General Electric

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Frontrunning: May 13





  • Obama, McConnell missteps undercut trade pact in U.S. Senate (Reuters)
  • Bears Beware: Rout Puts Investors on Wrong Side of Central Banks (BBG)
  • U.S. Set to Rip Up UBS Libor Accord, Seek Conviction (BBG)
  • Greece’s Creditors Said to Seek EU3 Billion in Budget Cuts (BBG)
  • Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia, killing at least five (Reuters)
  • Oil glut worsens as OPEC market-share battle just beginning (Reuters)
  • China Stimulus Aims at Restructuring Trillions in Local-Government Debt (WSJ)
 
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EPS 'Beats' Lose All Meaning As Downward Revisions, Buybacks Mask Weakness





The good news: companies are beating earnings estimates by the widest margin in four years. The bad news: this has very little to do with strong corporate earnings and quite a lot to do with buybacks and analysts cutting estimates. In fact, bottom-up EPS estimates fell by 8.2% in Q1, nearly double the 1-, 5-, and 10-year averages and the largest decline since 2009. Meanwhile, repurchase authorizations hit a record in April and are now set to climb to an all-time high in 2015, providing a wonderful frontrunning opportunity for everyone from retail investors to the SNB.

 
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Hopium: How Far Can Irrational Optimism Take The U.S. Economy?





When we deny reality and engage in irrational wishful thinking, we are engaging in something called 'hopium': "The irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best." Right now that propaganda matrix is assuring the American people that everything is going to be just fine. Well, they better be right.  Because if not, they are going to have millions of people extremely angry with them when things really start falling to pieces.

 
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China To The Rescue: Global Equity Market Rebound After Latest Chinese Easing





It is only fitting that the next business day following a headline that "Global Futures Slide China Tumbles On Short Selling Boost" we would see China, in an apparent panic, not only cut its RRR by 100 bps to 18.5% - far more than expected and the most since 2008 - but, more importantly, hinted that the Friday regulatory decision to encourage short sales and tighter margin rules on "umbrella trusts" was in no way meant to pop that the Chinese stock bubble, ridiculous as it may be. End result: after Chinese futures crashed by up to 6% on Friday after the Shanghai close, overnight the SHCOMP was down just 1.64%, erasing the bulk of the futures loss. More importantly, US equity futures have seen a strong bid this morning in yet another attempt to defend not only the Apple Sachs Industrial Average from going red on the year but the all important 100 DMA technical levels.

 
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The Global Liquidity Squeeze Has Begun





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.

 
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Frontrunning: April 14





  • Shale Oil Boom Could End in May After Price Collapse (BBG)
  • Oil above $58 on U.S. shale output report, Mideast (Reuters)
  • Ackman Says Student Loans Are the Biggest Risk in the Credit Market (BBG)
  • Alibaba Disputes U.S. Group’s Claim it Tolerates Fake Goods on Taobao (WSJ)
  • Petrobras takes steps to avert a technical default (FT)
  • Yen’s Drop Is Approaching Its Limit, Says Abe Adviser Hamada (BBG)
  • 'Slicing and dicing': How some U.S. firms could win big in 2016 elections (Reuters)
  • Fed official warns ‘flash crash’ could be repeatedv (FT)
 
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China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar Surge





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

 
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Days Of Crony Capitalist Plunder - The Deplorable Truth About GE Capital





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.

 
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Frontrunning: April 10





  • Nikkei tops 20,000, Europe hits 15-year high (Reuters)
  • GE to sell real estate holdings, sets $50 billion share buyback (Reuters)
  • Iran’s Middle Class Plans for Life After a Deal (BBG)
  • Walgreens to Close 200 Stores as It Expands Cost Cuts (WSJ)
  • Hillary Clinton expected to announce presidential run as soon as this weekend (Reuters)
  • It will cost $1.5 billion to keep Deutsche Bank Libor Manipulators out of prison  (USA Today)
  • Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own (WSJ)
  • Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea (Reuters)
  • Investors Revive Appetite for Asian Junk Bonds (WSJ)
 
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GE Announces One Of Largest Buybacks In History, Will Repuchase $50 Bn In Shares After Selling Most Of GE Capital





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.

 
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Another Oligarch Preaches To The Peasants: Charlie Munger Says "Prepare For Harder World"





“If you’re unhappy with what you’ve had over the last 50 years, you have an unfortunate misappraisal of life...  should all be prepared for adjusting to a world that is harder..."

 
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Frontrunning: March 25





  • ECB Tells Greek Banks Not to Boost Exposure to Athens Government’s Debt (WSJ)
  • Search teams probe wreckage of jet in French Alps (Reuters)
  • Flight Recorders Offer Best Hope of Explaining Jet’s Fatal Drop (BBG)
  • Yemen Houthi militia sweeps toward Aden in threat to president (Reuters)
  • In Nigeria, Oil Price’s Slide Deters Theft (WSJ)
  • Saudi Arabia building up military near Yemen border (Reuters)
  • Quant Who Shook the Financial World Tries More Humble Approach (BBG)
  • Executive Pensions Are Swelling at Top Companies (WSJ)
 
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Tech Startup Bubble Has America's Retirement Funds Chasing Unicorns





A shift in the mutual fund industry's stance towards grossly overvalued private tech startups may be embedding risk into the retirement accounts of unsuspecting Americans, suggesting that the rather creative valuations VCs and founders place on the latest app may be imperiling your 401k. It's called "chasing unicorns."

 
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