Don't worry, the 'fiscal cliff' will all be taken care of; have no fear, the market AAPL will hold up into the election to sustain Obama's hope-and-change; and, as The Heritage Foundry blog reports, in that change, there are 18 new tax hikes on their way via Obamacare.
Where European Banks Store Their Cash: Foreign Banks Domiciled In US See Cash Hoard Spike Back To Record HighsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/21/2012 - 11:49
Anyone looking at the broad headline data from the weekly commercial bank asset (H.8) release could rush to the superficial conclusion that cash assets at US-based financial institutions is approaching all time highs, which, again superficially, it is, at $1.9 trillion, the highest in 2012, and just shy of the all time highs of $1.936 trillion from July 2011. Further superficial analysis would lead one to believe that there is a notable divergence between total US bank cash (the bulk of its procured via repoing of previously purchased securities) and the weekly excess reserve balance indicated by the Fed. All these would be useful, if completely, wrong observations. The only relevant and accurate observation in this week's H.8 data is that foreign banks domiciled in the US have taken their cash balance back to all time highs, which at $918 billion is in the ballpark of the highest it has ever been, and merely confirms what everyone has known: the only reason the US market has benefited in the last several months is due to flight to safety into what, for whatever reason, is perceived as the safety of the US capital markets. At some point, this record cash balance will once again flow out, even as US bank cash holdings remain as flat as they have been for the past 3 years.
UPDATE: As we said - $660.14 VWAP was support
After a few explosive days of performance-chasing desperation in the hedge-fund hotel stock of the decade; everyone's new favorite stock AAPL just did something odd - it traded down! after almost touching $675 just after the open, we are now back below $665 after tsting VWAP and selling back down on heavy volume - small doors, large crowds. Next stop $660.14 (yesterday's VWAP)
This simple 70-second clip summarizes perfectly the folly of the central planner - who faced with a clean slate and the ability to craft an entire society with his all-knowing hands forgets that one critical aspect of humans - free-will. No matter how financially repressed, no matter how herded into AAPL, no matter how jawboned-to-death we become; there is always the option - the optimal decision in any unwinnable game - of not playing.
As the S&P 500 makes new multi-year highs, the USD dumps, commodities surge, and AAPL just does what it does best; The Fed's Dennis Lockhart has just 'subtly' announced the walking-back of expectations of QE3 happening anytime soon, via Bloomberg:
- *LOCKHART SAYS `MONETARY POLICY IS NOT A PANACEA'
- *LOCKHART SAYS ECONOMIC DATA HAVE BEEN `FIRM' IN LAST MONTH
- *LOCKHART SAYS HOUSING IS STABILIZING AND `ENCOURAGING'
- *LOCKHART: MONTHLY UNEMPLOYMENT RISE SHOULDN'T BE EXAGGERATED
- *LOCKHART SEES `MORE APPETITE FOR RISK'
- *LOCKHART SAYS DISINFLATION, DEFLATION NOT NOW A CONCERN
Whether its 'Trade' Wars or 'Real' Wars, tensions appear to be escalating at an increasing clip around the world. The AP is reporting that Israeli officials say Egypt is violating their 1979 peace treaty by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert, which borders Israel.
The World's Biggest Hedge Fund Hotel Just Became The Biggest Ever - 230 Hedge Funds Own Apple As Of June 30Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/21/2012 - 09:58
Three months ago when we looked at the latest quarterly hedge fund position tracker from GS, we were not surprised to learn that a record 226 hedge funds were long AAPL stock. And as the chart below proves, a major driver of the increasing price of Apple stock is that increasingly more hedge funds continue to simply pile into the name, which in times of underperformance, such as now with just 11% of hedge funds outperforming the S&P as reported yesterday, is a short-cut means to generating modestly low-risk, high beta due to the collusive nature of all HFs rushing into the safety of one name all at the same time, that at least has some (arguably tenuous if indeed the leaked iPhone 5 photos are of the final thing) fundamentals propping the stock price. Sure enough, in the latest update, the hedge fund hotel California just got bigger once again for the 6th consecutive time, and as of June 30 a record 230 hedge funds were long the stock. We can only imagine how many more peripheral underperforming funds have joined the biggest hedge fund crowd ever since June 30 and have scrambled into the one stock that provides even a modest reprieve from the certainty of career-ending redemption requests come as soon as the September 30 redemption deadline, which is less than one short month away.
