SEC Reaches "Appropriate" Settlement With Freddie Mac Execs Who Will Pay Nothing And Receive No PunishmentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/15/2015 15:25 -0400
Three former Freddie Mac executives who understated the amount of subprime exposure on the GSE's book by a factor of 28 came to terms with the SEC today on a settlement which imposes fees no one has to pay and "limitations on future behavior" that "will not limit [anyone] in any practical way."
If yesterday stocks surged on the worst 4-month stretch of missing retail sales since Lehman, one which BofA with all seriousness spun by saying "it seems not unreasonable to suspect that the March 2015 reading on retail sales gets revised up next month", then the reason why futures are now solidly in the green across the board even as German Bunds have just 14 bps to go until they hit negative yields and before the ECB is fresh out of luck on future debt monetization, is that overnight China reported its worst GDP since 2009 together with economic data misses across the board confirming China's economy continues its hard landing approach despite a stock market that has doubled in the past year.
Back in January we asked the following: “who will be the first to offer a negative rate mortgage?” As WSJ reports, this bizarre characteristic of the new paranormal is spreading throughout Europe on the back of Mario Draghi’s trillion-euro adventure in debt monetization land: "Tumbling interest rates in Europe have put some banks in an inconceivable position: owing money on loans to borrowers. At least one Spanish bank, Bankinter SA, the country’s seventh-largest lender by market value, has been paying some customers interest on mortgages by deducting that amount from the principal the borrower owes."
While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.
China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar SurgeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/13/2015 06:55 -0400
If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v
UK Housing Bubble Bursts: Sales Of Luxury Homes Crash By 80% As "Waves Of Wealthy People Are Leaving"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2015 16:56 -0400
The problem with the relentless scramble into London real-estate is that it was almost entirely driven by the high end, which as we have reported tirelessly over the past 4 years, has become - alongside the US ultra luxury real estate market - the new "Swiss bank account": a mostly anonymous place (with anonymous LLCs and Corps buying on behalf of uber-rich foreign oligarchs) where tax evaders can park their cash, with the NAR's, and the government's, blessing. And now, the party is over. As the FT reports, "sales of homes worth more than £2m have dropped by 80 per cent in the past year."... "It is like the 1970s again, when waves of wealthy people left Britain and it was a disaster.”
And it’s dragging down the economy.
Can't Wait To Read Bernanke's Memoirs? Here Are All The Timeless Statements By The Former Fed ChairmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/09/2015 16:13 -0400
We know it will be next to impossible to wait until October when this book of toner repair and printer cartridge replacement wisdom comes out, here is a sampling of timeless soundbites by the former Fed Chairman and current blogger, that should be enough to hold readers over.
In short, Bernanke bankrupted the US and most Americans in the span of ten years. He created the biggest housing bubble in 100 years and also casue the greatest Crash in 100 years. A few blog entries won’t change this.
"Vacation-home sales account for one-fifth of all home sales and 'that should more or less rise over the next five to 10 year' as the income and number of vacation-home buyers increases," Moody's tells WSJ. That's good news because with America's "supervisory" wages on the rise and with Russian oligarchs dissatisfied with their domestic situation, a healthy market for "secondary" residences may prove critical.
Bad News For America's Biggest Housing Bubble: San Francisco Home Prices Suffer Biggest Drop In Three YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2015 13:50 -0400
It was not only the annual growth rate of only 7.9%, matching the lowest since the European debt bubble burst in 2010, but also the sequential rate of price drops, at -0.9% - the biggest monthly drop in three years, or since January 2012 - that will once again be a subject for concern of housing watchers. Because should the price decline resume its acceleration without any emerging tailwinds to prop up the local housing market, then there will surely be some severe fallout such as this peak housing bubble example, in which as Curbed reported last week, a run down shack which listed for $799,000 sold for 50% more, or $1.2 million a few weeks later!
Weather-crushed January saw seasonally-adjusted Case-Shiller home prices - and as a reminder Case-Shiller expressly warns not to use seasonal data but opts for raw, unadjusted reporting - rise 0.87% MoM (better than expected), slower than the revised 0.91% gain in December. However, away from the 'make-everything-feel-better' adjustments, home prices slipped in January following December's brief interlude, leaving the index down 4 of the last 5 months. Of course, it goes witghout sayiung that weather was blamed, as they suggest, "unusually cold and wet weather may have weakened activity in some cities." What is more worrisome however, and farcical, is Case-Shiller's ominous warning against rate hikes, "home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as wages, putting pressure on potential homebuyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback."
Did stocks window dressing come one day early in this volatile, bipolar, stop-hunting, HFT-infested market? Looking at futures this morning, which are down about 12 points already on yet another surge in the USD which has sent the EURUSD just above 1.07, the lowest since March 20 , and the USDJPY back under 120 now that the "strong dollar is bad for stocks after all" algo seems to be back from vacation, all those hedge funds who chased risk higher yesterday because their peers did the same, may find they are all selling on the way down. It will be oddly ironic if all of yesterday's widely touted gains evaporate comparably in the first 10 minutes of trading today, and lead to an end in the longest streak of quarterly increases in two decades.
"Now a legal quirk could bring a surreal ending to... foreclosure cases around the country: [borrowers] may get to keep their homes without ever having to pay another dime."
When it comes to our current pre-war, pre-revolutionary world (in Paul Tudor Jones' words) there are two social classes which are jockeying for the post positioning when it all comes crashing down: the Ultra High Net Worth, i.e., the 0.01%, those 211,275 individuals (and their families) who have a net worth over $30 million and who collectively control $30 trillion in wealth, and everyone else, with the countdown to extinction for the global middle class now getting louder by the day, leaving a world of a handful of uber-wealthy oligarchs and billions of, well, others. And nowhere is this distinction more vivid than when looking at their residential real estate holdings. But while the real estate of the 99.99% is boring (and increasingly in the form of rentals), when it comes to the dwellings of the 0.01% things get exciting, and are the topic of the latest joint report between Wealth-X and Sotheby's whose findings we summarize below.