, it very much appears that time is running out for this bubble of false prosperity that we have been living in.

But what do you think?  Please feel free to contribute to the discussion by posting a comment below…

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