BP stock now dropping after a company spokesman has refused to confirm that the leak has been plugged, and notes that any speculation otherwise is without merit. BP has previously stated that any confirmed leak plug would be reported first and only by it directly... Where does one buy a BP rumor straddle?
BP stock up notably on the news.
Initial jobless claims come in at 460,000, on expectations of 455,000, down slightly from a revised last week number of 474,000. This number is indicative of a general Nonfarm Payroll deterioration, as a reduction in the unemployment rate needs initial claims to be below 400k. This further confirms that the Fed is on some alternative planet when it comest to making economic projections, as recently quantified by ConvergEx: "According to the minutes from its latest Federal
Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in April, the Fed predicts
unemployment will fall to 9.3% this year followed by 8.2% in 2011. In order to reach these projections, by our calculations, the
economy will need to add 385,000 jobs each month from now through
December 2010 and 323,000 each month from now through December 2011.
These already seemingly high numbers appear even more extraordinary
when taking the government’s temporary hiring of census workers out of
the equation. Also, in the 3 months since the FOMC’s prior meeting,
unemployment projections became more optimistic: The average expected
unemployment rate for this year dropped 0.3 percentage points from 9.6%
to 9.3%." With every month that the economy keeps not adding the number of needed people to hit the target rate, the back end just gets heavier, thus making the attainment of the Fed's expectations ludicrious.Also today, the revised GDP number of 3.0% came in, well below both estimates (3.4%, and 3.7% by Goldman Sachs as pointed out two days ago), and below the initial read of 3.2%. Time to get those QE2.0 printers ready.
Goldman's Jan Hatzius is now seeing a revised Q1 GDP, which will be announced this Friday, up from 3.2% (Goldman's estimate is 3.4%) to 3.7%. However, far from a good sign, this merely means that the imminent slow down is coming, and any gain in Q1 GDP over and above estimates, will result in a commensurate drop in Q2 and onward economic growth: As Hatzius points out: "Inventories are beginning to pile up at a rapid pace in the durable goods sector. These inventories rose 0.7% in April following increases of 0.6% and 0.7% in March and February, respectively. This is much faster than most companies will see as sustainable; hence some slowing in production is likely if recent - highly tentative - signs of abatement in orders (in the New York and Philadelphia Fed surveys) are at all indicative." Surely, this is nothing that a few extra trillion in QE or new fiscal stimulus can't fix, courtesy of the Central Committee.
A recap letter by Goldman's Dominic Wilson, Director of Goldman's Global Macro & Markets Research, is surprisingly conciliatory in its most recent view of the world. The firm notes tongue in cheek that while its Top 9 ideas for 2010 have lost its clients billions, it is still megabullish, but no longer "too dogmatic." We are not sure what that means except that Goldman prop is selling into every rally, and Goldman will still have all the >5x beta stocks on conviction buy up until it moves them to the conviction nuke list, just like JPMorgan did with its disastrous recommendations on greek banks. Nonetheless, reading between the propaganda lines, the following recap is one of the better two-sided evaluations of the world currently to come from a sell-side desk.
- China to have surplus diesel and gasoline next year, accdg. to PetroChina
- Europe crisis chokes Asia-Pacific loan market on concern exports to slump.
- Hedge funds inflows to Asian managers will surge this year, accdg. to Barclays
- Japanese exports increase for fifth month as Asian recovery boosts demand.
- Asian shares gain as global sell-off eases; Won, Kiwi advance against Yen.
- China's $300B sovereign fund will maintain investment in Eurozone, Xinhua says.
There has been much talk about the FT's story that China could be evaluating its eurobond holdings. So much in fact that the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange has issued an official statement denying the validity of the story: an unprecedented step by the Chinese to respond to market rumors. We are surprised that SAFE actually found time to write this up with all the EUR buying that everyone in China seems to be doing these days. "China's foreign exchange reserves as a responsible long-term investors, and always adhere to the principle of decentralized investment, the European market in the past, present and future foreign exchange reserves are one of the most important investment market." For a minute there we wonder what they were expected to say: "Yes, we are only buying gold and oil going forward. So please don't buy it ahead of us."
