Cashin On Greek Theater
While everyone's attention is focused on Dimon-related puns and trying to comprehend what actually happened at JPM (while at the same time pretending to be an expert in CDO trading models and VaR), UBS' Art Cashin provides some 'fact is better than fiction' on Greece (ah yes the other tempest in a teapot). Between the PASOK defense minister's money-laundering charges and the fact that British bookies won't take any more bets on Greece exiting the Euro (which given no CDS market has started on GGB2s seems to have become the market of choice for that trade), it seems, as the ever-prescient father-of-fermentation notes that "Europe still lurks".
Via UBS Art Cashin,
A Greek Complication - Our good friend and fellow trading floor veteran, Dennis Gartman, uncovered a possible complication in the current desperate negotiations to form a Greek coalition. Citing a letter from his friend, and client, Tino Sarantis, Dennis wrote:
Further, Mr. Sarantis informed us of a growing controversy involving the former PASOK Party Defense Minister of Greece, Akis Tsochadzopoulos, who now faces money laundering charges and charges of accepting kickbacks for the purchase of missile systems and submarines by the Greek Navy.
Tsochadzopoulos was charged several weeks ago, and with each passing day more ill news comes to the surface. Now, Tsochadzopoulos’ wife, his daughter and other members of his family are now also implicated. He had hoped that PASOK would have fared better in the elections, thus protecting him in the courts. Realizing in the days before the most recent elect that PASOK was going to lose, Tsochadzopoulos has apparently chosen to “do a deal" with prosecutors in order to receive leniency. As Mr. Sarantis has said, “There are some very, very nervous PASOK politicians in Athens.”
You Could Make Book On It - Or Maybe Not - In the off-beat indicator of the week department, we found this report from Reuters:
Want a flutter on Greece leaving the euro zone? It may already be too late. A surge in bets has forced Britain's biggest bookmakers William Hill Plc and Ladbrokes Plc to suspend betting on the odds of Greece dropping out.
The failure of Greece's leaders to form a government has renewed speculation that Greece could be forced out of the single currency.
William Hill said the level of betting on Greece quitting first was such that it had become too risky to continue taking bets, with the odds pushed right down to 1/4.
"We've had Greece as hot favourites for some time but increasingly it was becoming the only one that people wanted to bet on," said a spokesman for William Hill, Britain's largest betting firm.
"It wasn't a healthy situation for bookmakers. We found it was virtually impossible to make a book."
Britain's second-biggest betting firm Ladbrokes said it had suspended betting on Greece dropping out of the euro zone by the end of the year, after repeatedly slashing the odds.
"It is safer for us to suspend betting than to keep cutting the odds," a spokesman for Ladbrokes said. "We have been slashing the odds repeatedly over the last few days."
It looks like the European public has determined that a Greek exit is a sure thing.