Yay verily, Michigan Consumer Sentiment jumped more than expected and there was rejoicing all around. Of course, a simple scratch beneath the surface reveals what many realists suspect, expectations for the future are the major driver of the headline number. Unfortunately we have seen exactly this pattern before. Not only are the levels and changes similar to Q3/Q4 2008 but the underlying events (recessionary concerns, banking liquidity concerns, crisis of confidence) are eerily similar. The we've-been-down-so-long-it-has-to-get-better crowd psychology is intriguing as the rise in hope over the past four months is the largest in over 30 months as the delta between current reality and the green green grass of next year drops. While animal spirits are arguably of interest in short-term macro cycles, we note that the ramps in the hopium index tend to last 4-5 months at most and that is where we are now.
While the general media may be ignoring the latest peculiar twist on the "Occupy" theme, or in this case the "occupyourhomes.org", Bank of America is taking it quote seriously. As a reminder, "Tuesday, December 6th is the National Day of Action to stop and reverse foreclosures. The Occupy Homes movement is holding actions around the country in support of homeowners and people fighting to have a home. Find an event near you and join in our day of action tomorrow!. There are actions happening in over 20 cities nationwide. Events are taking place in Brooklyn, Buffalo and Rochester New York; Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Petaluma, Sacramento, Paradise and Contra Costa California; Lake Worth, Florida; Atlanta, Fayetteville, and DeKalb Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Bloomington, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Detroit and Southgate Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington." And if you have not heard about today's protest on the conventional media that is understandable: as BAC says internally, this event "could impact our industry." Here are the specific warnings to BAC "field services" agents: i) Your safety is our primary concern, so do not engage with the protesters; ii) While in neighborhoods, please take notice of vacant BAC Field Services managed homes and ensure they are secured; iii) Remind all parties of the bank’s media policy and report any media incidents. Aside from the superficial implications, what is more important is that the big banks are showing precisely what the weakest links in the system are, and what makes them the most nervous: it is not protesters living in tents in a major metropolitan city: it is protesters disrupting the lifeblood of the broken banking system - the home selling/repossession pathway. Expect many more such protests now that Bank of America has tipped its hand.
Anyone who has not taken the pre-Thanksgiving day off may regret it as in addition to a Eurozone whose core is now officially imploding we have possibly one of the busiest economic days of the year to top it all of right into what will likely be the thinnest volume days. Expect massive manic depressive mood swings on the smallest of blocks.
As the super-committee seems more and more likely to hit a brick-wall, we present with no comment, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma's 'helpful' prose.
Americans are generous and do not want to see their fellow citizens go without basic necessities. Likewise, we expect everyone to contribute and to demonstrate personal responsibility. Government policies intended to mainstream wealth redistribution are undermining these principles. The tragic irony is the wealth in these cases is trickling up rather than down the economic ladder. The cost of this largess will thus be shared by those struggling today and the next generation who will inherit $15 trillion of debt that threatens the future of the American Dream. These consequences are the results of shortsighted spending and tax policies like those outlined in this report that should be eliminated.
The most comprehensive and concise summary of the events in the week just passed.
With the market enjoying a 30% below average volume rally this morning, as European debt spreads pull back to where they were 2 days ago, the University of Michigan survey of Consumer Confidence Sentiment rose to 64.2 from 60.9 beating expectations of 61.5. The bond-less equity market managed a short-lived rally in this wonderful news until a few realities hit home. Contextually, this number remains 25% below its average of the last 33years, the 3 month change in the outlook (or 'hope') sub-index jumped the most since June 2009, and 5Y inflation expectations are as low as they were Q1 2009 (and the second lowest print ever). As always, regarding the headline figure is often misleading as the reality of these surveys is often far more interesting and realistic under the surface.
