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Commercial Real Estate Lobby Ask For Taxpayer Aid To Help Recapitalize Banks Saddled With Billions In Underwater CRE Loans

The problem that nobody is talking about, yet everyone continues keeping a close eye on, namely the trillions in commercial real estate under water, is quietly starting to reemerge. In the attached letter from the Commercial Real Estate lobby, it reminds politicians that the hundreds of billions in loans that mature in the next several years won't roll on their own, and we see the first inkling of the lobby asking congress for much more taxpayer aid, in this case in the form of Shelley Berkley's proposed legislation to "enable banks to convert troubled loans into performing assets through modest tax incentives to attract new equity capital to existing commercial real estate projects." The letter tacitly reminds that there are thousands of regional banks whose balance sheets are chock full with underwater commercial real estate (and for the direct impact of this simply observe the 100+ banks on the FDIC's 2010 failed bank list). So in case taxpayers are wondering where the next fiscal stimulus will end up going, wonder no more: "The new investments would be specifically used to pay down debt,
resulting in lower loan-to-value ratios of existing loans as well as
improved debt coverage ratios
." As the CRE lobby concludes: "By giving lenders the ability to responsibly refinance debt and
rebalance capital reserve levels, the CRE Act will provide the
opportunity for additional lending capacity that will help stimulate
lending to small businesses, job formation and economic growth in
communities across the country." In other words, it is time for taxpayers to help purge banks of existing toxic debt, so that these same banks can resume lending like drunken sailors, in unviable commercial real estate projects just to guarantee that the next major market blow up also destroys the regional banking system, in addition to the TBTFs.



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Goldman Explains Why It Is "QE2 Or Bust" For Stocks Tomorrow

Just in case you missed Goldman's economic team shift to outright bearishness, Jan Hatzius presents several key observations that other economists (particularly BofA's Bianco and Dutta) have yet to grasp. And even as Goldman openly expects a recommencement in debt monetization tomorrow to the tune of $1 trillion, Hatzius openly acknowledges that this decision could be delayed... And such a decision would be a major mistake, as it is already priced in: "Such a decision could prove to be a serious mistake, because a
significant part of the recent easing in financial conditions is
probably due to market expectations of a more expansionary monetary
policy. 
Indeed, if a disappointment on Tuesday results in a significant
renewed tightening of conditions, the decision might ultimately hasten
the transition to further easing steps." In other words, it is pretty much QE or bust for stocks.



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Frontrunning: August 9

  • Systemic Regulator Risk: Does the Fed of New York Need a Haircut? (Institutional Risk Analytics), also Zero Hedge will have much more to say on the persona of Sarah Dalgren shortly
  • U.S. Investors Regain Majority Holding of Treasuries (Bloomberg)
  • Here comes Big Brother: US to Pay Big Sums For Wall St Tip-offs (FT)
  • Fed debates winding road to more easing (Reuters)
  • Trichet Market Rally May Let Bernanke Hold Off on Bond Buying (BusinessWeek)
  • Bank of Japan Expected to Hold Rate Steady (WSJ)
  • One Chart To Rule Them All, One Chart To Find Them (Out) (Fistful of Euros)
  • The end of responsibility: From homeowners to government, the buck stops nowhere (Post)
  • China Buys $5.3 Billion of Japanese Bonds in June, Set for Annual Record (Bloomberg)


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Daily Highlights: 8.9.2010

  • Australian home-loan approvals decline 3.9% as rate increases cool demand.
  • China buys $5.3B of Japanese bonds in June, set for annual record.
  • China orders 2,087 steel mills and factories to close to meet efficiency goals.
  • Clawbacks divide SEC; Aguilar pushes harder line for executives at accused firms.
  • Euro slightly changes against dollar at $1.3274.
  • Fed set to downgrade outlook for US; big new steps to boost growth unlikely: FT.
  • German exports rise 3.8% in June, 28.5% higher versus previous year.
  • Goldman Sachs cuts forecasts for Japan, US on waning stimulus, exports.


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Goldman Reports 10 Trading Loss Days In Q2, Morgan Stanley: 11

So much for trading perfection. After posting a flawless, and statistically impossible without cheating, trading record in Q1, Goldman followed in Bank of America's footsteps and posted 10 trading day losses in the quarter in which we saw the Dow plunge by 1,000 points intraday, and when the S&P ended broadly lower. The firm disclosed 3 trading days with losses of more than $100 million. But most notably, days with $100+ MM daily profitability dropped by more than half from 37 to 17. Of course, as usual, the statistical variance looks nothing like a standard Gaussian distribution. Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley reported 11 days of losses, but $100MM+ profitable trading days at 19, better than Goldman. Is the Morgan Stanley starting to outgun the biggest gun on Wall Street?



