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Frontrunning: September 13

  • Italy Says It Won't Seek Aid (WSJ)... and neither will Spain, so no OMT activation, ever. So why buy bonds again?
  • European Lenders Keep Ties to Iran (WSJ)
  • Fink Belies Being Boring Telling Customers to Buy Stocks (Bloomberg)
  • Dutch Voters Buck Euro Debt Crisis to Re-Elect Rutte as Premier (Bloomberg)
  • China's Xi cited in state media as health rumors fly (Reuters)
  • China vs Japan: Tokyo must come back 'from the brink' (China Daily)
  • Manhattan Apartment Vacancy Rate Climbs After Rents Reach Record (Bloomberg)
  • Well-to-do get mortgage help from Uncle Sam (Reuters)
  • Princeton Endowment Expected to Rise Less Than 5% in Year (Bloomberg)
  • Protesters Encircle U.S. Embassy in Yemen (WSJ)
  • US groups step up sales of non-core units (FT)


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Overnight Summary: All Eyes On The Central Printer

While this and that may have happened overnight, the only thing that matters today is what the FOMC presents to a market which has now priced in well over 100% of a new easing round. Except little movement until Bernanke speaks, and with that removes any doubt that i) the Fed, like the ECB, are both political creations comprised of unelected academics, and ii) the entire modern capitalist world is nothing but a Pavlovian creation that responds only to promises of liquidity injections. Luckily, if nothing else, this will once and for all shut up anyone who claims that the market reflects the economy, it doesn't; that a "virtuous economic cycle" is possible under the new centrally planned normal, it isn't, and that the US economy is recovering 4 years after Lehman collapsed. It never did, and without $14 trillion in central bank liquidity injections over the same period, the world, as represented by the S&P, would be in a mindblowing depression, which it will still get back to once the surge in hard asset inflation offsets any incremental liquidity provided by the central planning academics as Citi warned yesterday.



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RANsquawk EU Market Re-Cap - 13th September 2012



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Blowback Blows Up - US Embassy In Yemen Stormed

Anti-American violence and hatred is spreading: first Egypt, then Libya, with very tragic consequences, now Yemen. From Reuters: "Hundreds of Yemeni demonstrators stormed the U.S. embassy in Sanaa on Thursday in protest at a film they consider blasphemous to Islam, and security guards tried to hold them off by firing into the air. The attack followed Tuesday night's storming of the United States Consulate in Benghazi, where the ambassador and three other staff were killed. President Barack Obama said the perpetrators would be tracked down and ordered two destroyers to the Libyan coast, but there were fears protests would spread to other countries in the Muslim world." And since the US will not retaliate against any of these attacks on what is technically US territory except with "strong condemnation", expect many more retaliations against America in the middle east in the days ahead as blowback finally blows up. Also, will the US warships headed to Libya now be redirected to Yemen or the next country that decided to burn down its US mission?



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US Totalitarianism Loses Major Battle As Judge Permanently Blocks NDAA's Military Detention Provision

Back in January, Pulitzer winning journalist Chris Hedges sued President Obama and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, specifically challenging the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force or, the provision that authorizes military detention for people deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or "associated forces." Hedges called the president's action allowing indefinite detention, which was signed into law with little opposition from either party "unforgivable, unconstitutional and exceedingly dangerous." He attacked point blank the civil rights farce that is the neverending "war on terror" conducted by both parties, targetting whom exactly is unclear, but certainly attaining ever more intense retaliation from foreigners such as the furious attacks against the US consulates in Egypt and Libya. He asked  "why do U.S. citizens now need to be specifically singled out for military detention and denial of due process when under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force the president can apparently find the legal cover to serve as judge, jury and executioner to assassinate U.S. citizens." A few months later, in May, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in favor of a temporary injunction blocking the enforcement of the authorization for military detention. Today, the war againt the true totalitarian terror won a decisive battle, when in a 112-opinion, Judge Forrest turned the temporary injunction, following an appeal by the totalitarian government from August 6, into a permanent one.



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72 Seconds Of Sanity On Europe

Instead of waffling on for an hour about all the wonderful things that Europe will become as a stronger world power if only everyone can just get along, give up sovereignty, and bow to Barroso, Daniel Hannan sums up perfectly what 'should' happen in order for some closure and resurrection to occur in the dis-union.



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Schiff Vs. Insana; Matter Vs. Anti-Matter

Perhaps no better example of the two camps of perspectives on the market's performance and the Fed's expectations was on display this afternoon on CNBC. In the 'we need some destructive asset clearing in order to get back to any sort of growth trajectory and the Fed is feeding an inflationary monster with its band-aid upon band-aid money-printing' camp is Peter Schiff; while the other side of the investing octagon is Ron Insana who sees a '100% rise in stocks as evidence of something and that the Fed must do something, anything in order that we avoid the reality under the surface of a deleveraging deflationary world economy'. We are not sure of the winner as the shouting became too much to bear - but nevertheless the vociferous nature of the two combatants (each proclaiming their #winning-ness) shows the bifurcated world in which we live.