Last week it was Brent and Crude; yesterday it was Silver; and today Gold has broken out of its three-month range over $1640 - testing up to its 200DMA once again. Party on in tech stocks like its 1999 but don't forget the unintended consequence of all that free-money exuberance.
They were never just going to sit there and take it. With the election cycle hotting up, the Chinese were an easy target for any and every finger-pointing blame game that US politicians were cornered with - but they are coming out swinging. As WaPo (via AP) reports, China's government has ruled that US support to six US solar and wind projects violates free trade rules - and while they have pledged (promises are worth what exactly Mr. Draghi?) to cooperate in developing technology, they now accuse each other of improperly supporting their own producers and obstructing foreign competition (can't we all just get along in this centrally planned world?). At a time when WTI is breaking out (over $97) and Brent as EUR-priced highs, China's commerce ministry has called on Washington to stop the support and give 'fair treatment' to Chinese renewable products. These tri-party tensions - oh yes, Europe is involved too as in July the EU was asked to raise tariffs on Chinese solar cells - are only set to get worse as every nation attempts to unilaterally centrally plan and promote their own suppliers in the hopes of generating higher-paid jobs.
Some must read observations on the dangerous path down which American society is headed.
In the last two days, the venerable Best Buy has not only shot itself in the foot, but in the arm and leg - and potentially head too. Implicitly cutting hopes for a MBO-at-a-premium by hiring a new CEO (with de minimus turnaround experience), the company's earnings and conference call has confirmed that they will suspend their share repurchase scheme, reduced its annual earnings expectations, and has withdrawn guidance for fiscal 2013. As we warned the day of the Schulze-vaporware-MBO comment (which saw a spike from $17.63 to $23.55 at its highs that day) this was nothing but hot air and now it seems increasingly likely that not just the 68mm shares that Schulze owns now getting crushed 30% from those highs just over a week ago, but as AAPL has added a total BBY in market-cap this morning - and with the stock at near 10-year lows - we are afraid the commercial real-estate business will have some excess inventory very soon.
Russia continues to accumulate gold in its large foreign exchange reserves. The reserves include monetary gold, special drawing rights, reserve position at the IMF and foreign exchange. Russia’s central bank increased its gold holdings to 30.1 million troy ounces as of August 1st, from 29.5 million troy ounces a month earlier, according to a statement published on its website today. The gold reserves were valued at $48.7 billion at the end of last month, Bank of Russia said in a statement. Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves rose to $510.0 billion in the week to August 10 from $507.4 billion a week earlier, central bank data showed last Thursday. Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves were $498.6 billion at the end of 2011. This means that Russia now nearly has some 10% of its foreign exchange reserves in gold bullion.
Rule #1 that is cast in stone is "Preservation of Capital." There is certainly a place for some speculation at the edges but you do not, ever, put the core of your capital at risk. You may believe what you like about Europe. You may be wildly optimistic or incredibly pessimistic but what cannot be denied is that tremendous risk is currently present and that things could go wildly erratic in one direction or another. Economics, outside of the classroom, never exists without its cousin politics but the political considerations are now so huge and the money at stake is now so large that the sheer size of the capital on the table should and ultimately will give everyone pause. We are about to arrive at moments where the notion of "muddling through" will no longer be possible.
Tuesday has see little in the way of macroeconomic data, and much focus so far has remained on speculation over whether the ECB will buy periphery debt. Comments from the German ECB representative Jorge Asmussen overnight that he backs the ECB buying periphery debt as a means to prevent the "disintegration of the Euro", a seeming change in stance given that the Bundesbank continues to opposed such measures, lifted risk assets in early trade. As such, the Spanish and Italian spreads over the benchmark Bund are seen tighter by 12.9bps and 14.4bps on the day. Spain's 12- and 18-month T-bill was also well received, the country selling slightly more than the indicative range at EUR 4.512bln, with lower yields, though only the 18-month had a stronger bid/cover. Both the Spanish and the Italian 2-year yields have declined to lows last seen in May of this year. Similarly, two separate comments from German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lawmakers concerning Greece and the possibility of making "small concessions" for the country so long as they lie within the existing programme also boosted risk appetite, as the probability of a Greek exit looks much less likely if it has the full support of Germany. Elsewhere, the UK unexpectedly posted a budget deficit in July as corporation tax receipts plunged, though this was slightly skewed due to the closure of Total's Elgin gas field in the North Sea. Today also saw UK CBI orders for August plunge, with the industrial order book balance at its lowest this year led by a weakening in the consumer goods sector.