When back in November, long-before anyone had even heard of expert networks, Zero Hedge compiled a forensic analysis of SAC's 13F filings and holdings in various biotech companies (in this case ITMN, CYBX, MYGN) which had undergone actionable clinical trials and the result was either price surges or plunges, we concluded that there was indirect evidence that at least based on changes in stock holding patterns, SAC, one could certainly claim, was trading with a near-100% batting average ahead of critical clinical trial outcomes, leading to questions about trading propriety of the world's most infamous hedge fund. We also repeatedly asked the question: "Did SAC consult with an expert network or an outside consultant on any of the trades?" This was before it was made clear a few weeks later that there was a huge SEC operation looking at expert network hedge fund collusion. We are happy to see that today, roughly three months later, Bloomberg has extended our holdings analysis and has come to the conclusion that "SAC’s trading mimics insider dealings identified by prosecutors." In other words, the circumstantial evidence against Stevie Cohen and his trading methods continues to mount.
Today at 8:30 am the US trade deficit for December will be revealed. The consensus is $40.5 billion. Yet the final number could come well worse of even the bleakest expectations. Citi's Stephen Englander looks at export patterns by key trading partners and concludes "that the risk of a big negative surprise and a number beyond the pessimistic Citi forecast is not out of the question. We already have indications from a number of US trading partners about their exports to the US and these indications point to a sharp surge in US imports." In addition to the logical substantial deterioration to GDP numbers, a surge in the trade deficit would have one other key consequence, namely that "a deterioration in US trade performance, if it persists, would suggest that much of the direct impact of QE2 was spilling abroad." In other words QE worked... Just not for the US. Look for a sharp drop in the dollar if Englander is proven true.
Equities soft for a second day on geopolitical concerns, which outweighed the mild positive on Jobless Claims observed yesterday. Treasuries are rallying in the early going as a result of higher oil and the rising unrest in Egypt as well as record EM outflows over the past week. We still classify the jobless data as a mild positive as it still has not passed the test of time and still is a long way from progress given that the participation rate has dropped significantly during this recession. Today will see Trade Balance reports for December (-$38.3B prior, -$40.5BE) as well as UMich Confidence for Feb (prelim, 74.2 prior, 75E).
The U.S. economy has become increasingly dependent on asset bubbles, financial legerdemain, credit expansion, Federal borrowing and the manipulation of risk trades to maintain the illusion of "growth." Compared to an economy based on organic demand and productive growth, the current U.S. economy is a travesty of a mockery of a sham, and has been since 2001. There are a number of factors at work, but let's start with two: the ratchet effect, and the Keynesian Project. The ratchet effect is a key feature of addiction. When one beer no longer creates a "buzz," then the consumer drinks two, and so on, until a six-pack is the new baseline. Below that level of consumption, the addict gets panicky, for the entire necessity of creating a buzz is at risk of catastrophic failure.
For all wondering just how prepared for an escalation in the middle east conflict the US is, we present the most recent deployment map of US aircraft carriers across the world, as of February 9. It appears that there is a material concentration of naval capacity in the Middle-east region since last week, as CVN 65 Enterprise, CVN 70 Vinson and CVN 72 Lincoln are all in immediate proximity to Egypt and the Middle-East theater, as is the LHD 3 Kearsarge amphibious warfare ship which is lodged smack in the middle of the Red Sea.
Since this will be a critical night for Egypt, as many of the protesters are now on the move, are expected to besiege both the TV station and the Presidential palace, as well as the amry HQ in Alexandria and other cities, it make be prudent to keep an eye on events as they progress. Select keywords to watch out for are: "oil", "Suez", "rocket-propelled grenades", "escalation" and "onslaught."
PBoC Raises RRR For Some Small And Medium Banks As China Aggressively Returning Bernanke's Inflation Back To SenderSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/10/2011 - 19:12
The Chinese New Year interest rate hike, as expected was just the beginning. China has just announced it is hiking the Reserve Requirement Ratio for select small and medium banks. This is merely an escalation in what is now becoming an open trade/monetary war between China and the US, which will be lost... by both.
The purpose of this paper is to draw particular attention to the recent disparity in crude oil prices – namely the difference between two benchmarks - West Texas Intermediate [WTI] and Brent [North Sea] Crude. Historically the price of WTI trades at a premium to lesser quality Brent North Sea Crude. This paper lays out the case that the extreme, existing, observable price discrepancies is likely the result of engineered and arbitrary market manipulations – to be discussed below. Such arbitrary price manipulations in the oil markets impact negatively on the oil exporting economies and show favor to oil importing economies.
"In mid-December, we published a lengthy article on why Netflix was our largest bearish bet at the time. With the stock up nearly 25% since then, one might assume that we’d think it’s an even better short today, but in fact we have closed out our position because we are no longer confident that our investment thesis is correct." Whitney Tilson