Bank of America

Bank of America

"Great Rotation" Does A 360 As US Equity Funds Post Biggest Weekly Outflow Of 2013

The "great rotation" illusion may have ended just as rapidly as it arrived. Bank of America reports that in the past week, "commodity funds reported their largest historical weekly outflow, in dollar terms, of -$3.2bn this week and US equity funds reported an outflow of -$4.1bn this week, which is their largest weekly outflow this year." So much for anyone rotating anywhere. And while we await for the delayed ICI to confirm this data, we can only remind readers that this is precisely the same inflow followed by outflow that was seen in early 2011, which was then followed by nearly two straight years of relentless and persistent outflows.  Oh well - better luck in 2014.

Guest Post: It's Always The Best Time To Buy

I really need to stop being so pessimistic. I’m getting richer by the day. My home value is rising at a rate of 1% per month according to the National Association of Realtors. At that rate, my house will be worth $1 million in less than 10 years. Every mainstream media newspaper, magazine, and news channel is telling me the “strong” housing recovery is propelling the economy and creating millions of new jobs. Keynesian economists, Wall Street bankers, government apparatchiks and housing trade organizations are all in agreement that the wealth effect from rising home prices will be the jumpstart our economy needs to get back to the glory days of 2005. Who am I to argue with such honorable men with degrees from Ivy League schools and a track record of unquestioned accuracy as we can see in the chart below? These are the facts. But why trust facts when you can believe Baghdad Ben and the NAR? It’s always the best time to buy.

Frontrunning: February 25

  • Risk of instability hangs over Italy poll (FT), Protest votes add to uncertainty in close Italy election (Reuters), and... Risk On
  • Czech inspectors find horsemeat in IKEA meatballs (Reuters)
  • China’s Slower Manufacturing Casts Shadow Over Recovery (Bloomberg)
  • So much for reform: China Prepares for Government Shuffle as Zhou Stays at PBOC (Bloomberg)
  • France to pause austerity, cut spending next year instead: Hollande (Reuters)
  • Sinopec to buy stake in Chesapeake assets for $1.02 billion (Reuters)
  • White House warns states of looming pain from March 1 budget cuts (Reuters)
  • China Quietly Invests Reserves in U.K. Properties (WSJ)
  • Osborne Keeps Austerity as Investors See Downgrade as Late (BBG)
  • South Korea's new president demands North drop nuclear ambitions (Reuters)
  • Russia accuses U.S. of double standards over Syria (Reuters)

Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard's Outside "Consulting And Advisory Relationships"

U.S. Department of Justice, Airgas, Alternative Investment Group, American Century, America’s Health Insurance Plans, ApexBrasil, Association for Corporate Growth, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays Services Corporation, BNP Paribas, Capital Research, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity, Franklin Resources, Freddie Mac, Goldman Sachs, Intel, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, NMS Group, Oracle, Pension Real Estate Association, Real Estate Roundtable, Reynolds American, Royal Bank of Scotland, Visa, Wells Fargo, Nomura Holdings America, Laurus Funds, Ripplewood Holdings

America's TBTF Bank Subsidy From Taxpayers: $83 Billion Per Year

Day after day, whenever anyone challenges the TBTF banks' scale, they are slammed down with a mutually assured destruction message that limitations would impair profitability and weaken the country's position in global finance. So what if you were to discover, based on Bloomberg's calculations, that the largest banks aren't really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers? The stunning truth is that the top-five banks account for $64 billion of an implicit subsidy based on the ludicrous (but entirely real) logic that: The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail. Once shareholders fully recognized how poorly the biggest banks perform without government support, they would be motivated to demand better. The market discipline might not please executives, but it would certainly be an improvement over paying banks to put us in danger.

Frontrunning: February 20

  • Office Depot Agrees to Buy Officemax for $13.50/Shr in Stock
  • Bulgarian Government Resigns Amid Protests (WSJ)
  • Rome will burn, regardless of Italian election result (Reuters)
  • Abe Says No Need for Foreign Bond Buys Under New BOJ Chief (BBG)
  • Rhetoric Turns Harsh as Budget Cuts Loom (WSJ)
  • Muddy Waters Secret China Weapon Is on SEC Website (BBG)
  • Business Loans Flood the Market (WSJ)
  • Staples May Be Winner in Office Depot-OfficeMax Merger (BBG)
  • Fortescue Won't Pay Dividend, Profit Falls (WSJ)
  • Key Euribor rate on hold after rate cut talk tempered (Reuters)
  • FBI Probes Trading in Heinz Options  (WSJ)
  • Spain Said to Impose Yield Ceiling on Bond Sales by Regions (BBG)
  • BOK’s Kim Signals No Rate Cut Needed Now as Outlook Improves (BBG)

Interns At These Companies Are Getting Paid More Than You

And by "you", we mean of course the average American worker, who according to the Census Bureau averaged a full-time income of $4,400 per month, and whose plight has been documented extensively as making less and less on an inflation-adjusted basis every year, having an ever older average age, putting off retirement indefinitely, and whose lifestyle continues to deteriorate in line with the progressive elimination of the US middle class. But for every million or so disenfranchised workers, there are a few hundred lucky ones, in this particular case interns who work at companies that pay better than the average American worker. So if you are tired of making next to minimum wage, here is your chance to start afresh as an intern with zero experience at one of these 25 companies, while probably making more than the current jobs pays.

