• Tim Knight from...
    10/21/2014 - 18:16
    Want to live near the 0.1% and their problems? May I present to you 258 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, California, which is located within walking distance from my house and is a mere $1,800,000 (well...

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One Minute Macro Update: April 13, 2011

  • Chinese cos go on global bond spree; Mainland groups have borrowed $12.2B this yr.
  • Japan cuts its economic assessment as earthquake damage mounts.
  • Obama said to call for cuts in entitlements, higher taxes.
  • Oil hovers above $106 in Asia as investors eye crude demand amid 2-month rally.
  • OPEC sees higher demand for its oil in 2011 at 29.9M barrels/day, up 400,000 bbls YoY.
  • Swedish government expects public finance surplus in 2011, tax cuts in 2012.
  • Taiwan halts plans to build atomic reactors after Japan crisis.
  • US Import prices increased 2.7% in March on crude oil, food.
  • US lacks credibility on debt, says IMF. Stringent austerity measures needed.


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Today's Economic Data Docket - Retail Sales, Bond Auction/Monetization, JOLTS, Beige Book, And Obama's Deficit Statement

Busy day with quite a bit on the economic front: if Gallup is right March retail sales will be weaker than expected. Other key events include the JOLTS survey, business inventories, a Treasury auction and the inverse - POMO; and last Obama is presenting at noon his deficit reduction plan.



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JPM Reports $1.28 EPS On $1.15 Consensus... However $0.29 Is From Reduced Credit Card Loan Loss Reserves

And so the loan loss reserve accounting game continues. JPM just reported earnings of a solid $1.28/share for Q1 2011, generated by net revenue of $25.8 billion (a decreased of $2.4 billion from a year ago). This would have been enough to push the stock substantially higher... if only $0.29 of this "beat" was not from a purely accounting benefit from reduced credit card loan loss reserves. Now the only question is how much of this credit card improvement is from credit card holders paying their credit card cards instead of their mortgage (and with a $50 billion annual squatters rent benefit this is not a trivial question). Considering that JPM announced a $650 million expense for estimated costs of foreclosure-related matters our guess is "a lot." Per Jamie Dimon: " "Retail Financial Services demonstrated good underlying performance, while we continued to invest in building branches and adding to our sales force. However, this performance was more than offset by the extraordinarily high losses we still are bearing on mortgage-related issues.(a) Unfortunately, these losses will continue for a while. Rest assured, we are fully engaged in fixing our problems and addressing our mistakes from the past, and we will strive to build the best mortgage business going forward.""



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RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 13/04/11

RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 13/04/11



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Debt Ceiling Not To Be Resolved Until July?

Part 2 of the Great Beltway Soap Opera promises to be quite entertaining. According to Reuters, even though the US desperately needs to get a debt ceiling resolution immediately (we are at a point when any debt auction could be the last, depending on how many refunds the Treasury has to issue at any given point), Republicans are resolved to "stretch out negotiations on raising the U.S. debt limit until July....Prolonging negotiations past mid-May when Washington will hit its debt limit could give Republicans more leverage to secure big spending cuts, but it could worry investors as the country runs up against a possible default. The Republicans said they would act before that happened." The only question is whether bond investors (no matter how deflationary attuned) will stay in bonds before any possible compromise. Of course, should yields surge as a result of political "instability" it will merely reinforce the continuation of an easing regime, especially since Goldman is now obviously in a faux-disinflationary regime (more thoughts on that imminently, together with how to trade the unwind of Goldman remaining "Top Trades for 2011" following purported Bill Dudley instructions). And if the debt ceiling debate is in any way comparable to the grotesque farce that was the $38.5 billion, pardon $14.7 billion spending cut, then America is certainly buggered.



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Goldman Goes For The Trifecta: Lowers 2011 Copper Price Target From $11,000 To $9,800/mt; Gold, Silver Next?

Following two consecutive commodity downgrades which killed crude and all commodities, which led many to wonder just how many pictures of Lloyd Blankfein at Scores does Bill Dudley have locked up in his office, the bank, whose primary M.O. is to push inflation, has gone for one more deflationary report, this time cutting the last man, er doctor, standing: copper. From Goldman: "We are pushing out our $11,000/mt target to 2Q2012 and lowering our 2011 year-end copper price target to $9,800/mt from $11,000/mt. Accordingly, we recently closed our long December 2011 copper trade recommendation – first opened on October 4, 2010 – for a gain of $1,872/mt. We are also raising our 3-month forecast to $9,300/mt, and 6-month forecast to $9,600/mt." And with this we can now scratch Scores, and move on to The Bunny Ranch. Incidentally, this means gold and silver are next. You have been warned.



