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FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

Are Stock Market Buyouts Checking Out?

Stock-Markets / Stock Markets 2015 Jan 20, 2015 - 06:26 PM GMT

By: EWI

Stock-Markets

Two more key measures of optimism suddenly betray a diminishing appetite for stocks

Editor's note: With permission, this article was adapted from the January 2015 issue of The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. For one week only, EWI is throwing open the doors to its big-picture U.S. outlook. Follow this link to read a lot more of their latest analysis, 100% free, by joining the State of the U.S. Markets Conference.


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NYSE margin debt was $457 billion in November, still down from its February 2014 peak of $465.7 billion.

This updated chart of corporate buybacks and mergers shows that after reaching the highest levels since the S&P's 2007 top, buyers pulled in their horns somewhat as 2014 drew to a close.

U.S. Mergers and Stock Buybacks

Thus, two more key measures of optimism suddenly betray a diminishing appetite for stocks.

As we noted in The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast in November, the investment community's obsession with share buybacks at price peaks generally turns into a deep misgiving. This process appears to be underway, as Bloomberg recently quoted a chief investment officer saying, "You can only go so far with financial engineering before you actually have to have a business with real growth."

The financial media sometimes refers to this corporate largesse as "money returned to owners." But history shows that it's nothing of the kind, because shareholders invariably hold on to their investment until stocks prices are much lower. By then, buybacks are so completely discredited that they all but cease to occur.

A reversal must be close: Bloomberg recently reported that in 2014, S&P firms will spend about 95% of their earnings on their own shares and dividends. Some companies are even borrowing money to buy their own shares. It's a strategy they will come to regret.

_____

Editor's note: With permission, this article was adapted from the January 2015 issue of The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast. For one week only, EWI is throwing open the doors to its big-picture U.S. outlook. Follow this link to read a lot more of their latest analysis, 100% free, by joining the State of the U.S. Markets Conference.


About the Publisher, Elliott Wave International
Founded in 1979 by Robert R. Prechter Jr., Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world's largest market forecasting firm. Its staff of full-time analysts provides 24-hour-a-day market analysis to institutional and private investors around the world.


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