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Treasuries Snap Longest Ever Losing Streak

During the last 31 years of the US Treasury bond rally, the 10Y interest rate has never risen for 10 consecutive days and today's very modest 1.6bps rally ensures that will continue. Yesterday's weakness equaled the previous 9-days-in-row record from 6/26/06. The rise in 10Y rates over this 10 day period equals the Oct 2011 jolt in percentage terms as we hold at those 10/28/11 swing highs in rates. The previous 8 times that 10Y rates have risen for 7 days or more, the next 10 days have seen an average 16bps compression and next 20 days a 31.5bps compression (following the consecutive break). This of course is wreaking havoc with mortgage rates as according to Bloomberg's data, we are back above 4% for the 30Y fixed for the first time this year and this week has seen mortgage rates jump their most in 16 months.

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$450 Billion In ZIRPorized Purchasing Power: Two Charts That Explain The Baby Boomer Dilemma

When it comes to predicting consumer spending patterns, especially those of the baby boomers who are traditionally reliant on fixed income (but lately have had to migrate back into the workforce, as retirement prospects diminish, in effect displacing the young 18-24 year old Americans where unemployment is now at a substantial 46%), the following two charts from today's David Rosenberg letter do a great job at explaining the schism between interest and dividend income. The former, as is well-known, has been crippled and is plunging courtesy of Bernanke's ZIRP policy, which makes cash yields on savings and fixed income instruments virtually negligible, and the latter, which while rising, has a long way to rise if it is to catch up to lost annuity potential. It is here that the primary tension for the Fed resides: it has to force investors to switch their mindsets from the capital preservation of fixed income, to the risky behavior of pursuing stock dividends. It is also here that we see the lost purchasing power of the US consumer: interest income is down $450 billion from 2007-2008 levels to roughly $1 trillion, while dividend income has risen to $825 billion, which is where it was at the prior peak. In other words, when all is said and done, Bernanke's ZIRP policy has eliminated $450 billion in purchasing power, even if he has succeeded in reflating the equity bubble. Yet while bonds at least have capital preservation optics, what happens to dividend stocks whose cash flow yields can be eliminated at the bat of an eye, if and when the next flash crash materializes, or the next financial crisis is finally too big for the central planners to control?

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Barclays On Brazil Rate Cut: "Unexpected...Unprecedented"

Feeling like one of the 62 sellside analysts tonight, all of whom had no idea Brazil would cut its overnight rate by 50 bps? Wondering what this "unexpected, unprecedented" move means for Brazil? Curious what the implications of this shocking announcement are? Here is Barclays which while still shellshocked, is the first to try to put lipstick on the pig that the BRIC economy suddenly has become.

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Barclays: Market Reaction To Fed-Action "Exaggerated"

First it was Goldman, now it is Barclays lamenting what is painfully obvious: what has gone up violently, will go down doubly so, once the market realizes that what the Fed and the global central banks have done is applying a band aid to a severed artery. Naturally, the disappointment will be substantial, and while Goldman is angry that its tentacles have to be retracted for a few more weeks before it can acquire the equity of some European competitors for a buck a share, Barclays is angry because it is very likely that it, together with fellow British bank RBS, will be on the receiving end of market fury. This explains the statement by Barclays' Paul Robinson who said that the "market updraft" was "exaggerated" and "it is not easy to make a case that the magnitude of the news quite justifies the magnitude of the global market reaction, in our view." That's ok - the short covering knows best... if only for a few days, because as Robinsons says, "Market participants seem as fearful of missing a market updraft as they are of getting caught in a downdraft" - in other words we are all momos now, chasing the leader and pushing the wild market swings into swings with ever greater amplitudes, until one day absolutely nobody will be able to trade the daily gyrations created by ever more frequent central bank intervention.

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Guest Post: Apple Succumbs To Battery Chemistry?

In light of the news that Apple is issuing a dividend with the stock flirting with all-time highs, it might be a good time to assess where Apple is with its two products, the Iphone and the Ipad. There is no arguing with the success of these products, but that is not the real story that needs addressing. The real story for Apple is battery chemistry and much like the automakers it fails.

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As reported earlier, Consumer Reports has concluded its analysis of the New iPad's running temperature. The results, based on a live CNBC update:

  • New iPad runs up to 12 degrees warmer than the old iPad2
  • New iPad warms up to 116 degrees
  • This is not as hot as some of the warmest laptops which hit 120 degrees.

Naturally, much of this was to be expected from a product that has more advanced equipment, which also happens to generate greater power output. It is also unclear if this will provoke a recall, accelerate global warming (and thus facilitate economic "beats") and/or whether one will now have the iSkillet in a twofer special.

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Powerful 7.9 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Mexico City, No Tsunami Warning

Moments ago we saw headlines flashing of a major 7.6 magnitude earthquake swaying Mexico City. It turns out the earthquake was even stronger, and according to the USGS is now classified as 7.9. From Reuters: "MEXICO CITY, March 20 (Reuters) - A major 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck near Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Tuesday. Earlier it had been reported at 7.6 magnitude." Luckily, as Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher notes, "Mexican TV reports no major damage in the State of Oaxaca" citing the local governor.

