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Low Volume Squeeze Takes Stocks To Green On Week

S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) traded up to almost perfectly recapture their 415ET close from last Friday after a 15-point, 30-minute ramp out of the gates at the US day-session open recouped five days of losses - as once again - we go nowhere quickly. Just for clarity: China GDP disappointed and provided no signal for massive stimulus; JPM announced bigger than expected losses, cheating on CDS marks, and exposed just how large their CIO was relative to income; Consumer sentiment printed at its worst this year; and QE-crimping inflation printed hotter than expectations - and we get a more-than-30 point rally in the S&P. Whether the fuel was JPM squeeze or another big European bank biting the liquidity dust and repatriating cajillions of EUR to cover costs (or Austria needing some cash for a debt payment), what was clear was equity market's outperformance of every other asset class - with the late day surge for a green weekly close particularly noteworthy. Apart from unch on the week, ES also managed to close right at its 50DMA, revert up to credit's less sanguine behavior intra-week, and up to VIX's relative outpeformance on the week (as VIX ended the week with its steepest term-structure in over 4 months). Treasuries ended the week 6-9bps lower in yield at the long-end (2-3bps at the short end) but the USD's plunge, on the absolute rampfest in EURUSD, took it back to unch for the week. Despite the USD unch-ness, Oil and Copper surged (on the day to help the week) up 2.5-3% on the week while even Gold and Silver managed a high beta performance ending the week up around 0.5%. ES ended the day notably rich to broad risk assets - and wil need some more weakness in TSYs and carry crosses to extend this - for now, the steepness of the volatility slope, velocity of squeeze, and richness of stocks to risk makes us a little nervous carrying longs here.



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Jamie Dimon's Quandary: Now That JPM's Internal Hedge Fund Is Gone, Where Will 25% Of Net Income Come From?

Much has been said about JPM's CIO Loss (which so far has come at a little over $5 billion, just as we calculated in the hours after the original May 10 announcement). And with the so called final number out of the way, investors in JPM have breathed a sigh of relief and are stepping back into the company hopeful that a major wildcard about the firm's future has been removed. The issue, however, is that the CIO loss was never the question: after all JPM could easily sell debt or raise equity to plug liquidity shortfalls. The real issue is that just as we explained months before the loss was even known, the Treasury/CIO department was nothing short of the firm's unbridled hedge fund which could do whatever it chooses, and not be held accountable to anyone at least until its counterparties broke a story of an epic loss to the media. And thus the problem becomes apparent: now that every action of the CIO group is scrutinized under a microscope by everyone from management to auditors to regulators to analysts to fringe blogs, the high flying days of whale trades are forever gone. The question then is just how big was the contribution of the Treasury/CIO group, which until today was buried deep within JPM's Corporate and PE Group and not broken out. Thanks to the new breakout, reminiscent of Goldman starting to break out its own Prop Trading group some years ago, we now know exactly just how big the contribution to both revenue, but more impotantly, net income was courtesy of JPM's Hedge Fund.

The result is nothing short of stunning.



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Farage On The 'Scientology-Like' Cult Of The Euro

In an extended discussion with various pro- and con- European Parliamentarians, everyone's favorite (well, most forthright, for sure) British MEP, Nigel Farage, opined on entering the hallowed halls of Europe's Hogwarts-like hub in Brussels that he is surprised:

"After five (soon to be six) nations already bailed out, that so few people inside these institutions are even prepared to contemplate that there might be something wrong with the Euro project"

adding that he feels that:

"he is surrounded by some weird cult - that, even after disaster, continue to believe"



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Full PFG CEO Suicide Note

"I have committed fraud. For this I feel constant and intense guilt...

 

The forgeries started nearly twenty years ago...

 

Should I go out of business or cheat...

 

I guess my ego was too big to admit failure..."



