US production of crude oil peaked in 1970 at 9.637 mbpd (million barrels per day) and has been in a downtrend for 40 years. Recently, however, there's been a tremendous amount of excitement at the prospect of a "new era" in domestic oil production. The narratives currently being offered come in the following three forms: 1) the US has more oil than Saudi Arabia; 2) the US need only to remove regulatory barriers to significantly increase production; and 3) the US can once again become self-sufficient in oil production, dropping all imported oil to zero.
So in the Perry aftermath, is everyone now going for the sympathy "I am just as big an idiot as Dubya" card, or are all Republican candidates seriously insane and/or raving, deranged lunatics? Will it seriously be that difficult to give Ron Paul a full body botox, cut off his frontal lobe, have him grope several women, promise to bomb someone or something, execute a few hundred illegal immigrants, and see him gain 200 extra pounds? Because if that is what it will take to make him "appeal" to the general Joe Sixpack, so be it: if America ends up with one of these other muppets it is doomed. Doomed.
The Rumors Were True: Paulson Liquidates A Third Of His GLD Gold Share Class; Buys More Bank Of America And Capital OneSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2011 - 19:05
Well, he may not be liquidating, and he may be telling others he has experienced barely any redemptions, but Paulson's gold share class, represented entirely by the fund's GLD holdings would beg to differ: as of September 30, Paulson's total holdings of GLD were down by a third from 31.5 million shares or $4.6 billion at the end of Q2, to 20.2 million or $3.2 billion. And as is well known, GLD is not an actual investment for Paulson, but merely a representative asset class for those who opt to have their fund holdings represented in gold (the smart ones) instead of in dollars. Indicatively the only Paulson & co investors who made any money, or at least did not lose much, were those who opted for a gold share class. Either way, it is now safe to assume that at least a third of the fund has been permanently redeemed, further confirmed by the drop in the AUM from $29 billion to $20.7 billion as per the actual filing. But wait, there's more: while Paulson was busy selling across the board, in the process liquidating all of his JPM holdings as well as his positions in Comcast (no CNBC for you), Savvis, NYSE Euronext and State Street, and following in Tepper's footsteps in selling across the board, the former Bear trader did what all other allegedly doomed institutions do and added to, you guessed it, the biggest loser Bank of America, increasing his position by almost 4 million shares... even as the total value of his 64 million BAC stake, which closed Q3 at the same price it is today, dropped by $269 million! And that's why he is a billionaire and you are not. At least we know who Tepper was selling to. But that's not all: Paulson also added 1.1 million share to his CapitalOne position, bringing the total to 22.2 million shares, even as the total value of his revised position dropped by $210 million to $880 million. And so forth. Some other names in which he took brand new stakes in (picture that: he did not spend all of Q3 selling) in Motorola Mobility, Nalco, Cephalon, AMC and a bunch of irrelevant others. So to all those who are now in the same place they were in 2008: tough, but at least your fees made JP into a multi-billionaire. Congratulations.
David Tepper was not the only one cutting his exposure across the board: in Q3, Dan Loeb's total reported AUM dropped from $2.7 billion to $2.1 billion (granted this is not indicative of his actual portfolio holdings across funds, just what he reports to the SEC). The most notable change was the $632 million stake, or 48 million shares, he reported in Yahoo - a move which Zero Hedge disclosed first, although the full size of which was unknown. In addition to a $632 million equity stake, he also revealed at $26.7 million call equivalent to 15 million shares of stock. Aside from that the main story was one of derisking as he sold off his entire positions in BP, Cablevision, Freeport McMoRan, Freescale, Lyondell, NXP, Pall, ON Smi, Pall, Potash, Quest, Safeway, Swift, and Whirlpool. In addition to YHOO, he added a few other new positions, the most notable and largest of which is HollyFrontier: the same new position as was initiated by Tepper, as noted previously. Perhaps this one deserves a special focus as the hedge fund hotel appears to have spoken and to like it, and is largely under the radar. In addition, he also started new positions in Celanese, Agco, Expedia, FMC, Gardner, Gilead, Fragtech, Warnaco and some other small stub positions. But overall, the theme of the portfolio is one of broad portfolio reduction and deleveraging, coupled with going aggressively to cash.
