- Asia stocks rise as US reports boost confidence in recovery; Yen weakens.
- Banks borrowed less from the Fed?s emergency lending program over the past week.
- Euro set for biggest weekly drop in six on concern Europe split by Greece.
- Nikkei hits sixth straight weekly gain, up 0.7% on week.
- US Treasury to sell $118B in notes.
- Papandreou races against time to cut borrowing costs as EU splits on aid.
- Supply of foreclosed homes on the rise again, putting pressure on home prices.
At a time when our political and financial landscapes are littered with villains and those unwilling to take them on, it's refreshing to find someone in the halls of power that we can unabashedly celebrate.
Enter Sen. Ted Kaufman of Delaware. Kaufman, Joe Biden's longtime chief of staff who was appointed to serve out his old boss's term, was originally thought to be a Senate placeholder.
But, far from biding his time, Kaufman has emerged as one of the Senate's fiercest critics of Wall Street and a champion of the need to push for a serious rebooting of our financial system.
Jim O'Neill Mea Culpa: "Hey I Was Dead Wrong On The Whole Yuan Thing, But... Hey Look Over There, Stocks Are Up"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2010 - 23:44
Permabull Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs surprises everyone by issuing yet another missive after being dead wrong on the Renminbi a month ago, and very vocally so. The surprise is not in his persistent frothiness (the man is a singularly male version of an undoubtedly female A. Joseph Cohen after all), or his attempt at mea culpa'ing (we wonder what sport instrument Roach would recommend using on Mr. O'Neill), but that Jim is still at Goldman after the entire Red Devils fiasco. Oh, and speaking of sport, O'Neill joins the Krugman-Schumer team in providing most unwelcome policy advice to China.
The Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia is about as direct as one can be in the following Bloomberg interview: "We should take out the baseball bat on Paul Krugman -- I
mean I think that [his] advice [to push China to revalue the Renminbi] is completely wrong.” Well, somebody had to finally say it. So instead of pointing the scapegoating finger somewhere else, which seems to be the norm these days (cue G-Pap and his quadrillionth repetition that Greece is perfectly solvent and that unless somebody bails him out (ignore the lack of logic for a second), he will start playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun), Roach looks in the mirror: "America does not have a China problem. America has a savings problem. America has the biggest savings shortfall of any leading country in modern history, When you don't have savings you have to run current account deficits to import surplus savings from abroad and run massive trade deficits to attract the capital... Isn't it the height of hypocrisy that America can articulate a particular position in its currency but the Chinese are not allowed to do that." Also some not so kind words about Senator Schumer: "He always has a view no matter where the Renminbi is, that it is 27.5% undervalued."
New Merrill Lynch Disclosure Shines A Perjurious Light On Ben Bernanke's Sworn Testimony; JP "Fed Lite" Morgan Also Dabbled In Repo...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2010 - 21:50
It seems it was just yesterday that Bernanke was on the edge of committing perjury and lying that the Federal Reserve of New York knew nothing about Lehman's "more peculiar" off balance sheet transactions. Oh wait, it was: as a reminder in his cross by Scott Garrett, the New Jersey representative asked whether the "Fed was aware of the Repo 105 and the accounting irregularities going on?"
Bernanke answers "No - they were hidden." Oops. Because a story just released by the Financial Times seems to indicate otherwise, and unless Merrill Lynch is lying out of their derriere, Mr. Bernanke should be immediately investigated for potential perjury before the American people. "Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve officials were warned by [Merrill Lynch] that Lehman Brothers was incorrectly calculating a key measure of its financial health months before its collapse in 2008...In the account given by the Merrill officials, the SEC, the lead
regulator, and the New York Federal Reserve were given warnings about
Lehman’s balance sheet calculations as far back as March 2008." Amusingly, the sole purpose why Merrill would rat out Lehman is to make its own disastrous situation more agreeable, as often happens when the rats realize the sinking of the ship is inevitable. Well, unlike Merrill, whose liquidity situation was equally as disastrous on the weekend of September 14th, which found a pressed suitor in the form of BofA (and its Fed/Goldman-puppet CEO Ken Lewis), Lehman was not quite so lucky (one wonders why). Yet the bigger issue is why does the Fed keep on lying to the American public without any trace of consequence? When will someone finally wake up and sue the Federal Reserve (and we don't mean FOIA), or at least slap a racketeering lawsuit on "those people?" Oh yeah, the market is up, American Idol is on TV, G-Pap has done all that was needed to (not) be bailed out, so all shall be well. This is better known as "if the other Ponzi dude was thrown in jail, you must acquit" defense.
