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Author Topic: Wall Street Is Worried Investors Have Dumped Too Much Cash  (Read 264 times)
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November 08, 2017, 11:31:35 PM
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Wall Street, which normally roots for investors to pour their cash into stocks and bonds, is growing increasingly concerned that there is such a thing as too little of it in reserve.

Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note that a survey of the bank's private wealth clients found that cash as percentage of their total investment accounts had dropped to 10.2 percent. That's the lowest it has been since Bank of America began surveying its clients on their holdings in 2005. Cash hit a previous low of 11 percent in April 2007. It was as high as 21 percent coming out of the financial crisis, and it has averaged just under 13 percent for the past 12 years.



INTL FCStone, the financial services company, said recently that cash in mutual fund portfolios had dropped to 3.3 percent, also an all-time low. And Citigroup's chief U.S. equity strategist, Tobias Levkovich, mused in a note to clients recently that steadily rising stock prices have compelled "performance conscious" mutual fund to go close to all-in on the stock market.



Low cash positions worry Wall Street. First, it suggests that investors, pushed by recent earnings gains and an assumption that President Donald Trump and Republicans will get some type of tax cut passed, may be too exuberant in their affection for stocks. And there are other signs of that. The price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 Index based on this year's expected earnings is nearly 19.5. That's well shy of the highest it has been, but it's still greater than average. The flip side of the cash position is how much investors have in stocks. According to Federal Reserve data, the value of stock market holdings is also at a record for individual investors, but that could also be because stocks have risen faster recently than other assets. Cash held by Americans is up as well, even if it's a lower portion of their total wealth.

Levkovich throws some cold water on the argument that we are back in irrational exuberance territory. A survey by the bank found that more than 60 percent of investors think the market is more likely to drop 20 percent in the next year rather than rise 20 percent. The survey also showed that while few investors expect a recession, similarly few expect the economy to grow more than 3 percent in the next year, either. And growth of index funds, which have to stay 100 percent invested in the stock market, could be driving at least some of the all-time low cash position.

But that may not matter. Even if investors aren't nearly as gaga about stocks or the economy as they were in 2000 or 2008, the low cash position could be a problem as it has at other times during this bull run. Cash positions were low in mid-2011 and mid-2015, points at which the market has stumbled. And funds trying to beat passive investors may be quick to exit stocks when they start to fall, sensing an advantage over index funds, which can't sell. When excess cash runs out, bull markets tend to stop charging as well.

https://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2017-11-08/wall-street-is-worried-investors-have-dumped-too-much-cash

...

This isn't a topic I have much knowledge on. Does have a feeling no one holds cash due to the US federal government being $20 trillion in debt, with fears of the dollar crashing hard if the deficit inflates to a point where it becomes unmanegeable?

I've heard of cases where people put their money into gold, silver and precious metals during times of hyperinflation to preserve the value of their wealth. I can't say I know much about whether the stock market can serve a similar function of preserving wealth from hyperinflation. What are the chances that the recent stock market uptrend is fueled by investors looking for a safe place to store their wealth, in the event a collapse occurs?

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November 09, 2017, 12:26:46 AM
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[...]

This isn't a topic I have much knowledge on. Does have a feeling no one holds cash due to the US federal government being $20 trillion in debt, with fears of the dollar crashing hard if the deficit inflates to a point where it becomes unmanegeable?

I've heard of cases where people put their money into gold, silver and precious metals during times of hyperinflation to preserve the value of their wealth. I can't say I know much about whether the stock market can serve a similar function of preserving wealth from hyperinflation. What are the chances that the recent stock market uptrend is fueled by investors looking for a safe place to store their wealth, in the event a collapse occurs?

1) I think one of the reasons for the run up in stocks is that there's little diversification alternatives due to bonds being rather unattractive right now due to the rising base interest rate.

2) There's no point investing in USD denominated stocks if you fear that the dollar is going to crash. If people were actually worried about a collapse of the USD they'd flee towards a) foreign currencies, b) foreign stocks, c) gold and d) Bitcoin... maybe.

addendum to 2) Stocks can serve as a protection against "regular" inflation. That stocks could serve as protection against hyperinflation is doubtable, as hyperinflation would most likely crash the economy and take the stock market down with it.

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November 09, 2017, 12:34:36 AM
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AFAIK the cash in relation to digital money ratio is irrelevant. The important relation is how much digital money plus cash exists in relation to the physical assets? And this ratio continously drifted away in the recent decades! The more money is available to buy physical goods or services the higher will the price and this is called inflation that could lead to a hyperinflation!

This is a grey area for me. When hyperinflation occurs goods and services are inflation adjusted. Under worst case scenarios a loaf of bread can literally cost a wheelbarrow full of paper fiat. If the dollar hyperinflates, there's a chance the value of stocks could also be inflation adjusted, in which case they could be protected to a degree from a crashing dollar. I'm not 100% certain what their official policy is under those types of conditions.

Its one potential explanation for why the quantity of fiat held may be declining. Given the powerful influence Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and others whose wealth is contained in stocks, I would guess they may have some form of damage control policy in place to protect their wealth.

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November 09, 2017, 04:35:47 PM
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who cares i don't see any profit from holding cash it is inflation economy hold it just reduces the value more and more its better to hold bitcoin it is increasing by 100$ every single week and it is also a safer hold

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November 09, 2017, 04:52:59 PM
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Hyperinflation already happen in some countries as far as i know which is why people in these countries has to bring a bag full of cash just to buy a fish from the market. But don't you think those who withdraw thier stocks bought BTCs to simply hold to preserve their wealth as its much safer in crypto than on crashing USD.

