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Guest Post: Central Banks – Words and Deeds

On occasion of an address to economists at a conference in France, Bundesbank  president Jens Weidmann reminded the audience that 'the ECB cannot solve the crisis', because it is due to structural reasons and therefore requires structural reform. Weidmann rightly fears that governments will begin to postpone or even stop  their reform efforts now that the ECB has managed to calm markets down. In a Reuters article on the topic, a number of people are quoted remarking on ECB policy. What is so interesting about this is how far removed from reality general perceptions are when it comes to judging current central bank policies. In short, Weidmann wants to end the three card Monte, whereby commercial banks buy the bonds issued by governments because they don't have to put any capital aside for the purpose, which bonds they then can in turn pawn off to the central bank for refinancing purposes. Weidmann wants to see the connection between banks and sovereigns severed, a connection that has been fostered by governments over many centuries in order to enable them to spend more than they take in through tax revenues.

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Europe's Cleanest Dirty Shirt Sees Exports Collapse & Production Plunge

Just when the jawboning from Europe is reaching its climax that Portugal is fixed again, Greece is fixed, and the core is showing green shoots from the near-depression, Germany (the corest of the core) comes out with its worst exports data since 2009. While imports remained stable - suggesting domestic demand is sustained for now - YoY export growth collapsed 3.2%, the worst tumble since November 2009 "illustrating that Germany's economy still has difficulties shifting into higher gear." The details are a horror-story. Exports to the euro-zone, where 40% of Germany's exports are sent, fell by a stunning 9.6% (while exports to the rest of the world dropped 1.6%). To add to the misery for the 'things are getting better' crowd, Germany's industrial production data missed expectations are dropped back into the negative YoY following the 'hope' inspiring positive YoY print in April that signaled all-is-well. Of course, none of that matters, the DAX is up a stunning 2.4% today on the back of this dismal-is-great data. So much for those green shoots...

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Q2 2013 Earnings Week 1 Cheatsheet

Despite terrible negative-to-positive pre-announcements, global earnings revisions fading fast, and plunging analyst' earnings downgrades, according to Bloomberg data, S&P 500 Earnings are expected to grow over 8% in Q2 2013 as we head into this season with top-line revenues growing almost 5% (with Consumer Discretionary expected to deliver around 10% growth). With Alcoa kicking us off this evening and likely being extrapolated for at least one trading day (although it is the lowest market cap name in the Dow by far), we note the top-down and bottom-up fundamental trends that 'support' this market. With only 20 names reporting this week, it is relatively quiet, though Friday may have some fireworks when JPM and WFC report their realized losses and loan-loss-reserve-subsidized gains.

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RANsquawk - Week Ahead - 8th July 2013

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Despite Dismal Data, Deutschland Dax Does Best In 10 Weeks

The EUR is fading fast (-0.3% on the day) as Draghi re-iterated his commitment to lower, longer, forever, he promises... Germany's DAX was the best performer across the region today as there was a sea of green in European stocks. Even with a late-day drop, the DAX gained 2.3% - its best run in 10 weeks - as Bunds underperformed Treasuries by over 5bps on the day even as exports and production data collapsed. Spanish and Italian stocks rallied but bond yields rose (and Spanish bond spreads rose around 5bps). Portuguese bonds improved around 18bps - marginally positive compared to the collapse in the last week or two - as it seems the market is not convinced that all is fixed again.

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And Scene: Paulson Gold Fund Down 65% In 2013

With spot gold prices down 28% year-to-date, it appears John Paulson's Gold Fund has managed to create some epic high-beta losses. In a letter to investors, Paulson explains his fund fell 23% in June, is down 65% in 2013; but do not fear - as he concludes time and time again, the gold fund will "produce outsized returns in the long-run".

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Chart Of The Day: Taper Fears Lead To Biggest Monthly Loss In Bank Securities Portfolios Since Lehman

Wondering how the blow out in interest rates is impacting commercial banks, which just happen to have substantial duration exposure in the form of various Treasury and MBS securities, not to mention loans, structured products and of course, trillions in IR swap, derivatives and futures? Wonder no more: the Fed's weekly H.8 statement, and specifically the "Net unrealized gains (losses) on available-for-sale securities" of commercial banks in the US gives a glimpse into the pounding that banks are currently experiencing. In short: a bloodbath.

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About That Supposed Correlation Of The U.S. Dollar And Gold...