Banks Stifle First Amendment, Attempt To Create A Tiered Market Of "Clients" And "Everyone Else" As Theflyonthewall.com Is...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/18/2010 - 15:24
Theflyonthewall.com, which is a news aggregator service (much like most of the blogosphere these days, but without the snarky commentary), and is hosted on Zero Hedge, has just seen a major driver of its business model cut off, after several banks just won an injunction that blocks Fly from notifying its clients when a bank may have issued a research event such as an Upgrade or, on those extremely rare occasions nowadays, Downgrade. The banks who feel violated by everyone getting access to information about their sellside detritus contemporaneously, not just wealthy accounts and wire services, are Barclays, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley. As Bloomberg reports, "U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York today granted a request for an injunction sought by the three banks. They argued at a March trial that Theflyonthewall.com, a Summit, New Jersey- based firm with about 30 employees, wrongfully obtains and sells reports on changes to the banks’ stock evaluations." This is merely a case of picking on the weakest: the next ones to lose their First Amendment right will be, in order of importance, StreetAccount, Thomson Street Events, Briefing, and, ultimately Bloomberg. The reason: keep the market as two-tiered as possible so that clients of the above three banks (which list will likely expand promptly as more banks join in) have an upper hand over all the slower retail and algo operations. With this forced lag in information (which is a joke because anyone who cares, knows the second a research report goes public anyway), and with the ever increasing transaction times courtesy of nanosecond collocation facilities, soon the self-cannibalizing market will only rely on stealing money from those accounts who are still willing to participate in a market that is now split into two distinct groups: those who make money, and are clients of MS, ML and Lehman (and the rest of Wall Street), and everyone else. This is a huge hit for not just traditional media, but for the blogosphere as well, which revels in the freedom of not just ridiculing banks' (Merrill Lynch) upgrades of horrendously shitty companies (REITs), but enjoys doing so in real time. We expect that the next step is that any blog or medium that has any negative things to say about Merrill, MS or Barclays (pretty much most independent media), will be served with a summons as soon as any criticism is made public.
A rumor is circulating that barely a month since the last hike, the Fed is about to hike the discount rate (which is completely irrelevant of course, due to the whole $1.2 trillion in excess reserves thing) as early as today. When aksed for commentary, the Fedspokesman had no comment.
In the aftermath of the Zachery Kouwe plagiarism fiasco, the last thing Andrew Ross Sorkin's Dealbook needs is another scandal. Yet this is precisely what may come out of a recent column by the TBTF author, in which ARS insinuated that Lehman whistleblower Matthew Lee came forth with incriminating Repo 105 evidence only after he was made aware he was about to be "downsized." The Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum debunks this story, after pointing out some potentially gross misrepresentations in the Sorkin column, which go to directly to motive and to the integrity behind Lee's actions. "The Times’s DealBook editor Andrew Ross Sorkin, who wrote the column, quotes the sources saying the whistle blower came forward only after “it became clear” he was to be replaced in his job. We’ll get to that peculiar phrasing in a minute, but the main problem is the Times story gives no indication that Lee was called for comment. In fact, he wasn’t called, according to Lee’s lawyer, Erwin Shustak, whom I talked to yesterday. “I’ve never spoken to the man (Sorkin) in my life,” Shustak says. “Nobody’s spoken to Matthew.” That doesn’t meet a basic fairness test. As it happens, Shustak tells us that Lee had no idea his job was in danger." If indeed Sorkin misstated facts, a retraction is the only recourse as the potential for legal escalation on all sides of the story is huge. We are confident that while to Lehman managing directors $50 billion may have been a drop in the ocean, legal prosecution going after either ARS (or Lee) to reclaim it in part (or in whole) will surely make the Dealbook editor's head spin, even after accounting for Paulson and Geithner's 10,000 purchases of TBTF each (exaggeration ours... we hope).
First 130 Congressmen, now Greece: the examples of people who have no idea what the definition of negotiating leverage means just don't stop. G-Pap has decided to go all in on 2-7off suit . The problem is everyone knows what his cards are, and his bluff is about to be promptly called by everyone; too bad the Cyclades are still not in the pot. Give them a few weeks... Bloomberg reports that: "Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou set a one-week deadline for the European Union to craft a financial aid mechanism for Greece, challenging Germany to give up its doubts about a rescue package." And here we were thinking only Bernanke was clinically insane. G-Pap, it turns out, is shocked that someone can just say no to his generous offer of allowing someone else to bail him out. Act now, or in one month when you can buy Greece (and its islands) in a 363 sale, it will be too late (to overpay).