While the kindly and crony old Octogenarian Octopus of Omaha was telling everyone about how bullish he is on America, other, more capable traders were dumping everything and retracing assorted balls which are no longer to be found anywhere near walls. Case in point is David Tepper's Appaloosa, which of the 63 positions tracked by us, sold are all part of his holdings in 59 of the total, or 95% of total. Among these were full liquidations in Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third, as well as Yahoo, Pfizer, Walter Energy, Metlife, Merck, Medtronic, Marathon Oil, Manitowoc, Frontier Oil, DR Horton, Alpha, ConWay and Cliffs Natural. Looks like Tepper is no longer betting that EVERYTHING will benefit on another global rescue by the Fed. And yes, for the record, he did establish new positions in BP, Dana, Calumet and Holly Frontier, which also happened to be the only positions he added to!
It seems bifurcated investors have well and truly deserted the markets as NYSE volumes (MVOLNYE on Bloomberg) closed at their lowest of the year and ES 25% below average volume. A slow and steady drop all day in risk assets stalled a little in the afternoon as newsflow dried up and broad risk markets added nothing to the selling pressure. Financials underperformed, making a late day recovery but losing much of that bounce into the close - though we note the machines managed to magically close ES perfectly at VWAP. Broadly credit and equity stayed in sync today but we noted HYG getting hammered in the afternoon - only to revert back to HY by the close. EURUSD held above 1.36 into the close with the USD obviously stronger and dragging down commodities with all but Copper losing ground from Friday's close.
As Friday was Veteran's Day, the most recent CFTC's COT report (for the week ended November 8) was released at 3:30 pm today. While hardly containing anything earthshattering, the most important speculative exposure, that of the zEURo.PK continues trend and has seen the net bearish sentiment decline for the 4th consecutive week, dropping to -54,257 from -60,060. This is well over a 30% decline from the peak bearish sentiment in the EUR hit on October 4, when -82,697 net speculative contracts were outstanding, and which subsequent squeeze in both FX and stocks, resulted in the massive October move higher. We have now reverted to the EUR sentiment last seen in the second week of September. More importantly, it means that with each subsequent week of declining bearish interest, the capacity to force a squeeze using rapid, momentum driven episodes of "banging the close" is diminishing with each week. This matches what we observed last week on the NYSE where short interest across NYSE stocks plunged in the last week of October. Simply said: it will take much more effort to create a short squeeze going forward.
Ron Paul: "It Is Estimated That US Banks Have Over A Trillion Dollars Tied Up At-Risk With German And French Banks"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/14/2011 - 15:58
The global economic situation is becoming more dire every day. Approximately half of all US banks have significant exposure to the debt crisis in Europe. Much more dangerous for the US taxpayer is the dollar's status as reserve currency for the world, and the US Federal Reserve's status as the lender of last resort. As we've learned in recent disclosures, this has not only benefitted companies like AIG, the auto industry and various US banks, but multiple foreign central banks as they have run into trouble. Nothing has been solved, however, by offering up the productivity of Americans as a sacrificial lamb. Greece is set to be the first domino to fall in the string of European economies at risk. ...The US has a relatively small exposure to overwhelmed Greek banks, but much larger economies in Europe are set to follow and that will have serious implications for US banks. Greece is technically small enough to bail out. Italy is not. Germany is not. France is not. It is estimated that US banks have over a trillion dollars tied up in at-risk German and French banks. Because the urge to paper over the debt with more credit is so strong, the collapse of the Euro is imminent. Will the Fed be held responsible if the Euro brings the US dollar down with it?
