Bank of America

"I Give A Damn": A Capitalist Manifesto For The Productive Class

Corruption thrives when good people do nothing. Societies rebound when good people do something. Isn't it time to make democratic capitalism happen. Democratic capitalism is about worthwhile production and exchange by communities of people who give a damn. It is expressly not about either crony-driven concentration of wealth or government redistribution.

Japan Central Bank Admits Sending Schizophrenic Signals To Market As JGB Liquidity "Evaporates"

It doesn't take an Econ Ph.D to realize that what Japan is trying to do: which is to recreate the US monetary experiment of the past four years, which has had rising stocks and bonds at the same time, the first due to the Fed's endless monetary injections (and pent up inflation expectations) and the second due to quality collateral mismatch and scarcity and shadow bank system funding via reserve currency "deposit-like" instruments such as TSYs, is a problem. After all, those who understand that the BOJ is merely taking hints from the Fed all along the way, have been warning about just that, and also warning that once the dam breaks, and if (or when) there is a massive rotation out of bonds into stocks, it is the Japanese banks - levered to the gills with trillions of JGBs - that will crack first. Apparently, this elementary finance 101 logic has finally trickled down to the BOJ, whose minutes over the weekend revealed that members are pointing out "contradictions" in the Kuroda-stated intent of doubling the monetary base in two years, unleashing inflation, sending the stock market soaring, all the while pressuring bondholders to not sell their bonds. As the FT reports, "According to the minutes of the April 26 policy meeting, released on Monday, a “few” board members said the BoJ’s original stance “might initially have been perceived by market participants as contradictory”, causing “fluctuations in financial markets”.

"Hawks, Doves, Owls And Seagulls" - Summarizing The Fed's Bird Nest

With part two of today's Fed-a-palooza due out shortly in the form of the May 1 FOMC meeting minutes, here is an informative recap of the current roster of assorted birds at the FOMC via Bank of America. Of course, since every decision always begins and ends with Ben, and soon his replacement Janet, all of below is largely meaningless.

It's Tuesday: Will It Be 19 Out Of 19?

Another event-free day in which the only major economic data point was the release of UK CPI, which joined the rest of the world in telegraphing price deflation, despite bubbles in the real estate and stock markets, printing 2.0% Y/Y on expectations of a 2.3% increase, the lowest since November 2009 and giving Mark Carney carte blanche to print as soon as he arrives on deck. In an amusing twist of European deja-vuness, last night Japan's economy minister who made waves over the weekend when he said that the Yen has dropped low enough to where people's lives may be getting complicated (i.e., inflation), refuted everything he said as having been lost in translation, and the result was a prompt move higher in the USDJPY, quickly filling the entire Sunday night gap. That said, and as has been made very clear in recent years, data is irrelevant, and the only thing that matters, at least so far in 2013, is whether it is Tuesday: the day that has seen 18 out of 18 consecutive rises in the DJIA so far in 2013, and whether there is a POMO scheduled. We are happy to answer yes to both, so sit back, and wait for the no-volume levitation to wash over ever. The US docket is empty except for Dudley and Bullard speaking, but more importantly, the fate of Jamie Dimon may be determined today when the vote on the Chairman/CEO title is due, while Tim Cook will testify in D.C. on the company's tax strategy and overseas profits.

Frontrunning: May 20

  • Obama's Counsel Was Told of IRS Audit Findings Weeks Ago (WSJ)
  • North Korea fires sixth missile in three days (Reuters)
  • Enron No Lesson to Traders as EU Probes Oil-Price Manipulation (BBG)
  • Don't cry for me, Eurozone: Thinking the Unthinkable - Quitting a Currency (WSJ)
  • H-1B Models Strut Into U.S. as Programmers Pray for Help (BBG)
  • Gold Bear Bets Reach Record as Soros Cuts Holdings (BBG)
  • Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for Tumblr (WSJ)
  • JPMorgan Holders Led by Chairmen-CEOs to Vote on Dimon (BBG)
  • Apple faces grilling over US tax rate (FT)
  • Nissan to Sell First Joint Minicar to Expand in Japan Market (BBG)
  • Fierce battle for corporate loans sparks US bank risk concerns (FT)
  • Microsoft Updates Xbox as Apple to Facebook Gain in Games (BBG)

Guest Post: The Empire's Next Effort To Extract Your Wealth

Since before the tech bust, we’ve been suggesting that while Americans “think” they’re getting richer... they’re actually heading in the other direction. They’re getting poorer. This proposition has been easier for folks to entertain since housing busted and the financial crisis reversed the “wealth effect” in 2008. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the logic of the American Empire and what you can expect in the year(s) ahead.

Eric Sprott: The Golden Answer To Chinese Import Data

Manufacturing data in the last several months has suggested that economic growth around the world is slowing. However, China’s export growth surprised the market this week and unexpectedly accelerated in April, even as shipments to the U.S. and Europe fell. This has created a conundrum for analysts and market watchers. How can China be growing while the countries that purchase its exports are slowing? As we noted earlier, the numbers don’t add up. Many analysts have attributed China’s increasing imports as signs of a healthy manufacturing sector, or increasing investments in infrastructure and property. Our simple analysis shows that more than one third of the increase in imports is due to China’s increasing gold consumption. This new gold buying could have a significant impact on Chinese import statistics and force analysts to reconsider the strength of the Chinese domestic economy.

