When it comes to counterparty risk, one can look at CDS, for an indication of how the market view a given bank's counterparty risk, or, one can observe how the banks themselves evaluate each other, courtesy of daily Libor fixings by bank. When it comes to Europe it is well known that dollar funding pressures are the most representative of overall liquidity stress. As such, we look at the 3 Month USD libor for various BBA-reporting banks. The picture, over the past month, is not pretty, especially if one is Barclays or RBS. The chart says it all.
RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 25/08/11
The European Dollar Funding Crunch Is Back: Fed Does Another $500 Million In USD Swaps This Time With The ECBSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2011 - 15:25
And now for some disturbing news out of the ECB, just in time for tomorrow's sub-1% GDP announcement and Jackson Hole disappointment. Unlike last week, when the Fed conducted a $200 million FX swap with the Swiss National Bank, this week the bank in dire needs of dollar funding is the ECB itself... and for two and a half times than last week. Furthermore, unlike last week, when we knew in advance that at least one European bank was experiencing a dollar liquidity event, this time the update from the ECB indicated no USD-based liquidity constraints: the $500 million in 7 day USD punitive loans quietly expired and everyone once again assumed that Eurozone liquidity is back to normal. It isn't. The question once again now becomes, who finds themselves in a dollar funding crunch?
Now that we can directly monitor the amount of quote stuffing in the NYSE courtesy of Nanex (an ability that the SEC apparently never will have), we know that every time there is a massive spike in hollow trade (as in without intentions to cross bids or asks, something everyone but the SEC and the HFT lobby believes should be a felony offense), the market is programmed to either rip of plunge. Sure enough, at just after 3:19 pm we saw an epic spike in empty packets on the NYSE, which set off red flags and immediately prompted us to observe the move in ES, which naturally confirmed that an HFT driven coordinated buy order (no block) was going through and pushing the ES well on its way to VWAP. Market manipulation no longer needs anything more than a coordinated packet stuffing dump, as what happened on May 19. Keep in mind: these work on both the upside and the downside- the reason why suddenly everyone hates HFT after loving it for over 2 years, is that while it provides volumeless levitation, it just as easily can serve as quicksand in a downmarket. That, however, does not make it right, and just as two years ago, when we first brought attention to the matter, so today, we claim that HFT should be abolished immediately by the imposition of a minimum active quote latency. That would eliminate all quote stuffing in a millisecond.
After 3 months ago everyone was convinced there was no QE3 imminent ever, all it took for the lemming majority to scramble to the other side of the boat was a 20% drop in stocks. Since then, following a brief stabiliziation in stocks, based precisely on beliefs that Bernanke would once again pull something from this bag of goodies, the lemmingrati once again shifted back, and the majority now pretends it does not expect anything out of Jackson Hole tomorrow, even though it obviously does, as otherwise the market would resume its plunge. UBS earlier conducted a survey among money managers, finding that 50% of the 82 respondents expect Bernanke to limit Jackson Hole remarks only to reviewing the rationale for the Fed to pledge ZIRP until mid 2013. Then there are those who actually told the truth, such as Goldman which, in a note yesterday, says that $1 trillion in QE3 is an absolute minimum if the Fed wants to get GDP higher by at least 0.5%. To wit: "Taken together, our analysis suggests that QE3 is unlikely to be a panacea for growth. Nonetheless, our estimates suggests that $1trn of asset purchases–or an equivalent increase in the duration of the Fed's balance sheet–might increase GDP growth by up to 0.5 percentage point in the first year after any announcement of QE3." And since we are talking the truth here, why not stop pretending you care about GDP - just think of the marginal impact on Wall Street bonuses...
Just like Interactive Brokers predicted the last CME margin hike with 100% precision, here it comes again. It is now all too clear that the CME risk managers have decided to do to gold what they did to silver: namely shake out the weak hands with as many as 5 or more margin hikes in a row. Since everyone else is all cash, the CME's attempt to manipulate the market is coming to an end.
Krieger is on fire today: "The interesting thing about today is that I had intended to write this piece on Warren Buffett all week. It was just really fortuitous timing that this Bank of America news came out today. Gosh where to start. First of all, this $5 billion preferred investment by Uncle Warren in preferred stock is extremely bearish for the market, the economy and the financial system. This is not an investment, it is political-economic strategy. It tell us so many things that we probably already suspected. It tells us that Bank of America did indeed need capital. Even worse they probably need so much that they went to Uncle Warren for five big ones so that people would just look the other way and gain “confidence.” This is how out to lunch these guys are. They don’t understand that the root of the lack of confidence is that the people see a country devolving into a Banana Republic led by greedy oligarchs and politicians stealing everything in sight as the ship sinks....This is 1789 France folks as I have said many times before. Second, the fact that TPTB are resorting to Uncle Warren for everything now may mean the Fed is out of the game. No one has confidence in the Fed to come save the day so they need the next thing. That next thing is Uncle Warren. Unfortunately it’s not working and it is not going to work. You can see it in the market today. People are waking up. They are starting to see through the matrix. Buffett is a fraud and a shill. If you follow him it will be right over a cliff."
