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University Of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Plunges To One Year Low Of 66.5, Versus Expectation Of 74.5, Previous 76

The UMichigan consumer confidence index dropped from from 76, the best number since January 2008, to 66.5, the lowest since August 2009, on expectation of 74.5. The expectations component came in at 60.6 versus expectations of 68.5, the lowest since March 2009, while the conditions index showed a reading of 75.5 versus expectations of 84.0, lowest since November 2009. The 1 Year inflation expectation rose modestly from 2.8 to 2.9. Altogether another economic data disaster. 



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Defying Gravity One Round Of QE At A Time


We have long warned and acknowledged the rollover of Economic activity (curiously following closely the expiry of stimulus programs, quantitative easing, and therefore liquidity injection). However I want to draw your attention toward our global liquidity chart which shows that after allowing liquidity to subside forces in power have addressed the problem and world liquidity is flying towards new highs. There is European QE involved, talks of additional stimulus in Japan, research stating that due to securitization Chinese loans in H1 2010 were 30% higher than officially acknowledged, and yesterday the minutes indicating that the Federal Reserve's board is cosily discussing further securities purchase if warranted. So while the tone was around the end of Q1 that of austerity, letting liquidity facilities expire, and withdrawing "exceptional" accomodation, it appears political will has lasted about as long as my latest experiment with dieting. The difference being the future collapse of the world economy doesn't rely on my eating habits. - Nic Lenoir



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RBS Prepares To Seek More Money Out Of Goldman

While the punditry debates whether the SEC settlement was or was not a win for Goldman (As Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil summarizes it best: "Here’s the real beauty of the SEC’s settlement agreement yesterday with Goldman Sachs. The next time Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein goes on television and is asked by some reporter if Goldman committed securities fraud, as the SEC alleged, he won’t be allowed to say no.") those wronged by Goldman are only just starting to flex their legal muscles. Reuters reports that one of the "big" winners from the settlement, UK's biggest nationalized bank RBS, is about to beg for more handouts (allegedly to cover its ongoing losses on sovereign debt holdings): "Royal Bank of Scotland may pursue Goldman Sachs for hundreds of millions of dollars to add to $100 million it got as part of a settlement over the marketing of a subprime mortgage product. RBS said on Friday it would "carefully consider all of its options" after Goldman agreed on Thursday to pay it $100 million as part of a $550 million settlement of civil fraud charges over how it marketed the subprime mortgage product. RBS's options include taking Goldman to court as
the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission said the penalty left the
door open for future civil suits.
" At this point the response by RBS, which is 83% state owned will likely depend on US treatment of BP, considering that "Former UK Prime Minister
Gordon Brown said in April that Goldman would have to pay back
"hundreds of millions of dollars" if the charges against it were
proven.
" The only question left is to define "does not admit or deny guilt."



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Guest Post: Why Do The Rich Default on Their Mortgages? Because In California and Arizona, They Can

Of America’s 11 million homeowners with negative equity, a majority live in the four sand states where the real estate bubble was concentrated--California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Over three million live in California and Arizona, where a borrower can hand over the keys to the lender and walk away. These are two antideficiency states, where the lender has no recourse beyond the collateral property. So of course it makes sense that wealthy homeowners would default on their mortgage loans. They live where in places home prices were the highest and the fell the steepest, and where the consequences of default are the least onerous. The New York Times overlooked the “where” and “why” of the story. The wealthy are also less dependent on consumer credit. They can buy cars for cash; and charge expenses on their debit cards. So for them, it’s easy to make a fresh start. But the mortgage debt doesn’t go away. It’s simply pushed off to the banks insured by the Federal government. The rest of us pick up the pieces.



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Daily Highlights: 7.16.10

  • Americans blame Bush, not Obama, for deficit, jobs and Afghan War
  • Asian stocks fall for 2nd day, Yen strengthens on US output.
  • China interest-rate swaps decline to one-year low on slower growth outlook.
  • Cost of Living, Consumer confidence in US probably dropped.
  • Crude oil falls a third day as economic reports show recovery may falter.
  • Turkey's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady at 7%.
  • BP test cap temporarily staunched the Gulf oil leak.


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Bove Was Right (For Once): Citi Misses Top Line

  • Q2 Revenue misses, comes in at $22.1 Bn versus expectation of $22.28 Bn
  • Quarterly consumer net credit losses declined by $530 MM
  • Tier 1 capital ratio at 12%
  • Tier 1 common ratio at 9.7%

In other words, US credit card holders continue to pay off their credit cards before their mortgages. And somehow this is sufficient for banks to lower their Loss Provisions, even as end consumers are bled dry. This will not end well.



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Greece Pretends It Has Capital Markets Access By Continuing To Sell Ultra-Short Term Debt At Astronomical Spreads

After a frabjous placement of 6 month bills last week (at just under a whopping 5%), Greece continues the charade of pretending it has capital markets access by announcing it will sell another €1.5 billion of 3 month bills on July 20, 2 days before the Stress Farce results are announced.



