- U.S. Regulator Subpoenas Banks Over Long Warehouse Queues (BBG)
- Apple Said to Prepare Holiday Refresh of IPhones to IPads (BBG)
- Fed's Yellen Says Stance on Banks Hardened (WSJ)
- Mexico opens up its energy sector (FT)
- Spin: Greek GDP marks gradual deceleration of recession (FT) ... spin aside, it dropped 4.6%, and in reality, probably over 10%
- Made-in-Canada Solution For BlackBerry Avoids Nortel Fate (BBG)
- America's Farm-Labor Pool Is Graying (WSJ)
- Video of 'lame' cattle stirs new concern over growth drugs (Reuters)
- Paulson Bid for Steinway Trumps Kohlberg Offer (WSJ)
- Egyptian government yet to decide on pro-Mursi vigils (Reuters)
Let's run some quick numbers to determine if Google's management flummoxed in thier largest foray into hardware yet....
As municipal bankruptcies become the New Normal, it's worth noting that litigation does not generate more wealth to distribute, it simply burns existing wealth, leaving less to distribute. Yes, this is stating the obvious, but what's obvious is precisely what's ignored when fantasy attempts to trump reality. Every constituency in every municipal bankruptcy believes they're the most deserving, and they believe that litigation will reveal the obvious truth of their claim. Unfortunately for those counting on the Grand Federal Bailout, the queue at the Federal bailout window is already long: $100+ billion bailout of FHA, which issued hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgages to unqualified buyers; $100+ billion in uncollectible student loans owned or guaranteed by Federal agencies, and of course the $1+ trillion annual deficits needed just to fill the massive feeding troughs of the Status Quo.
The short but profitable tale of how 483,000 private individual have "top secret" access to the nation's most non-public information begins in 2001. "After 9/11, intelligence budgets were increased, new people needed to be hired, it was a lot easier to go to the private sector and get people off the shelf," and sure enough firms like Booz Allen Hamilton - still two-thirds owned by the deeply-tied-to-international-governments investment firm The Carlyle Group - took full advantage of Congress' desire to shrink federal agencies and their budgets by enabling outside consultants (already primed with their $4,000 cost 'security clearances') to fulfill the needs of an ever-more-encroaching-on-privacy administration.
Only 25, self-described 'risk-taker' Dylan Collins plays the markets with a pot of more than $1 million - $100,000 of his own money earned from trading over the past two years, the rest provided by his bosses and partners at AMR Capital Trading. As The Washington Post reports, Dylan exclaims, "trading is fun; for me this is the dream job;" but as they note, for most of us, day trading conjures up the image from the dot-com era of some dude in his pajamas with a two-day growth of beard logged on to a Charles Schwab account buying Nortel Networks and Pets.com on margin. But have no fear for - New York-based AMR, a division of G-2 Trading, is a lot more disciplined and sophisticated than that - specializing in “momentum trading,” riding hot stocks up and cold stocks down, taking advantage of the irrational herd behavior that characterizes financial markets. “I understand the idea that maybe you’d want to do something more meaningful, but I don’t think I need to worry about that at my age,” Dylan explains as he exploits momentary mispricings and sudden spikes in volume. The thing about this kind of trading is that you don’t have to know very much about the companies whose shares you are buying or selling. “So much of trading is just about intuition,” he adds brushing off how quickly knife-catching turns to blood (as the BTFD strategy backfired on Sino-Forest and Digital Domain). History repeating or Darwinian justice?
- The number of bond funds that own stocks has surged to its highest point in at least 18 years (WSJ)
- Clubby London Trading Scene Fostered Libor Rate-Fixing Scandal (WSJ)
- Cheap money bankrolls Wall Street's bet on housing (Reuters)
- Bank of Japan reveals concerns over easing policy (FT)
- iPads and low-end rivals propel higher tablet shipments (Reuters)
- China Cyberspies Outwit U.S. Stealing Military Secrets (BBG)
- Draghi Fuels Bets on Rate Cut With Risk of Limited Impact (BBG)
- China guides renminbi to fresh high against US dollar (FT)
- Japan is preparing to start up a massive nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant (WSJ)
- Apple’s Ive Seen Risking iOS 7 Delay on Software Overhaul (BBG)
- UBS faces calls for break-up at investor meeting (Reuters)
- White House delays 2014 budget after "fiscal cliff" standoff (Reuters) - And Senate will pass this... never?
- Amari Signals Limits to Abe’s Campaign to Weaken Yen (BBG)
- Draghi’s Bond Rally Masks Debt Doom Loop Trapping Spain (BBG)
- Obama backs gun limits, concedes tough fight ahead (AP)
- Bernanke to Weigh QE Costs as Fed Assets Approach Record (BBG)
- Japan to Sell Debt Worth 7.8 Trillion Yen to Pay for Stimulus (BBG)
- France more than doubles forces in Mali (FT) and yet...
