The grotesque days of the first housing bubble are now being flatly trounced by the surreal second coming of the housing bubble, where courtesy of RealtyTrac we find that the old gross maximum profit potential of 63% realized in Orlando, FL house flipping, has two short months been eclipsed by flipping a house in Daytona Beach, generating a mindblowing 82% "flip that house" return! In brief: in the first half of 2013 there were 136,184 single family home flips — where a home is purchased and subsequently sold again within six months — in the first half of 2013, up 19 percent from a year ago and up 74 percent from the first half of 2011. Real estate investors made an average gross profit of $18,391 on single family home flips in the first half of the year, a 9 percent gross return on the initial purchase price. That was up 246 percent from an average gross return of $5,321 in the first half of 2012 and an average loss of -$13,206 in the first half of 2011.
It's a strange and terrible tragedy when a culture forgets its own history and identity. It is even more tragic when that culture becomes deluded enough to think it can replace its heritage from scratch; that it can conjure political and social reformations out of thin air, and abandon the centuries upon centuries of accomplishment and failures of generations past. To think that one can live without the lessons and principles of one's ancestors is a disease – a mental disorder of the highest caliber. It is an insanity that leads to terrifying catastrophe. Loyalty is not and never has been unconditional - loyalty to government most of all. Loyalty to the system is dependent upon the nature of the system and the people who sit at its apex. For those within government today, this could mean a legacy of desperation and sadness, or a legacy of strength, truth, and enduring peace. Time is running out.
And in the category of most made up charges by the SEC against a hedge fund billionaire we have:
SEC SUES STEVE COHEN FOR FAILING TO PREVENT INSIDER TRADING
SEC SUES SAC’S STEVEN COHEN WITH FAILING TO SUPERVISE MANAGERS
SEC CHARGES STEVEN COHEN WITH FAILING TO SUPERVISE PORTFOLIO
SEC SEEKS TO BAR COHEN FROM OVERSEEING INVESTOR FUNDS
ALLEGES COHEN RECEIVED INFO THAT SHOULD HAVE LED TO PROBE
All of the above was known to our readers since December 2010. Thus Steve Cohen's forced conversion to a "friends and family" office is now complete. And since hedge funds make money not on portfolio upside (and certainly not downside) but on the management fees, the chapter of Blue Eyes' information arbitrage glory days are now over.
While Ben Bernanke remains unable to value the precious metal, it seems the Arabs are very capable of discerning at least one relative value. In a fascinating effort to reign in Dubai's growing obesity epidemic, the government is willing to pay its citizens (in gold) for losing weight. For each kilo of excess that is lost, the government will pay 1 gram of gold (around $42). There is no discernment - apparently - in the "Your Weight In Gold" initiative that the weight loss be 'fat' which make us wonder how many would 'give their right arm' for a few ounces of gold?
"For years, the City has spent more than it takes in and has borrowed and deferred paying certain obligations to make ends meet. The City is insolvent" - Kevin Orr
As part of the Appendixed disclosures in the aftermath of JPM's London Whale fiasco, we learned the source of funding that Bruno Iksil and company at the firm's Chief Investment Office used to rig and corner the IG and HY market, making billions in profits in what, on paper, were supposed to be safe, hedging investments until it all went to hell and resulted in the most humiliating episode of Jamie Dimon's career and huge losses: it was excess customer customer deposits arising from a $400+ billion gap between loans and deposits. After JPM's fiasco went public, the firm hunkered down and promptly unwound (or is still in the process of doing so) its existing CIO positions at a huge loss. However, that meant that suddenly the firm found itself with nearly $400 billion billion in inert, nonmargined cash: something that was unacceptable to the CEO and the firm's shareholders. In other words, it was time to get to work, Mr. Dimon, and put that cash to good, or bad as the case almost always is, use. So what has JPM allocated all those billions in excess deposits over loans? Courtesy of Fortune magazine we now know the answer - CLOs.
As the nations of Europe argue over and over that France is not Greece, Portugal is not Ireland, and reality is not fantasy, Bloomberg has in fact quantified just where each of these troubled nations stands for the next five years. The bad news for the Spanish - facing demands for Rajoy's resignation over the graft - is that they have the worst five-year outlook of all European nations. Worse than Portugal, notably worse than Greece, and dismally worse than Bulgaria. On the bright side, Norway - with the best outlook by far over the next five years - looks attractive (or closer still Luxembourg.)
For the first time since QE2 was announced (August 2010), the price of WTI Crude oil is now more expensive that Brent crude. The Brent-WTI spread has collapsed from over $23 in Feb 2013 and is now negative and notably below the long-run average level of around $0.98. At $109, WTI is the highest since March 2012. Gas prices - at the pump - continue to rise significantly reaching the highest since March, but given the lag to production, are set to reach well over $4.00 per gallon on average.
Oil and gas exploration is getting bigger, deeper, faster and more efficient, with new technology chipping away at “peak oil” concerns. While hydraulic fracturing has been the most visible revolutionary advancement, other high-tech developments are keeping the ball rolling - from the next generation of ultra-deepwater drillships, subsea oil and gas infrastructure and multi-well-pad drilling to M2M networking, floating LNG facilities, new dimensions in seismic imagery and supercomputing for analog exploration.
The broad Bloomberg 500 European index is up for the 4th week in a row (+6.9% over that time) showing a strikingly similar move to the pre-May collapse run. European stocks remain well off their YTD highs (unlike the US exuberance though) and there is an increasing dispersion across various countries (and asset classes). It appears that the rising tide of global liquidity is not floating all boats the same anymore. Italian and Portuguese stocks had their best week in almost 3 months at +4.3% (and Greece best in 2 months) but Italy's bonds only managed a meager 5bps compression in spreads. Spanish stocks gained only 1% on the week, much more in line with its 6bps spread compression. Portuguese bond spreads collapsed 64bps on the week - the best week in over 4 months as it's all fixed again eh? Europe's VIX is back below 17.5% and has seen its biggest 2-week drop in almost five months.
Last year, Senator Schumer (Democrat, N.Y.) famously told Fed chairman Ben Bernanke "You are the only game in town." Really, Senator? What about the real economy? Bernanke and the Fed's machinations are indeed the only game in town for the parasitic financiers, but unnoticed by the Senator, America's real economy is innovating away from the dead hand of the Fed and its toxic spew of free money to the predatory class. There's actually three games in town: the financier game the Fed is playing that will end in collapse, the Federal government's borrow-and-blow trillions of dollars game that will also end badly, and the real economy, where millions of people don't give a rat's rear-end about Bernanke's latest attempt to placate the financial Monster Id he has created.
Markit has released its global business confidence survey, and it makes for sobering reading. Due to sharp declines in business confidence in both the US and China, a new post crisis low has been reached in June. Only the UK was a notable exception, as business confidence there jumped. We would submit that this is no coincidence, as the pace of money supply growth is increasing sharply in the UK, while it it slowing down in both the US and China. The culprit for the slowdown in money supply growth in the US is lending by commercial banks, which is decelerating sharply even as monetary pumping by the central bank continues at full blast.
UPDATE: Well that didn't last long - maybe just "Oops" would have been more appropriate
Michigan Governor and Detroit's emergency manager take the stage to explain it all...
Microsoft's collapse last night is extending this morning as the stock holds at its 100DMA, down 10% from yesterday's close. The drop is knocking 24 points off the Dow and along with GOOG's damage is weighing heavily on the Tech sector overall (which was more evident in last night's Nikkei dump than in the US for now). The drop for Balmer's baby means a $30 billion loss of market cap - or one Schwab or Aflac or Freeport-McMoRan (or 2 Mattels).