Earlier we said that Knight better sell itself today or it's lights out. Sure enough, here come the rumors via the WSJ:
Knight Capital is in talks with Virtu Financial, a big player in high-speed trading and "designated market maker" on the NYSE, about a potential merger or infusion of capital
And more from Dow Jones:
- WSJ: Knight in Discussions About Possible Deal With Electronic-Trading Firm Virtu — Sources
- WSJ: Talks Also Involve Silver Lake Partners, An Investor in Virtu — Sources
- WSJ: Talks in Early Stages and No Deal Guaranteed — Sources
- WSJ: Knight Also in Talks With Other Potential Funders, Partners — Sources
Will it happen? Maybe. Although we doubt it - why pay for equity value when one can pick up the functioning assets in a Chapter 363 asset sale which also sticks the creditors with all the crappy assets? Just like Barclays did with Lehman for millipennies on the dollar.
The blunt trauma that JPMorgan was implicated in the missing millions from segregated accounts in Jon Corzine's bankrupt MF Global may have passed but the memory lingers, especially for all those whose cash is still locked up somewhere in vapor space. Yet one event that may tear the scab that patiently was healing, courtesy of a Copperfield market full of distractions such as JPM's CIO fiasco, Lieborgate, oh and, Europe, right off is the recent bankruptcy of Peregrine Financial, aka PFG, whose story we first broke, and which just as we suspected, has promptly become the second coming of MF Global, as at least $200 million has "evaporated." It is thus with little surprise that we find that the first party of interest is none other than JPMorgan, which together with various other banks, will be the target of a subpoena by the PFG trustee. How shocking will it be to find that Dimon's company is once again implicated in this particular episode of monetary vaporization.
The Moody’s outlook change on Germany lets us know that this time around the debate is more than political posturing. If Germany loses its AAA status, then it’s GAME OVER for the EU: the German population, already outraged by the EU bailouts, and now facing a recession will NOT tolerate a credit rating downgrade.
As I’ve stated many times, Germany is THE REAL backstop of the EU. And it’s comprised its own solvency as a result: the country is only €328 billion away from reaching an official Debt to GDP of 90%, the level at which national solvency is called into question. Moreover, that €328 billion has already been spent via various EU props. Indeed, when we account for all the backdoor schemes Germany has engaged in to prop up the EU, Germany's REAL Debt to GDP is closer to 300%.
"September will undoubtedly be the crunch time," one senior euro zone policymaker said. "In nearly 20 years of dealing with EU issues, I've never known a state of affairs like we are in now," one euro zone diplomat said this week. "It really is a very, very difficult fix and it's far from certain that we'll be able to find the right way out of it."
How can such a small country blow through so much money?
And another country falls to the Egan Who juggernaut.
Synopsis: Italy and its regional governments need to rollover approximately EUR183B in 2012 and EUR214B next year and is likely to experience increasing yields and restricted access without external intervention. Yields on the 10 year bonds are near 6.5%; rates have been rising despite prior ECB purchases. Future intervention by the ECB and IMF will provide some liquidity but might subordinate existing creditors. Italy cannot support all of its debt if the EU economy falters. Debt/GDP will continue to rise and the country will remain pressed. We are downgrading from " B+ " to " CCC+ " , with a neg. watch
Look for the "reputable" raters such to follow suit in downgrading Italy in 2-3 months.
With GGB prices, down 53% from post-PSI, plunging to all-time lows (offering Greywolf more opportunities to add to its 'no-brainer' trade) it appears Europe's ever-hopeful self-perpetuating banks are turning tail and realizing that the truth will set them free. In a turnabout from a late May note detailing 'why Greece will not leave the Euro', Credit Suisse now expects a return to some form of local currency for Greece within one year (an event they now assign a probability greater than 50%). The reason for their change of view is the slowness of structural reforms/privatizations and the lack of available capital to bail out the increasing number of distressed euro zone countries. It seems almost impossible for Greece to pull itself out of the contractionary hole it's in without additional support that few are politically able or willing to provide. Expecting another round of PSI - extending to ECB losses - and ending the ridiculous state of affairs that exists currently whereby the euro area is providing funding to Greece to enable them to repay the ECB. Ominously, they note, against the backdrop of the situation in Spain, we believe that such a development in Greece will have a highly negative impact on sentiment, further putting into question the sustainability of the euro area as a whole.
