We all know the difference between reality and wishful thinking. Many of us know just how quickly the jaws of reality can crush the life out of unicorn and fairytale stories when fiction is used to cover the facts. Where the businesses and happy customers that are supposedly represented on an income statement turn out to be little more than the Non-GAAP application of a fairy’s wand and pixie dust. However, this doesn’t stop people from buying in (literally) to the illusion. And what has far more onerous consequences is when the story tellers themselves begin to believe their own works of fiction.
A lot of people have got very excited as the price of WTI has bounced back from the lows reached a few months ago. If oil fails to break and hold above $62 this time around, however, their enthusiasm could well be misplaced, as the fundamental factors that caused the price decline in the first instance are still in place.
Janet Yellen at the Federal Reserve believes that the partying on Wall Street and in the financial institutions may “lead to trouble”.
The ECB warns Athens that Greece is rapidly approaching the "end game", as Tsipras sticks to 'red line' rhetoric. Meanwhile, FinMin Varoufakis claims the country will pay wages and pensions this month, but a leaked IMF memo indicates Greece will default on June 5 if it does not strike a deal with creditors by the end of the month.
"Obama's Tax-The-Rich Plan Is Futile" Druckenmiller Warns, America's Aging Population Is A "Massive, Massive Problem"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2015 16:31 -0400
"Young people are not going to be talking about cutting back," exclaims billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, ominously concluding "there will be nothing to cut back." The reason he is so doom-full about the future - an aging population will present a "massive, massive problem" for the U.S. in 15 years - as Bloomberg reports, because of demographics, "we're just using more and more of society’s resources to fend for the old people," warning that Obama's plans to tax the rich to pay for more social services for the poor would be futile.
Looking for signs that the country's largest asset management firms believe a market meltdown may be on the horizon? Look no further than Vanguard and several other large ETF providers who have set up billions in credit lines with banks to guard against the possibility that a wave of redemptions could wreak havoc on illiquid credit markets.
The conventional view is that the Fed will never need to print-and-buy more than a few hundred billion dollars to stem the tide of selling. But the conventional view has a fatal flaw that Greenspan outlined in his Foreign Affairs article: when markets go bidless, "animal spirits" may be beyond calming. Once central bank buying fails to stem the tide, markets will truly panic. Can central banks double, triple and quadruple their balance sheets almost overnight to absorb the mass dumping of risk-on assets? Will there be no consequences, political and financial, to central banks becoming the greater fools who will buy even as asset values are crashing?
How five investment themes will evolve in the week ahead.
In the coming months, however many hours Clinton spends introducing herself to voters in small-town America, she will spend hundreds more raising money in four-star hotels and multimillion-dollar homes around the nation. The question is: "Can Clinton claim to stand for 'everyday Americans,' while hauling in huge sums of cash from the very wealthiest of us?" This much cannot be disputed: Clinton's connections to the financiers and bankers of this country - and this country's campaigns - run deep. As Nomi Prins questions, who counts more to such a candidate, the person you met over that chicken burrito bowl or the Citigroup partner you met over crudités and caviar?
Ben Bernanke’s skin is as thin, apparently, as is his comprehension of honest economics. The emphasis is on the “honest” part because he is a fount of the kind of Keynesian drivel that passes for economics in the financially deformed world that the Bernank did so much to bring about.
For the first time in 4 years, Appaloosa Management's David Tepper is not the highest-earning hedge fund manager in the world. Plunging from No.1 to tied-for-11th (with a mere $400 million earned last year) Tepper appears to have suddenly found investing difficult now that The Fed has stopped printing money (up just 2.2%). What is more ironic, perhaps, is that the other alleged beneficiary of Fed largesse (and recent hirer or blogger Ben Bernanke) - Citadel tops the list with Ken Griffin making $1.3 billion last year.
"From the BIS to BlackRock, and Jamie Dimon to Jose Vinals, everyone seems to be talking about market liquidity," Citi's Matt King writes, before taking an in-depth look at just how broken the 'markets' truly are. To summarize: no depth in the Treasury market, a duration mismatched powder keg in "long-term" mutual funds thanks to the fact that ZIRP has destroyed money market yields causing investors to find a new 'cash substitute,' and a magically shrinking repo market in the wake of new regulations ironically meant to promote stability.
"They're buying the yield and they think 'Oh, bonds are going to go up,' but when they start coming down, there's going to be a great run to the exits and at least in 2008 you had a bit of a safety net with the prop desks at banks, but now with the Volcker rule you can't even depend on that."
We heard from several central banks in the last few days, and what they had to say was just one more reminder that we are in a Hill Street Blues financial world. So, hey, let’s be careful out there - and then some!