Who Was Selling Stocks Last Week Before the Monday Rout?

And who was buying? Answers emerge.

The S&P 500 index hit an all-time high on January 26, which was a Friday. The following week, it started to fall, including a messy 2.1% selloff on Friday that brought the weekly loss to 3.8%, the worst such decline since the selloff that ended on February 7, 2016. So who were the net sellers of stocks during that week just before the 4.1% plunge on Monday? And who was buying just before the plunge?

The smart money:

Hedge funds were the biggest net sellers during that week, according to BofA Merrill Lynch analysts, cited by Bloomberg. The data was based on account activities by clients of BAML. During the week, four of BAML’s client categories sold a net of $3.6 billion in stocks, the most since early June 2016 as Britain’s Brexit vote had been approaching:

  • Hedge funds disposed of nearly $2 billion in shares during that week, or about 55% of the total. This was up from the four-week average of about $300 million in net sales.
  • Institutional investors disposed of $1.3 billion, or about 35% of the total. But they were already heavy sellers averaging $1.2 billion in disposals over the prior four weeks.
  • Retail investors unloaded about $300 million, up from the four-week average of about $200 million.

The dumb money:

But one BAML client category was a net buyer just before the Monday plunge: corporations buying back their own shares. They have fueled the stock market boom over the past few years. They represent the relentless bid. Their purpose is to buy high to push share prices even higher. These BAML clients purchased about $600 million of their own shares just before the plunge.

These corporate share buybacks last week are particularly interesting in that companies are now reporting their Q4 earnings, and they enter into a pre-announcement quiet-period during which share-buybacks are also restricted. This might explain why buybacks during that week were down slightly from the four-week average.

BAML’s corporate clients were the only client category that did not dump shares over the past four weeks, and the four-week average shows net purchases of about $700 million.

Then Monday happened. And whatever hedge funds and institutional investors were doing, retail investors were trying to access their accounts in such large numbers that they ran into outages or slowdowns at a number of online brokers, mutual fund firms, and fintech robo-advisers, at least briefly. They included Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Vanguard Group – whose clients might have experienced “sporadic difficulty” according to a spokeswoman – T. Rowe Price, Wealthfront, and Betterment.

And who else was selling?

Equity ETF holders. For example, they yanked a record $17.4 billion out of the largest ETF, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, over the four-day trading days from February 1 through February 6. According to Bloomberg, this beat the prior record for a four-day period, September 25 – 28, 2007, when investors had yanked out $16 billion.

On just the day of February 6 – which was an enormously volatile day, with stocks surging, plunging, and surging again – investors removed $8 billion from the SPDR S&P 500 ETF. According to Bloomberg, that day was the third-largest single-day withdrawal since the Financial Crisis.

That said, on a percentage basis, the redemptions weren’t in the same league. Just ahead of the selloff on September 25 – 28, 2007, the ETF had total net assets of $93.9 billion, according to SPDR data. So the $16 billion withdrawn during the selloff at the time represented 17% of total net assets before the selloff. This time around the ETF had total net assets of $306.7 billion on January 31, and the $17.4 billion yanked out amounted to less than 6%.

It’s still a large amount – but it goes back to what I said a couple of days ago, this selloff didn’t measure up to the selloffs that occur during the drawn-out periods of a real crash.

With all this wailing in the media, you’d think there’s at least some blood in the streets. But no. Not a drop. Read…  So What Do I Think about the “Crash” in Stocks? 
 

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  68 comments for “Who Was Selling Stocks Last Week Before the Monday Rout?

  1. Rates
    Feb 7, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Do that enough time and pretty soon the banks and asset managers will own the entire economy. Perhaps I should go and apply for work at an Asset Manager.

    I’ve forgotten how these share buybacks are accounted for. Presumably the losses will show up in the income statement somewhere?

    • Jimmy T
      Feb 7, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      There is no corporate gain/loss accounted for in the P&L. The shares are retired, equity is reduced. It’s purely a balance sheet accounting entry impacting cash and equity.

      • d
        Feb 7, 2018 at 11:21 pm

        The shares are supposed to be retired.

        Reality.

        Most of them make their way into Executive remuneration packages and back into the markets.