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November 09, 2017, 05:17:06 PM
 #6


...

This isn't a topic I have much knowledge on. Does have a feeling no one holds cash due to the US federal government being $20 trillion in debt, with fears of the dollar crashing hard if the deficit inflates to a point where it becomes unmanegeable?

I've heard of cases where people put their money into gold, silver and precious metals during times of hyperinflation to preserve the value of their wealth. I can't say I know much about whether the stock market can serve a similar function of preserving wealth from hyperinflation. What are the chances that the recent stock market uptrend is fueled by investors looking for a safe place to store their wealth, in the event a collapse occurs?


That has been a way to protect people’s wealth for a while. It used to be done by buying stocks, real state, metals, or other assets and nowadays is also done by buying cryptos, at least as a part of people’s portfolio.

The stock market can preserve wealth because profits from biggest companies tend to surpass inflation. For example: S&P 500 has a historical average return of 10% whereas average inflation has been 3%.

The fact that fiat currencies tend to lose value is widespread nowadays but is wasn’t so common before the digital era. Wealthy people have always known that but nowadays most people know about it and act in consequence.
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November 09, 2017, 05:44:21 PM
 #7

there are whisperings and possibly common knowlegde
that we are heading for another financial crash, and as
has been posted there is A LOT of debt still in todays
finances and its not being fully reported.

Just today i learned of 2 directors of a company(s)
who owe approximately €850,000,000 but are not being
pursued for this, instead their banks continue to facilitate
them in securing and setting up new companies in the
hope they will be able to pay back when the NEW
company is successful. The banks know if they dont
play ball with them they will get nothing.

We the general public are not hearing the extent of the debt
in our society and its not sustainable.

This is why we see more and more FIAT flowing into crypto
people in the know are planning ahead.
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November 09, 2017, 05:59:04 PM
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Wall Street, which normally roots for investors to pour their cash into stocks and bonds, is growing increasingly concerned that there is such a thing as too little of it in reserve.

Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note that a survey of the bank's private wealth clients found that cash as percentage of their total investment accounts had dropped to 10.2 percent. That's the lowest it has been since Bank of America began surveying its clients on their holdings in 2005. Cash hit a previous low of 11 percent in April 2007. It was as high as 21 percent coming out of the financial crisis, and it has averaged just under 13 percent for the past 12 years.



INTL FCStone, the financial services company, said recently that cash in mutual fund portfolios had dropped to 3.3 percent, also an all-time low. And Citigroup's chief U.S. equity strategist, Tobias Levkovich, mused in a note to clients recently that steadily rising stock prices have compelled "performance conscious" mutual fund to go close to all-in on the stock market.



Low cash positions worry Wall Street. First, it suggests that investors, pushed by recent earnings gains and an assumption that President Donald Trump and Republicans will get some type of tax cut passed, may be too exuberant in their affection for stocks. And there are other signs of that. The price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 Index based on this year's expected earnings is nearly 19.5. That's well shy of the highest it has been, but it's still greater than average. The flip side of the cash position is how much investors have in stocks. According to Federal Reserve data, the value of stock market holdings is also at a record for individual investors, but that could also be because stocks have risen faster recently than other assets. Cash held by Americans is up as well, even if it's a lower portion of their total wealth.

Levkovich throws some cold water on the argument that we are back in irrational exuberance territory. A survey by the bank found that more than 60 percent of investors think the market is more likely to drop 20 percent in the next year rather than rise 20 percent. The survey also showed that while few investors expect a recession, similarly few expect the economy to grow more than 3 percent in the next year, either. And growth of index funds, which have to stay 100 percent invested in the stock market, could be driving at least some of the all-time low cash position.

But that may not matter. Even if investors aren't nearly as gaga about stocks or the economy as they were in 2000 or 2008, the low cash position could be a problem as it has at other times during this bull run. Cash positions were low in mid-2011 and mid-2015, points at which the market has stumbled. And funds trying to beat passive investors may be quick to exit stocks when they start to fall, sensing an advantage over index funds, which can't sell. When excess cash runs out, bull markets tend to stop charging as well.

https://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2017-11-08/wall-street-is-worried-investors-have-dumped-too-much-cash

...

This isn't a topic I have much knowledge on. Does have a feeling no one holds cash due to the US federal government being $20 trillion in debt, with fears of the dollar crashing hard if the deficit inflates to a point where it becomes unmanegeable?

I've heard of cases where people put their money into gold, silver and precious metals during times of hyperinflation to preserve the value of their wealth. I can't say I know much about whether the stock market can serve a similar function of preserving wealth from hyperinflation. What are the chances that the recent stock market uptrend is fueled by investors looking for a safe place to store their wealth, in the event a collapse occurs?

This isn't a concern in the sense that too many people are investing in things that are alternatives to cash (gold, commodities, or hedges against inflation), but that the makeup of equity portfolios to cash positions is too high. Equity investments are NOT a store of wealth that protects against inflation or hedges against the downside of a market collapse. The concern in noting low cash positions is that the market is overvalued and in bubble territory, as people have irrationally committed too much capital to equities due to the prolonged bull market, and that because cash positions are low, any pullback will be exacerbated because there isn't enough cash on the sidelines to buffer a fall. Essentially, the problem is (or the concern, that is) that the stock market has grown too fast, and that when the momentum finally runs out, the pullback will be more severe than it would be if the stock market was growing at a more measured and sustainable clip.

And really, I see that as a perfect analogy for what's going on in bitcoin.
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