Heading into the US open, European stock markets are experiencing a mixed session with particular underperformance noted once again in the peripheral IBEX and FTSE MIB indices. The Portuguese banking sector specifically is taking heavy hits following overnight news from Banco Espirito di Santo that they are to issue a large quantity of new shares, prompting fears that further banks may have to recapitalize. The financials sector is also being weighed upon by a downbeat research note published by a major Japanese bank on the Spanish banking sector. Elsewhere, the Italian BTP auction was released in a fragmented fashion showing softer bid/covers and the highest yield since mid-January in the only on-the-run line sold today. Similarly to yesterday’s auction, the sale was not quite as poor as some as feared. Italy sold to the top of the range and as such, the Italian/German 10-yr yield spread is now tighter by 13BPS, currently at 361BPS. From the UK, the DMO sold 20-year gilts with a lower bid/cover ratio and a large yield tail, prompting gilt futures to fall by around 10 ticks after the release. Later in the session, participants will be looking out for US PPI data and the weekly jobless numbers.
- Fed's No. 2 Strongly Backs Low-Rate Policy (Hilsenrath)
- World Bank Cuts China 2012 Growth Outlook on Exports (Bloomberg)
- BlackRock's Street Shortcut: Big Banks Would Be Bypassed With Bond Platform; 'Not Going to Cannibalize' (WSJ)
- George Soros - Europe’s Future is Not Up to The Bundesbank (FT)
- Fed May Have Aggravated Income Inequality, El-Erian Says(Bloomberg)
- Shirakawa Pledges Japan Easing Amid Political Pressure (Bloomberg)
- Spain’s Debt Struggle Opens Door to Sarkozy Campaign Message (Bloomberg)
- Iran Woos Oil Buyers With Easy Credit (FT)
- Syria Pledges to Observe Ceasefire (FT)
In the last few months we have presented various analyses, both ours and those of Goldman and even Jon Hilsenrath, on why one of the core economic empirical relationships: Okun's law, is now broken. Subsequently we presented another parallel line of inquiry - namely that in order to preserve the illusion of a recovery, the Obama administration (with help from the Fed) has engaged in a quality-for-quantity job transfer, where America is creating increasingly more jobs of lower quality (the bulk of which are part-time), which in turn is leading to less proportional personal income tax revenues, and thus to a secular shift in an indicator which is even more important for US economic growth than simply the number of jobs "gained" each month - labor productivity. Today, JPM's Michael Feroli ties these two perspectives together in an analysis that has extremely damning implications for the US, and global, economic growth prospects. In a nutshell, Feroli finds that "Productivity, which used to be procyclical, has now turned countercyclical" which in turn means that "if labor is no longer a quasi-fixed factor of production this may eliminate one type of non-convexity in production, thereby reducing the likelihood that the economy has multiple equilibria and is subject to self-fulfilling prophecies" or said somewhat simpler: "the conditions for self-fulfilling prophesies in the macroeconomy may no longer exist." Still confused: central planning, and the Obama vote grab has killed the "virtuous cycle"... Which in turn means that everything America is trying to accomplish is now a lost cause, as every incremental dollar spent, whether by fiscal and monetary policy, is pursuing an outcome that is now theoretically and practically impossible to achieve!
- Euro-Area Banks Tap ECB for Record Amount of Three-Year Cash (Bloomberg)
- Papademos Gets Backing for $4.3B of Cuts (Bloomberg)
- China February Bank Lending Remains Weak (Reuters)
- Romney Regains Momentum (WSJ)
- Shanghai Raises Minimum Wage 13% as China Seeks to Boost Demand (Bloomberg)
- Fiscal Stability Key To Economic Competitiveness - SNB's Jordan (WSJ)
- Bank's Tucker Says Cannot Relax Bank Requirements (Reuters)
- Life as a Landlord (NYT)
In his most recent quarterly letter titled appropriately enough "The Longest Quarterly Letter Ever" GMO's Jeremy Grantham literally kills it. Well, maybe not literally but certainly metaphorically.
