Real estate

Guest Post: 10 Factors In The Timing Of The Next Crisis

The financial markets continue higher, and the excesses of the status quo continue expanding with little ill effect (so far). Why is it so difficult to predict the timing of crisis/collapse? The question is equally valid for both bears and bulls; how could all the boosters of housing be so wrong in 2008 when they asserted that "housing is not a bubble"? Here are ten possible factors in why it's so difficult to predict crisis/reset.

Frontrunning: November 4

  • Investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis (WSJ)
  • Kerry hails disgruntled Saudi Arabia as important U.S. ally (Reuters)
  • SAC Capital prepares for a second life (FT)
  • BlackBerry's Fate Goes Down to the Wire (WSJ)
  • Dutch Gamble on U.S. Housing Debt After Patience Wins (BBG)
  • U.S. Wants Broad Divestitures From AMR, US Airways (WSJ)
  • Tensions with allies rise, but U.S. sees improved China ties (Reuters)
  • China berates foreign media for Tiananmen attack doubts (Reuters)
  • China manufacturers squeezed as costs rise (FT)
  • European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth (NYT)
  • Zurich Probe Finds No ‘Undue Pressure’ Put on Late CFO (BBG)

The "Oh Crap" Moment For Housing Is Now In The Can

Real estate guru Mark Hanson updates his housing view following this week's dismal housing industry data:

Sept. Pending Sales... the largest MoM drop since Sept 2001... not 2011... yes, 2001.

Don't let them tell you 'this is normal for Sept'. The 'oh-crap' moment is now in the can. Going forward, "Existing Sales" volume will disappoint on a YoY basis for several quarters. There is no way around it...

Guest Post: Instability Starts On The Margins

What is the prudent response when hefty profits beg to be booked and assets purchased with leverage/debt start declining? Sell, sell, sell. A financial sell-off doesn't even need a real crisis to spread like wildfire; it simply needs nosebleed asset valuations, excessive leverage/credit and risk priced at "the bull market is guaranteed to last essentially forever" levels. Prudence alone will ignite the conflagration.

Frontrunning: October 31

  • US Blasts Germany's Economic Policies (WSJ)
  • Citigroup, JPMorgan Said to Put Currency Dealers on Leave (BBG)
  • Watchdog: Syria Destroys Chemical-Arms Equipment (WSJ)
  • Kynikos Alumni Start Hedge Fund Betting on Declining Stocks (BBG)
  • China state media calls for stern action after Tiananmen attack (RTRS)
  • IMF warns of financial shock risk to Africa (FT)
  • Insurers Oppose Obamacare Extension as Danger to Profits (BBG)
  • BoJ content to ignore Fed tapering and go its own way (FT)
  • U.S. attorney wants DOJ to take civil action against BofA (RTRS)
  • NSA Fallout Hits AT&T's Ambitions In Europe (WSJ)

Elliott's Paul Singer Warns "Something Is Wrong And Dangerous"

"The recent trading environment has felt something like walking into a place and having a sense that something is wrong and dangerous but not knowing exactly what will happen or when. “QE Infinity” has so distorted the prices of stocks and bonds that nobody can possibly determine what the investing landscape would look like, or what the condition of the economy and financial system would be, in the absence of Fed bond-buying."

-Paul Singer, Elliott Management

The Ten US Cities With Less Than Ten Days Of Cash On Hand

As the Detroit bankruptcy hearing heats up following news that the city's unsecured creditors, among them pensioners, are set to recover pennies on the dollar, 16 to be precise, the question of which are the next cities to follow in the footsteps of bankrupt Motown, becomes relevant once again. Courtesy of the WSJ, and the second part of its series on "U.S. Cities Grapple With Finances", here is a list of the US cities that when push comes to shove metaphorically, and when the money runs out literally, will have no choice but to knock on the door of the local regional bankruptcy court and submit that long-prepared bankruptcy petition. Specifically, here are the cities that have 10 days or less in cash on hand available. Because, unless one is the Fed, cash and lack thereof is all that matters.

