Hours ago, in addition to making Cypriot sovereign bonds no longer eligible as collateral at the ECB, the European Central Bank also announced something that received less attention, namely that its balance sheet rose by €31 billion in the past week (due to an increase in the MRO) to a new all time record high of €3.058 trillion. In other words, even as the Fed's balance sheet continues to be flat, or is even modestly declining, the ECB continues to pick up the monetary slack with all new fiat ending up to benefit the US capital markets. Now as frequent readers know, this latest shift in the relative size of the two critical CB balance sheets also means something else: that the fair value of thje EURUSD implied purely on balance sheet correlation, a relationship that historically worked perfectly, yet in recent months has broken down due to the market's conviction that more QE is coming any minute now, is now just above 1.16, or just shy of 900 pips lower from here.
“Pessimism has become tiresome, so optimism is gaining a foothold”
If there is one bank report that Obama wishes is absolutely wrong it is the following note from Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid (definitely not part of the bank's laughable Trinity Of Perma Bull consisting of Bianco, Chadha and, of course, La Vorgna) who, looking at the timing of business cycles, makes the following ominous, for both the economy and Obama's reelection chances, prediction: "If this US cycle is of completely average length as seen using the last 158 years of history (33 cycles) then the next recession should start by the end of August." The only saving grace for the president: since the advent of centrally-planned markets, nothing is as it used to be, and the business cycle no longer exists ("JP Morgan Finds Obama, And US Central Planning, Has Broken The Economic "Virtuous Cycle""). Still, maybe, this is the one last trace of free capital markets that the Fed has (so far) been unable to totally destroy. We are confident it will get right on it.
Vampire Squid Downgrades Margin Stanley From Conviction Buy To Netural, Warns On Counterparty Risk, Lowers PT From $20 To $16Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/26/2012 08:16 -0400
GS just did what it does best: pulled the rug from under its most troubled peer: "We are downgrading MS to Neutral and removing shares from the America’s Conviction List. Since being added to the Americas Conviction List on January 29, 2012, MS shares are down 27% vs. flat for the S&P 500. Over the past 12 months, MS shares are down 39% vs. the S&P 500 up 4%. When we added shares to the Conviction List, we noted that MS had addressed a number of legacy issues including (1) the conversion of the MUFG preferred stock to common to bolster common equity capital ratios, (2) elimination of the CIC preferred dividend, (3) removal of the MBIA relationship//hedge overhang, (4) write-down of legacy real estate assets, (5) elimination of non-core asset management businesses, and (6) near-completion of the integration of Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. While that all still holds true today and should be beneficial towards long-term “normalized” returns, we believe several capital market overhangs will reduce out-year earnings visibility and cap near-term outperformance. While too soon to tell how counterparties will react to a new capital market ratings distribution post-Moody’s, this cycle has proven that banks with the largest increase in funding spreads have generally lost fixed income trading market share. In addition, with a number of global macro uncertainties likely to weigh on capital markets activity for the foreseeable future, MS has outsized exposure here as well....we are lowering our 12-month price target for MS to $16 (from $20) based on 0.6X TBV (from 0.7x) to reflect challenged near-term earnings power."
Capitalism at its best: kick 'em while they're down.
- On the continuing fraud that is Liebor: Libor Guardians Said to Resist Changes to Broken Rate (Bloomberg)
- Bank bailout to spark firesale of corporate Spain (Reuters) with Goldman and China just waiting
- EU Could Rewrite Eurozone Budgets (FT) but it won't because Germany will just say Nein again
- Congress Said to Delay Automatic Budget Cuts Until March (Bloomberg)
- China Says June Trade Improving in Sign Slowdown Stabilizing (Bloomberg)
- Biggest U.S. Banks Curb Loans as Regional Firms Fill Gap (Bloomberg)
- New York Fed Sells $4bn in Mortgage Debt (FT)
- Julian Assange’s fall from the heavens (Reuters)
- Wheeler to Lead N.Z. Central Bank as Kiwi Hits Exports: Economy (Bloomberg)
- Japan Lower House Passes Sales Tax Bill as Vote Divides DPJ (Bloomberg)
While everyone's attention was focused on details surrounding the household sector in the recently released Q1 Flow of Funds report (ours included), something much more important happened in the US economy from a flow perspective, something which, in fact, has not happened since December of 1995, when liabilities in the deposit-free US Shadow Banking system for the first time ever became larger than liabilities held by traditional financial institutions, or those whose funding comes primarily from deposits. As a reminder, Zero Hedge has been covering the topic of Shadow Banking for over two years, as it is our contention that this massive, and virtually undiscussed component of the US real economy (that which is never covered by hobby economists' three letter economic theories used to validate socialism, or even any version of (neo-)Keynesianism as shadow banking in its proper, virulent form did not exist until the late 1990s and yet is the same size as total US GDP!), is, on the margin, the most important one: in fact one that defines, or at least should, monetary policy more than most imagine, and also explains why despite trillions in new money having been created out of thin air, the flow through into the general economy has been negligible.
Last week, Europe was the source of transitory euphoria on some inexplicable assumption that just because the continent has run out of assets, and the ECB has no choice but to expand "eligible" collateral to include, well, everything, things are fixed and it is safe to buy. Today, it is the opposite. Go figure. Call it pre-eurosummit burnout, call it profit taking on hope and prayer, call it Brian Sack packing up his trading desk (just 5 more days to go), and handing over proper capital markets functioning to a B-grade economist, or best just call it deja vu all over again.
