Countrywide

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Frontrunning: December 18





  • Swiss National Bank Starts Negative Interest Rate of 0.25% to Stave Off Inflows (BBG)
  • Putin Strikes Uncompromising Stance Over Crisis Gripping Russia (BBG)
  • Sony cancels North Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers (Reuters)
  • U.S. Said Set to Blame North Korea for Sony Cyber Attack (BBG)
  • China’s Short-Term Borrowing Costs Surge as Demand for Money Grows (WSJ)
  • Russia Currency Market Bends But Doesn’t Break (BBG)
  • Jeb Bush Puts Pressure on Chris Christie for 2016 (WSJ)
  • From joy to outrage, Florida's Cuban-Americans greet new U.S. policy (Reuters)
  • Russians Quit London Luxury Homes as Only Super-Rich Stay (BBG)
 
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What Tight Lending Conditions: Underwriting Standards Mirror Those Before Subprime Crash, OCC Finds





The myth of harsh lending conditions in the US is probably only matched in its disconnect from reality by the just as entertaining narrative of the "one-time, non-recurring" harsh winter crushing Q1 GDP. A narrative which even needed support from none other than former Fed Chairman Bernanke who allegedly was denied a mortgage refinancing on the $672K loan he still owes for his 3-bedroom, 2100 square foot home (a story which is about as credible as 17 year olds making $72 million by cornering the penny-stock market). For the truth we go to the Office Of the Comptroller of the Currency, which just reported in its annual survey that for the third year in a row, U.S. banks relaxed loan underwriting standards, "a trend mirroring the lax lending just before the financial crisis." To wit: "This year's survey showed a continued easing in underwriting standards, with trends very similar to those seen from 2004 through 2006," said Jennifer Kelly, senior deputy comptroller for bank supervision.

 
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Caught On Tape: Car Ploughs Into Demonstrators During Ferguson Rally In Minneapolis





Suddenly the countrywide Ferguson protests, which had progressed peacefully at least until now, took a turn for the ugly, when as the Star Tribune reported moments ago, A vehicle plowed through a group of demonstrators in Minneapolis several hours ago during a march and rally in the wake of last night's grand jury decision.

 
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Frontrunning: November 18





  • Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Calls Snap Election (WSJ) - as repeatedly priced in...
  • Flash Boys Raising Volatility in Wild New Treasury Market (BBG)
  • Not Greece again: Greek Bailout Review Stalls as Troika Demands Final Steps (BBG)
  • Iran uses China bank to transfer funds to Quds-linked companies (Reuters)
  • Porn Mags With Free Madrid Theater Tickets in Tax Protest (BBG)
  • Hong Kong, China stocks ease on profit-taking after stock connect launch (Reuters) - Hang Seng down 500 points in past 2 days
  • Halliburton Mega-Deal Sealed by CEOs Over Coke and Coffee (BBG)
  • Wall Street to Reap $316 Million From Day of Mega Deals (BBG)
  • Mass murderer Charles Manson gets marriage license, state says (Reuters)
 
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Jim Grant On Complexity: The Hidden Cost Of Central Bank Actions





Central banks are printing rules almost as fast as they’re printing money. The consequences of these fast-multiplying directives — complicated, long-winded, and sometimes self-contradictory — is one topic at hand. Manipulated interest rates is a second. Distortion and mispricing of stocks, bonds, and currencies is a third. Skipping to the conclusion of this essay, Jim Grant is worried: "The more they tried, the less they succeeded. The less they succeeded, the more they tried. There is no 'exit.'"

 
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This Time 'Is' Different - For The First Time In 25-Years The Wall Street Gamblers Are Home Alone





The last time the stock market reached a fevered peak and began to wobble unexpectedly was August 2007. Markets were most definitely not in the classic “price discovery” business. Instead, the stock market had discovered the “goldilocks economy." But what is profoundly different this time is that the Fed is out of dry powder. Its can’t slash the discount rate as Bernanke did in August 2007 or continuously reduce it federal funds target on a trip from 6% all the way down to zero. Nor can it resort to massive balance sheet expansion. That card has been played and a replay would only spook the market even more. So this time is different.  The gamblers are scampering around the casino fixing to buy the dip as soon as white smoke wafts from the Eccles Building.  But none is coming. For the first time in 25- years, the Wall Street gamblers are home alone.

 
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Frontrunning: September 17





  • -0.07%: Germany Secures Record Low Funding Cost at Bond Auction (WSJ)
  • Pentagon Sees Possible Role for U.S. Ground Forces Against Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • China Joins ECB in Adding Stimulus as Fed Scales Back (BBG)
  • Stealthy or Normal? Analysts Diverge on PBOC’s Action (BBG)
  • Sony Forecasts Massive $2B Loss as Smartphones Lag (AP)
  • Islamic State campaign tests Obama's commitment to Mideast allies (Reuters)
  • Brent Crude Rebounds as Libya’s Sharara Oilfield Shut (BBG)
  • Market calm over Scottish vote at odds with disaster warnings (Reuters)
 
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Angelo Mozilo Responds To Charges:: “No, No, No, We Didn’t Do Anything Wrong”





Here are some of the choice excerpts from the man who is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism: “You’ll have to ask those people, ‘What do you have against Mozilo, what did he do?’” he said in a 30-minute call with Bloomberg News before Labor Day, one of his few interviews since the firm’s downfall. “Countrywide didn’t change. I didn’t change. The world changed.”  Mozilo doesn’t understand why he and his firm, blamed by lawmakers and authorities for lax underwriting and predatory lending, have been seen as villains. “No, no, no, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that a real estate collapse was the root of the crisis. “Countrywide or Mozilo didn’t cause any of that.” Yes, the Moz talks about himself in the third person.

