Bank of America
The following is Part I to David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” This is the second installment to a new seven-part series that we will be posting throughout the next few weeks. You can read the introduction to the book here. To be notified via email of new postings from this series, subscribe here.
Yesterday, Reuters ran an article "Traders Manipulating Cheap Stocks" in which it cites Jamil Nazarali, Knight's global head of electronic trading, who basically confirms what we have been saying for as long as we can remember, namely that: "Some traders are manipulating U.S. stocks that are worth less than $1 by taking both sides of trades in order to earn big rebates. It happens for hundreds of millions of shares per day." In other words, HFT algos that do nothing but churn and collect "maker-taker" liquidity rebates, are forcing fake prices in, yes, thousands of names. And what that the self-cannibalization fight between the eletronic traders and the HFT rebate seekers just got very real. But what is much more relevant, as Themis Trading points out in their response to the article, is that this is also true for all of the most liquid names, which as the latest Abel/Noser analysis demonstrates, includes such names as SPY, Apple, Intel and Bank of America. In other words, the market structure established by the exchanges to compete with alternative ECNs has now destroyed the very act of price discovery.
Here They Come: Thousands Of JPMorgan Home Foreclosures In Doubt After (Perjurious) Firm Exec Confirms Loan Docs Were Not VerifiedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/26/2010 23:42 -0500
First one, now all. Just as we predicted - fan: meet feces.
Why Massive Offshore Cash Parking Means Companies Have Access To Only A Fraction Of The Record Cash StashSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/23/2010 12:44 -0500
Yesterday's Microsoft issuance of $4.75 billion in new debt, of which the 3 Year maturity portion priced at the lowest yield ever for a corporate bond of 0.875%, came at the pristine, and much discredited AAA rating. Yet what this little experiment revealed, in addition to confirming that the corporate bond bubble has never been greater, is that the cash on the sidelines argument used by every single permabull on CNBC is sorely lacking in some factual details. Namely, that a dollar at home is worth more than a dollar abroad, as BofA's Hans Mikkelsen puts it succinctly. Let's back up for a second: the primary reason why investors are funneling their capital in droves in tech and other companies that have key foreign operations is precisely due to the fact that while their domestic subsidiaries may be expiring, it is the foreign subs that are generating the bulk of the revenue, profit and thus, cash. Yet what very few have considered, is that repatriating his cash to the good old USA would cost companies hundreds of billions in US corporate taxes. That's right: even though companies are taxed abroad, the issue of double taxation is resolved by subtracting foreign taxes paid from the US tax liability. However, because foreign corporate taxes are typically lower there is an adverse tax consequence associated with remittance to the parent company. In other words, of the $1.2 or however many trillions in total corporate cash on balance sheets, a good 30% chunk of this belongs to Uncle Sam if these companies wish to use it for domestic IRR purposes. And yes, just so there is no confusion: using foreign cash to pay dividends or share repurchases is considered repatriation from the perspective of US tax regulations. Enter Microsoft: most of its cash resides abroad and is essentially useless for dividend purposes, unless the company wishes to see its net cash position cut substantially upon repatriation. Yet with everyone now clamoring for increased dividends and stock buybacks, the company is forced to access domestic capital markets and use that money for shareholder friendly activities. This is a capital mismatch fiasco just waiting to happen. The only possible winner out of this - Uncle Sam, who may soon order foreign cash to be repatriated over corporate pleas otherwise.
