What happens when we roll back into the next official recession, unemployment soars, and consumers really stop spending? What is revealed when you look under the hood of this economic recovery is that it is a complete and utter fraud. The recovery is nothing but smoke and mirrors, buoyed by subprime auto debt, really subprime student loan debt, corporate stock buybacks, and Fed financed bubbles in stocks, real estate, and bonds. The four retailers listed below are nothing but zombies, kept alive by the Fed’s ZIRP and QE, as they stumble towards their ultimate deaths. The coming recession will be the knife through their skulls, putting them out of their misery.
Goldman Is Officially A Bank: Bailed Out Hedge Fund Will Allow Muppets To Give Their Savings To Lloyd BlankfeinSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/13/2015 16:34 -0400
The last time former Goldman employee and then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson bailed out the hedge fund known as Goldman Sachs, and its closest peers (but not its biggest fixed income competitor Lehman Brothers of course), even the traditionally confused American public pushed back on the structure of the bailout which converted the Goldman holding company into an FDIC-insured company, which led many to ask: just where are Goldman's deposits? The answer, of course, was nowhere, so perhaps in anticipation of the logical pushback against its second, upcoming bailout which would see the taxpayer-backed depositor insurance company once again provide trillions in cash to banks as well as the glorified hedge funds such as Goldman, the firm moments ago decided to do something it has never done before: become an actual bank with checking accounts and such.
- Pope urges Putin to make 'sincere, great effort' for Ukraine peace (Reuters)
- Merkel Tells Tsipras It’s Time to Back Talk With Policy Action (BBG)
- 'Greek tragedy' needs happy ending now: EU's Moscovici (Reuters)
- Vulture Funds Circle Greece Targeting Europe’s Best Trading Bet (BBG)
- Germany against third aid program for Greece under any circumstances, says daily (Reuters)
- Biggest OPEC Members Pump Record Oil With Rally in Jeopardy (BBG)
- Greek ruling reversing pension cuts will cost state 1 to 1.5 bln euros (Kathimerini)
- China’s Former Security Chief Zhou Yongkang Sentenced to Life in Prison (WSJ)
- MSCI backs itself into corner on China share inclusion (Reuters)
- White House denies Obama said strong dollar a problem (Reuters)
- Lira Falls to Record Amid Stock Rout as AK Party Loses Majority (BBG)
- Bond-Market Game of Chicken With Fed Is Riskier Than Ever (BBG)
- Xetra Dax enters correction territory (FT)
- China trade shrinks amid slowing demand (FT)
- Greek government eyes compromise with lenders, rules out snap polls (Reuters)
- If You Think Greece’s Crisis Will End Soon, Think Again (BBG)
- China growth data ‘overstated’ due to data error (FT)
- Calpers to Cut External Money Managers by Half (WSJ)
On a day full of exultation for The Oracle of Omaha, we could not help but see the irony of Warren Buffett losing yet another bet and not paying up...
"At the bottom of the cycle, firms cut labor faster than output. The higher productivity led to improving margins, earnings and stock prices. Now labor is being added faster than output, and with large companies like McDonalds, Walmart and Target announcing pay increases, unit labor costs are likely to increase further. All told, there is a good chance earnings will actually shrink this year. We think the market is too high if earnings have, in fact, peaked for the cycle, and we have reduced our net exposure by adding more shorts."
- David Einhorn
The entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt. Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system. Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.
"[GE] said it doesn’t expect its GE Capital unit to sell new long-term debt for at least five years, effectively eliminating one of the biggest corporate issuers at a time when firms around the globe are tapping the market at a record clip…"
GE’s announcement that its getting out of the finance business should be a reminder of how crony capitalism is corrupting and debilitating the American economy. The ostensible reason the company is unceremoniously dumping its 25-year long build-up of the GE Capital mega-bank is that it doesn’t want to be regulated by Washington as a systematically important financial institution under Dodd-Frank. Oh, and that its core industrial businesses have better prospects. We will see soon enough about its oilfield equipment and wind turbine business, or indeed all of its capital goods oriented businesses in a radically deflationary world drowning in excess capacity. But at least you can say good riddance to GE Capital because it was based on a phony business model that was actually a menace to free market capitalism. Its deplorable raid on the public purse during the Lehman crisis had already demonstrated that in spades.
GE Capital's 2014 loan portfolio was marked at $363 billion. It will take a lot of maneuvering to bring it down to the $90 billion target. With the market at all-time highs and with valuations stretched beyond all conceivable rationality, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said now is a "perfect time to be a seller. People are lining up at the starting line."
Back in April 2013, Apple shocked the world when in a dramatic U-turn to Steve Jobs beliefs, it announced what was "the largest single share repurchase authorization in history" when it boosted its share repurchase authorization to $60 billion from $10 billion. Today, GE did its best to match this number, when it reported that as part of a massive business restructuring, it announced a "new Board authorization of up to $50B buyback." This is how it will fund it.
GE Announces One Of Largest Buybacks In History, Will Repuchase $50 Bn In Shares After Selling Most Of GE CapitalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/10/2015 07:16 -0400
Moments ago, General Electric showed why April is much more likley to be a rerun of February than January or March when it announceed that it would go ahead and repurchase half of the total record stock buybacks announced in February, or some $50 billion in what may be the largest stock buyback announcement in history! How will GE fund this massive distribution to its shareholders, of which the most concentrated one will once again be the biggest winners? Simple: by dumping the division that nearly caused its insolvency during the financial crisis, the hedge fund known as GE Capital. As part of the just announced mega transaction, GE announced an agreement to sell the bulk of the assets of GE Capital Real Estate to funds managed by Blackstone. Wells Fargo will acquire a portion of the performing loans at closing.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
- Ukraine anxiety triggers flight to safety, stocks tumble (Reuters)
- Woodrow Wilson’s Ukraine Failure Foreshadows West’s Dilemmas (BBG)
- Fortress Executives Join Peers Selling Stock After Rally (BBG)
- 303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags (NYT)
- Putin Deports Executives for Speeding as Sanctions Loom (BBG)
- Russia blocks internet sites of Putin critics (Reuters)
- China Bond Risk Exceeds Ireland as Defaults Unavoidable (BBG)
- China H-Shares Post Biggest Weekly Drop Since October (BBG)
- Surge in Rail Shipments of Oil Sidetracks Other Industries (WSJ)
- Blackstone’s Home Buying Binge Ends as Prices Surge (BBG)
- Malaysia Says Stolen Passport User Had No Links to Terror Groups (BBG)
- Malaysia military tracked missing plane to west coast (Reuters)
- Freescale loss in Malaysia tragedy leads to travel policy questions (Reuters)
- Top German body calls for QE blitz to avert deflation trap in Europe (Telegraph)
- Firms Suffer 23% Drop in Asia Fees Amid Search for Cash (BBG)
- Putin Dismisses U.S. Proposal on Ukraine (WSJ)
- Lenovo says China strike an IBM matter, but it won't cut wages (Reuters)
- Congress to Investigate GM Recall (WSJ)
- New hedge funds face life or death battle for funding (FT)
- Muni Bond Costs Hit Investors in Wallet (WSJ)
- BOJ keeps stimulus in place, cuts view on exports in warning sign (Reuters)
- ECB Homes In on Risky Assets as Inspectors Fan Out Across Europe (BBG)
- Snowden: "The Constitution was violated" (Reuters)