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Will S&P Leave Italy Alone?

If I understand the process in Europe correctly, S&P has to provide 24 hour notice to the countries if they are going to change their ratings.  S&P has Italy as A1 on negative watch.  Moody's is A2 with outlook negative.  So S&P has Italy higher rated, so it would be weird if they didn't downgrade them.  But if they downgrade them, and they notified Italy, did they just sell bonds to the public while hiding material information?



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Toscafund: "Greece Exit Would Provoke European Social Unrest, Hyperinflation, And A Military Coup"

And here we are thinking we were bearish. As it turns out, compared to London hedge fund Toscafund we are rank amateurs. Reuters reports: "A Greek exit from the euro zone would be worse than catastrophic and could provoke greater social unrest, Zimbabwe-style inflation and a military coup, said London-based hedge fund firm Toscafund. In a stark note to clients, chief economist Savvas Savouri said introducing a new currency instantaneously in the wake of a euro exit would be impossible and the delay would lead to "a run on banks and evacuation of capital that would make what has already been seen as nothing by comparison". "The word catastrophic would not do it justice enough," said Savouri, who comes from a Greek Cypriot background. "Those who imagine some post-euro-exit stability would be restored ... quite simply fail to understand the magnitude -- social, economic and political -- of such an eventuality."" Well, at least he is objective... and tells us how he really feels.



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Here Lies FrAAAnce: 8/10/1994 - 1/13/2012

Here lies FrAAAnce, which passed away (according to Reuters and TF1 for now, official statement from S&P due imminently) at the tender age of 17. It shall be missed.



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And Now "Coercive" Greek Default Seems Inevitable -Deal Failure Would Be "Catastrophic" Greece Warns

Just like the imminent French downgrade, nobody could have possibly anticipated a few hedge funds blowing up the Greek bailout. Oh wait - we did... in June.

  • GREEK BOND SWAP NEGOTIATORS NOW LESS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT REACHING A DEAL - SOURCE CLOSE TO TALKS
  • GREEK BOND SWAP NEGOTIATORS WARN FAILURE TO REACH DEAL WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC FOR GREECE, EUROPE - SOURCE
  • IIF SAYS GREECE TALKS `PAUSED' AFTER NO `CONSTRUCTIVE' RESPONSE
  • IIF SAYS GREECE TALKS HAVEN'T PRODUCED `CONSTRUCTIVE' RESPONSE
  • IIF SAYS TALKS ARE `PAUSED FOR REFLECTION

But the IIF just told us yesterday how things are going swimmingly. Maybe that is not all that surprising...



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European CDS Rerack

Now that a "few good hedge funds" have finally made CDS a credible instrument all over again but trampling all over ISDA putrid, corrupt and meaningless corpse, here is an update of Eurozone CDS.



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BofA Going For (QE3) Broke, Cuts Q4 GDP For Second Time In Two Days

Literally seconds ago we noted how Bank of America will sell its first born to crash the market and get $600-800 billion in QE3 up and running by March. Sure enough, here is yet another desperate attempt to push this agenda, this time with the bank cutting tracking Q4 GDP estimates for the second time in two days, to 2.7%, from 3.5% earlier.



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Is Europe A "Lehman-Like Symptom Of Faulty Globalized Finance"? Bank Of America Thinks So

For months in a row, the core propaganda meme seeking to drag lambs into the ponzi, has been one of "ignore Europe - it is irrelevant." Naturally this "narrative" was primarily spread by expendable C-grade media elements whose careers will promptly terminate once this latest episode of artificial "decoupling" is over, as we have been warning for months (at a cost to the S&P of over 200 points). And judging by today's US Trade Balance, which came in at a whopping $47.8 billion on expectations of $45 billion, the widest gap since June, which was driven due a plunge in European exports as the European economy is shriveling in the grips of what is about to be a doozy of a recession, it may be time to polish those resumes as the inevitable decoupling approaches with every passing hour. Yet one of the best comments on what Europe really means for the world comes from none other than Bank of America. While we have discussed previously that BAC is doing its best to crush the market and to precipitate QE3, thus like everyone else, always having an agenda in its message, what it is saying is spot on. And it is as follows: "Europe matters, according to the most oft-heard arguments, because of its size and the euro’s reserve currency status. The Euro area’s systemic relevance (both in trade and financial terms) means that its governance crisis is a global menace. This narrative portrays Europe as a self-contained shock emitter, with the rest of the world cast as innocent bystander. Rather, much like the Lehman bust, the current Euro area crisis may be a symptom of faulty globalized finance. Europe is rightly being held to account for fiscal mismanagement, but there may be bigger cracks in the background." Spot on, and it gets even worse, which we urge everyone who still doesn't grasp the linkages between Europe and the US to read on.



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European Market Response: Spring Clip In Italian, Spanish Auctions Triggered

So much for those "fantastic" Spanish and Italian auctions: with one simple announcement, S&P is about to generate substantial losses for all those brave few European banks who took out some of their hard embezzled and repoed cash from the ECB, and bought Italian and Spanish bonds. As can be seen below, the selloff response is rapid and dramatic.



