The Committee emphasized that it would continue to evaluate the timing and overall amounts of its purchases of securities in light of the evolving economic outlook and conditions in financial markets. A few members noted that resource slack was expected to diminish only slowly and observed that it might become desirable at some point in the future to provide more policy stimulus by expanding the planned scale of the Committee’s large-scale asset purchases and continuing them beyond the first quarter, especially if the outlook for economic growth were to weaken or if mortgage market functioning were to deteriorate.
In Order To Make The Ponzi Market Keep Going Ever Higher, Barney Frank Tries To Make Shorting Virtually ImpossibleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2010 - 15:01
As part of the Barney Frank proposed Manager's Amendment, which will accompany HR4173, the "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009", are three little-noticed rules that, if adopted, will make shorting stocks if not impossible, then extremely problematic and difficult. It is obvious why these rules would end up in an amendment: the outcry from retail and institutional traders would have been huge had these proposals made the full text of the proper Bill, and into the full view of the Mainstream Media. So why bother with these - simple. As everyone is aware, Ponzi schemes only work when constantly growing, as otherwise they blow up, implode under their own weight, once price discovery is attempted by all. Case in point: when Madoff's securities was unable to find another greater fool in the face of collapsing asset values, the jig was up overnight, and the value of the pyramid went from $50+ billion to $0 instantaneously.
In this manner, Ponzies are like sharks - they need to swim to live: any deviation from the norm threatens their very survival. By comparison, shorting has always been the most traditional way to force price discovery: as idiot money pension funds tend to be long-only, selling only occurs in times when book gains have to be realized, and facilitates a rising market without any natural checks and balances. If this amendment passes, the entire equity market will have become Madoff securities to the dot. It will continue going up, until market values are a reflection of no underlying fundamentals, but simply the latest pension fund long-only dumb terminal willing to throw managed capital into the bonfire of an inevitable future stock market collapse. And, to borrow another page from the Madoff analogy, when the inevitable correction does occur, it would not be 10% or 20%: the entire worth of the Ponzi would be gutted.
"Foremost among the concerns of many is how to design a strategy that does not on the one hand raise interest rates prematurely, thereby prematurely nipping the economic recovery in the bud, while on the other hand does not keep rates too low for too long, thereby creating conditions that lead to a surge in inflation or inflation expectations. What’s needed is an effective policy to prevent the unprecedented monetary stimulus from becoming a destabilizing influence on price stability. Another key is accurately predicting inflation over the next few years.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and other senior Fed officials are quite confident that they have the tools and the determination necessary to prevent an unwelcome acceleration in inflation or inflation expectations. Unlike previous episodes, though, the magnitude of the policy responses to the financial crisis and the Great Recession suggests that the FOMC’s margin of error seems much smaller than at any time in the Fed’s history." - Kevin Kliesen, St. Louis Fed
The key observation today is crude oil which is attempting to break out to new highs. A close above 82 would be resolutely bullish. Given recent price action and the lack of any resistance is seems the market is bound to break out to the upside. However it is worth noting that, until the spike that occurred around inventory releases, we had a possible evening star formation which would be validated if crude closes below 80.63. We therefore have a very tradable reversal/break-out market in place. A retracement should take us back to at least $75, while on the upside I see 96 as the next extension of the rally with intermediary resistance at $87.20 marked by the topside of the channel. - Nic Lenoir
One table, two markets. All you need to compare the present market with 1982, courtesy of David Rosenberg. The numbers, unlike TV stations, don't like.
Schapiro Forces Perot Insider Trader To Refund $8.6 Million Profits, Still No Announcement On NYB Insider Trading CaseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2010 - 12:00
The SEC, which had its Dell-Perot insider trading case handed to them by various blogs, has forced the disgorgement of $8.6 million in profits from the perpetrator Reza Saleh. And while this action is completely insufficient to warrant the continued abuse of taxpayer money by the SEC, and its ongoing worthless existence, we still demand that the SEC immediately initiate an investigation into the blatant insider trading, most likely facilitated by a person at the FDIC, in regard to the New York Community Bancorp taxpayer funded acquisition of recently defunct AmTrust Bank. We will keep reminding the Chairwoman of her grotesque failing as anything but a bureaucrat who managed to milk FINRA for so much more than she is worth ($3.3 million to be precise, and other insane pension benefits), and is currently merely a figurehead, whose sole responsibility is to let the Ken Lewises off the hook with nothing but a handslap.
