Update: It appears that when a company calls the market's bluff with a forced strategic alternatives announcement coupled with the phrase "challenging financial performance", the market does not like it very much. Stock now down 13% and sliding.
RIMM stock was just halted, preceding an announcement that JPM and RBC have been retained for "strategic purposes", as well as an operating loss warning for Q1 and notification of major headcuts. In other words, the endgame for RIMM is here: either the company finds a suitor or it may well be game over. For the benefit of RIMM longs we sure hope FB is eager to spend some of its cash soon if not quite soon.
All you need to read and some more.
Despite closed US stock markets today, FaceBook stock still managed to decline, while Europe dipped yet once again on all the same fears: Greece, Spain, bank runs, contagion, etc. Shortly Europe will reopen, this time to be followed by the US stock market as well. While in turn will direct market participants' attention to a shortened week full of economic data, which as Goldman says, will likely shape the direction of markets for the near future. US payrolls and global PMI/ISM numbers are expected to show a mixed picture with some additional weakness already fully anticipated outside the US. On the other hand, consensus does expect a moderate improvement in most US numbers in the upcoming week, including labour market data and business surveys. As a reminder, should the Fed wish to ease policy at its regular June meeting, this Friday's NFP print will be the last chance for an aggressive data-driven push for more QE. As such to Zero Hedge it is far more likely that we will see a big disappointment in this week's consensus NFP print of +150,000. Otherwise the Fed and other central banks will have to scramble with an impromptu multi-trillion coordinated intervention a la November 30, 2011 as things in Europe spiral out of control over the next several weeks. Either way, risk volatility is most likely to spike in the coming days.
In twenty or thrity years, I expect future monetary historians looking back on this period of history to frequently misquote Ernest Hemingway:
How did the dollar die? First it died slowly — then all at once.
The slow death began with the dollar’s birth as a global reserve currency. America was creditor and manufacturer to the world, and the capitalist superpower. People around the globe transacted overwhelmingly in dollars. Above all else, people needed dollars to conduct trade, and they were willing to pay richly for them, and for dollar-denominated debt
From around two minutes into this CNBC clip, Marc Faber brings the conversation back into sharp focus. Noting that "whenever everybody focuses on just one thing - Greece and Europe in this case - there are other things that are far more important - such as a meaningful slowdown in India and China - going on that are being ignored". But remaining on the topic of Europe, Faber consistently opines that the next event risk will be the Greek exit - even though Faber suspects strongly that Germany will cave to Eurobonds eventually - as he comments that the longer the delay of a restructuring/default/exit/euro-bonds takes the higher the probability of a gigantic systemic failure. This subject brings up (at around 3:30) an interesting perspective that the European market would be oddly relieved (not plunging 50%) if Greek exited the Euro as there would be some clarity (though Faber adds that bank and insurance stocks would likely be crushed). At five minutes in though, Faber ramps up the rhetoric noting that while stock indices are not performing terribly, there are many economically sensitive (and luxury) stocks that are down very significantly - which suggests to him that the huge asset price run of the last decades in come to an end prompting the question of the day from CNBC's Cramer-stand-in "You're not looking for a recession in the US are you?" Faber, in his calm, thoughtful way responds, "I think we will have a global recession late this year, early next year", to which a stunned Wapner asks for odds (surely 30%, 50%?) of this recession - "100% certainty" comes the reply to leave Wapner throwing in the towel on any positive spin as Faber suggests the only 'investment' in this case is 'Cash USD' and investors must own some gold.
Today, the deputy chairman of Russia's central bank, Sergey Shvetsov, said that the Bank of Russia plans to keep buying gold on the domestic market in order to diversify their foreign exchange reserves. "Last year we bought about 100 tonnes. This year it will be less but still a considerable figure," Shvetsov told Reuters on the sidelines of a financial conference in Milan. Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves fell to $514.3 billion in the week ending May 18, from $518.8 billion a week earlier. However, they have risen from the $498.6 billion seen at the end of 2011. Yesterday, Shvetsov said that Greece has plans for a parallel currency and that it is a “necessity” for Greece to leave the euro.
- This is the solution? - Germany Writing Six-Point Plan for Europe Growth, Spiegel Says (Bloomberg)
- JPMorgan Gave Risk Oversight to Museum Head Who Sat on AIG Board (Bloomberg)
- Vatican bank president Gotti Tedeschi ousted -statement (Reuters)
- Bribery, crime and stupidity pays. From this: SEC Staff Ends Probe of Lehman Without Finding Fraud (Bloomberg)
- To this: Lehman to buy remaining Archstone stake for $1.58 billion (Reuters)
- Governments must restore faith in debt sustainability: ECB's Praet (Reuters) - by issuing more debt
- IMF Helping EU Explore Alternatives to Euro Bonds (WSJ)... such as US-funded bailout bonds?
- China Banks May Miss Loan Target for 2012, Officials Say (Bloomberg)
- Facebook market makers' losses total at least $100 million (Reuters)
- World Bank’s Sri Mulyani Says Asean Is Resilient to Europe Woes (Bloomberg)
- Time to flip "The Scream" - Tiffany Cuts Full-Year Profit Forecast (Bloomberg)
- Definitely Maybe: Italy's Monti says Greece will probably keep euro (Reuters)
The impression that bankers and regulators have seems to be that banks are doing customers a favour by holding onto their money and occasionally losing it all buying junk securities. Nope. In a free market, banks that tried to charge customers for the privilege would be laughed out of the marketplace. Banks — by their very definition as intermediaries — generate profits from making good investments, not by charging customers for the privilege of holding their money. Unfortunately this isn’t a free market, and banks can (and probably will) co-ordinate with each other to keep the market uncompetitive. Barriers to entry make it difficult to impossible for new players to enter the market and dislodge the status quo.
Peripheral stock indices underperformed in early trade, with banks under considerable selling pressure amid renewed tensions in credit markets. Wave after wave of poor data from the European PMIs and the German IFOs placed shares under further pressure and talk of macro names selling EUR/USD weighed on the pair. As a result, in the fixed income space, the German 2/5 spread traded at levels not seen since December 2008. However as the session progressed, stocks staged a decent recovery, which coincided with unconfirmed market talk of an asset reallocation trade, together with talk of Asian real money accounts buying French OATs, which in turn prompted sharp tightening in FR/GE 10y bond yield spread. This also supported EUR/USD, which after coming close to making a test on the 1.2500 barrier is now trading little changed. In other news, the ONS reported that the UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, more than previously thought. The downward revision was due to a bigger contraction in construction output than previously estimated. Despite this, FTSE in the cash has persisted, and is the strongest performing index in Europe today.
Gold’s London AM fix this morning was USD 1,555.00, EUR 1,229.44, and GBP 989.56 per ounce. Yesterday's AM fix this morning was USD 1,575.75, EUR 1,233.95, and GBP 998.76 per ounce.
Gold fell $26.20 or 1.64% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,566.80/oz. Gold fell in Asia and those falls continued in Europe where gold has been trading in a $16 range.
There’s been a lot of excitement in the past year over the rise of North American oil production and the promise of increased oil production across the whole of the Americas in the years to come. National security experts and other geo-political observers have waxed poetic at the thought of this emerging, hemispheric strength in energy supply. What’s less discussed, however, is the negligible effect this supply swing is having on lowering the price of oil, due to the fact that, combined with OPEC production, aggregate global production remains mostly flat. But there’s another component to this new belief in the changing global landscape for oil: the dawning awareness that OPEC’s power has finally gone into decline. You can read the celebration of OPEC’s waning in power in practically every publication from Foreign Policy to various political blogs and op-eds.