The market is having a difficult time trying to figure out what Fannie is worth these days.
- National Security Advisor Tom Donilon resigning, to be replaced by Susan Rice - Obama announcement to follow
- Japan's Abe targets income gains in growth strategy (Reuters), Abe unveils ‘third arrow’ reforms (FT) - generates market laughter and stock crash
- Amazon set to sell $800m in ads (FT) - personal tracking cookie data is valuable
- 60 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track (BBG) and yet have rarely been more optimistic
- Jefferson County, Creditors Reach Deal to End Bankruptcy (BBG)
- Turks clash with police despite deputy PM's apology (Reuters)
- Rural US shrinks as young flee for the cities (FT)
- Australia holds steady on rate but may ease later (MW)
- The Wonk With the Ear of Chinese President Xi Jinping (WSJ)
- Syrian army captures strategic border town of Qusair (Reuters)
- Whale of a Trade Revealed at Biggest U.S. Bank With Best Control (BBG)
- ECB backs away from use of ‘big bazooka’ to boost credit (FT)
- Turkish unions join fierce protests in which two have died (Reuters)
- Europe Floods Wreak Havoc (WSJ)
- Beheadings by Syrian Rebels Add to Atrocities, UN Says (BBG)
- RBA Sees Further Rate-Cut Scope as Aussie Remains High (BBG)
- China’s ‘great power’ call to the US could stir friction (FT)
- J.C. Penney Continuing Ron Johnson’s Vision on the Cheap (BBG)
Fractional reserve banking is unlike most other businesses. It's not just because its product is money. It's because banks can manufacture their product out of thin air. Under the bygone rules of free market capitalism, only one thing kept banks from creating an infinite amount of money, and that was fear of failure. Periodic bank failures remind depositors of the connection between risk and reward. What is not widely appreciated is that the ensuing government bailouts allowed an underlying shadow banking system to not only survive but grow even larger. To the frustration of Keynesians, and despite an unprecedented Quantitative Easing (QE) by the Federal Reserve, conventional commercial banks have broken with custom and have amassed almost $2 trillion in excess reserves they are reluctant to lend as they scramble to digest all the bad loans still on their books. So most of the money manufactured today is actually being created by the shadow banks. But shadow banks do not generally make commercial loans. Rather, they use the money they manufacture to fund proprietary trading operations in repos and derivatives. No one knows when the bubble will pop, but when it does a donnybrook is going to break out over that thin wedge of collateral whose ownership is spread across counterparties around the world, each looking for relief from their own judges, politicians, bureaucrats, and taxpayers.
- BIS lays out "simple" plan for how to handle bank failures (Reuters) - Are we still holding our breath on Basel III?
- Deficit Deal Even Less Likely - Improving U.S. Fiscal Health Eases Pressure for a 'Grand Bargain' Amid Gridlock (WSJ)
- IRS Faulted on Conference Spending (WSJ)
- Deadly MERS-CoV virus spreads to Italy (CNN)
- Turkish PM Erdogan calls for calm after days of protests (Reuters)
- Financial system ‘waiting for next crisis’ (FT)
- Russia to send nuclear submarines to southern seas (Reuters)
- China Nuclear Stockpile Grows as India Matches Pakistan Rise (BBG)
Just three weeks ago we noted Apollo Group's Leon Black's comment that his firm was "selling everything not nailed down," and that he sees "the market is pricey... in our view, priced for perfection." It seems he is not alone in the 'buy-low-sell-high' crowd. If wonderful times are ahead for U.S. financial markets, then why is so much of the smart money heading for the exits? Does it make sense for insiders to be getting out of stocks and real estate if prices are just going to continue to go up?
- Record unemployment, low inflation underline Europe's pain (Reuters)
- The ponzi gets bigger and bigger: Spanish banks up sovereign bond holdings by more than 10% (FT)
- California Lawmakers Turn Down Moratorium on Fracking (BBG)
- China’s Growing Ranks of Elderly Beset by Depression, Study Says (BBG)
- Tokyo Prepares for a Once-in-200-Year Flood to Top Sandy (BBG)
- Morgan Stanley Cutting Correlation Unit Added $50 Billion (BBG)
- IMF warns over yen weakness (FT)
- Rising radioactive spills leave Fukushima fishermen floundering (Reuters)
- India records slowest growth in a decade (FT)
- Japan’s Stocks Correction Raises Stakes for Abe’s Growth Plan (BBG)
- China Failure to Grow With $1 Trillion Is Warning to Li (BBG)
- Blankfein Leads Bank CEO Pay With $26 Million Deemed Overpaid (BBG)
- IMF says ‘no evidence yet’ of Abenomics hurting other economies (FT)
- Europe Seeks CFTC Delay in Imposing Swaps Rules on Banks (BBG)
- Fed's Rosengren: 'Modest' QE3 cut may make sense in a few months (Reuters)
- Who’s who of Obama lobbyists pushes Keystone pipeline (FT)
- China to Study Joining U.S.-Led Trade Accord After Japan Added (BBG)
One of the problems with QE is that the Fed is forcing people to buy riskier investments than they otherwise would have. The immorality of their actions aside, they create a significant psychological mismatch between assets and their holders. Stocks are in weak hands, insuring one great stampede for the chairs when the music stops.
