Demand for U.S. shares among companies and individuals is diverging at a rate that may be without precedent, another sign of how crucial buybacks are in propping up the bull market as it enters its eighth year.
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index constituents are poised to repurchase as much as $165 billion of stock this quarter, approaching a record reached in 2007. The buying contrasts with rampant selling by clients of mutual and exchange-traded funds, who after pulling $40 billion since January are on pace for one of the biggest quarterly withdrawals ever.
What Bloomberg is confused by is that despite this unprecedented rally, after a brief period of inflows in 2013 and 2014, investors have been pulling money out of stocks at a record pace, leading not only Bloomberg but many others to dub the move in the market as the "most-hated rally ever."
Specifically, what Bloomberg fails to note is that as everyone else has been selling, corporations have unleashed the biggest debt-funded stock buyback spree in history, providing the natural offset to wholesale selling by virtually everyone else, and allowing the market to barely dip over the past year.
and allowing the market to barely dip over the past year.
With the economy shrinking again and prices flat, Abe has already announced he will set up a panel to consider fresh budget spending to provide the stimulus that monetary policy has struggled to achieve.
The controversy over the negative rates move, which unlike his previous eye-catching policy steps was not welcomed by Japan's stock market, comes even as Kuroda is on the verge of gaining greater control of the bank's nine-member board. Two skeptics of his stimulus program are stepping down in the coming months.