- BOJ Should Be Allowed $643 Billion Fund to Buy Foreign Bonds, Iwata Says (Bloomberg)
- Banks Hoarding ECB Cash May Double Company Defaults (Bloomberg)
- China Police Open Fire on Tibetans as Protests Spread (Bloomberg)
- Sarkozy Presidential Rival Hollande Would Lower Retirement Age, Lift Taxes (Bloomberg)
- IMF takes tougher stance over Greek debt (FT)
- Iran threatens to act first on EU embargo (FT)
- PM says ‘no complacency’ on economy (FT)
- George Soros: How to pull Italy and Spain back from the edge (FT)
- Japan's NEC to slash 10,000 jobs (Reuters)
- Obama Planning Corporate Tax Overhaul (Bloomberg)
Gold rose 2.5% yesterday and broke $1,700/oz to $1,712.80, its biggest one-day gain in the past 4 months, as the US Federal Reserve’s 11 out of 17 members voted that interest rates would likely remain near zero into late 2014. Investors sought safe haven refuge into gold fearing their portfolios would lose value as Central Banks flood the markets with loose monetary policies and more cash for governments that can't seem to manage their balance sheets. A group of 7 major economies now have interest rates that average .5%. Silver also rallied up 4%. Today's Comex February gold option expirations will show more activity in the gold markets. One trader stated that gold's gains on Wednesday could be due to a huge cover on a short position before today's option expiration.
Rumors Start Early: Greek Creditors "Ready To Accept" 3.75% Cash Coupon But With Untenable ConditionsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2012 - 07:07
As a reminder, the primary reason why the Greek PSI deal "officially" broke down last week, is because the European Fin Mins balked at the creditor group proposal of a 4%+ cash coupon. So now that creditor talks, which incidentally don't have a soft deadline so they can continue indefinitely, or until the money runs out on March 20, whichever comes first, have resumed we already are getting the first totally unsubstantiated "leaks" that negotiations are on the right path. As various US wires reported overnight, including DJ, BBG and Reuters, citing completely "unbiased" and "unconflicted" local Greek media, "Greece's private creditors are willing to improve their "final offer" of a four percent interest rate on new Greek bonds in order to clinch a deal in time to avert a messy default, Greek media said on Thursday without quoting any sources. With time running short ahead of a major bond redemption in March, private creditors are now considering an average coupon of around 3.75 percent on bonds they will receive in exchange for their existing investments, the newspapers wrote." All is good then: the hedge funds will make the proposal to Europe and Europe will accept, right? Wrong. "Another daily, Kerdos said participation of public sector creditors including the ECB in the swap deal was a pre-condition for that offer, which it said could bring the average interest rate to about 3.8 percent." And that as was reported yesterday is a non-starter. So in other words, the latest levitation in the EURUSD started at about 4am Eastern is nothing but yet another rumor-based attempt to ramp up risk. Only this time the rumor is actually quite senseless, which probably explains why even the market which has been completely irrational lately, has seen the EURUSD drop from overnight highs. That said, expect this rumor to be recirculated at least 5 more times before end of trading.
Give Me Liberty Or Give Me PATH : 27 Manhattan-Based Fidelity Employees Refuse To Relocate To New Jersey, QuitSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/25/2012 - 21:12
It may be the worst possible job market for financial professionals in years but sometimes one has to draw the line. Like when moving across the Hudson river from Manhattan's One World Financial Center building to Jersey City - that may well be the only logical time when one is allowed to say: "I don't care about my bloated bonus or underserved compensation to buy the same stock that everyone else is buying. I quit." Not surprisingly 27 Fidelity employees have done just that. As the following notice from our favorite back-door website on New York's financial labor market shennanigans, the DOL's WARN site informs us, 27 Fidelity analysts have opted to to quit nobly, than to accept "relocation packages" which would involve the Geneva convention banned torture of having to reverse-PATH commute every day to Fidelity's new Jersey City office at newport Office Center Three. Oh well, it can't be such a bad job market after all. Incidentally for any and all unemployed ZH readers in Jersey City, this probably means that there are about 27 openings at the Fidelity office thereabouts.