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Guest Post: Duration Mismatch Will Always Fail

Duration mismatch is when a bank (or anyone else) borrows short to lend long.  It is fraud, it is unfair to depositors (much less shareholders) and it is certain to collapse sooner or later. This discussion is of paramount importance if we are to move to a monetary system that actually works. By taking demand deposits and buying long bonds, the banks distort the cost of money.  They send a false signal to entrepreneurs that higher-order projects are viable, while in reality they are not.  The capital is not really there to complete the project, though it is temporarily there to begin it. Capital is not fungible; one cannot repurpose a partially completed desalination plant that isn’t needed into a car manufacturing plant that is.  The bond on the plant cannot be repaid.  The plant construction project was aborted prior to the plant producing anything of value.  The bond will be defaulted.  Real wealth was destroyed, and this is experienced by those who malinvested their gold as total losses. Note that this is not a matter of probability.  Non-viable ventures will default, as unsupported projects will collapse. Unfortunately, someone must take the losses as real capital is consumed and destroyed - and these losses are caused by government’s attempts at central planning, and also by duration mismatch.



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PFG Head Arrested

UPDATE: Suicide note details added:

  • *WASENDORF SAID HE USED PHOTOSHOP, SCANNER IN FORGERY, U.S. SAYS
  • *WASENDORF SAID CHOICE WAS GO OUT OF BUSINESS OR CHEAT: U.S.
  • *WASENDORF'S STATEMENTS MADE IN SUICIDE NOTE, PROSECUTORS SAY
  • *PEREGRINE'S WASENDORF SAID `I HAVE COMMITTED FRAUD,' U.S. SAYS

While unable to successfully kill himself, it appears the CEO of PFGBest is even less successful at evading the police. As just reported,

  • *PFGBEST'S WASENDORF ARRESTED IN IOWA
  • *FED PROSECUTORS CHARGE IOWA FIRM CEO  W/ LYING TO REGULATORS:AP
  • *PEREGRINE CHIEF WASENDORF CHARGED BY FEDERAL PROSECUTORS (with making false statements to the CFTC)
  • *WASENDORF FRAUD AT PEREGRINE LASTED 20 YEARS, PROSECUTORS SAY

What is probably more concerning to him now is the fact that he was not a Presidential bundler - as the Big House is definitely calling...



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One Explanation For Today's Irrational Exuberance

Since the EU-Summit, US and European equity markets have (in general) outperformed. From being in sync before the Summit, US equities went into the weekend with a sell-off, which then spurred a short-squeeze push as the S&P 500 was over-exuberant (relative to European equities) on the way up at the start of last week. That cracked back to reality at the end of last week - squeezing the over-levered longs to a significant underperformance relative to European equities. It would appear that in the last 24 hours, US equities are now rallying back to that European 'surreality'. Surreal because European stocks remain dramatically exuberant relative to European (peripheral spreads unch and AAA massively bid) and US (Treasuries bid) bonds and European corporate and financial credit. As we stand, the S&P 500 has retraced back to Europe's 'fair' perspective.



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The Transformation Of Hedge Funds Into Mutual Funds

Whether 'size matters' or not to the average hedge fund matters is a question many ask; but as Goldman's Hugo Scott-Gall summarizes perfectly in this chart, it is clear that the preference for herding into the biggest of big caps is becoming ever more crowded. Certainly this likely accounts for the massive rise in correlations (and the over-crowded momentum factor style skew in the market) but the dilemma is foraging for alpha in these huge mega-cap over-researched names is an ever-decreasing game of a-fraction-of-a-basis-point-of-alpha against a sea of beta - and for that mutual-fund-like return, you pay your 2-and-20.



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Guest Post: Immigration: Cui Bono ?

Immigration is always a tricky subject to address honestly. Racists and the far right have dominated the debate and appropriated the language necessary to make even a well reasoned argument. Nevertheless, I think it is about time that some aspects of immigration, in the context of it’s supposed benefits (cui bono ?) are more widely understood and if by doing so I upset anyone, then I hope it will suffice to say that it is not my intention to do so. If you are from the USA you may like to know that the UK, with a population of 63 million, is one fifth of that of the USA, but the USA has a land mass 38 times bigger. In the USA there are 32.3 people per square kilometre, in the UK it is 250.2 per sq km.