One of the most widely accepted truisms in what passes for our financial media is that the dollar and gold are correlated: when the dollar weakens, gold rises, and when gold rises, the dollar declines... except this vaunted correlation isn't remotely visible in the charts. There is no correlation between gold and the U.S. dollar index. Not even close. The two move independently; any apparent correlation is semi-random signal noise. They are not on a simplistic see-saw, but instead their co-movements reflect the complex dynamics at work in pricing gold and the U.S. dollar independently.

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John Kerry's Wife Hospitalized Due To Seizure Signs

There was some confusion yesterday when news hit that the SecState's wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, was hospitalized. This came shortly after yet another fiasco involving Kerry who was caught in a rejection, then admission snafu, that while Egypt was burning he was on his yacht not one but two days in a row. We now get some clarity as to the affliction affecting the billionaire heiress:


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When In Soviet USSA Government Does Not Bail You Out, You Sue

It seems that US investors has become so institutionalized in the new normal world of government bailouts and handouts that when the central planners make a decision that is not instantly accretive to the equity shareholders' bottom-line, the first instinct is to sue them. Following the conservatorship that was forced upon FNM/FRE in 2008, which required the companies to pay a quarterly dividend of 10% on the government's near-80% stake (and obviously implicitly benefited the tag-along bailout riders), the decision in 2012 to change the bailout terms to instead hand over most of their profits to the government (since they moved into profitability - thanks to a Fed-sponsored MBS market). This action "impaired shareholder value" according to Perry Capital - who, Reuters reports, is suing the government, noting "investors had every right to expect these rules to be followed." Indeed, just as the 'rules' have been followed in every bailout that has occurred since 2007.

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After June Rout Average Hedgie Returning +2.5% In 2013, Underperforming S&P By 80%

For hedge funds, June was the cruelest month. 

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Overnight In Egypt, Or Preparing For The Counter Coup

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Key Macro Events In The Coming Week

Not much in terms of economic data but lots of corporate news with the official Q2 earnings season kick off, as well as a plethora of Fed speakers which in a centrally-planned world, is all that matters.

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Frontrunning: July 8

  • Greece's Economic Future 'Uncertain,' Creditors Say (WSJ)
  • Secret Court's Redefinition of 'Relevant' Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering (WSJ)
  • Thomson Reuters Halts Early Peeks At Consumer Data (WSJ)
  • Larry Summers Circles as Fed Opening Looms (WSJ)
  • S&P to Argue Puffery Defense in First Courtroom Test (BBG)
  • Geithner joins top table of public speakers with lucrative appearances (FT)
  • Losing $317 Billion Makes U.S. Debt Safer for Mizuho to HSBC (BBG)
  • Pilot Error Eyed in San Francisco Plane Crash  (WSJ)
  • Investment group sues U.S. over Fannie, Freddie bailout terms (Reuters)
  • Egypt officials 'order closure of Islamist party HQ' (AFP)
  • Heinz Kerry Transferred to Boston Hospital for Treatment (BBG) - a boating accident?
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Earnings Seasons Kicks Off With Another US Futures Ramp

The central bank "reason" goal-seeked for today's US overnight ramp - because it sure wasn't fundamentals with both German exports (-2.4%, Exp. +0.1%) and Industrial Production (-1.0%, Exp. -0.5%) missing - was the weekend Spiegel story that despite the unanimous decision by the ECB last week to keep rates unchanged, ECB chief economist Peter Praet and Mario Draghi himself had insisted on a 25 bps rate cut. They were, however, stopped by seven council members from the northern euro states, including Weidmann, Knot and Asmussen. As a result, Draghi was steamrolled in the final vote. Yet somehow this is bullish for risk, pushing equity futures higher and peripheral debt spreads lower, even as the EURUSD has drifted higher. Of course, one can't have an even more dovish ECB as a risk on catalyst alongside a rising Euro, but who cares about news, fundamentals, or logic at this point. All that matters is that US futures are higher, which was especially needed following yet another rout in the Shanghai Composite which dropped 2.44% back under 2,000 following news that China's Finance Ministry has told central government agencies to cut expenditures by 5% this year, and a 1.4% drop in the PenNikkeiStock225 on a weaker USDJPY. Remember: all is well in the global economy (whose forecast is about to be cut by the IMF) if the US is generating a record number of part-time jobs.

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