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MOMO Stocks: "Escalator Up, Express Elevator Down"

After plunging 30% after hours, F5 Networks is just the latest "story" stock confirming that companies that melt up on nothing but hype and hopium, take the escalator up, and the express elevator down. We can't wait to hear how Cramer explains the complete wipe out in all of his favorite names today. Also included are the top 50 holders who can proudly say: "momos'R'us"



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Post Revolution, Tunisia CDS Still About 100 bps Tighter Than Illinois

As China's president heads over to Barack's home town, we wonder if he is aware that according to the market, Chicago is in a state whose credit risk is about 100 basis points wider compared to a post-revolutionary Tunisia. Despite the country's recent presidential coup, and subsequent downgrade by Moodys to Baa2, the African nation's CDS, which spiked from 120 to 180 bps, is still just 100 basis points inside the CDS of Illinois. And this still assumes 80 cent recovery. We wonder how long before one or more Vallejo precedents reprice the entire CDS muni curve. Should the default recovery be dropped from 80 to, say, 20, it would get very interesting...



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Harbinger Of Muni Bloodbath: Vallejo Offers Unsecured Creditors 5 - 20 Cent Recovery

But, but, munis always pay back almost 100 cents on the dollar, even in bankruptcy, right? Wrong. Bankrupt Vallejo just filed a POR to pay back unsecured creditors between 5 and 20 cents. "The city regrets that it cannot pay a higher percentage,” Vallejo officials said in the court filings. “The city lacks the revenues to do so while maintaining an adequate level of municipal services, such as the provision of fire and police protection and the repairing of the city’s streets." Just wait for the reaction when holders of unsecured debt all those other (hundreds of) insolvent cities, towns, and states realize that a 5 cent recovery is all too possible...



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Biggest Market Sell Off In Months Coincides With Largest Domestic Equity Inflow In Years (Both Of Which Aren't Saying Much)

It is only fitting that the biggest equity sell off in stocks in almost 2 months should coincide with the biggest equity inflow in years (which is not saying much: it is still in a net outflow position for the year). In the week ended January 12, domestic equity funds per ICI saw an inflow of $3,765 million following last week's outflow of $4,229. Yet this still makes it the largest inflow going back to 2009. And with everything now happening in real time, with the market having an attention span measured not in milli but nano-seconds, it will be funny if, should this sell off actually persist into the close (never underestimate the NYU business school students in charge of POMO) flows imply become a tracker of the concurrent week's market move. And yes, bond fund flows in everything but Munis were positive. Non-taxables saw another whopper of an outflow, this time for a total of $2.4 billion. Perhaps it is time for the propaganda crew to give stocks a breather and get the lemmings into the doomed municipals space (where at most recent check Illinois CDS at 280 bps were trading 100 bps wider of mutinous Tunisia at 180).



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Julius Baer Whistleblower Who Was Supposed To Hand Over To Wikileaks List Of 2,000 Tax Evaders, Arrested In Switzerland

Headlines from Sky News for now. Swiss police arrest ex-banker Rudolf Elmer on new charges relating to handover of bank client data to WikiLeaks. Just justice being served.



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Russell 2000 Is Down... No, This Is Not An April Fool's Joke

Sorry but this is really worth a post. The last time the market actually dipped more than 0.001% was on November 26, as such this is a historic event (in a country whose attention span is +/- about 15 minutes). The Russell 2000, which his Chairness indicated is the only metric tracked by the Fed's third mandate, is down. And since the Fed controls (insert best Tepper voice) everything, this can only indicate that the Bernank is finally starting to get concerned about those food riots he has been reading all about in assorted fringe blogs.



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Fitch Finds US Worst Of The AAA-Rated Best, Sees QE2 As Stoking Inflation Expectations

Since by now it is all too clear that none of the rating agencies will dare to downgrade the US until well after its creditors realize they have all been taken for the proverbial ride, and even longer after the Fed owns a vast majority of US treasury bonds, which according to CNBC is great, but according to Weimar Germany is sucky to quite sucky, one is forced to pay attention to the fine print and carefully worded nuances in all public statements to see just how they really feel. Today provided just such an opportunity. According to Market News, "Fitch Ratings Wednesday said it believes “the U.S. fiscal metrics will be the worst of any ‘AAA’-rated sovereign,” due to the higher-than-expected deficits and debt levels expected following the extension of the Bush era tax cuts." That's about as diplomatic as it gets without getting (nearly) fired for telling the truth (see NJ governor Christie). The punchline: "Absent a credible plan, the rating on the U.S. federal government will come under pressure." Too bad the US has not had a credible plan for about 30 years now aside from "...print?"



