The end game of three decades of excess is upon us, and we can't deny the weight of the debt imbalances that are currently in play. The medicine that the current administration is prescribing is a treatment for the common cold; in this case a normal business cycle recession. The problem is that the patient is suffering from a "debt cancer," and until the proper treatment is prescribed and implemented; the patient will most likely continue to suffer.
Isn't it odd that when 'officials' are no longer part of the status-quo-sustainers, how the truthiness flows... As former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh explained this morning, "on the fairness point - if you have access to credit, if you've got a big balance sheet, the Fed has made you richer," concluding rather too honestly for some people's liking, "I would say [Fed policy] has been in some sense Reverse Robin Hood." The bottom line, he chides, "this is a way to make the well to do more well to do because that's all the Federal Reserve can do."
The typically more dovish Jim Bullard unleashed a torrent of "markets are wrong" this morning and along with dismal macro data sent stock reeling out of the gate - catching down to Treasury yields divergence since the Fed last week. Stocks stabilized as the hevay volume dump dried up and staggered sideways after POMO and Europe's close. Then USA went 1-0 down against Germany and VIX was dumped and stocks pumped and then double-pumped again to almost back to unchanged in the last hour. During all this excitment, bond yields slid lower (to 3-week lows); gold and silver pushed higher (though gold ended modestly lower on the day after China gold loans news); and credit entirely ignored the exuberant bounce...VIX closed unch along with stocks as indices were rescued from a notable red day via an epic AUDJPY lift and VIX slam on negligible volume.
Not like there is much to discuss but President Obama is hosting a Town Hall meeting in Minneapolis where "the people" will be allowed to ask questions of his 'little-less-than-omnipotent' self. As he said in his introduction...he's feeling loose and will "make it up as he goes along."
This morning’s Q1 GDP revision might have been a wake-up call. After all, clocking in a -2.9% - cold winter or no - it was the worst number posted since the dark days of Q1 2009. Well, actually, it was the fourth worst quarterly GDP shrinkage since Ronald Reagan declared it was morning again in American 30 years ago. Stated differently, 116 of the 120 quarterly GDP prints since that time have been better. Even when you adjust for the Q1 inventory “payback” for the bloated GDP figures late last year, real GDP still contracted at a -1.2% annually rate. Still, within minutes of the 8:30AM release, the Wall Street Journal’s news update did not fail to trot out the “do not be troubled” mantra. When the daily narrative is this lame it is no wonder that our happy talk financial system drifts toward the wall. The Cool-Aid drinkers have simply lost touch with reality.
As the probe into alleged fraud at Qingdao continues to escalate (with liquidity needs growing more and more evident as Chinese money-market rates surge), Bloomberg reports that China’s chief auditor discovered 94.4 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) of loans backed by falsified gold transactions, in "the first official confirmation of what many people have suspected for a long time - that gold is widely used in Chinese commodity financing deals." As much as 1,000 tons of gold may have been used in lending and leasing deals in China and Goldman reports that up to $80 billion false-loans may involve gold. As one analyst noted, this was unlikely to have a significant impact on the underlying demand for gold in China and as we have pointed out before, any unwind of the Gold CFDs would lead to buying back of 'paper' gold hedges and implicitly a rise in prices.
All sorts of promises, explicit and implicit, were issued to win votes. All the promises are now empty, and we might as deal with this reality head-on... if we can muster up the almost-lost ability to deal with reality rather than rely on fantasy/wishful thinking.
Now that any credibility Barclays, pardon Darklays, may have had in the capital markets has drowned at the bottom of its (soon to be shuttered) dark pool, it is time to start making fun of the bank. To do that we bring our readers the British bank's "Ongoing Commitment to Transparency", and specifiically the "Equities Electronic Order Handling." Curiously, nowhere in said book does it say that the bank will route the vast majority of its trades to the most lucrative predatory HFT algos lurking deep in the bowels of LX, which incidentally is co-located in the Savvis NJ2 Data Center in Weehawken, New Jersey, may it rest in piece now that nobody on the buyside will ever use it again. What it does report are the following creative lies, which we reveal to the general public because after all remember: the biggest defense the HFT lobby makes is that "whatever HFT does it never hurt retail investors." We will let retail investors decide for themselves.
Having had his omnipotence slightly reduced by SCOTUS and Verizon losing out over NSA spying concerns, we can only imagine President Obama's dismay while watching (aboard AF1) the Europeans trump the Americans once again...
It seems that the American investing public needed a desparate morale boost after USA went 1-0 down against Germany in the FIFA World Cup... coincidence or "hand of god"?
"Today's SCOTUS decision is encouraging for all who believe in the checks and balances enshrined in our nation's constitution," is Darrell Issa's message following the Supreme Court's unanimous (9-0) decision cutting back the power of the White House to temporarily fill senior government posts when facing partisan opposition in Congress. The White House spokesman said President Obama was "deeply disappointed" and is 'reviewing' the decision. Simply put, President Obama used the recess appointment power to make an end run around a Senate that refused to confirm controversial nominees - thanks to this unanimous SCOTUS decision, that use of the power is all but dead.
Perhaps the reason why the just concluded 7 Year auction priced quite sloppy, if not outright ugly, is because it came at a time when virtually nobody was paying attention, or otherwise bidding. Moments ago the Treasury sold $29 billion in 7 Year paper, which priced at 2.152, a notable 1.2 bps tail to the 2.140% When Issued, indicating not all was well with the internals. Sure enough, the Bid to Cover of 2.435 was well below the TTM average of 2.56, and was the lowest since November. Direct Bidders were not too excited with the paper, and as a result took down only 16.66% of the final allottment, the lowest also since November. And with Indirect taking down a tame 40.62%, this mean Dealers were forced to step up and buy 42.72% of the issue - the highest Dealer allocation since, you guessed it, November. Perhaps the only thing the auction had going is that at 2.15%, the closing yield remains decidedly low (having peaked recently at 2.32 in April), if rising modestly from the 2.01% in May which happened to be the lowest since October.
More Hollande 'broken promises' as French joblessness reaches a new record high. Aside from the idiotic month when officials forgot to send text messages, this is the 36th month in a row of worsening employment in France. That must explain why, along with a collapsing PMI, French bond risk remains near record lows...
It was about two months ago when in a shocking development in the otherwise sleepy tax-evasion haven of Lichtenstein, the CEO of local Bank Frick, was murdered in the underground garage of the bank by a disgruntled former client. As readers may recall, the tragic event happened at a time when there was a spike in banker suicides, prompting us to wonder if "with the first open bank CEO murder, one wonders if there will be a change in the pattern." Two months later it appears as if the vector of death is indeed changing when, as Reuters reported, overnight the head of the fourth largest bank in Albania, Credins, was murdered, shot at least five times, as he entered his office in the capital Tirana.