        HP is one of the poster children of this after many years of share buy Back’s, the gross number of tradable HP shares had in fact Increased by a considerable %.

        • Petunia
          Feb 8, 2018 at 9:26 am

          Companies buyback shares to give or to sell to employees as well. They usually keep these shares in the treasury stock account and give them out in incentive programs at market value. Companies like to do this because the added demand, which they create, helps keep the stock price up.

      • steve
        Feb 8, 2018 at 8:21 am

        Must not forget the ultimate goal. Lower the denominator and the EPS jumps, all else being equal, and stock price jumps. All leading to larger stock option cash to exec.

        Walla, the magic of accounting.

    • cdr
      Feb 7, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      This is called Treasury Stock.

      See below …

      https://www.accountingcoach.com/stockholders-equity/explanation/4

    • Jerome Brick
      Feb 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      Share buybacks don’t affect the income statement. (1) On the balance sheet cash is reduced on the asset side and equity is reduced on the liability side. (2) Or if the firm is borrowing to fund the buyback, accounts payable are increased on the liability side and cash is increased on the asset side, then go to (1).

    • Feb 7, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      With share buybacks, there are no “losses” to be accounted for on the income statement. These are balance-sheet entries. A company reduces its cash or increases its amount of debt by the amount it spends on share buybacks and gets nothing of value in return. Hence it ends up as a reduction of “stockholder equity” on the balance sheet, and bypasses the income statement. These entries remain the same whether the shares eventually go to zero or to a gazillion.

      • Wisdom Seeker
        Feb 8, 2018 at 12:24 am

        If we had more rigorous and ethical accounting, perhaps companies would be required to keep track of share lots issued, share lots redeemed/repurchased, and the net gain/loss on each lot repurchased.

        … And then perhaps held to a standard of not being allowed to buy back stock for a price higher than it was issued for!

        • Feb 8, 2018 at 12:43 am

          Share buybacks used to be illegal and were considered stock manipulation. If there ever was a good regulation, this was it. But it was tossed.

        • d
          Feb 8, 2018 at 1:11 am

          One of those little changes that helped turn America into the land of legalised Corporate Fraud.

          The Corporates just kept on quietly buying congress members until they owned a majority in both party’s. now the constitution protects the Corporate owned Duopoly.

          It wasnt meant to, but it does.

      • Buyback
        Feb 8, 2018 at 3:16 am

        Can’t understand how you can say share buybacks should be made illegal again?

        This is a return of cash to the owners of the business – why should lawmakers interfere with the owners’ relationship with their businesses?

        And why close an avenue for minority shareholders to receive cash from their investments and make them wholly dependent on re-selling their shares to others? (apart from inadequate dividends).

        The allegation of manipulation is countered with public announcements in advance of buybacks.

        Banning buybacks would make stock investors more dependent on speculative attitudes (stock prices going up) rather than focus on their businesses, which can return cash to them (or increase their ownership if they continue as shareholders and that, if done at attractively low prices).

        This is one area where your usually sound financial analysis is definitely out of whack – time to reexamine your flawed analysis. Perhaps you are too enamored with fixed income markets and your analysis there is good.

        • robt
          Feb 8, 2018 at 9:20 am

          How buying back my shares with my own money, leaving me with no shares is a benefit is one of those paradoxes that the business world, and daytraders who make a few bucks on the buyback announcement, never stop endorsing. If the company wants to benefit shareholders they can pay a dividend – supposedly that’s why shares were issued to the public – for income, and the yield is sufficient to enhance the stock price.
          The fact is that options, often excessive, are granted to management, the cash in the Treasury is used to buy back the shares when the options are exercised: result ‘our’ cash goes to those who are exercising options. It’s legal, and just writing yourself a check from the company’s treasury isn’t.
          Many articles, starting with an excellent one by Michael Brush many years ago, reveal that stock buybacks are just a way to loot the treasury, and usually result in a diminished share price and an inflated stock issue. A pioneer in the buyback racket pocketed annual multi-billion dollar options profits for years, even borrowing money to buy back shares, never paid a dividend, and the final result was a share price 10% of what it was.
          Successful companies split shares because their performance enhances share price; they don’t have to buy back their own shares because of them being ‘undervalued’ (the official mantra of the buyback fans).

