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Another Record Direct Bid Award In Today's 7 Year Auction





When we commented on yesterday's 5 year auction, most remarkable for a surge in 5 Year Direct awards to a stunning 30%, which in turn followed a record low Indirect takedown, we wondered if "there some major shift in the underlying dynamics for US paper based on these recent results? You bet. What is said shift? We hope to find out soon enough." Today, we still can't confirm what the reason for said shift is, but we can certainly confirm that the same pattern continues, as the US Treasury just sold its monthly $29 billion allotment of 7 Year paper, at a high yield of 1.233%, well above November's 1.05%, and a bid to cover of 2.72, just below the TTM average of 2.75, but the most notable feature was that just like yesterday, the Direct award was the highest in series history, at a whopping 23.11%, and above last month's 19.71%, which also was a record. There is a distinct shift in awards to Direct bidders, especially with PDs getting just 37%, the lowest since December 2010. Just who these bidders are, and is this merely a year end window dressing phenomenon, seen periodically when money managers need quality collateral for year end purposes, remains unclear. Keep an eye on the Direct bid in the January auction to see if the trend persists. If it does, it may be time to ask some questions.

 
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Joe Biden Is New Gun Tzar





So, John Kerry As Secretary of State and now Joe Biden as the new Gun Tzar... should be fine...

*OBAMA SAYS VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN TO LEAD EFFORT ON GUN VIOLENCE
*OBAMA SAYS HE WILL PUSH `WITHOUT DELAY' BIDEN RECOMMENDATIONS
*OBAMA SAYS BIDEN TASKED WITH `REAL REFORMS' ON GUN VIOLENCE
*OBAMA SAYS BIDEN TO REPORT BACK NEXT MONTH

Market reaction is RGR and SWHC rallying from the news...

 
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Obama And Biden Address Gun Control - Live Webcast





Will there be a hint of Plan B angst in there? It seems RGR and SWHC shareholders are not too worried about what the President will say... yet...

 
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European Sovereign Spreads Plunge To Nine Month Lows As EUR Breaks 1.3300





The world can't get enough Greek Government Bonds (now trading above 50% of face! on 5-notch S&P upgrade and ECB collateral news), Italian and Spanish government bonds (at nine-month low spreads with the biggest one-week drop in risk in over three-months and tighter by 25bps this week alone), Euros (EURUSD at 8 month highs with a 430 pip ramp in the last week), and Italian and Spanish stocks (at nine-month highs and up 3% this week). Technical breakouts every you look in Europe as the almost unprecedented rally of the last week - amid huge and escalating volumes in stocks - goes on. The only thing we would add is that for the first time in a week, European stocks, bonds, and the EUR are closing the European day-session off their highs. Apart from that - everything is golden, problem solved.

 
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Fiscal Cliff Theater Off, Reality Sneaking Back On





Just as we predicted, the Republicans effort to vote on 'Plan B' and throw the blame back to Obama's Democrats for a failed Fiscal Cliff resolution has halted discussions (which no matter how it is spun is not a positive!!!)...

  • *WHITE HOUSE SAYS TALKS HALTED ON BOEHNER'S 'PLAN B': POLITICO
  • *WHITE HOUSE SAYS 'PLAN B' MAKES DEAL LESS LIKELY: POLITICO

Of course, the market does not care... why would it?

 
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There Will Be Offerless Crude Markets





Meanwhile in the always efficient crude oil markets... another asset class joins the inverse-Baumgartner crowd... Daniel Day-Lewis would be proud of this gusher...

 
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Guest Post: Too Big To Jail





What’s worse than unjust and ineffective laws like the failed War on Drugs and the failed sanctions on Iran? Unjust and ineffective laws that apply to ordinary folks, but not to banksters. Once a certain segment of society becomes protected from criminal liability, that society has travelled a long way down the road to feudalism, to a caste system, to serfdom.

 
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And The Time Readers' Choice For Person Of The Year Is...





Earlier we presented the person that Time's editors thought is worthy of the title "Person of the Year" 2012. Below, we show a slightly different version of utopic leaders, this time showcasing the person of the year however as elected by Time's readers (and yes, we were just as shocked there are any left). And the winner is...

 
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It's The US Day-Session, Do You Know Where The Precious Metals' Selling Orders Are?





Presented with little comment - but it's that time of the day again...