"Longer-term, I still think we are in a lot of trouble, a heap of trouble...I am still on the bearish bent. End of the year I think we will be here or a little lower. I am sorry." - Peter Costa
"The New York Fed continuously reviews the stress value estimates and recently identified and corrected a methodological error. The New York Fed has determined that as a result of this error, one legacy CMBS — CUSIP 059497AX5 — was accepted as collateral that would not have been accepted using the current methodology. However, the New York Fed continues to expect no losses on the loans backed by this CMBS because the stress value is based on extremely unlikely economic circumstances, and because the market value of this CMBS is well above the TALF loan amounts." - New York Fed
Treasury Flooded Consumers With Money In December, Just In Time To Unleash Holiday Shopping "Animal Spirits"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2010 - 10:03
When you have your back against the wall, and the only thing at your disposal is the Fed's money printer on loan, what do you do? Well, if you are the Treasury, you let money rain. Literally. In December, according to the Financial Management Service, the US Treasury dispensed a stunning 69.5% more in Social Security Outlays and Unemployment Insurance on a year over year basis: the administration knew all too well it could not afford to let this holiday season go to waste. So, after averaging at $43.6 billion in monthly outlays, Social Security withdrawals from the UST surged by a unprecedented 48.6% in December to a whopping $69.5 billion. This is not a volatile or seasonal series.
- ECB Board member Juergen Stark says buck stops here, EU will not bail out Greece "The markets are deluding themselves when they think at a
certain point the other member states will put their hands on
their wallets to save Greece", comments whack euro (Bloomberg, FT)
- In the meantime, Greece, its head stuck deep up its...sand, says bailout not needed contrary to every indication to the opposite (Bloomberg)
- Iceland, and Iceman Mishkin, also thought so once, now country promises it won't default either, Dubai deja vu (Bloomberg)
- If Fed missed this bubble, will it see a new one (NYT)
- The rats are fleeing the global excess liquidity titanic en masse: first Dodd, now Japan Finance Minister - Naoto Kan named new fin minister (Bloomberg)
- Report from the "move your money" front (HuffPo and IRR)
RANsquawk 6th January Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc.
Volatility is a good hedge against all kinds of disasters: socialism, Obama, other geopolitical and macroeconomic events, government tax revenue shortfalls—pretty much anything that influences price uncertainty. But it is only good for this when acquired at a good price. Buy it cheap, and it is beautiful insurance. Buy it dear, and the negative carry is a leaky artery. So the issue really reduces to finding a good price for volatility. A good place to answer that is history.
China Between Rock And Hard [Place/Case] After Public Anger Mounts Over House Unaffordability, Real Estate BubbleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2010 - 23:10
Even as China proves to the world it has perfected Greenspan's repertoire for blowing asset bubbles in any and every asset class, the fact that China is still a communist country and thus has to carefully respond to public pressure (ironically, more carefully than "capitalist" America) could put a damper in its plans to overtake the US in flooding the market with masses of excess liquidity. The reason: increasing social anger at the affordability of houses. Because unlike the US, where Mozillo's hellspawn and other subprime henchmen were all too willing to subsidize every deadbeat with a 150% LTV on a FICO of 101, China's credit mechanism is not that "advanced" meaning billions of people have become cut off from the home market for the simple reason of lack of affordability (yes, the concepts of equity and savings are still appreciated in certain non-US dominated parts of the world).
On December 24, the Senate passed a vote by a razor thin margin (with not a vote to spare) to raise the Federal debt ceiling from $12,104 billion to $12,394 billion. The actual debt ceiling increase took effect on December 28. And as the chart below shows, the Treasury's cash flow projections were spot on: 3 days later, and the debt subject to limit surged to $12,254, a jump of over $200 billion in 2 days, and a whopping $150 billion over the old debt ceiling. Three days is all the buffer the administration's reckless spending spree has afforded this country to avoid bankruptcy. Had one more Democratic vote dissented from the stopgap measure, the US would now be in technical default. There is just $140 billion left before the revised debt ceiling is breached. We hope for the country's sake that Bill refunding in January is massive, because as we already pointed out, on January 7th we expect another ~$130 of new Treasuries to be announced for auction by January 15th. And then there are two more weeks in January... Which is why the Treasury better be using that TARP money to pay down all it can, because if the general population understands how close this nation was to the fiscal brink, many more answers may be demanded out of the ruling party as to how it could allow things to get so out of hand.