        • Nick Kelly
          Feb 8, 2018 at 1:28 pm

          ‘This is a return of cash to the owners of the business’

          A return of PROFIT to the shareholders is a DIVIDEND.
          This used to be the norm.

          But I want to cut to the chase and get to the share buy- back that should be illegal and that is the one done NOT with the company’s cash but with borrowed money.

          So this is not a ‘return’ of cash to the owners because the value of the shares is diluted by the amount per share of the loan.
          So is this net- neutral for the shareholders?

          Not if it harms the long- term viability of the company and that seems likely. If the company needs to borrow shouldn’t that be to grow the business? If there is no profit to distribute via a dividend then why is there is a dividend?

          Note: ‘long- term viability’

          What if management, directors and related insiders don’t have the company’s long- term viability as their number one concern? What if their salaries, bonuses etc. are tied to the share price, regardless of the balance sheet ?

          They can profit even when there is no profit. It comes out of the dilution of shareholders’ equity via the loan needed to boost the share price.

        • d
          Feb 9, 2018 at 3:07 am

        • Robert T.
          Feb 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm

          Shares buybacks are not a return of money to the owners- the shareholders- the money is taken right out of their pockets, as it were (out of shareholder equity) for the buybacks.
          If it is done at a time when share prices are low, these shares are typically made available to back issuance of low cost-stock-options to management, as an incentive. The long-term retail shareholder has to suck up the fallen share prices until such a time, if ever, they rise again, at which time management benefits exercising their cheap options.
          Of course, many companies were buying shares back near the top, as Wolf pointed out, which still boosts the apparent EPS and helps keep the bubble going- until now.
          On NPR Radio this afternoon, one of the handmaidens to the powers that be, they had a long discussion about the Panic of 1907, giving the false impression that the Fed came along just in time afterwards to help prevent another panic ( of course ignoring that it had no positive role 22 years later). Returning Glass-Steagall of course never mentioned, nor the fact that the Fed maintains one of the largest trading desks in the U.S., for all anyone knows, shorting the market. When it comes to conflicts of interest, there are none bigger. (and of course, the Pauls, Ron and Rand are “kooks” for calling for an end to its charter.

    • Rates
      Feb 7, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Thank you gents. Honestly, there should be a way to punish corporate officers doing these kinds of shenanigans.

      If the officers really believe that the shares are cheap, then they should borrow money and buy them for their own personal accounts, not use the company’s money.

      • JungleJim
        Feb 7, 2018 at 10:33 pm

        I doubt that these purchases are an investment. It is more likely that corporations are desperate to hide the equity dilution created by their stock option programs. It’s a double whammy. The executives stick their hands into the till then they have the corporation go into debt to hide their actions. What’s not to like ?

      • Derek
        Feb 8, 2018 at 1:29 am

        There is, don’t buy their stock or their products. Just like bad politicians don’t vote for them. Insignificant at the individual level but all powerful en mass.

      • elysianfield
        Feb 8, 2018 at 10:29 am

        “Honestly, there should be a way to punish corporate officers doing these kinds of shenanigans. ”

        Rates,
        Well, extreme wealth is it’s own punishment…the emergency rooms are full of sufferers of lobster poisoning, 10-count shrimp bloating, and Chivas Regal toxic shock….

  2. Steve M
    Feb 7, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Reading around, i see one theory suggests that the recent downturn in the stock market was potentially an intentional “flash crash” which triggered stop-loss selling allowing the big guns to buy up shares at a discount, hence the recovery.

    http://www.wallstreetonparade.com

    How viable is that theory? Are there numbers showing how much of the recent sell off was initiated by stop-loss selling?

    Interesting, though not shocking.

    • Alistair McLaughlin
      Feb 7, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Honestly, I don’t think a brief correction – or even a major crash – needs a theory or an explanation. No market goes up forever. Nothing goes up or down in a straight line. If anything, I think the constant gains and negligible volatility of the past 18 months require more explanation than any crash or panic ever would. Cuz that just ain’t normal. Nor is it healthy.

    • Kiers
      Feb 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      I think there is smoke there! How nice, to require the “tin-horns” invested in the market, sitting on a year of gains to ante-up ANEW! oh there’s smoke there. Over to the SEC. And that’s the last we’ll hear of it.

