ACTA: “Would Usurp Congressional Authority”, "Threatens Numerous Public Interests", a "Backroom Special Interest Deal"Submitted by George Washington on 01/30/2012 00:44 -0400
Unconstitutional ... in any language.
After Wikipedia and Wikileaks shone light on science, history and politics, Wikirating may bring open source financial transparency to the web. Attempting to iron out structural problems of traditional rating procedures, Wikirating is open source, fully transparent and retrieves its results from participants input. Initiated by Austrian mathematics Dorian Credé and and finance whiz Erwan Salembier, ratings are derived from weighted user input. They stress to point out that their model will improve with rising user input who also have a say in improving the formulae used.
Markets have become far less volatile than last year, but many investors remain focused on the Credit Markets for signs and cues as to the next move. With so many people looking to moves in credit markets and trying to determine how successful an auction has been, we thought it would make sense to go through some examples of how credit trades. At one extreme you have a real market like for the E-mini S&P futures. That trades from Sunday at 6pm EST until Friday at 4:15 EST. It is virtually continuous and at any given time you can see the bids and offers of the entire market. Then you have credit trading, which has almost nothing in common with ES futures and their incredible liquidity and transparency.
The markets follow the money.
Stocks usually follow the Fed, but this time when the ECB pumped, so much of it flowed into the US that not only Treasuries, but also stocks, got a lift.
Fed Back To Its Secretive Ways, Sells $7 Billion In Maiden Lane Assets Directly To Credit Suisse Without Public AuctionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/19/2012 14:03 -0400
Instead of opting for a publicly transparent BWIC in the disposition of its Maiden Lane II assets, the Fed has once again gone opaque - long a critique of the Fed's practices which have required repeated FOIAs in the past to get some clarity on its secret bailouts and transactions - and proceeded with a private sale, without any clarity on the deal terms, in which it sold $7 billion in face amount of Maiden Lane II assets direct to Credit Suisse. The alternative of course would be the same snarling of the MBS and broadly fixed income market that we saw in June of last year. In other words, the Fed looked at the options: transparency and risk of grinding credit demand to a halt, or doing what it does best, which is to transact in the shadows, and avoid capital markets risk. It opted for the latter. As to why the Fed decided to go ahead with a deal shrouded in secrecy? "The New York Fed decided to move forward with the transaction only after determining that the winning bid represented good value for the public." "I am pleased with the strength of the bids and the level of market interest in these assets," said William C. Dudley, President of the New York Fed. Because if there is one thing Bill Dudley and the Fed knows is gauging what is in the best interest of the public... and the callorie content of the iPad of course.
While the news that Mitt Romney has joined Warren Buffet in the "my secretary makes more than me" 15% tax club has come and gone, even as America appears largely confused or dismissive that Romney, at least on paper appears to be precisely the puppet that Wall Street wants put in charge, we are not so sure how it will react to discovering that in addition to all of the above, Romney also holds a substantial of his assets deep offshore, in the much maligned recently Cayman Islands. As a reminder, it has long been Obama's "tax-policy" to force repatriation of virtually all individual tax holdings held abroad, both legally and illegally, much to the detrimental collapse in the UBS business model. Yet apparently when it comes to potential future presidents, loopholes are quite welcome. Especially when as ABC reports, "the offshore accounts have provided him -- and Bain -- with other potential financial benefits, such as higher management fees and greater foreign interest, all at the expense of the U.S. Treasury." As a reminder: "Rebecca J. Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, said the federal government loses an estimated $100 billion a year because of tax havens." But who needs taxes when America can just print all the money it will need to fund its deficit in perpetuity. Just ask the Neo-Keynesians. Perhaps all these are questions that the candidate that so hard is trying to channel Ronald Reagan and so far failing, can finally address once and for all, before he moves into one of his patented Obama bashing subject changing routing.
The Fed spent $600 billion on QE 2 and had at most three months’ of improved economic data as a result (QE 2 was announced in November and the US economy rolled over in February 2011). The public is well aware of this as well as the fact that QE 2 saw inflation exploding higher.