Peak collateral is just a notion - one we have discussed in detail many times (most recently here). The notion that at the time we want yield and growth we are running out of collateral which is supposed to underpin the high yielding assets and loans. Such a shortage would cause the ponzi-like growth that is necessary to sustain a bubble, to stall and then implode. We think our lords and rulers know this and have decided that it must not be allowed. And this – the need for collateral – is the reason for the endless QE. If this is even close to the mark, then recent murmurings about the Fed tailing off its bond buying will prove to be hollow. The Fed will quickly find it cannot exit QE without precipitating precisely the disorderly collapse, to which it was supposed to be the solution.
Through most of the 20th century, America led something of a charmed life, at least when compared with the disasters endured by almost every other major country. We became the richest and most powerful nation on earth, partly due to our own achievements and partly due to the mistakes of others. The public interpreted these decades of American power and prosperity as validation of our system of government and national leadership, and the technological effectiveness of our domestic propaganda machinery - our own American Pravda - has heightened this effect. Author James Bovard has described our society as an “attention deficit democracy,” and the speed with which important events are forgotten once the media loses interest might surprise George Orwell.
- Global shares sink, following 7.3 percent drop in Japan's Nikkei (Reuters)
- When all fails, pull a Kevin Bacon: Japan Economy Chief Warns Against Panic Over Stock Sell-Off (BBG)
- White House Feeds IRS Frenzy by Revising Accounts (BBG)
- In any scandal, lying to Congress is tough to prove (Reuters)
- Debt limit resets at higher level, budget impasse grinds on (Reuters)
- China factory data to test political calculations (FT)
- European Leaders Saying No to Austerity (BBG)
- And yet, nobody wants in anymore: Iceland’s new coalition government suspends EU accession talks (FT)
- Oil Manipulation Inquiry Shows EU’s Hammer After Libor (BBG)
- The Fed Squeezes the Shadow-Banking System (WSJ)
- Diamond Said to Weigh Backing Barclays Alumni in Venture (BBG)
- Spain’s Private Jets Disappearing as Tycoons Cut Flights (BBG)
Following the first quarter rout in AAPL stock, some wondered if there would finally be rotation at the top floor of the hedge fund hotel of stocks held by most hedge funds. The answer is no: as of March 31, AAPL still retains the title of stock with the largest number of hedge fund investors at 188, more than GOOG with 184 and above AIG with 180.
Third Point Q1 Holdings Update: Reduces YHOO, AIG Stakes, Adds New Stakes In Virgin Media, Tiffany And B/E AerospaceSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/15/2013 17:05 -0400
With Paulson's star long gone down, there are few remaining "new generation" hedge fund wunderkinds, especially in a world in which the best performing hedge fund is Federal Reserve Capital LLC - Onshore Fund. One among them is Third Point's Dan Loeb, who continues to be one of the best performing hedge fund managers for the 4th year in a row. He just filed his Q1 13F, amounting to $5.3 billion in disclosed long equity positions, which are summarized below. Of note are the following changes:
- New stakes in Virgin Media ($538MM), Tiffany ($188MM), Anadarko ($105MM), Thermo Fisher ($99MM), Cabot Oil and Gas ($84MM), Hess ($72MM) and others. Some of these overlap with the initiations of David Tepper and David Einhorn especially Hess: did some "idea dinners" take place in Q1 we were not aware of?
- Fully exited stakes in Tesoro, Morgan Stanley, Nexen, Symantec, Herbalife, Illumina, Coke, PVH, Abbott Labs and others.
- Reduced positions in Yahoo, AIG, New Corp, Murphy Oil, Delphi, Lyondell and others
- Added to stakes in International Paper, Abbvie, Dollar General, Constellation, and Ariad
Back in September 2010, following David Tepper's first "balls to the wall" appearance on CNBC, we were not very surprised to learn that the seemingly permabullish hedge fund manager had taken the opportunity to follow up on the brief euphoria his speech generated then to cut 20% of his positions in assorted financial stocks - just the stocks he was praising loud and clear to the financial station with the plunging viewership. Moments ago, Tepper's Appaloosa filed its 13F for the quarter ended March 31, so yes, before his most recent appearance yesterday. Yet we were somewhat confused by why the manager, once again so bullish he could see no scenario that could send stocks lower, and who estimated a war in the middle east could lead to a mindblowing 5% drop in the market, decided to trim his core holdings.