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CTRL+SPIN: Ben Bernanke And The Fed Propaganda Tour Live

A few days ago we noted that the Fed's propagnda is slowly encroaching into the 8-12 classroom with "Fed To Take Propaganda To The Schoolroom: Will Teach Grade 8-12 Students About Constitutionality Of... The Fed" in which the Fed's appointed class agenda would allow "students to use their knowledge of McCulloch v. Maryland and the necessary and proper clause to consider the constitutionality of the Federal Reserve System." You know - just in case kids get ideas early on. And now that Grades 8-12 are covered, it is time to take the propaganda tour to college. From the Fed: "In March 2012, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will deliver a four-part lecture series about the Federal Reserve and the financial crisis that emerged in 2007. The series begins with a lecture on the origins and missions of central banks, followed by a lecture that will discuss the role and actions of the Federal Reserve in the period after World War II. In the final two lectures, the Chairman will review some of the causes of, and policy responses to, the recent financial crisis, focusing specifically on the actions of the Federal Reserve. The lectures are being offered as part of an undergraduate course Leaving the Board at the George Washington University School of Business." Watch Bernanke as he shifts from the default CTRL+P mode to CTRL+SPIN. Also, we are taking bets on how many times the Chairsatan will use the words "Andrew" and "Jackson" in the same sentence: making a market at zero and under.

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Mortgage Settlement? Not So Fast!

Mortgage bondholders are threatening legal action over the $25 billion national mortgage settlement, which will give the five largest servicers credits for principal writedowns that the bondholders may be forced to take. As American Banker notes, the investors in those trusts were not a party to the settlement agreement, and now they are objecting to being forced into taking losses - to the banks' benefit - as a result of it. The government is forcing investors to take losses even though they were not responsible for the foreclosure process abuses that led to the banks' settlement with state and federal officials. "The banks are trying to pay these fines with our money," says Vincent Fiorillo (of DoubleLine). Chris Katopis, the executive director of the bondholder trade group, says it is considering its legal options, including filing a friend of the court amicus brief or suing servicers individually..."Banks are shifting their liability to first-lien investors that were innocent of robo-signing,". Bondholders are especially concerned about writedowns from Bank of America, which has privately securitized more than $285 billion worth of mortgages originated by Countrywide Financial Corp.

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Are Big Crude Price Swings Coming?

Some curious headlines just out from the ICE via BBG:


Either SkyNet is about to take over the last bastion - the commodities market, or the ICE knows something we dont... Or this is just a completely coincidence.

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3 Charts On The "Money On The Sidelines"

We hear a lot of the impending flood of money on the sidelines that will avalanche into the equity market to take us to Dow 20000 as retail sells low and buys high. Besides the arguments over the generally nonsensical argument of where the money comes from, who sold so you could buy stocks and who bought your 'safe' vehicle so that you could use that cash for 'risky' instruments, we note three interesting charts from Nomura today on recent fund flows and technicals that suggest perhaps we should not all be holding our breath for the proverbial money-flow (especially as we see outflows in the last week or so from some of the real high-beta darlings of the rally such as high-yield bond ETFs).

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Obama Advisor, And Goldman Sachs Client, Gene Sperling Filibusters CNBC With "Shared Sacrifice" Speech In Response To Ryan Budget

Earlier we shared some perspectives on the just released Ryan 2013 budget. Shortly thereafter it was the turn of Obama aide and National Economic Council director Gene Sperling to give his spin. In what can only be characterized as an epic filibuster of none other than CNBC, Sperling spoke in length, literally, about shared sacrifice, about how math fails to matter in a new normal (and nominal) world, how trillions and trilions in underfunded welfare benefits (which even Goldman sees as untenable) are really just a matter of perspective, but mostly about how net tax revenues running below debt issuance (as reported here yesterday) are 'viable.' We leave our readers to make up their own minds. We just want to add the following highlights from a Bloomberg October 2009 article, which just may provide some more color on where and what Mr. Sperling's true allegienaces are.

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RANsquawk US Afternoon Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 20/03/12

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Guest Post: Why We May Not See 4% GDP Growth For A Long Time

gdp-realvspotential-032012For a third year in a row mainstream economists and analysts are once again planting the seeds of hope for a return to stronger GDP growth.  The White House, if you look at their budget estimations, are banking on it as part of their long term deficit reduction plan.  Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that we will see growth in the economy return to 4% for a very long time.   Currently, the deficit between real GDP and the CBO's estimated potential GDP, is at the greatest deviation on record.  However, that data point really doesn't tell us much other than the economy is currently operating well below its potential level.  While most economists will point to the likely culprits of employment, wages, industrial production and consumption as the problem, which is correct, those issues are byproducts of the 50-Trillion pound Gorilla that sits quietly in the corner.  That seemingly invisible Gorilla is simply - debt.

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Greek CDS Settlement - 3 Wrongs Do Make A Right

One of the central premises of CDS is that the “basis” package should work.  An investor should be able to buy a bond, and buy CDS to the same maturity and expect to get paid close to par – either by the bond being repaid at par and the CDS expiring worthless, or through a Credit Event, where the price of the bonds the investor owns plus the CDS settlement amount add up to close to par. The settlement of the Greek CDS contracts worked well, but that was pure dumb luck. This leaves playing the basis in Portuguese bonds and CDS as a much riskier proposition than before Europe's PSI/ECB decisions - and perhaps explains why at over 300bps, it has not been arbitraged fully away - though today's rally in Portugal bonds suggests a new marginal buyer which given the basis compression suggests they may be getting more comfortable.

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