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Friday The 13th Is Here: Eurozone Sources Say Several Countries May Face Imminent Downgrade By S&P

The one we've all been waiting for:

  • Eurozone Sources Say Several Countries May Face Imminent Downgrade By S&P -Dow Jones
  • Eurozone source says Germany will not be downgraded - RTRS... So France will be?
  • S&P declines to comment

Ladies and gents -happy Friday the 13th - the French downgrade is nigh. The only question - one or two notches. EURUSD promptly sliding on the news



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Credit-Equity Disconnect 101: Sears Distress Rises As CDS Soars By 700 bps To Over 2400.... While Stock Closes Higher

Yesterday when we discussed the imminent demise of Sears following the CIT liquidity withdrawal we said "ignore the stock price which is now purely a function of momo chasers in either direction, and just focus on the CDS." Sure enough, nowhere could we see a better example of just how unprecedented the disconnect between stocks and credit is than in Sears, which unfathomably saw its stock close higher on the day, following a grotesquely stupid market reaction to an announcement that Tepper was forced to buy SHLD stock (which as DealBook explained was an indication of liquidation, confirming that stocks are now purely traded on headline reaction without absolutely any insight into what is going on). Yet the real question is what is going on in CDS land, and what is going on is basically a confirmation that it is game over for the company: as the chart below shows, default swaps in the name are over 700 bps wider today, and have doubled in the past two days, closing the 11th at 1275 bps, and 48 hours later trading double, at 2432 bps. Expect the stock, once it can be shorted again when Tepper has no choice but to release it from HTB state, to plummet quite shortly as the reality dawns for even the momos.



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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: January 13

European Indices are trading up at the midpoint of the session following strong performance from financials, however, Italian bond auction results dampened this effect after failing to replicate the success of the Spanish bond auction yesterday with relatively lacklustre demand. There has been market talk that this lull in demand for Italian bonds is due to technical error preventing some participants from bidding in the auction, but this still remains unconfirmed. Heading into the North American open, fixed income futures are still trading higher on the day having seen the Bund touch on a fresh session high and with peripheral 10-year government bond yield spreads widening ahead of the treasury pit open. Markets now anticipate the release of US trade balance figures and The University of Michigan confidence report.



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It's An Upside Down World... Or So Much For "Decoupling"

Italy has “successful” bond auction and for all intents and purposes, JPM misses earnings. Stocks failed to respond to a “successful” Italian bond auction. The market isn’t giving them much credit for placing bonds that mostly mature in the timeframe covered by LTRO. The auction results are good, but the market is taking a wait and see attitude towards them as everyone is fully aware of how much LTRO money is out there, that Italian banks in particular issued bonds to themselves to get financing and are “indebted” to the government and ECB (in more ways than one).



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Frontrunning: January 13

  • China’s Forex Reserves Drop for First Quarter Since 1998 (Bloomberg) - explains the sell off in USTs in the Custody Account
  • Greek Euro Exit Weighed By German Lawmakers, Seen as Manageable (Bloomberg)
  • Greek bondholders say time running out (FT)
  • Housing policy to continue (China Daily)
  • Switzerland’s Central Bank Returns to Profit (Reuters)
  • US sanctions Chinese oil trader (FT)
  • Obama Starts Clock for Congress to Vote on Raising Federal Debt Ceiling (Bloomberg)
  • Turkey defiant on Iran sanctions (FT)
  • ECB’s Draghi Says Weapons Working in Debt Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • Greece to pass law that could force creditors in bond swap (Reuters)


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Charting Disappearing Investment Banking Revenues And Profits, JPM Edition

One chart is enough to show not only why the JPM stock is and should be down, but why the entire financial stock levitation in the past few weeks has been on nothing but vapors - as can be seen too well, the ongoing collapse in equity and credit trading volumes, not to mention actual investment banking deals, is crunching the firm's primary driver of earnings - its investment banking division, which just came at year lows in virtually all categories.



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JPM Misses Q4 Revenue, EPS In Line, DVA Loss Of $567 MM, Big Drop In Investment Banking

If JPM, which just launched the financials earnings onslaught by first reporting Q4 results, is any indication, it will not be pretty for the financial sector which has seen dramatic moves higher in the past several weeks, because as Jamie Dimon says, Q4 was "Modestly Disappointing." The reason: a top line miss, and a continuing contraction in capital markets leading to yet another decline in Investment Banking results. Also, what DVA giveth, DVA taketh away, and with CDS tightening in the quarter, DVA resulted in a $567 million loss in the quarter. Yet even with the DVA impact exclusion, revenue, which was reported at $21.47 billion would still have missed estimates of $22.56 billion. Finally, what would a quarter be if a bank did not reduce its loan loss allowance and release even more reserves, no matter how the market is actually doing: JPM did just that in its mortgage banking division, lowering its net loan loss allowance by $230 million following a $1 billion allowance reduction in loan-losses offset by actual impairments of $770 million. Stock is down following the release.



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