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Capital Context Update: Natural Normalization

Contextually, today was interesting bottom-up with only 53% of names agreeing in terms of direction for credit and equity risk (dominated by 50% agreement that conditions deteriorated). 27% saw credit widen as equity rallied while 20% saw credit compress as equities sold off but at the sector level the picture was much more stable with most agreeing systemically worse today. Leisure, healthcare, and Consumer Cyclicals were the only divergent sectors with credit underperformance as equity managed gains (only just in the latter we note). While we saw a clear up-in-quality shift in single-name credit today ( a theme we have been suggesting recently), that was not the story in equities where higher quality names (BBB and above) actually underperformed on average those in the spec grade cohorts. Vol movements were in line with CDS once again with vol rising less for the better quality names and rising dramatically more for the lower quality names (with a particular emphasis on the crossover names in fact).



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Guest Post: Obama's Empty Gasoline Tank

Nixon had his commerce secretary, Peter G. Peterson (he of enormous wealth these days), promise far reaching and revolutionary “initiatives” to tame our thirst for oil. But Nixon was out of office before these palliatives were revealed. Gerald Ford, caught up in vicious inflation, partly linked to the cost of oil, launched the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA), combining the Atomic Energy Commission, the Office of Coal Research and other energy entities in the federal government. ERDA initiated many programs, while politicians invoked the Manhattan Project and the Apollo 11 moon landing. But the search for the Fountain of Eternal Energy failed. Jimmy Carter wanted not only to solve the energy challenge, but to be seen to be solving it. Ergo, he expanded ERDA into the Department of Energy (DOE) and created a separate Synthetic Fuels Corporation. The latter failed after a short and unhappy life. No oil reached the pumps. When the price of oil collapsed in the 1980s, so did hopes for many of the alternative energy sources, including ocean thermal gradients and flywheel energy storage. To its credit, though at great cost, DOE, through its chain of national laboratories, kept searching. The result has been evolutionary improvements in many fields, and some really revolutionary ones in how we find oil and drill for it; these include seismic mapping, new drill bits and horizontal drilling. These evolutionary developments brought more oil to market and have contributed to the recent improvement in domestic production that Obama likes to point out. It has enabled us to cut our imports slightly, so they now stand at 11 million barrels per day out of consumption of 20million barrels per day.Obama wants us to cut those imports by a third. To do this, he has no magic bullet.



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Charting America's 0.1% Exceptionalism

Lately Joseph Stiglitz' Vanity Fair article "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" has gotten a lot of airplay. Unfortunately, Stiglitz appears to have been a decimal comma off. As Jeff Gundlach presents in a slide in his latest presentation, it is really about the 0.1%. And that's where America's exceptionalism (in three generations of theft from the middle and lower-classes) really shins through...



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"Deja Vu All Over Again" - Jeff Gundlach's Latest Set Of Contrarian Observations

As usual, Jeff Gundlach provides one of the best, most comprehensive overviews of the economy with a fixed income/rates emphasis. 97 pages of pure facts as the voiceover was given during the earlier webcast, allowing the reader come to their own set of conclusions.



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Here Comes Abacus V 2011: Former Head Of JPM's Structured Products Desk To Be Charged With Securities Fraud For CDO Transactions

Considering it was the charges of securities fraud levelled at Goldman last year (subsequently settled) in late April that were the primary catalyst for the start in the market sell off, it would not be surprising that in a year which so far is following the script of 2010 verbatim, that we should get another allegation of insider trading by a major bank in something relating to CDO fraud, just to seal the guarantee on QE3. Well, guess what. We just did. As Bloomberg's Joshua Gallu and Jody Shenn noticed first, in the FINRA Brokercheck record of one Michael Llodra, there is a curious announcement. To wit: "MR. LLODRA RECEIVED A WELLS CALL FROM THE STAFF OF THE US SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION INFORMING HIM THAT THEY ARE CONSIDERING RECOMMENDING THE COMMISSION COMMENCE AN ACTION CHARGING HIM WITH VIOLATING CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL SECURITIES LAWS BASED ON HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE SALE OF A STRUCTURED PRODUCT IN 2007." And just who is Mr. Michael Llodra? Oh only the global head of structured-product collateralized debt obligations at a little firm known as JPMorgan. And while JPMorgan has not been named yet, this news coming out a day ahead of JPM earnings is bad to quite bad. Recall that the Abacus process against Goldman started with the filing of Wells notices against Fab Tourre and his supervisor (which were never disclosed in time - a fact observed then by Zero Hedge - and subsequently ended up costing GS a little pocket change in FINRA appeasement fees). Does this mean the SEC is about to launch an all out assault against JPM at some point in the indeterminate future? Well, for an agency which is in dire need of improving its image, this just may be the case. Not to mention that the double beneficiary of this action would be none other than Goldman Sachs: a market sell off here would guarantee QE3 and certainly weaken the firm's primary competitor. Two birds with one porn-addicted regulator.