While much of the focus has been on Paulson & Co., the hedge fund founded by billionaire John Paulson, cutting its stake in the SPDR Gold Trust by 15% in the fourth quarter, possibly of more importance is the fact that PIMCO, the Texas Teacher Retirement System and George Soros all increased their holdings of the biggest exchange-traded product backed by gold. Paulson cut his gold ETF bullion holdings by about 600 million dollars in Q4, a reduction that was likely driven by client redemption needs as he and his fund remain upbeat on gold – primarily due to inflation concerns. Paulson’s reduction in SPDR was offset by other important buyers such as PIMCO, which oversees $1.36 trillion and is home to the world's biggest bond fund and significant institutional buying from the likes of the Texas Teacher Retirement System and billionaire investor George Soros. ‘Bond King’, Bill Gross recently wrote about gold as a “store of value” and PIMCO’s allocation to GLD may be ongoing as they seek to diversify their portfolios and hedge against inflation. Soros, who once suggested gold was or would be "the ultimate asset bubble," raised his stake in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), a gold-backed exchanged-traded fund, to 85,450 shares, up from 48,350 shares in the period. Soros, who had disclosed call and put options on the gold fund in the prior period, reported no such investments in the fourth quarter. Soros’ GLD position is worth a mere $13 million, however it suggests that he is not as bearish on gold as portrayed and that he sees further upside for gold.
Isn’t it meaningless to look at the inverse floaters in isolation? To assess risk, shouldn’t we look at the entire portfolio held by Freddie Mac?
Your article gives the appearance of having been ghost written by Andrew Levander and/or the JP Morgan legal department.
Merkel warned that Germany might be overwhelmed by its bailout efforts—a reluctance that turned Germany into a punching bag. Yet risks are staggering.
A brief and comprehensive summary of the main events in the past week, both good and bad.
- BOJ Should Be Allowed $643 Billion Fund to Buy Foreign Bonds, Iwata Says (Bloomberg)
- Banks Hoarding ECB Cash May Double Company Defaults (Bloomberg)
- China Police Open Fire on Tibetans as Protests Spread (Bloomberg)
- Sarkozy Presidential Rival Hollande Would Lower Retirement Age, Lift Taxes (Bloomberg)
- IMF takes tougher stance over Greek debt (FT)
- Iran threatens to act first on EU embargo (FT)
- PM says ‘no complacency’ on economy (FT)
- George Soros: How to pull Italy and Spain back from the edge (FT)
- Japan's NEC to slash 10,000 jobs (Reuters)
- Obama Planning Corporate Tax Overhaul (Bloomberg)
Scared by PM Volatility? Identify Severe Undervaluation Points in Gold & Silver v. Trying to Call Perfect BottomsSubmitted by smartknowledgeu on 01/26/2012 05:39 -0500
For a new investor in gold and silver, here is the most lucid piece of advice I can offer. Identifying severe undervaluation points in gold and silver, buying gold and silver assets during these times, and not worrying about interim short-term volatility, even if the immediate volatility is downward, is much more likely to impact your accumulation of wealth in a positive manner than trying to perfectly time market tops and bottoms in the highly manipulated gold and silver game.
Humans are a flawed species. Our minds are easily manipulated. We don’t like pain. We prefer instant gratification. We are susceptible to mass delusion. We will often choose hope over critical thought. Those with higher IQs will regularly attempt to take advantage of those with lower IQs. Fear and greed are the two motivations used by the minority in power to control and manipulate the majority. The American people have been led astray by a small group of powerful men. We were herded through a door in the wall of perception that promised an American dream of material goods, entitlements and pleasure with no obligations or responsibility to future generations. There is only one choice that can save this country from ruin. Each individual must make a choice to either to continue supporting the manipulative, corrupt status quo or coming back through the Door in the Wall.
“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend” – Aldous Huxley
There was good news yesterday for taxpayers, sort of: the Federal Reserve turned $76.9 billion in 2011 profits over to the U.S. Treasury. The not so good news is that it amounts to a meager 2.6% return on the Fed’s $2.9 trillion portfolio. That may be better than George Soros and John Paulson did last year, but at what risk?