    • Justme
      Feb 7, 2018 at 10:41 pm

      While HFT algos certainly love to trigger the stop loss orders, I think the Fri/Mon drops were fundamental in nature. Enough people are starting to lose faith in a market that has been running on QE, momentum and yield-chasing. These drops will become increasingly frequent until the whole market comes tumbling down

    • Petunia
      Feb 8, 2018 at 9:47 am

      I don’t think the average “investor” has any appreciation of the extent to which machines control the investment theater. Any and all instruments can be controlled or manipulated and everything can be detected. Once the machines detect any condition they deem needs addressing, they address it in the way they were programed to address it, it doesn’t need to make any sense.

      What happened on Monday was a scene from the Transformers movie played out in the market. Once the machines start a fight and the parts starts start flying through the air, you can’t tell anymore who is winning until it’s over. In the markets it’s over when a machine runs out of money or credit.

      Anybody who thinks they can win in this environment is just plain nuts. You can only be lucky or unlucky.

      • Thomas R Kauser
        Feb 8, 2018 at 1:08 pm

        Would you say it was skill or plain dumb luck that the Federal reserve got paid? Prestidigitation! The public are required to “purchase” 3 trillion dollars of legacy assets off the federal reserve balance whether you like it or don’t! Ignorance is greatttttllly appreciated! The proceeds going to fix the 2008 MBS nightmare? SURPRISE empty bag thanks for listening .

      • Thomas R Kauser
        Feb 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm

        The average citizen thinks stock is turkey broth!

      • Petunia
        Feb 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

        Since I posted this this morning, the computers have gotten into another food fight. Down another 1000 pts.

  3. Tom
    Feb 7, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Fed, Fbi,Doj :Gather together a list of ALGO’s for immediate prosecution. Public notice in all msm should relieve the pressure.

    • Wisdom Seeker
      Feb 8, 2018 at 12:26 am

      Corporate ALGOs should be punished as if they were humans. After all, if corporations are allowed free speech and unlimited donations to PACs, they should also be able to go to jail, have their economic prospects permanently tarnished, and actually suffer for their crimes too.

    • Hirsute
      Feb 8, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Are you saying that you expect the Fed, FBI and DOJ to “protect” the public interest? If so, wow.

  4. Guido
    Feb 7, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    We’ve been reading that SNB and other sovereign funds cannot get enough of FANGS and have been buying every share not nailed down. I wonder where these white knights were when they were needed most on Monday. Is it that their purchases are making a difference on the margin but is not a whole lot overall? Or is it that they stood aside?

    Also, I’ve been reading about XIV having caused a whole lot of storm. It would be nice, @Wolf, if you could do piece detailing the victims of the ‘crash’. Was XIV a cause or effect? Also, I understand the NYFed has been artificially keeping down the VIX and as a result ensuring stock market rise. If the vix is spring loaded, doesn’t it mean the actions we have seen in the last two days are trying to stop water in dam with finger? Meaning, won’t the Monday situation repeat? Also, does it mean Fed is completely outfoxed the market manipulation?

    Splendid piece of writing, as usual. Thank you.

    • Justme
      Feb 7, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      FANG /FAANG/FAAMNG stocks AAPL, AMAZON and GOOGL were doing WORSE than the NASDAQ composite index today. I do not favor the theory that FANG stocks are still in high demand. They rather seem to be faltering.

      • Long FB
        Feb 7, 2018 at 9:48 pm

        The FANG retreat may be a function of massive ETF sales. The FANG component of the most popular ETFs is as high as 40%.

        Unless the issuer of the ETF has a massive credit line to cover redemptions, they have to sell the underlying stocks.

        If that’s what is going on, the consolidation level (supply/demand equilibrium) on the Individual FANG stocks may be artificially low due to ETF redemptions.

        • Justme
          Feb 8, 2018 at 3:08 am

          Don’t disagree with you, but it may be a combination of index fund ETF outflow AND hedge funds now frontrunning the index funds in the opposite direction by dumping FANG stocks, which has been a favorite holding for years now.

  5. economicminor
    Feb 7, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    The 10yr on Google was at 2.84% as the market closed. Money is getting more expensive to borrow.