In October, rebel forces presumably said to hell with it and figured they'd save everyone a lot of time by killing Gadhafi themselves. The ICC didn't seem to mind much and a now-fractured interim government did little to worry the Italian government enough to decide during the weekend that business was booming in post-Gadhafi Libya. Before the conflict began, a group of Democratic lawmakers in Washington issued a 123-page report claiming the 2009 decision to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was tied to commercial oil interests with Tripoli. A British inquiry into the case found BP was involved to some extent in the 2009 decision because, according to New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer, London wanted an oil deal to go through with the Gadhafi government. So where were these same senators when it was announced in November that Abdulrahman Ben Yezza was appointed as the new Libyan oil minister? He's the former chairman of Eni Oil Co., a joint venture between the Italian energy company and Libya's National Oil Corp. Why no furor when Eni Chief Executive Officer Paulo Scaroni became the first executive from an oil major to visit when he went to Tripoli in September? For that matter, where are the Democrats in the United States? It seems rather duplicitous to on one hand sit and debate censuring Syria at the Security Council for 10 months while it took, what, a few weeks to get one through on Libya? Was Gadhafi's Libya somehow ripe for the picking? Was the Libyan resolution simply too crafty for those pesky Russians? Italy and Libya during the weekend signed a letter that spells out bilateral coordination for the protection of its borders and oil installations. Makes you wonder who is drawing up what at which European energy company as U.S. battle carriers head to the western Iranian coast.
While the stock of NFLX is soaring in the after-hours session on what is perceived to be a big blow out of consensus, and yet another massive if brief short squeeze, we have had a chance to take a look at the actual excel support behind the data, completely free of contextual spin as per the investor letter. Here are some of our findings.
Year-to-date, Gold is up an impressive 9.4%, significantly outpacing the S&P 500 at +5.6% and the disappointing 2% loss (in price) for the 30Y bond.
Treasuries sold back off initial knee-jerk rally low yields into the close but the EUR kept going (holding above 1.3100) as Gold and Silver were the big winners on the day (+2.9% and 3.4% on the week now). Stocks and credit roared higher after an initial stumble post FOMC. Financials lagged among all the S&P sectors (and Utilities outperformed post FOMC statement +0.75% vs financials -0.25%). Right up until the close, credit and equity markets were on a tear but very soon after cash closed, futures limped back and HY credit snapped lower (quite dramatically) which makes some sense given just how ridiculously rich it had become to fair-value.
Easily the best news of the day:
GEITHNER SAYS OBAMA WOULDN'T ASK HIM TO STAY FOR A SECOND TERM - BBG
Oh well, life is tough. Surely that basement office at Goldman Sachs will have some daylight and a TruboTax manual to make post-administrative life bearable for Geithner.
As we have pointed out previously, the primary if not only driver of relative risk returns (because in a world of relative fiat value destruction, it is all relative, except for gold which is revalued relative to all on a pro rata basis), will be who of the big two - the Fed and the ECB - can print more. And up until now, at least since the end of December when the market "suddenly" realized that the ECB's balance sheet has soared to unseen records, the consensus was that it was the ECB that would be the primary source of easing. Especially when considering that there is another ~€500 billion LTRO due on February 29. Yet today's rapid reversal in the EURUSD, driven by Bernanke's uber-dovish comments suggest that something has changed and that the Fed is now expected to ease substantially. How much? For that we look to the latest balance sheet cross-correlation, where if we go by simple correlation, the market is now pricing in (based on the EURUSD cross ratio) that the relationship of the two balance sheets will rise from a multi year low of 1.08 as of a few days ago to 1.15, at least based on the rapid move in the EURUSD higher as can be seen in the chart below. Indicatively, the actual value of the two balance sheets is €2.706 trillion for the ECB and $2.92 trillion for the Fed (or a 1.08 ratio). So now that the EURUSD has risen as high as it has, it implies that the pro forma "priced in" ratio is about 1.15. But wait: one should also factor in the fact that the ECB's balance sheet will rise by at least another €500 billion in just over a month, which will bring the ECB's balance sheet to €3.2 trillion. Which means that to retain the 1.15 cross balance sheet relationship, the Fed's own balance sheet will have to rise to $3,687 billion, or a whopping $767 billion increase!
Our discussions (here, here, and here) of the dispersion of deleveraging efforts across developed nations, from the McKinsey report last week, raised a number of questions on the timeliness of the deflationary deleveraging process. David Rosenberg, of Gluskin Sheff, notes that the multi-decade debt boom will take years to mean revert and agrees with our views that we are still in the early stages of the global deleveraging cycle. He adds that while many believe last year's extreme volatility was an aberration, he wonders if in fact the opposite is true and that what we saw in 2009-2010 - a double in the S&P 500 from the low to nearby high - was the aberration and market's demands for more and more QE/easing becomes the volatility-inducing swings of dysphoric reality mixed with euphoric money printing salvation. In his words, perhaps the entire three years of angst turned to euphoria turned to angst (and back to euphoria in the first three weeks of 2012?) is the new normal. After all we had angst from 1929 to 1932 then ebullience from 1933 to 1936 and then back to despair in 1937-1938. Without the central banks of the world constantly teasing markets with more and more liquidity, the new baseline normal is dramatically lower than many believe and as such the former's impacts will need to be greater and greater to maintain the mirage of the old normal.
The one we have all been waiting for. Stolper about to be 9 out of 9 with a 0.000 hit rate.