The CFTC's latest weekly Commitment of Traders report shows that after a brief respite, potentially dictated by Goldman's very temporary euro bullishness, the euro is back to having a record number of non-commercial futures-only positions at -74,917. This is a more than 50% increase from last week's -46,341. As a reminder the prior euro net short record was -74,551 two weeks ago. Curiously, even as traders went bearish on the euro, this was not coupled by a carry offset with the JPY: net long spec yen positions dropped from 15,197 to 10,161. Another currency that saw an increase in bearish interest was the cable, which saw a 7,637 contract decrease to -71,624. On the bullish side, the AUD was the preferred contra-carry currency, as contracts increased by 10,161 to 74,339. In other commodities, both oil and gold saw speculative positions declines by -12,224 and -16,474, respectively, to 111,919 and 183,872. The number is relevant for gold as this represents 37% of the open interest.
With each day bringing new and more ridiculous M&A, and now LBO rumors, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight the public companies that have at least a fighting chance of going private. Using a simplistic template from UBS, we present the thirty companies which would generate the highest stock return should they get acquired, assuming a 4.5x Debt/EBITDA pro forma leverage (as much as TPG would like, 10x leverage is not coming back...Unless Joe Cassano is hired to run Chrysler's take private group), and also assuming a 40% equity portion in the transaction. In other words, these are the companies that at least on paper have the highest equity expansion potential in a 7.5x EV/EBITDA. While this analysis ignores whether or not any of these companies actually generate substantial cash flow to cover pro forma interest, or are a logical fit for any financial acquiror, any company not on this list is likely already equity heavy and as a result even if acquired will not result in material upside. As the chart below shows, the maximum stock upside ranges between over 200% in the case of R, to just over 22% in the case of BBY. This below list by no means suggests that any of these companies on it will be LBOed: it should merely be used a benchmark for modeling purposes.
- Recommendation: underweight energy
- Time horizon: 3-6 months
- Oil contango trade unwind
- USD strength
- General market headwinds
- Underlying theme: a substantial portion of recent energy demand originates from speculative and/or indirect sources, rather than organic, sustainable drivers, and the inflection point for the former to unwind has finally arrived
Following our focus yesterday on key supports in Fixed income, we feel that the risk is that on a rally here the curve could flatten. Indeed 2Y yields even though they rose recently, remain very low, and we feel that if the next leg is up in fixed income then the long end should outperform. We have attached a chart of 2/10 for US treasuries, as can be seen we just retested the 50-dma. - Nic Lenoir
More Than Meets The Bottom Line: Are Banks Getting Crushed Due To Negative Swap Spreads And The $154 Trillion IR-Derivative Market?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 - 15:46
Lots of confused chatter in the bond community as to why the negative swap spread story (anywhere between 7Y and 30Y) is being largely ignored by the media. After all, the associated market, which according to the BIS was roughly $154 TRillion in June 30 makes the Greek bond debacle and various sovereign CDS discussions in the media pale in comparison. As several bond traders pointed out, the likelihood of negative spreads having been modelled out by the TBTFs is very low, if any, meaning that unhedged bank IR-swap exposure is suffering massively, and is likely to surpass all record past prop desk losses. In fact, rumors abound that a few of the desks having placed leveraged bets on spread divergence over the past months and years are currently in critical condition, yet nobody is discussing this for fear of another round of bank run concerns among the TBTF banks. What is odd, is that the Primary Credit borrowings are now at almost financial crisis lows of just under $9 billion, leading many to speculate that banks now satisfy all of their short-term funding needs via the fungibility of excess reserves (and indicating once again that the Fed's discount rate hike was the most irrelevant action in a history of irrelevant actions). And just in case there is still confusion as to what negative swap spreads mean, here is a useful primer.
The U.S. economy’s recent growth has been underpinned
significantly by government policy, yet this short-term cyclical
support will likely fade in the second half of 2010. As a result,
investors should take advantage of the tighter credit spreads and focus
on de-risking their portfolios in order to prepare for the increasing
long-term secular headwinds stemming from the growing deterioration in
public sector balance sheets in many developed economies.
Mark Kiesel, PIMCO Managing Director
Charlie Gasparino has just broken the story that Larry Summers may leave the Obama administration, presumably after the elections, based on the former DE Shaw man's disclosures to various Wall Street execs. This is not a very surprising move for Obama, who has bet his entire mid-term election campaign on his counter-Wall Street rhetoric, if not actions. Too bad that by this point, due to over a year of purposeful inactivity, the TBTF are Too Infinitely Big To Fail. With Summers a horrendous legacy of the administration's extensive ties to Wall Street, it was only a matter of time before he and Obama quietly parted ways. Following this development (and not a second too soon), everyone's attention shifts to Tim Geithner who has overstayed his welcome in the "public" scene for just about his entire tenure, and is way overdue in checking in to his reserved Goldman Sachs cubicle.
