Before the campaign contributors lavished billions of dollars on their favorite candidate; and long after they toast their winner or drink to forget their loser, Wall Street was already primed to continue its reign over the economy. For, after three debates (well, four), when it comes to banking, finance, and the ongoing subsidization of Wall Street, both presidential candidates and their parties’ attitudes toward the banking sector is similar – i.e. it must be preserved – as is – at all costs, rhetoric to the contrary, aside. Obama hasn’t brought ‘sweeping reform’ upon the Establishment Banks, nor does Romney need to exude deregulatory babble, because nothing structurally substantive has been done to harness the biggest banks of the financial sector, enabled, as they are, by entities from the SEC to the Fed to the Treasury Department to the White House.
Fear the truth, it shall set fundamental market forces free!
European equity resilience seems surprising, given the otherwise gloomier mood. No news still played out as being good news and even catch-up to US levels seems a doubtful explanation.
As all eyes and ears (and trigger fingers) are glued to the flashing red headlines from Europe's conditional unconditional OMT/credit-line/backstop/ESM malarkey and Spain's insistence that it doesn't need help yet just wonders what the rules are, Merkel stated - for absolute clarity once again - her views yesterday. As much as no-one wants to hear what the money-lady has to say - preferring instead to live in a world where promises work, FinMin Schaeuble clarified the need for a 'currency commissioner' with sweeping powers to strike down national budgets. This bombshell, as The Telegraph calls it, is really nothing of the sort; as Merkel has already made it clear that there's no money without sacrificing sovereignty. The directness of this statement though does raise questions over just what the ECB is for? Critically, dismissing Van Rompuy's spin that this is a step towards debt-pooling and euro-bills, Schaeuble made it clear that fiscal union meant "more power to police the affairs of debtor states." While the possibility remains of a precautionary line of credit, the Germans stated: "one thing is clear: whatever is requested, it won't be without conditions," and as Citi's Steve Englander noted "It's all down to haggling over the price now."
For those who are curious why Tim Geithner has been invisible in the past 2 months, the answer is he has been manning the phones like a true patriot, and making sure nobody dares to rock the European boat ahead of the US election (as was already disclosed), in this case exemplified by Moody's just released announcement that the rating agency will not downgrade Spain to junk, soaring debt, collapsing GDP and laughable unemployment rate notwithstanding (unless of course the ECB fails in its mission to scare all shorts from approaching within 10 miles of an SPGB, and Spain loses private market access again, in which case Moody's would proceed with a "multiple notch downgrade"). At least not until the US election that is. After that... well, with the fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, Greece vs Troika, etc, etc, buy VIX.
Stronger Periphery close will be the usual opportunity for politicians to rant about the lack of clout of rating agencies.
Good Jump in Risk appetite. Question is how far. Lack of absence of negative news, or better, markets simply ignoring the latter, doesn’t make for a convincing bullish rebound.
I’d say: We won’t get fooled again! European Bull trap.
Europe just can't catch a break these days. While French Fitch naturally came out earlier with a AAA rating and a stable outlook, it is Moody's, which has yet to follow through in S&P's footsteps 14 months later and tell the truth about America's AAA rating, that moments ago spoiled the ESM "inauguration" party by branding it AAA, but with a Negative outlook. So much for the most 'supersecure' CDO on earth: looks like we are not the only ones to assign comical value to the ESM's €80 billion first loss "Paid-in" tranche. Because that 12% in buffered protection can disappear very quick if and when the central planners lose control.
And Monday, it became official.
Those confused by yesterday's rapid move higher in stocks, which fizzled by day's end, which was catalyzed by the non-event of the Spanish budget declaration which will prove to be a major disappointment as all such announcement are fated to be, can take solace in the following summary by DB's Jim Reid: "Yesterday's risk rally on the back of the 2013 budget announcement coincided with a trend seen over the last couple of years of rallies into month and quarter ends. We'll probably get a clearer picture of underlying sentiment by early next week with the new quarter starting, especially as it commences with a bang with the Global PMI numbers on Monday." In this vein, tonight's overnight sentiment showing weakness confirms yesterday's move was one which merely used Spain as a buying catalyst without reading anything into it. Because an even cursory read through shows major cracks. Sure enough the sellside readthroughs appeared this morning: "In our view the Spanish 2013 budget is based on a too optimistic GDP growth assumption" from Citi. Once again, the market shot first, and asks questions later, as the weakness in the futures confirms, EURUSD retracing all overnight gains, and Spain now 1.6% lower on this, as well as uncertainty of today's latest non-event - the local bank stress test vers 304.2b - whose results will be announce at noon NY time, and which just may find Bankia (and its Spiderman towel collection) is quite solvent once again.
