The market is getting ridiculous: a day after surging well over 1%, which in turn was preceeded by a day in which it plunged by 1%, will apparently be followed by yet another plunge in the broader market as the European selloff gathers steam and makes day traders and momo chasers cross-eyed following the high beta heatmaps. ES right now is preparing to take out yesterday's lows, as the EURUSD is trading at one year lows. But, but, US consumers are no longer making any contractual payments as this country plunges into payment anarchy, so it should take the market to 36k right? Wrong. With the next support for the EURUSD at 1.28, as things are now really getting serious over the atlantic, absent a complete decoupling in US stocks (from reality), we may be on the verge of a major correction.
European Re/Insurers On The Hook For E100 Billion In PIIGS Losses, Munich Re Leads List Of Greek ExposureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/04/2010 - 09:02
Research firm CreditSights has put together a comparison of all the major European Re/Insurer entities highlighting their exposure to PIIGS sovereign debt. In total insurers are on the hook for just under E100 billion in cross-linked exposure. The three riskiest countries, Portugal, Ireland and Greece, account for E13 billion in risk for the top 11 insurers, with Munich Re accounting for the bulk of this exposure, or E4.4 billion. However, when one adds Spain, and particularly Italy, the total notional risk surges to E96 billion. Italy, with E70Billion in Re/Insurer risk could be the Maginot line for this business, and especially a firm like Generali which has 46.5 billion in Italian positions will likely see its fate with the next logical focal point of risk after Portugal and Spain. Munich Re's big Greek bet explains why the company is willing to participate in a Greek bailout package - in the world of sovereign bailouts throwing good money after bad is a given: the firm will do all it can to buy itself some extra time before the inevitable. Something tells us a wave of selling for the Re/Insurers may be coming quite soon.
- Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in March by the most in five months.
- Most banks in the U.S. didn’t tighten lending standards during the first quarter - FED
- The Senate may take its first votes on amendments to the financial-overhaul bill.
- Apple sold 1 million of its new iPad tablet computers.
- BP Plc is trying to install a new valve to staunch one of three leaks in an undersea well.
- British Land and Blackstone Group plan to redevelop part of Broadgate.
- China Petrochemical resumed operations at a crude oil pipeline in Shandong province after shutting it because of a leakage on May 2.
- Citigroup proprietary trader Jay Glasser quit to join Nomura.
Ok, so Lazard has 1) confirmed it has been retained by Greece but 2) denied it would be facilitating a restructuring. One wonders what the firm, which exclusively specializes in advisory and M&A could be doing with the bankrupt company: distressed island M&A does come to mind. And ostensibly that activity does not fall under the "restructuring" assignment umbrella. Perhaps Lazard can disclose the terms of their engagement letter with G-Pap: we are confident that in keeping with Lazard's sincere denial, is there any mention of fee-generation associated with x% of outstanding debt restructured or new identification of new equity investors in Greece. Market News broke the news citing blog Zero Hedge. Thanks to Market News we are now painfully aware we are in dire need of a proof-reader.
Now that Greece is thoroughly irrelevant, the market just told the ECB, the IMF, and the EMU to prepare another $1 trillion in bailout packages. The reason: the Greek bailout just made it abundantly clear the bond vigilantes have free reign to call the bureaucrats' bluff whenever they see fit. The result: CDS of all non Greek PIIGS are now blowing out, and represent the top 4 names of all biggest CDS wideners for the day, each pushing a 10%+ change from yesterday. This movement wider will not stop until the IMF resolves to backstop all the PIIS ex. G. At this point nothing that happens in Greece is important, although the thing that will most likely happen is that the Greek government will fall imminently, killing the austerity package and destroying whatever credibility the EMU and the EU have left, but not before the IMF and the EU soak up another 110 billion euro in their slush funds. However, even with the bailout the Greek stock market is tumbling: the Athens Stock Exchange is now down 3.4% to just under 1,800. As we expected, the euro is about to breach 1.31 support. At that point, not even the US algos and the Liberty 33 traders will be able to prevent the contagion. And adding insult to injury is the latest rumor of an upcoming downgrade or very cautious language of Germany by the suddenly hyperactive rating agencies. When that occurs, you can kiss Europe goodbye.