In an exclusive report, Kitco has just released yet another stunner in the world of precious metals. It turns out that Eric Sprott has attempted to purchase gold from the IMF, according to information provided to Kitco by Frank Holmes, CEO of US Global Investors. "I just spoke with Eric Sprott, who bid to buy [the IMF's remaining gold on the block] and they refuse to sell it." As Kitco points out, "the IMF might be holding out for a bigger buyer or a central bank or for higher prices. But Holmes argues the IMF's rejection of Sprott's bid means markets are being manipulated." Back to Holmes: "I think there is a lot of manipulation done by governments around the world in the currency markets which affect the bond markets so to me it's just normal course." Holmes concludes "with an election year there may be a gold rally that could be two standard deviations, or $300 dollars, to the upside. So you could see gold run to $1300 to $1500 quite easily." This all isoccurring as ever more pundits finally realize that as fiats are discredited across the world, the only safe, non- dilutable resource is gold.
Internal Email Indicates Exchange Outage Is Affecting Order Flow As Selling Intensifies, ES Upchannel BrokenSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 - 13:15
And you thought we were joking when we said the various exchanges will start breaking when the selling volume intensifies.
From an internal email:
"One of the exchanges to which we submit order flow is experiencing a system outage affecting some Listed and OTC orders"
Awaiting official information from the NYSE if it is in fact the impacted exchange.
You see it wasn't North Korean torpedoes, it was the South Korea Sovereign Destabilization Fund, LLC. Its principals are all about to be exiled by the SEC to St. Helena for life.
Senator Kaufman Blasts Dodd Bill, Says It Gives Regulators "Reshuffled Set Of Regulatory Powers That Already Exist"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 - 12:25
We have long said that Delaware Senator Kaufman is probably one of the very few unbought, objective and honest politicians in D.C. His latest speech, "Ending Too Big To Fail" proves this yet again. It is unfortunate that even as the Dodd "reform" bill is about to pass, which incidentally has nothing to do with reform (once again - the only" financial reform" we have gotten since the advent of the Obama administration have been short selling curbs - can't have stocks going down now, can we), and all to do with placating Wall Street interests, who have paid handsomely to the authors of the bill to pretend as if reform is being done, that true activist reforms like Kaufman are being largely ignored. Hopefully after the mid-term elections, politicians from both side of the spectrum, who now blatantly ignore their voters, will finally realize you can avoid the long-forgotten concept of democracy only for so long.
Geopoltical Update: South Korean Ship Likely Hit By North Korean Torpedo, Emergency Security Meeting Held In SeoulSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 - 11:55
Several South Korean sailors were killed and one of its naval ships with more than 100 aboard was sinking on Friday after possibly being hit by a North Korean torpedo, South Korean media reported.
A South Korean vessel fired at an unidentified vessel towards the north and the South's presidential Blue House was holding an emergency security meeting, Yonhap news agency said.
#ed1c24;">URGENT: SEOUL, South Korea -- A news agency says a South Korean navy ship has fired shots at an unidentified ship.
The South Korean navy reportedly shot at an unidentified ship near
North Korea as one of its vessels is sinking near the maritime border
along the country's west coast.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said late Friday that the navy ship fired shots toward North Korea.
The report comes as South Korean officials confirm that a navy ship
is sinking off the west coast near the border with North Korea. There's
no word yet on what caused the sinking.
Pimco's McCulley Discusses 10-Years, The Yield Curve, The Shadow Economy, Minsky Journeys And The Deflation BeastSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 - 11:32
"I cringe when I hear men like Kansas City Fed President Tom Hoenig muse that the Fed will ultimately need to get the Fed funds rate back up to a 3.5-4.5% zone. I deeply respect Mr. Hoenig, both as an economist and as a man, but I just don't see why the Taylor Rule of the Forward Minsky Journey should apply to the Reverse Minsky Journey. Simply put, the 2% real Fed funds rate constant in the Taylor Rule should, in my view, be considered toast. In a world of deleveraging and hoarding cash it makes absolutely no sense to reward holders of cash with an after-tax real rate of return." - Paul McCulley, Pimco.
Ron Paul: "What The Federal Reserve Still Fails To Realize Is That Intervention In The Economy Is Always Harmful"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 - 10:50
As part of yesterday's hearing with Ben Bernanke before the House Financial Services Committee, Ron Paul provided the following statement in which he blasts the Fed's ever-increasing cluelessness over monetary policy and its disastrous Catch 22 implications: "the Fed only sees what is seen, the superficial results of its policies, and not what is unseen, the effects of its monetary intervention throughout the economy. Monetary inflation leads to malinvestment and causes the boom phase of the business cycle. Once the malinvestment is realized the bust phase occurs, and these malinvested resources need to be liquidated in order for the economy to recover. But the Fed actively works to prevent this liquidation and does everything in its power to continue inflating in order to prolong the boom. The first act of intervention begets the second and subsequent interventions, each bigger than the first, as each economic bust gets larger and more severe." As the only thing that currently matters for the economy, for LBO rumors, and for stock picking in general is the overabundance of liquidity, one wonders to what rabbit holes the Fed's push for central planning of the US economy will eventually lead us: "The Soviet Union's economy failed because of its central planning, and the United States economy will suffer the same fate if we continue down the path toward more centralized control."