The daily dose of truth from the UBS veteran, as indispensable as morning coffee. Today, he covers Steve Jobs passing, the "Barroso" market, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in his unique and traditionally laconic way.
On Barroso Bobbing, and on market moves:
Barroso Bobs About But Bulls Hang On With “They Finally Get It” Thesis - While there were several pieces of economic data here in the U.S., they served primarily as background static to the continuing drama playing out among the banks in Europe. As I have been saying for months - Europe is driving this bus.
Rather than going step by step and minute by minute through yesterday’s action, it might be better to try to get a general overview from 30,000 feet or so.
For many months now European authorities (and the world press) have been framing the very volatile and nervous trading in markets a “Greek” (or other sovereign) debt problem. Markets, on the other hand, have been yelling (and gyrating) saying - yeah, that’s right - long term - but you have a banking crisis - right now.
That’s why markets erupted in the final hour of trading Wednesday. Leaders began to talk about recapitalizing the European banking system - and quickly. Suddenly, markets said - “They get it. They finally get it.” They were going to look at the real problem, at last.
One of the things that probably caused that “Eureka” moment among European authorities may have been Dexia, the large but virtually unnoticed Belgian bank. Dexia, or at least the rumors surrounding Dexia, became the perfect poster child for the problems and risks surrounding European banking.
Since we first noted the Dexia rumors three days ago, the layers of the onion are being peeled away, one at a time. It had originally passed the stress test with flying colors. That raised questions about the validity of the stress tests. Next, there were reports that Dexia was highly leveraged, with at least one source saying it has twice the leverage of Lehman before the fall.
Then there was the risk of contagion. Rumors began to spread that Dexia was involved in U.S. municipal bond trading, in Guaranteed Income contracts, various annuities, and on and on. Traders felt they were reading a paper with a dateline of 2008.
So, with the eruption, or at least unveiling, of Dexia dropping a flaming example of the banking problem into the laps of the European authorities, markets felt assured that they could no longer ignore it or even postpone addressing it. That’s what caused the late Tuesday rally and the carryover yesterday. The action today and tomorrow may tell us a great deal about what kind of legs this action will have.
This morning the papers, media and newsletter are filled with deserving tributes to Mr. Jobs. He was truly unique. My best recollection was when he described the MAC as the “computer for the rest of us”. He made technology that worked for you, rather than the other way around. From the MAC through the iPod, the iPhone; iTunes and the iPad, he made devices that looked and felt cool. He put us in “touch” with the world around us.
An innovator on the culture-changing level, his loss leaves us with nagging question - what if? We may get a hint of that when, and if, his revolutionary vision of the next TV is released.
He touched a generation on a personal level as may be seen in the tributes showing up on sidewalks outside Apple stores this morning. As the ancient Romans would say on the passing of a great commander - “Ave Atque Vale!” (Hail and Farewell!)
And on Occupy Wall Street:
Wall Street Protests - Two favorite observations on the vague and often conflicting “goals” of the protestors. First, from an FoF member:
The Occupy Wall Street protest is reminiscent of the scene in the 1953 film "The Wild One" where a young woman asks a motorcycle gang leader played by Marlon Brando, "Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?"
Brando deadpans, "Whaddya got?"
Then, from Ann Coulter:
I am not the first to note the vast differences between the Wall Street protesters and the tea partiers. To name three: The tea partiers have jobs, showers and a point.