These men are masters of the capital markets. They are voting with their feet and pulling their capital out of them.
China's attempts to curb runaway inflation in its housing market - which in a country in which the relatively young capital markets lack the breadth and depth of their western equivalents remains the only venue in which to park any of the excess cash generated from the global central bank liquidity avalanche - continue to be met with failure after failure. Overnight, the China Statistics Bureau reported that in September new home price across the country's 70 tracked cities, rose in virtually all of them, or 69 compared to a year ago. On a monthly basis, or compared to August, new home prices rose in only 65 of China's cities, compared to 66 in the month prior. And while the CSB data differs from the Shanghai Uwin data reported yesterday, the government's data while less stunning still shows the extent of the Chinese housing bubble and the persistent inflation plaguing the country: Beijing new home prices rose 1% M/m; and 16% Y/y; Shanghai new home prices rose 1.4% M/m; and 17% Y/y in September.
First it was David Viniar, rumored for so long to be Lloyd's next logical replacement, who rode into the Goldman sunset. Now it is the turn of Goldman's Vice Chairman, Michael Evans, one of the firm's most senior execs and the person who many had expected would ultimately replace Lloyd Blankfein when it was time for succession at the firm that executes God's will (net of 3-5% in commissions) to depart quietly into the night.
As markets twiddle their thumbs waiting on Washington to come up with a political solution to the Federal Debt Limit/budget debate, ConvergEx's Nick Colas decided it would be a good time to review the academic literature on how markets discount expectations in the first place. Behavioral finance posits that human nature skews perceptions of risk and return, causing everything from irrational risk aversion to asset price bubbles. Against this current backdrop of theoretical uncertainty, measures like the VIX are currently somnambulant. So, using the modern vernacular, WTF? The bottom line, Colas explains, is that Wall Street thinks it has the current "Crisis" all figured out: a last minute deal with no Treasury default. And just as we haven’t sold off materially during this drama, don’t expect a huge (+5%) lift afterwards.
So what exactly did Reid know and when?
- *UNITED STATES' AAA IDR RATING MAY BE CUT BY FITCH :3352Z US
- FITCH SAYS PUTS U.S. ON RATING WATCH NEGATIVE AS U.S. AUTHORITIES HAVE NOT RAISED FEDERAL DEBT CEILING IN A "TIMELY MANNER
- *FITCH STILL SEES U.S. DEBT CEILING TO BE RAISED SOON :3352Z US
- *FITCH SEES RESOLVING US RWN BY END OF 1Q '14 AT LATEST
- *FITCH STILL SEES U.S. DEBT CEILING TO BE RAISED SOON :3352Z US
- *FITCH SEES U.S. ECONOMIC GROWTH REVERTING TO 2.25% AFTER 2017
What politicians want from their regulatory efforts is a world of pure beta and zero alpha. This is the ultimate “level playing field”, where no one knows anything that everyone else doesn’t also know. The presumption within regulatory bodies today is that you must be cheating if you are generating alpha. How’s that? Alpha generation requires private information. Private information, however acquired, is defined as insider information. Insider information is cheating. Thus, alpha generation is cheating. QED. Why would politicians want an alpha-free market? Because a “fair” market with a “level playing field” is an enormously popular Narrative for every US Attorney who wants to be Attorney General, every Attorney General who wants to be Governor, and every Governor who wants to be President … which is to say all US Attorneys and all Attorneys General and all Governors. Because criminalizing private information in public markets ensures a steady stream of rich criminals for show trials in the future. Because the political stability of the American regime depends on a widely dispersed, non-zero-sum price appreciation of all financial assets – beta – not the concentrated, zero-sum price appreciation of idiosyncratic securities. Because public confidence in the government’s control of public institutions like the market must be restored at all costs, even if that confidence is misplaced and even if the side-effects of that restoration are immense.
Big picture and dispassionate discussion.
As regular readers know, the biggest legacy disconnect in the US banking system is the divergence between commercial bank loans which most recently amounted to $7.32 trillion, a decrease of $9 billion for the week, and are at the same the same level when Lehman filed for bankruptcy having not grown at all in all of 2013 (blue line below), and their conventionally matched liability: deposits, which increased by $60 billion in the past week to $9.63 trillion, an all time high. The spread between these two key monetary components - at least in a non-centrally planned world - which also happen to determine the velocity of money in circulation (as traditionally it is private banks that create money not the Fed as a result of loan demand) is now at a record $2.3 trillion.
As we have discussed previously, the "partial government shutdown" that we are experiencing right now is pretty much a non-event - especially with the un-furloughing of The Pentagon. Yeah, some national parks are shut down and some federal workers will have their checks delayed, but it is not the end of the world. In fact, only about 17% of the federal government is actually shut down at the moment. This "shutdown" could continue for many more weeks and it would not affect the global economy too much. On the other hand, if the debt ceiling deadline (approximately October 17th) passes without an agreement that would be extremely dangerous. A U.S. debt default that lasts for more than a couple of days could potentially cause a financial crash that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic. If a debt default were to happen before the end of this year, that would bring a tremendous amount of future economic pain into the here and now, and the consequences would likely be far greater than any of us could possibly imagine.
There is a reason why John Taylor of FX Concepts, founded in 1981 and which once upon a time was the world's largest FX hedge fund, has kept a very quiet profile lately despite his often bombastic prognostications in 2011 and 2012: the firm may be on the verge of shut down following a recent surge in redemptions resulting from woeful performance in the past three years. FX Week reports that AUM at FX Concepts "have continued to fall and the fund's chief strategist confirms the board's ideas haven't worked so far." It adds that the hedge fund is in "dangerous territory after the departure of several major clients and falling assets under management, prompting the firm's board to rethink its strategy, officials have confirmed." As a result of a surge in redemptions, assets under management have declined from a peak of $14.2 billion in 2007 to less than $1 billion this year, having been at $4.5 billion in early 2012.
Argues that despite the growth the of the state in response to the crisis, what characterizes the current investment climate is the weakness of the state. This asssessment is not limited to the US, where the federal government remains partially closed.
Technically, the dollar is looking a bit better. Here is our assessment.
The standard wisdom on gold is that it does well in times of economic bad news such as in the 1970s, a period of stagflation and recessions, when the yellow metal rose from $35/oz to peak at $850/oz in 1980. But this time, Don Coxe, a portfolio adviser to BMO Asset Management, believes, things are different. In this interview with The Gold Report, Coxe explains why gold will rise when the economy improves.
One thing is now abundantly clear: 2013 is now one big scratch for bankers who were expecting that this year bonuses would finally pick up from the prior several years mediocre performance and catch up to the record days of 2009 (just after the biggest wholesale bank bailout in history). The WSJ summarizes the situation best: "I haven't seen morale this bad since the Titanic," said Richard Stein, a senior recruiter at Caldwell Partners CWL.T -3.41% who specializes in financial services. And if bankers are not happy, nobody else will be (here's looking at you dear perpetual banker bailout ATM known as US taxpayers).
From: Chilton, Bart <BChilton@cftc.gov>
Subject: Re: Today's Smackdown
No regulators looking at markets due to government shut down.