Implied volatility for the big banks is down across the board, just about where it was before the system went into convulsions. This implies the coast is clear, as do the share prices of many banks.
Hard core forensic and fundamental analysis implies otherwise. So does the Fed's actions, which still incorporates ZIRP policy, as well as the waffling at FASB. We will either have smooth sailing from this point on out or there is a nasty surprise waiting (on and off balance sheet) for bank investors in the near future. I invite readers to weigh in with their opinions.
Supply of course. We just haven't come to fully appreciate that, yet.
The guy who may have crushed Greece's hopes for a slow and steady bond issuance strategy by rushing head over heels to raise as much as his underwriters promised him could be done, with the result being getting hit on just 39% of the €1 billion in the recent 12 year reopening, is former Goldman banker Petros Christodoulou, director of the Greek Public Debt Management office. Here he is an a Bloomberg TV interview conducted earlier.
Ken Lewis Won't Settle Civil Charges With Cuomo, Bernanke And Paulson Will Likely Appear As Defense Witnesses In TrialSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2010 13:01 -0500
Yet another development in the saga of Ken Lewis, which everyone seems to have mostly forgotten now, who as a reminder is being sued by NY AG Andrew Cuomo, was just broken by Charlie Gasparino who claims that the former head of BofA is refusing to settle and will instead likely go to trial. In his lawsuit Cuomo alleges that Lewis violated civil securities laws by not alerting shareholders to the enormity of the losses prior to their vote. The cherry on top: Bernanke and Paulson will likely end up as defense witnesses - we wonder if the two will invoke the 5th against self-incrimination.
Minyanville's Todd Harrison is the latest to jump on the bandwagon for whom a "sideways or slightly down market" is not a victory for the bulls. In fact, Todd is outright bearish, and harkens to his prophetic call from September 2008 (oddly, a time when CNBC programming was far more balanced yet when everyone still thought the worst was behind us and Dick Bove had just issued a buy rating on Lehman, not to mention that every phone call from David Einhorn was being tapped under the guidance of the powers that be). Harrison prefaces: "Kevin Cassidy, a senior credit analyst at Moody’s, recently referenced the $700 billion in risky high-yield corporate debt on the horizon and offered, “An avalanche is brewing in 2012 and beyond if companies don’t get out in front of this.” Minyanville offered a similar assessment entering September 2008 as $871 billion of corporate debt was set to mature into year-end. We opined there were two plausible scenarios; a credit cancer that would chew through the financial body, or a car crash that would crack the system under the weight of an indebted world." Todd was spot on back then. Will he be right again?
If you were one of the unlucky few caught exposing Barclays' shenanigans over the past year while acquiring Lehman at subfiresale prices (and being sued for that now), you probably were not invited to the annual Lehman Brothers (yes, that's how it will always be know, and always with Brad Rogoff leading the charge) HY conference, this year held at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ. On the other hand, even if you were invited, but like quite a few people, spent all your time in Jenna Jameson's Babe's Cabaret, and need to send your boss a summary of all you"learned" you must be about as pleased as Tim Geithner at a Tax Cheats Anonymous meeting. Fear not - here is the full presentation deck, chock full of cool stuff stuff, pretty graphs and bullish, bullisher, bullishest ideas. So buy all the worst junk before the market crashes again and Lehman still has gobs of crap paper on their books. Cause this time the Repo 105 reacharound just ain't gonna cut it.
Is Goldman's Image Problem The Reason Why The Treasury Picked Morgan Stanley To Sell Its Citi Stake? Gasparino Says YesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/29/2010 13:21 -0500
Charlie Gasparino who last week interviewed John Mack (and, we contend, failed to ask any truly provocative questions especially as pertains to MS' record prop trading losses), contends that the reason why Morgan Stanley was picked over GS in selling the Treasury's shopping Citi stake, even as Pandit's firm is set to quadruple and become the most valuable worthless company in the world (with one quadrillion outstanding shares, and a projected price per share of $16, well you do the math), is Goldman's increasingly shaky public image. And that the firm's negative perception may ultimately alienate more investment banking clients who wish to avoid the "fallout of working with Goldman."
Greece [Will/Will Not] Issue 6%+ Debt This Week, Even As Evans-Pritchard Summarizes It Best: "Greece Is Drowning"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2010 19:28 -0500
Something funny happened on the road to a Greek bailout: nothing. Well, a few exceptions: Germany and the ECB are now enemies, nobody knows what the hell the Maastricht rules really are, the ratings agencies are discredited beyond repair as even the ECB says its own internal bureaucrats can do a better job at modelling the Greek AAA rating... Yet Greek debt is still yielding 6%+. If anyone will recall, the primary concern that various administration George Pap[...]'s had, was that Greek debt was "unfairly" yielding double where German debt is. So yeah, lots of talk, more non-bailout bailouts, and in meantime, Greek default risk is pretty much where it was two months ago. Which is why speculation that emerged toward the end of last week that Greece will promptly issue new debt, is now being squashed by G-Pap (fin min or FM, not to be confused with the prime min or PM). In the end, it is all irrelevant: as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says, the end is close for Greece.
