Bank of America
As traders walk in this morning, there are only two numbers they care about: 522 bps and 6.15% - these are the Spanish 5 year CDS and 10 Year yields, respectively, the first of which is at a record, while the second is rapidly approaching all time wides from last November. Needless to say Europe is no longer fixed. And yet despite a selloff across Asia, Europe is so far hanging in, as are the futures courtesy of a persistent BIS bid in the EURUSD just above 1.30 to keep the risk bottom from falling off. It remains to be seen if they will be successful as wrong-way positioned US traders walk in this morning.
JPM Earnings Beat Courtesy Of $0.28 Benefit From Loan Loss Reserves Despite First Increase In Nonperforming Loans In YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2012 07:33 -0400
Earlier today JPMorgan announced results that were better than expected, with revenue of $27.4 billion on expectations of $24.1 billion, and EPS of $1.31 or $5.0 billion, on expectations of $1.17. As previously noted, the bank increased its dividend to $0.30/share, and has authorized a $15 billion new repurchase, which however will likely not be a sizable factor, as JPM has already said with the stock price at the current level buybacks are not accretive. As for the EPS beat, as usual the one-time items swamped everything else, of which the primary one, reduction in loan loss reserves which is the traditional way for the bank to pump up the bottom line, accounting for $1.8 billion or $0.28/share. We are curious how Jamie Dimon will justify this accelerating release even as the firm's Nonperforming loans increased for the first time in years from $10 billion to $10.6 billion: just the TBTF put or something else? Other amusing "one-time" items were the $1.1 billion ($0.17/share) from the WaMu bankruptcy settlement as well as a $0.9 billion loss ($0.14/share) loss from DVA this time hurting the bank as JPM's CDS tightened in Q1. Also curious was a substantial $2.5 billion expense for additional litigation reserves, which is certainly not a one-time item now that every bank is suing JPM and is merely a catch up for Dimon to where he should have been reserved. That, or something else - just what is JPM seeing that others are not (hint: ask Bank of America). This number will continue rising. So net of the real one-time items, EPS was less than a $1.00.
Back in June 2011, Zero Hedge first pointed out something very troubling: the labor share of national income had dropped to an all time low, just shy of 58%. This is quite an important number as none other than the Fed noted few years previously that "The allocation of national income between workers and the owners of capital is considered one of the more remarkably stable relationships in the U.S. economy. As a general rule of thumb, economists often cite labor’s share of income to be about two-thirds of national income—although the exact figure is sensitive to the specific data used to calculate the ratio. Over time, this ratio has shown no clear tendency to rise or fall." Yet like pretty much every other relationship in the new normal, this rule of thumb got yanked out of the socket, and the 66% rapidly became 58%. This troubling shift away from the mean prompted David Rosenberg to say that "extremes like this, unfortunately, never seem to lead us to a very stable place." Which is why we are happy to note that as of last quarter, the labor share of income has finally seen an uptick, and while certainly not back at its old normal, has finally started to tick up, which leads us to ask: have we passed the moment of peak Marxism of this particular period in US history?
While equity trading last March trading was affected by the excess volatility arising from the Fukushima explosions a year earlier, and the Japan earthquake induced volatility in general, today's monthly volume update by the NYSE shows that no matter what the reason for the volume collapse, toplines for banks and traders will suffer, on both a Y/Y as well as sequential basis. Per the NYSE: "European and U.S. Cash ADV Down 13% and 24% Year-over-Year.... NYSE Euronext European cash products ADV of 1.6 million transactions in March 2012 decreased 12.7% compared to March 2011, but increased 0.5% compared to February 2012. NYSE Euronext U.S. cash products handled ADV in March 2012 decreased 23.6% to 1.8 billion shares compared to March 2011 and decreased 0.6% from February 2012." An even bigger year-over-year collapse took place in the one product which everyone thinks is taking the place of individual stock trading: the synthetic CDOs known as ETFs: "NYSE Euronext U.S. matched exchange-traded funds ADV (included in volumes for Tape B and Tape C) of 222 million shares in March 2012 decreased 29.3% compared to March 2011, but increased 4.1% compared to February 2012. In the first quarter of 2012, NYSE Euronext U.S. matched exchange-traded funds ADV of 221 million shares was 21.8% below prior year levels." The YoY collapse in trading volumes for derivatives was less compared to cash, but the sequential drop from February 2012 was even more pronounced: "NYSE Euronext global derivatives ADV in March 2012 of 8.1 million contracts decreased 11.5% compared to March 2011 and decreased 15.4% from February 2012 levels." We can only hope that banks have found some innovative ways of compensating for this collapse in overall market participation, such as traditional revenue pathways like underwriting and advisory fees, as well as lending and arbing the carry trade. Alas, as the following Bloomberg piece points out, this will hardly be the case, as Zero Hedge has warned previously.
