We have been bearish on the Shanghai composite ever since the index rejected the 50-dma around 3,100. Overnight we tested and so far held the 61.8% retracement of the rally since 02/03/2010 at 2,971, and we have the support of a possible triangle formation at 2,947. Long term I remain bearish on China for reasons I will detail a bit more lower. However this potential triangle support need to be invalidated by a break to the downside. Indeed, triangles are almost exclusively continuation patterns within a trend, and in the case of an horizontal triangle it is always the case. Triangles however need 3 touch on one side and 2 on the other to be validated technically, so it is not a forgone conclusion that it is what the market is doing. This is why it is key break to the downside here, if not expect 3 months of consolidation between 3,000 and 3,240 (yawn). - Nic Lenoir
Former President Of Just Failed Park Avenue Bank Arrested On Bank Bribery, Embezzlement And Fraud ChargesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/15/2010 - 11:28
A former president of a privately-held New York bank, Park Avenue Bank, was arrested Monday on charges including bank bribery, embezzlement and fraud, a federal prosecutor said.
A source familiar with the case identified the banker as Charles Antonucci, who was president of the bank from June 2004 to October 2009.
On Friday, state regulators closed Park Avenue Bank, which had assets of $520.1 million and deposits of $494.5 million at the end of 2009, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The charges against the former bank president include self-dealing, bank bribery, embezzlement and fraud on the New York state banking department, FDIC and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the statement by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
His office said U.S. officials were to disclose more details at a press conference at 1 p.m. (1700 GMT) on Monday.
In November the bank applied for a bailout of less than $12 million under the TARP program but withdrew its application over concerns about restrictions on banks that receive taxpayer money, bank chairman Donald Glascoff said on March 10.
The smoothed ECRI leading economic index for the U.S. fell last week for the 12th week in a row, to stand at its lowest level since July 2009. Something tells us a slowdown is about to start. With a week to go before the debate with the legendary Jim Grant at the Plaza in New York, we seem to recall that this was the index he was using several months ago to predict that nominal GDP growth was set to accelerate to a double-digit annual rate. We seem to have stopped well short of that mark. - David Rosenberg
The game is on the table. We’ll watch to see if the bulls can break out from the January levels and excite sideline money. Or, will the bears have a goal-line stand and force a double top. Friday did not give us a clear answer. Stay tuned! - Art Cashin
Some have asked us what is the reason for the earlier poll asking who is more trustworthy: Liesman or Santelli. The following clip from earlier this morning should explain it. First Liesman points out "there is a point in time when ignorance goes from being amusing to being dangerous, and I think Rick's crossed that point long ago" Next, all hell break loose.
The first just released TIC data, post the latest major annual revision, indicates that the two biggest holders of US Treasury securities continue to pare their holdings. We will present a more granular look shortly as the revision has made all historical numbers irrelevant, however the consolidated picture demonstrates that China sold $6 billion in USTs going into January, with Japan paring just slightly, at $1 billion. This was more than compensated by accumulation by the three other major players: the UK, Oil Exporter countries, and Caribbean banking centers, a proxy for hedge funds, whose holdings grew by a substantial $28 billion, $11 billion and $15 billion, respectively. The UK, which is most certainly a proxy for China, has seen its holdings grow by $100 billion in 4 months, from $106 billion in October to $206 billion most recently.
In this two-part special on CBS's 60 minutes, Michael Lewis continues on his crusade of exposing Wall Street's massive delusion that it provides a service of value to society. "The incentives for people on Wall Street got so screwed up, that the
people who worked there became blinded to their own long term
interests. And because the short term interests were so overpowering.
And so they behaved in ways that were antithetical to their own long
term interests." His observations and conclusions are, as always, spot on.
- Ah, the benefits of monopolies: Goldman Sachs Demands Derivatives Collateral It Won’t Dish Out (Bloomberg)
- FASB hypocricy: banks face mark-to-market hypocricy (WSJ)
- Rising money market rates hint Treasury losses amid Fed exit (Bloomberg)
- EU to discuss Greek aid, Germany skeptical (Reuters)
- Stocks decline in China economy concern; pound, euro weaken (Bloomberg)
- Paul Murphy: The truth about speculators - they are doing God's work (FT)
- Could Lehman be E&Y's Enron (Reuters)
RANsquawk 15th March Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc.
- Asia stocks, commodities fall on China tightening speculation.
- China’s stocks decline to five-week low on tightening concern.
- Debate brewing in OPEC over what its post-recession production might look like.
- EU finance chiefs to weigh Greek rescue as ministers seek to avoid bailout.
- Euro near 5-week high versus Yen on Greece bailout, BOJ policy.
- Consumer tax hikes hit Greece as EU to discuss debt crisis.
- The Federal Aviation Administration ordered airlines to perform an emergency inspection of some 600 Boeing 737 airplanes.
