"Our government tells us that this will be a better year. No one really believes them. But all we can do is be optimistic. Too many people are committing suicide."
Klarman Clarity: "If The Government [Still] Can't Allow Failure Then We Are Indeed Close To Collapse"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/11/2013 10:06 -0400
If the economy is so fragile that the government cannot allow failure, then we are indeed close to collapse. For if you must rescue everything, then ultimately you will be able to rescue nothing.
- Seth Klarman, Baupost
It seems the early exuberance that Bernanke's utterings caused in world markets was faded non-stop in Europe. European bonds and stocks saw their best levels of the day at the open and never saw them again. Greece and Portugal underperformed their peers; Italian stocks actually closed lower on the day and while bonds did stage a comeback into the close, they all closed the day wider from yesterday. EURUSD was the big story - its biggest shift since January 2011 (with a 450 pip swing) - but as the day wore on the USD clambered back some strength (even as US equities ignored its retracement).
Let’s face it, the Las Vegas real estate market has gone full Chinese. By full Chinese, we mean a centrally planned bubble has been created that is just asking to blow up. We’ve covered the renewed insanity of the Las Vegas market before, but this article from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal provides even more detail. In a nutshell, as a result of Assembly Bill 284, which essentially made foreclosures impossible in Nevada, extremely delinquent homes are not coming for sale, and this phony market signal is leading to rampant overbuilding and price speculation. Bubbles and bullshit. It’s the American way.
Another day, another 3-sigma swing in one of the biggest and most important FX carry-trades. AUDJPY is collapsing this morning as the smell of leveraged trades being tapped on the shoulder is all too fresh. Critically, carry trades are predicated on leveraging low returns in a low-volatility world; the shocks from a few weeks ago saw carry unwinds en masse - but all it took was a handful of Fed officials and Draghi/Carney's chatter and they are backing up the truck of the carry-express once again - that is until yesterday when the Minutes and Bernanke stepped up the currency wars once again. This kind of incredible volatility - unless everyone in the world is now a non-MtM trader - means fewer carry trades (or perhaps just a shift to another leveragable position).
There will be an increasing cry of 'not fair' from the Perry Capital's of the world as Jeb Hensarling unveils a dramatic plan to overhaul the GSEs (and broad housing finance in general). The chairman of the House financial services committee wants Fannie and Freddie to be wound-down within 5 years - removing the explicit government guarantees and demanding that:
- *HENSARLING SAYS HE WANTS HOUSING POLICY FOCUSED ON TAXPAYER
- *HENSARLING: U.S. HOUSING FINANCE CAN'T BE DESIGNED FOR INDUSTRY
Higher down-payments for FHA loans, limited to first-time-homebuyers only, and reducing the conforming loan-limits are all likely to drive the hedge funds to more litigation and complaint that this will end the housing recovery and their dividend stream. Hensarling wants to create a securitization platform 'utility-like' entity with the government serving only as a catastrophic reinsurer.
A harbinger of what will happen to the Chairsatan perhaps? Or is this just a logical response of what the "other half" of the Fed, those who demanded an end to QE by the end of 2013, think about Bernanke's latest public statement. If Dick Fisher quits next, watch out.
When we tapered our coverage of HFT manipulation and stock market abuse some time ago, we thought that the message had been heard loud and clear: high frequency trading is a sophisticated market manipulating parasite, whose only real function is to abuse market structure and integrity, by making conventional market manipulation practices more difficult to spot and identify. It turns out some, i.e., Newedge, thought they could still get away with traditional manipulative practices such as spoofing, layering, momentum ignition, wash trading, bypassing, and others, if only they were wrapped in an HFT blanket. It did so for four years from 2008 until 2011. As it turns out it was wrong, and in a stunning example of actually doing its job, FINRA fined Newedge, which is one of the largest futures brokers in the world and ranks third in terms of U.S. customer assets on deposit, a record $9.5 million.
