With the Greek tempest-in-a-teapot about to hit Whale-size, as Tsipras says he will not join the coalition and Venizelos says that Syriza's participation is a prerequisite (via Bloomberg), it seems now would be an opportune time to look forward (not backward at the GGB2s dropping below EUR17 for the first time ever!). As we were among the first to state that their would be a second (if not more) election in Greece, we look at the schedule of events in Europe over the next few weeks (including the payments due on the PSI holdout bonds), and discuss the scenarios and consequences of a Greek exit (for both Greece living without Euro support and the Euro-zone coping with a Lehman-event).
Former US Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann receives the Sovereign Man dumbest person of the week award for obtaining… then almost immediately renouncing… Swiss citizenship. I’ll explain: Bachmann’s husband is a Swiss national; they’ve been married since 1978, and as a result, Bachmann eventually became qualified for Swiss citizenship as well. She recently received confirmation of her citizenship from the Swiss authorities, a fact that was reported in some mainstream media outlets. Bachmann was subsequently criticized by her political opponents for engaging in such ‘un-American’ activities.
It would seem, just as during the crisis in 2008/9, that now might be an opportune time to push for 'improvement' in how banks are regulated (and more importantly how the instruments they trade in colossal size are priced and marked-to-market). Rick Santelli believes now has never been a better time but as his guest Tim Backshall of Capital Context notes, regulation of the CDS market can be summed up in one sentence "Get Them On Exchange". Something we have been saying for years (and has been tried before) but with dealers holding all the keys (to market-making) and exchanges cowering for fear of losing clients, we remain less optimistic. Santelli and Backshall critically address the complicity of banks, regulators, analysts, and The Fed in giving 'banks the benefit of the doubt' with regard their use of the bottomless pit of capital they implicitly have but what is more important is for the hordes of sell-side analysts and buy-side sheeple to understand just what this JPM debacle exposes about bank risk (VaR is useless), bank transparency (mark-to-model or worse is widespread), and bank valuation (traditional Price/Book metrics have no merit anymore).
We can only guess at his reasons. Perhaps it is the cost of real estate in Palo Alto, the price of Starbucks in Silicon Valley, or the lack of Bugatti dealerships but Eduardo Saverin - co-founder of Facebook - just renounced his US citizenship. Via Bloomberg,
FACEBOOK CO-FOUNDER SAVERIN GIVES UP U.S. CITIZENSHIP PRE-IPO
Or maybe the always pioneering entrepreneurs from Facebook just gave us a preview of US tax policy, or rather the popular response to it, in 2013. Like!
Zero Hedge has a habit of trying to simplify that which is otherwise unnecessarily complex, convoluted and opaque. Today, we wish to explain the primary reason why Europe has still not be engulfed in fire and brimstone and collapsed straight to the 9th circle of overlevereged Hell(as). The reason, as we henceforth dub it, is Ponzi PatriotismTM.
The Kobayashi Maru test of Star Trek fame is a classic no-win situation. Star Fleet Academy students are given command in a no-win scenario: either ignore a distress call of a Federation ship inside the Klingon (enemy) zone or enter the zone on a doomed rescue mission and lose your own ship in a hopeless battle against vastly superior forces. Captain Kirk evaded the no-win choices by reprogramming the computers to enable him to win. I think the job market can be profitably viewed as a Kobayashi Maru test: the conventional either/or choice--do something you dislike for job security or go to grad/law school for an advanced degree--is a false choice.
When it comes to question of "who is right" in the market, the debate usually ends with credit (investment grade) or equity (and its high beta equivalents in the fixed income arena: high yield bonds). And since the question is rhetorical we will kill the suspense and cut straight to the answer: always, and without fail, credit. The chart below shows that once the manipulated ramp up in high beta risk equivalents such as the ES and HY is over (especially since IG is now losing its artificial JPM-induced bid, or technically offer, which is unwinding positions across all vintages and buying protection to close short positions), the way down to a credit-implied fair value of 1335 on the S&P will be fast and furious.
Either Dimon misled the public about the gravity of the festering trades during his company’s first-quarter earnings call last month. Or he didn’t know what was happening inside the bowels of his own company. History tells us the latter is the norm for Wall Street bosses, though it’s hard to say which is worse.
While everyone's attention is focused on Dimon-related puns and trying to comprehend what actually happened at JPM (while at the same time pretending to be an expert in CDO trading models and VaR), UBS' Art Cashin provides some 'fact is better than fiction' on Greece (ah yes the other tempest in a teapot). Between the PASOK defense minister's money-laundering charges and the fact that British bookies won't take any more bets on Greece exiting the Euro (which given no CDS market has started on GGB2s seems to have become the market of choice for that trade), it seems, as the ever-prescient father-of-fermentation notes that "Europe still lurks".
77.8 on expectations of 76.0. Highest since January 2008. Yup: the US "consumers" (of what? Patek Philippes? Cristal? 8 balls? Dorsia deserts?) polled by Reuters, have not had it better in 4 years. After all what is there not to be confident about: record number of people on disability, foodstamps, out of the labor force, market sliding, banks imploding, Europe about to fall apart, gas near record highs, home prices quadruple dipping, and the prospect of much, much higher taxes next year to boot. Whatever - just charge it.
Oh yeah..... Greece.
Was it only yesterday that we showed a chart of IBEX's big positive moves and the subsequent actions? The news this morning, after IBEX bounced off decade lows yesterdays in its dead-cattedness, that the Spanish banking system bailout is considerably smaller than expected (EUR15bn against expectations of EUR30bn and our own discussed estimates that they need EUR58bn) and sure enough IBEX (and Spanish sovereign bonds and financials) are all re-plunging.
- PPI: -0.2%, a decline, and a miss of expectations of 0.0%, Y/Y +1.9%, Exp. 2.1%, first drop in 4 months.
- Core PPI: 0.2%, in line.
- April PPI “should allay fears of producer costs being passed through to customers downstream,” says Bloomberg economist Joseph Brusuelas
- Supports Fed’s assessment of transitory inflation increase on rising oil, commodity costs at end 2011
- Intermediate costs decline points to reduced pressure on profit margins: Brusuelas
- Core intermediate PPI, “closely” watched by Fed, increase "benign," notes Bloomberg economist Rich Yamarone