Bank of America

Stock Market Bubbles And Record Margin Debt: A (Repeating) History Of Ignoring All Warnings

It is well-known that as part of the S&P500's ascent to new records, investor margin debt has also surged to all time highs, surpassing for the past three months previous records set during both prior, the dot com and the housing, stock market bubbles. And as more attention has shifted to the topic of speculator leverage once more, inquiries into the correlation between bets upon bets and stock performance are popping up once more, in this case in a study by Deutsche Bank titled "Red Flag! - The curious case of NYSE margin debt." Of particular note here is a historical comparison of margin-debt warnings that have recurred throughout history but especially just before major stock bubble crashes, such as in the period 1999/2000, 2007/2008 and of course today, which have time and again been ignored. Here is what was said then, what is being said now, and what is ignored always.

Fake Chinese Trade Data Pushes Fake US Futures Higher

Overnight, just as Japan was threatening to roll risk over even more (at the end of the day, or rather night, it did, sliding over 200 point bringing the two day total plunge to nearly 800 points) China reported trade numbers which were "better than expected" even though the net GDP contribution from the overall surplus was actually less than expected at $17.8 vs $27.1, which in turn pushed US futures solidly into the green. Ironically, while the China data was enough to give the US a solid green momentum it was not enough to give the China market a green close. Recall that this is the same data that forced Goldman to admit in January that "China is cooking the books"... the same data that prompted a Bank of America report analyzing the Chinese data to say the following: "One important question in investors' mind is whether we can trust the quality of these trade statistics because they seemed to be significantly distorted between October 2012 and April 2013.... we believe the quality of trade data was improved a lot. Using our adjustment method for fake trade..." Of course BofA "believes it", and it is only fitting: fake Chinese trade data to push the fake US stock market higher.

Frontrunning: August 7

  • Libor Settlements Said to Ease CFTC’s Path in Rate-Swaps Probe (BBG)
  • Manhattan Homes Under $3 Million Never Harder to Buy (BBG)
  • Just two years late: Abe Pledges Government Help to Stem Fukushima Water Leaks (BBG)
  • Chesapeake drops energy leases in fracking-shy New York (Reuters)
  • Hedge Fund Magnetar Won't Face Charges Tied to Mortgages (WSJ)
  • U.S. envoy leaves Cairo after talks declared over (Reuters)
  • Credit-Crisis Oracle Rajan to Head India’s Central Bank (BBG)
  • Bank of England Changes Policy Tack (WSJ)

Obama Victory Lap On Housing "Recovery" Speech - Live Webcast

Ready to unveil his cunning plan for getting the GSE monkey off his back, President Obama is in Phoenix, Arizona today to discuss "restoring security to homeownership." Ironic really that he is giving this speech in the epicenter of the new bubble in housing (Phoenix home prices +23% YoY) as he offers up a "better bargain for the middle class" which seems to mean a 'promise' that home prices will never fall again. Moar intervention, moar unintended consequences of capital mis-allocation, and moar un-affordability for the average middle-class person in Arizona now the bubble is reblown. Grab the popcorn, this will be good - as Obama explains the upside for private investors to take on that first loss piece of the mortgage market (in a rising rate environment with home prices bubbling).

Frontrunning: August 6

  • Washington Post Company Chairman and CEO Donald Graham talks about the sale, what it means for the future of The Post (WaPo)
  • Private-equity firms are adding debt to companies they own to fund payouts to themselves at a record pace (WSJ)
  • U.S., U.K. Urge Citizens to Leave Yemen (WSJ)
  • India Names Rajan Central Bank Governor as Rupee Plunges (BBG)
  • Family Offices Chasing Wealthy’s $46 Trillion in Assets (BBG)
  • UK 'bad bank' repays $2.9 billion to taxpayers in first half (Reuters)
  • Sony rebuffs Daniel Loeb’s push for entertainment spin-off (FT)
  • Public Pensions Up 12% Get Most in 2 Years as Stocks Soar (BBG)
  • Hidden Billionaire Found With Food Fortune in California (BBG)
  • Fonterra under fire over milk scare; more product recalls (Reuters)
  • Crédit Agricole Profit Rises After Greek  (WSJ)

Guest Post: Trying To Stay Sane In An Insane World - Part 2

This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character. There is a common denominator in all the bubbles created over the last century – Wall Street bankers and their puppets at the Federal Reserve. Fractional reserve banking, control of a fiat currency by a privately owned central bank, and an economy dependent upon ever increasing levels of debt are nothing more than ingredients of a Ponzi scheme that will ultimately implode and destroy the worldwide financial system. Since 1913 we have been enduring the largest fraud and embezzlement scheme in world history, but the law of diminishing returns is revealing the plot and illuminating the culprits. Bernanke and his cronies have proven themselves to be highly educated one trick pony protectors of the status quo. Bernanke will eventually roll craps. When he does, the collapse will be epic and 2008 will seem like a walk in the park.