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Goldman On Spain's Tension-Inducing Arrogance

The opposition seen in Germany in response to Mr Draghi’s preparedness to buy sovereign debt implies that current posturing in Spain will not wear well with the politics of signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Germany. As Goldman notes, the more the Spanish administration indulges domestic political interests and is perceived to be taking undue advantage of external support, the more explicit conditionality is likely to be demanded. This would add to any existing tensions, given Spain’s opposition to conditionality. This is disappointing partly because it is avoidable if Spain were to accept the external support on the terms currently available. Spain will have the opportunity in the coming weeks and months to demonstrate that it wishes to avoid these incipient risks. But we, like Goldman, continue to believe that some of the incentives created by Mr Draghi's preparedness to act could prove difficult to resist- and will thus delay any real game-changer that is priced in.



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Here's Hilsenrath With What To Expect Tomorrow

By now everyone knows that the WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath is spoon-Fed information directly by the Fed. Even the Fed. Which is why everyone expected the Fed to ease last time around per yet another Hilsenrath leak, only to be largely disappointed, invoking the term Hilsen-wrath. Sure enough, it took the market only a few hours to convince itself that "no easing now only means more easing tomorrow", and sure enough everyone looked to the August, then September FOMC meetings as the inevitable moment when something will finally come out. So far nothing has, as the Fed, like the ECB, have merely jawboned, since both know the second the "news" is out there, it will be sold in stocks, if not so much in gold as Citi explained earlier. Regardless, the conventional wisdom expectation now is that tomorrow the Fed will do a piecemeal, open-ended QE program, with set economic thresholds that if unmet will force Bernanke to keep hitting CTRL-P until such time as Goldman is finally satisfied with their bonuses or unemployment drops for real, not BS participation rate reasons, whichever comes  first. As expected, this is what Hilsenrath advises to expect tomorrow, less than two months from the election, in a move that will be roundly interpreted as highly political, and one which as Paul Ryan noted earlier, will seek to redirect from Obama's economic failures, and also potentially to save Bernanke's seat as Romney has hinted on several occasions he would fire Bernanke if elected. Here is what else the Hilsenrumor says. 



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AAPL Leads Stock Surge To New Highs

Broadly speaking, risk assets were not as dismal as equity markets today - holding on near the highs for much of the day. The late day surge higher in AAPL - that dragged everything higher - was a recoupling to risk-assets on the day as volume surged and average trade size picked up significantly. AAPL ended up at the record-high day's closing VWAP (around $672) perhaps suggesting some algo-driven liftathon to enable the bigger boys to exit the heavily-weighted-in-the-index name - and right in front of Bernanke's big day tomorrow, it seems odd - other than short-covering squeezes - to be positioning this heavily long. HYG once again soared (playing catch-up to HY credit spreads), VXX tumbled into the close as VIX dropped following the ESM decision (though was not as ebullient as stocks ahead of tomorrow's NFP). Treasuries just kept leaking higher in yield (now 5 to 30Y yields higher by 5-10bps on the weeks) - and crushing the spread to MBS. The USD was stable most of the day after early weakness, on EUR strength after the ESM decision, was unwound. A bump-and-dump in commodities ended generally unchanged aside from Silver which had its own mysterious flash-crash soon after the US day session close. Credit tracked stock generally on the day and was quiet. S&P futures take out (after-hours) the highs of the day/year/four-years (as contracts rolled). Need Moar QE.



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Bill Gross Sells $30 Billion In Treasurys In August As Total Return Fund Cuts Government Exposure By Over A Third

While others were buying TSYs in the month of August on hopes of frontrunning the central printer, and expectations that Bernanke's NEW QE announcement will lead to even more flattening in the curve (even though as we explained there is only $650Bn in free 10-30 year private sector inventory available in the entire market), Bill Gross, via PIMCO's flagship Total Return Fund, was busy selling. So busy in fact that over $30 Billion in US paper was dumped to unwitting investors, resulting in the move wider by the 10 Year paper which at auction earlier today priced at a multi-month high yield. As a result at the end of August, PIMCO's total Treasury exposure was just 21% of total AUM, the lowest since August 2011. And what did Pimco do with the proceeds? Nothing - it merely satisfied its margin cash position, which plunged from -18% to -6%.



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RANsquawk US Market Wrap - 12th September 2012



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Guest Post: iTaxes Vs. Uncle Sam's Friends And Family Plan

Yesterday, news broke that the US government has awarded a whopping $104 million to convicted felon and former inmate Bradley Birkenfeld. It was a big headline and you likely saw the news… but it’s worth a deeper look. Because if there is one story that neatly summarizes what is wrong with the US these days, it is the case of Mr. Birkenfeld.



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iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S - First Look

If this is what 0.3-0.6% of US GDP (according to JPMorgan) looks like, then the US is truly in desperate need of not only QE3, but 4, 4S and 5. Also, since it is not on the front, we can only assume the "Samsung Inside!" sticker is on the back.



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Here Is The First Post-ESM-Decision 'Nein' From Germany

German FinMin Schaeuble has been on TV for the last 30 minutes explaining the 'bailout' reality to the ugly mob that is the German taxpayers. Less than 12 hours after the German Constitutional Court rejected complaints against the ESM - though added conditions capping German indebtedness - it seems the need to explain the limited 'unlimited' liability to the people is high. To wit:

  • NEIN - "No country in Europe" can hope for the ECB to "fire up the money printing press," Schaeuble says. Germany "will make sure that it doesn’t happen"
  • NEIN - *SCHAEUBLE SAYS ECB DOESN'T HAVE MANDATE TO FINANCE STATES
  • NEIN - *SCHAEUBLE SAYS ESM CAN'T HAVE BANKING LICENSE


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