In March 2008, I published a report titled “Capitalism Takes a Sabbatical.” If only that were the case. I really can’t believe what I just read on Bloomberg News (Obama May Prohibit Home Loan Foreclosures Without HAMP Review). In a nutshell, the White House is considering a tactic that would prevent banks from foreclosing on defaulted homeowners unless they have been screened and rejected by the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). George Orwell must be rolling over in his grave. - David Rosenberg
<-This is what Germany thinks of Greece (Focus)
About time someone starting looking at potential criminality here: How Goldman's Stephen Friedman gamed the financial system while at the New York Fed (Nation)
Inventories - the gift that keeps on giving - First GDP revision is higher (Bloomberg)
Lessons from the Fed's past on heading for an exit (FT)
Stevie Cohen trades secrecy for golf with investors lured by 30% returns (Bloomberg)
AIG posts loss on charges tied to rescue, may need more bailouts, shares fall (Bloomberg)
Hey Europe - You happy you complied with Summers/Bernanke and kept euro so high for a year? European economy risks decoupling from global growth recovery (Bloomberg)
As the roadshow was initially scheduled for the second half of February, this implies that the Greek bond offering is, for now, history. Furthermore, no new roadshow data has been set. It is unknown whether this is due to the massive deterioration in Greek financial perceptions over the past week, or if because the government has managed to arrange a private loan with Deutsche Bank (which hopefully does not have a downgrade put trigger as that would be the shortest loan in history).
Greek spreads were about 10 bps tighter earlier after rumors that Deutsche Bank CEO Ackermann's meeting with Greek officials was to set the tone for a €15 billion DB loan to Greece. Even as Eurostat was analyzing the Greek swap info, and Greece announced slightly better than expected January budget data, the country was still forced to delay its bond offering as expected by Zero Hedge, despite consistent disinformation rumors spread by the Greek ministry otherwise.
- Asia stocks, Emerging currencies, metals climb on Asia economic optimism.
- Bernanke says Fed is reviewing Goldman Sachs's arrangements with Greece.
- India's Finance Minister pledges to shrink budget gap as economic growth quickens.
- Obama may ban all foreclosures without review by loan-modification program.
- OPEC output reaches 14-month high in February on Saudi gain, survey shows.
- Sales of previously owned US homes probably rose on tax credit extension.
- Treasuries head for monthly gain on Greece debt concerns, Fed rate outlook.
- Yen declines versus Dollar, Euro amid speculation importers sold currency.
RANsquawk 26th February Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc.
The New York Fed has released this week's Primary Dealer net holdings update. While the data indicates that PD's were aggressive sellers of virtually everything (USTs, Corps, Agency, except MBS) in the prior week, the one category that stood out was Treasury Bills, in which net short exposure reached levels last seen during the Lehman bankruptcy. Last week's net short exposure of ($15) billion compares to the ($26) billion two year low seen on September 17, 2008. The Lehman collapse period was very curious as during it PDs saw both a record selling in Bills followed by a record buying of Bills, all within a month: whereas in the week ended 9/17 $41 billion of Bills were sold/shorted, the week of October 22, saw a covering/buying spree of over $51 billion. We have not seen this kind of amplitude in the past two years. Over the past 5 weeks, PDs have sold a total of $29 billion in Bills, starting with a net long exposure of $13.8 billion in the week ended January 13, and culminating with a net short of ($15) billion on February 17.
When the S&P500 came upon the 3:15pm close, the market had settled negative, but hardly. The rally was good for 17.50 points from the low equating to a 1.6% reversal. And in case you didn’t know, a 1% market move equates to well over $100 billion in market capitalization. Therefore, this amazing move tacked on ~ $180,000,000,000.00 to the US (non-rigged) market cap. How nice. Oh, did I mention this was based on a RUMOR…an UNFOUNDED RUMOR? Not to worry though folks – you can bet your bottom dollar that the fellas on Fraud Street weren’t about to let a massive rally fade away to nothing. After the initial period when AAPL denied the rumor and the market churned around 1097.00, then the market went even higher. Said another way, Fraud Street kept the gains based on a known FALSE rumor…and then…wait for it….wait for it…I G N O R E D the real news of the morning. It was a well timed replay of the Greek bailout rumor of Feb. 9th. How healthy is this market if its best moves are 100% fabricated bull$#it? I have another question or two: Who benefited from this other than Goldman Sachs? I wonder how many magical S&P500 at-the-money calls were purchased moments before the explosion? I wonder if the SEC will investigate? Would the Lame Stream Media ignore this if a false rumor triggered a 1.6% rout? OK, I know the answer to the last two – and it’s no.
Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of February 25 - Just $45 Billion Left In Quantitative EasingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2010 - 21:38
The Federal Reserve's assets were at $2.27 trillion as of February 25, jumping by $6 billion sequentially. Securities held outright: $1,975 billion (an increase of $62.6 billion MoM, resulting from $59 billion increase in MBS and $3 billion in Agency Debt), or $8 billion increase sequentially. The fed has completed $169.1 billion of $175 billion in the agency MBS program, or a 97% completion, and 96% complete with purchases of Agencies. The Fed has completed $1.21 billion of its $1.25 billion MBS debt purchase program, or 97%, through February 25. There is just $45 billion left in QE. Net borrowings: $103 billion. The monetary base increased by $81 billion in the past fortnight to $2.14 trillion. The ratio of total assets to Monetary Base declined slightly to 1.06x. Float, liquidity swaps, Maiden Lane and other assets: $191 billion. The CPFF program was at $7.7 billion. FX liquidity swaps are now at zero: we are carefully keeping an eye on this metric as any increase presently would indicate banks are again experiencing a dollar funding shortage. Maiden Lane I and Maiden Lane II increased and were $27.2 and $15.5 billion, while Maiden Lane III as always continues pretending it has value and came flat at $22.4 billion.
In our first of many "Trench Warfare" segments, we share with our readers the perspectives of various floor and desk traders and analysts, in this case CBOT floor trader F.S., whose valuable perspective sheds some much needed light on today's odd market behavior, and on just who was responsible, and profited from it.
For all those who wish CNBC would actually focus on the real problem areas of discussion, such as, oh, say Greece, and do some reporting instead of pandering to mutual fund managers puimping their books, here is a clip of what is really going on in this southeast European hotbed of IMF bailout activity.
In a speech before the Imperial College in London, Bank Of England Policy Committee member David Miles made it almost a virtual certainty that Quantitative Easing will continue in England, saying it is "entirely plausible" that further QE will be appropriate. According to Market News, Miles said that the minutes of the February meeting of the MPC showed QE could yet be expanded, and said that for him the decision to keep QE unchanged at that meeting was "finely balanced". "It is entirely plausible that as economic events unfold it will become clear that an even more expansionary monetary policy will be appropriate," Miles said. "To deny such a possibility must mean that you either cannot imagine significant downside risks for economic activity and inflation - which suggests an imagination deficit disorder - or believe that monetary policy has become ineffective."
Dear Mr. Bernanke, dear idiots at the SEC (to paraphrase an extremely observant Harry Markopolos), and dear everyone else who is just an empty chatterbox and a mouthpiece for other conflicted interests, who claim baselessly that it is all the CDS traders' fault that Greece is about to be flushed down the toilet. We present to you the ratio of cash to synthetic (CDS) exposure. As Bloomberg points out, the "maximum amount on the line if 10 government defaulted, $108 billion, is 0.98% of their combined $11 trillion in sovereign debt." So these less than 1% marginal players are now blamed for the end of civilization? How about blaming sellers of cash bonds? Or, here's an idea, how about actually looking at the root cause, like for example governments, who with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, have lied for a decade about the true state of their finances, and have misrepresented on sovereign prospectuses all their economic exposure for years, which was subsequently signed off by countless auditors and lawyers. The corruption goes to the very top, and the SEC idiots are now investigating CDS traders? There will be no end to the insanity and lunacy, until there is a revolution in this country, or until CNBC allows a rational and objective person to talk on its network, whichever comes first.
No better way to spike the market with no ETF flows than to gun ES volume. And we mean VOLUME. And the supreme irony: Goldman trader commentary -
" This rally seems futures driven. Over $9BN of ESH0 exposure has traded in the market place over the last 10 minutes. We have zero ETF flow on the move higher...just more of what we've seen over the past 2 weeks"
Yes Goldman, we agree. And you know better than most.
To all who trade this manipulated lunacy, you have our sympathies. A 1% market move equates to well over $100 billion in market capitalization. And this value just materialized because Apple stock will (allegedly) be $50/share instead of $200, so the quadrillions in cash on the sidelines can buy buy 4 shares where before they could buy one. Just brilliant. Goldman/JPM/33 Liberty just raped everybody for lunch. And to complete the lunacy, this just made top Bloomberg news. The absurdity is just surreal. In other news, the Greek revolution will be televized in 1 minute YouTube 360x240 mp4 clips via iPhone.