The erosion of the profitability of the U.S. banking industry over the past two years under the glorious Summers-Geithner-Bernanke rescue scheme is the proverbial fly in the ointment for both major political parties. Democrats and republicans alike are going to be fed into the meat grinder over the next several years as the banking sector deals with literally hundreds of billions of dollars in direct and indirect expenses from the deflation of the mortgage bubble. For the economy, this slow process of muddle along championed by Summers and Geithner will ensure that Barack Obama becomes the Herbert Hoover of the Democratic Party. The economic carnage that will causes these losses, as we described in a recent post in Reuters, "Double Dip or Global Deflation?," is going to represent the worst economic contraction since WWI. Forget WWII. Think "shrinkage" to use the Gilded Age description for economic deflation. - Chris Whalen
Bank Of America Cutting 5% Of Capital Markets' Personnel, Firing 400 Employees Globally, Many More To Come...Er... GoSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/20/2010 17:18 -0500
The much anticipated "low volume market" casualties are accumulating. As we noted first a few weeks ago, and subsequently picked up by other MSM publications, it was only a matter of time before Wall Street, which earlier in 2010 decided to foolishly lever up on the economic "reflation" myth and hire tons of people, is once again preparing to fire in droves, a phenomenon which traditionally is the best indicator a given economic cycle's peak has come and gone. Bloomberg has just disclosed that Bank of America is following similar actions from RBS disclosed earlier, and is firing as many as 400 employees in global banking and markets division. Charlie Gasparino, who first broke the news, also added the twist that the departures are taking place now "so as to deprive the unlucky employees year-end bonuses." Gotta love Wall Street's code of ethics. At least in the past layoffs would wait until after year end. No such luck anymore, now that most other banks are also likely considering comparable steps, and news of terminations start flooding in.
Daily Highlights: 9.14.2010 - Kan Wins Party Vote, Yen Surges To Fresh Highs On No Intervention ThreatSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/14/2010 06:50 -0500
- Japanese PM wins party vote; will stay in power.
- Asian commodity stocks rise on growth hopes; Japanese shares fall on Yen.
- China's currency advances to a fresh high against the U.S. dollar; CB sets the yuan-dollar parity rate at 6.7378.
- China plans to introduce credit-default swaps by year-end, Official says.
- Euro rises against dollar in morning European trading to $1.2877.
- European industrial production stagnant in July.
- EU raises 2010 growth forecasts; warns growth likely to slow in H2.
- German investor confidence may decline to 18-month low as economy cools.
- Bank of America should repurchase $20B in mortgages, Insurers say.
Take a guess...
Morgan Stanley Expects QE2 Announcement Next Week, Takes Other Side Of Goldman's "Variance Swap" TradeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/13/2010 23:52 -0500
Exactly a week from today, the FOMC will meet on September 21, to decide whether or not to go from QE Lite to a full-blown QE 2 regime. And while most pundits had previously lost hope that the Fed will go full retard in its dollar destruction ways as early as next week, instead opting for the November 2 meeting if not wait for 2011 entirely, Morgan Stanley (specifically Jim Caron) came along: "We see considerable risk that the Fed may open the door to QE2 at this September 21 meeting despite the stronger-than-expected August payroll results and even if upcoming economic data stabilize. We believe that QE2 may come in the form of a vague outline for a plan to buy assets, expand its balance sheet and keep interest rates low conditioned upon economic data." Why the sudden change in opinion? "We believe that the Fed may be reluctant to act aggressively after September 21 so as not to influence the election outcome. However, if deterioration in economic conditions warranted it, then the Fed may uncharacteristically act close to the election date. Acting sooner rather than later would be consistent with Bernanke’s plan to stave off deflation risks before they arise." Right or wrong about the Fed's choice (and with Caron's recent track record, one may be tempted to choose the latter), Morgan Stanley does correctly observe that volatility will likely jump in the weeks and months ahead, even as its has been moving progressively higher lately: "Interest rates have been subject to big daily swings." Curiously, as a hedge to surging rates vol, Morgan Stanley proposes the opposite Variance Swap trade that caused a massive loss for Goldman in Q2, and was Goldman's Top trade of 2010. Let's see who blows up first: Goldman, which still expects a decline in vol, or Morgan Stanley who is on the other side. Perhaps the two firms can just trade with each other (that wouldn't be that much of a change from the current regime).