    Seems to me that the old pattern was that as the market declined, the money moved to treasuries and the interest rates went down. But this decline has had very little effect on them.. In fact they have inched up slowly.

    Wondering whether there isn’t any money to move. Maybe it is mostly margin calls?

    Also wondering about something I read and I think here on WS about margin debt from banks rather than the trading houses.. Also about how a lot of the market money was now in ETFs.. which means selling All the stocks in a specific ETF.. for which there may be limited or even no buyers for some… How is that going to work?

    Interesting times!

    • Feb 7, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      That was actually quite a ride for the 10-year. While stocks swooned on Monday and part of Tuesday, investors bought 10-year Treasuries and drove up the price. As a result, the yield fell as low as 2.65% overnight. But then, as things settled down, the 10-year sold off and the yield zigzagged higher by nearly 20 basis points, almost back to where it had been before. The 5-day chart looks like a scene in the Sierra Nevada with a fabulous cliff on the left side of a big valley.

  6. Feb 7, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I don’t see any sense of panic either. There is no headline to go with the story. If this market does go higher I believe it is on the assumption that the rate hike program is finished. (Just takes one late night tweet) The Fed believes that higher interest rates don’t change their assumptions about economic growth (it was tepid and shall remain so) If the market is being driven by foreign investment (corporate profits recycled as buybacks and outright buying of US assets) then the dollar remains the Feds primary bogey. Assumptions about inflation remain tepid, nobody walking the walk. That gets us back to investors from ROW who are holding gains in a dwindling currency, propped up by rate hikes no one inside the belly of the beast really believes will continue.

  7. Bobber
    Feb 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I think this market will have trouble reaching its old highs anytime soon. People are jarred. My smart millennial neighbor asked me about the stock drop yesterday. He asked me if it was time to sell. First thing out of his mouth.

    If there one more drop of 3% or more, I think you’ll be able to see the change in sentiment. Right now, things are kind of in a daze, like when Tyson took that first hard jab from Buster.

    Once the downtrend is in place, corporations won’t be buying back shares any more, based on historical patterns. They buy on the way up and watch on the way down.

    • ru82
      Feb 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Good comment on investor psychology.

    • Kiers
      Feb 7, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      worse: they buyback their corporate stock when The Cost of Equity is LOW (due to low vol), and sit away as Ke rises with Vix vol now at 20+ regularly. Ivy league stuff, i tell you!

    • Wisdom Seeker
      Feb 8, 2018 at 12:28 am

      Actually, many corporations reissue shares near the bottom in order to raise capital to prevent going broke. Buy high and sell low, what could go wrong? After all, management is only incentivized to get the next bonus, not to actually maximize long-term shareholder value…

  8. Night-Train
    Feb 7, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I think we are entering the market phase in the cycle that I call the inoculation phase. Big dips and quick recoveries lull the regular folks (non-pros) into believing it is a new normal. Then Shazam! The smart money slips out the door, followed by the crash and the regular folks are left holding an empty bag.

  9. Bobby
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Typically isn’t the end of an economic expansion cycle when commodities are thru the roof? (which has only just starting) I’m suspecting that will play out again. I’m watching doctor copper. Entertaining though to see oil sell off today after weekly US shale production numbers as that is the center of the universe, meanwhile world demand will hit 100million soon, declining production everywhere else, and nobody is factoring in shale decline rates of 50% after year one, 30% each subsequent year.

    • Feb 7, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      My guess is we’re about thirty years away from that point in time. Commodities are still in a bear market that will probably persist for many decades.

  10. walter map
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:06 pm
  11. Josh
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    “this selloff didn’t measure up to the selloffs that occur during the drawn-out periods of a real crash.”
    But it is measuring up beautifully with the selloffs that herald a bear market crash. Take a look at the 1946, 1987, 2000, 2007 charts. Typically , a 7-10% downturn from the bubble peak is followed by a dead cat bounce taking the market back up to the vicinity of its recent peak.
    From there it’s alll downhill.

    • ru82
      Feb 7, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      Exactly.

      In 2000 the economy was doing great with lots of promise of the new Internet age. Some Internet companies were not delivering but that was also the case in 1998 through 2000. I still remember the big 500 point down day in April and May.