Is the fabled Greek bailout not happening? Will Greece be expelled from the Eurozone finally? Is China withdrawing too much liquidity? Did Bernanke say anything true or factual yesterday? Will Goldman ever upgrade a stock with less than 20% short interest? Will algos ever stop gunning the market higher: can we close green 30 days in a row? How about 300? Will we ever see a billion shares traded in one day again (in other words a down day)? For this and anything else, this is today's open thread.
Yet more rape and pillaging of US taxpayers as Portugal now plans to join the long and exalted list of nearly bankrupt countries who wish to join the dollar devaluation bandwagon, and issue debt denominated in dollars. The P in PIIGS is in the same position as the US, needing to plug a massive budget deficit, so it has decided to do what the US does so well - issue bonds with a $ sign on them. Bloomberg reports: "Portugal is selling bonds in dollars for the first time since November as part of a plan to issue 25 percent more debt this year to fund its budget deficit. The nation is marketing $1 billion of five-year bonds that may be priced to yield about 100 basis points more than the benchmark mid-swap rate." And this is merely the beginning: as most European countries are convinced the pain in Spain is nothing compared to what Washington is about to experience, we expect to see many more deficit whores attempting to jump on the dollar collapse bandwagon.
A smattering of the relevant headlines which are causing Greek spreads to widen as investors realize they have been lied to once again.
04:51 03/18 GREEK PM: GREECE WILL NOT DEFAULT
04:51 03/18 GREEK PM: NOT LOOKING FOR PARALLEL NATIONAL CURRENCY
04:50 03/18 GREEK PM: OFFER OF HELP ON TABLE WOULD HELP FIGHT SPECULATORS
04:50 03/18 GREEK PM: WOULD PREFER A EUROPEAN SOLUTION
04:49 03/18 GREEK PM: GREECE IS TALKING TO THE IMF
04:49 03/18 GREEK PM: MUST PURSUE REFORMS TO INCREASE COMPETITIVENESS
04:45 03/18 GREEK PM: IF NO SUCH PLAN IN PLACE, GREECE MAY NEED IMF HELP
04:44 03/18 GREEK PM: IMF-STYLE HELP COULD BE OFFERED ON "AD-HOC" BASIS
04:44 03/18 GREEK PM: EUROPE MUST BE PREPARED TO OFFER IMF-STYLE HELP
04:43 03/18 GREEK PM: GREEK NOT IN NEED OF IMF LOAN
04:32 03/18 GREEK 10-YR SPREADS WIDEN 6 BPS TO +306 BPS AS GREEK PM SPEAKS
05:40 03/18 GREECE PM:IMF SAYS OUR PLAN QUALIFIES US FOR IMF AID IF NEEDED
- Bernanke urges to let the Fed keep all of its banking oversight.
- BoJ's loan program may resound more with Government than economy.
- Brazil central bank leaves key rate at 8.75%.
- China conducts stress tests to gauge impact on industry of end to yuan peg.
- Euro weakens and Greek stocks and bonds fall due to bailout plan.
- Gov't bank regulators got big bonuses despite missing warnings signs of crisis.
- Greek PM Papandreou says austerity program not sustainable due to high borrowing costs.
Summarizing Today's Fed Chairman Q&A: Prepare To Vastly Exceed Your Recommended Daily Allowance Of Bernanke's PrevaricationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/17/2010 - 23:47
We comb through today's key Q&A by Ron Paul, Brad Sherman, Spencer Bacchus and Scott Garrett to find all the relevant instances in which Ben Bernanke either a) pleads the fifth, b) provides reasons to doubt his sanity, c) confuses what monetary policy is all about (not to mention cause and effect), d) forces Zero Hedge to send an Econ 101 textbook to the Marriner Eccles building c/o Ben Shalom Bernanke, or, e) lies outright.
A lot of people theorize or blog about the future of media. However, a handful of people actually walk the walk. One such person is Larry Kramer.
Larry spent 20 years as a reporter and editor at the San Francisco Examiner, the Washington Post, and the Times of Trenton. However, during the tech boom in the 90s, Larry seized the opportunity to become a successful media entrepreneur when he founded MarketWatch and managed the company as Chairman and CEO.