Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast.
Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods.
In the latest filing for Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson & Johnson, and reduced his overall stake in “consumer product stocks” by 21%. Berkshire Hathaway also sold its entire stake in California-based computer parts supplier Intel.
With 70% of the U.S. economy dependent on consumer spending, Buffett’s apparent lack of faith in these companies’ future prospects is worrisome.
Unfortunately Buffett isn’t alone.
Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer-goods maker Sara Lee
No investors, let alone billionaires, will want to own stocks with falling profit margins and shrinking dividends. So if that’s why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros are dumping stocks, they have decided to cash out early and leave Main Street investors holding the bag.
Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt is selling roughly 42 percent of his stake in the Internet search
Google Inc. chairman Eric Schmidt plans to sell up to $2.51 billion of his share in the company, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Friday.
Venezuela devalued its currency, the bolivar, the country’s Finance Minister Jorge Giordani said Friday. President Hugo Chavez ordered the move from Cuba, the minister said
Could these be the signs of the upcoming market collapse people have been talking about? I don’t know, but things could start to get interesting.
Something happened this week that brings back haunting memories of the 2001 put options of airline stocks, except this “bet” is against the entire U.S. economy. This week, an anonymous trader bought 100,000 put options on the ETF, which is an acronym for an exchange-traded fund. One commonly traded ETF is XLF, which, in the most unscientific and basic terms, is a group of funds that is like a barometer for the stock market.
Now, such trades involving ETF-XLF are common, except when the put options (bets that the value of an asset is going to go down) are so large and so significant that they scream of insider knowledge with big flashing lights and arrows. This is one of those. In this case, it is a bet against the stock market, although this is admittedly a rather oversimplified explanation – but you get the idea.
According to professionals who watch this activity for a living, normal single trades involve maybe 500 contracts at most. That’s why certain professionals took notice of an order this week of 100,000 put options, or 200 times the high trade volume of 500. It become even more curious when one considers that the trader is “betting” that the market will take a significant hit by the end of April. (The put options are dated for April 20 and 25, 2013, right around Hitler’s birthday, for those of you who follow things like that.)
Anyone believe JPM’s October 12th earnings report which beat expectations? Looks like accounting BS engineered to dump legacy positions on the general public.A chorus of high-level executives inside JPMorgan (JPM) are selling down their stakes in the company, in what some experts are citing as “unusual” activity within the nation’s largest bank by deposits.
CNBC reports that JPM execs have dumped $6 million in the past 10 days!