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RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 16/07/10

RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 16/07/10



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Goldman: "As In Mid-June The S&P Looks Very Overvalued Relative To Yields"

Even as stocks continue to ignore the broader economic decline, and trade exclusively to kneejerks on one-time items such as Goldman's settlement and BPs pressure tests, the far more liquid and rational bond market is hunkering down. Today, the 2 Year hit an all time low yield, even as the 2s10s tightened by yet another 6 bps to 240 bps. The impact of today's curve flattening alone will have a far more profound impact on Goldman EPS than the latest SEC wristslap farce. And as we pointed out previously, the spread between the S&P and the 10 Year yield continues to diverge. In fact, it is now so wide, that in the latest John Noyce piece, the Goldman Strategist says: "As in mid-June, the S&P looks very overvalued relative to yields. Yields are also beginning to decline again as equities stall." Sure enough the reverse is also true, and bonds may be rich to stocks, but either way, we reiterate our observation that the short stocks-short bonds trade will eventually converge (luckily with the yield on the 10 Y so low, the carry is marginal and the repo rate will likely be a greater burden until the spread recouples).



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Guest Post: Why Goldman Could Pull It Off

The weaknesses in the S.E.C.’s case against Goldman were always obvious. At the end of the day, an investor who bought Abacus 2007 AC-1 was buying a static portfolio of risks. It didn’t matter who chose the underlying investments in the CDO, or whether John Paulson was destined to receive a windfall. If you were a sophisticated investor who had done his due diligence, you didn’t need to be told that the deal was designed to fail. You would have figured it out for yourself. If you actually reviewed the performance of mortgage backed securities held by the CDO, and understood how cash flow waterfalls and delinquency triggers worked, then you could see that subordinate tranches being insured for the benefit of Goldman were already worthless when the CDO closed. You could also figure out that the rating agencies had deliberately delayed announcing downgrades of the RMBS within the CDO, in order to keep the markets and the deal flow moving. But the dirty little secret on Wall Street was that all too often, due diligence was a sham.



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End Of Quarter Primary Dealer Asset Window Dressing Games Continue

It is time for the SEC to slap another token wrist. Now the the "regulator" has made it official that the punishment for fraud is roughly 3% of a firm's annual bonus pool for all godlike corporations, and millions of dollars, bars and jailtime for everyone else, it is time to tickle, pardon, we mean tackle, that other major fraud: Repo 105-type end of quarter window dressing, which we now know has been practiced not only by Lehman but by Bank of America. Because according to the just released primary dealer holdings data by the New York Fed, the end of quarter window dressing continues across all PD asset classes to this day. As the chart below shows, the week following the EOQ asset balance hit a total of $270 billion, which was a $15 drop from the week prior, the subsequent week has surged by $19 billion, and is now back to $289.5 billion. This is a two week swing only matched by... the prior quarter window dressing farce, when the roundtrip amount was $81 billion.



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Goldman SEC Settlement Vote Split Along Party Lines

Reuters reports that democrats vote for settlement; republicans against. Is the president starting to miss all that Goldman lobby cash? Alas, it might be a little too late for kiss and make up.



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Guest Post: Government Mules

Watching my children grow older, now heading into the treacherous shoals of the teenage years, has been a visceral reminder of how the human mind develops. As young children, we see the world with fresh eyes and wonderment, and then quickly begin testing the physical and societal bounds as part of morphing into our more mature selves. As we age into our teens and beyond, the testing of boundaries evolves into a series of calculations. If I do “A,” we wonder, will it lead to “B” or maybe “Z”? From a young age, most of us are told to advance our education and otherwise better ourselves so that we will be able to find a good job, or a succession of good jobs, that will provide sustenance and security lasting most of a lifetime before retiring to dawdle about in our golden years. At least that is the modern view of life pursued by the vast majority of the citizenry in the developed world. But having spent some time in rural Argentina recently – where it seems to me that most people spend more time living and less time planning to live – I have had some time to ponder the assumptions embedded in this view. What if, I wonder, the whole modern construct of what passes for making the right moves in an advanced society is plain wrong?



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Goldman Statement On SEC Settlement

"We believe that this settlement is the right outcome for our firm, our shareholders and our clients." And now, back to recommending the worst possible trades to these very clients.



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Artist's Rendering Of Tim Geithner's Desktop

As America slowly digests the empirical evidence that both our judicial (SEC settlement) and legislative (FinReg farce) branches are now dead and buried (we all know how the executive branch is faring), the only thing left is humor. In continuing with our deep throat screen captures of executive level individuals (Ben Bernanke here previously), we present Tim Geithner's desktop next, courtesy of a Zero Hedge reader.



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