It appears Bunga-Bunga boy still has something to offer the international elite. After a lengthy meeting with Germany's Angela Merkel (at a hotel in Milan) where Putin warned of "big transit risks" in delivery of Europe's gas as Ukraine is "starting to siphon off our gas from the export pipeline," and threatening to respond by "reducing flows by the amount stolen;" Putin decided the place to be was 78-year-old Berlusconi's house at 3am. Finally, it is worth noting that Ukraine's President Poroshenko was scheduled to meet with Frau Merkel this morning - we assume to plead his case for why gas transit should flow through his nation (and beg for some more support).
- Ukraine Says Malaysian Airliner Shot Down Near Russian Border (BBG)
- Downing of airliner seen as pivotal moment in Ukraine crisis (Reuters)
- Malaysian Air Flight Took Route Avoided by Qantas, Asiana (BBG)
- Russian-Made Missile Hit Malaysia Jet, U.S. Officials Say (BBG)
- Netanyahu Orders Military to Ready Wider Gaza Incursion (BBG)
- Silvio Berlusconi Underage Sex Conviction Overturned (WSJ)
- But... but... "economic patriotism" - AbbVie to Buy Shire for $54.8 Billion as Drug Deals Surge (BBG)
- SEC targets 10 firms in high frequency trading probe - SEC document (Reuters)
- Art bubble pop: Sotheby's to Lay Off 'Modest' Number of Employees (WSJ)
- Moar Abenomics: Hermes Sales Trail Estimates as Japanese Revenue Declines (BBG)
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.
Geithner Confirms Mafia-Linked Berlusconi's Forced Ouster, But Says US Did Not "Have Blood On Our Hands"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2014 22:38 -0400
Silvio Berlusconi - ironically nicknamed "The Teflon Don" - has been found to have done business with the Sicilian Mafia for nearly two decades, according to Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. Having attacked the "biased judges" who called his actions "a continuous crime," Berlusconi wriggled out from under this result since the link to the Cosa Nostra was, as The Independent reports, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri who was sentenced to 7 years for mafia association. While this confirms as fact yet another conspiracy theory, the bigger story was the confirmation of a broad-based bloodless coup to ouster the Italian Prime Minister at the peak of the credit crisis. "At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power," Tim Geithner writes in his new book, and after telling the President about "this surprising invitation," they decided not to get involved (publicly): "We can't have his blood on our hands."
Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party has voted to back his proposal fore a new government... and Prime Minister Letta has resigned.
*DEMOCRATIC PARTY VOTES IN FAVOR OF RENZI PROPOSAL FOR NEW GOVT
*ITALY PREMIER LETTA SAYS HE WILL RESIGN
This will bring the 65th government in Italy since World War II and the 3rd consecutive government that would not have been elected (the last elected Prime Minister was Berlusconi in 2008).
The chart below is very familiar to anyone who was observing the hourly turmoil in the European bond market in November of 2011, when Italian bonds crashed, when yields soared to record levels, and every downtick of the Euro could have been its last. What the chart may not show are the dramatic transformations in Italy's government that took place just as the Italian bond spread exploded, which saw the resignation of career-politician Sylvio Berlusconi literally days after yields soared, and the instatement of Goldman technocrat Mario Monti as Italy's next Prime Minister. In fact as some, certainly this website, had suggested the blow out in Italian yields was merely a grand plan orchestrated to usher in a new Italian government that would, with the support of yet another Goldman alum, the ECB's then brand new head Mario Draghi, unleash a new era in Italian life, supposedly one of austerity, and which would give the impression that Europe is being fixed all the while preserving the broken European monetary system for at least another year or two. In other words a grand conspiracy theory of a pre-planned bloodless coup.... And so, as lately so often happens, courtesy of the narrative by Alan Friedman of what really happened that summer, this too conspiracy theory has just become conspiracy fact.
On Wednesday, Italy's government voted final approval to a decree hiking the value of Bank of Italy's share capital from €156K to €7.5 billion - something that had not been done since the 1930s. Of course, politicians determining the fictitious value of a central bank is one thing, as idiotic as it may be. However, what is truly preposterous is the covert bailout that accompanies the decree: a key part of the decision was setting a 3% ceiling on the stake that the bank's shareholders can own in the central bank. This means, as Reuters reports, that Intessa and UniCredit, currently the central bank's largest shareholders with stakes of 42 percent and 22 percent respectively - not to mention two of Italy's most NPL-heavy banks - will have to sell the bulk of their central bank "equity" stakes. And who will they sell them to? Why the central bank itself, and in return they will pocket up to €3.5 billion ($4.7 billion) from the sale of their central bank holdings. Said otherwise, Italy took not only bizarro accounting, but also monetary financing of insolvent banks by the monetary authority, and thus Italy's taxpayers, to the truly next level.