      In 2007, you could see it coming in 2006. Mortgage brokers left and right were going bankrupt in 2006, foreclosures were increasing rapidly, credit cards were staring to defalut.

      Right now we are more like 2000? The economy is doing well. Tax cuts should help boost EPS. But my worry will be rising interest rates that will impact all the debt that eventually needs to be rolled over.

      • Mark
        Feb 8, 2018 at 6:09 am

        Yield curve needs to invert. We are not there yet.

        We’ve gone so long without a run of the mill correction that retail investors are getting rattled by a short term sell off that, up until a few years ago, would have been a ho-hum event. The economy looks great and there is still another year or two of runway ahead of equities. If the economic fundamentals degrade, tanking long term rates and that inverts the curve, it’s time to get out, but not until then.

        • Nick Kelly
          Feb 8, 2018 at 3:26 pm

          I’m going to disagree. largely but not completely from a mountain of diverse data on Wolf Street. I think there is a good chance the crash has begun.

          Brick and mortar retail: too many to list in a comment but see WS. Tens of thousands of outlets closed. The whole concept of the mall in doubt. Consequent problem for the refinancing of commercial RE, with its bonds held everywhere.

          The Miami condo crash (WS) and the peaking of high end RE.

          Not from WS, from the Guardian, (enter Ghost Towers) the crash in London luxury condos. This is a big one. A large % of stuff brought on in the last two years is unsold. One Russian who bought one off the plan for 3 million pounds was unable to complete and had to sell at a 500, 000 pound loss.

          One comment from a sort of sane RE guy: ‘we need more affordable one and two bedroom condos for 500, 000 pounds.’

          But wait there’s more! Spurred on by the pre-Brexit mania, developers have 420 towers in the pipeline, a tower being 20 or more floors. (Some 4:20 might be called for, but the number is not a joke or misprint)
          Let’s say half these can be aborted, and a mere two hundred arrive on the market, and let’s say there are ten units per floor.
          So 200 towers X 20 floors each X 10 = 40,000.

          40,000 units into a VERY slow 1900 unit market! It can’t be true, right?
          But that’s in London not here? It’s all connected.

          I’m not going to rattle on forever but I think a stock market largely supported by social media stocks,hamburger joints, coffee makers, coffee roasters and coffee shops is not a solid foundation for a economy. Then we have demographics with the baby boomers really starting to hit social security, record public and private debt….
          Etc.

          Finally, it is pretty much agreed that when a market (or spring) gets really stretched, it doesn’t go sideways, or even regress to the mean, it overshoots in the other direction
          Very overpriced RE, brings on excess supply and then we have under priced RE.
          What would it take for this stock market to be cheap?
          I think, more like a 30 % fall than 10%. The Fed’s over reaction to every little hiccup has held off several 10 % corrections.
          Can we get away with just one?

    • Feb 7, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      I don’t disagree.

      • d
        Feb 7, 2018 at 11:28 pm

  12. Kiers
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    One of the biggest Buyback co’s: BoA itself! To boot, when a bank does “buy-backs” it is Destroying Tier 1 capital! “Destroying Tier 1 Capital”! All in an environment where the Fed itself is overal burning money via QT. Brilliant stuff.

    • Feb 7, 2018 at 9:23 pm

      That’s why banks weren’t allowed to do buybacks after the Financial Crisis until just recently. They weren’t even allowed to pay dividends unless Tier 1 capital was large enough. I think they’re all now allowed to do buybacks and pay dividends.

      • Justme
        Feb 7, 2018 at 11:43 pm

        Wow, banks were not allowed to buy back shares. So the regulators actually did something about banks sine 2009. Who woulda’ thunk.

        • Feb 8, 2018 at 12:41 am

          Yes, but bailed-out banks and bailed-out Wall Street were wailing about it for years before they were finally allowed to.

  13. Paul Morphy
    Feb 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    My gut tells me that events in the bond market are the cause for the downward move in equities. Once the US 10 bond yield moved above 2.65 threshold, equity indices started to decline. Granted there were slight indices increases but overall the equity indices trend was downward. Coupled with the fact that equity indices values were inflated anyhow, a correction was always going to be likely once bond yields began to increase.

