Yeah, that's right! I said it. They CAN'T TRADE!!! Haven't I proven my point yet?
Is The Entire Global Banking Industry Carrying Naked, RISKY, Unhedged "Risk Free" Sovereign Debt? Quick Answer: Probably!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 11/03/2011 11:59 -0500
Here I discuss the chances of Goldman Sachs succumbing to an MF Global/Lehman/Bear Stearns style bank run. Impossible, you say? Don't bet the farm on that one, son!
I said it in the past and was proven correct twice. It happened again, big time - and is now incontrovertible. Contrary to popular belief, Squids can't trade!
That Europe is, and for a long time has been nothing more than one spring club loaded, and destructive Jack in the Box, just waiting to be unleashed upon the world when the conditions are most dire, is by now nothing new to regular readers: it was roughly two years ago when we presented for the first time the case of how European bank debt is not only orders of magnitude greater than American debt, but that the equity tranches is a tiny sliver in a world where one bank's assets are another bank's liabilities, and any modest write down of debt would result in a cascading domino effect which wipes out billions and possibly trillions in "book value." It is also yesterday, that we refreshed on why a Greek forced write down of up to 60% would promptly spread like wildfire and lead to every troubled European sovereign to demand the same conditions as Greece, pushing French banks (and their US proxies, we all know who they are), to the edge of the abyss because while one Greek write down of 50% may be viable, the same treatment afforded to Italy (which will become inevitable) will simply topple French banks. And putting it all together is this chart redux of who owes what to whom via the NYT. It is nothing new, and it speaks for itself.
Bank of America Lynch[ing this] CountryWide's Equity Is Likely Worthess and It Will Rape FDIC Insured Accounts Going BustSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 10/22/2011 06:50 -0500
Warning! Highly controversial post. Long. Thick (with information) & HARD [hitting]! Thus if you are easily offended by pretty women, intellectually aggressive brothers in cognitive war garb, government regulators selling you out to the highest European bidder, or cold hard facts borne from world class research not seen in the sell side or the mainstream media, I strongly suggest you stop reading here and move on. There is nothing further for you to see.
This Bank Is Much Worse Than the Rest and the (Guaranteed?) Bust Will Probably Be Funded Right Out of Your Bank Account!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 10/20/2011 11:59 -0500
I call you to attention. I have found a bank that literally has more derivatives risk than Citibank, Goldman, Morgan and JP Morgan - COMBINED! If BAC & JPM are stuffing derivative risks behind your bank accounts, are you naive enough to believe that foreign banks are doing the same?
AAPL is well positioned to potentially be a big enough long-term winner to justify the risks, even at its current stock price. It has a seasoned, motivated management team; a potentially hot product feature to roll out throughout its major product line in Siri, with years of improvements in that technology ahead; unbeatable financial strength; loyal and even super-loyal users; a focus on secular growth fields; and a low price-earnings ratio based on reasonable earnings estimates. All this is being said despite being bearish on the stock market as a whole and bearish on the U. S. economy; but AAPL is about as far from the central control of the economy exerted by Washington as can be; it is highly international; and periods such as this recent period of high correlation between stocks have always given way to periods of differentiation. Looking out to mid-decade or so, there is a significant chance that AAPL can achieve the bifecta of much higher earnings and a nicely higher P/E. This might yield the world's first trillion dollar market cap company.
We are still waiting to see the final form of the "Grand Plan" and what novel ways the EFSF guarantees will be applied to save the day. At the risk of sounding incredibly stupid, I have this feeling that Europe didn't actually work on any details until this past week, and Germany is suddenly realizing how bad the details are for them. Is it possible that some politicians got so caught in the moment of "saving Europe" and "fighting the speculators" that they kept promising more and more, without thinking whether they could or should deliver? You would like to think they didn't, but since none of the politicians are detail oriented, most of their contacts at investment banks are high level, former bankers, rather than traders, it is quite possible they didn't realize what they had agreed to. If some new EFSF is created, all of the future bargaining power in Europe will be shifted from France and Germany to PIIS. (it is a shame Ireland wasn't named Shamrock, it would make the acronym so much better).
Market Slumps After European Banks Admit They Can't/Won't Raise Capital; Will Proceed With Asset Liquidations InsteadSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/12/2011 15:29 -0500
It was about an hour before the market close, which means it was time for the latest FT rumor. Only this time, unlike the 3 or so times before, the bazooka was not only a dud, it caused the inverse reaction of that intended, and led to a broad market selloff. The reason: according to the FT (and certainly take this with a salt shaker if previous experience is any indication) is that European banks have balked at the prospect of recapitalizing at current levels ("Why should we raise capital at these [depressed share price] levels?” said one eurozone bank boss. The average European bank’s equity is trading at only about 60 per cent of its book value.) and instead will opt for asset liquidations. Now, whether they won't, or, as we have claimed since the first day we heard of the ludicrous "recap" rumors, they can't, simply because absent a massively dilutive rights offering, nobody in their right mind would lend to an industry which continues to be locked out of short-term funding markets for the 4th month in a row, is largely irrelevant. As a result no new money can come in: a key prerequisite to any European recapitalization plans. Of course, it is one for a "blog" to say that, it is something else for the FT to confirm it, even if it is a rumor. So what will banks do instead: why proceed with all out asset liquidation, and sell anything that is not nailed down. The strawman is that this is capital needed to fund the banks' requirements for higher capital ratios per Basel III and what not. The truth is that banks desperately need any capital just to operate as a going concern, forget some Basel Tier 1 ratio that will only be relevant in 2016. So yes: the bitter truth comes out - recap out; liquidations in, especially of USD-denominated assets. Next step: the realization that he who sells first, sells best. So yes, the "hope, idiocy and #mathfail" induced rally was fun while it lasted. And now it is back to reality.