The following chart from Bank of America captures the past three years of American "recovery" quite starkly: the US economy, as measured by the ISM has so far not double but triple dipped, and the result would have been far more pronounced had the Fed not stepped in after each of the prior two local maxima and injected trillions into the economy. Following peaks in mid 2010 and early 2011, we are "there" again - how long until the Fed has to jump in? And would it have already done so if it wasn't an election year? Which brings us to our question: third time is the charm? Or head and shoulders?
Nothing is going on this morning that did not already happen at 8:30:01 am on Friday. As a result, the three robots who are the sole churners of stocks this AM will keep risk where it was just after NFP, because that is part of the new regime, one in which USD weakness is now stock weakness, and one where stocks have a ways to drop before NEW QE is greenlighted. Also with Europe offline all day, the robots won't even be able to frontrun the European close. Bank of America summarizes the lack of events shaping the market this morning.
- JPMorgan Trader Iksil Fuels Prop-Trading Debate With Bets (Bloomberg), but, but, he is just proividing liquidity, and serving JPM's clients
- Short on tools, central banks left with words (Reuters)
- And the mainstream media finally catches up: Investors braced for fall in US profits (FT)
- Iran rules out pre-conditions to talks: Salehi (Reuters)
- North Korea ‘planning third nuclear test’ (FT)
- Japan to Hold Talks With China on IMF Contributions (Reuters)
- American Universities Infected by Foreign Spies Detected by FBI (Bloomberg)
- Is the Fed Promoting Recovery or Desperation? (Hussman)
- In Europe, Unease Over Bank Debt (NYT)
- Banks test ‘CDOs’ for trade finance (FT)
For Those That Want To Take A Peek Inside the Professional BoomBustBlog Paywall, Here's All of My Groupon Research - MUPPETS!!!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/06/2012 09:07 -0400
This is easily the meatiest, most offensive, most controversial and probably the most hardhitting post of the year. Here's proof that Goldman STUFFED ITS MUPPET clients!!! 20 pgs of research warning non-muppet clients to back off, proof of the Muppet biz model...
US Households haven't shaken their 'junk bond' credit rating, given their poor income statement and balance sheet. Reversing Mitt Romney's famous quote "corporations are people", Bank Of America remains skeptical of this self-sustaining recovery - expecting second half growth to slow significantly as businesses and households react to the risk of a major fiscal shock (and in the short-term, momentum looks unsustainable). From an income statement perspective, 'a paycheck just ain't what it used to be' with food and energy prices rising and payroll growth (typically a good proxy for income growth) is disappointingly timid leaving real disposable income diverging weakly from a supposed job recovery. The balance sheet perspective has been helped by the rise of the equity market but the recovery in net worth in the last three years has barely outstripped income growth, leaving the ratio deeply depressed. The upshot is that the recent pick-up in consumption is not being fueled by income or wealth gains, but mainly by drawing down savings. Many households remain deeply distressed and react to higher costs of living by drawing down savings further. In sum, a true virtuous cycle still seems a long way off. As weather effects fade and gas pain builds the data should soften. BofA expects businesses to recognize the risks of the fiscal cliff first and pull back on hiring. Then with weaker job growth and with the growing awareness of the cliff, consumers will likely start delaying some discretionary spending.
Last week Mario Monti, like a good (ex) Goldmanite, did his best to buy what Goldman is selling, namely telling anyone gullible enough to believe that the "European crisis is almost over." Funny then that we learn that just as this was happening, Ben Bernanke held a secret meeting with the entire banker caretel, in which discussed was not American jobs (seasonally adjusted or otherwise), nor $5 gas, but... helping European with its debt crisis. But, but... Mario said. In the meantime, European spreads are back to late 2011 levels.