    (This isn’t posted as investment advice. More the views of an interested non-investor).

  14. Si
    Feb 8, 2018 at 2:54 am

    I have come to the reluctant conclusion that they (Feds and their favoured actors) own the lot, everything. Japan has showed that bond prices can be kept as low as they want, and that buying equities controls the equity prices. The concept of ‘market’ (where buyers and sellers meet and price is established) simply doesn’t exist. Post the minor dip I watched futures rocket up, that is where the action/control is. We are witnesses to a control fraud for which bad actors have been given immunity.
    We are living in ‘Enronworld’…. without end.

  15. Justme
    Feb 8, 2018 at 3:11 am

    @Wolf, blog posting times now seem to be Eastern EST. Did something change? I thought it used to be on Pacific PST?

    • Feb 8, 2018 at 8:34 am

      You’re very observant. It happens every year. The time stamp of the website is set at UTC-5. I could change it to keep it in line with US daylight savings time. But I don’t. So in the winter, the time stamp is on Eastern Time. In summer, it’s on Central Time. I’m on Pacific Time. So for me, it’s now 5:33 AM :-]

  16. JM Keynes
    Feb 8, 2018 at 4:51 am

    – There were some signs that a reversal of e.g. the S&P 500 was “in the air”. It gave me the opportunity to “go short”. Hadsome NICE profits.

  17. Bet
    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:46 am

    What makes the markets so dangerous now is on monthly charts (which are powerful as it takes so long to make a signal) all time new highs were made on negative divergences. A shorters best signal. And the new highs maybe exceeded but short lived
    Or it sets the dreaded dbl top lower high
    … strap your selves in it’s going to be a bumpy ride

  18. Feb 8, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Pretty soon the Fed will be buying back their stock for them. The stock gets buried in the (Treasuries) Feds balance sheet, (or off balance sheet? kinky) or closely held as they say. Authority to buy stocks requires Congressional approval (or a tweet). The end game is take the publically listed company private. Only the worst (cH11) companies are taken private, but often at inflated stock prices and where we are going that describes everyone. I expect a repeat of 2008, just step on the gas once more, an environment where the worst companies do the best. The caveat to that is should “sound money” people take control then the dreaded “L” shaped bottom would occur.

    • Tom Kauser
      Feb 8, 2018 at 1:17 pm

      I smell “mark to market ” freshness!

  19. Tom Kauser
    Feb 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    13 times earnings market or bust?

  20. Joe
    Feb 8, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Wolf, I’m curious to get your feedback on this. The market was down 1000 points again today, and if it turns into a real crash, wouldn’t it be an idea time for the Fed to start offloading assets off its books? There’s usually a “flight to safety” during market downturns, which means there’s a lot more demand for bonds. It seems like that would be the perfect time for the Fed to sell into that demand. What are your thoughts on that?

  21. Ricardo
    Feb 8, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Comments by agents of the Federal Reserve reinforce the notion that the central bank is about to crush the bull market bubble. San Francisco branch head Robert Kaplan has been quoted as saying the Fed may be required to hike interest rates MORE than the three times expected by mainstream economists in 2018.

    As noted above, Janet Yellen’s exit statements were decidedly “hawkish,” suggesting that property markets and stocks are overpriced. On top of this, Jerome Powell, the new Fed chair, has been quoted in Fed documents from 2012 (finally released this past month) discussing the market bubble the Fed had created and the need to temper that bubble. In other words, Powell is the perfect man for the job of imploding stocks. Powell even predicted in 2012 that when the Fed raises rates the reaction by stock markets might be severe. Interesting that markets would plunge the very first day Powell assumes the Fed chair position.

    http://www.alt-market.com

  22. ML
    Feb 9, 2018 at 1:22 am

    The load of pretentious nonsense that is spouted whenever the market goes up or down is a lesson in just how needy people are to find a plausible reason to excuse the fact that making money is the raisin d’etre for the stock market.

    Mostly people are geared to thinking rising markets: upwards and onwards But investment is not about a one way direction but about becoming better off than now. With ways of making money out of downwards and inwards, it is manifestly unrealistic to disregard the potential in those methods. The bottom line is that amongst those that are better able to capitalise on falling markets the desire to provoke the market into crashing is ever present.

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