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Citi Goes Back To The Future: Lessons from U.S. Fiscal Deleveraging After World War II

Just two weeks after the 'Back To The Future'-Day hoax, Citi's Global Head of International Economics Nathan Sheets, notes that, the experience with fiscal deleveraging after World War II offers some striking lessons, as well as some important caveats, for the United States in the present episode. With the debt again on a high and rising trajectory, even if the headwinds that are now afflicting U.S. aggregate demand quickly abate, economic growth is unlikely to be as strong as that recorded in the late-1940s and 1950s. At the very least, demographics are less supportive. Similarly, while we cannot dismiss the risk that the Federal Reserve may stumble as it eventually exits from its unconventional policies. The key, Sheets concludes, is to find a path for expenditures and revenues that avoids the so-called “fiscal cliff” in the near term but that firmly reduces the trajectory of the debt over the medium to long run. Without such a solution, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the vagaries of sentiment in the bond market, thus opening the door to an unwelcome set of severe financial risks.



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Key Highlights From Fed Lieborgate Disclosure

Here are the choice highlights from the Fed datadump as we see them.

From Barclays to NYFed:

"Libor's going to come in at.. .. three-month libor is going to come in at 3.53.

 

...it's a touch lower than yesterday's but please don't believe it. It's absolute
rubbish. I, I, I'm, putting my libor at 4%

 

...I think the problem is that the market so desperately wants libors down it's actually putting wrong rates in."



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New York Fed Release Full Response On Lieborgate

The Fed has released the first of its Lieborgate treasure trove: "Attached are materials related to the actions of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“New York Fed”) in connection with the Barclays-LIBOR matter.  These include documents requested by Chairman Neugebauer of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Chairman Neugebauer requested all transcripts that relate to communications with Barclays regarding the setting of interbank offered rates from August 2007 to November 2009. Please note that the transcript of conversations between the New York Fed and Barclays was provided by Barclays pursuant to recent regulatory actions, and the New York Fed cannot attest to the accuracy of these records. The packet also includes additional materials that document our efforts in 2008 to highlight problems with LIBOR and press for reform. We will continue to review our records and actions and will provide updated information as warranted."



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The CME On Gold As Collateral And Its Unsurprising London-Based Custodian

While the increasing use of gold as accepted explicit (not implied) collateral has long been known, especially with an increasing push by Germany to receive gold as the ultimate guarantee backstop of the only viable Eurozone extension  scheme, the Redemption Fund, the other side's perspective, that of the exchanges has been missing. Now, courtesy of a report by Harriet Hunnable from the CME, titled "Some Insights into Changes in the Gold OTC market", we can see just how the status quo views gold's rising role in a world increasingly short of good collateral (even if, as the Chairman says, it is anything but money). And yes: that the CME has its gold custodian facilities with JPM London, where it is subsequently infinitely rehypothecatable and where it serves to restock the occasiona physical shortage here and there, does not surprise us at all.



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Deciding The Fate Of The Euro

As Euro area policymakers continue to ‘muddle through’ the crisis, everyone's favorite FX Strategist - Goldman's Thomas Stolper, summarizes the decline in the EUR so far as due to slower growth and easier monetary policy, together with growing EUR short positions. Of course, the root cause of both developments is the political crisis in the Euro area. The uncertainty about the stability of the institutional framework of the Euro area forces front-loaded fiscal tightening, which in turn damages growth. In response, the ECB eased policy more than expected, while the Fed, did not ease as much or as early as many projected. Despite today's ecstacy in EURUSD, Stolper believes the EUR is unlikely to strengthen materially as long as this situation persists especially as the potential for the ‘fiscal risk premium’ to rise on the back of daily headlines that are dominated by disagreement and dispute remains. In an effort to clarify his thinking, Stolper identifies eight key issues that will determine the outlook for the Euro. Most of them relate to the Euro area crisis. The most interesting ones are possibly the timing of a recovery in the periphery, the ability of France and Germany to develop a common vision for further integration, and the evolution of fiscal policies in major economies outside the Euro area. He concludes that the risks in the near term remain substantial.



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