Archive - Nov 11, 2010
No increase in taxes sounds good. But nothing is free.
In fact, just yesterday we had a TERRIBLE 30-year note auction on just $16Bn worth of notes. Already Ben is pretty much the only buyer of Tim’s trash paper and, as that bid to cover ratio drops below 2:1, you’ll see rates begin to tick up dramatically, despite the Fed’s best efforts to contain them and that will put pressure on houses, corporate debt, government debt, municipal debt etc and suddenly we’re Greece.
According to the C.D. Howe Institute, Canadian government pensions are grossly underestimating their pension shortfalls and so are European and US governments. Will pension shortfalls trigger the next sovereign debt crisis?
By now you have plenty of reason to congratulate yourself for having boarded the gold bandwagon. The early tickets are the cheap ones, and you’ve already had quite a ride. The best of the ride, I believe, is yet to come, and it should be very good indeed. It should be so much fun that your wallet may start to feel a bit giddy – which can be dangerous. So it would be wise to consider, now, how things will be and how they will feel when the current bull market in gold reaches its “end of days.” Because it will end. Buying at the right time is the key to building profits. Selling at the right time is the key to collecting them.
The man who made Goldman Sachs a household name (using some very helpful and lurid imagery), has found a new target: Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citi.... And the "Rocket Docket." Quote Taibbi: "The Rocket Docket exists to launder the crime and bury the evidence by speeding thousands of fraudulent and predatory loans to the ends of their life cycles, so that the houses attached to them can be sold again with clean paperwork. The judges, in fact, openly admit that their primary mission is not justice but speed." And here comes the trademark Taibbi visual: "the foreclosure crisis is Too Big for Fraud. Think of the Bernie Madoff scam, only replicated tens of thousands of times over, infecting every corner of the financial universe. The underlying crime is so pervasive, we simply can't admit to it — and so we are working feverishly to rubber-stamp the problem away, in sordid little backrooms in cities like Jacksonville, behind doors that shouldn't be, but often are, closed." Pure genius.
Prepare for another staple pricing readjustment courtesy of central clearing "risk management": minutes ago the ICE hiked its Clearing Member outright margin for Sugar (SB and SBC) from $2,150 to $3,550, a substantial 65% increase in margin requirements. Little by little more exchanges refuse to take on liquidity risk. In essence what the CME, the ICE, LCH and everyone else is doing by hiking margins (in addition to forcing a brief period of selling) is to offset liquidity risk, although not risk of more rounds of liquidity, but of the Fed's withdrawal of liquidity. If tomorrow Bernanke were to announce QE is over, all those who have so far enjoyed massive unbooked profits in their options accounts on margin, will see their NAV collapse and margin calls will provide the double whammy to a complete asset liquidation wipeout. Yet unlike in the case of silver, where the margin requirement was modest, here the jump is very material. That said, now that silver margins have been tightened, gold should follow shortly - surely, that is the prudent thing to do. On the other hand, ongoing delays in gold margin increase will make the whole recent margin readjustment somewhat odd - after all, what better way to keep another buying surge in check then not announcing how much gold margins will go up by. Once the news is out there, buyers will be able to process and adjust accordingly. As long as this information is merely anticipated, it will continue to be a far bigger brake to a parabolic move higher in gold than if it had been already disclosed and processed.
Today, Bank of America filed its first official response, and exposed how it plans on defending itself, to the recently launched RICO case by the Davis family (Southern Illinois, 10-01303), seeking monetary damages for what they now claim is a fraudulent eviction on the ground that the affidavit was signed by two Robosigners: one Keri Selman and one Melissa Viveros. In its Motion to Dismiss, defendant BofA notes "Plaintiffs assert that these affidavits were “necessarily perjured” because Ms. Selman and Ms. Viveros could not have read the allegations in the complaints, examined all of the documents or exhibits “and still read all of the accompanying documentation to all of the other affidavits [ ] signed the same day." The bulk of BofA's defense is centered around a technicality: it says Plaintiffs do not “seek to reopen or disturb the judgments in [the Foreclosure Action], and instead seek only monetary damages as a result of being prematurely evicted from their houses based on perjured affidavits." The Davises also have some choice words about MERS saying it is “widely reported” that MERS was “poorly conceived and sloppily run.” Having read the motion to dismiss, it does appear that BofA may be able to get off on a series of technicalities on this one, yet that will only enable subsequent RICO suits to emerge using the weaknesses of the Davis case. And the main thing BofA does not defend against is the underlying allegation that fraudulent affidavits were used to evict the Davis family, nor, more importantly, does it present a verifiable case that it does in fact own the underlying mortgage note. As such, once the technicalities are all resolved in the next RICO lawsuit, all the holes presented by BofA's attorneys will be filled, making a technicality-based defense that much more difficult, since if BofA/CFC indeed does not own the mortgage note, there is little it can do to defend itself against an onslaught of comparable legal claims.