And like that, Europe is broken again. Following a spate of negative European data (what else is there), including a miss in German industrial production as well as a miss in UK manufacturing output, all eyes are again on Spain, especially those of the bond vigilantes, who have sold off the sovereign European bond market, sending the Spanish-Bund spread to over 400 bps for the first time since December 2011. The main reason today: a Goldman report saying Spain will unlikely meet its 2012 and 2013 budget targets, as well as JPM Chief Economist David Mackie saying Spanish government "missteps" have raised questions about its credibility, making investors reluctant to purchase Spanish debt. Stress has returned to periphery, if it broadened into bank funding markets more LTROs would be forthcoming; if that “failed to hold yields at an appropriate level” Spain may need assistance from the EFSF/ESM and the IMF. Euro area unlikely to return to stability in sovereigns without some burden sharing; nominal growth likely to stay below borrowing costs, making fiscal targets “all but impossible to achieve”. UBS piles in saying Spanish banking stresses still haven't been addressed. Finally, a big red flag is that market liquidity is once again starting to disappear, and as Peter Tchir points out, Main is now being quoted with 3/4 bps bid/ask spread, all the way up to 1 bps spread. In other words, as we have been warning for weeks, the period of fake LTRO-induced calm is over, and the market is demanding more central planner liquid heroin. The question becomes whether Europe has even more worthless collateral in exchange for which the ECB will continue handing out discount window money in sterilized sheep's clothing. Yet nowhere is the resumption in risk flaring more evident than in the Swiss Franc, where the EURCHF all of a sudden broke through the critical 1.20 SNB floor, which was set back in September 2011, the day gold was trading at its all time high. Said otherwise, everyone is once again scrambling for safety. And since they can't get it in the CHF, it is only a matter of time, before gold resumes its ascent as the paper currency alternative that sent it to its all time highs late last summer.
Yesterday, Goldman's Jan Hatzius, piggybacking on what has now become a prevalent belief among Wall Street economists following a "leak" from the WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath, predicted that the FOMC minutes would hint at more easing, in the form of "sterilized" interventions, or in other words, an extension of Operation Twist. There is, however, one problem with this analysis. It is total BS, for a simple reason that for every bond on the long end that the Fed buys (and it has bought a whopping 91% of the 20-30 year gross Treasury issuance), it has to sell one in the 3 Month - 3 Year maturity interval. And therein lies the rub. As Bank of America shows below, at the end of Twist in June there will be just 2 months worth of Treasurys available for sale. What could fix this? Well, instead of ZIRP until 2014, Bernanke could say the Fed would keep rates at zero until 2016 or even 2018, and proceed to sell all Fed holdings in the 3 month - 5 year or 3 month - 7 year intervals. This however, would make the entire bond curve an epic farce, shifting the belly to beyond the 10 year point, and in the process blowing up the MBS market due to total collapse of traditional convexity heding strategies. Which we don't think is likely unless the world is coming to an end. In other words, anyone hoping that Twist will be extended, is wrong, and in turn it means that any real option for the Fed's NEW QE will be the outright monetization (aka LSAP) of either USTs or MBS, ala QE1 and QE2.
We have been warning of the uncomfortable current similarities to last year's (and for that matter cycle after cycle) high-yield credit underperformance / lagging behavior 'canary-in-the-coalmine' relative to the exuberant equity market for a month now. Now, Bank of America provides - in two succinct charts - the fundamental underpinning of this grave concern as across the high-yield credit universe revenues are not catching up with costs - creating significant margin pressures - and at the end of the day, a market that cares more for cash flow sustainability than the latest headline or quarter EPS upgrade from some sell-side pen-pusher is waving a red-flag as margins are the lowest they have been since March 2009 and is falling at a much faster clip than in the fall of 2008 as the reality of money-printing comes home to roost. And just to add salt to this fundamental wound, technicals are starting to hurt as supply picks up and 'opportunistic' issuance turns notably heavy - perhaps helping to explain how the ongoing inflows have been unable to push prices further up in the US. Lastly European high yield is trading tick-for-tick with sovereign risk still - as it has since the middle of last year and so as LTRO-funded carry fades, we would expect it to underperform - especially as austerity slows growth.
Everyone's favorite stock pitchman, Bob Pisani, who lately apparently has the capacity to learn just one line and just regurgitate it ad nauseam, was on CNBC earlier screaming how gold is down because the US is so much better than the world, when in reality gold is once again being sold to fund early margin calls (yes, institutionals are that levered right now). As for the US decoupling story, which time after time is dragged out, only to be shelved once the impact of trillions in liquidity fades, and which is never different this time, here is none other than Bank of America explaining to the likes of Pisani why "the US economy is likely to prove a faulty engine of global growth." Read - no decoupling, despite what the market may be trying to say. And yes, the market, and especially the Russell 2000 is never the economy.
The Need To Get In Bed With Big Brand Names Is Obviously More Important Than The Need To Keep Your Money!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 04/04/2012 06:09 -0400
Again, Goldman Sachs Investment Advice Sucks... and we all know the reason why!