- A declaration of war on Wall Streeet (FT)
- Mort Zuckerman: The Great Recession continues (WSJ)
- Obama's bank plan impact hinges on how to define client trades (Bloomberg)
- Goldman, JPMorgan may be forced to sell buyout units under Obama proposal (Bloomberg)
- Goldman's escape route might be the private road (Bloomberg)
- Obama bank plan shows lack of global coordination (Bloomberg)
- Asian stocks, oil fall on China rates concern, Obama bank plan.
- Asia-Pacific bond risk jumps on Obama bank threat, China growth.
- China is expected to soon surpass Japan as No.2 economy on its revision of 2008 GDP.
- China’s growth surge may make inflation task tougher: Chinese Premier.
- Gold heads for biggest weekly slump in six on Dollar's gain, China outlook.
- Iraq signs Zubair oil field deal with Italy's Eni, US firm Occidental and SKorea's KOGAS.
As we drill down into the details of ideas for breaking the economic and political power of oversized banks, we need this litmus test against which serious suggestions should be judged: Does a proposal, at the end of the day, imply that Goldman Sachs should break itself up into at least four or five independent pieces, with the biggest being no more than 1 percent of gross domestic product, or roughly $150 billion?
If the answer is yes, we are making progress in moving our financial system back toward where it was in the early 1990s, when it worked fine (and Goldman was a world-class investment bank) and was much less threatening to the global economy. If the answer is no, we are merely repainting -- ever so gently -- the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Jesse points out an interesting observation coming from our friends over at Contrary Investor, that MBS purchases by the Fed as reported in H.4.1 tend to cluster around OpEx dates. This can be seen graphically on the attached table. The implication is clear: provide liquidity around the time most needed to "sustain" the market each month. Alas, we are willing to relieve the Fed of any allegations of wrongdoing, at least in this particular instance...
Since we can't understand a single word he is saying, we assume it is just the usual worthless drivel we have all grown to love and expect from the adorable megalomaniac. One part we could understand that caused an immediate liquification of our collective frontal lobes: we didn't feel like proposing the type of sweeping reform seen today, because "how do we not know that the next administration will not undo it and cause the kind of problems we had before." Then the Frankster says he will push off asset sales for 5 five years - just in time for this hypothetical "next administration" to come in an undo everything proposed by Obama. It is time Barney Frank follow the example of Dodd and spend much more time with his wife and children...
The Nikkei just wiped out all gains for 2010 in less than 3 hours. Elsewhere it is not much better: Shanghai down 1.52% and Hang Seng down 1.63% at last check. Furthermore, in taking a page from the rating agency playbook, the Hang Seng Index broke earlier as a result of excess selling.
This is it - we have gotten to the stage where every week we expect the Fed's balance sheet to reach new record highs. As the Fed has practically rolled off its emergency liquidity measures (foreign FX swaps are practically zero this week), the only variable on the margin will be direct securities holdings... and those are going to continue growing for at least 3 more months, and likely much longer. Look for the Fed's balance sheet to be at least $2.5 trillion by mid March.
"Market Conditions" Is Back; Energy Transfer Cancels $1.75 Billion Note Offering One Day After LaunchSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2010 - 21:27
Damn, those windows of opportunity sure are brief: it seems syndicators now think the high frequency trading mentality has taken over the primary market. Less than 24 hours after launching a $1.75 billion unsecured note offering, Energy Transfer Equity pulled the very same refinancing attempt. Zero Hedge Capital Markets, Inc. is happy to undercut all eight (yes, eight) members of the underwriting syndicate and place the offering at one tenth the proposed underwriting fee, and will even provide a highly confident letter (that has the simple contingency that the placement be done only if the equity market has had twenty successive 1%+ up days and not a single downtick in the past 24 hours). If ETE management finds our terms attractive, they know how to reach us.
Recently there’s been a lot of speculation that the Federal Reserve or the Treasury was the sole buyer of S&P 500 futures thereby boosting the market since March. Imagine a scenario where someone at the Obama administration just discovered after checking that it wasn’t the Fed doing the buying, rather an “informal” group of the top dogs at the prop trading desks at the top three brokerage firms were going long stock futures and short fed funds.
That would explain Obama’s pissed off news conference.
Yes, yes, lots of posturing from the president, and yes, the prop situation will change nothing, and yes, Bernanke will get reconfirmed, and yes, the stock market will continue being hijacked by HiFTers until 120% of the stock market volume is controlled by rogue child-order algos, and yes, Mary Schapiro will continue leading the SEC until she gets a job at a spun off Goldman entity as a GC, and yes, let's just sit back and bitch because there are forces much greater than us, and nothing ever changes, so let's merely point out the futility of change (repeatedly if possible) - after all, why raise a finger when someone will do all the work for us (or so our sense of infinite entitlement says), and then when the inevitable change does occur we can say how we all saw it coming and how critical our participation was. So what if...
Bernanke's renomination is now in serious trouble, as more Senators have moved away from the party of intellectual yet apathetic whiners and have now joined the camp of "others."
After today's ban on prop trading, the bulk of the attention has been focused on Goldman Sachs and for good reason: without the ability to commingle trading information from the biggest flow operation in the world, with its own principal risk exposure, Goldman becomes just another B-grade bank, which has a solid balance sheet, a massive inventory of products in its flow business it must offload regularly (and unable to capitalize on, by taking the opposite side of the trade), and is eagerly anticipating the "boom" in M&A and underwriting advisory deals that is "just around the corner." While we wish Goldman well, having to compete on a fair basis with the remaining banks should make for a novel departure from its traditional, monopoly-facilitated business model. Is the current stock price fair? Absolutely not, and if indeed Goldman finds no way to prevent the prop ban, it is very much overvalued here. Yet speaking of overvalued companies, and the prop trading ban impact, one company that may have well slipped under the radar today is none other than Bank of America. Ironically, after fooling around with the most recent BAC model by none other than Goldman's Richard Ramsden, we have uncovered just what a huge impact on the bottom line BAC's "trading account profits" aka prop trading has. If we zero out the revenue contribution from this line item, 2011P EPS goes from $2.25 to... $1.25. This may be relevant information for all those massive hedge funds who believe that Bank of America is a slam dunk double from here. It will be poetic justice if the stock price is indeed mispriced by 50%...in the wrong direction.
With the prop ban hitting Bank Holding Companies (despite what various politicians who have long outlived their welcome, their tenure, their dentures and even their corrupt status, say on CNBC) soon, the generic response has been: "Bah, not an issue - Goldman will just cease being a BHC. Done and done." Not so simple. Why? One acronym - TLGP. Of course, it is a joke that Goldman was ever allowed to be a bank holding company in the first place (we still can't wait to deposit our meager savings with Lloyd Blankfein's organization. When, oh when, will Goldman open a deposit branch on Paper Street?). Yet it is. The problem however, is that the TLGP is only eligible for bank holding companies and other FDIC-insured depository institutions. Should Goldman shed its BHC aura, say bye-bye to the TLGP guarantee.
For all who want to get up to speed on next week's political theater involving AIG, Tim Geithner, Goldman Sachs' Stephen Friedman, Goldman Sachs' Bill Dudley, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein, and the endless taxpayer bailouts, here is a terrific timeline for everything relevant to the AIG soap opera. Courtesy of Bloomberg.
Is Bill Miller headed for retirement? Today's action in Legg Mason stock, which was down 10%, the most since May 2009, sure indicates investors may have had enough of the permabullish, pro-cyclical portfolio manager. The reason for the dramatic drop in stock price: accelerating outflows.