Institutional Investors

"Gold Isn't An Investment - Gold Is Money"

Probably the biggest misconception investors have about gold is that it's an investment. They'll listen to people on CNBC pick apart and analyze every $30 move in the metal, just as they would talk about a move in crude oil or stocks or bonds. They'll check the price quote every day... to see how their "investment" in gold is performing. That just isn't a useful way to view gold. Gold isn't an investment. Gold is money. Gold is real wealth you can hold in your hand, it's also "crisis insurance"... or "wealth insurance."

Italy's Bank Bailout Fund Already One Third Empty After First Bank Rescue

Italy's bad bank bailouts fund, "Atlas", is about to become the proud new owner of around 90% of Italy's Popolare di Vicenza after investors only bought a fraction of the mid-tier bank's €1.5 billion cash call, Reuters reports.  Popolare di Vicenza, which was due to announce the outcome of the public share offer later on Friday, said earlier in the day that it had raised €4.25 billion, at the lower end of a 4-6 billion euro range it had initially targeted, from 67 mostly domestic financial institutions.

The Enabler & The Lifeline: Diamond Resorts & Quorum FCU

Diamond has a good thing going with Quorum: they get access to ample credit, especially for those applicants with weaker credit profiles. From a Diamond investor's perspective, it would be a shame if anything changed. The post credit-crisis strategy of focusing on esoteric lending opportunities like VOI (as well as taxi medallions, hearing aids and fertility treatments) to generate revenues and membership has run into both a broader slowdown in the consumer credit cycle as well as more specific problems, like an increasingly worried regulator.

Volume Collapses As China Commodity Exchanges Ordered To "Curb Speculation"

We have been warning about China's speculative commodity trading bubble - spewing false signals around the world about the strength of the real economy - and now, as we suggested previously, Chinese authorities have decided to burst yet another bubble they created.Reuters reports that China's Securities regulator has ordered three major commodity exchanges to "control intraday speculation in commodity markets," ordering them to "curb trading for investors with no commodity industry background." Volume has crashed... and just as it did in the equity markets, price will follow.

Doug Casey Warns: "It's The Next Stage Of The Greater Depression..."

"What these central banks and governments are doing is incredibly irresponsible and stupid, printing these currency units up by the trillions... so there’s going to be a panic into gold. ...They’ve created a super-bubble in bonds, a bubble in stocks, and meanwhile commodities have collapsed and are below production costs in many cases. ...The economy is going to be very, very bad... It’s the next stage of what I call the Greater Depression."

"This Is The Most Crowded Trade in History"

"Instead of looking for manager’s and investment opportunities to beat the market, investors are opting to be the market and are likely creating the most crowded trade in historyStagnant monetary policy fosters a groupthink outlook.  The Fed Put prompts the same positioning.  Computerized programs trade correlations and relationships established during an extended period of abnormal policy.  Active managers continue to retrench as the market diverges from the fundamentals, but the blind buyers continue to participate - it does not matter if the market is 10x, 15x, or 20x earnings, they buy for one reason, it is the market."

On The Impossibility Of A Soft Landing

Mind the terminal growth assumption. The warning signs are everywhere that what lies on the other side is not a world of 24.3X valuations.

"It Been Horrendous" - Investor Tries To Pull Cash From Valeant-Heavy Fund, Gets Shares Instead

When Tom Bentley tried to pull his money from a mutual fund troubled by its large stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., he instead received shares in a Springfield, Mo. auto-parts retailer. Sequoia Fund Inc. sent the retired computer hardware engineer about 5% of his money in cash and the rest was stock in one company–O’Reilly Automotive Inc. Mr. Bentley said he sold the shares as soon as they appeared in his account on April 7, but they had already dropped in value. "It has been pretty horrendous," Mr. Bentley said.

The Path To The Final Crisis

We cannot be sure what shape the next crisis will take, although it seems likely that it will be yet another “deflation scare”, mainly caused by falling asset prices. However, we do know what the last crisis of the current system will look like. It will entail a crumbling of the public’s faith in fiat money and the institutions that issue and administer it.

Partner At Blackstone Spun-off Private Equity Firm Arrested, Charged With Stealing $95 Million

In a shocking development, earlier today a highly reputable executive with a just as reputable private equity firm was arrested and charged with securities fraud. Andrew Caspersen, a Harvard Law School graduate and a partner at the Park Hill Group, an advisory firm that up until last fall had been a part of the Blackstone Group, was accused of defrauding numerous institutional investors out of $95 million through fake private equity investments.

Frontrunning: March 21

  • Oil Drops With Emerging-Market Currencies on Rig Recovery Signs (BBG)
  • A plea for help - How China asked the Fed for its stock crash play book (Reuters)
  • Obama to meet Raul Castro on historic Cuba trip (Reuters)
  • Wall Street's Pile of Unwanted Treasuries Exposes Market Cracks (BBG)
  • Dimon's Timing Looks Savvier by the Day as Equities Rebound (BBG)

JPM: The Short Squeeze Is Largely Over

"Three quarters of the previous selling of equity ETFs during January and February has been reversed in just three weeks. CTAs appear to have fully covered their shorts. Indeed both CTAs and Discretionary Macro hedge fund managers appear to be close to neutral right now... we conclude that the short covering phase that started a month ago is very advanced."