Before the US equity (cash) markets open this morning, we thought it might be useful to survey the reaction of the world's markets to Bernanke's words last night. It seems, for now, that FX markets have given back the biggest portion of the shift with the USD having retraced around half of its losses post-Bernanke. Gold, Stocks, and Bonds are all flatlined from the knee-jerk higher and overnight volumes have been very thin as European bonds and peripheral stock markets did not enjoy the same level of exuberance (and Japanese stocks are well off overnight highs).
Behold what happens when Hedge Fund viagra "expert networks" and "information arbitrage" is taken away, and everyone trades on the same information.
Now that Bernanke has thrown in the towel and reverted back to the old bad news is good news regime (or did he - GETCO's vacuum tubes at least sure seem to think so), there was hardly anything more the market could ask for than a horrible Initial Claims print. It got just that with today's initial unemployment claims which soared from last week's upward revised 344K (only +1k revision this time) to 360K, well above the consensus (and Joe LaVorgna) forecast of 340K. Sure enough, the BLS said the July claims were difficult to seasonally adjust, so let's look at the NSA claims which jumped by 49,778 in the week ended July 6 to 384,829 making one wonder if the BLS' instruction in the holiday shortened week was to actually represent a worse economic reality unlike during the Obama pre-reelection months. The only other notable item in the report was the ongoing drop in Extended claims, with EUCs down by 23K to just 1.6 million, 1 million less than a year ago as claims exhaustion means ever more people drop out of the official labor pool. Permanently.
It wouldn't be the new normal if the collapse in Q2 US GDP to sub-1% wasn't met by a new record high in the Dow Jones. And it certainly wouldn't be the new abnormal if a day of resplendent green in European bourses didn't have some "matching" economic news out of that perpetual reminder that Keynesianism in the end always fails: Greece. Luckily, validating that all is unwell and stocks can proceed to soar to record highs unbothered, on one hand the Greek Statistics Office reported that Greek unemployment in April just rose to a new all time high of 26.9%, up from 26.8% in March, and up from 23.1% a year ago, while Kathimerini reports that Non-performing loans: those perpetual thorns of insolvency in bank balance sheets, just surged to €66 billion, amounting to a whopping 29% at the end of March from a "manageable" 24.2% at end-December. That's a ridiculous 20% increase in total NPLs in three months that was only exposed due to the Troika's stress testing! Just how atrocious is the reality on European bank books anyway?
Despite being told last week of the successful solution that the politicians of Portugal had procured - and thusly seeing Portuguese bonds and stocks surge in a renewed bluster of hope and faith that all is well again; it seems that, shocker, nothing is fixed. As Reuters reports, Portugal's political crisis re-deepened today after the President rejected a plan to heal a government rift and critics accused him of igniting a "time-bomb' by calling for early elections. Anibal Cavaco Silva rejected a cabinet re-shuffle, and proposed a coalition to guarantee support for the Troika-imposed austerity measures (which theoretically means Portugal will exit its bailout next year) to be followed by elections - implicitly showing little faith that any party can rule effectively through the middle of next year. "The announcement... comes as a surprise, ... adding anothe problem to the one that already existed," noted one analyst.
In a surreal and deja vu-ish turn of events, three days ago we reported that in parallel with the ongoing collapse in CNBC viewership, the ratings of some of its shows namely Jim Cramer's Mad Money and Larry Kudlow's Report had just hit all time lows. This was met with an immediate response by Larry Kudlow himself who, alongside Groundhog Phil-fodder Joe LaVorgna, decided to take Zero Hedge to task for reporting that part-time jobs are not really full-time jobs and invited us over to their show to explain how dare we point out the weakness in the manipulated BLS datadump. We were kind enough to remind Mr. Kudlow that the last time someone from CNBC "invited" us over, i.e., Dennis "Digital Dickweed" Kneale, their show was promptly cancelled. To wit: "While we appreciate the offer, the last thing we intend to do is suffer Mr. Kudlow the same fate as that experienced by his predecessor Dennis Kneale who also invited Zero Hedge on his laughable excuse for a show in 2009, only to be sacked a few months later." Make it two for two as irony strikes again. The NY Post reports that Kudlow's show is over.