Revisiting Yellen’s Bubble Doctrine

There is growing turmoil in buybacks that threatens the very fabric of the stock bubble. That was always the primary transmission of the foundation of its current manifestation, corporate debt, into asset prices; especially the huge run following QE3 and QE4. As represented by the SP 500 Buyback Index, this liquidity propensity has found a durable reverse. After peaking all the way back in late February, the index is now more than 12% below that level after sustaining the August 24 liquidation.

The fact that this reversal is seven months in the making more than suggests a potential major shift. As the NYSE Composite, stocks were not long for continued momentum against the “dollar.” Buybacks seemed to have weathered the first piece of the first “dollar” wave, but as junk debt there was always conjoined a limit.

Some say expectations around the Federal Reserve have a lot to do with the buyback decline. Even though the central bank elected to keep its benchmark rate near zero Thursday, fears of higher rates are causing companies to rethink their capital return program, posits Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management.


“Even though rates have not gone up, we clearly are in a tightening position in terms of monetary policy, and I think they’re looking ahead and saying, ‘Do I really want to finance this thing with no-longer-cheap money that we used to have a couple months ago?’” Schlossberg said Tuesday in a ” Trading Nation ” segment.

I have little doubt that the causation effect claimed above is slightly misplaced, as “monetary tightening” isn’t the Fed so much as the eurodollar standard; that is just one mainstream method of trying to reconcile what is now seen with the financial plumbing remained misunderstood and largely hidden. As with the junk bond bubble, there is undoubtedly a correlation

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