Quick stop review of all the events shaping today's trading (and that's using the term loosely) action.
The economic problem is not caused by sovereign debt but by bad bank loans, deceptive financial practice and neoliberal bank deregulation...
With the Federal Reserve now openly endorsing the ponzi scheme nature of the US stock market, it would be expected that any releases out of the Fed or its regional offices would be strictly within the limits of preapproved propaganda. Which is why we were stunned when we read the following research piece released from the Dallas Fad, titled: "The Fallacy of a Pain-Free Path to a Healthy Housing Market" in which we read unpleasant facts that traditionally are relegated only to the dark and murky world of the blogosphere. Among these are the following pearls: "Prices, in fact, have begun to slide again
in recent weeks. In short, pulling demand forward has not produced a
sustainable stabilization in home prices, which cannot escape the
pressure exerted by oversupply", "About 3.6 million housing units,
representing 2.7 percent of the total housing stock, are vacant and
being held off the market....Presumably, many are among the 6 million distressed
properties that are listed as at least 60 days delinquent, in
foreclosure or foreclosed in banks’ inventories." (the bulk of which are still populated by squatters who pay no mortgage, yet who are not booted by the lender banks, and who instead can redirect the money to uses such as iPad purchases), and this stunner: "With nearly half of total bank assets backed by residential real estate, both homeowners on the cusp of negative equity and the banking system as a whole remain concerned amid the resumption of home price declines.....The latest price declines will undoubtedly cause more economic dislocation. As the crisis enters its fifth year, uncertainty is as prevalent as ever and continues to hinder a more robust economic recovery. Given that time has not proven beneficial in rendering pricing clarity, allowing the market to clear may be the path of least distress." This is a stunning admission: in essence the Fed itself is advocating for mark-to-market, and the ensuing bloodbath that would ensue with bank book, and market, capitalization. Will this proposal by authors Danielle DiMartino Booth and David Luttrell see more traction at the Fed or promptly disappear in someone's inbox? Our money is on the latter.
More Optimistic Fluff And Spin on Pessimistic Macro Numbers – This Type Of Reporting Simply Drives The More Intelligent, Valuable Eyeballs To Alternative Media, Ex. BlogsSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 12/22/2010 11:50 -0400
Here come the requisite "I told you so's", but before we get to that, here's an IQ test for anyone who feels the NAR or their chief economist deserves ANY airtime or media representation whatsoever...
The key events overnight shaping this morning's futures picture revolve around the re-revised Q3 US GDP number (consensus of 2.8%), rumors of China buying Portuguese bonds (again), European spreads which are once again widening (here we go again again), and a surge in Japanese imports resulting in a cut to Japan's GDP forecasts.
The quick answer to the headline of this article is yes.
Come join me for lunch at the Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Global Strategy Update, which I will be conducting in Chicago on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at a Monroe Street Venue. I’ll be giving you my 2011 view on stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, precious metals, and real estate. A chance to meet me in person and praise me for my brilliance, or berate me for my ignorance. Or both.
Doug Kass appeared on CNBC today and attempted to present a bearish case on gold (along with his 3rd, or is that 33rd, case for a market top...) based on a verbatim recitation of half of Howard Marks' letter that we posted as a must read over the weekend. Naturally, had he recited the other half, he would have had to defend a diametrically opposing view, as that is the difference between great minds, who present both sides to the argument, and, well, everyone else. Nonetheless, we thank the bottom and top-ticker for offsetting some of the fervor his far more amusing boss at theStreet has imparted on gold, and which we find extremely worrying, as any time Cramer stands behind an asset, it is time to sell, no matter how much we like it. That said, and since we enjoy providing Doug and others with reading material for their "original" content for the next time they appear on CNBC, here is an excerpt from Bert Dohlmen's latest letter which explains not only why gold is an "investment for the ages" but also ties it in with the much discussed here topic of commodity manipulation: a far more important concept that we are surprised receives far less attention on such momentum chasing shows as Fast Money.
Ben Bernanke is a highly educated PhD from Princeton who has never worked a day in the real world since he graduated from college in 1975. His entire life has been spent in the ivory tower of academia surrounded by models and theories that work perfectly in the comfort of his office. After building his reputation as an “expert” on the Great Depression by studying it and reaching the wrong conclusions, he came down from his ivory tower in 2002 to join an organization that has systematically destroyed the value of the US currency, thereby undermining the well being of the once vibrant middle class...If the Grinch had been pimping for a small pack of Grinchsters who impoverished the honest people of Whoville, then the Dr. Seuss poem would have perfectly described Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve and the banksters that run the show here in the USA. The actions taken by Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and their brethren on the Federal Reserve over the last quarter century have destroyed the middle class and left senior citizens impoverished, while enriching its Wall Street masters. Now he is stealing Christmas from the hard working middle class of this country.
