- Bubble Paranoia Setting in as S&P 500 Surge Stirs Angst (BBG)
- But how will math PhDs determine "fair value" - Wall Street Techs Take Secrets to Next Job at Their Peril (BBG)
- U.S., EU Escalate Russia Sanctions as Putin Holds Firm (Bloomberg)
- Australia Becomes First Developed Nation to Repeal Carbon Tax (WSJ)
- Gaza humanitarian truce goes into force, hours after tunnel clash (Reuters)
- Barclays, Deutsche Bank Said to Face U.S. Senate Hearing (BBG)
- ECB Asset Buying Far Off and May Not Come, Hansson Says (BBG)
- Time Warner win would make Murdoch U.S. media king (Reuters)
- Costly Vertex Drug Is Denied, and Medicaid Patients Sue (WSJ)
- China Rallying for All Wrong Reasons to Top-Rated Analyst (BBG)
- GM recalls some cars with problematic switches; judges others safe (Reuters)
Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.
Well, if you take the US Supreme Court and representatives of the Federal Reserve System at their own words, the case is pretty clear: the member banks of the Federal Reserve System are private corporations / banks.
Straightforward dispassionate overview of the investment climate
As The Fed tapers and shifts its decision-making process away from rules-based, model-backed strategies in favor of "we'll know when to tighten when we see it" qualitative hand-waving, it seems the need to maintain teams of PhDs - to mutually masturbate over the historical back-fitted effectiveness of their models - is lacking. As The Boston Globe reports, The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will cut nearly 15% of its workforce - around 160 jobs - in the largest layoff in over a decade... “It’s obviously a tough decision for us and the folks who are here,” Lavelle said. “It’s really about cost and efficiency.” Austerity strikes... (as it turns out the job cuts are due to losing a key customer - The US Treasury!)
It wouldn't be the first time the Fed has "stretched" the truth...
On Sunday, Senate lawmakers unveiled the 442-page plan that will eliminate the mortgage-finance giants; replacing them with a new system in which the government would continue to play a potentially significant role insuring U.S. home loans. The Johnson-Crapo bill would, as WSJ reports, construct an elaborate new platform by which a number of private-sector entities, together with a privately held but federally regulated utility, would replace key roles long played by Fannie and Freddie.
So much for the strict, evil Volcker Rule which was a "victory for regulators" and its requirement that banks dispose of TruPS CDOs. Recall a month, when it was revealed that various regional banks would need to dispose of their TruPS CDO portfolios, we posted "As First Volcker Rule Victim Emerges, Implications Could "Roil The Market"." Well, the market shall remain unroiled because last night by FDIC decree, the TruPS CDO provision was effectively stripped from the rule. This is what came out of the FDIC last night: "Five federal agencies on Tuesday approved an interim final rule to permit banking entities to retain interests in certain collateralized debt obligations backed primarily by trust preferred securities (TruPS CDOs) from the investment prohibitions of section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, known as the Volcker rule." In other words, the first unintended consequences of the Volcker Rule was just neutralized after the ABA and assorted banks screamed against it.
Over the past two weeks, Trust Preferred (or TruPS) CDOs have gained prominent attention as a result of being the first, and so far only, security that the recently implemented and largely watered-down, Volcker Rule has frowned upon, and leading various regional banks, such as Zions, to liquidate the offending asset while booking substantial losses. But... what are TruPS CDOs, and just how big (or small) of an issue is a potential wholesale liquidation in the market? Courtesy of the Philly Fed we now have the extended answer.
Rebellious Fed head Lacker fired at “implicit guarantees” to bail out bank creditors. Covered liabilities, the size of US GDP.
An interesting overview of Germany's attempt to solidify its hegemony in Europe.
Contrary to the all "rose-colored glasses" reports by the Fed released in the past year, which constantly talked up the "economic recovery" only to punk everyone - economists and market participants alike - when it stunned markets with its no taper announcement in September, over fears what this would do to the economy, the Federal Advisory Council's view on things is decidedly less "rosy."
Most Americans Still Don’t Know that Federal Reserve Banks Are PRIVATE Corporations
This week's biggest news is not the Non-Farm Payrolls, or the European Central Bank or even Portugal's government falling. No - this week's big deal is the openness with which the Federal Reserve is preparing a major margin call on the too-big-to-fail banks in the US. This has been a long time coming since the introduction of the Dodd-Frank law back in 2010 but it is a game changer. Remember all macro paradigm shifts come from policy impulses, often mistakes. Is the Fed about to given the whole banking industry a major margin call?
"If one of you stands up right now and heads for the exit, the rest of the audience probably won’t pay much attention. If ten of you do it, one or two people may notice and follow. But if 400 of you suddenly head for the exit, the rest of the audience would probably follow quickly." It’s a great metaphor for how our financial system works. The entire system is based on confidence. And as long as most people maintain this confidence, everything is fine. But as soon as a critical mass of people loses confidence in the system, then it starts a chain reaction. More people start heading for the exit. Which triggers even more people heading for the exit. This is the model right now across the system. And it’s especially pervasive in the banking system. Modern banking is based on this ridiculous notion that banks don’t actually have to hang on to their customers’ funds. Bottom line, it matters where you hold your savings. Balance sheet fundamentals are critical.