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David Tepper Coming Back To CNBC, To Update Status Of Proximity Between Balls And Wall

A few months after David Tepper told everyone that "everything" is going up as a result of the second round of monetary insanity (with the resulting surge in stocks affording him good exit points to dump 20% of his financial investments), the Appaloosa stallion is coming back this Friday, presumably for much more of the same, which likely means he has decided to offload his complete fin holding. As a reminder, as we disclosed in November, Tepper "sold 18% of his BofA holdings (his largest holding both at June 30 and September 30), 11% of Citi, 19% of Wells Fargo, 19% of Fifth Third, 19% of Capital One, 75% of his then $157 million Hartford Financial position, and lighten up on pretty much all of his other financial positions." That said, we still have to see his holdings for Q4, which will be available by February 15, when we are certain to find much more asset dispositions. The balance of his holdings will likely be liquidated following this most recent appearance.



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ECB's Jurgen Stark: "The Casino Is Still Open"

  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "The Casino Is Still Open" - this comes from one of Europe's top central bankers!
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "No Sign Of Necessary Change In Banker Mentality" - that's becasue we are aiding and abetting
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "Inflation in emerging markets is a serious problem" - Bernanke has it 100% under control
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "increase in Euro region inflation due to energy prices"
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "ECB's inflation assessment has not changed in mid term" - But naturally
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "Is very vigilant on possible inflation risks" - so was Tunisian president Ben Ali
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "Global economy and Euro region recovered faster than thought"
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "US, UK Deficits Worse Than Euro Zone's" - Don't tell Tiny Timmah
  • *DJ ECB's Stark: "Greece, Ireland Need U-Turn In Economic Policy"


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Total Global Debt Has To Double To Over $200 Trillion By 2020 To Preserve Economic Growth

A brand new study released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with McKinsey (which is a must read if only for its plethora of charts which we are certain will be used and reused in thousands of posts and articles over the next year), finds that while global credit stock doubled from $57 trillion to $109 trillion in just 10 years (from 2000 to 2010), it will need to double again to an incredible $210 trillion by 2020 in order to provide the necessary credit-driven growth (in a recursive way, whereby credit feeds growth, and growth requires additional credit issuance) for world GDP to retain its current growth rate. And while the goal seeked conclusion is obviously nothing but propaganda for the banking syndicate meant to facilitate the need for endless credit issuance spin (after all how on earth can world GDP growth occur based on something productive like manufacturing when there is only $100 trillion of free cash chasing worthless and rapidly amortizing assets), the study did warn (timidly) that leaders must be wary of new credit "hotspots" of excess lending, as the world emerges from a financial
catastrophe blamed in large part "to the failure of the financial
system to detect and constrain" these areas of unsustainable debt. In other words: credit doubling blew up the world financial system, but if you promise to behave this time, go ahead and double the world debt again.



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Nic Lenoir On Visualizing The Gobal Ponzi Scheme: How Does It End?

My entire focus right now is on the commodity complex. The reason why is simply because I believe the post-dotcom economy is completely unsustainable, and this is not only starting to be very much apparent to the general public but also fiscally very expensive to maintain. However, governments are inventing all sorts of accounting trickery, legal vehicles, and running the printing presses overtime in order to preserve the status quo. Maintaining this situation, which is quite the opposite of an equilibrium (consumers don't produce, structural deficits, unfunded liabilities, pegged currencies preventing the markets to rebalance trade etc...), will lead to bubbles and complete mispricing of financial assets. Only when financial markets are taken to extremes that provoke public anger turning into violence will politicians be forced to actually think of the structural issues without having the luxury of hoping that the next one in the seat will be the one facing the task. If bonds sell-off riskier assets will be repriced lowed to reflect higher rates in turn provoking greater demand for bonds. So the most likely culprit for the end game will be commodity prices since nobody will ever complain if stocks rise 400% (a 10% drop is a national emergency). Only when commodity prices are high enough that they put the entire system at risk will we be forced to let nature take its course, companies and governments default, and experience the deflationary shock that we cannot ultimately avoid. This reflection became much more concrete than theoretical when I watched on the news cops dressed as civilians being lynched by the Tunisian mob over the weekend. - Nic Lenoir



