A key reason why a preponderance of the population is fascinated with the student loan market is that as USA Today reported in a landmark piece last year, it is now bigger than ever the credit card market. And as the monthly consumer debt update from the Fed reminds us, the primary source of funding is none other than the US government. To many, this market has become the biggest credit bubble in America. Why do we make a big deal out of this? Because as Bloomberg reported last night, we now have prima facie evidence that the student loan market is not only an epic bubble, but it is also the next subprime! To wit: "Vince Sampson, president, Education Finance Council, said during a panel at the IMN ABS East Conference in Miami Monday that lenders are no longer pushing loans to people who can’t afford them." Re-read the last sentence as many times as necessary for it to sink in. Yes: just like before lenders were "pushing loans to people who can't afford them" which became the reason for the subprime bubble which has since spread to prime, but was missing the actual confirmation from authorities of just this action, this time around we have actual confirmation that student loans are being actually peddled to people who can not afford them. And with the government a primary source of lending, we will be lucky if tears is all this ends in.
Peter Tchir follows up on our original post from July 21 which predicted precisely what would happen in Europe three months in advance: "I expect we will see a "grand plan" soon. It will have a massive headline number. It will have all sorts of bells and whistles. It will have caveats. The headline program will sound huge. The fact that most of it is self-referencing, writing insurance on yourself, etc., won't even be important. It will be the conditions that are attached. It won't be carte blanche, recipients will have to meet set criteria to receive help. It will be phased in. It won't be all available at the first stage. This is because Germany finally realizes, that if it commits the money carte blanche and takes leveraged exposure, it is no longer in charge. The recipients are in charge. Germany gets in. France is still somewhat clueless, but Germany finally gets that the Grand Plan is the Grand Disaster for Germany."
Today at 8 pm is the latest installment in the Republican presidential debate drama this time, appropriately enough, straight out of Sin City. Here is what else to look forward to from DC.
Following concerns that China will be unable to funnel liquidity into its slowing economy due to latent inflation, the last thing the world needed was to learn that inflation, in this case Producer Prices, was still running at a blistering pace in the US. Alas, that is precisely what it got after September PPI printed up 0.8% from the month before (following the unchanged print in August) and 6.9% YoY. The number was above even the highest expectation from Wall Street strategists (consensus was 0.2%). And while PPI ex food and energy was up just 0.2%, try telling that to those 99% of the population whose income is barely sufficient to buy the, you guessed it, food and energy, which rose by 0.6% and 2.3% respectively. The biggest concern is the immediate impact on margins: producers’ rising costs likely to lead to further margin shrinkage “as firms choose to absorb increasing costs rather than pass them along to consumers,” says Bloomberg economist Joseph Brusuelas. Don't expect much respite in the CPI report to follow shortly.
The September PPI, TICS and speeches from Fed officials
We are still waiting to see the final form of the "Grand Plan" and what novel ways the EFSF guarantees will be applied to save the day. At the risk of sounding incredibly stupid, I have this feeling that Europe didn't actually work on any details until this past week, and Germany is suddenly realizing how bad the details are for them. Is it possible that some politicians got so caught in the moment of "saving Europe" and "fighting the speculators" that they kept promising more and more, without thinking whether they could or should deliver? You would like to think they didn't, but since none of the politicians are detail oriented, most of their contacts at investment banks are high level, former bankers, rather than traders, it is quite possible they didn't realize what they had agreed to. If some new EFSF is created, all of the future bargaining power in Europe will be shifted from France and Germany to PIIS. (it is a shame Ireland wasn't named Shamrock, it would make the acronym so much better).
Gold has fallen in all currencies today as equity and commodity markets have seen weakness due to concerns about Chinese economic growth after China's economy eased somewhat. Germany’s pouring cold water on the likelihood of a speedy resolution of the euro zone's debt crisis and the summit this weekend has also increased market jitters. Gold continues to be correlated with equities in the short term but we are confident that this correlation is short term in nature and the inverse correlation between gold and equities and bonds will again be seen in the medium and long term. Peripheral European debt markets are showing weakness again. The recent trend of falling yields appears to have ended which is worrying. Should yields begin to rise again this should create added safe haven demand for gold. UK inflation rose to match a record high of 5.2% (CPI) and retail price inflation (RPI), a measure of the cost of living used in wage negotiations, accelerated to 5.6% (from 5.2%), the highest since June 1991. The figures were again worse than expected by the BoE, economists and many economic experts who have been underestimating the threat of inflation for some time. The BoE, like the Federal Reserve, continues to follow an ultra loose monetary policy in an effort to boost an economy teetering on the brink of a double dip recession.
Goldman Reports Massive $0.84 Loss Per Share, Prop Trading Loss Of $2.5 Billion, Comp Accrual Of $358,713 Per EmployeeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/18/2011 - 07:39
Topline bloodbath Summary: Net revenues in Investment Banking were $781 million, 33% lower than the third quarter of 2010 and 46% lower than the second quarter of 2011. Net revenues in Financial Advisory were $523 million, up slightly from the third quarter of 2010. Net revenues in the firm’s Underwriting business were $258 million, 61% lower than the third quarter of 2010. Net revenues in both equity underwriting and debt underwriting were significantly lower than the third quarter of 2010, reflecting a significant decline in industry-wide activity. The firm’s investment banking transaction backlog increased compared with the end of the second quarter of 2011. Net revenues in Institutional Client Services were $4.06 billion, 13% lower than the third quarter of 2010 and 16% higher than the second quarter of 2011. Net revenues in Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Client Execution were $1.73 billion, 36% lower than the third quarter of 2010. And so on. As for the number everyone in #OWS is looking for, "The accrual for compensation and benefits expenses (including salaries, estimated year-end discretionary compensation, amortization of equity awards and other items such as benefits) was $1.58 billion for the third quarter of 2011, a 59% decline compared with the third quarter of 2010. The ratio of compensation and benefits to net revenues for the first nine mo nths of 2011 was 44.0%. Total staff levels decreased 4% compared with the end of the second quarter of 2011." In a nutshell: for the first time in probably since the Lehman crisis, Goldman reported a massive loss in its prop trading division of $2.5 billion, and also based on LTM accured comp benefits and the total staff at period end of 34,200, average compensation amounted to $358,713/employee.
