Here come the revisionists with new malarkey about the 2008 financial crisis. No less august a forum than the New York Times today carries a front page piece by journeyman financial reporter James Stewart suggesting that Lehman Brothers was solvent; could and should have been bailed out; and that the entire trauma of the financial crisis and Great Recession might have been avoided or substantially mitigated. That is not just meretricious nonsense; its a measure of how thoroughly corrupted public discourse about the fundamental financial and economic realities of the present era has become owing to the cult of central banking. The great error of September 2008 was not in failing to bailout Lehman. It was in providing a $100 billion liquidity hose to Morgan Stanley and an even larger one to Goldman. They too were insolvent. That was the essence of their business model. Fed policies inherently generate runs, and then it stands ready with limitless free money to rescue the gamblers. You can call that pragmatism, if you like. But don’t call it capitalism.
When is the U.S. banking system going to crash? We can sum it up in three words. Watch the derivatives. It used to be only four, but now there are five "too big to fail" banks in the United States that each have more than 40 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives.
"In conclusion, this analysis finds little evidence of the permanent structural damage to the economy’s productive potential that many commentators see as the main culprit for the subpar recovery from the Great Recession..." and Surprise... "our model suggests that monetary policy played an important role in cushioning the blow from the financial crisis and in sustaining the recovery, which could have been significantly more disappointing without the aggressive actions undertaken by the Fed."
Do you have a friend who consistently borrows 30% of his income each year, is currently in debt about six times her annual income, and wanted to take advantage of short-term interest rates so that he needs to renegotiate with his banker about once every six years? Well, if Uncle Sam is your friend you do!
- U.S., backed by Arabs, launches first strikes on fighters in Syria (Reuters, BBG)
- But not all all back: Turkey Bars Kurds From Entering Syria to Fight Islamic State (BBG)
- Dollar Weakens on Airstrikes; Europe Stocks Drop (BBG)
- Ready for Rate Riot? Emerging Markets Set to Follow Fed (BBG)
- White House fence jumper had ammunition, machete in car, prosecutors say (WaPo)
- El-Erian "would have done things differently" (Reuters)
- Eurozone business growth slows in September, PMI survey finds (BBC)
- Shrinking Bond Desks Taken by Journeymen as Masters Fade (BBG)
- Manufacturing Rebound Relieves Growth Concerns in China (BBG)
- Former Trader Quits Playboy Club to Open Own Restaurant (BBG)
Having cautioned investors this morning of the historical tendency for market reversals on September 22nd after hitting all-time highs, UBS' Art Cashin's warning has been echoed by BofAML's Macneil Curry who notes risk assets are set to correct as negative seasonals dominate the S&P500 this week. This is bullish for Treasuries, Curry adds. "Crazy? Maybe, but forewarned is forearmed," as Cashin concludes.
Q. What are traders talking about at the present time here at the New York Stock Exchange?
Cashin: We are concerned about two questions. First, how will the Fed do in keeping money reasonably easy without causing inflation? Second, where do we stand with the current geopolitical challenges? For now, these challenges seem to be short term concerns. But should we begin to see a financial contagion and pressure building on banks in Europe, perhaps out of the Ukraine situation, things could theoretically turn into what I call a «Lehman moment». That is when markets come under pressure but seem to be under control, and then things change suddenly.
Investors pulled $27 billion out of UK financial assets last month - the biggest capital outflow since the Lehman crisis in 2008 - as concern mounted about the economic and financial consequences if Scotland left the UK, according to Reuters. Furthermore, Morgan Stanley said daily equity flow data pointed to "some of the largest UK equity selling on record."
Central bank stimulus is not leading to virtuous circles but to vicious ones. How can we get out? – Only by changing our attitudes to monetary interventions fundamentally. Only if we accept that interest rates are market prices, not policy levers. Only if we accept that the growth we generate through cheap credit and interest-rate suppression is always fleeting, and always comes at the price of new capital misallocations. The prospect for such a change looks dim at present. The near-term outlook is for more heavy-handed interventions everywhere, and the endgame is probably inflation. This will end badly.
