• ilene
    01/28/2015 - 19:33
    Suppose you could print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Fun, you think? Here's how it plays out. 

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Jury Finds DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach Breached Fiduciary Duty To TCW

Just out from Bloomberg:

  • Jeffrey Gundlach Found Liable for Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • TCW wins trade secret claim against Gundlach
  • TCW wins no punitive damages against Jeffrey Gundlach

Well, that's over and done with. At least a jury did not find him to be a worse bond investor than Bill Gross...

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Someone Does NOT Want To Be Long Over The Weekend

In the last few minutes of the European week, major financials have been crushed. It appears that someone (or perhaps a lot of 'someones') really do not want to be long into the weekend. Credit Agricole is -11% on the day, having fallen 12.3% in the last hour!! Senior financial spreads also reversed all their gains and closed wider on the day.

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Caption Contest

The real Troica in action.

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Following A 70% Concession From JP Morgan, Here Is The Live Jefferson County Reorganization Vote Webcast

One short month ago, when the Jefferson County, AL commissioners sat down to vote on whether or not to file for Chapter 9, they decided to delay the vote by a month. Until today. Follow along as the final vote takes place, only this time the expectation is that the commissioners will agree to the proposed reorganization as JPM and other creditors have agreed to substantial concessions of $750 million of the total $1.1 billion loan. Naturally, if this settlement is rejected, the county will declare bankruptcy. Incidentally, what Jefferson County has shown the world is that a market test on real manageable LTV on muni debt is about 70% lower than currently marked. To Meredith Whitney's Chagrin, however, most municipalities will use up all their cash first before acknowledging reality and pushing for comparable hard line negotiating tactics with creditors.

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Anatomy Of A Squeeze

While little has really been said or done this week with regard to solving any of the structural issues facing Europe, macro data globally has hardly been encouraging, and micro (earnings) have not aggressively beaten earnings, the equity and credit markets have ripped higher. While many have talked of short squeezes, which obviously are at the heart of every trend turn (whether micro or macro), we thought it useful to get some context on this move to judge when/if it will ever stop.

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Risk Drifts Lower On News Germany To Delay EFSF Implementation Until 2012, Abysmal Debt Rollover Participation

Update: more bad news as Reuters reports that participation in the Greek private sector debt initiative at just under 75% according to financial sources. This is a miserable miss to the required 90% and means that the debt rollover initiative is basically dead in its tracks, as 25% of the bondholders will become holdouts and seek to derail the entire Bailout #2 process in return for massive "nuisance value" payments. Problem is nobody will pay said demanded payment.

Those seeking a reason for the sudden drop on no news, can attribute the weakness in the EURUSD and its 1.000 correlated derivative, the US policy vehicle known as the stock market, to the following news making the rounds brought to us by RanSquawk, namely that Germany is likely to delay ESM legalisation beyond year end of 2011. Specifically, "facing a storm of protest from within its own ranks, Germany's ruling coalition government has delayed discussing the ESM in cabinet meaning that legislation on the Eurozones permanent rescue fund, will not likely be in place by end of this year as hoped." As a reminder, Stark quit due to disagreement over the SMP's usage. This most recent update means the SMP program, not only will not end as was expected originally in September, but will be forced to monetize Italian debt for at least three more months, and likely much longer, until the EFSF is activated, some time in Q1 2012. This also means that the ECB's SMP program, currently pregnant with €140 billion of PIIGS bonds, will expand to double its size by the end of the year, further pushing the zEURo lower as Europe continues with its explicit debt monetization on the books, and not as was envisioned before, using an SPV in the form of the EFSF.

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Consumer Confidence Beats Expectations As Consumer Expectations Tumble To Lowest Since 1980, Inflation Outlook Rises

The UMichigan read for consumer confidence came slightly better than uber-depressionary, printing at 57.8, on expectations of 57, and better than the apocalyptic 55.7 from August. To put the number in perspective, it is the second lowest since February 2009. To algorithms all that will matter, however, is that it is rising. What they will completely ignore is that consumer expectations, or the outlook for the future, just dropped yet again, from 47.4 to 47, the lowest print since May of 1980! More troubling to the Fed is the read on inflation expectations, which after declining for months, rose in both 1 year (from 3.5% to 3.7%) and 5 year (from 2.9% to 3.0%) expectations.

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Jon Stewart Brings Solyndra Mainstream: "That Custom Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered Is Finally Here"

The biggest scandal to rock the White House since Bill Clinton needed a refresher on the definition of the word "the" has gone fully mainstream after Jon Stewart dedicated his segment last night to "That Custom Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered." His summary: "Fox News call your doctor, because the erection you currently have is going to last longer than 4 hours." Spot on. One thing is missing, however: someone should advise Jon that the missing link, Goldman Sachs, is also, and quite naturally, involved.

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The Quietest Morning In A While

S&P futures only managed 2 moves of 1% so far. That qualifies as stability in this market. Credit indices are all a little bit better on the day, but off their tights. MAIN is currently at 170, or 4 tighter in the day. It got as tight as 166. It is trading close to 10 bps rich to fair value. Basically a strong indication that hedges have been taken off, or people are long for a trade, but the underlying markets with higher bid/offers, and a large backlog of potential new issues, hasn't been as fast to declare the "all clear" signal. Those hoping for some great announcements today out of the meetings in Poland have been largely disappointed. But the great thing about those waiting for big positive announcements, is now they are expecting them over the weekend. Nothing has changed in Europe and none of the comments support the view that a Greek default is off the tables.