Frontrunning: October 29

  • U.S. spy chiefs face Congress amid spying rift with Europe (Reuters)
  • Deutsche Bank income hit by €1.2bn of legal provisions (FT)
  • China's second tapering attempt fails: China central bank seeks to reassure money markets after rate spike (Reuters)
  • UBS Takes Action Against Staff in Foreign-Exchange Probe (WSJ)
  • Saudi Arabia frees man jailed for Mohammad tweets (Reuters)
  • Tax Revolts Hit Hollande as Farmers, Soccer Clubs Protest (BBG)
  • German parliament to meet over U.S. spying scandal (Reuters)
  • Google Nears Smartwatch Launch (WSJ)
  • How to end gridlock in DC? Pork projects (Reuters)
  • UBS ordered to increase capital reserves (FT)

Nobel Prize Winner: Bubbles Don't Exist

No wonder investors don't take economists seriously. Or if they do, they shouldn't. Since Richard Nixon interrupted Hoss and Little Joe on a Sunday night in August 1971, it's been one boom and bust after another. But don't tell that to the latest Nobel Prize co-winner, Eugene Fama, the founder of the efficient-market hypothesis. No matter the facts, Fama has his story and he's sticking to it. "I think most bubbles are 20/20 hindsight," Fama told Cassidy. The rest of us, who lived through the tech and real estate booms while Fama was locked in his ivory tower, know that in a boom people go crazy. There's a reason the other term for bubble is mania.


Frontrunning: October 28

  • Budget deficit priorities people: U.S. NSA spied on 60 million Spanish phone calls in a month (Reuters)
  • Stuck in countless scandals, Obama does what he does best: speak. Obama To Speak At Installation Of FBI Director James Comey (TPM)
  • Five killed as car ploughs into crowd in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (Reuters)
  • U.K. Storm Brings Power Cuts, Snarls Transport in South (BBG)
  • China Signals ‘Unprecedented’ Policy Changes on Agenda at Plenum (BBG)
  • Sandy's Legacy: Higher Home Prices (WSJ)
  • Merkel Enters Concrete SPD Talks as Finance Post Looms (BBG)
  • Keep arming those Syrian al-qaeda rebels: Car bombs kill scores in Baghdad, in sign of crisis in Iraq (WaPo)
  • J.P. Morgan's Mortgage Troubles Ran Deep (WSJ)
  • Detroit’s public library contains story of city’s decline (FT)
  • Argentina elections: President loses in Buenos Aires province (BBC)
  • Phone-hacking: trial of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks to begin (Guardian)

Behold The Face Of Central Banker Hubris

March 18, 1996. It was the height of the dot-com boom years. And gracing the cover of Fortune magazine was a photo of a rather smug looking Alan Greenspan, then Chairman of the US Federal Reserve.  The headline across the top-- "It's HIS economy, stupid". The inside story was entitled "In Greenspan We Trust".  And the article went on to suggest that, no matter WHO won the presidential election that year between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, Greenspan would still be running the economy. And handily.  This is a major testament to the state of our financial system. We award a tiny banking elite nearly totalitarian control over our money supply... and by extension, the economy.  We're just supposed to trust that they're good guys. Competent guys. That they know what they're doing.  Fast forward almost two decades. Long Term Capital Management. The NASDAQ bubble. The real estate bubble. The credit crunch. The mortgage crisis. The banking crisis. The sovereign debt crisis.

Fire And Brimstone: John Mauldin Edition

Now that the prevailing mainstream media consensus has finally caught up with our "tinfoil" view, which for years was mocked by the same media, usually on an ad hominem basis, and even the Fed has realized (confirmed by the latest Jackson Hole symposium) it is in a trap as it understands it has to end the market's dependency on monetary heroin but has no idea how to do it without in the process undoing five years of central planning, we have seen some spectacular opinion flip flops take place. Which aside from the occasional headscratcher such as David Rosenberg going bull-retard (we once again wonder: just what does Ray Dalio serve in his cafeteria?) have been almost exclusively from optimistic to pessimistic, or as we call it, realistic. And as the case may be, such as with John Mauldin and his latest missive to potential clients, A Code Red World, a very deep and red shade of pessimistic.