July 4th, 2015

It’s Supply and Demand

We’ve put a twist on President Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan “It’s the Economy – Stupid”, suggesting investors stay focused on what’s driving this market: namely corporate buybacks and mergers and acquisition activity.

For sure, there are a lot of headlines to worry about especially regarding Greece and China’s stock market. I won’t dismiss them, but Greece seems to be on a path to resolution even if it might only be temporary. All told, it’s estimated that the country owes about $540 billion, spread among bond obligations, central bank’s liquidity assistance and interbank balances. A default would require some of the institutions that have lent Greece money such as the European Stabilization Mechanism (ESM), which is a corporation, and the European Central Banks (ECB) to recapitalize themselves. Given that the ECB has been a buyer of bonds, this would probably be pretty disruptive to the European Monetary policy.

China is also a wild card. Their domestic stock markets have risen about 150% since last year. However, they’ve collapsed almost 30% since mid-June, wiping out an estimated $4 trillion of value. The cause of the decline is being blamed on forced liquidation from margin calls where loans to support equity purchases surged five-fold to $323 billion since last year.