Archive - Nov 2012

November 30th

CalibratedConfidence's picture

The Bernank is beginning to wind down his "non-bailout" of Europe.  On 12/14/2011 the Chairsatan himself reportedly told Senator Corker that he had no intentions of furthering the US's involvement in the European Crisis. Coincidently , a few weeks later CNBC interviewed Gerald O'Driscoll who is a previous Dallas Fed Vice President, after he released an Op-ed in the WSJ calling out the FED's European bailout.  O'Driscoll is dead on with his claims and his suspicions about Bernanke's reasoning behind going through the FED market arm to lend USD to the ECB.

Gold And The Potential Dollar Endgame Part 2: Paper Gold, What Is It Good For?

In our first installment of this series we explored the concept of stock to flow in the gold markets being the key driver of supply/demand dynamics, and ultimately its price. Today we are going to explore the paper markets and, importantly, to what degree they distort upwardly the “flow” of the physical gold market. We believe the very existence of paper gold creates the illusion of physical gold flow that does not and physically cannot exist. After all, if flow determines price – and if paper flow simulates physical metal movement to a degree much larger than is possible – doesn’t it then suggest that paper flow creates an artificially low price?
Leveraged systems are based on confidence – confidence in efficient exchanges, confidence in reputable counterparties, and confidence in the rule of law. As we have learned (or should have learned) with the failures of Long Term Capital Management, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie & Freddie, and MF Global – the unwind from a highly leveraged system can be sudden and chaotic. These systems function…until they don’t. CDOs were AAA... until they weren’t. Paper Gold is just like allocated, unambiguously owned physical bullion... until it’s not.

China PMI Rises But Misses Expectations For Fifth Month In A Row As Uncertainty Prevails

China's Manufacturing PMI missed expectations, coming in at 50.6 relative to a slightly expansionary 50.8 expectation, and up down from the 50.2 prior. This is the fifth month in a row of missed expectations but it has now risen for three months in a row, to the highest level in 8 months; but has now hovered within 0.6pts of the expansion/contraction knife-edge for six months. The PBOC's index remains above (more positive) than the HSBC version for the 20th month in the last 21 (which remains in the contractionary sub-50 range it has been in for 16 months). With the Shanghai Composite testing Jan 09 lows and the ongoing Reverse Repo delicate bank pumpathon, the relative stabilization in Services and Manufacturing PMIs is confirmed by this evening's data and provides hope for those bidding H-Shares to 16-month highs. Interestingly for all those who remain shocked at the divergence between the Hang-Seng and the Shanghai Composite, it seems clear that A-Shares investors remain skeptical of the PMI-based stabilization of macro and prefer to trust the weaker (and harder to tweak) Industrial Output data.

Bill Ackman: "Everything You Wanted To Know About Finance (Except JCP) In Under An Hour"

Whether you believe he is a one-hit-wonder or an investing wunder-kind, the following 44 minute clip from the activist investor (who is early, not wrong, on JCP, right?) provides investors with some indepth insights into what it takes to finance and grow a successful business and 'how to make sound investments that will lead to a cash-comfy retirement.' Of course, there are those who can and "do" grow a business, and those who "invest"... often times with less than stellar (ahem PSIV) results.

The Ultimate Fiscal Cliff Cheat Sheet Infographic

The Fiscal Cliff is the name given for the 2013 increase of Federal Government taxes and budget cuts. The Bush-era tax cuts expire and the 2013 "Budget Control Act" kicks in, among other budget cuts & new taxes. The Fiscal Cliff is set to reduce the 2013 US Government budget deficit by roughly half; will remove $607 Billion from economy (GDP), resulting in 4% drop, pushing it back into recession; it can NOT be avoided. It must happen to fix the budget deficit; any delay must be paid for later; it will NOT reduce the US debt, only slow down the growth. The Fiscal Cliff's (new taxes and budget cuts) size and impact are visualized below in physical $100 bills.

