“The Mother of All Bubbles” in Stocks and Bonds: Bank CEO

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
By Paul Martin

by Wolf Richter
April 1, 2015

The first quarter was hot across the Eurozone. The euro has gotten purposefully crushed by the ECB’s currency war. QE, first promised then implemented, became all the rage. And stocks surged: the Stoxx Europe 600 was up 16%; Italy’s FTSE MIB index up 22%; and Germany’s DAX also up 22%, the sharpest quarterly gain since Q2 2003. Since January 2012, in a little over three years, the DAX has nearly doubled. Only Greece couldn’t get it together.

And bonds have soared to ludicrous levels, with yields turning negative on €2.2 trillion in Eurozone government debt, according to Societe Generale. German government debt is now sporting negative yields up to a 7.5-year maturity, while 10-year yield – at 0.14% as I’m writing this – is on its way to negative as well.

So on March 31, Hans-Jörg Vetter, CEO of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg in Germany, spoke at the bank’s annual press conference – and fired a warning shot across the bow of investors.

Publicly owned LBBW, a full-service and commercial bank, serves as the central bank for the savings banks in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, und Saxony. With €266 billion in assets and over 11,000 employees, it is the largest such Landesbank in Germany. And it too was dutifully bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis.

And so the press conference had the usual feel-good fare.

The Rest…HERE

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