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Forget the 'Rotation', Here's the Source of the Money Pouring Into Stocks

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Some great commentary on the stock market's rally comes from John Hussman:

The newest iteration of the bullish case is the idea of a "great rotation" from bonds and cash to stocks, as if the outstanding quantity of each is not held by someone at every point in time. The head of a "too big to fail" investment firm argued last week that stocks are "underowned" – as if every share of stock presently in existence is not actually owned by someone.

To assert that stocks can be "underowned" seems to reflect either a misunderstanding of how markets work, or a desire to distribute overvalued institutional holdings onto the unwashed muppets. Likewise, the idea of a "rotation" out of bonds and into stocks begs the question of who will buy the bonds and sell the stocks, as someone must be on the other side of that trade. Similarly, to "move cash into the market" requires a seller of stock who becomes the new holder of said cash.

If there's no rotation, however, what exactly accounts for January's massive flow of funds in equities? Well, that $30 billion or so worth of special dividends probably had something to do with it.

If I'm right about that, we should see the fund flows dry up in February. I'll keep you posted.

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