- Winter storm lashes eastern U.S., threatens Thanksgiving travel (Reuters)
- Fed Reveals New Concerns About Long-Term U.S. Slowdown (BBG)
- Private equity keeps $789bn of powder dry (FT) - because they are "selling everything that is not nailed down"
- Merkel and SPD clinch coalition deal two months after vote (Reuters)
- Japan approves new state secrecy bill to combat leaks (BBC)
- CLOs are the new black: Volatile Loan Securities Are Luring Fund Managers Again (WSJ)
- Health website deadline nears (WSJ)
- Norway Debates $800 Billion Wealth Fund’s Investment Options (BBG)
- Set of global trade deals stalls (WSJ)
- Berlusconi To Learn Fate In Senate (Sky)
- Silvio Berlusconi withdraws support from Italy’s government (FT)
Ah Silvio, never change or, if possible, resign: the comedic world of Italian politics will never be the same without you. The latest soundbite by the billionaire with a penchant for easy, underage women comes by way of an interview conducted by Italian television journalist Bruno Vespa for his latest book, and summarized by Reuters. To wit: "Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said his children feel persecuted just as Jewish families did in Nazi Germany because he is being hounded by the country's magistrates who want to eliminate him politically."
Just as it is easy being a weatherman in San Diego ("the weather will be... nice. Back to you"), so the same inductive analysis can be applied to another week of stocks in Bernanke's centrally planned market: "stocks will be... up." Sure enough, as we enter October's last week where the key events will be the conclusion of the S&P earnings season and the October FOMC announcement (not much prop bets on a surprise tapering announcement this time), overnight futures have experienced the latest off the gates, JPY momentum ignition driven melt up.
Following last week's last two day panic buying driven not by data (since in the US it has been delayed until late October and November, and elsewhere in the world it is just getting worse) but by the catalyst that the US isn't going to default (yes, that's all that is needed to push the S&P to all time highs) and just hopes that the tapering - that horrifying prospect of the Fed reducing its monthly monetization by $15 billion from $85 to $70 billion in line with the decline in the US deficit - will be delayed until March or June 2014 because, you see, the Fed isn't sure how the economy is doing, it makes no sense to even comment on the market. Squeezes, momentum ignitions, rumors about what Messers Bernanke and Yellen had for breakfast, Goldman's 2015 S&P forecast of 2100: that's the lunacy that passes for market moving factors. News, and reality, have long since been put in the dust. Just keep an eye on flashing read headlines, and try to buy (remember: anyone caught selling by the NSA is guaranteed a lifetime of annual IRS audits) ahead of the algos. That's what Bernanke's centrally-planned "market" has devolved to.
UPDATE: *ITALY'S LETTA TO CALL CONFIDENCE VOTE: ANSA CITING MINISTER
Italian sovereign bond spreads fell a mere 2bps on the day as Italian stocks (after techncial issues) screamed higher by over 3% - their best day in 3 months - as rumor after headline hit of the slow dissolution of Berlusconi's apparent power. As the confidence vote nears in Italy, several of Berlusconi's top aides are defying him as tries to collapse what is already a fragile coalition. The WSJ just broke news that 40 Italian lawmakers are ready to break with Berlusconi -, and Berlusconi's own party secretary stated that "all should vote for Letta" - that sent stocks to their highs at the close. Despite his anger at center-left senators pending vote to strip him of his Senate seat, it appears the 77-year old media mogul, as AP notes, will be pressured to drop his bid to sabotage PM Letta.
- Government Heads Toward Shutdown (WSJ), First U.S. Shutdown in 17 Years at Midnight Seen Probable (BBG), Congress in game of chicken (RTRS)
- Italian Premier Pursues Last-Ditch Rescue of Government (WSJ)
- Election risk rattles Italian government bonds (RTRS)
- Obama and Ryan Stay on Sidelines on Budget (WSJ)
- Volcker Rule Costs Tallied as U.S. Regulators Press Deadline (BBG)
- Faltering Chinese Factory Growth Adds to Rebound Fears (FT)
- Health Law Hits Late Snags as Rollout Approaches (WSJ)
- Apple Overtakes Coca-Cola as Most Valuable Brand, Study Finds (BBG)
- Euro-Area September Inflation Slows More Than Forecast on Energy (BBG) - Puting will fix that shortly
European equities trade negatively as political tensions on both sides of the Atlantic dampens risk appetite and a lower than expected HSBC manufacturing PMI figure from China further weighs upon investor sentiment. In the US, government is on the precipice of the first shutdown since 1996 after House Republicans refused to pass a budget unless it involved a delay to Obama’s signature healthcare reforms. If the Republicans follow through with their threat a shutdown will occur at midnight tonight. As a result a fixed income in the US and core Europe benefit with investors wary of the immediate harm a shutdown will do to confidence in the economy.
Following yesterday's unexpected (if not shocking) news that ministers from Berlusconi's PDL have resigned en masse in order to push for new elections, leading to the latest Italian government crisis (in a long and distinguished series), Italy's premier Letta and president Napolitano are scrambling to preserve some stability, and not only they but moments ago Ansa reported that the management and supervisory boards of Italian megabank Intesa are set to meet at 6 pm, as not even the most optimistic see an easy way out of the political dead end Italy has found itself in now.