Just as the summer finally arrives in Northern Europe, the Eurozone crisis is heating up once again. With an increasingly flat (heading to inversion) yield curve, and spreads at record wides, Spain appears to be in a downward spiral of market turmoil that might require a full-fledged TROIKA bail out. However, as UBS points out, rather than taking the country off the market, the program would have to allow Spain to keep borrowing from private investors. Any bail out of Spain would have to be designed in a way that would also be applicable to Italy. Spain has been the most recent crisis focus, and looks to intensify further with nothing immediately in sight that could reverse the trend. We, like UBS, have argued for some time that a full-fledged TROIKA program will ultimately be unavoidable and the following six reasons briefly explain why anything else is a pipe-dream - as we remember Draghi's recent shift: "creditors should be part of the solution of the crisis. It is a matter of limiting the involvement of taxpayers. They have already paid a great deal."
Risk-off trade is firmly dominating price action this morning in Europe, as weekend reports regarding Spanish regions garner focus, shaking investor sentiment towards the Mediterranean. The attitudes towards Spain are reflected in their 10yr government bond yield, printing Euro-era record highs of 7.565% earlier this morning and, interestingly, Spanish 2yr bill yields are approaching the levels seen in the bailed-out Portuguese equivalent. As such, the peripheral Spanish and Italian bourses are being heavily weighed upon, both lower by around 5% at the North American crossover.
Gold edged down on Monday due to the pressure from a stronger dollar, as worries about the Eurozone debt crisis grew after Spain looked like the next candidate for a sovereign bailout. Spain has two regions seeking aid from the central government and El Pais reported that six Spanish regions may ask for aid from the central government while Spanish bonds yields continue to rise. As the 4th largest economy in the Eurozone Spain looks likely to follow Greece, Portugal and Ireland seeking an international bailout. Greece’s creditors meet this week as many doubt they will meet their bailout commitments. German Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler said he’s “very skeptical” that European leaders will be able to rescue Greece. China’s economic expansion may fall for a 7th straight quarter to 7.4% in the three months to September, said Song Guoqing, a member of the People’s Bank of China monetary policy committee.
The latest details on the Spanish financial sector bailout continue to remind us not to underestimate politicians’ readiness to undermine whatever is left of a free market capitalist system. Instead of adopting Economist Juan Ramón Rallo' (as we discussed here), who has suggested a “bail-in” formula to effectively restructure and recapitalize the financial sector in a more transparent and fair manner - which would teach the resulting bank owners to learn the lesson of the dangers involved in placing politicians and ballet dancers on banks’ boards; the actual plan is to cleanse the Spanish banking sector of its toxic assets by means of transferring them into “bad banks” has a new twist: instead of reflecting such assets’ real market value, the idea is to impose a markup (based on an estimated “long-term value”) to minimize losses. In contrast to Rallo’s “bail-in” proposal, the current Spanish banking sector reform is aimed at bailing out and protecting those who have benefited from the practices which caused the problem in the first place: the political class, inefficient regulators, as well as private companies close to the establishment.
I am fairly certain the answer to why Bernanke isn’t increasing inflation when his former self and former colleagues say he should be is actually nothing to do with domestic politics, and everything to do with international politics. Most of the pro-Fed blogosphere seems to live in denial of the fact that America is massively in debt to external creditors — all of whom are frustrated at getting near-zero yields (they can’t just flip bonds to the Fed balance sheet like the hedge funds) — and their views matter, very simply because the reality of China and other creditors ceasing to buy debt would be untenable. Why else would the Treasury have thrown a carrot by upgrading the Chinese government to primary dealer status (the first such deal in history), cutting Wall Street’s bond flippers out of the deal?
So the end stage of neoliberalism threatens a Dark Age of poverty/immiseration – most characteristically, one of debt peonage. ~ Michael Hudson
Libor is not a market determined interest rate, rather it is a trimmed mean from a survey of banks participating in a survey conducted on behalf of the British Bankers Association (BBA). There are a number of problems inherent in the survey-based Libor calculation. Chairman Bernanke was asked in testimony several times yesterday whether Libor should be dropped as a benchmark interest rate. His answer was Libor should be repaired or some market determined interest rate should be embraced as an alternative. He offered up 2 market-determined replacement possibilities for Libor: (1) Repo Rates; and (2) OIS rates. Both are market determined interest rates, but neither in our minds captures the essence of what Libor is supposed to measure. Stone & McCarthy's preference for a Libor alternative would simply be the eurodollar rate.