Insanity is upon us, let's make it official. The market in S&P futures is up 26 ticks overnight despite a dismal close last night on absolutely NOTHING. There are people out there who will say that it is all based on the positive news out of Korea. First of all a war between North and South Korea was never priced in the market in the first place. There were a couple tremors in the market but yesterday we opened grossly unchanged so clearly the story was not a bother for the markets. Furthermore last night's sell-off had nothing to do with the Koreans who were sound asleep when US equity markets decided to tank in the last hour of trading. Before we delve into the price action and update targets and levels, it is worth noting that: a) volatility is here to stay and getting worse b) the market is broken and a true disaster waiting to happen, one day we will get a move down and there will be utter complete liquidation that even the mighty plunge protection team won't be able to stop. - Nic Lenoir
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 27/05/10
We often talk about industry themes in the portfolio because individual companies in the same industry usually face similar economic drivers. When these economic drivers slow it is common that many companies in an industry experience distress at the same time. Two of our current industry themes are financials and media. Among other reasons, financials are experiencing distress as a result of the credit crisis and media companies are experiencing distress as a result of the significant slowdown in advertising in 2009. In both cases, we think that the analyst community is underestimating each industry’s emergence from distress and this out of consensus view provides support for our investment thesis. In most cases, our positions in these industries have a direct catalyst event that we feel will drive price performance in our respective positions. In others, the catalyst has passed, and we hold a position that we feel has not yet fully benefitted from the catalyst event (such as long equity). In the few that are non-event driven, valuations drive the investment when securities’ prices are tainted by membership in a distressed industry. Catalyst or not, our investments are underpinned by fundamental analysis where we seek to find mispricing of true value. - Alden Global Capital
Howard Buffett Said "Human Freedom Rests On Gold Redeemable Money", Called For Return To Gold StandardSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/26/2010 14:15 -0400
Sometimes the apple does fall very, very far from the tree. A must read essay by Howard Buffett, father of the "legendary" investor who initially was so very much against derivatives then promptly changed his tune, discusses fiat money and gold, and concludes that "human freedom rests on gold redeemable money." In this stunningly simple, straightforward, and flawless analysis, Buffett's father stresses the relation between money and freedom and contends that without a redeemable currency, an individual's freedom and one's access to property is dependent on goodwill of politicians. Buffett also says that paper money systems generally collapse and result in economic chaos. He goes on to observe that a gold standard would restrict government spending and give people greater power over the public purse. Lastly, back in 1948, Howard Buffett, said this the "present" is the right time to restore the gold standard. Alas, 60 years later, his advice has still been largely ignored, and as a result we have a global economy that stands on the precipice of global default with runaway budget deficits across the entire developed world. Key quotes: "Is there a connection between Human Freedom and A Gold Redeemable Money? At first glance it would seem that money belongs to the world of economics and human freedom to the political sphere. But when you recall that one of the first moves by Lenin, Mussolini and Hitler was to outlaw individual ownership of gold, you begin to sense that there may be some connection between money, redeemable in gold, and the rare prize known as human liberty. Also, when you find that Lenin declared and demonstrated that a sure way to overturn the existing social order and bring about communism was by printing press paper money, then again you are impressed with the possibility of a relationship between a gold-backed money and human freedom. His conclusion is eerily prophetic with what is happening with US society currently: "I warn you that politicians of both parties will oppose the restoration of gold, although they may outwardly seemingly favor it. Unless you are willing to surrender your children and your country to galloping inflation, war and slavery, then this cause demands your support. For if human liberty is to survive in America, we must win the battle to restore honest money.""
And there are those who wonder how Sprott's PHYS could have traded at "ludicrous" NAV premium of over 20%. Coinupdate.com reports that prices at which the Greek Central Bank is selling one ounce gold equivalents are as high as $1,700 (40% over spot), and prices on the black markets are even higher. The punchline, as Athens slowly returns to a forced gold standard: " A popular spot for street vendors to sell their coins is near the Athens Stock Exchange. There the traders wait for citizens to bring payments received from unloading their paper assets like stocks and bonds." That's good - downtown Manhattan close to the NYSE has some free space for gold vendors to set up shop as well, they just need to push some of the frontrunning/collocation boxes off to the side. And in other rhetorical ruminations, is it safe to say that the last days of the fiat experiment are among us now that people themselves are bypassing the government and enforcing their own gold standard?
