Under The Hood Of A Subprime Lender Accused Of Illegally Repoing Soldiers' Cars

Accused of illegally repossessing cars from active-duty service members, Santander Consumer has agreed to pay $9.35 million to the Justice Department in the largest auto reposession-related settlement in history. A look at the company's subprime auto securitizations speaks volumes not only about the lender, but about the furture course of subprime ABS issuance in the US.

The Last Time Gas Prices Rose This Fast, The US Entered Recession

From February through May, gas prices have historically tended to rise. However, between refinery strikes and shutdowns (and blend transitions), 2015 has seen gas prices rise from the start of February at the fastest pace on record. Despite the total lack of 'surge in consumer spending' from the low gas prices that we were promised, the velocity of this price rise is eerily reminiscent of the 2007 surge that, within months, saw the US in recession...

Why 1.05 Is Far More Important To The EURUSD Than Parity

"Although the market seems obsessed with the euro/dollar parity, SG's Technical Analysis guru Stephanie Aymes stresses that it is the $1.05/1.04 level that is more important, being the lower limit of the EUR/USD?s massive upward channel (see chart below). Stephanie argues that the move since last summer has been relentless and is very similar to the one seen in the late 1990s. She suspects that a break below $1.05/1.04 will confirm that the ongoing move is not a correction of the upmove since 2000, but a much larger down move. In such scenario, the EUR/USD will achieve parity, but this may well be just a temporary support before the downleg extends towards $0.98/0.96 - and even perhaps towards the lows of $0.84/0.82 reached in 2000."

Bill Ackman Faces FBI Probe Over Possible Herbalife Stock Manipulation

Herbalife stock is up over 5% after hours after WSJ reports Bill Ackman (among others) made false statement about Herbalife's business models to regulators - in order to spur investigations into the company and lower its stock price. This comes just months after Ackman kinda-sorta-didn't-really insider-trade in the Allergan 'scam' that we detailed here. We suspect Whitney Tilson (and his Lumber Liquidators positions) is getting a little nervous now... and Carl Icahn is quietly laughing to himself.

Germans Furious After Varoufakis/Tsipras Admit "Greece Will Never Repay Its Debts"

The Greco-Germanic war of words continues... Having pissed off The Greeks with his "Troika" remarks, Germany's Schaeuble went on today to more ad hominum attacks by reportedly calling the Greek FinMin "foolishly naive." The Greek ambassador has 'officially' complained to "friend and ally" Germany about the personal insult. But The Greeks had the last laugh, as first Varoufakis and then Tsipras explained respectively that "Greece would never pay back its debts," and "Greece cannot pretend its debt burden is sustainable." The German response, via tabloid Bild, "there must be an end to this madness. Europe must not be made to look stupid."

Daniel Hannan Explains How Democracy Died In Europe

With Greece on the edge of being kicked out of the Eurozone , either voluntarily or otherwise, with an anti-austerity party on the verge of taking over the reins of power in Spain, with Beppe Grillo waiting in the corridors for his chance to pounce in Italy and with Marine le Pen and her nationalist party on the verge of becoming the biggest shocker of Europe over the coming years, here, according to Daniel Hannan, is what killed democracy in Europe. Europe itself.

3 Things: Strong Dollar, Oil, Missed Employment

With all deference to Dr. Richard Fisher, the surging dollar is not good for either the economy or ultimately a stronger labor market. This is particularly the case when the dollar is only stronger because the rest of the world is on the brink of recession and or deflation. The negative impact of a surging dollar in a weak economic environment will more than likely outweigh any positive inputs for the U.S. consumer. Time will tell, but the evidence is mounting that the we are likely closer to the end of the current economic cycle than the beginning.

Iceland Drops Bid For EU Membership

Having thought long and hard (since 2009) about the benefits of becoming a member of the European Union, Iceland has decided to withdraw its application...

*ICELAND SAYS WON'T RESTART ACCESSION TALKS WITH EU

The 2013-elected (euroskeptic) coalition government had scrapped talks, so this is not entirely surprising, as it sought more trade accords.

The Richest Have Never Been Richer: US Household Assets Rise To Record $97 Trillion (As The Poor Get Poorer)

In Q4 US household net worth jumped by $1.5 trillion to $82.9 trillion, driven by a rise in total assets to $97.1 trillion, even as the long awaited increase in "good debt", that of mortgage debt, remains elusive and Mortgage debt hasn't budged from $9.4 trillion in 8 quarters! This, even as the total US housing market is said to have kept rising. The biggest jump in Q4 assets was once again in financial assets, driven by a $492 billion increase in Corporate Equities as well as $323 billion added from Pension Funds. And as usual, financial assets remained at precisely 70% of total assets. Who benefits? Why America's richest of course.

Wall Street Firm Unleashes New High-Frequency Impropriety Algo

“In the past, if one of our brokers wanted to exploit a questionably legal regulatory loophole or breach the covenant of good faith with an investment client, that would require hours of manually contravening the basic principles of professional integrity. But this innovative system will allow millions of such transgressions to go through every single day. Going forward, I expect this revolutionary program to be the cornerstone of our business.”

Greece Passes Law To Plunder Pension Funds

Having previously hinted that they might 'dip' into public pensions funds for some short-term cash to payback The IMF, and then confirming that the plan is to repo that cash from pension cash reserves (raising concerns about how they will unwind the repo - i.e. pay it back); the Greek government finally signed the bill today that enables them to plunder the Greek people's pension funds (for their own good).The massive irony of this bill is the bill enables greek deposits to be fully invested in Greek sovereign bonds... which Tsipras and Varoufakis both admitted today is "unsustainable" and "will never be repaid."

Albert Edwards' "WOW!" Chart, Or Why "Draghi Makes Greenspan Look Like A Rank Amateur"

"Mario Draghi and the ECB’s manipulation of asset prices makes Greenspan’s Fed look like a rank amateur. More shocking though than the plunge in the euro, and more shocking even that 25% of sovereign eurozone bonds now trade in negative territory, is what has happened to eurozone equity valuations. For, as we approach the sixth anniversary of the US cyclical bull market, the PE expansion of eurozone equities is simply off the scale!" - Albert Edwards