The rating agency, whose "objectivity" was recently fully exposed after it has been persistently the one rater who refuses to downgrade Greece, even after its peers S&P and Fitch have made Greek bond eligibility for ECB collateral contingent purely on Moody's lack of conscience, is pretending that it has some credibility after all, by doing a little extra posturing, and grumbling that if things get much worse, it may, just may, consider dropping the US AAA rating. This, of course, despite Tim Geithner's promise that the US would only be downgraded over his dead body, or something like that. Furthermore, as we have recently learned, the FRBNY has a "proactive" influence in rating agency decisions. To assume that Mr. Brian Peters of the New York Fed would return a Moody's call and say "yes, we agree with your assumption that the US is not really AAA-worthy, please go ahead and downgrade us" requires copious amount of prior consumption of LSD and other hallucinogenics. Yet for those who still care about what output Moody's produces, here is the full relevant text discussing the outlook for the United States.
GATA Presents New Evidence Of The Fed's Gold Price Supression Scheme, Combing Through Oddly Unredacted FOMC MinutesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/14/2010 - 18:36
GATA's Adrian Douglas has done a tremendous job of combing through dozens of hundred-plus page FOMC transcripts, and has compiled numerous quotes by assorted FOMC-related personnel, including former Chairman Greenspan, which provides yet another piece of evidence, demonstrating the persistence of the Fed's gold price suppression scheme. As Douglas puts it: "My thinking was that if an organization is so inept at covering up that detailed transcripts were retained, then perhaps it is also inept at completely redacting sensitive and incriminating information. What I found is quite astounding and serves as documented evidence by the Federal Reserve itself that it manipulates the gold market." We present the relevant quotes dug up by Douglas, whom we applaud for his effort, together with his very relevant commentary, which once again exposes the Fed's covert gold price suppression intentions.
This weekend the New York Times has published an interesting observation of gender differences when quanitfying the intangible concept of "overconfidence" as it relates to stock trading. While the article throws a relatively minor wrench at the spoke of "efficient markets", we are following it up with a scientific paper by Wei Xiong and Jialin Yu, discussing the Chinese Warrant Bubble, in which speculative mania gripped the trading of warrants so deep out of the money that they were certifiably worthless, yet trading at an increasing turnover rate, and substantially inflated prices. With numerous unequivocal examples of bubbles in the history of capital markets, starting with Dutch tulip mania (1634-37), progressing through the Mississippi bubble (1719-20) the South Sea bubble (1720), the Internet bubble in the late 1990s, and the housing bubbles of the mid 2000s, it appears that human traders never learn from history as the speculative element overpowers rationality each and every time. The underlying premise: the hope that another greater fool will emerge. And emerge they do, until they don't, and markets collapse bidless. It is certainly easy to draw a parallel between the Chinese Warrant Bubble, and the trading of AIG, C, FNM, FRE and a whole slew of otherwise worthless companies, which on occasion make up over 30% of of the volume of the US stock market, which in turn drives the momentum that pushes the balance of all stocks. Another parallel: the entire US stock market is now one big "greater fool" trap waiting to spring once the greater fools have their fill of gambling fever.
Presenting an update of North American Investment Grade CDS. While Month To Date the credit market has ripped in line with equities, with just CTL and AA marginally wider for the period, Year to Date the vast number of names is still wider than at January 1, or at beast unchanged, demonstrating that credit is certainly not as enthused about the equity market activity over the past two and a half months.
Ultimately the biggest loser from the whole Repo 105 scandal may not be the perpetrators, i.e., Fuld, the firm's numerous CFOs, Tim Geithner and Mary Schapiro, but the alleged "fact-checkers" - auditors Ernst & Young. Just like Enron's Star Wars-based off balance sheet accounting gimmicks brought down Arthur Anderson, so "Repo 105" may likely be responsible for the downfall of E&Y. Although while in Enron's case, it was just the accounting that brought the firm down, in Lehman's case the confluence of numerous factors will render each individual one relatively less critical, potentially to the point of irrelevance. And while book cooking was just as big of an issue for Lehman as it was for Enron, the fact that the bank did pretty much every other borderline illegal thing possible, will take away focus from just the Repo 105 fiasco, or just the liquidity misrepresentations, or just the commercial real estate book mismarking, and so forth. So to facilitate a decision on E&Y culpability, we present a candid look at Ernst & Young's Financial Services Office, the company's presentation on Paragraph 10 of IAS 39 overseeing Repo agreements, E&Ys analysis of FAS 140 "Accounting for Financial Transfers and Repurchase Financial Transactions", the Examiner's conclusions on the firm's breach of conduct, the firm's soon to be dwindling banking client base, and last, and most certainly least, a snapshot of E&Y's Lehman co-lead partner, Hillary Hansen, against whose negligent actions, as part of the Lehman E&Y practice, the Examiner concludes "that sufficient evidence exists to support a colorable claim for malpractice."