The much awaited cut by S&P of thousands of municipal bonds following its August 5 downgrade of the US has arrived. Per Bloomberg: "The rating company assigned AA+ scores to securities in the $2.9 trillion municipal bond market including school- construction bonds in Irving, Texas; debt backed by a federal lease in Miami; and a bond series for multifamily housing in Oceanside, California. Olayinka Fadahunsi, an S&P spokesman, said he couldn’t provide a dollar figure on the affected debt. “It’s expected, but nobody is happy about it,” Bud Byrnes, chief executive officer of Encino, California-based RH Investment Corp., said in a telephone interview. “No one that I know thinks it was justified to cut the U.S. bonds to AA+. Once that happened, you knew that any prerefunded bonds or escrowed bonds would be downgraded too. It’s a domino effect.”" Well, Bud, if you really have so few acquaintances, we suggest you go out more. There are some fun bars on Ventura: give us a call for the low down. As for people who do go out more, here's one: "Chris Mier, a managing director at Loop Capital Markets LLC in Chicago who follows the municipal bond market, said the downgrades made sense, given the federal rating cut. “In order to keep the system logical and coherent, there are going to be a lot of downgrades,” Mier said in a conference call with reporters and clients." Matt Fabian, a managing director of Concord, Massachusetts- based Municipal Market Advisors, a financial research company, said in a telephone interview that he expected “hundreds and hundreds of municipal downgrades,” which may hurt investor confidence. “Treasuries may be able to shake off a real impact from the downgrade,” he said. “Munis, I’m less sure about." That's ok, while nobody has any idea what is coming, that won't stop 99.9% of those on Comcast's financial comedy channel from opining anyway.
Two Previews The FOMC Rate Decision Later Today, In Which Goldman Says "A Little More Easing May Be Needed"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2011 - 05:56
For today's preview of the FOMC rate decision (which should really be called a QE3 decision), we go to RanSquawk which highlights the push and pull mechanics of today's events, and to Goldman which once again makes the explicit clarification that it needs QE3 with the statement that "A bit more easing might be needed in the near term." Yes Goldie, we know you want another year of record bonuses.
Yesterday Greece, today Korea, tomorrow the world. The traditionally last ditch attempt by a regulator losing control of events: making short selling illegal, is starting to appear in random places, first showing up in Greece, and now in South Korea, where the capital markets commissioner just said no most shorting for 3 months. South Korea’s Financial Services Commission will also temporarily ease daily limit on amount of shares companies can buy back. This latest short selling ban has put many on edge, and following Italy's move to ban naked short selling several weeks ago it is now expected that at least several more European countries will follow in these footsteps, further eliminating price discovery and destabilizing market confidence and more.
A snapshot of the European Morning Briefing covering Stocks, Bonds, FX, etc.
Market Recaps to help improve your Trading and Global knowledge
Anyone just waking up and noticing futures trading just barely below the closing print may get the impression that things are fine. They are not. Here is what has happened overnight as the global central planning cartel does everything in its power to prevent the global market rout, which has so far wiped out $7.8 trillion in market value around the world, from morphing into the catalyst that ends the status quo. To wit: ECB resumes buying Italian and Spanish bonds (UniCredit says the bank is losing a “game of chicken” with lawmakers by not holding out for budget cuts and higher taxes, and may eventually need to print money), the G-20 is prepared to take joint measures to stem a global crisis, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said. Greece’s securities regulator banned all short-selling on the Athens exchange for two months starting today. Taiwan’s government bought stocks yesterday and this morning through four funds it controls. South Korea’s regulator asked pension funds, brokerages and asset-management companies to step up efforts to stabilize the market. South Korea also bans short selling for three months starting August 10. And lastly, rumors of an emergency Fed announcement are ripe. So... after all this global cartel intervention, is it any wonder that futures staged a near vertical move up overnight?