UPDATE: Full Statement to the EC attached
Noting that the Italian political parties are aware of their responsibilities, new Italian PM Monti expects to complete his initial consultations tomorrow as Bloomberg reports having received a copy of a letter to the European Commission. Bloomberg notes that the letter expects 300,000 public sector job cuts, raising the retirement age quicker than other nations and a tax system overhaul. All credible moves, but we wonder just how this will jibe with the increasingly recession-prone deleveraging that seems likely to occur next quarter at the latest. It brings the ball squarely back into the ECB's hands as monetary saviors while the slow process of fiscal correction occurs - and as we have noted, we believe that another risk-off cluster is likely before the ECB will retract its words.
Update: we have learned that the current iteration of HR 682 is HR 1148, it's purpose is "To prohibit commodities and securities trading based on nonpublic information relating to Congress, to require additional reporting by Members and employees of Congress of securities transactions, and for other purposes" sponsored by Tim Waltz, and as of June 1 was... referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Following yesterday's 60 Minutes grotesque special which finally exposed to the general public what most experts in the industry have known for many years, namely that the bulk of "profits" for Congressmen (at a fixed $174,000 salary for the current year) and Senators are made courtesy of perfectly legal insider trading, it is time to ask the logical next question: how is it possible that the US system of checks and balances has failed so spectacularly, as to allow a glaringly illegal activity for everyone else to proceed and to generate multi-million dollar windfalls for congressional and senatorial critters? It would be perfectly understandable if some very righteous anger accompanies said question. Well, as it turns out, some, very few, Congressmen have a conscience and do believe in operating within the confines of the law, and 2 years ago proposed HR 682: Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act. HR 682, sponsored by Rep. Brian Baird, has a purpose "To prohibit securities and commodities trading based on nonpublic information relating to Congress, and to require additional reporting by Members and employees of Congress of securities transaction, and for other purposes." Wonder why you have never heard of HR 682, aside from the obvious: that Congress would never vote in a law to cut off this massive illegal form of funding for itself: "This bill never became law." Well, duh.
The United States is a country built upon the four C’s: Crude, Cars, Credit, and Consumption. They are intertwined and can’t exist without crude as the crucial ingredient. As the amount of crude available declines and the price rises, the other three C’s will breakdown. Our warped consumer driven economy collapses without the input of cheap plentiful oil. Those at the top levels of government realize this fact. It is not a coincidence that the War on Terror is the current cover story to keep our troops in the Middle East. It is not a coincidence the uncooperative rulers (Hussein, Gaddafi) of the countries with the 5th and 9th largest oil reserves on the planet have been dispatched. It is not a coincidence the saber rattling grows louder regarding the Iranian regime, as they sit atop 155 billion barrels of oil, the 4th largest reserves in the world. It should also be noted the troops leaving Iraq immediately began occupying Kuwait, owner of the 6th largest oil reserves on the planet. Oil under the South China Sea and in the arctic is being hotly pursued by the major world players. China and Russia are supporting Iran in their showdown with Israel and the U.S. As the world depletes the remaining oil, conflict and war are inevitable. The term Energy Independence will carry a different meaning than the one spouted by mindless politicians as the oil runs low.
On Friday, when we learned about Goldman's latest FX recommendation which said to "go long EUR/$ with a narrow stop at 1.35 for an initial target of 1.40 (currently at 1.3715)", we said: "Time to sell the EURUSD with both hands and feet, not to mention with MF Global-type leverage: that uber-contrarian FX indicator, Goldman's Thomas Stolper, who has not had a notable call correct in the past 2 years, just came out with a long EURUSD call, calling for a 1.40 target and a 1.35 stop loss. Yes, this means Goldman is now selling EURUSD until 1.40 and will begin buying it at 1.35. As a reminder here is how Stolper's last EUR/$ recommendation ended." Sure enough, 24 hours later, Goldman is under 100 pips from being stopped out: at last check the EURUSD just touched on 1.3596.