RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 07/01/11
One look at the M2 chart below shows that the reliquification of the market by the Fed is proceeding according to plan: having increased for 23 of the past 25 weeks, the M2 has hit another all time high in the final week of 2010 at $8,848 billion, a $14 billion weekly increase, and a $316 billion annual increase (we will present the M2 constituents change next week). But that is not all: more important to those who believe that the Fed merely creates one and zeroes that never do anything practical, and most certainly do not add to inflation, will be delighted to learn that in addition to the $14 billion increase in M2 liquidity, reserve balances added another $26 billion in liquidity, as the absolute number declined from $1027 billion to $1001, or a gross addition of $40 billion in the week. Of course, adding a few leverage factors, and the last week of 2010 saw a gross liquidity addition of well over $100 billion or so. And there are some who wonder why stocks surged to close the year....
Looking back at the carnage created by the bursting of the credit bubble, it’s natural to scratch your head and ask “How did we ever let that happen?”. Behavioral economics exists to answer questions like this. Last week Chris sat down with Dan Ariely, gallivanting behavioral-economics-researcher-extraordinaire, who is breathing new life into this previously obscure field of study. The resulting interview is full of fresh, non-intuitive insights and shines light on how the human brain is often hard-wired for irrational action when it comes to money.
In the early 80’s the attempt of the Brothers Hunt, Nelson Bunker and William Herbert Hunt, to fully clamp down the silver market was one of the most spectacular but at the same time also one of the most unsuccessful financials plans within the then fair world. Despite that the brothers failed in their attempt to clamp the silver market, they have succeeded to make a outright mess of the precious metals market and lose one of the largest fortunes in the world in no time.
Reminiscences Of An American Industrial Nation - How In A Few Short Years America Lost Its Manufacturing SectorSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2011 - 20:17
Some time ago, there was a lengthy debate as to why anyone even cares about the manufacturing ISM number. After all America is now by and far a service economy. Obviously, that debate ended in a stalemate. Nonetheless, the sad truth is that with each passing year America is losing ever more of its once dominant industrial advantage, and with the chief export being "financial innovation", should the world experience another risk flare up it is very likely that the world will enforce an embargo on any future US "imports" and the country's current account deficit will drop to a level from which there is no recovery. So for those who are still not convinced of just how serious the deterioration is, The Economic Collapse blog has compiled this handy list of 19 fact that demonstrate the deindustrialization of America in all its glory.
Following today's sudden realization that the much vaunted December retail sales data, which if one had listened to CNBC in December, would have been left with the "consensus view" that it would be one of the greatest shopping periods in the history of the world, was a dud, here is a complete post-mortem of the various individual retailers and how they fared versus expectations from Goldman's Greg "Chewbacca" Chwatko.
Any time you bring the two Pauls together in an interview, and start discussing items such as the debt ceiling, government spending, and monetary policy you know the results will be good. Sure enough, in this rare ABC interview with father and son, the sparks fly, and among the topic touched is the most popular story on Zero Hedge from yesterday, namely President Obama fabulous hypocrisy, who after bashing the debt ceiling as a senator 4 years ago, has bet the outcome of his entire economic policy on maxing out every single credit card available to him. Paul's response: "we have to face the fact that we are bankrupt and we can't pay our bills." Not exactly bedtime material if one's name is Hu Jintao. That said you know the Paul-led interrogation of Bernanke will be something else, even if it is ultimately totally fruitless.
Art Cashin Vomits All Over The FOMC Minutes, Offers Bernanke A Deal On Some Prime East River Real EstateSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2011 - 18:25
Art Cashin, who lately looks like he is coping with the market's lunacy in a very liquid fashion, pulled a Rosie and basically went medieval on Ben Bernanke and the chairman's now infamous explanation that interest rates are up because they are really down courtesy of Richard Feynman and quantum chromodynamics, in some parallel universe in which QE2 is actually working. In a nutshell, the most famous face on the NYSE has offered to sell the Princetonian a piece of very valuable East River real estate in exchange for agreeing with the BS that the FOMC's committee is dishing out now on an almost daily basis.