This article was inspired by a conversation in January 2010 with fellow directors of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee: Chairman Bill Murphy, Secretary/Treasurer Chris Powell, and Directors Adrian Douglas and Ed Steer. In speaking about the growing role of the exchange traded funds in the precious metals market, it was clear that the disclosure that the precious metals ETFs described below were providing to investors was inadequate. However, was there a material omission under securities law? I found the issues complex. Understanding the commodities markets can seem daunting to someone like myself with a securities background. Meanwhile, the securities markets and related legal and regulatory issues can be unfamiliar to those with a background in commodities. I decided to ask my attorney to help me gather the relevant information into one document to make it easier for GATA supporters and other interested parties—whether from the commodities or securities markets—to examine these issues and to better understand and price these securities. - Catherine Austin Fitts, Solari Report
The latest RealPoint monthly CMBS delinquency report update is out and it continues to get worse and worse. In March, the total amount of delinquent CMBS increased by $3.2 billion to $51.5 billion, or 6.4% of the total notional outstanding. "Overall, the delinquent unpaid balance is up almost 268% from one-year ago (when only $13.89 billion of delinquent unpaid balance was reported for March 2009), and is now over 23 times the low point of $2.21 billion in March 2007. The distressed 90+-day, Foreclosure and REO categories grew in aggregate for the 27th straight month – up by $2.57 billion (7%) from the previous month and $30.31 billion (352%) in the past year (up from only $8.6 billion in February 2009)." And this data excludes the now defaulted Peter Cooper village which still remained current in March courtesy of its reserve. This loan will effectively go into real default in April or May at the latest, pushing the total delinquencies by at least another $3 billion. That's not the worst: RealPoint now sees the total delinquency rate surpassing 12% under a more stressed scenario, or double from here. Don't worry, the inability of the administration to delay the implosion of Commercial Real Estate is a victory of the bulls, and is just an indication of the "decoupling" of the CRE market fundamentals from the broader Alice in Lalaland parameters that set the everyday stock market.
We recently highlighed the words of Erik Nielsen who stated that the E110 billion Greek bailout package will simply not be sufficient, expecting that at least another 40 billion will be needed for an effective rescue operation. Today, the WSJ and German Bild, get on board this theme, likely causing further anguish for Greece and for the euro, as it once again highlights just how incompetentEuropean bureaucrats are. Ironically, in their attempt to lowball the rescue numbers, they may have just doomed the package, because we are confident German opposition (and you should see the cover pages of all German newspapers - there are 99 headlines blasting the rescue for 0.5 praising it) will use this disclosure to mount an attack on the "openendeness" of the what may soon turn out to be a neverending rescue package. And this does not even contemplate Portugal and Spain.
With America on the fast-track to a centrally planned economy, courtesy of a surging budget deficit and a debt load that would make Greece blush (at the current rate of debt accumulation, US debt will surpass 100% of GDP by mid-2011) it is imperative toreassess the macroeconomic framework of America from a simplistic Econ 101 perspective, as the US economy of the past 50 years (or even of two years ago) is no longer the prevalent model. This reevaluation should necessarily consider the thoughts of Smith, Pareto, and Hayek, as to whether these are even relevant any longer, now that both the government will be running the majority of the country (at least those sectors that are Too Big To Not Be bailed Out), and a corrupt DC will be regulating the multi-trillion financial industry with the dexterity of gloved Parkinson-afflicted kickboxer. Incidentally, none other than current Fed visiting scholar Stephen LeRoy, a professor emeritus at UC Santa Barbara, has put together a coherent investigation into just how relevant the whole premise of the Adam Smith "invisible hand" (not to be confused with the FRBNY "invisible hand" appearing every night in the futures market at around 2 am) is in our day and age. While somewhat theoretical, economic purists and particularly Austrians may enjoy this brief essay.
Fresh signs that the global recovery is taking a firm root helped oil prices soar to new year-and-a-half highs. Traders were also struggling to figutre out what impact, if any, the oil spill in the US Gulf may have on future supplies. Near-term, the impact is likely to be negigible. But, longer-term, it is possible that this catastrophe could lead to much lower off-shore drilling activity off the coastal United States. At this stage, it looks like it will be the reason for a moratorium on new offshore drilling for the foreseeable future. As a result of this outlook, deferred months have started to rise in reaction to the oil spill. Just a few weeks ago, when President Obama discussed opening up the outer continental shelf, it looked like offshore drilling would get an unexpected boost. Now, it looks potentially dead in the water.
After seeing its demands for secrecy rejected soundly twice, once in district court and once in appellate, the Fed is now appealing the "Pittman" decision yet again. As Bloomberg reports, "attorneys for the Fed today asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals in New York to reconsider a unanimous ruling by a three- judge panel." On the other side of the Fed is, as usual, the Clearing House Association: the organization of bankers that stands to lose the most should its secretive bailouts by the Fed no longer be subject to unconstitutional secrecy. There is no reason to expect that the second appeal will work. However, it is the escalation from there that will be most critical. " If the court refuses the request, the Fed may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court." That Supreme Court Decision, which will likely come around the time of Obama's mid-term elections, may prove to be more critical for Obama' reelection chances than unemployment, healthcare and regulatory "reform" combined. If the Supreme Court does ultimately side with the Fed, it will become clear once and for all who truly runs this country (and the world), and the the US constitution is at best something the oligarchy uses when it runs out of one ply Treasury Paper.
