Bank of America

Six Month + Delinquent Mortgages Amount To More Than Half Of Bank of America's Market Cap

For those curious why many people are scratching their heads how the market cap of Bank of America has nearly doubled in the past year, here it is: "Bank of America Corp. has amassed $64 billion of mortgages that are at least six months delinquent and have yet to enter foreclosure, more than twice the amount held by its four largest competitors combined." $64 billion is more than half the market cap of Bank of America as of this moment. 

Frontrunning: December 18

  • Obama Concessions Signal Potential Bipartisan Budget Deal (BBG)
  • Cerberus to sell gunmaker after massacre (CNN)
  • With New Offers, Fiscal-Cliff Talks Narrow (WSJ)
  • Judge rejects Apple injunction bid vs. Samsung (Reuters)
  • U.S. policy gridlock holding back economy? Maybe not (Reuters)
  • President fears for Italy’s credibility (FT)
  • Struggles Mount for Greeks as Economy Faces Winter (WSJ)
  • Abe leans on BoJ in post-election meeting (FT)
  • Bank of Japan to mull 2 percent inflation target as Abe turns up heat (Reuters)
  • EU exit is ‘imaginable’, says Cameron (FT)
  • Mortgage Risk Under Fire in Nordics as Bubbles Fought (BBG)
  • Sweden cuts interest rates to 1% (FT)
  • External risks impede China recovery, more easing seen (Reuters)

CBO Releases Sandy Damage Estimate: At $60.4 Billion, It Would Send US Over The Debt Ceiling

At the end of October, as the Tristate Area was being flooded by Hurricane Sandy, one after another Wall Street firm tried to position Sandy virtually as a non-event, with total damage "forecasts" by such "reputable" firms as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America forecasting a total bill between $10 and $20 billion (as anything above that and the Q3 damage to GDP would be far more substantial than their recently bullish forecasts had accounted for, and would also imply a substantial spillover effect into Q1 2013), the same as various insurance companies who had other far more obvious reasons to undershoot on the total damages. We said the opposite, and based on historic damage forecasts, predicted the damage would likely be between $50 and $100 billion. Once again the sellside consensus was wrong and a fringe blog was accurate, as the CBO has just released the Obama administration's full aid request. Bottom line: $60.4 billion, or roughly what one year of what the ultimate tax hike compromise will bring into the government's treasury. Furthermore, if fully funded by debt today, this amount would send the US (which has a $57 billion debt buffer as of this moment) over the debt ceiling immediately.

Obama Likely To Approve Gold Sanctions on Iran As Currency Wars Escalate

Turkey’s trade balance may turn on whether President Barack Obama vetoes more stringent sanctions against Iran after the U.S. Senate passed a measure targeting loopholes in gold exports to the Islamic Republic. Turkey’s gold trade with neighbouring Iran has helped shrink its trade deficit over the past year according to Bloomberg. Incredibly, precious metals accounted for about half of the almost $21 billion decline. That’s calmed investor concern over its current-account gap, and helped persuade Fitch Ratings to give Turkey its first investment-grade rating since 1994.  The U.S. Senate voted 94-0 on Nov. 30 to approve new sanctions against Iran, closing gaps from previous measures, including trade in precious metals. Obama, who opposes the move on the grounds it may undercut existing efforts to rein in the nation’s nuclear ambitions, signed an executive order in July restricting gold payments to Iranian state institutions. Turkey exported $11.9 billion of gold in the first 10 months of the year, according to the Ankara-based statistics agency’s website. A very large 85% of the shipments went to Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Iran is buying the gold with payments Turkey makes for natural gas it purchases in liras, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan told a parliamentary committee in Ankara on Nov. 23.

Frontrunning: December 7

  • Bundesbank cuts growth outlook as crisis bites (Reuters)
  • Strong quake hits off Japan near Fukushima disaster zone (Reuters)
  • Greece to Buy Debt It Already Owns to Reach Target (BBG)
  • Draghi’s Go-to ECB Seen Risking Credibility Through Overload (BBG)
  • Judge urges Apple and Samsung ‘peace’  (FT) ... Alas only the US government has a Magic Money Tree; others need profit
  • Fed Exit Plan May Be Redrawn as Assets Near $3 Trillion (BBG)... make that $5 trillion this time in 2014
  • Level Global, SAC Fund Managers Ruled Co-Conspirators (BBG)
  • Egypt demonstrators reject Mursi call for dialogue (Reuters)
  • Japanese Dealerships in China Retrench in Wake of Dispute (BBG)
  • Apparel factory fire reveals big brands' shadowy supply chainsa (Reuters)
  • Republican Defectors Weigh Deal on Tax-Rate Increase (BBG)

Bombshell: Deutsche Bank Hid $12 Billion In Losses To Avoid A Government Bail-Out

Forget the perfectly anticipated Greek (selective) default. This is the real deal. The FT just released a blockbuster that Europe's most important and significant bank, Deutsche Bank, hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis, helping the bank avoid a government bail-out, according to three former bank employees who filed complaints to US regulators. US regulators, whose chief of enforcement currently was none other than the General Counsel of Deutsche Bank at the time!

How America's Middle Class, And Future Pensioners, Bailed Out A Generation Of Overzealous Homebuyers

In the current Bernanke-Obama-Keynes toxic triangle (defined previously here) economy, blink too long and you will miss the latest bailout. While 4 years ago, it was America's M.A.D.-hostage taxpaying middle class that had no choice but to fund the trillions in direct Fed cash handouts and guarantees to bail out the banks, in the process saving and preserving the trillions in wealth for America's uber wealthy (the "1%") class, ever since then it has been the government's turn to rescue the country's lower and lower-middle classes (the "47%"), who, with no gun to their heads, decided to splurge during the height of the housing bubble (insurmountable mortgage payments and $0 down notwithstanding) and buy that aspirational McMansion that would make them so much more appealing in the eyes of the next door neighbor (who too could never afford their house in the first place). This has happened courtesy of a progressively more pervasive mortgage forgiveness plan, which has seen the total amount of debt funding a given home purchase shrink little by little each day. However, since there is no free lunch anywhere, certainly not when a bank's balance sheet is being impaired, like in 2008, someone is once again on the hook for this latest bailout. That someone, not surprisingly, is again America's middle class that lived within its means, that saved money while others splurged, and even put cash away for retirement, handing it over to various Pension investment vehicles.

Guest Post: Real Danger Of “Obamacare”: Insurance Company Takeover Of Health Care

Now that The Show is over, we are left with the equivalent of a Sunday morning hangover following a binge of promises and lies. After the Supreme Court upheld the PPACA, a spate of mergers rippled through the managed health care realm, to ostensibly cope with smaller profit margins and  ‘compliance costs.’  But really, it’s because each firm wants to corner as much as possible of the market, in as many states as it can, to garner more premiums and control more disbursements and prices at the upcoming insurance ‘exchanges.’ Meanwhile the more hospitals are viewed as profit centers, the more their Chairmen will cut costs to maximize returns, and not care quality. They will seeks ways to sell underperforming assets, programs or services and reduce the number of nonessential employees, burdening those that remain. And if insurance companies can manage doctors directly, they can control not just costs, but treatment – our treatment. It’s not an imaginary government takeover anyone should fear; but a very real, here-and-now insurance company takeover, to which no one in Washington is paying attention.