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Bad News For GM: As China's Own "Cash For Clunkers" Program Ends, Car Sales Come Far Below Expectations; BYD Sales Plunge

Two months ago we reported that the recently bailed out Unionized Carmaker, for whom China (where they apparently do not care about falling steering wheels) has become a market more important than even the US, had seen some jarring demand weakness, following a 10% drop in January sales. We now learn that GM was not only the beneficiary of last year's Cash For Clunkers program in the US, but has been the recipient of recent incentives offered in the domestic Chinese market. Alas those are now over, and as Bloomberg reports "China’s passenger-car sales grew in March at a pace that was below forecasts after incentives ended and fuel prices rose, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said." That's putting it mildly: for an economy in which a growth rate of 10% is considered stagnating, what happened in March was equivalent to a drubbing: "Dispatches of cars including multipurpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles to dealerships rose 6.52 percent from a year earlier to 1.3 million units, the association said in a statement today. That pace was about one-tenth of the 63 percent sales increase reported in March of last year." Which brings us to the question of the day: how does one spell "short GM" in Mandarin? Yet the irony of the day award goes to Charlie Munger, who may or may not have been completely "open" with his purchase of BYD shares: BYD sales plunge in March by 41% (Y/Y). Suck it in, Charlie.



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Van Hoisington Eviscerates QE2: Full Q1 Review And Outlook

If the objectives of Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2) were to: a) raise interest rates; b) slow economic growth; c) encourage speculation, and d) eviscerate the standard of living of the average American family, then it has been enormously successful. Clearly, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight these results represent the Federal Reserve’s impact on the U.S. economy, regardless of their claims to the contrary...Why the Fed would believe the economy could benefit from the addition of $600 billion (the QE2 target) in reserves to a banking system that already had over $1.1 trillion in unused, idle, but potentially inflationary reserves on hand nearly defies understanding. The action, however, was not lost on holders of the $8 trillion Treasury securities outstanding. This increase in the level of interest rates occurred, not only during QE2, but in QE1 as well. Thus the Federal Reserve engineered a rate increase, and the injection of excess reserves had several other deleterious ramifications for the U.S. economy.



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Is The Budget Deal On The Verge Of Collapsing?

Something rather troubling for the "kick the bankrupt (and only modestly radioactive, still way below the unrevised legal threshold though) can down the street crowd"- Commentary Magazine reports that the "Budget Deal", won after so much theatrics, soap opera, and Razzie nominations, may in fact collapse shortly. "The big news today is that the $38.5 billion in
budget cuts announced with such fanfare on Friday night mostly aren’t
real. A good deal of it involves money from previous years and previous
budgets that hasn’t actually been spent." Commentary refers to an AP article in which it is made clear that the proposed legislation is one 'financed with a lot of one-time savings and cuts that officially "score" as savings to pay for spending elsewhere, but that often have little to no actual impact on the deficit...cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction
funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway
programs that can't be spent because of restrictions set by other
legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused spending authority
from a program providing health care to children of lower-income
families." And once the more vocal fringers realize they have been cheated once again by both parties, it is possible that the whole thing could just as easily fall apart, and just in time for the US debt ceiling to be breached within 1-2 weeks tops.



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Gallup Economic Confidence Index Plummets To August 2010 Level As Poverty Effect Laps Wealth Effect

For anyone wondering why a hypothetical situation in which Bill Dudley met with former colleague Jan Hatzius and told him "ok, we bailed you guys out, now it's your time to kill oil" seems all too possible in our day and age, the latest news on the economy from Gallup should make it all too clear. As of April 11, the polling agency's Economic Confidence Index has dropped to -37: the lowest reading since August of 2010. It appears that disgust with $4+ gas (Poverty Effect for all) is more than offsetting Brian Sack's attempt reclaim the Russell 36,000 (Wealth Effect for some). Gallup's conclusion is absolutely spot on: 'Global events, continued political battles about the budget in the
nation's capital, and a weak, if modestly improving job market add to
consumer uncertainties. As a result, it is not surprising that consumer confidence plummets even as Wall Street continues to do well. However,
if consumers continue to lack confidence and spending doesn't increase,
it is hard to see how the U.S. economy can continue its modest
improvement. In turn, it would seem Wall Street and Main Street will
have to align at some point going forward. Either Wall Street will prove
right and economic conditions on Main Street will improve or the
reverse will prove to be the case."



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