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Goldman Lowers Its 2010 And 2011 S&P Forecasts By 50 Points On Footsteps Of Friday's GDP Reduction, Quotes Churchill


On Friday, following Goldman's downward GDP revision, we speculated "Look for ... the 2011 S&P consensus to decline accordingly." Turns out we are right much faster than anticipated, and not surprisingly the first bank to lower its S&P forecast is none other than Goldman. The firm has decided to boost its 2010 EPS estimate from $81 to $83, but lower it 2011 projection from $93 to $89. And the temporary bullish revision higher for 2010 action is to be ignored: as David Kostin says "We have reduced our S&P 500 price target by 50 points to 1200. The new target reflects a 7% expected return over the five months until year’s end. Our 12-month target equals 1250, roughly 11% above the current level...At the end of May – just eight weeks ago – we raised our 2011 EPS estimate to $93 from $90. It was a badly timed decision in retrospect. The economic landscape has changed significantly during the last two months. The macroeconomic data that seemed to indicate improvement in April and May deteriorated sharply in June and early July. Cutting our 2011 EPS estimate to $89 represents a reversal for us and reflects the more challenging economic environment we now face compared with the backdrop just a few months ago. At this time we are reminded of Winston Churchill’s famous response when asked why he changed his mind, “When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"" As a reminder the firm's old 2010 and 12 month estimates were 1,250 and 1,300 respectively. The attached chart shows the revised Goldman estimates, which are basically a broad reduction in the curve by 50 points lower.



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North Korea Fires Artillery Shells Into Sea Close To South Korea Border, Holds Fishing Boat With 7 On Board

Some interesting geopolitical news to start off the day from Reuters: "North Korea fired artillery rounds into the sea off its west coast on Monday, a South Korean military official said, heightening tension on the divided peninsula. YTN cable news channel reported dozens of rounds were fired into the North's waters near the border with the South soon after a South Korean naval exercise off the west coast officially ended at 5 p.m." This follows earlier news that North Korea held a South Korean fishing vessel with seven people on board, after it crossed into North Korean waters. As the Kospi is closed it is difficult to estimate the unexpectedness of the event. We will follow the news to see if the already tense situation between the two Koreas is affected by this development, and if South Korea, which conducted extensive join-US drills recently, retaliates.



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RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 09/08/10

RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 09/08/10



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Observations On China's Bubble, Or The "Lose-Lose" Reality Of A Financial Cocaine Addiction

Jim Quinn's has penned a good post on the "mother of all bubbles" in which he analyzes the impact of cheap credit and surging money supply on Chinese real estate, hot on the heels of recent Zero Hedge disclosure that nearly 65 million homes in China lie vacant. Using data from The Casey Report depicting the explosion in monetary aggregates, it is rather easy to see just where all the "excess" credit and easy money has gone. In many, if not all ways, the experience China is about to undergo with respect to its real estate bubble is comparable to that of the US, and simply the lack of an overlap of bubble peaks in 2007/8 is what helped China experience an all out economic rout, which due to how its socio-political structure is intertwined, may have well led to a domestic revolution and/or civil war. Yet the longer China avoids looking in the mirror, and continues to "feed the monkey" the worse off it will be when no amount of incremental cheap money can forestall the collapse. Which in itself is a very comparable predicament faced by our own administration and central bank. But before we present the Quinn article, we will take a brief detour into Michael Pettis' recent observations on the pitfalls association with a monetary heroin addiction.



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Does "No Decoupling" Mean Dollar Set To Surge?

Earlier we presented Morgan Stanley's traditionally bullish opinions on the economy as relates to the firm's view on rates, which nonetheless translated into an opposite trade recommendation: one that goes against the very core of the bullish economic sentiment. Curiously, Morgan Stanley did a comparable bait-and-switch in its FX analysis last week, when it called for a spike in the recently beaten down USD, on the back of an expectation of US economic growth by 3.4% and 3.3% in Q3 and Q4 (these numbers will shortly be revised lower as MS is way above consensus, see Exhibit 1, and even sellside strategists are finally becoming aware of the double dip), or economic data weakening elsewhere. In other words, no decoupling. With the EUR surging, and the recent strength in Europe's manufacturing centers driven purely by a surge in exports, the likelihood that foreign economies are looking at a step function drop is pretty much guaranteed. Which brings us to a parallel observation, one we have brought up previously, namely that various governments will likely escalate the trade imbalances on an increasingly shorter timeframe, taking advantage of the record short-term volatility in key crosses, and ping ponging quarter after quarter between export strength and weakness, all the while hoping to ride the crest of the wave of recent strength beyond upcoming economic declines. In other words, borrowing a term from TV jargon, the economy will soon downshift from "progressive" to "interlaced" as instead of operating at full steam constantly, each developed economy will be in a quarterly On:Off regime, all the while hoping to remain in investors' good graces when it comes to stock markets, and be punished aggressively when it comes to FX. Judging by the results in Q1 and Q2, and the interplay between Europe and the US in light of a surging then plunging dollar, it is working... for the time being. One wonders however how long the developed, overleveraged economies can hope to maintain this ruse, which is nothing short of another confidence game on risky assets and a bet for central planning.



