Share Buyback Chickens Coming Home to Roost – Ep. 412

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Surrendered Rest of Post-Election Gains in One Day

As I thought, it didn’t take long for the markets to surrender all of the post-election gains.  The Dow Jones today was down 602 points, so we’ve already lost it. It took one day.  On my podcast on Friday I said that we would surrender the remainder of the gains this week and we did it in the first day of the week.  The NASDAQ actually had an even bigger decline; down over 200 points – 206.03 to be exact -down 2.78%. The Russell 2000 was also down 1.98% – just over 30 points – just shy of 2%. The S&P 500 was almost down 2% – 1.97% – 54.79 points .

NASDAQ: Usual Suspects

The usual suspects, of course, having some of the big declines.  Apple computer came out with worse than expected earnings last week- down another 5.45% today – down 194.  It is now below 250 – This is a new low for Apple.  A lot of the other computer stocks got beat up today: NVIDIA down 7.7%, Broadcom down 6.5&, so the entire tech sector really got beaten up. Of course, Swiss National Bank was a big loser; they are one of the largest investors in U.S. Technology stocks.  I did read an article, though, that said that they trimmed their portfolios rather significantly before the October decline, so the Swiss National Bank did not quite take it on the chin as badly as might otherwise have been the case. But, potentially, the news that the Swiss Central Bank was paring back its portfolio could be part of the negative news that is currently weighing down the market.

$15 Billion of G.E. Shareholder Wealth up in Smoke

Looking at stocks like G.E. – have been talking about G.E. on this podcast for quite some time. It is down again another 7% today, closing below $8 – $7.99 – the low price on the day was $7.72.  This is a perfect example of what happens when the buyback chickens come home to roost.  General Electric was buying back a lot of stock when money was cheap.  The company is loaded up with debt – $45 – 50 billion of debt.  They also have $20 billion + of underfunded pension liabilities which I think are going to be more under funded when the market goes down.  When money was cheap, yes, it was easy to borrow money and buy back stock; the price of the stock was going up. Look at 2016 alone. I think that was the biggest year of buy backs, although they have been buying back every year, but in 2016, G.E. bought back about $20 billion worth of stock, and the stock was around $30. It is now under $8.  The stock is down 75%. That means if they bought $20 billion worth of stock, that stock now has a market value of just $5 billion. $15 billion of shareholder wealth up in smoke!

Peter Schiff is an economist, financial broker/dealer, author, frequent guest on national news, and host of the Peter Schiff Show Podcast.



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