From Dow Jones
- Illinois House Committee Passes Tax Bill To Cut Deficit
- Illinois Income Tax Would Jump To 5% From 3%
- Illinois Corporate Tax Would Jump To 7% From 4.8%
- Illinois Bill Now Goes To Full House
Cazenove's Griffiths: "Not Owning Gold Is A Form Of Insanity And May Even Show Unhealthy Masochistic Tendencies"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/11/2011 - 15:24
Whoever said CNBC does not have good content: the biased station's European division actually has some very informed and interesting guests. Of particular note is yesterday's interview with Cazenove's technical strategist Robin Griffiths. And while the chartist tends to not be too happy with the recent stock market action (who is), the most notable item on the docket was Griffiths discussion of gold. And it was quite memorable: "I
think not owning gold is a form of insanity, it may even show unhealthy
masochistic tendencies, which might need medical attention. Real assets hedge paper money being printed into oblivion, so you've got
to own gold and you've got to own other commodity-related investments
still. Gold is far from being an overowned trade at the moment, far, far from it. Although it's been a top performer for each of the last ten years, it's
still in a linear trend. Eventually it will go exponential and make more
in the last little bit than the whole of the ten year trend." That pretty much covers it.
Over a year ago we attempted to deconstruct Goldman's prop trading activity using scraps of data from the tax returns of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. The reason we did that, is that up until today, the firm had never disclosed the non-client aspect of its trading, instead dumping all related revenues and profits in the umbrella "Trading and Principal Investments." That is no longer the case, as starting today the firm will break down its client facing and prop ("Investing and Lending") revenue and profit streams. The reason for our long-term fascination with Goldman prop trading, which is nothing less than a glorified hedge fund, and has no client flow focus whatsoever (presuambly), is that we had always claimed it accounts for a substantial portion of the firm's if not top, then certainly bottom line. After all it was Lucan van Praag who told us directly, that prop trading contributions to Goldman were really de minimis, a response which we took extremely skeptically as the margins associated with a modest revenue amount may well be huge and thus result in a substantial pre tax net income benefit to the firm. Today Goldman also published an 8-K that did a pro forma breakdown of its earnings. To our great surprise, we were correct in assuming that Goldman prop has been the dynamo behind the firm's profitability in 2010.
We are hearing that the recent market downdraft and volume upswing occurred as a major block of just about $6 billion in E-Minis hit the bid. What is odd is that such a big order would go as a block and not be split. Either this was a fat finger or someone is making a statement. In the meantime the NYSE cume TICK hit -1,313, indicating just how much of everything trades as one, and the second there is any selling for whatever reason, the house of cards is once again in jeopardy.
The creep ever higher in the short-end of the belly continues, with the first 1%+ 3 Year auction pricing since July, specifically today's $32 billion in 3 Year printed at a 1.027% high yield, a 19% jump in one month. The increase in yield to 6 month highs resulted in an increased in demand as well, with the Bid To Cover coming at 3.057, still lower than the trailing 12 month average of 3.121. As can be seen on the chart below, after Indirects virtually withdrew from bidding in October just as the Fed attempted to make it clear that the short end was going to zero, they have been coming back since, and took down 39.4%, with Primary Dealers being allocated 44.5% and Directs 16.2%. Of the PD bids, we expect that much of the auction will be syphoned right back to the Fed in the next 3-4 months, with all the interest on the auction eventually being remitted back to the Treasury in the latest confirmation that all of US public finance is now a ponzi fraud.
Keynes' key insight was the role central banks and governments could assume to ameliorate specific kinds of financial depressions via borrowing and fiscal stimulus. But politicians found that keeping the spigot open all the time increased their power and longevity in office, and so what was to be used sparingly and infrequently became the default policy. We are now witnessing the exhaustion of permanent Keynesian stimulus. We shall soon see its repudiation as a systemic "solution." Which brings us to everyone's favorite campfire debate, inflation vs. deflation. What this really boils down to is whether the financial world will expire from fire (hyper-inflation) or ice (deflationary death spiral). My own position is that hyper-inflation is first and foremost a political phenomenon--it is necessarily the result of specific political policies and choices.
Much has been said about the parallels and differences between the Japanese and US experience. Today David Rosenberg chimes in in an original fashion, and instead of providing the latest rambling discussion, shares ten simple pictures. Quote Rosie: "Consider the charts below the equivalent of 10,000 words explaining why the U.S. post-bubble economic and financial backdrop is looking more and more like the Japanese experience of the past two-decades."
The backlog of alleged Chinese "scam" stocks is starting to trouble us: not even we suspected when we commenced our little crusade against Sino-fraud, and domestic stock exchange complacency to host said fraud on what are increasingly becoming discredited exchanges, that it would lead to such an explosion in content, confirming time after time, that a material number of Chinese companies, most notably of the reverse merger variety, are nothing short of pure-bred frauds. Today, we present a comprehensive analysis by The Forensic Factor of the most recent Chinese company: Telestone Technologies (Nasdaq:TSTC), that may end up trading 2011 at a far lower price than today. We quote TFF: "While TFF is not calling Telestone a fraud (that is for regulators and class action lawyers to determine), we do believe that Telestone's recent capital raise was completed under the auspices of misleading information, as well as a blatant lack of disclosure replete with forensic discrepancies. As investors undoubtedly learned from RINO, which was halted for three weeks and declined nearly 85%, in the land of Chinese reverse mergers, appearances are not always what they seem." Indeed, a cursory review of the analysis below confirms that there may be quite a few cockroaches hidden and just waiting to have some light shone on them. As always, we only hope to bring attention of those who may have (foolishly) invested their capital in yet another company which may be not all it represents itself to be, and thus prevent up to a complete loss of capital. For that we thank The Forensic Factor and their thorough analysis of the name.