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Morgan Stanley On Why The US Will Not Be Japan, And Why Treasuries Are Extremely Rich (Yet Pitches A 6:1 Deflation Hedge)

We previously presented a piece by SocGen's Albert Edwards that claimed that there is nothing now but to sit back, relax, and watch as the US becomes another Japan, as asset prices tumble, gripped by the vortex of relentless deflation. Sure enough, the one biggest bear on Treasuries for the past year, Morgan Stanley, is quick to come out with a piece titled: "Are We Turning Japanese, We Don't Think So." Of course, with the 10 Year trading at the tightest level in years, the 2 Year at record tights, and the firm's all out bet on curve steepening an outright disaster, the question of just how much credibility the firm has left with clients is debatable. Below is Jim Caron's brief overview of why Edwards and all those who see a deflationary tide sweeping the US are wrong. Yet, in what seems a first, Morgan Stanley presents two possible trades for those with access to the CMS and swaption market, in the very off case, that deflation does ultimately win.



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Albert Edwards Explains How The Leading Indicator Is Already Back Into Recession Territory And Why The Japan "Ice Age" Is Coming

Inflation continues to ebb away. In Japan core CPI deflation, at -1.5% is the worst on record. While in the US, the corporate sector is seeing its weakest pricing power on record ? even worse than that seen in the deflationary maelstrom during the Asian crisis (see chart below). We have consistently articulated the view that the severity of the current situation will only be appreciated when this current cycle ends in failure ? and that is not too far away. That will be the time that equities will plunge to new lows. And that, not March 2009, will provide the buying opportunity of a generation to hedge against the coming Great Inflation. - Albert Edwards



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BNY Asks "If Retail Investors Are Leaving US Stocks In Mutual Funds And ETFs, Then Who Is Buying Stocks?"

One of Zero Hedge's favorite indications of rationality (in addition to following what credit does, without fail to the chagrin of permabullish equity fanatics) in the face of Fed-induced capital markets psychopathology, is following the flow of funds into various asset categories. Last week we pointed out that ICI reported the 13th sequential outflow from domestic equity mutual funds, validating our persistent skepticism that the money pushing stocks higher on margin is certainly not coming courtesy of retail accounts, which represent the bulk of holders behind the $10 trillion market cap of US stocks. Incidentally the retail redemptions are also occurring at the ETF level, and in total now amount to $32 billion for mutual funds, and $6 billion for ETFs. The paradox of a rising stock market in the face of massive redemptions has forced others, namely BNY ConvergEx' Nicolas Colas to ask the same question: "If retail investors are leaving U.S. stocks in both 401(k)s (read mutual funds) and brokerage IRAs/investment accounts (read ETFs), then who is buying stocks so that the market is still up (modestly) on the year?" His observation is simple: "Investors are shifting assets in both mutual funds and ETFs away from U.S. stocks and into fixed income. The moves are dramatic: there is 2-4x more money moving into fixed income than is leaving stocks. Fresh savings, in other words, are going directly into bonds. There is also some modest shift to international investing, mostly in equities, but not on the same order of magnitude as the bond trade." In this environment, we believe that in addition to the recently floated idea of annuitizing 401(k), a new revision to retirement planning will be made to allocated even more capital to the equity portion of 401(k) plans, now that the Fed is about to imminently get back to monetizing treasuries thereby making the question of just who buys Treasurys on margin moot.



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Weekly Chartology

The weekly chartology segment from David Kostin focuses on the end of the earning season, now that 89% of companies have reported and observes what most know: that analyst estimate gaming is on like Donkey Kong: "52% of companies beat estimates by at least 1 standard deviation." Guess what that means: that the perpetually wrong cadre of analysts will now have to raise estimate going into H2 and 2011, just in time for all the economists to piggyback on Goldman's moment of bearish epiphany and cut their own economic growth projections to the mid 1% range. The clash between macro and micro has never been greater, and yes - it is all courtesy of taxpayer "mediated" deleveraging. For every dollar beat in the private sector, are many public sector dollars that will not only hinder future US economic growth (think of it as the opportunity cost of giving CEOs better cash out levels), but will certainly never be paid back.



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Goldman Explains The Imminent Launch Of $1 Trillion In QE 2; Muses On The Dreaded "Double D"

Following up on Friday's economic forecast reduction, Goldman's economic team provides an extended analysis validating its dramatic cut to 2011 GDP from 2.5% to 1.9%, and its increase to the unemployment rate from 9.7% to 10.0%. It does so not without a decent bit of gloating: "Our forecast for a significant slowing in the second half of 2010, widely seen as implausible three months ago, is now increasingly accepted." Of course, those reading this blog are fully aware that the fake economic sugar high achieved over the entire past 2 year period is what accountants would consider a non-recurring, one-time item achieved in the face of a deflationary tide, interspersed with ever more desperate attempts by the Fed to stimulate (hyper)inflation. And the closer we get to the imminent realization that as tens of trillions of debt need to be eliminated (and guess what that means for a like amount in underwater equity value) before any form of self-sustaining growth can be achieved, the more likely it becomes that the Fed will commit to the nuclear launch codes which will eventually destroy the US currency, in what many have pegged as hyperinflation for the items we need, and hyperdeflation for the items that nobody really cares about: an outcome which will make the Schrodinger Cat nature of our economy apparent in its final wave function collapse, with the only difference that the US economy is dead in both worlds.



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