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What Happens If/When Greece Defaults And A Primer For Next Steps For The Euro Area

With each passing day bringing us new predictions in the form of research reports, white papers, analyses, and plain old rants on what a Greek default would mean for the Eurozone, for the Euro, for markets, and the for world in general, it is clear that absolutely nobody knows what will happen. Alas, since this topic will be with us for a while until the can kicking finally fails, many more such prognostications will be forthcoming. Today, we present three different pieces, one from Reuters, which gives a 30,000 foot perspective, one a slightly more technical from Citi, looking at a Greek default from a rates point of view, and lastly, a primer from Goldman's Huw Pill, looking at the aftermath of the current situation for the euro area, with or without a Greek bankruptcy. While we have no idea what will happen to global markets should Greece default, and it will, we are 100% certain that we will present many more such analyses in the future as more and more people piggyback on the Cassandra bandwagon.

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Greece Purposefully Inflated Its Deficit Numbers To Get EU/IMF Assistance

In news that will likely not surprise many, Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia reports that according to a just terminated member of the Greek Statistical Authority, Greece artificially misrepresented its 2009 15.4% deficit number to Eurostat in order to obtain aid from the EU and IMF. Per professor Zoe Georgantas "The deficit was artificially inflated in 2009 to show that the country had the largest deficit across Europe, including that of Ireland was 14% in order to justify all these severe measures against the country. And we presented in the Eurostat 15,4%." While there appears to be a substantial political back story here, and we would be careful at taking these claims at face value, the last thing Europe needs is for its people to realize that they have been duped (and continue to be so), by the PIIGS countries, which as we pointed out before on several occasions, have figured out that the balance of power in capital extraction is entirely in their favor, and paradoxically see their position strengthened, the weaker they are, as the Eurozone has no alternatives but to keep ploughing ever more capital into these bankrupt nation. As such it would not be surprising if Italy's official deficit has also, like in Greece, been substantially misrepresented in an adverse light recently,after being shown to be far better than reality for years, simply to have a stronger political case for demanding more EU and IMF funding. 

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Guest Post: Is China Ready To Pull The Plug?

There are two mainstream market assumptions that, in my mind, prevail over all others. The continuing function of the Dow, the sustained flow of capital into and out of the banking sector, and the full force spending of the federal government are ALL entirely dependent on the lifespan of these dual illusions; one, that the U.S. Dollar is a legitimate safe haven investment and will remain so indefinitely, and two, that China, like many other developing nations, will continue to prop up the strength of the dollar indefinitely because it is “in their best interest”. In the dimly lit bowels of Wall Street such ideas are so entrenched and pervasive, to question their validity is almost sacrilegious. Only after the recent S&P downgrade of America’s AAA credit rating did the impossible become thinkable to some MSM analysts, though a considerable portion of the day-trading herd continue to roll onward, while the time bomb strapped to the ass end of their financial house is ticking away. China, being the second largest holder of U.S. debt next to the Fed, and the number one holder of dollars within their forex reserves, has always been the key to gauging the progression of the global economic collapse now in progress. If you want to know what’s going to happen tomorrow, watch what China does today.

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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: September 16

  • European equities traded higher supported by news of a coordinated action by various central banks to enhance USD liquidity in order to ease funding concerns surrounding European banks
  • EU’s Juncker said that the Eurogroup discussed collateral issue, and collateral will be given for Greek loans at an appropriate price
  • EU's Rehn said France, Italy, Belgium and Spain have all ratified more flexible EFSF, adding that the first step in Eurobonds is a feasibility study which the Commission will present this autumn
  • Moody’s and S&P placed UBS ratings on review for a potential downgrade

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Frontrunning: September 16

  • Euro Ministers Spar on Collateral for Loans (Bloomberg)
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ignored President Barack Obama’s order to consider dissolving Citigroup (Politico)
  • Lagarde warns IMF could withhold Greek loan (FT)
  • Spain to Impose New Wealth Tax (WSJ)
  • Looming U.S. decision on Taiwan risks China rift (Reuters)
  • GM Adjourns Union Talks With No Agreement (Bloomberg)
  • UBS $2 billion loss to trigger investment bank retreat (Reuters)
  • European Bank Blowups Hidden With Shell Games (Bloomberg)
  • House Republicans Push Stopgap Spending Bill (NYT)
  • Geithner urges unity in tackling euro zone crisis (Reuters)

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Gold Gives Ground As Europe/Germany Decides Its Future

The markets are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the major global players, with the exception of the Chinese, are now sitting at the same table determined to forge a path through this political and economic malaise. Gold is trending lower as the risk trade is reduced. It is a relief that the U.S. administration has dispatched their boy wonder, Messrs Geithner, to Europe, whether he can calm nerves and create a political consensus is the question. The European Project is at a fork in the road, do they bind themselves together politically and fiscally and socialise the burden  where rich pick up the tab for poor or do they withdraw into their domestic political worlds and turn their backs on what is arguably the greatest economic union in the history of the world. The nexus of the issue is the same as it has always been, can you have an economic union without political union. The answer would seem to be..... maybe, as long as nothing too serious happens, but the moment the economic cycle shifts down a gear, domestic populations suffering from economic contraction will go tribal and look after their own first. A thought provoking paper by the UBS economist, Paul Donovan, articulated the choices facing Europe in a paper "How to break up a monetary union" written in February 2010. His central thesis is that in its current form the Euro just does not work, especially a one size fits all interest rate policy.  Here are some excerpts from his excellent report.

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