3 Out Of 3 Analysts Agree: Basel III Will Guarantee Their Bonuses For 9 Years In A Row, As Banks Win AgainSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/13/2010 07:15 -0500
No surprise the reaction across Wall Street is strong to quite strong on the latest regulatory farice out of Europe, especially since our initial read of a 20x leverage cap was in fact low: the 3.5% minimum common equity ratio by 2013 means leverage will be just under 30x, or enough for every bank in the world to pull a Lehman, which blew itself up at roughly the same leverage. All who think European banks will survive through 2019 with this type of leverage should look into investing in these great companies: New Century Financial, Countrywide, and IndyMac.
Exclusive: The Paulson Portfolio Post-Mortem (In Which We Learn That The Maestro Himself Is Advising J.P. On Future Gold Prices)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/05/2010 22:44 -0500
We present an exclusive summary of all the Paulson & Co. portfolio facts, figures, strategy, ins and outs, and Paulson's discussions with former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan on the "the relationship between the monetary base, the money supply, inflation and gold prices." Must read for everyone.
Will the American serfs have to pony up yet again?
- Asian stocks rise to two-week high on US manufacturing data; Canon gains.
- Australia Q2 GDP grows 1.2% - fastest pace in three years.
- Bernanke, Bair to present views of crisis to inquiry panel.
- Brazil holds rate at 10.75%, meeting expectations.
- Economy seen avoiding recession relapse as US data can't get much worse: Survey.
- Indian sugar production may jump 38% next year on higher planting, rains.
- Manufacturing in US grows at faster pace as factories extend recovery.
- Trichet may say ECB to keep emergency lending measures in place into 2011.
BofA Lowers Its GDP Forecast, As Goldman Stops Short Of Calling FOMC Bunch Of Liars, Sees QE2 In As Little As Three WeeksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2010 08:44 -0500
A month ago, we took aim at Bank of America economist Neil Dutta, whose consistently bullish exhortations were starting to sound far too hollow in light of the prevalent, and all too obvious, economic deterioration. Today, the second most bullish bank on Wall Street (after Morgan Stanley) has finally relented and cut its 2011 GDP forecast from 2.3% to 1.8%, raised its unemployment expectations, and is now firmly in the "bad news is better news" camp, expecting the launch of QE2 in Q1 of 2011. Elsewhere, Goldman's Jan Hatzius took offense to the FOMC minutes, and stopped just short of calling the Fed a bunch of myopic liars What seems to have angered Hatzius is the Fed's "bald statement"(sic... or Freudian slip?) that “no member saw an appreciable risk of deflation.” Hatzius goes all out: "This seems surprising given (1) the recent data on economic activity, wages, and prices, (2) the decline in breakeven measures of inflation expectations, (3) a recent article suggesting that at least one FOMC member (President Bullard of St. Louis) is indeed quite worried about deflation, and (4) the observation by an unnamed meeting participant that “…survey measures of longer-run inflation expectations had remained positive in Japan throughout that country's bout of deflation." As a result, Goldman has now revised its call for no action from the Fed until the mid-term election, and anticipates a new round of QE to come as soon as the Fed's next meeting in three weeks. Is Jan finally starting to call the Fed on its bullshit?
USDCHF In Free Fall, Approaches Parity As Hungary Cries Uncle, The Global QE Monster Stirs, And LBMA Provisionally Nukes GoldSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2010 07:54 -0500
Another ridiculous market reaction following the ADP read today, when the AUDJPY initially dropped, only to see every deranged Japanese housewife, and anyone else with an FX account plough into it taking full advantage of 50x+ leverage to spook remaining weak short hands out. The catalyst: good news is good news, bad news is better news, as, just like Bank of America which just threw in the towel (more in a post momentarily), any incremental economic snapshot now means either more QE by the Fed or more QE by the Fed (and other CBs). We are back to the regime where dollar weakness is good for risk (especially beta>5.0 risk, meaning all the empty chatterboxes whose only strategy is to lever up on beta and pray will be out in full force on CNBC today). Incidentally, just as we expected, and right on cue, the Hungarian central bank said that the surging CHF poses "risks from the aspect of Hungarian economy's growth prospects, and that the weakening HUFCHF is causing higher than expected loan losses in bank sector." Define zero sum.