Here are some of the choice excerpts from the man who is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism: “You’ll have to ask those people, ‘What do you have against Mozilo, what did he do?’” he said in a 30-minute call with Bloomberg News before Labor Day, one of his few interviews since the firm’s downfall. “Countrywide didn’t change. I didn’t change. The world changed.” Mozilo doesn’t understand why he and his firm, blamed by lawmakers and authorities for lax underwriting and predatory lending, have been seen as villains. “No, no, no, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that a real estate collapse was the root of the crisis. “Countrywide or Mozilo didn’t cause any of that.” Yes, the Moz talks about himself in the third person.
- That will teach the UAE who's boss: U.S. Won’t Consult Syria on Militant Strikes: White House (BBG)
- Putin Set to Meet Poroshenko as Ukraine Tensions Escalate (BBG)... but the de-escalation algo?
- Tim Hortons’ Canadian Fans Squeamish of American Hookup (BBG)
- Israeli air strikes target more Gaza high-rises (Reuters)
- How Steve Ballmer Became a Rookie Basketball Mogul (WSJ)
- Buffett to Help Finance Burger King Tax-Saving Deal (BBG)
- U.S. Factories Keep Losing Ground to Global Rivals (WSJ)
- Boehner, Camp Profit From Corporate Bid to Avoid U.S. Tax (BBG)
- Experimental U.S. hypersonic weapon destroyed seconds after launch (Reuters)
- The Neo-Neocons (WSJ)
When a tin-foil-hat-wearing blog full of digital dickweeds suggest the dollar's reserve currency status is at best diminishing, it is fobbed off as yet another conspiracy theory (yet to be proved conspiracy fact) too horrible to imagine for the status quo huggers. But when the VP of Research at the New York Fed asks "Could the dollar lose its status as the key international currency for international trade and international financial transactions," and further is unable to say why not, it is perhaps worth considering the principal contributing factors she warns of.
- Barack Obama's 'vacation from hell' (Politico)
- Russian aid convoy checked; military vehicles mass near Ukraine (Reuters)
- Ukraine Says APCs Entered From Russia to Aid Insurgents (BBG)
- Islamic State Said to Challenge Al-Qaeda for Leadership (BBG)
- Missouri protests calmer after governor puts black police captain in charge (Reuters)
- Finally someone will prove the US is a pyramid scheme (in a 1000 page presentation): Ackman’s Pershing Square Sues U.S. Over Fannie, Freddie (BBG)
- Banks, Financial Firms Load Up on Cheap Debt (WSJ)
- Putin to Meet Finnish President as Threat of Cold War Grows (BBG)
- Obama says Missouri shooting death tragic, reflection needed (Reuters)
- U.S. Weighs Iraq Rescue Mission to Save Yazidis (WSJ)
- Maliki says Abadi's appointment as Iraqi PM 'has no value' (Reuters)
- Iran Joins U.S. in Backing Replacement for Iraq’s Maliki (BBG)
- Kurds Push Attack in North Iraq as Maliki Clings to Power (BBG)
- Obama Donors Embrace Corporate Inversions He Criticizes (BBG)
- Syrian Forces Advance on Aleppo, Rebels Fear Another Siege (WSJ)
- Israel, Palestinians pursue Gaza deal with ceasefire clock ticking (Reuters)
- Ebola Drug’s Success Bolsters Approach for Other Diseases (BBG)
- With Natural Gas Byproduct, Iran Sidesteps Sanctions (NYT)
- Kazakhs to Hoard Food as Putin Sanctions Rattle Alliance (BBG)
- Gunshots, tear gas in riots over shooting of black Missouri teen (Reuters)
- Russia sends big aid convoy to Ukraine, West sounds warnings (Reuters)
- Maliki Bid to Block Successor Escalates Crisis in Iraq (BBG)
- Poor German data pushes euro toward 9-month lows against dollar (Reuters)
- Derivatives Reincarnate Boosting Debt Wagers in New Era (BBG)
- Israel Says No Gaza Talks Progress as Hamas Warns on Truce (BBG)
- Traders brace for research crackdown as easy money dries up (Reuters)
- U.S. Bank Profits Near Record Levels (WSJ)
- Unproven Ebola Drugs Are Ethical to Use in Outbreak: WHO (BBG)
- Caesars’ CEO Loveman Says No Qualified Bidders for Revel (BBG)