First Apple overtook Exxon as the biggest company in America, now its market cap just hit 75% of the market cap of the entire European bank stock index (that's right: one maker of phones and fads is worth almost as much as all of Europe's banks). We expect parity within a few months. Since Apple's cash generation of about $10 billion per quarter, and growing at ~100% each quarter, means that the firm will have more than a trillion in a few short years, and not a penny in debt on the other side, we are going to go ahead and say what everyone is thinking: Steve Jobs for lifetime Federal Reserve chairman.
For today's chart of the day we once again look to Bloomberg, which has compiled a fascinating dataset looking at the frequency of 4 sigma+ events in the S&P500 since 1951. The trend is unmistakable, as is that the cumulative total now looks glaringly like a swan itself (paging William Banzai). What is also glaringly obvious is that all those claiming central planning under a monetary authority leads to market stability need to have their head examined: what the central bankers of the world do is merely push back ever more disastrous events into the future. Sorry: physics can not be circumvented with a printer, and a crash deferred today, is double the crash that can not be deferred tomorrow. Yet for all their brain power, all those Hewlett Packard fans in the Marriner Eccles building still can not comprehend this one so simple fact.
More on the biggest market moving story from last night. According to a blast from Bloomberg, minutes ago SNB spokesman Werner Abegg announced that a bank sought USD through the SNB FX swap with the FRBNY, via a repo operation. Abegg added that the repo has already been unwound. But, but, it was only $200 million so what's the big deal? There is no stigmata to micro amounts... Oh wait there is stigmata to any amounts. And sorry, this is just the first of many times that not only the SNB but all other central banks will very soon be scrambling to the Fed to bail out their dollar collateral short banks. Unfortunately, the 2008 redux is only just starting.
Today, Sandra Pianalto, president of the most irrelevant Fed in the US, the Cleveland one, confirmed why when it comes to economic predictions, one may want to take anything uttered by the rocket scientists at the Fed with a pinch of salt... and why in general anytime an economist speaks it is best to run away. Specifically, in her prepared remarks to whoever it is that is dumb enough to listen, she just said that she expects the US economy to grow by 2% in 2011. Funny, because a simple google search reveals the following glaring headline from those long ago days of June 1, 2011...
- Inflation May Embolden Foes of Fed Stimulus (Bloomberg)
- July inflation spike won’t stop QE3 (Reuters)
- Clamour for amendments to Italian austerity (FT)
- Biden seeks to reassure China on U.S. debt (Reuters)... fails
- Japan Forex Chief Meets BOJ Officials to Talk Yen (WSJ)
- BofA’s Moynihan Says to Expect 3,500 Job Cuts (Bloomberg)
- France Eases Ban on Short Selling Before Index Futures Expire (Bloomberg)
- European equities remained under pressure during the session weighed upon by growing signs of a faltering global economic growth together with August options expiry in the European indices
- CHF and JPY remained the major beneficiaries of risk-aversion, whereas commodity-linked currencies generally traded lower
- After breaching the key USD 1,800 per ounce level yesterday, spot Gold continued its ascent towards the USD 1,900 technical level amid risk-aversion
- EU's Rehn said the EU may draft legislation for joint Eurobonds, however gave no timetable for the draft legislation
- EU Commission said collateral agreement between Finland and Greece is being examined by the Eurozone, adding that Finland is the only country to request Greece collateral. Meanwhile, Austrian finance minister said the Finnish deal to get a 20% cash collateral on Greek loans is unacceptable
Perfect Storm Sees Gold & Silver Surge – Chavez Gold Action Leads To Backwardation, Short Squeeze And ‘Havoc’ ConcernsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/19/2011 - 06:51
There is a small degree of backwardation developing in the gold market with certain near term futures contracts now trading at higher prices than longer term contracts. The near term August ’11 contract was trading at $1871.40/oz while June ’12 contract is trading at $1,870/oz (1216 GMT). The spread between spot and longer term contracts has fallen suggesting that gold may soon join silver in backwardation. The possibility of backwardation in gold suggests that major investors are concerned about the supply of physical gold. Buyers are concerned about securing supply in the future and are willing to pay a premium for spot or immediate delivery. It could indicate that the short squeeze anticipated by many is taking place and we could see a sharp upward move in gold prices. This would not be surprising considering the very small size of the physical bullion markets versus the size of the overall financial and currency markets and considering the high demand coming from investors and central banks globally. It is worth remembering what happened when silver went into backwardation some months ago. It led to a price surge from $30/oz to over $50/oz in 10 weeks. Backwardation rarely happens in the gold and silver bullion markets. Since gold futures first started to be traded in 1972 (on the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange), there have only been momentary backwardations of a few hours. It suggests that larger gold bars are difficult to acquire in volume and that the physical market is becoming stressed and less liquid.
...Is waking up in the morning. The pain trade is making decisions in a market where moves that should take days or weeks to play out, occur in hours. Going for a coffee at the wrong time can cost you to miss a 2% move. Leaving a stop while going for coffee can get you triggered out in a move that completely reverses in a few minutes. The markets are broken. That is the pain trade. Trying to treat the markets as normal is the pain trade.
