David Kostin just does not give up: the seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators, A. Joseph Cohen of A. Joseph Cohens is a ruthless long-only pitching machine, and will not relent until ever last single human being is fully invested (and on margin) in the raging bull market. In today's "weekly kickstart" piece, in which he notes that the current investment debate fulcrum is the "tug of war" between a strong micro and weak macro. That the former is just a lagging indicator of the latter, and that now that the stimulus effects are over, and that the micro is about to roll over, for some reason does not cross the economist's mind. In addition, we present another pitchbook by Goldman, "Where to Invest Now- the path to 1250" in which his conclusion is that it is irrelevant where one invests as long as one invests. Biased commentary aside, some pretty charts.
“This is another example of regulatory capture at its worst. It is one thing for Wall Street firms to hire SEC staff for their general knowledge and expertise. It is quite another, however, when the leading high frequency trading firm, Getco, reaches into the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets and hires a senior official who presumably has been close to, or perhaps substantially involved in, a major ongoing Commission review of a broad range of market structure and high frequency trading issues in the equity markets -- a review that should lead to additional rulemakings that will have a direct bearing on Getco’s trading strategies." - Senator Kaufman
"The role of gold in society was succinctly summed up by J.P. Morgan in 1912 when the renowned financier stated that “Gold is money and nothing else.” Ironically, he made that comment one year before the U.S. Federal Reserve was created. There have been long periods (1980- 2000 being one) when this immutable fact was dismissed. The fact remains, however, that every fiat currency system in history has ended in ruins. Our current experiment seems to be headed down the same disastrous path, thus allowing gold to reemerge as a currency once again. The fundamentals for gold are impeccable, the long term technical picture is exceptional and gold remains very inexpensive when compared to almost every other alternative. I expect gold to trade at several multiples of the current price before this bull market breathes its last breath." John Embry, Sprott Asset Management
Oil prices were lower on Friday as traders continued all day to brood over retail sales figures. It showed an unexpected decline and Capital Economics said about it, “The sharp 1.2 m/m decline in US retail sales in May dramatically weakens the outlook for consumption growth in the second quarter … “ As is typically the case, Capital Economics (CE) got it right and the market responded accordingly. Traders also saw these figures as a sign that the consumer is in pain and that retail sales have suffered as employment has failed to gain any real traction. CE went on to note the potentially negative impact of lower retail sales on future GDP. It noted, “… real consumption in the second quarter as a whole may grow at an annualized rate of less than 2.0%, down from 3.5% in the first.” It suggested that a previous growth outlook of 4% now seems “very challenging.” And it added, “…these data suggest 3.0% now looks more plausible.” For a major economic think tank to reduce its GDP forecast by 1% is hardly usual, but that seems to have been their message. This report was unexpected and changes the picture rather significantly.
Spreads were mixed this week with indices modestly tighter but intrinsics notable wider as our view of the overlay unwinds into idiosyncratic derisking appears to be playing out in cash and synthetic credit. Europe outperformed US this week with help broadly from FINLs and Sovereigns but the same theme of underlying name underperformance against index outperformance was evident everywhere (especially at the HY/XOver end of the credit spectrum). Watch this week for further bond underperformance and/or skew compression - there is much more going on down here in the weeds than is evident at the aggregate levels and we suspect sooner rather than later this sentiment will spread back up to the indices (and the realities of short- and longer-term funding markets).
$34 Billion Asset Manager Says Market Prices Are Manipulated, Accuses NYSE Of Intellectual Property Theft, Debunks HFT "Liquidity Provider...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/11/2010 - 16:12
As part of the SEC's process to fix the broken market, it is currently soliciting public feedback on a variety of issues. Why it is doing so, we don't know - after all anything that does not conform to the SEC's preconception of what the most lucrative market to the SEC's recent batch of clients (see earlier news about an SEC director going to HFT specialist Getco) is, just ends up in the shredder anyway. At this point to believe that the SEC will do anything remotely in the interest of investors instead of millisecond speculators, is naive beyond compare. Nonetheless, while combing through some of the recent public responses on the topic of market structure, we came across the following presentation by $34 billion Southeastern Asset Management (SAM), titled "Comment & Analysis on Equity Market Structure" which must be brought to the attention of all those who have the temerity to defend HFT as an altruistic source of liquidity provisioning. SAM's 4 points are simple, and laid out very easily so that even the mildly retarded public, pardon, GETCO servants at the SEC can understand it: "1) The intent of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as provided for in its preamble is being twisted and abused for the benefit of gamblers and to the detriment of investors. 2) The markets are not "fair and honest", 3) Securities prices are presently "susceptible to manipulation and control, and the dissemination of such prices gives rise to excessive speculation, resulting in sudden and unreasonable fluctuations in the prices of securities. 4) The preceding three issues are fixable by the SEC." Let's dig in.