- Trading volume remains thin as Veterans Day in the US and Armistice Day in Europe is being observed
- The new Greek government, led by ex-ECB vice president Papademos, is expected to be sworn in at 1400GMT today
- The Italian Senate approves budget measures. According to the PM’s office, Italy’s cabinet will meet on Saturday evening at around 1700GMT, after the lower house votes on a financial stability law
- Market talk that the ECB is buying the Italian and Spanish government debt
- Merkel's CDU party's general secretary said that the party is poised to back a motion at its annual party congress on November 13th-15th to offer states a "voluntary" means of leaving the Eurozone
Those of us who have supported Ron Paul since his presidential run in 2008 (and some who supported him long before that) have come to expect an astonishing array of mainstream media tricks, lies, and censorship when it comes to the “journalistic” examination of the good doctor. This doesn’t mean, however, that we have ever or will ever come to ACCEPT this consistent trend of deception and disinformation as a forgone conclusion of our political lives. We will never throw up our hands and walk away from the mess the MSM has deliberately created, because that is exactly what they would like us to do; give up, shut up, go home, vote for Romney (an establishment crony with the creepy grin of a pedophile), and watch him lose to Obama (yet another establishment crony) in 2012. With this stated up front, it was brought to my attention that CNBC was running a poll asking readers who they thought won the recent Republican Presidential Debates in Michigan. Now, as in many polls in 2008, the name “Ron Paul” has been rising to the top of the charts in 2011 despite all efforts by media lapdogs to dissuade the public from even considering such a candidate. CNBC did not fail to play its roll this time around either. Ron Paul won by a substantial margin, and of course, their response was to take the poll down!
Moving from this granular level to a bank-wide basis, the authors found that the CPP banks increased asset risk (using ROA & earnings volatility as proxies) while decreasing their leverage (perhaps because they knew that regulators would be keeping an eye on this metric in addition to the capitalization ratio.) What does all this mean and how should this shape actions in the future? The bail-out itself increased our chances of having the bail the banks out all over again. Moral hazard is no longer in the realm of the abstract. Further, my guess is that the bailed-out banks took on more risk so that they could earn enough to speed repayment of the aid and therefore escape the onerous strings attached. So perhaps the limits on executive compensations, dividends, etc. in a perverse way increased our chances of having to bail the banks out all over again.
The Great Recession bites yet another New Normal in America.
Here Comes The Politicization Of MF Global: Former Goldmanite Gensler Says MF Failure Example Of "Freedom To Fail"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/03/2011 12:33 -0400
We find it supremely ironic that one former Goldmanite, in this case the CFTC's Gary Gensler, takes credit (doing the people's work this time?) for allowing the failure of what is now a documented criminal enterprise, MF Global, run by another former Goldmanite, Jon Corzine, and claiming this was nothing less than an example of "Freedom To Fail". The NYT quotes Gensler: "This was an example of a financial institution having the freedom to fail,” he said in response to questioning from Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “I don’t think there’s any taxpayer money behind this.”" No, Gary, there is just client money behind this. Anywhere between $700 million and $1.5 billion. Money that was stolen, and had MF global been bailed out, you, the CFTC and the US Government would have been complicit in a prima facie felony. So please - no need for the pathetic pandering to the lowest common denominator that only years of Goldman tenure can hone to this level of perfection. The only question is whether the CFTC, together with that other corrupt regulator which oddly enough is not yet run by a third Goldman alum, has the "freedom to jail."
Your one stop, comprehensive summary of the main bullish and bearish events in the past week.
- Chinese vice finance minister said details on the expansion of the European bailout fund is still unclear, adding that purchases of EFSF bonds are not on the G20 agenda. Also, EFSF’s Regling said he does not expect to reach a conclusive deal with Chinese leaders during his visit to Beijing
- The German Constitutional Court halted the use of a special parliamentary committee that was recently created to decide on changes to the Eurozone’s bailout fund in emergency situations
- Meanwhile, a German senior coalition lawmaker said the Constitutional Court's decision means the EFSF secondary market bond purchases will be de facto impossible until a verdict, as Bundestag plenary cannot meet confidentially
- Lacklustre BTAN auctions from Italy dented appetite for risk