Official Swiss Bank Denials Of SNB/Fed Dollar Swap Line Usage Sends Gold To New Record Just $120 Away From $2000Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/19/2011 - 06:11
When we first presented yesterday that the SNB had used $200 million in FX swaps with the New York Fed, we speculated that this "means that it is not some usual PIIGS suspect, but one of the two "big ones." Obviously by this we meant Credit Suisse or UBS. It took the banks about 12 hours to come out and deny officially that it had been either of them. Well, it simply it is someone else, and hence someone with far less in deposit-based capital buffers. And then, of course, you know what they say about official denials... Anyway, whoever it was, Europe is not waiting to find out: this morning most European bourses are down between 2 and 4%, Dax down 3.7%, CAC down 2.8% and the FTSE down 2.8% at last check, as the specter of a pan-European bank run is back. The net result: spam continues to be a drag in the gold-canned food pair trade, hitting a new old time high of $1878 in the spot market minutes ago, and just $122 away from $2000. Should the market rout persist, we may well see $2000 in the next 48 market hours.
A snapshot of the European Morning Briefing covering Stocks, Bonds, FX, etc.
Welcome to the New ZH Servers. Due to recent traffic surges (courtesy of what we believe is a permanent transition to market efficiency) which resulted in numerous server crashes over the past 3 weeks, courtesy of 1.5 - 2 million page views per day, we have had to upgrade once again, a move that was funded thanks to your donation generosity, dear readers. We are now at a state where even a 500 point drop in the S&P will hopefully not bring us down. We will also gradually return all the recent UI improvements such as comment ranking, and contributor blogs that we had to eliminate due to processor capacity limitations. We hope you enjoy the experience.
As those who have studied some history know all too well, any mention of the Maginot Line usually does not have a Hollywood ending. Alas, the same can be said for the highly unique analysis by JPM's Michael Cembalest who looks at Europe's latest "Maginot Line", this time however for the insolvent, 21st century, generation. "Rather than focus on what EU politicians said at yet another summit this week, let’s look at the lines of defense they may eventually have to rely on to defend the European Monetary Union. For illustration’s sake, we have superimposed these defenses on a map of the Maginot Line constructed by France in the early 1930’s to defend against an attack from the East." The 8 steps outlined present, from start to finish, the flow chart of what will happen in the next few months as Europe scrambles to avert one crisis after another, which as we pointed out months ago, ends with the "last resort" federalization of Europe, via the Eurobond paradigm. Alas, the response to that is (or isn't) revolution, in which the people finally tell their treasonous (there, we also used that word) governments they have had enough of funding other people's greed, gluttony, and overall mistakes. Just as the idiotic Maginot line, praised back in its day as a work of genius, was circumvented in one simple move when the German army simply invaded France through the Ardennes forest and took over in hours, so this latest Maginot line will do absolutely nothing to prevent the final outcome which even Europe's deranged bureaucrats know is coming: the end of the most flawed generational experiment in globalization history.
Barton "AUM Smalls" Biggs, who is now very obviously floating in a geritol-free pink cloud of his own, and who back on August 4 predicted a 7-9% rally in the next 3 weeks, only to realize subsequently he forgot a minus sign (and potentially his incontinence protection), confirms he has now totally lost all grasp with reality. As in an absolute psychotic breakdown, per the following statement given to Bloomberg TV: "I don't see all the bad news that you keep citing." We urgently demand that the DSM IV do some creative adjustments to their definition of schizounipolarpermaclowndementia and apply the appropriate image of this now uber-ridiculed example of a the lost beta chasing generation (and one with some very serious flaws in thawing from the cryogenic sleep state). Forget late night comedy, the following 8 minutes are nothing short of the most grotesque-cum-slow-motion-train-crash-rubbernecking entertainment one can get for free tonight.
Following last week's near record surge in M2, which was merely the result of a complete panic in markets resulting in a scramble for deposit accounts out of money markets (these tumbled by $82.5 billion in the week to $1688.5 billion, the lowest since September 2007) and other "unsafe" venues, amounting to $159.1 billion, this week M2 has risen by a far more modest (though still abnormally high by historic standards) $42.2 billion. What is disturbing is that unlike in the past when record surges in commercial bank savings deposits have seen a prompt unwind in the following week, this time around last week's $58.4 billion spike in such money was followed by another massive $51.7 billion, as cash ran to the "safety" of FDIC insurance. And just as disturbing, the huge $99.3 billion in additions to plain vanilla demand deposits did not see any unwind, with just $8.3 billion leaving bank teller windows in the past week. End result: M2 has just hit another new all time high of just over $9.5 trillion (which helped today's LEI number beat expectations). And if QE3 proceeds as planned, and it US consumers actually start borrowing, this number is going much, much higher. Which will be bullish, for makers of wheelbarrows.