Protests Reignite On Anniversary Of Japanese Invasion Of China; Boats Enter Japan's Territorial WatersSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/18/2012 07:16 -0400
Anyone who thought that anti-Japan protests would quietly go away on the 81st anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria may have to reevaluate. First, overnight the HKEJ said that China is preparing economic sanctions against Japan, and as the situation again escalates, Reuters reports that at least two of 11 Chinese ocean surveillance and fishery patrol ships sailing near East China Sea islets claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing have entered what Japan considers its territory, public broadcast NHK said on Tuesday, quoting Japan's Coast Guard. Subsequently, NHK reported that "a Chinese fisheries patrol ship has departed after approaching Japan's territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The Japan Coast Guard remains on the alert, saying the Chinese vessel may enter the area again. The Coast Guard spotted the boat some 43 kilometers north-northwest of the largest island, Uotsuri, early Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard confirmed the boat had left the area before 10:30 AM. It said at around 11:10 AM, the vessel again approached Japan's territorial waters off another island and left soon afterward. In response to warnings from Japan's Coast Guard, the Chinese vessel replied the islands are inherent Chinese territory and that its mission is legitimate." Watch this space carefully, especially once the Chinese armada of 1000 fishing boats, which is already en route to Senkaku, engages in a stand off with Japanese battleships: "China's state-run radio has reported 1,000 fishing boats have left the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian for waters near the Senkaku Islands. But Japan's Coast Guard says it has not yet spotted a large fleet in the area." It will quite soon. Elsewhere, sentiment across mainland China is getting the opposite of better, fast.
Not entirely surprising following the outlook changes for Germany, France, UK, and Holland but still an intriguing move right before Draghi's big unveiling: Moodys maintains AAA rating but shifts to outlook negative.
Moody's believes that it is reasonable to assume that the EU's creditworthiness should move in line with the creditworthiness of its strongest key member states considering the significant linkages between member states and the EU, and the likelihood that the large Aaa-rated member states would likely not prioritize their commitment to backstop the EU debt obligations over servicing their own debt obligations.
Interestingly they also note that a further cut could occur due to: changes to the EU's fiscal framework that led to less conservative budget management...
September Arrives, As Does The French "Dexia Moment" - France Nationalizes Its Second Largest Mortgage LenderSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2012 16:32 -0400
September has arrived which means for Europe reality can, mercifully, return. First on the agenda: moments ago the French government suddenly announced the nationalization of troubled mortgage lender Credit Immobilier de France, which is also the country's second lagrest mortgage specialist after an attempt to find a buyer for the company failed. "To allow the CIF group to respect its overall commitments, the state decided to respond favourably to its request to grant it a guarantee," Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said according to Reuters. What he really meant was that in order to avoid a bank run following the realization that the housing crisis has finally come home, his boss, socialist Hollande, has decided to renege on his core campaign promise, and bail out an "evil, evil" bank. Sadly, while the nationalization was predicted by us long ago, the reality is that the French government waited too long with the sale, which prompted the Moody's downgrade of CIF by 3 notches earlier this week, which in turn was the catalyst that made any delay in the nationalization inevitable. The alternative: fears that one of the key players in the French mortgage house of cards was effectively insolvent would spread like wildfire, leading to disastrous consequences for the banking system. End result: congratulations France: your Fannie/Freddie-Dexia moment has finally arrived, and the score, naturally: bankers 1 - taxpayers 0.
The Moody’s outlook change on Germany lets us know that this time around the debate is more than political posturing. If Germany loses its AAA status, then it’s GAME OVER for the EU: the German population, already outraged by the EU bailouts, and now facing a recession will NOT tolerate a credit rating downgrade.
As I’ve stated many times, Germany is THE REAL backstop of the EU. And it’s comprised its own solvency as a result: the country is only €328 billion away from reaching an official Debt to GDP of 90%, the level at which national solvency is called into question. Moreover, that €328 billion has already been spent via various EU props. Indeed, when we account for all the backdoor schemes Germany has engaged in to prop up the EU, Germany's REAL Debt to GDP is closer to 300%.
It would be odd to suggest that one of the most scathing critiques of the ECB's attempts to talk up the market on nothing but hope, promises and expectations would come from rating agency Moody's, yet that is precisely what has happened. With Swiss, Dutch, Finnish, and German short-dated bonds once again hitting new record low (negative) rates (and Italian 10Y is weakening), it would appear that at least some of the market is not drinking the all-things-risk kool-aid.