Frank Barbera, respected precious metal mining stock expert and editor of the Gold Stock Technician newsletter, has a viewpoint that will likely surprise many. While extremely bullish in the longer term, Frank sees too many risks in the near term and advises smart money to wait. He cautions: "I’ve been watching the mining stocks since 1983 so a fair amount of time that I spent watching the group. I have a wide variety of unique technical indicators on the sector and as I started to see the stock market topping out over the last two to three weeks I wrote my readers a note to say the mining stocks are also very overbought. Mid July we saw one of the second most overbought readings on the XAU, on the arms index in five years. And that kind of reading is a big warning and so I’m not surprised to see them going down. The last letter I put out I told subscribers that I thought the mining stocks could get cut in half in here and I’m going to stick with that. I think we’re looking at a 30 to 50 percent decline over the next six months. The XAU, which recently peaked out at around 220, I think you could see that close to 110 before this decline is complete."
While the massive drubbing across risk assets has modestly subsided, the global investing herd has finally realized that in the absence of shifting money into bonds (or even in addition to), there is a certain shiny yellow metal that may be just as good a store of value (granted, inedible) that despite a lack of cash flows (and who needs cash flow in a fiat based exchange system which will soon be wiped out anyway), is probably just a good substitue and as of this night is providing 1761 reasons as to why it is becoming increasingly obvious that if anybody listened to Hugh Hendry's presentation from last year in which he suggested people panic, it is the central planners. Should the Fed proceed with announcing QE3 tomorrow in the form of Operation Twist 2, gold will likely resume it vertical ascent to $2,000 which may be breached as soon as Friday. Alternatively, should Bernanke keep mum and disappoint everybody, all bets are off, across every single asset class.
The last time we had a modestly comparable collapse in overnight trading, a certain futures trader from SocGen whose gimmickry had been uncovered, caused the Fed to lower its Fed Funds rate in an emergency meeting first thing in the morning. Which is why we wonder, should the ongoing rout accelerate, to an extent driven by the decimation in the Korean Kospi, down -9.5% at last check, but also due to increasing worries the Fed may not announce QE3 tomorrow (or if it does, it will be OT2-like and won't have any actual LSAP component to it), whether Bernanke will be forced to have an emergency address with market in the morning, around 7 am, in order to prevent what is shaping up to be a market collapse of epic proportions. And certainly not helping matters is either Chinese inflation coming in hotter than expected, (see prior post), nor the fact that in the People's Daily, PBoC advisor Xia Bin said that China doesn't rule out "normal market operations" to promotes is own interested when necessary amid the US debt turmoil. "China should set up an overseas investment committee to accelerate the strategic use of foreign exchange, Xia said, according to the report. This committee should organize storage of strategic materials, Xia said, according to the report. The country should allow and encourage companies to purchase foreign exchanges with the yuan, the report said, cited Xia as saying." Wait a minute, you may ask, how does that work without China floating the Yuan? The answer: precisely. So while we wonder just what punitive measures China will take to make sure America behaves, here are the futures. We will update this chart if anything insane occurs.
As I've stated before I wish I could be more definitive here. This market really showed its hand today. The late day selloff was a sign of funds and or individual investors waiting for a chance to sell into strength to meet margin and or redemption calls only to find lower prices and forced to sell at the close. Bank Of America remains a wild card as well and the companies statement today basically said the market had it wrong. Not the calming words long investors want to hear. What the fall 2008 pattern shows us is this market can remain oversold for a very long time. Initiating short positions at these levels is very difficult unless one is using hedged option trades such as vertical spreads. The volatility could easily turn a winning trade into a losing one. Lastly, remember it is human nature for others to relay their fears and limitations upon an event beyond their control. I'm listening to Carl Icahn right now say how this selloff is way overdone. He doesn't see it lastly any longer but what basis does he have for saying that? Other than talking his book he has none. Don't be greedy and don't be a hero. There may very well be more selling ahead of this market.
Following hotter than expected Chinese CPI, futures have taken another major, with ES now down 1.7%, same as the DJIA, and NQ down 1.8%. The reason: Chinese July CPI which came at 6.5%, hotter than the consensus 6.4%, and indicative that contrary to expectations, the politburo is still focusing purely on dealing with Bernanke's exported inflation. It also means that there will be no joy in Mudville and China will not serve as the much needed growth dynamo to push the entire world out of the re-depression. The breakdown in component shows that food inflation jumped 14.8% versus non-food inflation rising 2.9%. Elsewhere PPI came in line with expectations at 7.5%. "China’s rising inflation is likely short lived given falling food prices, especially pork," Bloomberg economist Michael McDonough says. True, however the much needed panacea for the overnight malaise that has gripped the world market is not forthcoming, and the ball is now squarely in the Chairsatan's court.