 
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Frontrunning: September 2





  • Ukraine Shifts to Defense Against Russian Incursion (WSJ)
  • U.S. forces carry out operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia (Reuters)
  • Bond Markets Tilt Toward Frankfurt as Draghi Negates Fed (BBG)
  • Another "unexpectedly" - Swiss Economy Unexpectedly Stalls as Euro Area Takes Toll (BBG)
  • Japan's 'Abenomics' feared in trouble as challenges build (Reuters)
  • Germany Imposes Nationwide Ban on Uber's Cab-Hailing Service (WSJ)
  • Japan's 'forward guidance', the GPIF, has "already begun a highly anticipated portfolio reshuffle" (WSJ)
  • Detroit Brings Bankruptcy Plan to Court With Billionaires (BBG)
  • Burger King has maneuvered to cut U.S. tax bill for years (Reuters)
 
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20,000 Pakistan Riot Police Unleash Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets As Protesters Breach PM's Residence, 230 Injured





UPDATE: *POLICE, PROTESTERS CLASH IN ISLAMABAD; AT LEAST 230 HURT: AFP

Against the background we initialliy explained here, and the escalation we discussed here, Imran Khan's "Pakistan Spring" has grown dramatically. The former cricketing-legend and erstwhile opposition leader's call for people to take to the streets to demand new 'unrigged' elections has 1000s of protesters breaching the Prime Minister's residence in Islamabad. Along with anti-government cleric Tahirul Qadri, Khan urged peaceful protest but, as AP reports, an estimated 20,000 police in riot gear are blocking the procession using tear gas and rubber bullets. Local hospitals report at least 100 injuries.

 
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US To Sue Angelo Mozilo, Again





Nearly a decade after Countrywide was sold to Bank of America in what has become the worst M&A deal of all time, bar none, having resulted in tens of billions of legal charges for Bank of America shareholders, the most recent of which was revealed also minutes ago when Bank of America was said to reach a record $17 billion settlement with the government over the sale of mortgage-backed securities, moments ago Bloomberg announced that none other than Agent Orange himself, Angelo Mozilo, is about to be sued. Again, only this time the lawsuit may actually not be tossed or result in yet another DOJ trademark wristslap.

 
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Frontrunning: August 18





  • Yellen Dashboard Warning Light Glows as Millions Work Part Time (BBG)
  • More US drones boosting global GDP: Unidentified war planes, explosions heard in Libyan capital (Reuters)
  • London Home Asking Prices Plunge Most in More Than Six Years (BBG)
  • Carney - Rate Hike before Pay Recovers (Times)
  • No Fed fireworks, but plenty of clues, expected at Jackson Hole (Reuters)
  • Kurdish, Iraqi forces in control of Mosul dam (Reuters)
  • China Pushes Cleanup of Banks (WSJ)
  • Russia Widens Ruble Trading Band in Move Away From Managed Rate (BBG)
  • Dollar General Makes $9.7 Billion Family Dollar Counterbid (BBG)
  • Autopsy finds unarmed teen killed by police was shot six times (NYT)
  • Bull Market Waning as Barclays Sees 1% Gain for S&P 500 (BBG)
  • Credit Suisse Caught Up in Espírito Santo Mess (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: July 31





  • Moscow fights back after sanctions; battle rages near Ukraine crash site (Reuters)
  • On Hold: Merkel Gives Putin a Blunt Message (WSJ)
  • Argentina’s Default Clock Runs Out as Debt Talks Collapse (BBG)
  • Argentina braces for market reaction to second default in 12 years (Reuters)
  • Banco Espirito Santo Plunges After Posting 3.6 Billion-Euro Loss (BBG)
  • Adidas Plunges After Cutting Forecast on Russia, Golf (BBG)
  • GOP Says Lerner Emails Show Bias Against Conservatives (WSJ)
  • Londoners Cashing in Flee to Suburbs as Home Rally Wanes (BBG)
  • BNP Paribas Reports Record $5.79 Billion Quarterly Loss (WSJ)
  • Swiss Banks Send U.S. Client Data Before Cascade of Settlements (BBG)
  • Putin Sows Doubt Among Stock Bears Burned by 29% Rebound (BBG)
 
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Italian Police Grab $150 Million Assets From Nomura For Defrauding Government





While Goldman's "derivative-based financial advice" to Greece before the EU enabling them to join the party seemingly went unpunished, Nomura has not been so lucky. Having created complex derivatives transactions to 'help' Sicily's regional government, which have now produced major losses for the duped managers, The FT reports Nomura has had property and cash worth $150 million seized related to allegations that the investment bank defrauded the regional government of Sicily with the sale of derivatives in 2002.

 
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