Millions of robots are jarred out of their somnolent churn as Disney not only reports earnings half an hour early (was supposed to be after the close), but misses on both top and the bottom line. This is yet another demonstration that in a market priced to perfection, the smallest deviation from the equilibrium can bust everything. DIS now down 5%, and has sent the entire market lower. At this point the market is really testing the POMO resolve over the next 20 days. After all there is only so much garbage the Fed-Citadel complex can buy.
One of Zero Hedge's all time favorite charts is the following, which demonstrates the full breadth of Wall Street "complexity" ingenuity, and highlights the incremental layering upon layering of hollow synthetic securities in the form of "leverage" that allowed the housing boom to explode to unprecedented levels, and to create artificial money flooding the shadow banking system which among other things was used to pad ridiculous banker bonuses over the past decade. Today, Citi's Matt King has taken a humorous approach on this topic, and has concluded that in order for investors in a CDO2 to have a complete understanding of all the nuances in their investment (based on filed information), they would need to read precisely 1,125,000,300 pages worth of information for every CDO2 purchased to be aware of everything that was being acquired. And this even ignores the fact that recent robosigning revelations may have rendered the entire reading process moot as the entire RMBS foundation may have been built upon a complete sham.
Zero Hedge friends Chris Martenson writes in: "For a very long time I have been calling for, expecting and otherwise anticipating the day that the Federal Reserve would begin openly monetizing government debt. I knew the day would come intellectually, but in my heart I hoped it wouldn't. But with the Fed's recent decision to directly monetize the next 8 months of federal deficit spending, that day has finally arrived. I have to confess, while my prediction has proven accurate, I’m still stunned the Fed actually did it. In this report I examine the risks that this new path presents, what match(es) may finally ignite the decades-old pile of dry fuel, what the outcomes are likely to be, and what we can and should be doing in preparation."
Pixilating the News...
So here were are in 2010 and the US and China are now butting heads in a major way. The US (debtor, consumer, declining empire) wants to devalue the Dollar and export inflation to China. China (creditor, producer, rising empire) doesn’t care for this arrangement as its hurts profit margins at Chinese companies, increases food inflation (food is a higher percentage of income for the average China compared to the average American), which in turn means civil unrest.
If there is one reason why the market has not sold off far more broadly today, it is that traders are currently gearing up in anticipation for the upcoming brand new POMO regime, which will start in earnest tomorrow and will continue for the next 6 months. And for those who would like to see just how much greater of an impact the next 20 trading days' POMO will have compared to the old QE Lite POMO regime, John Lohman has prepared the following two charts. To wit: the median size of any given POMO will be $7 billion, nearly three times as large as the old median of $2.5 billion. As for frequency: in the next 20 days we will see 19 POMOs, virtually one a day (and in some cases two per day), compared to the old POMO incidence which was roughly one every two days. In other words, it certainly appears that the Fed will not allow the GM IPO to be subject to any "market conditions."
CLSA's Chris Wood Continues To Look Toward QE3 As None Of The Existing Marco Problems Are Likely To Be ResolvedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/11/2010 14:58 -0400
CLSA's Chris Wood latest Greed and Fear is out, and in his latest discusses virtually all the critical issues that are at the forefront of investor minds, namely QE3, the next collapse in the GSEs courtesy of the current housing bubble, any signs of releveraging in the private sector, a potential rise of capex in corporate America (not sure where he is seeing this), insolvent states, Japan, which he thinks may be an reflationary alternative to gold (as Dylan Grice has claimed in the past) and last but not least, his disagreement with Goldman's take on China, which he believes is still an attractive investment opportunity.
What do "hot money," gold, sovereign debt, foreign trade, and Germany and China all have in common? Everything. They are all lined up against the U.S. and our new quantitative easing (QE2). There is fallout related to quantitative easing, and the markets are reacting, from the Fed's perspective, badly.