Only in public schools and universities is the fairy tale still taught that governments are representative of the people. The blue collared man on the street realizes the chips are stacked against him. For those who don’t have political connections, the pseudo fascist system that is still referred to as “capitalism” in the U.S. is akin to a casino game of chance. That is, the odds are always in the house’s favor. The house is the federal leviathan and its equivalent at the state and local level as well as the big, cartelized industries which feed off government protection. With Obamacare, the middle class will end up being liable for yet another entitlement program that, like any other government initiative, will cost more than was initially estimated. Worse yet, they will be bombarded with advertisements they paid for which attempt to convince them that Uncle Sam has once again delivered prosperity with a badge and a gun. The disheartening part is some Americans will be foolish enough to actually believe it.
S&P 500 e-mini futures closed at 415ET today at 1314.75 which is the lowest close of the week, with Monday's surge providing all the juice for what seemed a hope-driven rumor-ridden few days.Tough day today for recent darlings of the dumpfests FB and JPM - as the former tested back towards 31 the figure and the latter retraced all its post-Wednesday-ECB-rumor-ramp gains - before a late pop helped it out (-1.5% today). Volume was expectedly low and average trade size equally dimsally low as yesterday. Stocks repeated the same pattern today, retracing all of their late-day-ramp gains and reverting back to credit's reality but we note that HYG was a significant underperformer today - as credit markets went dead into the last hour. For the week, commodities have seemingly regrouped from mid-week dispersion but are generally lower (despite a positive last couple days for Gold and Silver) but are outperforming the implied weakness from a 1.6% gain in the USD on the week as EURUSD went out at its lows around 1.25. Slow day with only Utilities managing gains in stocks today but Gold and Silver appeared to be the beat-adjusted winners as them and the USD gain from Europe's fears. Interestingly Gold and Stocks recoupled by the close - beta-adjusted, with USD and Treasuries pointing to lower risk asset prices. And as an FYI - Facebook's VWAP post-IPO is now $37!
Newedge: "Last thing I asked before I went traveling was "try not to break anything" while I’m away. I get back this morning and it looks like a bunch of teenagers have had a particularly messy drug-fuelled rave in the market’s front room. The day-on-day charts hide the roller-coaster ride we've seen on the back of the Euro. Bond markets are in lock-down awaiting what-ever-next “liquidity bomb” the authorities can find to drop. Aside from some minor bond crosses, there has been zip activity outside zero-coupon bunds, gilts and treasuries. There is more liquidity in the Atacama desert."
As Bankia Bailout Costs Grow Exponentially, Is A Stealth Bank Run Taking Place... And What Happens To Ronaldo?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/24/2012 17:44 -0500
Note the following sequence of events, bolded numbers, and dates:
- Bank Of Spain Formally Nationalizes Bankia, Says Insolvent Bank Is "Solvent", Adds There Is No Cause For Concern, Zero Hedge, May 9
- Spain is taking over Bankia by converting its 4.5 billion euros of preferred shares in the group’s parent company into ordinary shares, BusinessWeek, May 21
- Spain said on Wednesday its rescue of problem lender Bankia would cost at least 9 billion euros ($11 billion), as the government tries to clean up a banking system that threatens to drag the country deeper into the euro zone crisis, Reuters, May 23
- Bankia SA will have to ask the Spanish government for more than 15 billion euros as part of its effort to restore its financial health, state-owned news agency EFE reported Thursday, citing financial sources, Dow Jones, May 24
Hopefully we aren't the only ones to notice how the bailout cost has oddly doubled almost on a daily basis.
Having hit its highs in the pre-open, equity markets drip-drip-dripped lower all day, retracing their late-day exuberance relative to credit markets and broad risk-assets by the middle of the afternoon. Even financials had given back almost all of their post 230ET ramp yesterday but then - IT happened again. Italy's Monti made the same technocrat-fed comments as yesterday and financials take off again leading stocks higher (only to come back 10 minutes later and back-pedal on his hard facts). This time though - was different. Yesterday's rumor-ramp added 2.5% to XLF (the financials ETF) but this time it only managed to spur a 0.5% gain before the effects faded. Coincidentally - the ramp pushed ES (the S&P 500 e-mini futures) up to VWAP where sure enough we saw heavy volume with large average trade size step in to briefly stall the rally - which then managed to push on to near the day-session's highs (but notably all on its own again). ES very much repeated the same pattern as yesterday but with lower average trade size still - ending the day exuberant but on its own. The USD kept pushing higher though - with the divergence with stocks now very large - (as EUR leaked lower - even as AUD rallied on the rumor-ramp) but this USD strength did not weigh as angrily overall on commodities today. Late Europe rumors of another LTRO pushed stocks up and dragged gold and silver up rapidly but they all gave it back by the close. With the USD up 1.5% on the week, Oil, Copper, Gold, and Silver are in the same currency-driven range between down 1.25 and 2% on the week - perhaps suggesting yesterday's plunge in PMs has seen a short-term end to the liquidation factors (though for how long). Into a long weekend, it seemed volume remained decent enough but once again average trade size was very low (suggesting little conviction here and/or algos giving pro-size exits). Treasury yields rose all day (ending higher by 3bps or so) pulling back to near Tuesday's closing levels. VIX tracked down to 21.5% (losing less than 1 vol on the day) and is once again cheap relative to credit/equity's view.