Einhorn Ends 2011 Just Over +2%, Closes FSLR Short, Warns On Asia, Mocks "Lather. Rinse. Repeat" Broken MarketsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/18/2012 12:17 -0400
Anyone wondering why FSLR just jumped, it is because as was just made known, David Einhorn's Greenlight has decided to close its FSLR position, after bleeding that particular corpse dry. "Our largest winner by far was our short of First Solar (FSLR) which fell from $130.14 to $33.76 paper share and was the worst performing stock in the S&P 500." Einhorn also announces that he was among the "evil" hedge funds who dared to provide market clearing transparency and buy CDS on insolvent European governments: "We also did well investing in various credit default swaps on European sovereign debt." As for losers, Einhorn and Kyle Bass can commiserate: "For the second year in a row, our biggest loss came from positions designed to capitalize on eventual weakening of the Yen." He summarizes the global economic environment as follows: "The global environment is very complicated. On the one hand the Federal Reserve has taken a much-needed break from quantitative easing (at least for the moment). Accordingly, inflation in oil and food has abated, providing relief to the US economy. Bearish forecasts that the US was headed back into recession proved wrong for the third time since the end of the last recession. On the other hand, Asia appears to be in much worse shape than it was at this time last year and could be a drag on the world economy going forward. Very few people trust any of the economic data coming out of China, making it difficult to gauge the situation there. Some of the smartest people we know have very dim views. The Chinese have been a leading growth engine for the last two decades and are largely credit with leading the world out of the recession in 2009. A change in their economic circumstances could really upend things." Yet the best thing is his summary of the current investing climate in our utterly and hopelessly reactionary broken markets.
We can also shed light on the difference between a real free market and a simulacrum of a "free market" by asking: does anyone seriously believe the stock market would be higher if all market intervention and manipulation by the Central State and Central Bank (and their proxies) ceased? We can extend this by asking: what if public companies were banned from issuing "beat by a penny" pro forma earnings and other accounting tricks? What if the "shadow banking system" was outlawed, and all assets and liabilities were transparent? Does anyone seriously believe the fragile financial system that depends on shadow banking for its dodges and profits would survive transparency and marked-to-market accounting? Americans have no real experience of free, transparent financial markets or of rigorously transparent accounting by their Central State, the Federal Reserve, public corporations or the financial sector. They have been presented facsimiles of accurate statistics and accounting, and simulacra of transparent markets. When those participants' faith in the Status Quo's fairness and transparency declines below a critical threshold, then they withdraw or limit their participation, and the system enters a self-reinforcing death spiral.
Following today's increasingly more adverse news for Sears, which saw primary vendor funder CIT cut ties with the Eddie Lampert mega investment, it was only a matter of time before the market realized that the jig for the once bankrupt retailer may be up, and a Chapter 22 is the only possible option. Sure enough, the first to respond to this is the rating agency that not only is capable of forward looking activity, unlike all the other NRSROs, and also managed to get Jefferies to admit it had a far greater European exposure than the market was comfortable with (resulting in a major cut in gross and net, and a far greater transparency into its balance sheet). As of minutes ago, Egan Jones just downgraded Sears Holdings to the lowest rating just above default: C, from CC.
- Europe’s $39T Pension Threat Grows as Economy Sputters (Bloomberg)
- Monti Warns of Italy Protests as He Meets Merkel (Bloomberg)
- Bernanke Doubling Down on Housing Bet Asks Government to Help: Mortgages (Bloomberg)
- Europe Banks Resist Draghi Bid to Avoid Crunch by Hoarding Cash (Bloomberg)
- Europe Fears Rising Greek Cost (WSJ)
- ECB’s Nowotny Sees Risk of Mild Recession in Euro Region (Bloomberg)
- Republican Senators Criticize Fed Recommendations on Housing (Bloomberg)
- Spanish Banks Try to Build Their Way Out of Home Glut (WSJ)
- Europe Stocks Fluctuate After German Auction (Bloomberg)
Ben Bernanke's zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP) and command-economy efforts to maintain mispricing of risk, debt and assets are destroying capital and capitalism. No wonder his policies have failed so miserably. Bernanke's policy is to punish capital accumulation and reward leveraged debt expansion. Rather than enforce the market's discipline and transparent pricing of risk, debt and assets, Bernanke has explicitly set out to re-inflate a destructive, massively unproductive credit bubble. This is why Bernanke has failed so completely, and why he will continue to fail. He is not engaged in capitalism, he is engaged in the destruction of capital, investment discipline and the open pricing of risk, debt and assets.
Poor, poor Federal Reserve.