“It is unacceptable, illegal and corrupt for anyone at the Fed to deliver inside information that could provide a financial advantage to the privileged few and lead to the manipulation of financial markets”: Hensarling
The rising risk to the housing recovery story lies in the Fed's ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals "buy payments" rather than houses. With each tick higher in mortgage rates so goes the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, 1 out of 3 Americans no longer counted as part of the work force or drawing on a Federal subsidy, the pool of potential buyers remains tightly constrained. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2015 and beyond - the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.
Here are the cliff notes of the Icahn letter:
- Uncle Carl and his two analysts remain convinced they know how to run AAPL better than its CEO and his thousands of employees.
- Uncle Carl and his two analysts have built up a massive stake in AAPL shares which however they can't get out of in this illiquid market without tipping the market they are selling - a tip which would promptly send the stock plunging - and as a result have come to the only buyer who is big enough to buy all of Icahn's shares without destabilizing the market: the company itself.
China has officially entered the realm of "unconventional" monetary policy, joining the Fed, the ECB, the BoJ, and a whole host of other global central banks in an attempt to bring the supposedly all-mighty printing press and the unlimited balance sheet that goes with it to bear on subpar economic growth. We suspect the results will be characteristically underwhelming (at least in terms of lowering real interest rates, although in terms of boosting risk assets, the results may be outstanding) meaning it's likely only a matter of time before LTRO becomes QE in China just as it did in Europe.
Just two weeks ago we pointed out the fact that The Fed had seemingly ignored Congressional demands for details with regard the 2012 FOMC Statement leak. Now we know why they missed the deadline:
*YELLEN SAYS SHE MET WITH MEDLEY GLOBAL ANALYST IN JUNE 2012, SAYS SHE DIDN'T GIVE MEDLEY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
So she met with the analyst that leaked the statement... but didn't say anything? The Justice Department has opened a formal investigation into the FOMC leak (and we suspect sworn testimony coming).
You know the world has gone mad when one of the world's largest pension funds, mired in its need for the maintenance of the status quo, begins to sound like 'digital dickweeds in their parents' basements'. Norway's massive $890 billion wealth fund has stepped out of the shadows to slam global central bankers for affecting "pricing in today’s market to such an extent that monetary policy itself has been a risk you have to watch;" and market structure, criticizing the proliferation of dark pools, "there’s a rent extraction from all these intermediaries... we’re in favor of trying to reduce the number of block-crossing venues," Schanke said, "one would probably be perfect."
In a stunning shun to Congressional lawmakers, WSJ reports that The Fed has failed to comply with a request that the bank-owned entity identify the individuals who leaked The FOMC Minutes to Medley Global Advisors a day before the official release in October 2012. Rep. Jeb Hensarling sent a letter to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on April 15 asking the Fed to name them by 5 p.m. EDT April 22. The deadline passed without any response by the Fed...
Explaining the catalysts that move the "market" overnight has become so farcical it is practically an exercise in futility and absurdism.
Financial engineering is one of the worst ills perpetuated by the Fed’s regime of cheap debt and money market subsidies for speculation. And these deformations are turbo-charged by the tax code which creates a powerful bias toward loading capital structures with tax deductible debt, and to delivering returns as lightly taxed capital gains rather than ordinary income. In fact, stock buybacks and LBOs are the bastard offspring of the IRS and Federal Reserve.
As noted earlier, while tens of thousands of Bloomberg terminal users were twiddling their thumbs during an outage that lasted several hours, China crashed. There was some confusion about the cause of the rapid move, but it appears the catalyst was an announcement by the China Securities Regulatory Commission in which it allowed fund managers to lend shares for short-selling, and will also expand the number of stocks investors can short sell, in a bid to raise the supply of securities in the market.
Who’s dumb enough to buy this stuff—10-year debt at negative yields and 100-year debt in a doomed currency? Institutional investors, of course—large pension funds and the like. You might look at news like that and think, well, that’s crazy, I’d never do that. But the fact is, it’s being done with YOUR MONEY. Just like Winston Churchill commented that it’s false to characterize the fighting at places like the Somme, Verdun etc. in WWI as battles, when they were actually more like prolonged sieges, what’s happening in the financial world today is similar. The financial world today is the same. Billion dollar stimulus packages. Quantitative Easing 1, 2, 3… Negative interest rates. Negative long-term debt yields. Cash withdrawal and transaction controls. Higher taxes. Capital controls...
As everyone settles down in anticipation of another session of parabolic Hong Kong euphoria driven by desperate housewife traders, or a manic plunge straight down, none other than the CEO of the Hong Kong Exchange, Charles Li, found some time to pen a blog post to give "a little advice to investors", providing vivid aphorisms "Investment is like swimming: if you do not enter the water, you will never learn to swim" and to caution speculators that the opportunity is "not to quickly make a fortune, but ... to provide long-term wealth preservation and appreciation" and that there is also such a thing as risk as everyone scrambles to chase the latest bubble breakout. His blog post's punchline: "Do not worry! Do not panic!" We doubt anyone will panic, at least not until the selling begins.
When Will Bad News Cease to be Good News for Stocks? It is quite amazing to watch this. Even as one economic datum after another indicates that a major slowdown is underway that could well turn into a recession (keep in mind that this is not a certainty – at similar junctures in recent years, aggregate economic data recovered just in the nick of time), the US stock market continues to take everything in stride. The longevity, intensity and persistence of a bubble is per se not proof that it will inevitably continue – it is only an indication of the likely amount of pain the market will eventually dispense.
- Political Battle Ramps Up Over Iran Nuclear Deal (WSJ)
- Greece moves to quell default fears, pledges to meet 'all obligations' (Reuters)
- Isolated Greece pivots east to Russia, China and Iran. But will it work? (Telegraph)
- Frustrated officials want Greek premier to ditch Syriza far left (FT)
- Greek political unrest and deepening debt crisis fuel talk of snap election (Guardian)
- Rand Paul’s Challenge: Charting His Own Course (WSJ)
- In Greenspan Conundrum Redux, Odds Are on Bond Traders’ Side (BBG)
- Yemen's Aden suffers amid clashes, aid deliveries delayed (Reuters)
- Record Gasoline Output to Curb Biggest U.S. Oil Glut in 85 Years (BBG)
Surprisingly, the flow of crude oil is still accelerating, much like the money going into crude oil funds. Three of the largest crude oil funds include USO, OIL, and UCO. UCO is unique due to the fact that it’s an exchange-traded fund that uses leverage, mostly in the form of derivatives, to correspond to twice (200%) the daily performance of its underlying benchmark, the Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Sub-index. Many large financial institutions have large stakes in UCO and thus are still betting that crude oil can make a comeback beginning in 2015.