A perfectly efficient market, confirming the EMT day after day, on massive volume.
Summing across the key five Household categories, Equities, Corporate and Foreign Bonds (decline), Treasury Securities, Total Deposits (decline) and Pension Fund Reserves, we get a change of $712 billion in Q1 alone. What the source of this three-quarters of a trillion in new capital in the Fed's dummy category is, is yet another secret that the Fed will never disclose.
Bentek Energy managing director Rusty Braziel sees a great divide developing in U.S. natural gas. Bentek are one of the leaders in tracking and analyzing American gas pipeline flows. Where gas is flowing, who's using it, and at what price. Speaking at the LDC Gas Forum Northeast in Boston this week, Braziel told industry professionals that America may have made some mistakes in designing its gas pipeline network over the past several years. He notes that the boom in shale gas has created a price disparity between east and west. Shale gas plays are located mostly in the east, and carry lower breakeven prices. Between $3.10 and $4.00 per mcf, according to Bentek estimates.
On the wires. Everyone kinda forgot that the Gulf Of Mexico is also bordered by... Mexico.
Now that BP's Q2 dividend of GBP1.8 billion ($2.6 billion) is virtually certain to be cut after increasing political pressure from the US president and house Democrats, impacting thousands of pensioners who rely on BP for annuity payments, the next question is whether the Obama administration will also be able to enforce additional capital structure limitations higher in the capital structure. If Chrysler and the Steve Rattner doctrine is any indication, we would not be surprised to see the administration next demand that BP creditors take the next haircut. Below is a chart of the upcoming 3 years of scheduled principal and interest maturities, payments and amortizations from the UK oil giant. Of BP's total $24.9 billion in debt and loan maturities, $11.4 billion, or 45%, comes due by the end of 2012. Add another $2 billion in interest payments over the same period and you get a number well over $13 billion. The bulk of this is due in 2011. BP better get its act together by then or those bondholders will certainly be seeing an Obama-mandated haircut on their maturities. That is, of course, assuming the company is not bankrupt long before then.
Immediately following the suddenly very contentious US-England soccer game on Saturday, part two of the great transatlantic diplomatic fiasco will occur on Monday when BP decides whether to cut its dividend. BP is now caught in a massive political crucible: if it does go ahead and cut, all of Britain will scream for Obama's blood. If it doesn't, Obama, and especially Botox queen Pelosi, will demand that BP be dismantled. Classic lose-lose, and as always, another huge political blunder for Obama whose only action so far has been to appear on TV day after day and, courtesy of teleprompter acting classes, to appear stern and serious. And that's about it, even as the real spilled oil content in the gulf has now been double from prior estimates.
SEC Associate Director King To Join High-Frequency Trader And "Supplementary Liquidity Provider" GETCOSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/11/2010 - 11:38
Now that is has achieved complete regulatory capture, and the SEC has been purchased for 30 pieces of silver, Sky-Net is on the verge of sentience. Going forward nobody except the HFT computers will be trading with each other. The computerized market has now made a complete mockery of regulation, and it cost it about 1 day worth of frontrunning based profits. We fully expect the SEC to find "absolutely nothing wrong" with market structure when it concludes its probe into HFT manipulation. In all seriousness, just what is Getco so worried about if it needs to conduct such a blatant example of "regulatory capture"? This is about as subtle as it gets. The HFTs must be really sweating whatever it is that is coming down the road.
David Rosenberg's favorite leading indicator, the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) Leading Index, fell to 123.2 in the week ended June 4, down from 124 the week before, a -3.5% annualized contraction: the first time this has gone negative in over a year. This is the lowest level since July 31, 2009, when it was at 122.4, as the chart below demonstrates. What is more troubling is a historical comparison to the dark days of the 1970's recession. While the amplitude of the recent pick up has been unprecedented, from -30 to +30, it is only mirrored by the -20 to +20 jump seen in 1971-1973. However, as can also be seen below, the ensuing crash following the first spike, was the worst one in the past 35 years. If history is any predictor, does the ECRI anticipate a comparable collapse in the economy to what was seen in late 2008?
As nobody, and we mean nobody, is trading today, it is surprising to see the risk-FX decoupling so early in the day. Usually these free money "gifts"don't happen until 3pm. But we'll take them at any time during the day: it just means that the corr algos are broken far earlier than usual. After 5 out of 5 such spread divergences closed momentarily in the last 5 days, will today be lucky 666? If the last week is any indication, the EURJPY-ES spread will close within the hour.