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Meet Time's Person Of 2012





 
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Six Month + Delinquent Mortgages Amount To More Than Half Of Bank of America's Market Cap





For those curious why many people are scratching their heads how the market cap of Bank of America has nearly doubled in the past year, here it is: "Bank of America Corp. has amassed $64 billion of mortgages that are at least six months delinquent and have yet to enter foreclosure, more than twice the amount held by its four largest competitors combined." $64 billion is more than half the market cap of Bank of America as of this moment. 

 
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UBS' Cheating LIBOR "Supermen" Kept Rate "As Low As Possible" To "Protect Sensitive Franchise"





A $1.5bn fine. Sounds like a lot but in relation to the trillion dollar derivative markets hanging on every tick and reset from this now-proven-to-be-entirely-false market, it seems a fine is too easy. Just as with Barclays, the UBS traders (who combined their LIBOR submission and proprietary trading units from 2005 to 2009) used hints and suggestions and requests for "market color" to ensure fixes were exactly where they needed them up and down the curve. The quotes and hubris are entirely damning and also show a totally willful disregard for capture (especially following a discussion of the mainstream media noting 'odd' LIBOR quotes during the crisis). This went from top to bottom in the organization, summed up perfectly in this one exchange: "...It is highly advisable to err on the low side with fixings for the time being to protect our franchise in these sensitive markets. Fixing risk and PNL thereof is secondary priority for now."

 
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Housing Starts, Permits Unimpressive, Saved By "South" Surge





There was little excitement in today's November housing starts and permits numbers, the first of which missed expectations of 872K modestly, and was down from 894K to 861K on a seasonally adjusted, annualized basis (64.6K unadjusted, non-annualized, the lowest since March; the Northeast unadjusted print was 25% lower than a year ago!). The prior two months were also revised lower from from 863K and 894K to 843K and 888K. On the other hand, permits which are nothing more than an opportunity cost fee for an application filed with the local housing office, rose from 868K to 899K. Curiously enough, this was the one series that was supposed to benefit from Sandy, as builders would step up reconstruction efforts in the hurricane impact areas. Alas, that did not happen, in the impacted Northeast Region, as both Starts (73K) and Permits (76K) came at multi month lows (in the case of permits, this was the lowest print of all of 2012). What did drive housing starts and permits? The "South" where both categories saw the respective data prints jump to the highest since 2008. The same south which was promptly featured in our "Interactive Guide to the Housing Recovery." The housing bubble is back in full force.

 
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Uncle Sam Books 50% Loss As Government Motors Buys Back 200MM Shares From Tim Geithner





A few days after divesting its stake in the firm that started it all, AIG, and at a profit at that (ignoring that the risk has merely been onboarded by the Fed whose DV01 is now $2+ billion as a result), the US Treasury continues to divest of all its bailout stake, this time proceeding to GM, where the channel stuffing firm just announced it would buyback 200MM shares from the US government at a price of $27.50. More importantly, the "Treasury said it intends to sell its other remaining 300.1 million shares through various means in an orderly fashion within the next 12-15 months, subject to market conditions. Treasury intends to begin its disposition of those 300.1 million common shares as soon as January 2013 pursuant to a pre-arranged written trading plan. The manner, amount, and timing of the sales under the plan are dependent upon a number of factors." Assuming a price in the $27.50 range, this implies a nearly 50% loss on the government's breakeven price of $54. So much for the "profit" spin. One hopes all those Union votes were well worth the now booked $40+ billion cost to all taxpayers.

 
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Frontrunning: December 19





  • Republicans put squeeze on Obama in "fiscal cliff" talks (Reuters)
  • Inquiry harshly criticizes State Department over Benghazi attack (Reuters)
  • Banks See Biggest Returns Since ’03 as Employees Suffer (BBG)
  • Italy president urges election be held on time (Reuters)
  • Bank of England Says Sterling Hurting Economy (WSJ) - there's an app for that, it's called a Goldman BOE chairman
  • China slowdown hits Indonesian farmers (FT)
  • China dispute hits Japanese exports (FT)
  • Market to get even more monopolized by the HFT king: Getco wins Knight with $2 bln sweetened offer (Reuters)
  • MF Global Cases Focus on 'Letters' (WSJ)
  • UBS fined $1.5 billion in growing Libor scandal (Reuters)
  • Spotlight swings to interdealer brokers (FT)
  • China Widens Access to Capital Markets (WSJ)
  • With Instagram, Facebook Spars With Twitter (WSJ)
 
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