While US banks have been busy refocusing their "creative financial products"-time over the past two months, instead defending against allegations of muppetism, or explaining how hedging is really betting it all on red, and then doubling down (just because the casino supposedly has the bank's back), Europe has been busy coming up with new and creative ways of betting on the demise of FaceBook. While official shorting of the most overhyped and overvalued company in history only became a reality for most investors today, Europe's banks have a head start courtesy of "innovated" structured products created by UBS, Commerzbank and Julius Baer. As Bloomberg explains, "the most actively traded structured products tied to Facebook since its IPO have been so-called put warrants, whose buyers profit if the shares drop below a pre-defined level, in some cases as low as $22, data compiled by Bloomberg show. UBS AG (UBSN), Commerzbank AG (CBK) and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) are among lenders that listed 1,504 warrants and certificates in Europe linked to shares of the social networking site that were offered at $38....“There has been strong demand on the put side, with the ratio between puts and calls at around 70/30” with “some people expressing deep downside views,” Heiko Geiger, the head of public distribution for Germany and Austria at Bank Vontobel AG in Frankfurt, said in an interview yesterday."
Bank Regulatory Capital has been in the news a lot recently - between the $1+ trillion Basel 3 shortfall, the Spanish banks with seemingly their own set of capital issues, or JPM's snafu. There has been a lot of discussion about Too Big To Fail (“TBTF”) in the U.S. with regulators demanding more and banks fighting it. After JPM's surprise loss this month, the debate over the proper regulatory framework and capital requirements will reach a fever pitch. That is great, but maybe it is also time to step back and think about what capital is supposed to do, and with that as a guideline, think of rules that make sense. Specifically, regulatory capital, or capital adequacy, or just plain capital needs to address the worst of eventual loss and potential mark to market loss. Hedges are once again front and center. The only "perfect" hedge is selling an asset. This "hedge" is also a trade. The risk profile looks very different than having sold the loan and the capital should reflect that.
For the drillers, but....
We will start with an appetizer of Liquidity Tenders and Securities Market Program Bond Purchases, move on to a plate of Emergency Liquidity Assistance, sample a pre-entre of Pro-Growth measures and ECB Covered Bond purchases, dive into an entre of Fed Swap Lines, medium rare, with a side of Emergency Liquidity Assistance, and finally unwind with a desert plate of Firewalls. To close we will dream of tomorrow' menu which some say may feature the mythical Eurobonds and even the, gasp, legendary Europan Bank Deposit Guarantee... Please charge it all to the taxpayer, of course.
Did France, Italy and Greece think they are the only ones who can float strawmen in the media? No. Once again, Germany shows us how it is done. From Tomorrow's edition of Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachricthen: "The Greece-exit is a done deal: According to the German economic news from financial circles EU and the ECB have abandoned the motherland of democracy as a euro member. The reason is, interestingly, not in the upcoming elections - these are basically become irrelevant. The EU has finally realized that the Greeks have not met any agreements and will not continue not to meet them. A banker: "We helped with the Toika. The help of the troika was tied to conditions. Greece has fulfilled none of the conditions, and has been for months now." So more posturing? Or is Germany truly just so sick and tired of bailing out not just Greece (which pockets between 0% and 20% of any actual bailout cash), and indirectly French banks which as of this moment are the biggest pass thru beneficiaries, and of course the ECB with its tens of billions in old par GGB holdings, that this article is, gasp, founded in reality? Is Europe approaching its own Lehman moment when everyone says "just screw it", and let the dice fall where they may? Many said Lehman could never be allowed to fail. They were wrong. Just as many are saying that Europe will never let Greece leave as the costs to the continent are just too great. Well, judging by tonight's epic fiasco of a Euro-summit, the last thing we would attribute to Europe's leaders is clear and rational thought.
Equities and broad risk-assets were generally in sync today until around 1430ET when between rumors of a Euro-wide deposit-guarantee 'scheme' - which we had already dismissed as impossible short-term, very unlikely medium-term, and not a long-term solution to redenomination/insolvency risk - and Kocherlakota's hints as NEW QE if the fiscal cliff arrives - US equity markets took off (as did Gold). S&P 500 e-mini futures (ES) pushed to more than 12pts rich to CONTEXT (our proxy for risk-assets based on TSYs, FX carry, credit, and commodities) on all that hope - stalling at yesterday's late-day heavy volume swing highs. Of course the high-beta momo monkeys were pounced on and AAPL as well as the major financials all popped notably - breaking above yesterday's closing VWAP. Today was a low average trade size day - the lowest in a week (but a relatively high volume day) - after a large average trade size day yesterday which smells like algos pushing to enable larger selling (especially as we expect a denial any moment from Europe). VIX plunged off its highs but closed only marginally down with ES closing very marginally higher on the day - so some context is required to avoid anchoring bias intraday and while TSY yields did pop and EUR rallied after equities got going, they remain notably divergent from that sur-reality. Gold and Silver surged on the QE/EU hopes as well but remain down 2% and 3% on the week.
Here's My Argument for Fighting the Good Fight Even Against Seemingly Overwhelming Odds ... The Counter-Argument Is that We Should Unplug from the Martrix, and that Will Suck Away Its Power. What Do You Think, Savvy Reader?
Our entire society is in a downward social and economic spiral. We are just at different levels of decay (Dante’s circles of hell). At the current pace it won’t be long before I’m writing about the 50 States of Squalor. It is virtually impossible to reverse a decline that has been underway for the last three decades. We sold our souls to Wall Street and chose a debt financed illusion of wealth over productive savings and investment which would have led to real wealth. Our choices are reflected in the continued deterioration and decay along West Chester Pike and the squalor that is West Philly. Grey and decay will carry the day. The words on the Statue of Liberty should be revised from, ”Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, to “we have become your indebted, materialistic, obese, aging masses yearning for the government to protect and sustain us as our once great nation decays.”
As a nation, we have chosen this path. We made the choices and now we will suffer the consequences.
Even if everyone wanted it.