A very positive spin on things from the CBO. Of course, politics has nothing to do with it.
Who says hedge funds are ambivalent about the current market? As of last week, they have not been more bearish on the S&P since before Lehman. From SocGen: "Hedge funds have opened the biggest net short positions since early 2008, concentrated on the most liquid segment of the market, i.e. the S&P 500. Meanwhile, positioning on small caps hardly moved (slight increase in net shorts on the Russell 2000). Surprisingly, they actually stuck to their net long positions on Technology (Nasdaq)." As usual, the amusingly named "hedge" funds defy their purported nature (as in, to hedge), and merely pursue momentum, and should be more appropriately called "career risk" funds as the only variable is doing precisely what everyone else is doing: remember - to get a bonus at the end of the year, you don't have to outrun the market, you just have to outrun the biggest institutional fool out there. "Hedge funds have closed their net short positions on 10-year Treasuries and strongly diminished their net shorts on the long end (30Y), as recession fears have crunched expectations for higher bond yields, and endorsed by the Fed’s announcement that it will keep rates low until at least 2013." Hedge fund infatuation with metals continues: "Hedge funds’ enthusiasm for gold and platinum remains strong, as indicated by the high net long positions on these metals. Meanwhile, net long positions on base metals (copper) have been strongly reduced. Net long positions on crude oil remain relatively stable, less impressed by the perceived recession threats." Expect to see numerous short covering sprees until the end of the year, even as the market continues it secular decline back to fair value somewhere around 400.
One of the key catalysts (aside from the retarded rumor that JPM would buy Bank of America) that prevented BAC's stock from dropping to a 5 handle yesterday, was JPM's credit upgrade of Bank of America (report here). Sure enough, the reacharound from BAC is as usual missing, with the response from the bank's banking analyst Guy Moszkowski, being to... downgrade JPM. And he did not stop there: he also cut, GS, MS, and C: in other words the entire TBTF brigade. Someone should probably explain to Guy that any sell off in BAC's peers will be doubly acute in the stock of BAC itself, which has now become the whipping boy for the shorts, and the proxy of all that is wrong in the US and European banking system. Then again, with the palpable sheer panic in the corridors of 1 Bryant Park, we doubt anyone at that bank has any idea what they are doing at all.
- Moody's downgraded Japan's long-term sovereign rating by one notch to Aa3, with a stable outlook
- Financials came under pressure during the early European session after figures from the ECB revealed a sharp jump in lending to banks, re-igniting funding concerns
- The Greek/German spread widened partly on news that Troika has warned Greece on public payroll and public mergers
- The German IFO report was not as bad as some analysts expected, which provided appetite for risk
Euro Bank CDS Surge To All Time Record After Collapse In German IFO Business Survey, Discord Over Eurobonds, Greek 2 Years Over 40%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/24/2011 07:29 -0400
Following yesterday's plunge in the German ZEW investor confidence reading, today we got yet another confirmation that Germany's economic in freefall, after the IFO Business Climate survey printed at 108.7, the lowest in more than a year, down from 112.9, and a big miss to consensus of 111.0. The 4.2 drop was the highest since November 2008, when it plunged by 4.2. In summary, today’s disappointing Ifo data, if repeated in coming months, points “at least to sharp deterioration of growth, perhaps even recession,” Ralph Solveen, head of economic research at Commerzbank says." And unlike America, where hope is the only thing pushing investors forward, in Germany it is the inverse with the expectations component dropping belopw the 10 year average of 100.5, for the first time since July 2009, while the current assessment component is still above the 102.7 long-term average. Should this collapse in hopium consumption jump across the Atlantic, watch out America. Furthermore, while as was noted before, Merkel's continuing refusal to adopt Eurobonds is nothing new, today we got a new kink after German president Wulff questioned the legality of ECB bond purchases during a conference at Lindau, claiming that bond buying damages the ECB's independence. Wulff cited an article in the European Union's fundamental treaty, which prohibits the ECB from buying bonds directly from governments. "This ban only makes sense if those responsible don't circumvent it with comprehensive purchases on the secondary market," he added. "What independence?" might add anyone who has seen the global printing cartel in action over the past 3 years. Yet the recent expansion in the SMP, which has bought about €40 billion in Spanish and Italian bonds, is the only thing keeping Europe afloat now: if this were taken away, it is the beginning of the end. Another complication to any sustained EUR rally, is that the Finnish government announced overnight it is sticking to its collateral side deal with Greece, a move that apparetly has Germany fuming. Expect headlines as Finland’s govt will meet this afternoon to discuss Germany’s rejection of collateral agreement the cabinet struck with Greece on Aug. 16, newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported on its website without saying where it got the information. This may well be worth 200 pips in the EURUSD... to the downside. And lastly, the cherry on top is that Greek 2 Year bonds, just soared above 40% for the first time ever! So much for bailout #2. Time to star pricing in the 4th iteration as the 3rd one is now a certainty. All this means that iTraxx Fins Senior is now at an all time high of 255, +4 bps, while the Sub Index is also at a record of 453, +9bps. Look for a resumption in the serial close of trade of all Italian banks before Europe shuts down at 4:30 pm local.
It has become quite apparent that major changes are necessary in the oil futures market after the latest year of volatility which had little relation to the actual fundamentals of supply and demand in the marketplace.