The Euro 2012 football competition has entered its elimination stages. According to Citi's Matt King - one of the few respectable strategists out there - the elimination round has also arrived for the other EURo. There is still hope, but it is rapidly fading, and every additional half-baked, semi-efficient "resolution" only confirms the skepticism of the ever-increasing crowd of naysayers: summits, summits, and more summits, all the while nothing changes, and the German population: the only source of any European stability, is becoming increasingly belligerent toward the entire European experiment. The other problem: we are now in the first session of extra time. So even as Germany inches ever closer to winning it all in the European football arena, will the tradeoff be a loss for everyone else who now relies exclusively on German benevolence? A few days ago, David Marsh, writing "Don’t count on Germany’s economic surrender" in the FT, made just this point. And he is right. Yet the capital markets, after nearly throwing in the towel on Spain last week, have rebounded strongly giving some hope that this time something may be different. It won't be. King explains.
Draw a Wall Street paycheck long enough and you will work with an amazing spectrum of personalities. Today’s note from Nic Colas (of ConvergEx) is an homage to his past coworkers in the form of some offbeat comments that have stuck in his memory over the past 25 years on the Street (and will ring true to anyone who has spent more than a day on a trading floor). On the psychology of money management: “Last year we made $360 million and lost $330 million." On the importance of language in positioning an investment story: "The company’s revenues aren’t unpredictable; they are just chunky.” And our favorite, from long ago: "Who cares if most money managers underperform. They all seem to have big houses and pretty wives." No, not all these quotes are exactly "Politically correct", but they all represent some useful truths about investing and capital markets.
Here We Go: Moody's Downgrade Is Out - Morgan Stanley Cut Only 2 Notches, To Face $6.8 Billion In Collateral CallsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/21/2012 17:26 -0400
Here we come:
- MOODY'S CUTS 4 FIRMS BY 1 NOTCH
- MOODY'S CUTS 10 FIRMS' RATINGS BY 2 NOTCHES
- MOODY'S CUTS 1 FIRM BY 3 NOTCHES
- MORGAN STANLEY L-T SR DEBT CUT TO Baa1 FROM A2 BY MOODY'S
- MOODY'S CUTS MORGAN STANLEY 2 LEVELS, HAD SEEN UP TO 3
- MORGAN STANLEY OUTLOOK NEGATIVE BY MOODY'S
- MORGAN STANLEY S-T RATING CUT TO P-2 FROM P-1 BY MOODY'S
- BANK OF AMERICA L-T SR DEBT CUT TO Baa2 BY MOODY'S;OUTLOOK NEG
So the reason for the delay were last minute negotiations, most certainly involving extensive monetary explanations, by Morgan Stanley's Gorman (potentially with Moody's investor Warren Buffett on the call) to get only a two notch downgrade. And Wall Street wins again.
Even as Moody is now about a week late on its Spanish bank downgrade where the banks are rated higher than the sovereign (which obviously is kept in check to prevent yields on bonds from soaring even more), here comes the next wholesale bank downgrade:
- Moody's expected to announce ratings downgrade for UK banks this evening - Sky Sources
- Exclusive: Big news - I'm told Moody's will announce downgrades of some of world's biggest banks, incl in UK, after US mkts close tonight. - Sky's Mark Kleinman
Looks like that fabricated 2 notch Margin Stanley downgrade (because 3 notches just won't do - those 4 months of Gorman-led "negotiations" made that painfully clear) is about to strike. The real question is: What Would Egan Who Do?
Hours before Spain is expected to present the bank "assessment" from Roland Berger and Oliver Wyman on its comprehensive bank insolvency status, the country sold €2.22 billion of two-, three- and five-year government bonds, in a sale which saw solid demand but yields that are simply laughable and are completely unsustainable, culminating with a record yield on 5 year paper. Per Reuters, the Treasury sold 700 million euros worth of a 2-year bond, 918 million euros worth of a 3-year bond and 602 million euros of a 5-year bond, beating a target to issue up to 2 billion euros of the debt... In a nutshell: big demand for paper that will leave Spain pennyless. Not very surprising, and as Elisabeth Afseth from Investec summarized, "They got it away, it's about the most positive thing you can say about it." Elsewhere the German economy continues to deteriorate from carrying the weight of the PIIGS on its shoulders, with the Mfg PMI and Services PMI both missing estimates of 45.2 and 51.5, and printing at 44.7 and 50.3, respectively. This was a 3 year low for German PMI and now all but confirms that the economy will enter a recession at the next GDP update. But all this pales in comparison with the latest update of the Greek comedy where we learn that the three parties forming Greece's new coalition government have agreed to ask lenders for two more years to meet fiscal targets under an international bailout that is keeping the country from bankruptcy, a party official said on Thursday. This came a few hours after a German parliamentary group officially spoke against a time trade-off for Greece. Which means that beggas will not be choosers after all.
As Syriza Concedes Defeat, EURUSD Forgets To Soar - Is A Spanish "Bail Out" Market Response In The Works?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/17/2012 17:31 -0400
In a perilous replay of the Spanish bank "bailout", the proxy for bailout sentiment, the EURUSD pair, was up 61 pips to just under 1.2700... and that's it. Naturally, if the world suddenly thought Europe was "fixed", Spain notwithstanding, one would imagine the reaction by the FX market would be just a little more invigorated than merely confirming that what is playing out (namely the lack of a definitive Greek government) has already been priced in. And yet here we are...
While we await the Moody's downgrade of the Spanish banking system, which we can only attribute to a lack of outsourced Indian talent, since three banks are now rated higher than the sovereign, Moody's decided to give a little present to our Dutch readers by downgrading 5 of their biggest banks: Rabobank Nederland, (2 notches to A2) for ING Bank N.V., (2 notches to A2) for ABN AMRO Bank N.V. (2 notches to A2), and for LeasePlan Corporation N.V. (2 notches to Baa2). The long-term debt and deposit ratings for SNS Bank N.V. were downgraded by one notch to Baa2. And yes, this means that the US banks (looking at your Margin Stanley) are likely next.