RANsquawk Weekly Wrap - we answer questions that have come to the desk, and we highlight some of next weeks important news and data to look out for.
Every day, more people are waking up to the reality that this big, bloated, bankrupt government is the greatest threat to their livelihood. Earlier this week, in fact, I referenced an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Federal Asset Seizures Rise, Netting Innocent With Guilty”. The article title says it all– in the land of the free and home of the brave, you don’t even have to do anything wrong for the government to relieve you of your livelihood. They can take away your entire life, leaving you without any means to prove to them that you’ve done nothing wrong in the first place. This is why I think the most important defensive measure is to open a foreign bank account. The idea here is to have some money in a place where you can’t be locked out of it instantly by some bureaucrat. Again, this is not something that is just for the rich and jet set, there are a number of places that have low (or no) minimum balance requirements.
BofA's $8.5 Billion Settlement Could Fall Apart After Request Made To Move Mortgage Case From State To Federal CourtSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2011 - 11:54
As most know by now, the ridiculously low $8.5 billion putback settlement, which was supposed to have been closed by now, and which was the key driver in preventing Bank of America from trading far, far lower (and requiring much more capital), is the wildcard that would allow the bank to package tens if not hundreds of billions of claims against the bank in a "tidy (and very small) little package." The key factor allowing this settlement to be structured in its existing form, was that the lawsuit was filed in New York State Court, which allows for a little something known as Article 77, or a provision permitting "special proceeding related to express trust." The details are provided below, but in essence boil down to the following: the settlement in its current form can only be enacted if the lawsuit is conducted under New York State law. Well, minutes ago, David Grais, attorney for Walnut Place, which as we have repeatedly observed represents those interests who claim the $8.5 billion settlement is massively insufficient and are engaged in litigation seeking far greater recoveries, filed a request to transfer the lawsuit from State Court to Federal Court where everything basically begins a new. More than anything, this latest development may explain why Bank of America has been scrambling to raise tens of billions in the open market as an adverse court decision, one granting Grais' request, means the bank is suddenly open to unlimited downside capital risk. In the meantime, add major litigation headline risk to everything else that BAC has going for it...
Bank Of America Capital Scramble Continues With Alleged Closure Of China Construction Bank Stake SaleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2011 - 11:14
We are not sure how this is news, since it was announced weeks ago, but according to CNBC the bank that did not need capital, is following up yesterday's $5 billion capital raise with another $10 or so billion by selling "at least half of its 10% stake in CCB." That said, back on August 11, the FT came out with a report titled, "BofA faces struggle to sell CCB stake" in which we learn that "Bank of America is facing difficulties in selling its 10 per cent stake in China Construction Bank, partly because potential investors are expecting a deluge of rights issues, share sales and new listings from Chinese banks. But it might now raise less than than it had hoped. The BofA stake, once valued at $20bn, is now believed to be worth several billion dollars less, according to bankers. The US bank has approached sovereign wealth funds and other investors in the Middle East and in Asia, according to people familiar with the matter. The Kuwait Investment Authority was one potential buyer BofA approached, these people add, but the sovereign wealth fund already holds large stakes in ICBC and Agricultural Bank of China. “Right now, the KIA does not want to do anything more,” says one person with knowledge of the matter. “They think they have enough exposure to Chinese banks.” The KIA expects the two banks in which it already has shares to launch rights offers and the KIA intends to support those banks. "They will only look at CCB if the discount is high enough,” the person added...Potential buyers say the timing for BofA is particularly sensitive because, if CCB does launch a rights offer – as is widely expected – and BofA is still a main shareholder, it will be obliged to participate, using capital it can ill afford to part with." Stated otherwise, this must be one of those, "this time it's different" occasions. Next up: Bank of America does not, repeat NOT, need to sell its employee's blackberrys, but it will. Just because.
One headline and one denial later, we now learn that the original news was in fact correct. As MarketWatch reports "UBS Friday said it may shortly begin to levy a temporary charge on Swiss franc deposits as a way of encouraging its bank customers to keep their cash in the surging Swiss currency as low as possible." In doing so, the bank joins such illustrious banks as our own BoNY which announced on August 4 it would start charging a 13 bps fee on deposits. Naturally, this is nothing but yet another attempt to devalue the recently record Swiss Franc. If proven successful, look for even more institutions to establish comparable cash prohibitive mechanisms that force savers to sell the host currency and expose themselves to FX and counterparty risk in addition to everything else that already plagues fiat.
From Goldman: "BOTTOM LINE: Bernanke offers little guidance on near-term policy outlook, but extension of September meeting makes easing at this meeting a bit more likely than before. We continue to think that further easing via manipulation of the Fed’s balance sheet —either through expansion or restructuring of the average duration of holdings—is likely by early 2012."
Will Obama blame the weather on Bush or... the weather. Find out momentarily. Audio only: the presidential vacation will not be televized.
As the stock market whipsaws continue, nothing compares to what is happening in the various Swiss Franc pairs, as both majors USDCHF and EURCHF have soared (the Franc has plunged) following rumors that UBS (and possibly more banks) have escalated the currency war by announcing charges for CHF-based deposits, thereby making CHF holdings more expensive, and forcing a sell off. It is unclear if this was a private decision or mandated through the SNB. We expect that it will take the market the usual several hours to realize that the only winner out of this move is not ES but gold (and physical at that), which once again reminds everyone it is the only money without deranged central banker counterparty risk.
All we get is that the meeting in September will be 2 days instead of 1? With Europe being so weak and the market having been so resilient in the face of bad news this week and exuberant about good news, I think we have room to sell off. I really think we have to head towards the lows. Weirdly enough, AAPL, is once again outperforming the rest of the Nasdaq. I don't see that lasting forever. For the shorts, there is now no obvious event to be scared of. Obama's 212th jobs in the future speech? I find it hard to believe that will be anything more than a yawn. Scared that Ben will intimidate Washington into doing something? Yeah, we saw their reaction to S&P - raid the offices and get the CEO fired.
Full Bernanke Speech: Nothing Now, But Wait For Sept 20 FOMC Meeting Which Has Been Extended To "Allow Fuller Discussion Of Tools"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/26/2011 - 09:01
Bottom line: nothing now, QE3 now expected to be delivered Sept. 20? or not...
- BERNANKE SAYS FED HAS LIMITED ABILITY TO ENSURE LONG-RUN GROWTH
- BERNANKE DOESN'T SIGNAL NEW STEPS FOR PROMOTING U.S. GROWTH
- BERNANKE SAYS EXTRA DAY TO ALLOW `FULLER DISCUSSION' OF TOOLS
- BERNANKE SAYS FED TO EXTEND SEPT. FOMC MEETING TO TWO DAYS
- BERNANKE SAYS FED HAS `RANGE OF TOOLS' FOR STIMULATING GROWTH
- BERNANKE SAYS `FINANCIAL STRESS' WILL BE A `DRAG' ON RECOVERY