What was that word Freud used when you are a weak, pathetic, corrupt, powerless, piece of anacrhonistic filth and instead of doing the right thing (for fear of losing your job or worse), you lash out at a weaker and irrelevant substitute? Oh yes, projection.
The Keynesians had their chance. They controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress. A Keynesian runs the Federal Reserve. They implemented everything they proposed. The $862 billion porkulus program, the $700 billion TARP program, home buyer tax credits, energy efficiency credits, loan modification programs, zero interest rates, QE1 and QE2. They increased social welfare transfers for Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans by $600 billion since 2007, a 35% increase in four years. No one has foiled their plans. The Tea Party didn’t really exist until 2010. They didn’t lose the House until November 2010. They cannot blame the Tea Party extremists, but they do. The Keynesians have successfully increased Federal spending by $1.1 trillion, or 41% since 2007, and are running deficits exceeding 10% of GDP, but they call the Tea Party extremists. Domestic investment is still 9% below 2008 levels as the Federal government has crowded out the small businesses that create the jobs in this country. And now the Keynesians declare we need more stimulus, more programs, more debt, more quantitative easing and lower interest rates. It just wasn’t enough the first time. None of the Keynesian solutions worked during this crisis, just as they didn’t work during the Great Depression. The solution was simple, yet painful. The banking system needed to be saved, not the banks. The bad debt needed to be purged from the system. Wall Street criminals needed to be prosecuted. Bondholders and stockholders needed bear the losses from their foolish investments. Saving and investment in the country needed to be encouraged, while borrowing and consuming needed to be discouraged. Our leaders have failed to lead.
From Bob Janjuah's latest: "We are in a balance sheet recession which will take at least 2 to 3 more years to clean up. The cost of capital will keep rising. The outcome is weak trend growth – I feel 1% pa on a 2 to 3 year basis in the balance sheet impaired West is the central case. Soft patches will be the norm. Cushions against economic shocks will be thin/non-existent. Aggregate real Earnings and Incomes will stagnate/fall. Defaults (amongst weak balance sheet corporates, consumers, AND sovereigns) will rise and P/Es will fall. In this world, and using the S&P 500 purely as a risk proxy, I see ‘fair value’ for the S&P down in the 800/900 area. I think we will see these levels trade in the next 12/15 months. And we may even „undershoot? to levels last seen at the lows of Q1 09."
Just like yesterday we have the makings of a perfectly schizophrenic day. While stock futures are rapidly higher to begin with, as on Monday, on news of a slightly better than expected PMI out of China, we are very concerned whether this algo induced ramp can be sustained. The reason is that earlier today we got an absolutely abysmal German ZEW investor confidence number which dropped to -37.6 from -26, a doubling of the previous -15.1, and the lowest since December 2008. This epic collapse can only be compared with the stunner out of the Philly Fed last week. The biggest component of the ZEW, the current situation, imploded from 90.6 to 53.5, trouncing (to the downside) expectations of 85.0. Additionally, the eurozone economic sentiment dropped to -40 from -7.0. So what is the immediate impact? Well, as we said equity futures are completely ignoring that Europe's growth dynamo is now confirmed to be in a double dip recession. However, not debt: as Bloomberg reports, "the cost of insuring European bank debt against default rose to a record as German investor confidence fell to the lowest 2 1/2 yrs+ on concern the region’s debt crisis will curb growth." Specifically, iTraxx Fin soared to record 255 bps, +5 overnight, while SovX (the sovereign CDS index) was 5 bps wider to 302, just off the record 206 form July 18. We give stocks, which are once again soaring on renewed expectations of a QE3, a few hours before they realize that the news is actually i) very bad and ii) as has been said countless times, stocks have to drop far more, before LSAP resumes for the third time.
Perhaps the most defining features of an asset bubble is a marked and persistent deviation from the underlying metrics that once determined fundamental value. We know how real estate in Canada stacks up when compared to GDP, personal disposable income (cities and provinces), rents (cities and provinces), and inflation. It's not pretty. As with any real estate bubble, the overvaluation is most extreme in a handful of cities. The regional data can be seen in the highlighted links. Certainly not all areas of the country have experienced a massive divergence from underlying fundamentals, but it is extensive enough to concern us.
The Squid: A Federally (Tax Payer) Insured Hedge Fund Paying Fat Bonuses That Can't Trade In Volatile MarketsSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 08/22/2011 11:51 -0400
Some investment and trading tidbits about the Squid that somehow have miracurously escaped both the pop media and sell side Wall Street... Hmmm....
And so we return to that point when the most engaging, yet useless, topic of discussion is what Bernanke will say or the Fed will do, in this case this coming Friday at the 2011 edition of the Jackson Hole Fed meeting, and specifically Ben's keynote speech. By now we have seen endless iterations of what pundits expect will happen: from nothing to another round of QE. Today, we present SocGen's take which is that while an outright third round of monetization is unlikely for now, the Fed may well proceed with a lite version of QE in the form of "sterilized" operations, or curve targeting, aka Operation Twist, as was noted here some time ago. One thing we certainly agree with SocGen on: "If markets remain under pressure, Bernanke could be forced to commit to something next week." The market obviously knows this, in which case if the market case is for QE3 or bust (and remember: Wall Street is still stuck in beta levered world where the only P&L comes courtesy of the Fed this will be most welcome) today's latest vapor rally will be promptly nullified by Wall Street which has only 4 days left to send a very loud message to the Chairsatan.