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!
The financial markets don't just dominate the economy - they now control everything.
There is a financial crisis on the horizon. It is a crisis that all the Central Bank interventions in the world cannot cure. It is a financial crisis that will continue to change the economic landscape of America for decades to come. No, we are not talking about the next Lehman event or the next financial market meltdown. Although something akin to both will happen in the not-so-distant future. It is the lack of financial stability of the current, and next, generation that will shape the American landscape in the future.
Honest price discovery is essential to capitalist prosperity since it is the miraculous mechanism by which capital is raised from savers and investors and efficiently allocated among producers, entrepreneurs and genuine market-rate borrowers. What the central banks have generated, instead, is a casino that is blindly impelled to churn the secondary capital markets and inflate the price of existing assets to higher and higher levels - until they ultimately roll-over under their own weight. The Easy Button addiction of our central bankers is thus not just another large public policy problem. It is the very economic and social scourge of our times.
The leniency shown former CIA Director (and retired General) David Petraeus by the Justice Department in sparing him prison time for the serious crimes that he has committed puts him in the same preferential, immune-from-incarceration category as those running the financial institutions of Wall Street, where, incidentally, Petraeus now makes millions. By contrast, “lesser” folks – and particularly the brave men and women who disclose government crimes – get to serve time, even decades, in jail. Behold, the virtual immunity enjoyed by the well connected.
When a specially-designed robot dies within 3 hours of being exposed to Fukushima's radiation, it is clear something is not quite as propagandized in Japan; and today, as SCMP reports, extremely high levels of radiation have been discovered in a children's playground in Tokyo. While two hours of exposure to a child would be equivalent to the maximum does allowable in a year, Japanese officials say they do not think it is connected to the disaster at Fukushima. We are not sure whether that is supposed to reassure or terrorize locals?
"Where are the defaults?" UBS asks, referring to the highly leveraged US shale complex. "They're coming," is the answer, as current bond prices assume oil prices in the 60s and 70s.
- Euro zone bond yields sink to historic lows (Reuters)
- Clinton Foundation to Keep Foreign Donors (WSJ)
- Russia says U.S. forced it to act on Ukraine (Reuters)
- Bankers to China's Rescue (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Global Oil Market in a Month (BBG)
- Valuations of Hong Kong's stock market operator go interstellar (Reuters)
- Switzerland Attracts Fewer Firms as Politics Hurt Business Image (BBG)
SEC Reaches "Appropriate" Settlement With Freddie Mac Execs Who Will Pay Nothing And Receive No PunishmentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/15/2015 15:25 -0400
Three former Freddie Mac executives who understated the amount of subprime exposure on the GSE's book by a factor of 28 came to terms with the SEC today on a settlement which imposes fees no one has to pay and "limitations on future behavior" that "will not limit [anyone] in any practical way."