- Malian Rebels Take Town and Vow to Avenge French Attack (NYT)
- China’s Li Calls for Patience as Government Works to Reduce Smog (BBG)
- EU berates China over steel subsidies (BBG)
- Number of working poor families grows as wealth gap widens (Reuters)
- Guess who doesn't believe in the "great rotation out of bonds and into stocks": Abe Aids Bernanke as Japan Seen Buying Foreign Debt (BBG)
- AIG Sues Federal Reserve Vehicle in Dispute Over Lawsuit Rights (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Said to Weigh Disclosing Whale Report Faulting Dimon (BBG)
- Ugly Choices Loom Over Debt Clash (WSJ)
- Credit Suisse to cut bonus pool by 20 percent (Reuters)
- Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species (BBG)
- EU redrafts plan for bank rescue funding (FT)
- JCPenney stock plunges after bad holiday (NY Post)
- Regulator Comments Buoy Shanghai Stocks (WSJ)
- Japan voters back PM Abe's efforts to spur growth, beat deflation (Reuters)
- Cameron averts row over Europe speech (FT)
- Swatch Buys Harry Winston Jewelry Brand for $1 Billion (BBG)
- Romney dominates presidential debate (FT)
- What Romney’s Debate Victory Means (Bloomberg)
- Obama Lead Shrinks in Two Battlegrounds (WSJ)
- "Everything will fall apart unless the Spanish conditions are extremely tough" German policy-maker (Telegraph)
- Draghi Stares at Spain as Brinkmanship Keeps ECB Waiting (Bloomberg)
- RBS facing loss after Spanish property firm collapse (Telegraph)
- Burdened by Old Mortgages, Banks Are Slow to Lend Now (WSJ)
- The Woman Who Took the Fall for JPMorgan Chase (NYT)
- European Banks Told to Hold On to $258 Billion of Fresh Capital (Bloomberg)
- Europe Weighs More Sanctions as Iran’s Currency Plummets (Bloomberg)
- No Joy on Wall Street as Biggest Banks Earn $63 Billion (Bloomberg)
- And more good news: IMF’s Blanchard Says Crisis Will Last a Decade (Reuters)
- Hobbit Returns to Find Middle Earth Has Become Expensive (Bloomberg)
- Freddie's Foreclosure Plan Hits Roadblock (WSJ)
- Who will buy the FT? Pearson CEO Scardino Will Step Down as Fallon Takes Over (BBG)
- Jeremy Lin Said to Be in Talks With Harvard on Licensing Deal (Bloomberg)
- Jon Weil tears apart the NYAG "prosecution" - Eric Schneiderman Will Have to Do Better Than This (BBG)
- Portugal Offers to Exchange Bonds as It Seeks Debt Market Access (Bloomberg)
- Is unlimited growth a thing of the past? (FT-Martin Wolf)
- European Bank Capital Results Overtaken by Tougher Global Rules (Bloomberg)
- China’s Slowdown Reverberates as ADB Cuts Forecasts (Bloomberg)
- Tokyo has no plan to extend currency swap deal with Seoul (Reuters)
Falling interest rates are a feature of our current monetary regime, so central that any look at a graph of 10-year Treasury yields shows that it is a ratchet (and a racket, but that is a topic for another day!). There are corrections, but over 31 years the rate of interest has been falling too steadily and for too long to be the product of random chance. It is a salient, if not the central fact, of life in the irredeemable US dollar system. Irving Fisher, writing about falling prices (I shall address the connection between falling prices and falling interest rates in a forthcoming paper) proposed a paradox: “The more the debtors pay, the more they owe.” Debtors slowly pay down their debts and reduce the principle owed. This would reduce the NPV of their debts in a normal environment. But in a falling-interest-rate environment, the NPV of outstanding debt is rising due to the falling interest rate at a pace much faster than it is falling due to debtors’ payments. The debtors are on a treadmill and they are going backwards at an accelerating rate. How apropos is Fisher’s eloquent sentence summarizing the problem!
- Jon Huntsman Will Leave Republican Presidential Race, Endorse Mitt Romney, Officials Say (WaPo)
- Dont laugh - Plosser: Fed Tightening Possible Before Mid-2013 (WSJ)
- Greece’s Creditors Seek End To Deadlock (FT)
- France Can Overcome Crisis With Reforms – Sarkozy (Reuters)
- Nowotny Says S&P Favors Fed’s Bond Buying Over ECB’s ‘Restrictive’ Policy (Bloomberg)
- Bomb material found in Thailand after terror warnings (Reuters)
- Ma Victory Seen Boosting Taiwan Markets as Baer Considers Upgrading Stocks (Bloomberg)
- Japan Key Orders Jump; Policymakers Fret over Euro (Reuters)
- Renminbi Deal Aims to Boost City Trade (FT)
If history is any indicator, Google may be poised to hit the ball out of the park with the Motorola Acquisition. Remember Moto has more patents than all phone manufacturers (nearly combined - Nokia, RIM, Apple). Motorola made 1st mobile phone - that briefcase-like device - as well as the first 2nd generation banana phone, then early flip phones. Assume the possibility to break many other vendor strategies, revenue streams and business models with their patents.
Adding insult upon injury...
In any period of ‘reaching for yield’ the market sees a gradual shift as investors move out the curve, purchase weaker credits, or dabble in structured products. These are not their usual “comfort zone” of investing. Someone used to investing in 3 year risk, is not used to the volatility of investing in 10 year bonds. The investment grade investor may not fully understand the convexity of callable high yield bonds, not the impact of secured loans above you in the capital structure. Worst of all, the straight bond investor who takes a punt on some structured assets may not fully understand the asset and over estimate the liquidity in bad times by orders of magnitude. These shifts are generally very gradual. It takes investors awhile to get comfortable with the increased risk. As the asset class performs, the investor is more confident in their decision making, and likely has even more need to reach for yield, so they add more money to areas outside of their core competency. Then, one day, almost out of nowhere, something sparks a sell-off. It is almost as though one day the asset class is great, the investor is smart, and the next day, the market is selling off and the investor has no idea why. If it was an area they were experts in they might assess the market carefully and decide to retain their position, or even add. But in a market that they don’t have much experience, the declining price creates fear, and ultimately, it is impossible for the investor who reached for a few extra bps to bury the sensation that they could lose far more money than they hoped to make. Those few extra bps, which the investor viewed as so important, just a short while ago, were only available because this investment was MORE risky. That risk now becomes too much and the investor joins the selling parade, creating a sharp sell-off.