Greed; corporate arrogance; lobbying influence; excessive leverage; accounting tricks to hide debt; lack of transparency; off balance sheet obligations; mark to market accounting; short-term focus on profit to drive compensation; failure of corporate governance; as well as auditors, analysts, rating agencies and regulators who were either lax, ignorant or complicit. This laundry list of causes has often been used to describe what went wrong in the credit crunch crisis of 2008-2010. Actually these terms were equally used to describe what went wrong with Enron more than twenty years ago. Both crises resulted in what at the time was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history — Enron in December 2001 and Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Naturally, this leads to the question that despite all the righteous indignation in the wake of Enron's failure did we really learn or change anything?
The ancient question: how do you extract some moolah while you still can?
Today’s bizarre confluence of negative real interest rates, money printing, eurozone sovereign default, aberrant asset prices, high unemployment, political polarization, growing distrust… none of it was supposed to happen. It is the unintended consequence of past crisis-fighting campaigns, like a troupe of comedy firemen leaving behind them a bigger fire than the one they came to extinguish. What will be the unintended consequences of today’s firefighting? We shudder to think.
When Bad Government Policy Leads to Bad Results, the Government Manipulates the Data … Instead of Changing PolicySubmitted by George Washington on 07/30/2013 15:09 -0400
Problem ... What Problem?
This fall, the US government might go the very same way as Detroit and end up filing for chapter-11 help. In other words, it will end up asking itself to bail itself out.
The raw economic truths from the Street. What's the difference between your common street thug or hustler and the K Street/Wall Steet/Central Banker? Read this to find out...
Sovereign debt is the bonds that are issued by national governments in foreign currencies with the intent to finance a country’s growth. The risk involved is determined by whether that country is a developed or a developing country, whether that country has a stable government or not and the sovereign-credit ratings that are attributed by agencies to that country’s economy.
Lets face it, shysters exist....it's our job to ensure we stay well clear of them. Here are some RED FLAGS to look out for!
Dispassionate review of some of next weeks important developments.
There was a time when portfolio insurance guaranteed that events like Black Monday would never happen. Then Black Monday happened precisely due to portfolio insurance. Some years later, the credit-driven housing boom made modeling of declining home prices at rating agencies (and everywhere else) redundant. Then the (first) housing and credit bubble popped leading to the biggest housing market crash in US history. Fast forward to today, when ETFs were supposed to be the "greatest thing since sliced bread" and providing an ultra-low cost alternative to mutual fund and other market exposure "for the people", were supposed to revolutionize investing. Until days like yesterday. To wit from the FT: "The losses for ETFs today were far beyond what the most sophisticated financial risk models could have predicated for worst-case scenarios," said Bryce James, president of Smart Portfolio, which provides ETF asset allocation models.
China is snugging, trying to rein in its financial system and shadow banking system.
With home prices rising at near-record paces in SoCal, corporate debt yields at record-lows, equity markets surging at near-record rates, and high quality assets dwindling by the minute under the heel of a central bank jack boot; it is perhaps no surprise that investors have switched from finding leverage through the balance sheet (i.e. crappy quality firms) to finding leverage through the instrument (i.e. structured credit). The trouble this time is that yields (and spreads) being so low, the creators of the new-normal ABS, CDOs, and CLOs have to stoop to the old tricks to make their money (as we noted here). As Bloomberg reports, bond issuers are once again exploiting the credit rating agency pay-for-performance business model to create "high-quality" collateralizable assets from utter garbage - such as auto loans.
Apple is out with Q2 results which are hardly inspiring. Revenue and sales beat, but margins missed and guidance is weak:
- The good news: Q2 Revenue: $43.6 billion, Exp. $42.3 billion
- Q2 EPS: $10.09, Exp $9.98
- And the not so good news: Q2 margin weaker than expected 37.5%, Exp. 38.5%
- And Q3 revenue seen at $33.5-$35.5 billion far below the estimate consensus $38.4. Remember: AAPL no longer sandbags the future
For those looking for a special dividend you won't see it, instead will have to be satisfied with a buyback expansion by $50 billion (eventually), and an increase of 15% in the dividend. Ironically, cash cow AAPL just announced it will raise debt (and got rated by various rating agencies) in order to fund its cash outflow. In other words, it is slowly but surely becoming a utility. So much for the near infinite growth projections.
Is the dollar trending or is it moving broadly sideways?