Today's POMO Confirms Fed Continues To Shower Primary Dealers With Billions In Commission-Based ProfitsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/11/2011 - 11:40
While commenting on yesterday's NYT joke of a profile of the New York Fed POMO group, we openly mocked the claim by one Mr. Frost who said that when monetizing debt "We are looking to get the best price we can for the taxpayer.” We politely suggested that this is a blatant, tendentious lie, and that in fact the New York Fed merely cares to gift the Primary Dealers with any price it can for their bonds just so it stays on their good side (think Primary Dealer Auction take down over 50%), and after all - it is only money that according to Steve Liesman appears out of thin air. Earlier today, we suggested a simple experiment that would confirm whether or not this is the case: specifically, if any of the monetized bonds by the Fed ended up being on the part of the curve seen as rich to the spline, it would immediately become obvious that PDs, instead of monetizing the "cheap to sector" bonds, or those on which the PDs are making a capital gains profit, are making up for capital losses through side arrangements with the Fed, specifically in the form of wide bid/ask spreads resulting in taxpayer funded commission gifting. Sure enough, this is exactly what has transpired.
One of the first, and arguably most stupid responses following Saturday's tragic shooting news, came from none other than self-appointed economic seer Paul Krugman (whose "government must spend more" ubiquitous retort to everything would have long-since bankrupted the world ten times over and left it with quadrillions of unrepayable debt), who in a post so disjointed and rambling, very unprofessionally decided against waiting for the dust to clear and facts to emerge, and instead proceeded to blame the republicans and the tea party for the tragic events that transpired: "We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was." Today he proceeds to infuriate his few remaining readers with a blog post which one can say is even more intellectually challenged than its predecessor.
In a rare example of forensic market analysis, the WSJ tackles the topic of market moving info leakage, focusing on some peculiar action ahead of last week's bombastic ADP number which ended up being the traditional contrarian indicator we have been saying for months that it is. The WSJ observes: "Data from two independent sources show that trading in select currencies and future contracts surged in the seconds before last Wednesday's unexpectedly strong private-sector jobs report from payrolls processor Automatic Data Processing Inc., raising suspicions that someone obtained the report ahead of its official release. Analysis of exchange-rate prices from foreign-exchange platform EBS revealed a disproportionately large 0.12-yen spike in the dollar versus the yen in the last tick period before the clock hit 8:15 a.m., the report's official release time. The tick data, provided by CQG, are broken up into small, intraminute periods as per the feed from EBS."And just in case someone is confused how illegal frontrunning works, here is the explanation: "Anybody who placed those orders stood to make large gains in the subsequent minutes as first high-speed trading platforms and then regular investors put through big buy orders after ADP reported an increase of 297,000 in private-sector jobs, nearly triple the consensus estimate for a 100,000 gain." We are confident the regulators are all over this most recent example of the Efficient Market Hypothesis meeting Johnny 5.
Is the biggest driver to GDP growth (aside from the government's transfer payments of course) starting to ebb? November wholesale inventories printed at -0.2%, the first decline since 2009, a miss of expectations of 1.0%, and a drop from October's revised 1.7%.
If you were worried about the Portuguese auction tomorrow fear not! Japan decided to be proactive fighting this latest break-out of European sovereign CDS rates and extend a very unselfish hand. Indeed how could one doubt their good intentions? All they want is to make sure their currency stops appreciating in order to keep the youth unenployment rate in Italy around 29%. Following China's lead Japan announced they would buy European bonds. With only 200% debt to GDP ratio it makes sense for them to go ahead and chip in to help Portugal throw bad money after an even worse structural issue. China gets relatively little bad press for supporting European markets as conventional wisdom assumes their official 20% debt to GDP ratio is accurate. Other analysts much better informed on the subject than I am, in fact some even created a fund dedicated to benefit from when China's economic miracle is exposed for the ponzi scheme it is, claim actual numbers are much closer to 120% but the people's republic uses all sorts of accounting trickery and local government vehicles to disguise the true extent of its indebtedness. Japan however shall not benefit from the general public's stupidity with debt levels well publicized. Indeed as we discussed many times before, Japan's public debt is astronomical...Obviously Japan's announcement had not so much to do with their desire to rescue Portuguese finances, but instead is aimed in my opinion to the obvious secondary effect of weakening the JPY. That will work to temporarily slow down the fall of EURJPY, but when it comes to USDJPY it is exclusively driven by the 2Y UST/JGB rate spread. So if Japan really wants to weaken the Yen they might as well start dumping their 2Y treasuries. With the time interval between solvency crises shrinking exponentially as the eventual end game approaches, I have my doubts as to how much good will come from this touching display of Eurasian brotherly love. Perhaps is this why the Dollar index refuses to trade South this morning... - Nic Lenoir