Frontrunning: May 10

  • PBOC Says China Shouldn’t Be ’Blindly Optimistic’ on Inflation (BBG)
  • Foreigners Buying Half of London New Homes Prop Up Building (BBG) - first they come for the foreign deposits, then for the real assets...
  • Investors Rediscovering Margin Debt (WSJ) - well, yes: it is at record highs
  • China issues new rules targeting wealth management fund pools (RTRS)
  • Navy $37 Billion Ships Seen Unsuitable Have 2-Year Window (BBG)
  • New York may have to drop claims against BofA over Merrill (RTRS)
  • FBI Rejects Boston Police Stance in Spat Over Terror Data (BBG)
  • In eastern Syria oil smugglers benefit from chaos (RTRS)

Overnight Sentiment: Buy In May, And Continue Buying In May As Global Easing Accelerates

With another listless macro day in the offing, the main event was the previously mentioned Bank of Korea 25 bps rate cut, which coming at a time when everyone else in the world is easing was not too surprising, but was somewhat unexpected in light of persistent inflationary pressures. Either way, the gauntlet at Abenomics has been thrown and any temporary Japanese Yen-driven export gains will likely not persist as it is the quality of products perception (sorry 20th century Toshiba and Sony), that is the primary determinant of end demand, not transitory, FX-driven prices. And now that Korea is set on once again matching Japan in competitiveness, the final piece of the Abenomics unwind puzzle has finally clicked into place.  Elsewhere overnight, China reported consumer price inflation increasing by 2.4%, on expectations of a 2.3% rise, driven by a 4% jump in food costs: hardly the thing of Politburo dreams. Or perhaps the PBOC can just print more pigs, soy and birdflu-free chickens? On the other hand, PPI dropped 2.6% in April, on estimates of a 2.3% decline, as China telegraphs it has the capacity, if needed, to stimulate the economy. This is ironic considering its inflation pressures are externally-driven, and come from the Fed and the BOJ, and soon the BOE and ECB. And thus its economy stagnates while prices are driven higher by hot money flows. What to do?

JP Morgan Has Zero Trading Losses In The First Quarter

Earlier it was Bank of America reporting a perfect trading quarter, with profitability on 60 out of 60 trading days, and now it is JPMorgan's turn. Moments ago, Jamie Dimon's firm filed a 10Q in which, among other things, it announced than in the quarter ended March 31, it was profitable on 63 out of 63 trading days and had one day in which it gained more than $200 million, or said simply another case of trading perfection unmatched anywhere in the known universe except perhaps by sellers of newsletters on Twitter. It was not immediately clear why JPM got a freebie of three extra profitable trading days in the quarter compared to BofA, although we suspect Jamie Dimon's presidential cufflinks may have something to do with it. What is clear is that the probability of one firm trading without error for an entire quarter, let alone two (and soon more as other banks file their 10-Qs) is slim to quite slim. Although not nearly as slim as whoever the hot chick is on Dancing with the Stars this season, which we are confident is the only thing the bulk of the population cares about. For everyone else, there's E(rror free)-trade.

Bank Of America Q1 Profitable Trading Days: 100%

After the "humiliating" performance in Q4 2012, when Bank of America had a whopping 2 trading loss days out of 61, in has managed to redeem itself in the first quarter of 2012, when not only did it record seven trading days when it generated revenue of over $100 million daily, but more importantly it had zero days (of 60 total) with any net trading losses: a track record that can only be matched by any daytrader on Twitter. After all, what is better than trading when there is no risk of loss.

11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Should Be Abolished

If the American people truly understood how the Federal Reserve system works and what it has done to us, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately.  It is a system that was designed by international bankers for the benefit of international bankers, and it is systematically impoverishing the American people. The Federal Reserve system is the primary reason why our currency has declined in value by well over 95 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger over the past 100 years. The Fed creates our "booms" and our "busts", and they have done an absolutely miserable job of managing our economy. So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?  Sadly, this is the way it works all over the globe today.  In fact, all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank.  But the truth is that there are much better alternatives.

No Recovery Here Either: Home Renovation Spending Plummets To 2010 Levels

One of the widely accepted misconceptions surrounding the so-called "housing recovery" fanfared by misleading headlines such as this "Remodeling activity keeps up positive momentum", which in reality has merely turned out to be a housing bubble in various liquified "flip that house" MSAs (offset by continuing deteriorating conditions in those places where the Fed's trillions in excess reserves have trouble reaching coupled with ongoing foreclosure stuffing), is that "renovation spending", the amount of cash spent to upgrade and update a fixer-upper, has surged. Sadly, this is merely the latest lie about the US economy: as the attached chart showing renovation spending in the past 6 months, it has absolutely imploded, confirming that not only is a broad housing recovery a myth (instead of localized pockets of bubbly liquidity here and there), but that the US home-owning household is now more tapped out than at any time in the past two years.