In yet another episode of accounting gimmickry Groundhog Dayness, Bank of America reported a massively wonderful EPS number of $0.56, which obviously is more than 100% better than the expectation of $0.21.... Until one actually reads the press releases and finds that this number is nowhere near comparable to an apples to apples comparison. To wit: the reported net income number was $6.2 billion, which includes, "among other things, $4.5 billion (pretax) in positive fair value adjustments on structured liabilities, a pretax gain of $3.6 billion from the sale of shares of China Construction Bank (CCB), $1.7 billion pretax gain in trading Debit Valuation Adjustments (DVA), and a pretax loss of $2.2 billion related to private equity and strategic investments, excluding CCB. The fair value adjustment on structured liabilities reflects the widening of the company’s credit spreads and does not impact regulatory capital ratios." So netting out the CCB gain and the strategic investment loss leaves us looking at the two items entirely affected by the blow up in the company itself manifested by its soaring spreads: the $4.5 billion in structured liabilities adjustment and the DVA which add to $6.2 billion, which is.... what the company reported as its EPS! In other words, Bank of America had $0.00 EPS excluding for the accounting BS that is provisioning for buying "CDS on yourself." And since both of these adjustments flow through the P&L, the reported revenue of $28.45 billion (much better than the expected $25.92 billion) had to be adjusted $6.2 billion lower, and confirms that absent this most blatant accounting gimmick, the revenue was a huge miss. Yet despite a plunge in the company's NIM, a $1.7 billion reserve release, and a substantial plunge in BAC's provisioning for Rep & Warranties from $14 billion in Q2 to $0.3 billion in Q3, something which will again haunt BAC, Bank of America increased its staffing from 40.4 thousand to $42.1 thousand sequentially. Alas, that trends will not persist.
No surprises this time in the overnight sessions with treasuries higher into the New York open as Moody’s signaled France’s Aaa rating is at risk and China’s economy grew at the slowest pace in two years, both events reported previously and still occupying the market. Futures are down solidly ahead of Bank of America (which Bloomberg has been caught doing some big shennanigans - see below) and Goldman. More on why numbers on our screen are red, aside from the horrible Crocs guidance of course, is below, courtesy of Bloomberg.
Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard landing. China just reported (completely fabricated) Q3 GDP of 9.1%, which was the slowest GDP growth in the past 2 years and well below expectations of 9.3%, which has sent the Hang Seng index down to -3% on the news, and which confirmed that the Chinese economy is slowing... but not enough for the PBoC to release the spigots. Because just after the GDP data we learned that Industrial Production was chugging along at a relatively healthy 13.8% y/y vs Exp of 13.4% while new home prices gained in 69 out of 70 cities on the year. Unless China wants more spontaneous inflation "appreciation" days by its hundreds of millions of migrant workers, it will have to wait for its economy to cool even more before it does anything, meaning that even as it caught in a very unpleasant place, the aftereffects of Bernanke's inflationary exports are still keeping the economy hot. And those hoping that China will be the much needed growth catalyst (sure, we may get the occasional RRR cut but that will be all) will be disappointed. And because suddenly everyone is a China expert, yet doesn't realize that 9.1% is effectively the equivalent of 1.1% stall print in an economy where 8.0% growth is the minimum threshold for social order and stability, please read this.
Another Quarter, Another Blatant Window Dressing By The Primary Dealer Banks To Make Their Balance Sheets Seem StrongSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/17/2011 - 21:56
When back in 2010, Lehman examiner Anton Valukas exposed the bankrupt bank's Repo 105 practices (which subsequently we learned were also partaken into by most other banks, although the trail ends there and nobody was prosecuted for it, let alone went to jail -after all, everyone was doing it, and everyone knew about it), many were shocked and appalled that such a blatant window dressing practice was allowed to continue quarter after quarter. Which is why we suppose nobody will be surprised to learn that glaringly "in your face" window dressing continues to this very day quarter in and quarter out by the same Primary Dealers who already leech billions in free Fed (i.e., taxpayer) money courtesy of a collusive BWIC/OWIC spread-to-market in the Fed's daily POMOs. The quote-unquote shocking chart below is one we have demonstrated on numerous occasions in the past: it shows total primary dealer assets on a weekly basis as reported publicly by the New York Fed. We have made it clear time and again, that this chart demonstrates nothing short of the end of quarter window dressing, when PDs convert their asset holdings into cash to make their Tier 1 Capital much more robust than it truly is. After all, none other than JPM and Citi were praising just how prepared for Basel III they are with their "sterling" capitalization ratios... which were only sterling courtesy of precisely the highlighted window dressing which occurs each and every quarter. We expect nothing less from Bank of America and Morgan Stanley when they report their own numbers in the coming days. We also expect the regulators to do absolutely nothing to prevent this blatant abuse of fiduciary duty which has no other purpose than to hide the true sad state of America's banking system.