Remember the deal which to much fanfare, lots of subsequent Merrill upgrades, and endless boasting by SL Green CEO Marc Holliday was supposed to usher in the second golden age for New York Commercial Real Estate? The deal that was the alleged steal of 485 Lex by a bunch of shady investors which we wrote about first 4 months ago. The deal that SL Green CEO, Marc Holliday said "is a first, but significant step
towards the sale of interests in 485 Lexington Avenue. If ultimately
approved, the transaction would demonstrate that the Midtown Manhattan
office market continues to stand as one of the world's top locations
and that investor interest is once again on the rise." Remember now? Ok. That deal just died. And with it died any hope that the "Midtown Manhattan office market continues to stand as one of the world's top locations," that REITs fairly priced, and that Bill Ackman's recent REIT book talking tour is anything but.
"I am hereby extending [TARP per] the authority provided under the Act to October 3, 2010. This extension is necessary to assist American families and stabilize financial markets because it will, among other things, enable us to continue to implement programs that address housing markets and the needs of small businesses, and to maintain the capacity to respond to unforeseen threats, as described above." Tim Geithner
Threat #1 - landslide change in the political landscape in 12 months
Just a day after the second reverse repo test was conducted, the Fed has launched repo test #3: this time, as we expected, for a greater (if still notionally meaningless) amount of $225 million, compared to yesterday's $180 million. The term of this operation is just one day, compared to the 8 and 3 in tests #2 and #1. The increasing frequency of these Temporary Market Operations should be making the liquidity bulls very nervous. And as we pointed out yesterday, the notional on the repo test "can only go up" - so far we have been proven right. Yet wait for the collateral to move down from Treasurys. That's when all hell will break loose.
"The equity bear market has not finished. The valuation bear market began in 2000 and we have only seen two Acts of a far longer and more disturbing play. The mega-rally in the equity markets this year is little different from what we saw in Japan during the mid-1990s. Even a structural bear could have made a lot of money in Japan playing cyclical rallies, but he/she needed to sell as the cycle turned downwards. Hence the topping out of some key US leading indicators may signal that the top of the equity rally is close. Look to exit risk positions." - Albert Edwards
Nothing to see here. Just an oncoming sovereign default freight train. Oh, and a total collapse in the euro.
Britain To Tax Banker Bonuses At 50%, Will US Bankers Now Drop Market Preemptively To Show Who Is In Charge?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/09/2009 - 10:04
In his pre-budget report, British Chancellor Alistair Darling said that he will now levy a 50% tax on banker bonuses. The new tax will be effective from today until April 5.The tax will hit virtually all financial companies, including subsidiaries of foreign banks . Thus a Goldman banker working in London will suddenly be faced with a much higher marginal tax rate that his associate in New York. This will either generate much transatlantic resentment, or expect a comparable move to the replicated by the IRS with the President's blessing, who has already lost control of the unemployment picture, so the last thing he can do to regain some popularity is to take Main Street's outcry direct to the southern tip of Manhattan.
Yet even as the likelihood of a copycat tax in the U.S. is increasing, the question is do the domestic trading desks now drop the market and show the administration who is really in charge? Because even the President's working group can not survive a concerted attack from every single financial entity in the world. And bankers are nothing if not efficient at marking their territory in the protection of take home pay. If that requires a 200 point drop in the S&P, so be it.
- The new underground economy (Washington Times)
- Goldman Sachs taking "Hard Look" at pay practice, board member says (Bloomberg)
- China said to plan 8 trillion Yuan new loans cap for next year (Bloomberg)
- China squeezes property speculators with tougher tax penalty (Bloomberg)
- Greece finance minister says no risk of default (Bloomberg)
- At the same time Greece tumbles (FT)
- Dubai stocks slump for third day, Nakheel sukuk in focus (MarketWatch)
- Asian shares were down Wednesday in the wake of weak US closing, Japan GDP nos.
- Dubai companies' bonds decline as credit swaps display 33% risk of default.
- Japan's economy grew 1.3% last quarter, less than initial estimate of 4.8%.
- China plans to require all the nation’s steel mills to have at least 1M tons of capacity
- Oil rises above $73 after expected US crude supply drop suggests demand recovery.
- 3M's 2010 profit forecast meets analysts’ estimates, says recovery is occurring “slowly.”
RANsquawk 9th December Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc.
The world's second biggest economy just posted a dramatic miss in GDP expectations, and demonstrated how tendentious "developed" governments can be when fudging numbers in volatile economic times. And the biggest reason for the divergence: the mythical inventory bounce, which based on preliminary estimates was supposed to generate a 4.8% GDP. Alas,inventories never " bounced" leading to a disappointing 1.3% reading. Is the US next in line for major GDP disappointment? Or do we have mid-term elections to thank for continued GDP fudging for at least the next 12 months?
The ABC Consumer Confidence index was just released, and is notable as it is the first confidence read since the NFP/unemployment number was released last week by the BLS. And despite all expectations, and proddings by the Comcastic ones that the presumed drop in unemployment would boost sentiment and confidence, the index in fact dropped by two points from -45 to -47. Could people just be smarter, and finally better at seeing through the BS, than the mainstream media gives them credit for?
Below we present an analysis of the 125 names that make up the CDX IG 13 index. The index closed at 97.75 today, with constituent names trading between 873 bps on the wide side, to 29 bps on the tight side. While in March the ten widest names were all trading north of 1000 bps, now even bankrupt AIG and ILFC are inside. With just 40 bps of theoretical tightening, a basket of the 10 tightest names could be a generational opportunity for a catastrophe hedge.
As multinational military forces have left Iraq, international petroleum companies have eagerly descended - seduced by the long-term potential of vast oil reserves off-limits to foreigners for decades. Yet lingering violence, legal questions and political uncertainty make doing business in this country a gamble.
In the first international oil auction held last June, widely seen as a failure, the Iraqi government awarded a firm contract to only a consortium of British Petroleum and the China National Petroleum Co. to further develop the Rumaila field over 20 years. Iraq recently forged an initial agreement with a group comprising Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell to develop the West Qurna field, and one with an ENI-led consortium of Occidental Petroleum and Korea Gas for the Zubair oil field.
"TCW separately announced that Jeffrey E. Gundlach has been relieved of his duties as TCW's Chief Investment Officer and lead portfolio manager of TCW's high-grade fixed income funds and accounts and removed from the Board of Directors of TCW Group, Inc. The firm deeply regrets the need to take this action. Mr. Gundlach threatened to take certain actions that could have jeopardized the firm's ability to manage clients' fixed income assets. The firm had no alternative but to take the necessary steps to ensure the continuity and stability of its high-grade fixed income business and the highest standard of attention to client's interests." - TCW
And so Goldman will be forced to start revising its forecasts ever lower. Revised GDP came out at 1.3% versus preliminary annualized numbers of 4.8%. Now that's a miss that would make even the BLS and the D.C. propaganda bureau blush. Expectations were for 2.8% GDP.