When we first exposed in February how yet another bank - Bank of America - has been quietly preserving the post Glass-Steagall world in which cash depositing taxpayers are on the hook for a bank's stupidity, some shrugged it off and looked to stress test to solve all the problems. However, it appears - for once - the SEC is not willing to just ignore the bank's actions. Just as JPMorgan's CIO Office, aka the London Whale, took advantage of fungible, taxpayer-insured funding in the form of excess US deposits over loans, to corner the US credit market (in what was clearly a directional prop trade); so, as WSJ reports, The SEC is investigating whether BofA broke rules designed to safeguard client accounts, potentially putting retail-brokerage funds at risk in order to generate more profits using large complex trades.
"At the bottom of the cycle, firms cut labor faster than output. The higher productivity led to improving margins, earnings and stock prices. Now labor is being added faster than output, and with large companies like McDonalds, Walmart and Target announcing pay increases, unit labor costs are likely to increase further. All told, there is a good chance earnings will actually shrink this year. We think the market is too high if earnings have, in fact, peaked for the cycle, and we have reduced our net exposure by adding more shorts."
- David Einhorn
If and when Greece finally defaults it will be able to place the blame squarely at the feet of the European elites. If an agreement has not been reached by Friday when the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers meet in Riga it is quite likely that Greece will default.
Confidence in the system likely hangs by a much thinner thread than is currently widely perceived. Since “risk asset” prices are soaring in much of Europe, the underlying currents of suspicion are well masked, but that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t exist. While we believe that central bank and regulatory interventions in the market are a major reason why so many bond yields have dropped into negative territory, the role played by distrust in the banking system is probably quite large as well – a suspicion that seems to be confirmed by the strength of the euro-denominated gold price.
Without the support of the ECB, the country’s banking system would be shut off from international markets and likely collapse.
“What the Great Recession has shown is that things have fundamentally changed,” The White House warned this week and, as Bloomberg reports, states would have to cut spending or raise revenue by a combined $21 billion in the event of a recession, further exacerbating economic weakness, Moody’s Analytics found in a stress test of state finances. While investors are willingly buying bonds with both hands and feet, The White House warns, states "need to be much more prepared for very volatile fiscal conditions than they had been in the past."
Borrowing in USD was risk-on; buying USD is risk-off. As the real global economy slips into recession, risk-on trades in USD-denominated debt are blowing up and those seeking risk-off liquidity and safe yields are scrambling for USD-denominated assets. Add all this up and we have to conclude that, in terms of demand for USD--you ain't seen nuthin' yet.
Warren Buffett's “financial weapons of mass destruction” - how are you?
Yellen has created a narrative about the US economy, especially the (un)employment rate, and with the narrative is now firmly in place, Yellen and her stooges can claim they have no choice but to hike In short, Janet Yellen will go down into history as the person responsible for what may be the biggest economic crash ever, or at least delivering the final punch of the way into it, a crash that will make the rich banks even much richer. And there is not one iota of coincidence in there. Yellen works for those banks. The Fed only ever held investors’ hands because that worked out well for Wall Street. And now that’s over. Y’all are on the same side of the same trade, and there’s no profit for Wall Street that way.
- As reported here first: The U.S. Has Too Much Oil and Nowhere to Put It (BBG)
- Dollar Drops From 12-Year High as S&P Futures, Bonds Gain (BBG); Dollar Bulls Retreat From 12-Year High to Euro With Fed in View (BBG)
- Clinton Private Email Plan Drew Concerns Early On (WSJ)
- ECB Bond Buying Not Needed With Economy Improving, Weidmann Says (BBG)
- China Feb new yuan loans well above forecast (Reuters)
- U.S. probing report Secret Service agents drove car into White House barrier (Reuters)
- Kerry tells Republicans: you cannot modify Iran-U.S. nuclear deal (Reuters)
- PBOC Pledges to Press on With Rate Liberalization Amid Slowdown (BBG)
- China Prepares Mergers for Big State-Owned Enterprises (WSJ)
After all 31 banks passed Dodd-Frank's "stress"-test with flying colors and awaited The Fed's CCAR blessing to spread the wealth to shareholders, we thought ironic that The Fed's Tarullo had previously commented that "we don't want banks to know the stress-test scenarios and tailor their portfolios to meet our goals," because that would never happen. The CCAR results are now out and 28 of 31 passed. Deutsche Bank, Santander failed for "qualitative" reasons (with significant and widespreasd deficiencies in risk management) and Bank of America will need to resubmit their proposal.
While the dollar strength this morning, which has pushed it to a fresh 13 year high and has accelerated the EURUSD plunge to under 1.06 - a drop of over 300 pips since the start of the week - has been a recap of yesterday's trading action, the main difference is that unlike yesterday, the USDJPY has managed to find a strong bid in the overnight session, pushing not only the Nikkei up by 0.4%, but also lifting US equity futures as the entire global marketplace is now merely a sandbox in which the central banks try to crush their currencies as fast as possible.
"Secret" documents and power struggles aside, regulators are just as inept now as ever and bank stress tests are completely meaningless, as the Fed neither then, nor now, has any methodology for how to calculate capital in case of the same kind of counterparty failure chain as happened during Lehman, and when no amount of capital would have been sufficient to preserve the financial sector.
There’s simply a very strong feeling, if not conviction, in the western media, that they’ve won the propaganda battle. But two portraits of US girl power in Ukraine from the Guardian and Bloomberg that appeared over the past two days are just unbelievbable. Victoria Nuland and Natalie Jaresko should not be praised by the western media, they should be taken apart bone by bone, because the roles they play are far too shady to stand up to our alleged democratic principles.
- 5 Things to Watch in February’s Jobs Report (WSJ)
- Draghi Declares Victory for Bond-Buying Before It Starts (BBG)
- Apple Pay Sign-Ups Get Tougher as Banks Respond to Fraud (WSJ)
- As World’s Hottest Economy Unravels, Nigerians Feel the Squeeze (BBG)
- EU discontent over French budget deal's 'political bazaar' (Reuters)
- Foreign Takeovers See U.S. Losing Tax Revenue (WSJ)
- Goldman Shareholders’ Hope for Bigger Payout Dashed by Fed (BBG)
- Europe Stocks Headed for 31% Surge This Year Amid QE, Citi Says (BBG)
- Dollar revs up for jobs data, euro bonds rally on ECB (Reuters)