- API reported a decline of 3.4M barrels in US' oil stockpiles.
- Asian markets stay in the red but pare early losses.
- Australia reportedly close to mining-tax compromise.
- Consumer Confidence grows in Euro zone, ebbs in UK.
- IMF chief: No double-dip for global economy; defends G20 focus on deficit reduction.
- Japanese stocks fall to seven-month low as US consumer confidence drops.
Summary of the weekly's events and macro observations courtesy of RCS Investments
So early in the morning, Bloomberg runs a story, "Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Probably Climbed on Tax Credit". A few hours later, the housing report comes out and Bloomberg then runs "Existing Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Fell to 5.66 Million Rate in May". Hmmm! BoomBustBlog readers saw this coming way back in March with "It’s Official: The US Housing Downturn Has Resumed in Earnest". Thus far, we've been right on the money. Hey Bloomberg editors, I'm available if you need me...
All those who thought only our brilliant financial alchemists had the ingenious idea of sweeping all the toxic assets plaguing bank balance sheets under the rug of taxpayer bailouts "until things get better," are in for a surprise. It appears that recently insolvent Spain is not only as big an offender in this regard, but has been ahead of the curve for a several years. In an attempt to pretend all was good, Spain's banks, which are now locked out of financial markets for good reason, onboarded worthless mortgages as long ago as two years back. This was done with the hope that sooner or later (but definitely in under two years) prices would pick up and these homes could be sold for at least one dollar of equity. Alas, something happened on the road to financial nirvana: the Keynesian model collapsed, and the properties are now worth less than they ever have been, are generating the same amount of cash as they did two years ago (none), and now, finally, banks are forced to start accounting for these loans in a manner at least marginally close to reality. The result: a scramble to reflate the housing bubble like never before, in the hope to get at least a few mortgage payments out of the newest batch of greater fool. As the WSJ reports: "Banks are piling on incentives. Midsize Banco Espanol de Credito SA offers deferred deposit payments and 100% financing "for many of our houses," according to its website. Larger lender Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and smaller Banco Pastor SA offer generous financing and lower teaser rates, as well." In other words, all the ingredients that were present in the creation of the first housing bubble are here once again. And just to be safe, Spain has decided to multiply the dosage by a factor of ten. When this little scheme implodes, which it will, the consequences for the economy will be comparably be about 10 times as bad.
This article is a look at the US's recovery, Europe's recovery, Asia's (China) recovery, and how they all tie together. While US manufacturing has been improving, mainly because of exports, it is also flattening out. Ditto almost everywhere else. This is a sign of what's coming.
We see no shortage of market commentators claiming that investors should be buying into this rapid selloff. Of course, these commentators never saw a correction coming in any event. Our advice is to be patient and disciplined and let the market do the talking. - David Rosenberg
First a glance at the macro scene in China and then a look at how our China short thesis has played out thus far. Feel free to compare my work to Goldman and the other big banks, the challenge is welcome.
On the 5th of March in 1946, in Fulton Missouri, at Westminster College, Winston Churchill delivered an address (since christened the "Sinews of Peace") lamenting the burgeoning power and influence being slowly but surely gathered up by the Soviet Union. Perhaps the address will be familiar to some of you owing to its most famous passage....
Bear's execs say, "We didn't do it. It's not our fault. Evil speculators conspired against us, and investors irrationally made a run on us." They have no clue and they sound pathetic. Perhaps they should have read two little books.
There’s a surfeit of instructionals on the secret to investing, ranging from Investing for Dummies to The Intelligent Investor. My bookshelves at home are full of them, and I’ve learned or at least absorbed something from many. Experience is a great teacher, but the foundation of civilization, and too investing, is also dependent upon the capsulization of the experiences of others and that is where books have played a formative part in my own career. Still, there’s never been a book called “Common Sense for Dummies,” which would be required reading in my investment class if either existed. That’s an oxymoron to begin with, though, which points to the obvious – that common sense cannot be taught. It’s like sex appeal – you either have it or you don’t, although both are subject to relative judgments of the observer. What is commonsensical to one investor may seem ludicrous to someone else. And even in cases where history has validated the irrationality of one investment idea or another – the subprime frenzy being perhaps the most recent – there are questions of timing. Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short is not only a tale of the validation of common sense, but of its delicate shelf life. Most of Lewis’s heroes were almost all closed out by their own clients before their logic blossomed and their profits multiplied. - Bill Gross
European central bankers and politicians have been as dumb as their American counterparts ...
We are going through the March 2007 prospectus, with an emphasis on the Risk Factors section. We are convinced Timberwolf will feature prominently during tomorrow's questioning of Tom Montag. Another question: will Tannin and Cioffi appear as surprise witnesses. We have yet to encounter any discussion of how and why Abacus may have been involved in this deal, or why, as Montag so eloquently put it, it was "one shitty deal."
Goldman Sachs claims great risk management skills, while it shirks responsibility for its role in the near collapse of the U.S. economy. The former is a myth, and the latter is a dodge.  As taxpayer wealth was destroyed, Goldman exploited the financial crisis it helped cause, while the U.S. was (and remains) at war.
Goldman Sachs released its 2009 annual report today showing it made net revenues of $45.17 billion with net earnings of $13.39 billion. In its shareholder letter, Goldman says it repaid TARP money, but did not mention the massive new taxpayer subsidies it continues to enjoy.
"Goldman did not and does not operate or manage our risk with any expectation of outside assistance."
Yet due to the influence of highly placed Goldman Sachs former officers, Goldman received--and continues to receive--enormous assistance from taxpayers.
Goldman Sachs would never condone one of its employees misleading anyone, certainly not investors, counterparties or clients. We take our responsibilities as a financial intermediary very seriously and believe that integrity is at the heart of everything that we do. Were there ever to emerge credible evidence that such behavior indeed occurred here, we would be the first to condemn it and to take all appropriate actions. - Goldman Sachs
"Although Goldman Sachs held various positions in residential mortgage-related products in 2007, our short positions were not a 'bet against our clients.'"
That claim, from Goldman's letter to its shareholders,
is easily refuted. The S.E.C. has brought fraud charges on one of
Goldman deals known as synthetic subprime mezzanine collateralized debt
obligations, or CDOs. While most of these deals remain shrouded in
secrecy, one of them, Anderson Mezzanine Funding 2007, Ltd.
lays out its blueprint in sufficient detail so that we can pinpoint how
and why this transaction's failure was never in doubt.