Wonder why China just bailed out its banks, preemptively, on Monday? Here's why. In a report issued by Credit Suisse's Sanjay Jain, the China strategist, who joins such now infamous skeptics as Bank of Countrywide Lynch's David Cui, has revised his base case Non Performing Loan ratio forecast from 4.5%-5.0% to 8.0%-12.0%: a unprecedented doubling in cumulative losses. Why unprecedented? Because as he explains, this could "would work out to 65–100% of banks’ equity." Crickets? Yes, Credit Suisse just singlehandedly said the equity value of the entire Chinese banking system is between 66% and 100% overvalued (with a downside case of $0.00). So for those putting two and two together, on one hand we have the four horsemen of the Chinese apocalypse, already presented visually before by Bank of America, consisting of i) a surge in underground lending, ii) a property downturn, iii) bad bank debt and iv) and "hot money" outflows, and on the other we have the vicious loop of what this means in terms of a central planning reaction. Simply said look for China to scramble to undo all the signals that it had been trying to spark while it was fighting with the Fed-inspired inflation bubble. Only problem is that like in the US and Europe, finding the Goldilocks point where all 4 are in equilibrium will be next to impossible, especially if investors in the country's banks realize the equity they hold is worthless and scramble to get the hell out of Dalian. Then the fears over a parliamentary vote in Slovakia will seem like a pleasant walk in the park.
Erste Group Reveals Stunner: Reports Billions In Previously Undisclosed Underwater Sovereign CDS; Who Is Next? And How Much More Is Out There?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/10/2011 13:36 -0500
Anyone looking at a heatmap of European markets today will see a sea of green punctuated by a very red island in the middle. The culprit: Austrian mega bank Erste, which issued an ad hoc and very unexpected press release, in which it warned that losses in its Hungarian and Romanian books would lead to a 14% hit, or €1.1 billion, to tangible book value, something that in itself is not a surprise to anyone (except the stress test). After all, since early 2010, most have known that due to Swiss Franc-based mortgage exposure, Hungary is next to follow in the PIIGS footsteps, and its collapse has so far been delayed due to lower overall public and private sector leverage. What was, however not only a surprise, but a shock, was that Erste disclosed some major losses on its €5.2 billion CDS portfolio, consisting of "EUR 2.4 billion related to financial institution exposures, and EUR 2.8 billion related sovereign exposures". Why is this a surprise? UK-based financial advisory Autonomous explains: "The fact that Erste had a sovereign CDS portfolio which was not marked-to-market has left many investors scratching their heads. As a reminder the EBA stress test data showed Erste to have zero sovereign CDS exposure within its sovereign mix compared to the €2.8bn it now appears to have ‘fessed up’ to (taking a cumulative €460m hit). They also have €2.4bn exposure to banks via writing of CDS. The bulk is non-PIIGS but banks spreads have moved in the same manner as sovereigns (albeit wider and more volatile)." And there you have it: the bogeyman that everyone has been warning about, yet nobody has seen, CDS written (as in sold) in bulk against other sovereigns and other banks which up until now were only mythical, as they, to quote the EBA (which had Dexia as its safest bank) simply did not exist. Oh, they exist all right, and what they do is create a toxic spiral of accentuating losses whenever the risk situation deteriorates, creating positive feedback loops of ever increasing losses until the next Dexia appears... and then the next... and the next. Expect the market to latch on to this dramatic revelation like a rabid pitbull once the hopium high from today's EURUSD short covering squeeze wears off.
Hunting the Squid, Part 2: Since When Is Enough Derivative Exposure To Blow Up The World Something To Be Ignored?Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 10/03/2011 10:32 -0500
How will GS put a real hedge, a counterparty risk mitigating prophylactic if you will, over that big green stalk that is representative of Total Credit Exposure to Risk Based Capital? Short answer, Goldman may very well be to big for a counterparty condom. You pretty, brand name Goldman counterparties out there (and yes, there are a lot of y'all - GS really gets around), expect to get burned at the culmination of that French banking party I've been talking about for the last few quarters.
Monday afternoon the markets shot straight up after taking a dose of CNBCialis. CNBC was the first to break the story about letting EFSF use leverage or turning the EIB into a vehicle to increase the potency of the EFSF funds. That was followed up by more leaks to other news sources. Stocks went higher quite happily but failed to drag the credit markets with it to a large degree. Any analysis of the various plans all lead to the same conclusion - no matter how complex or convoluted the plan, the only way it works is for Germany and France to risk their credit ratings to support everyone else, or to print money. No miracle solution was at work. Plans may yet be put in place, but it is clear all they do if shuffle the deck chairs and obfuscate who is picking up the tab, but solve nothing. It is clear that if it gets implemented, any further problems would become far worse as there would be no Eurozone country strong enough to support the rest. What wasn't clear, is whether the downgrades would occur even before the plans were launched. As I wrote earlier, I will change my view of the market when something real comes out to make me change it. I also really believe that in the near term, after a Greek default, SPX is likely to move in a range of 1000-1150, and the next big move will be if the global economies can resurrect growth.
Warren came, he saw BRK/A trading at $99,000, he took a bath, and decided that this aggression against BRK/A will not stand, man. As a result, after taking a metaphorical bath on BAC, the Octogenarian has just decided to launch a share repurchase program in the company with the massive short S&P put, because "In the opinion of our Board and management, the underlying businesses of Berkshire are worth considerably more than this amount, though any such estimate is necessarily imprecise." In other words, Buffett is slowing starting to realize that he has to put up or shut up, and very soon he will also realize that just because the president allegedly has his back (it is not called the "Buffett Plan" for nothing), he won't have a "perpetual get out of risk card" for life, and America's taxpayers may soon let the world's most crony capitalist just fail.