As Asia opens, with both the Nikkei and the Kospi printing well below 4%, a number likely to end far lower, we take a quick look at our own futures, where we notice that following a rather substantial dump which saw nearly 400k ES contracts change handles at around 6:10pm bringing the stack 10 handles lower, ES is now just barely above 1100, or 1105 to be specific at last check. The major positional offload also sent gold surging by over $7 and the shiny metal has just hit another record high in the $1723 ballpark. The overnight session should be relatively quiet aside from a Chinese CPI print which is expected to come at 6.4% but which will be goalseeked to indicate that the economy is slowing down, a move which will probably be attributed to the ongoing "revaluation" of the Yuan, which we expect will again be fixed by the PBoC at a new record high price against the USD shortly. We anticipate quite overnight trading until Europe once again opens, at which point Italy will as usual be the focus of numerous halted stocks if not entire markets.
The domestic alternative energy policy in the US seems to rotate on semantics and adding words to other words to make it look like something is going on. However, the truth of the matter is, energy policy is as defunct as ever and on most fronts the US is lagging far behind. Mostly it is a disregard of what the economist Herman Daly has pointed out about the macro-view of the macro-economic system. His idea is that the ecological system is closed and finite, not infinite created by God for our own personal use, which needs to be included into economic models. As pointed out by this author in, The Need For a Real Domestic Alternative Energy Policy, the US will need this Energy policy to spur growth, create jobs, and remain competitive going forward. Yet, with words out there such as “clean coal” and “corn ethanol” as our savings for the future, it seems that the US gets further and further from the ability to save the economy and closer to suicide.
Everyone's favorite cartoon is back after the silver bears make yet another return appearance, this time number 7, in which more than anything, it is made clear that the name of Blythe Masters will live in infamy long after she no longer has anything to do with the price of silver, and, allegedly, its ongoing suppression.
Ok, someone please explain this one to us because we must be a little slow. Wasn't the whole thing with the debt ceiling hike such that no more Congressional melodramas would have to be inflicted upon the population until after Obama [won|lost] the 2012 elections? Because according to the one again exponentially increasing debt balance of the US Treasury (there is another $51 billion in debt/cash coming in next week), the total US treasury balance (subject to the ceiling) is $14.54 trillion (and $14.58 trillion for total), an increase of $20 billion overnight, the Treasury will hit its latest ceiling no later than the end of September. As the latest DTS statement indicates, the debt ceiling now is $14.694 trillion: a number which Tim Geithner will hit in about a month. So if this is due to a planned expansion as part of the two step plan, we would like to understand how it works, because the $400 billion additional ceiling is barely sufficient to cover the catch up in funding for the SSN and the various governmental trust funds. And the far bigger concern is that tax receipts are about to plunge courtesy of the imminent double dip. So we wonder just based on what assumptions does the Treasury believe that its issuance needs will be met by this paltry debt ceiling.
Following today's apocalyptic trading in Bank of America, David Faber disclosed that one of the biggest cheerleaders of the increasingly doomed bank, David "Balls to the Wall" Tepper, had cut his entire stake in BAC and Wells Fargo (despite presenting the most laudatory powerpoint back at the 2010 Ira Sohn conference which predicted BAC going to $27... no comment). That's great, however, as we disclosed the other stock that is currently causing Paulson to scramble and to extract "value" out of every non MTM 2nd lien currently held by the fund, is none other than Citigroup which tumbled just a little less than BAC, closing down 17%. The issue is that as per the just released Appaloosa 13F, Citi is the top stock held by the hedge fund currently... Although probably not after today. Which is surprising because if Tepper expected Bernanke to announce QE3 tomorrow, he would pull more of his on screen antics and instead of dumping his financial holdings, he would be adding. Then again as the chart below demonstrates, Tepper is a guy who is happy to buy high and sell low, if in the meantime he can take advantage of the Fed's generosity with taxpayer capital to make billions in his Christmas bonus. Anyway, while Tepper may or may not have been skewered on his top position today, below is the complete summary of all position changes between Q1 and Q2.