Either the republicans have fully adopted a role as the "charade" party, or they are actually serious about believing that by limiting Bernanke to controlling just inflation, the Chairman will actually start acting on behalf of the peasants (note: he won't - he will just ignore the fact that food prices are at an all time record, and focus instead on the ongoing collapse in home prices, which simply means that middle class has less equity and is paying more for staples). Either way, they are not wasting any time. Reuters reports that representative Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the House of Representatives' budget committee, said he will push for legislation paring back the Federal Reserve's mandate to focus solely on controlling inflation, not ensuring full employment. Well, the problem there is that Bernanke will say that instead of doing QE in perpetuity, or until the unemployment rate goes back to 5% (whichever comes first), he will simply print money (pardon, feed primary dealers with infinite 1s and 0s, which in no was have an impact on cotton prices now trading at unheard of levels). More from Reuters: "Republicans have made no secret of their desire to impose more limits on the U.S. central bank and have been critical of it on a number of scores, including its plan to buy an additional $600 billion in government bonds to try to speed up a sluggish economic recovery." As if the same republicans don't realize that the only reason the Fed is buying said additional $600 billion is to monetize their own damn deficit created when they passed the tax cut extension for the rich, now that China's holding of Treasuries have basically not budged in the past year. Well, someone has to monetize all that debt. And as Zero Hedge has been screaming since September, the only reason for QE2 (and QE3 next) is to fund the $3 trillion in budget deficits over the next two years, as nobody else wants it any more.
Borders Hires Jefferies As Restructuring Financial Advisor, Jones Day Is Legal Firm, Another Wipe Out For Ackman ImminentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2011 - 17:35
At one point last year Bill Ackman, who had created an entirely separate fund to express his exbuerance in retailer Target, and created a standalone fund PSIV to invest in the same name, was down 99% at the point the fund was unwound. Many had hoped the supposed retail genius' bad luck would end there. Alas, no. Another stock in which Pershing Square now owns 37%, is on the verge of filing bankruptcy. And apparently it can't even afford to hire a decent financial restructuring advisor. According to reports, traditionally creditor-side advisor Jefferies has been retained to represent the company, while Jones Day is legal counsel. Look for a bankruptcy filing in the next week and for another wipe out for Mr Ackman.
Just crossing the wires now. If this passes, Blythe is most likely toast.
As ACA Sues Goldman Over Abacus, A Question Emerges: Did The SEC Hide A Damning Piece Of The Prosection Against Goldman?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2011 - 16:34
That ACA is suing Goldman over Abacus, as Charlie Gasparino first reported, is not surprising. After all, everyone wants a piece of free lunch, especially when there is a case in the docket. What is however surprising, is that according to plaintiff lawyer Marc Kasowitz, ACA has ‘documents that show Goldman Sachs told ACA Paulson was long on the ABACUS investment.’ If this is indeed the case, this becomes a clear case of fraud, pure and simple, no question about it, with clear intent to misinform, and is not even remotely defensible by Lloyd Blankfein's statement to Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin, that Goldman was merely making markets. If this piece of paper does exist, there is clear intent to misrepresent, and what is stunning is that this never was made clear during the SEC trial. Since we can assume that the SEC had access to this information, and had this been exposed, it would have made settlement virtually impossible as it would have clearly but Goldman in the position of having broken the law, we can merely validate once again, that the SEC is nothing short of Goldman's latest public-private acquisition a la Facebook.
Gallup Finds Unemployment Increased In December, Underemployment Is At 6 Month High, Blasts Government Data FudgingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2011 - 15:53
Following this week's ebullient ADP private payrolls report, the sellside has succumbed to an orgiastic frenzy suggesting that tomorrow NFP number may be as high as 580,000 (as reported earlier). While there is no chance on earth of that happening absent all of US data gathering to have been outsourced to Beijing, what is more interesting, is that organizations which track employment trends in real time have found that neither is ADP's optimism justified, nor is there absolutely any basis to expect a blow out NFP number tomorrow. Gallup has found that not only did the unemployment rate increase in December from 9.4% to 9.6%, that disgruntled part-time workers who want full-time work increased from 8.6% to 9.4%, the highest since September, but that the most important metric in a labor force increasingly consisting of part-time workers, underemployment, has surged to 19%, the highest since June!
Some more trouble in Borg paradise? After Steve Jobs' health issues two years ago resulted in one of the biggest selloffs in Apple stock in recent history, is the trouble shifting to the CFO post, currently filled by Peter Oppenheimer? Bloomberg reports: "Apple Inc. approached Blackstone Group LP Chief Financial Officer Laurence Tosi to become its finance chief, three people with knowledge of the matter said." But why? "Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, said the company is “not conducting a CFO search.” Current CFO Peter Oppenheimer “loves the company and is extremely happy in his role,” Dowling said." So someone is not telling the whole story. And that is something Apple fans certainly do not like.