From under the always interesting pen of CRT's David Ader and Ian Lyngen comes the firm's 2011 outlook for the Treasury market. The summary: "From the supply and demand perspective, there’s QE lite and QE2 vs. knowledge that at some point they’ll stop, eventually hike, and follow suit possibly on asset sales. (In point of fact we doubt the Fed may EVER do asset sales, but rather allow their assets to simply mature/redeem and stop reinvesting.) In any event we don’t see this as a 2011 threat but it’s fair to say that any bear market will be more substantial than whatever bull market we can connive. The problem is positioning for the latter when the former hangs as an inevitability someday." This dovetails perfectly with what we have been saying: ever increasing supply of USTs (potentially hit up to $2 trillion in 2011), will be offset by an ever more ravenous Fed monetization. Should rates continue to rise, the moment when this dynamically unstable balance reaches its tipping point will come far sooner than most expect. If, on the other hand, new signs of economic weakness-cum-deflation emerge, and if Rosenberg is proven right for the second year in a row, the Fed may just be able to postpone the point of "inevitability" as defined by CRT. Much more nuanced observations inside, which also include the firm's forecast for possible "tail risk" events.
It was only a matter of time: back in March, following revelations of the Lehman Repo 105 scam, we speculated that the days of Ernst & Young are numbered. Back then we said "we are confident that (again, with the assumption that we live in some
semblance of a sane/ration world), E&Y's Financial Services Office
and quite possibly the entire firm. Integrity is the number one
currency for an auditor, and just like Anderson, E&Y's just went out
in a puff of green-colored smoke." Today we learn that Andrew Cuomo is about to make E&Y's life a whole lot more difficult. Per the WSJ "State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is close to filing the case, which
would mark the first time a major accounting firm was targeted for its
role in the financial crisis." Too bad - E&Y was surely hoping that just like everything else in this corrupt country, out of sight would mean out of mind, and soon everyone would forget about the firm's involvement in the biggest bankruptcy in history. Better luck next time...
All those who believe there is sentiment of complacency within the precious metals camp may be forgiven. After all if one likes gold, one should like silver, and/or vice versa. Today FOFOA presents a counterargument. "I don't write about silver very much. Just like I don't write about copper or pork bellies. But, in fact, I have addressed many of the standard arguments for silver over gold in various comments on this blog and others. I'm sure someone will dig them out again and post links as people pose these arguments once again in the comments. But here's a new one. One of the argument for silver that we hear often is that it is "the poor man's gold." So I guess gold is "the rich man's gold." Well, what is the main difference between rich men and poor men? Is it that the rich have an excess of wealth beyond their daily expenses? In fact, the really rich have "inter-generational wealth," that is, wealth that lies very still through generations. The poor do not have this. So what do you think is going to come of all that "poor man's gold" that the silverbugs have hoarded up? Is it going to lie very still for generations? Or will it circulate, to meet daily needs? Note that circulation velocity is the market's way of controlling the value of any currency. Faster circulation = lower value. Lying still for generations = very slow circulation." Thus today's question - is silver money too?
None can foretell the future, and yet the shape of what we face can be shrewdly estimated with enough attention to historical trends; with broad contextual understanding; and with sufficient insight into the character of leaders, their societies, and the structures which define their basis. These estimates will be tempered by the sudden acts of nature, the sudden emergence of true leadership from unexpected quarters, or key breakthroughs in science. Still, we can hazard reliable views on the shape of the world in, say, a decade — in 2020 — if present trends and characters remain, and on a knowledge of certain baseline levels of wealth and capability which presently exist. In 2011, the world will probably remain beset by the lingering of the present crisis of currency levels and economic performance. This is essentially a mass psychological crisis, based around the perceptions which create trust, particularly trust in asset values and institutions. In some respect, historical trends have given populations in modern societies excessive trust in the ability of their institutions to remain operational, untended by their populations. As a result, governments have grown larger and less efficient, and have arrogated to themselves more and more of the resources of societies, thereby inhibiting productivity. At some point, those societies, when beleaguered and impoverished, lose faith in the institutions of governance and leadership succession.
I'm all for capitalism, but Banana Republic level inequality is killing us ...