China Is Ending Its "One-Child Policy" - Here Are The Implications

Back in 1978, the Chinese politburo enacted the "one-child policy", whose main purpose was to "alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems" in China as a result of the soaring population. According to estimates, the policy prevented more than 250 million births between 1980 and 2000, and 400 million births from about 1979 to 2011. And while not applicable to everyone, in 2007 approximately 35.9% of China's population was subject to a one-child restriction. Regardless of the numbers, things are about to change: with the Chinese economy now having peaked and suddenly finding itself in rapid deceleration with excess credit growth providing virtually no boost to marginal growth, the Chinese government is forced to reexamine 35 years of social policy in order to extract growth from the one place where for nearly 4 decades it had tried to stifle: demographics.  According to the 21st Business Herald which cited sources close to the National Population and Family Planning Commission, China may relax its one-child policy at end-2013 or early-2014 (read end) by allowing families to have two children if at least one parent is from a one-child family.

Ten Year Treasury Technical Trendlines

Friday's very disappointing non-farm payroll number may have had zero impact on stocks, which after opening deep in the red, following the latest Fed-induced all day zero volume ramp, closed at the all time highs (because when you can't BTFD you BTFATH), but it sure worked miracles on the 10 Year to keep it from tumbling below the critical 2.75% level (in no small part aided by the rampant momentum ignition manipulation in the 10 Year moments before the BLS released its data). Yet does Friday's move change anything in the Ten-Year Trendline? According to Bank of America technical strategist MacNeil Curry, not at all.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: What Wall Street Expects

Today's sellside NFP estimate, from top to bottom:

  • Deutsche Bank 225K
  • Goldman Sachs 200K
  • UBS 195K
  • Bank of America 180K
  • Barclays 175K
  • JP Morgan 175K
  • HSBC 165K
  • Citigroup 175K

Consensus is 185K, with a low of 87K, high of 225K (LaVorgna), June printing at 195K and May 165K. The Unemployment Rate Consensus is 7.5%, with a low 7.4% (LaVorgna), high 7.7% and June at 7.6%, May 7.5%.

Frontrunning: August 2

  • Low Wages Work Against Jobs Optimism (WSJ)
  • Tourre’s Junior Staff Defense Seen Leading to Trial Loss (BBG)
  • Russia gives Snowden asylum, Obama-Putin summit in doubt (Reuters)
  • Fortress to Blackstone Say Now Is Time to Sell on Surge (BBG)
  • Brazil backs IMF aid for Greece and recalls representative (FT), previously Brazil refused to back new IMF aid for Greece, says billions at risk (Reuters)
  • Google unveils latest challenger to iPhone (FT)
  • Swaps Probe Finds Banks Manipulated Rate at Expense of Retirees (BBG)
  • Academics square up in fight for Fed (FT)
  • Potash Turmoil Threatens England’s First Mine in Forty Years (BBG)
  • Dell Deal Close but Not Final (WSJ)

Bank Of America Reveals Pending DOJ Civil Charges Against It, Merrill Lynch

Lurking deep in the just filed Bank of America 10-Q (alongside data on its quarterly trading acumen which as usual made a mockery of random statistical probability distribution with just 7 days of losses and profits on 57) is this nugget which shows BAC's litigation expenses may be set to surge once more.

The Most Important Number In The Entire U.S. Economy

There is one vitally important number that everyone needs to be watching right now, and it doesn't have anything to do with unemployment, inflation or housing.  If this number gets too high, it will collapse the entire U.S. financial system.

If "Europe Is Fine" Why Is Deutsche Bank Deleveraging At The Fastest Pace Since The Crisis of 2011?

When one observes the decline in Deutsche Bank's two net derivative exposures since 2011, one notices something curious: over the past year, the nominal net exposure of the bank's positive and negative derivative market values has collapsed from a combined total of €1.678 trillion to just €1.253 trillion, with consecutive declines over each of the past 4 quarters for a cumulative net deleveraging of €425 billion.

JPMorgan: $7 Billion In "Fines" In Just The Past Two Years

There was a time when Jamie Dimon liked everyone to believe that his JPMorgan had a "fortress balance sheet", that he was disgusted when the US government "forced" a bailout on it, and that no matter what the market threw its way it would be just fine, thanks. Then the London Whale came, saw, and promptly blew up the "fortress" lie. But while JPM's precarious balance sheet was no surprise to anyone (holding over $50 trillion in gross notional derivatives will make fragile fools of the best of us), what has become a bigger problem for Dimon is that slowly but surely JPM has not only become a bigger litigation magnet than Bank of America, but questions are now emerging if all of the firm's recent success wasn't merely due to crime. Crime of the kind that "nobody accept or denies guilt" of course - i.e., completely victimless. Except for all the fines and settlements. Here is a summary of JPM's recent exorbitant and seemingly endless fines.

"The Taper Is Coming" - What Wall Street Thinks

Back in May, when we coined the term "Taper Tantrum" before the infamous Hilsenrath article was released bringing with it famine, pestilence and a full rerun of the 1994 blow out in rates, and when the prevailing consensus was that Bernanke wouldn't touch the rate of monthly monetization until December or even 2014, we forecast that as a result of a the declining US deficit (primarily due to a brief spike in GSE remittances to the Treasury until the closed loop of lower monetization ends any myth of a "housing recovery" and pushes US deficits much wider again) Bernanke will have no choice but to taper QE by $20 billion (or else risk destabilizing an already illiquid TSY market even more) with the announcement due at the September FOMC meeting. Just to avoid any confusion, we also showed just what such a September tapering would look like in the grand context of QE. But when, and by how, much does Wall Street see the end of tapering, and what is the sell-side consensus? The list below summarizes the current view by bank.