An Italian "Hung Parliament" - Europe's Biggest Political Risk

As was reported in the latest Tecne poll for Italy's SkyTG24 released a few hours ago, support for Italian frontrunner Bersani's coalition has dropped once more, declining by 0.8% to 33.2% in the week ended February 7, while the ratings of the bloc headed by Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi keep rising on momentum generated by Monte Paschi scandal, boosting his popularity to 29.2%, or +1%, and now entirely within the margin of error. At the same time outgoing PM Monti has seen yet another drop in popularity, now down 1% to 12.9% while ex-comedian Beppe Grillo's support keeps rising, and is now at 16.3% up 0.8%. Combining all this data means that with three weeks to go until Italy's February 24-25th election, courtesy of the seemingly improbable surge in Berlusconi's popularity in recent weeks, the biggest emerging risk for Europe in the coming month is that of an Italian "Hung Parliament" which would then likely result in another round of elections in a matter of months, jeopardizing the Italian "success story" and pushing headline political risk once again into the open.

Guest Post: The United States of Debt Addiction

16 point 7 trillion dollars.  That is our current national debt.  12 point 8 trillion dollars.  That is the amount households carry in mortgage and consumer debt.  We are now addicted to debt to lubricate the wheels of our financial system.  There is nothing wrong with debt per se, but it is safe to say that too much debt relative to how much revenue is being produced is a sign of economic problems.  At the core of our current financial mess is how we use debt as a parachute for any problem.  We’ve been masking the shrinking of the middle class by allowing households to take on too much debt for a couple of decades.  The results were not positive. People think that this recovery has come from organic forces when in reality, it has come because of number games and also the Fed injecting trillions of dollars into the banking industry.  Ironically these banks are using this money to speculate in markets like stocks and housing where they are now crowding out working and middle class Americans.  When you have access to a printing press with no restraints, it becomes too tempting to spend into oblivion. Addictions are never easily cured and we have yet to come to terms with our insatiable appetite for debt.

Subprime ABS Securitizations Are Back As Absolute Worst Of The Credit Bubble Returns

Back in 2007, at the peak of the credit and housing bubble, Wall Street knew very well the securitization (and every other) party was ending, which is why the internal names used for most of the Collateralized Debt Obligations - securitized products designed to provide a last dash trace of yield in a market in which all the upside had already been taken out - sold to less sophisticated, primarily European, investors were as follows: "Subprime Meltdown," "Hitman," "Nuclear Holocaust," "Mike Tyson's Punchout," and, naturally, "Shitbag." Yet even in the last days of the bubble, Wall Street had a certain integrity - it sold securitized products collateralized by houses, which as S&P, and certainly Moody's, will attest were expected to never drop in price again. But one thing that was hardly ever sold even in the peak days of the 2007 credit bubble were securitizations based on personal-loans, the reason being even back then everyone's memory was still fresh with the recollection that it was precisely personal-loan securitization that was at the core of the previous, and in some ways worse, credit bubble - that of the late 1990s, which resulted with the bankruptcy of Conseco Finance. Well, in a few short days, those stalwarts of suicidal financial innovation Fortress and AIG, are about to unleash on the market (or at least those who invest other people's money in the absolutely worst possible trash to preserve their Wall Street careers while chasing a few basis points of yield) the second coming of the very worst of the last two credit bubbles.

Frontrunning: February 4

  • Euro Tremors Risk Market Respite on Spain-Italy, Banks (Bloomberg)
  • Obama Says U.S. Needs Revenue Along With Spending Cuts (Bloomberg
  • China Regulators Moved to Restrain Lending (WSJ)
  • Low Rates Force Companies to Pour Cash Into Pensions (WSJ)
  • JAL wants to discuss 787 grounding compensation with Boeing (Reuters)
  • Abe Shortens List for BOJ Chief as Japan Faces Monetary Overhaul (Bloomberg)
  • Monte Paschi probe to widen as Italian election nears (Reuters)
  • Hedge funds up bets against Italy's Monte Paschi (Reuters)
  • Spain's opposition Socialists tell Rajoy to resign (Reuters)
  • Electric cars head toward another dead end (Reuters)
  • BlackRock Sued by Funds Over Securities Lending Fees (Bloomberg)