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Guest Post: How To Fix Social Security: A 4-Point Plan That Faces The Brutal Realities

Social Security is unraveling, and aligning its outlays to its income requires a new understanding of tough truths. There is no mystery why the system's revenues are collapsing: 9 million jobs have vanished, and millions more have slipped from full-time to part-time or temporary. The Social Security payroll tax (including the Medicare sliver) is 15.3% of payroll. So as total payroll plummets, so does Social Security's revenue. Meanwhile, an aging populace is flooding into the system at an unprecedented rate. As noted yesterday, millions of financially crimped Boomers are applying for Social Security benefits the moment they qualify at 62 years of age rather than wait another 5 years for their full benefits. Many can't afford the luxury of waiting 5 years, while others anticipate the system's insolvency and are prudently extracting something before it runs aground.



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Blatant Treasury Churn At The Fed: Entire POMO Consists Of Just Auctioned Off 3 Year As FRBNY Launches "Flip That Bond" Program

Ok this is it. Someone (preferably of the less than multi-millionaire Wall Street marionette variety) in Congress has to look into the blatant bond churn-cum-flip (that was happening behind the scenes a few months ago and is now so blatantly in your face it is a slap to all US taxpayers) which has the Fed paying Primary Dealers billions in commissions for a trade that has absolutely no value added. And while we have been complaining about this for months, today just takes the cake. Below we present the entire list of permitted issues to be monetized by Frosty-Sack. Note that there were 29 CUSIP eligible for buybacks. What happened - the Primary Dealers flipped virtually the entire operation in the form of the just auctioned off 3 Year PQ7! This is half the entire Primary Dealer allocation in the bond auction that was completed on January 11 (whose technical original issue date was yesterday). One more 3 Year POMO, the next of which is on January 31, in which PDs flip a like amount, and the Fed will have monetized the entire auction, but in the process having paid at least a few hundred million of taxpayer capital to the PDs for absolutely no value added! This is a daylight robbery and has to stop.



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FMX Exclusive: Silver Contango Crushed – Short Squeeze Imminent Or Position Limit Ruling Fall Out?

In silver, the contango was hit hard about 3 AM this morning with 2 year futures coming in as much as 15 cents relative to spot. The Z11/Z12 futures spread settled 21.40 yesterday and the market today is 13/15. The H/Z futures spread settled 19.2 The market today is 9/11. What could cause this? Factually speaking, 2 reasons cause contango to collapse. The first is interest rates and interest rates would have to decrease a large amount for this type of move in the spreads. The second is delivery concerns. When a producer, bullion dealer, or speculator is short the front month, come expiration, it has a a choice: make delivery or don’t make delivery.



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Presenting The VXV Widowmaker... On Roids

When we first presented the TVIX, or the double levered short-term VIX ETF, as well a few more insane ETFs just created by Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC (yes, S&P) less than two shorts months ago, we summarized this development as follows: "Ever feel like this market just does not provide enough unique and suicidal ways for you to lose your hard stolen money within nanoseconds of trade execution? Never fear - here comes the TVIX, a levered third derivative bet on volatility: simply said, the TVIX will be the world's first double leveraged VIX ETF... Why not just call these what they are: a novel way (brought to you via the synthetic CDO legacy product known as ETFs) to lose money with a 99.999% guarantee. As always, we wonder why anyone would trade this product, when, with much better odds, one would at least get comped in Vegas..." Well, we were right. The chart below shows what happens when one believes there is any vol, let alone double leveraged volatility left in a centrally planned, perpetually melting up stock market. The TVIX has plunged from $110 to just over $42... in a little over a month.



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