Alan Greenspan Discusses The Fed's Inability To See Bubbles, Is Confident There Is A "Bubble Waiting To Burst In China"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/27/2010 13:12 -0500
The maestro managed to run away from the old folks' bent on monetary destruction home just long enough to carry this amusing interview with Bloomberg TV's Al Hunt. Tomes (will) have been written about Greenspan's dementia, just as books will be available on the Kindle one day analyzing his successor's massive mistakes which are slowly but surely leading to an American day of reckoning, so we won't comment much, suffice to point out some of the key highlights in Greenspan's presentation. Most amusingly, note the escalating battle between Greenie and the Fed's new vice-chairman Janet Yellen, who blatantly contradicted Greenspan's that higher interest rates would have prevented a housing bubble. For all it's worth, Alan's response is actually quite interesting: "We tried to do that in 2004. We ran into a conundrum. For decades, every time the Fed raised its short-term rates, the 10-year note, which is really the proxy for mortgage rates, the yield went up with it. This time, it did not. And the reason it did not, is you cannot have the 10-year note determined both by arbitraged global finance and individual central banks. As a consequence of that…starting in the period where the sensitivity of the early stages of the bubble were building up, it was very clear that what was determining the rise in prices was movements in long-term mortgage rates going down, not the federal funds rate." In English, this is quite intriguing: China, which at about this time started running up massive trade balances, essentially became indifferent about US monetary policy, as it gobbled up everything east of 5 Years, with a preference on the 10 Year. The reason for this is the US consumer became the one driving force behind the massive Chinese economic expansion. With the consumer out, and with China set to report its first trade deficit in 6 years, and the Fed pulling out its support of mortgages, and the Chinese National Bank pulling liquidity, the move in 10 Year over the next few weeks is now more critical than ever, which is why the 10 Year - 30 Year MBS spread is paradoxically pressured at an all time tight spread, as all the early MBS shorts are covered, forcing pundits to say MBS are cheap as fighting momentum in this market is professional suicide. To be sure, this technical push down will soon end. And when this last coiled spring blows out, watch out below, first in housing, then in rates, in corporates, and last, in equities.
More Than Meets The Bottom Line: Are Banks Getting Crushed Due To Negative Swap Spreads And The $154 Trillion IR-Derivative Market?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/26/2010 14:46 -0500
Lots of confused chatter in the bond community as to why the negative swap spread story (anywhere between 7Y and 30Y) is being largely ignored by the media. After all, the associated market, which according to the BIS was roughly $154 TRillion in June 30 makes the Greek bond debacle and various sovereign CDS discussions in the media pale in comparison. As several bond traders pointed out, the likelihood of negative spreads having been modelled out by the TBTFs is very low, if any, meaning that unhedged bank IR-swap exposure is suffering massively, and is likely to surpass all record past prop desk losses. In fact, rumors abound that a few of the desks having placed leveraged bets on spread divergence over the past months and years are currently in critical condition, yet nobody is discussing this for fear of another round of bank run concerns among the TBTF banks. What is odd, is that the Primary Credit borrowings are now at almost financial crisis lows of just under $9 billion, leading many to speculate that banks now satisfy all of their short-term funding needs via the fungibility of excess reserves (and indicating once again that the Fed's discount rate hike was the most irrelevant action in a history of irrelevant actions). And just in case there is still confusion as to what negative swap spreads mean, here is a useful primer.
But the technicals have me rethinking these relationships. Is it possible that we could have higher yields and lower equities?
The small banks will lend, if we just stop the too big to fails from stifling competition ...
The ECB is finally realizing that Greece will be a major issue for years if not decades to come. Which is why Jean-Claude Trichet finally put the debate of whether his bank will accept BBB- rated collateral beyond 2010 to rest. The answer is yes. This also takes out Moody's ridiculous A2 Greek rating out of the equation: finally Moody's can vote with its conscience. "It is the intention of the ECB's Governing Council to keep the minimum credit threshold in the collateral framework at investment grade level (BBB-) beyond the end of 2010. In parallel, we would introduce, as of January 2011, a graded haircut schedule, which will continue to adequately protect the Eurosystem." Considering how well the Eurosystem has been protected to date, we can't wait to see just how well this experiment will play out.
If this article goes viral around the web, I wouldn't be surprised if the euro tanks and several European sovereign states' spreads blow out. I have busted several of them in another of a long series of "creative" economic forecasting schemes to fudge the appearance of "austerity".
" We have taken testimony from dozens of witnesses and reviewed tens of thousands of documents .... We have looked at the silver market like we never have before and I think there is a window of success that has been opened for understanding about what has been going on and why .... In 35 years, there has been only one successful prosecution for manipulation. So if you ask me if the manipulation standard in the law is working, I'd have to say no .... We need to be more like the police department and less like the fire department. We need to deter and prevent things from happening, rather than merely responding. "