Volume today was a fraction of Friday's, which is probably why the numerous breakout attempts (at least three) over 1,200 in ES failed. The distribution on Friday pushed out many of the momo hands at lower levels, so few were willing to jump right back in, even with the Primary Dealers gunning for new post 1,200 highs, and the algos frontrunning every large block order with reckless abandon. Since many of the algos are controlled by the PDs, champagne was served all around at 4:15pm. In the meantime, the US treasury is facing another imminent debt ceiling increase most likely at about the time of the mid-terms, as we have been predicting since December of 2009. Those massive repo-based capital gains don't come cheap (to the taxpayers).
As part of today's surprise disclosure of Goldman's outstanding lawsuits (oh, so now it's material), we find that the firm is a party to a subpoena request for potential involvement in the Galleon massive insider trading case. While the existence of the subpoena is surprising, it does not seem to implicate Goldman in any actual wrongdoing. At least not yet. Should the full trade ticket trail indicate that Goldman was executing trades on behalf of Quad Capital and Incremental Capital trader Michael Kimelman, whom we discussed previously, and who is the object of the investigation, it would not be difficult to compare trades executed in flow on behalf of Kimelman and compare these with trades done by Goldman's prop trading desk. Of course, if Goldman prop suddenly decides to take the same side of the trade as Kimelman did at or around the same time, then Lloyd may need to out his PR campaign in turbo boost mode. We hope the presiding Judge on the case Richard Sullivan is smart enough to have requested all of the firm's trading records surrounding the times and dates of any trade potentially executed with Kimelman.
Treasury Refunding Upside "Surprise", Q2 Borrowing Higher Than Previous Estimate By $71 Billion, Sees September Debt Of $13.6 TrillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/03/2010 - 16:23
Today the Treasury issued its quarterly Treasury Refunding statement in which it announced that previous estimate for Q2 borrowing were woefully below expectations. We are confident none of our readers are "surprised" by this development, although seeing how it is an "upside" surprise it will be further evidence of the benevolent decoupling of the US economy from the world. In a nutshell here is what Tim Geithner's payday lending operation announced: "During the April – June 2010 quarter, Treasury expects to issue $340 billion in net marketable debt, assuming an end-of-June cash balance of $280 billion, which includes $200 billion for the Supplementary Financing Program (SFP). The borrowing estimate is $71 billion higher than announced in February 2010. The increase in borrowing is primarily related to cash balance adjustments associated with the recent restoration of the SFP to $200 billion. During the July – September 2010 quarter, Treasury expects to issue $376 billion in net marketable debt, assuming an end-of-September cash balance of $270 billion, which includes $200 billion for the SFP." In other words, the Treasury itself, which chronically underestimates its funding needs by about 20%, sees $716 billion in net funding needs in 6 months. Zero Hedge is prepared to make a market (and no we won't disclose to you that you are idiots if you sell protection on this bet either) on this number actually being north of $850 billion. In April, the Treasury issued a net of $176 billion in total debt (includes Trust Funds and marketable debt), to end the month at $12,892,729,000,000. The final Bill redemption balance in April was a paltry $596 billion, or $675 including Bonds. Let us repeat: in April the US Treasury had to roll over two thirds of a trillion in debt. Assuming the treasury is correct, the Treasury balance will be $13.23 trillion on June 30, and $13.6 trillion on September 30.
Savings Rate Declines By 10% As Spending Once Again Outstrips Income, Which In Turn Is 70% Transfer PaymentsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/03/2010 - 14:08
Even with consumers defaulting "strategically" on their mortgages left and right (with planned defaults accounting for 31% of foreclosures in Q1), and thus not having to incur almost any housing-related expenses (courtesy of the Treserve for making it all too obvious that nobody is expected to pay anything they owe ever again), the savings rate still declined by 10% in March, from over 3% to 2.7% of Disposable Income, as Personal Spending (+0.6%) outstripped Personal Incomes (+0.3%), and of this 0.3% increase, 70% was made up of a pick up in transfer payments! At this point we are fairly certain that US consumers are finally mimicking the administration and the financial sector in not caring if they ever get to pay another bill. That, and the government is directly funding the broader population's latest Apple product fix. It sure isn't due to increasing wages, for the simple reason that wages have not increased in years. And whereas in other nations the savings rate is materially higher due to the lack of such "we'll save it for you" entities as Social Security and Medicare, we now know that SSN is virtually bankrupt as we speak, with "cash out" now greater than "cash in." Yet instead of saving for their retirement, Americans are buying, buying, buying. One would think that based on this data real unemployment was lower than 16.9%. It isn't. The government's and the financial sector's methadone clinic has now moved to the suburbs. That this is yet another stimulus high that will ultimately fizzle, because that's what all one-time stimulus programs do by definition: they end, is clear. It is also now clear that the government has no idea what to do when the trickle down benefits from the drunken spending orgy do in fact end.