Game Over For Moody's On Einhorn Kiss Of Death? Stock Plunges After Greenlight Strategic Short RevealedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/26/2010 18:15 -0400
Update: the Einhorn-Ackman dynamic duo does the groupthink tango, as Ackman joins Einhorn in bashing rating agencies. Tomorrow's MCO open will be a bloodbath
It's official: Moody's is the next Lehman. The ratings agency just received the kiss of death after David Einhorn announced he is short the name at the Ira Sohn conference (we are not sure how this is news...Einhorn has repeatedly noted his hatred of the rating agency). With numerous other adverse catalysts, such as the pending Wells Notice, as well as the fact that its business model is conflicted is obsolete, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. And since we are confident that uber honest capitalist Waren Buffett is by now completely out of the name, replaced presumably with the same idiot middle east sovereign wealth money that just gulped up the Treasury's Citi stake, there won't be too many tears wept at its funeral. RIP Moody's.
Lehman Sues JPMorgan, Claims Dimon Forced Firm Into Bankruptcy; Opens Avenue For AIG Lawsuit Against GoldmanSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/26/2010 17:32 -0400
In October of last year we wrote an extended piece discussing the conflict between the bankrupt Lehman Brothers estate (i.e., its unsecured creditors) and Barclays, in which JPMorgan played a prominent part, as it was the critical tri-party repo clearing bank on all of Lehman's collateral that would subsequently go to Barclays. As we summarized, extortion attempts back then by Barclays only had the adverse effect of making Jamie Dimon very, very angry: "Barclays' attempt to nickel and dime JPM (and the US taxpayers) so infuriated Jamie Dimon that he penned an angry letter to John Varley,
Barclays Group CEO (which CC:ed Barclays' president Bob Diamond),
threatening with litigation in case Barclays is intent on sticking JPM
with Lehman collateral that it thought was without value and not worth
assuming in a time when every single day stock prices were crashing
further lower." As we expected in October, the resolution would most likely involve litigation, as by dint of its collateral clearing position, JPM had unprecedented knowledge about Lehman's affairs: a special status that would likely be abused in a court of law. Sure enough, here is the lawsuit: the estate of Lehman Brothers, desperate to pick another several bps in recovery on their Lehman General Unsecured Claims, has sued JPMorgan, claiming Jamie Dimon's bank pushed Lehman into bankruptcy by forcing it to turn over $8.6 billion in collateral. As Lehman was completely insolvent long before JPM demanded any incremental collateral comfort, claiming that JPM was the catalyst for Lehman's bankruptcy is absolutely the same as saying that Goldman forced AIG's bankruptcy by increasing its collateral demands. While both arguments are ludicrous, should the JPM case proceed to court, it is tantamount that AIG immediately seek legal action against Goldman Sachs on identical grounds.
One of the central tenants of Farcism as a doctrine is the promotion and use of layers of opacity and complexity to empower regulators via their ability to mitigate red tape and compliance costs and to conceal this power under a cloak of (for example) promoting the "American Dream of Home Ownership." It will be seen that Farcism has imbued the halls of regulatory power, particularly in financial services, for decades. Zero Hedge readers are invited to opine on the impact this realization has on prospects for a financial reform bill that puts more power in the hands of these parties.
In this connection, back in November of last year we explored the nuances of the "foreign regulatory capital" credit default swap portfolio of the besieged Financial Products group at AIG. We pointed out that $172 billion in notional exposure (well, it seemed like a big number for a potential loss before Fannie Mae actually lost $145 billion in eleven consecutive quarterly losses, wiping out its combined profits for the prior 35 years and still leaving about $80 billion in red ink to spare) remained outstanding, that deteriorating credit markets may force AIG to recognize additional losses on the portfolio, but that AIG expected the swaps mostly to be terminated by the first quarter of 2010 (please please please please?). We also noted that the implicit backing of the Federal Reserve might be one of the key (only?) elements permitting these swaps to perform their desired function: permitting European banks to reduce their regulatory capital requirements (read: boost their leverage).