There is a silver lining though: just as it has over the past 3 years, the world's Bernanke Put "Heads I win, Tails the world blows up" hub may survive simply courtesy of being in the eye of the Hurricane. Alas, this time around, the other side will arrive much faster: after all the Fed can not print windbreaks.
And so the Irene-induced state of emergency pronouncements start trickling in. First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a state of emergency order and urged people at the Jersey Shore to leave voluntarily by mid-day tomorrow as Hurricane Irene approaches the Northeast. The governor, in a briefing with reporters, said he was considering a mandatory evacuation of the Jersey Shore area. Following this news is the announcement by the US coast guard which issued a hurricane alert for Long Island sound. But the biggest losers? Insurance companies: both Chubb and Allstate CDS have spiked on expectations this hurricane could be a doozy in claim terms (although we urge readers to check their hurricane insurance: many times the deductible is far higher if the damage is caused by a Hurricane than a Tropical Storm: alas, this may be a saving grace for some insurance cos). What would be amusing is if the biggest loser out of today, now that BAC is threatening to close read for the day, is Berkshire's insurance empire.
Faber had a very clear message: that everyone should own *physical* gold… and what’s more, they should store it outside of the United States: “I prefer if investors hold physical gold in a safe deposit box, ideally outside the US, in various locations… Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada… I think it’s important in today’s very uncertain world to diversify, not only the various asset classes… but also the custody of your assets should be in different jurisdictions.” His hosts couldn’t believe it. -NOT- store in the United States, the bastion of freedom and security??!?! What lunacy! CNBC: “Uh, so do you thus not trust US banks or US custodians? Do you think they might fail or abscond with the gold?” Guffaws and incredulous snickers emerge from the hosts. Faber: “I don’t trust anyone.” Uncomfortable silence. CNBC: “Hmmm. Interesting.”
A snapshot of the US Afternoon Briefing covering Stocks, Bonds, FX, etc.
This is just hilarious: According to Bloomberg, Bank of America’s main hesitation was taking Warren Buffett’s money when bank had said it didn’t need capital, CNBC reports without saying where it obtained the information. It adds, the symbolic value of investment worth boost to confidence; "$5b not lot to raise" - also apparently "Terms better than public market." Here is our retort: Bank of America could have told Buffet: "No thank you" and leaked it. Instead it confirmed what Zero Hedge has been saying since October 2010 - that it is absolutely desperate for capital. Also, as to the saying that "terms were better than the public market" - why of course they are - the bank has absolutely no access to the public market. BAC IS LOCKED OUT! But at least we will soon see just how efficient Dodd-Frank's bank insolvency contingency is in real life. Because we have a feeling the brilliant legislation penned by Barney Frank and Countrywide's senator, may fall just a little short...
First, myth from Comcast's financial clown channel (the actual source is more than clear): "this is a turning point, Buffett's bailout marks the beginning of a massive multiday short-covering rally in the financials." And here's reality...
Price Discovery Era Coming To An End As Spain, France, Belgium, Greece Extend Short Selling Ban "Due To Market Conditions" (Update: And...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/25/2011 - 11:08
Kiss the free market goodbye. Spain's and France's regulator have both just announced that the short selling ban, which was supposed to expire tomorrow, has now been extended until the end of September 30, and November 11, respectively. Add to this Belgium and Greece whose regulators announced they will lift its own short selling ban "when conditions allow", or some time in October, in and we can pretty much be confident that the European market rout seen earlier is due to someone leaking the news that price discovery in Europe is now officially over.
One of the oddities that seemed out of whack in this morning's weekly Unemployment Claims update was the explanation for the spike in this week's receipents of government generosity: apparently it had to do with the BLS handing out weekly benefits checks to striking Verizon workers. We will repeat the key word from that sentence because it bears repeating: "striking." Now, we may be wrong here, but if one is striking, one is not u-n-e-m-p-l-o-y-e-d, and hence the US government should probably not be using taxpayer money to double pay such individuals who have singlehandedly decided to forgo pay in return for making a labor statement. Otherwise, it kinda kills the whole "sacrifice" thing. And, lo and behold, as it turns out, we are not wrong. From JP Morgan: "Striking workers are generally not eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits, but it looks like about half of the total amount of striking workers filed claims over these two weeks to formally determine their eligibility." Generally... except when the administration is willing to hand out money to anything and everything with a pulse. After all, there is that massive $2.2 trillion Bank of America balance sheet that has to be funded. And with direct reserve funding already failed, as per QE1 and 2, the only other possible way is via deposit increases. Alas, by the time this money could possibly be saved, it has been spent 5 times, the other 4 hitting Bank of America's bad credit card receivables department.