Guest Post: Let's Have A Depression Now

The United States is more than four years into its current form of economic purgatory. The government pronounced the recession over in June of 2009. That announcement does not conform with reality or even subsequent government suspect data. To believe the recession ended requires a bizarro interpretation of economics where bad is actually good and good is actually bad. 21st Century politics sees no need for truth. When government believes itself to be responsible for the economy and convinces the people of that, it has put itself into a box. The reality is that government does not create wealth or economic abundance. (They can create poverty, however.) The country’s economic problems began decades ago. In trying to cover them up with economic interventions (stimuli), government actions prevented the economy from correcting the imbalances that caused slow growth. After decades of such interventions, the economy no longer is able to function efficiently. We are coming off the biggest boom in the history of the world. Thus far all the Keynesian dollars expended have had little effect other than to make this country poorer. We are set up to have a Depression greater than the one in the 1930s. A Depression is not a good thing. Yet in this case, it may be the one event that can prevent a chapter in future history books entitled “The Demise of the Great American Empire.” The “greatest generation” handed us a gift and we fumbled it away by allowing government to run wild.

Gundlach: "I'm Waiting For Something To Go Kaboom"

Following some well-timed 'suggestions' in Natural Gas and Apple this year, the new bond guru has some rather more concerning views about the future of America. Reflecting on a dismal outlook progressing due to the fact that "Retirees take resources from a society, and workers produce resources", Gundlach has cut his exposure to US equities (apart from gold-miners and NatGas producers) noting their expensive valuation and low potential for growth. In a forthcoming Bloomberg Markets interview, the DoubleLine CEO warns we are about to enter the ominous third phase of the current debacle (Phase 1: a 27-year buildup of corporate, personal and sovereign debt. That lasted until 2008, when Phase 2 started, unfettered lending finally toppled banks and pushed the global economy into a recession, spurring governments and central banks to spend trillions of dollars to stimulate growth) as deeply indebted countries and companies, which Gundlach doesn’t name, will default sometime after 2013. "I don’t believe you’re going to get some sort of an early warning," Gundlach warns "You should be moving now."

European Rescue Mechanism Loses AAA Rating

S&P futures are bleeding back down again after-hours (and EUR -30pips) as Moody's announces the downgrade of the EFSF and ESM from AAA to Aa1. "Moody's decision was driven by the recent downgrade of France to Aa1 from Aaa and the high correlation in credit risk which Moody's believes is present among the ESFS' and ESM's entities' largest financial supporters." Of course, this is nothing to worry about as we are sure that some Middle East sovereign wealth fund will still buy their bonds? Or China? Or Supervalu?

  • *MOODY'S DOWNGRADES ESM TO Aa1 FROM Aaa, EFSF TO (P)Aa1 FROM Aaa

Not entirely surprising given the underlying rating moves - but yet more AAA-rated collateral bites the dust.

The Most Ridiculous Close To An Unimpressive Week

With a late-day surge into the green for the S&P 500 futures on (as usual) absolutely no news at all (attributed to MSCI rebalancing) - that crossed the entire day's range in the space of 40 minutes, the Dow managed to just hold 13,000 and close green for the week. There was very significant volume and block size into the ramp as it pulled away from risk-assets as only a month-end move can magically achieve. In the same way as last Friday's close was just remarkably silly, today followed the same path - though we note that rates and credit were outperforming stocks most of the day and provided the target for the late-day surge. Once that target was closed, S&P 500 futures then melted-down around the close and after-hours. Utilities were the big winners on the week (+3.5%) as Financials and Energy lost around 0.7%. Silver crumbled to recouple with Gold (down around 2% on the week) while Copper gained 3%. Treasury yields steepened into the close with the 30Y pushing higher but ending -2bps (while the 10Y was -7bps). What a crazy stop-hunting, algo-driven, VWAP-reverting end to a week of political volatility.

Guest Post: Ready For The Apocalypse?

I am not really a doomer. But I do think that societies and individuals that do not prepare for the worst (and hope for the best) are needlessly endangering themselves. Tail risk events happen. An MIT study earlier this year predicted that the global economy would collapse by 2030. A new national survey by National Geographic and Kelton Research finds some interesting results... 9% of people have alternative power sources? 21% have made some attempt to grow their own food? Only 43% have a spare supply of drinking water? Not prepared at all.

Farage On What The Nobel Peace Prize Means To The European Union

While the EU's receiving the Nobel Peace prize remains an enigma to many (if not to those familiar with the particularly dark humor previously expressed by the same committee encouraging gratuitous drone bombing with the same award), Nigel Farage summarizes his surprise best when he notes (from a recent speech): "The Eurozone is now in a very dark place; economically, socially, politically, and I fear that the countries trapped inside it (in that prison) will be there for many years to come." This brief clip succinctly reminds us of all that is wrong with the European Union and its ineptocracy as they assemble the EUSSR.