Bank of America

Bank of America

Frontrunning: May 20

  • Obama's Counsel Was Told of IRS Audit Findings Weeks Ago (WSJ)
  • North Korea fires sixth missile in three days (Reuters)
  • Enron No Lesson to Traders as EU Probes Oil-Price Manipulation (BBG)
  • Don't cry for me, Eurozone: Thinking the Unthinkable - Quitting a Currency (WSJ)
  • H-1B Models Strut Into U.S. as Programmers Pray for Help (BBG)
  • Gold Bear Bets Reach Record as Soros Cuts Holdings (BBG)
  • Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for Tumblr (WSJ)
  • JPMorgan Holders Led by Chairmen-CEOs to Vote on Dimon (BBG)
  • Apple faces grilling over US tax rate (FT)
  • Nissan to Sell First Joint Minicar to Expand in Japan Market (BBG)
  • Fierce battle for corporate loans sparks US bank risk concerns (FT)
  • Microsoft Updates Xbox as Apple to Facebook Gain in Games (BBG)

Guest Post: The Empire's Next Effort To Extract Your Wealth

Since before the tech bust, we’ve been suggesting that while Americans “think” they’re getting richer... they’re actually heading in the other direction. They’re getting poorer. This proposition has been easier for folks to entertain since housing busted and the financial crisis reversed the “wealth effect” in 2008. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the logic of the American Empire and what you can expect in the year(s) ahead.

Eric Sprott: The Golden Answer To Chinese Import Data

Manufacturing data in the last several months has suggested that economic growth around the world is slowing. However, China’s export growth surprised the market this week and unexpectedly accelerated in April, even as shipments to the U.S. and Europe fell. This has created a conundrum for analysts and market watchers. How can China be growing while the countries that purchase its exports are slowing? As we noted earlier, the numbers don’t add up. Many analysts have attributed China’s increasing imports as signs of a healthy manufacturing sector, or increasing investments in infrastructure and property. Our simple analysis shows that more than one third of the increase in imports is due to China’s increasing gold consumption. This new gold buying could have a significant impact on Chinese import statistics and force analysts to reconsider the strength of the Chinese domestic economy.

Frontrunning: May 10

  • PBOC Says China Shouldn’t Be ’Blindly Optimistic’ on Inflation (BBG)
  • Foreigners Buying Half of London New Homes Prop Up Building (BBG) - first they come for the foreign deposits, then for the real assets...
  • Investors Rediscovering Margin Debt (WSJ) - well, yes: it is at record highs
  • China issues new rules targeting wealth management fund pools (RTRS)
  • Navy $37 Billion Ships Seen Unsuitable Have 2-Year Window (BBG)
  • New York may have to drop claims against BofA over Merrill (RTRS)
  • FBI Rejects Boston Police Stance in Spat Over Terror Data (BBG)
  • In eastern Syria oil smugglers benefit from chaos (RTRS)

Overnight Sentiment: Buy In May, And Continue Buying In May As Global Easing Accelerates

With another listless macro day in the offing, the main event was the previously mentioned Bank of Korea 25 bps rate cut, which coming at a time when everyone else in the world is easing was not too surprising, but was somewhat unexpected in light of persistent inflationary pressures. Either way, the gauntlet at Abenomics has been thrown and any temporary Japanese Yen-driven export gains will likely not persist as it is the quality of products perception (sorry 20th century Toshiba and Sony), that is the primary determinant of end demand, not transitory, FX-driven prices. And now that Korea is set on once again matching Japan in competitiveness, the final piece of the Abenomics unwind puzzle has finally clicked into place.  Elsewhere overnight, China reported consumer price inflation increasing by 2.4%, on expectations of a 2.3% rise, driven by a 4% jump in food costs: hardly the thing of Politburo dreams. Or perhaps the PBOC can just print more pigs, soy and birdflu-free chickens? On the other hand, PPI dropped 2.6% in April, on estimates of a 2.3% decline, as China telegraphs it has the capacity, if needed, to stimulate the economy. This is ironic considering its inflation pressures are externally-driven, and come from the Fed and the BOJ, and soon the BOE and ECB. And thus its economy stagnates while prices are driven higher by hot money flows. What to do?

JP Morgan Has Zero Trading Losses In The First Quarter

Earlier it was Bank of America reporting a perfect trading quarter, with profitability on 60 out of 60 trading days, and now it is JPMorgan's turn. Moments ago, Jamie Dimon's firm filed a 10Q in which, among other things, it announced than in the quarter ended March 31, it was profitable on 63 out of 63 trading days and had one day in which it gained more than $200 million, or said simply another case of trading perfection unmatched anywhere in the known universe except perhaps by sellers of newsletters on Twitter. It was not immediately clear why JPM got a freebie of three extra profitable trading days in the quarter compared to BofA, although we suspect Jamie Dimon's presidential cufflinks may have something to do with it. What is clear is that the probability of one firm trading without error for an entire quarter, let alone two (and soon more as other banks file their 10-Qs) is slim to quite slim. Although not nearly as slim as whoever the hot chick is on Dancing with the Stars this season, which we are confident is the only thing the bulk of the population cares about. For everyone else, there's E(rror free)-trade.

Bank Of America Q1 Profitable Trading Days: 100%

After the "humiliating" performance in Q4 2012, when Bank of America had a whopping 2 trading loss days out of 61, in has managed to redeem itself in the first quarter of 2012, when not only did it record seven trading days when it generated revenue of over $100 million daily, but more importantly it had zero days (of 60 total) with any net trading losses: a track record that can only be matched by any daytrader on Twitter. After all, what is better than trading when there is no risk of loss.

11 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Should Be Abolished

If the American people truly understood how the Federal Reserve system works and what it has done to us, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately.  It is a system that was designed by international bankers for the benefit of international bankers, and it is systematically impoverishing the American people. The Federal Reserve system is the primary reason why our currency has declined in value by well over 95 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger over the past 100 years. The Fed creates our "booms" and our "busts", and they have done an absolutely miserable job of managing our economy. So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?  Sadly, this is the way it works all over the globe today.  In fact, all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank.  But the truth is that there are much better alternatives.

No Recovery Here Either: Home Renovation Spending Plummets To 2010 Levels

One of the widely accepted misconceptions surrounding the so-called "housing recovery" fanfared by misleading headlines such as this "Remodeling activity keeps up positive momentum", which in reality has merely turned out to be a housing bubble in various liquified "flip that house" MSAs (offset by continuing deteriorating conditions in those places where the Fed's trillions in excess reserves have trouble reaching coupled with ongoing foreclosure stuffing), is that "renovation spending", the amount of cash spent to upgrade and update a fixer-upper, has surged. Sadly, this is merely the latest lie about the US economy: as the attached chart showing renovation spending in the past 6 months, it has absolutely imploded, confirming that not only is a broad housing recovery a myth (instead of localized pockets of bubbly liquidity here and there), but that the US home-owning household is now more tapped out than at any time in the past two years.

Frontrunning: May 7

  • Microsoft prepares U-turn on Windows 8 (FT), Microsoft admits failure on Windows 8 (MW), After Bumpy Start, Microsoft Rethinks Windows 8 (NYT)
  • China reports four more bird flu deaths, toll rises to 31 (Reuters)
  • Republicans shift stance on US budget (FT)
  • NYC Tallest Condo Corridor Gets New Entrant With Steinway (BBG)
  • U.S. Says China's Government, Military Used Cyberespionage (WSJ)
  • China rejects Pentagon charges of military espionage (Reuters)
  • Bank of China Cuts Off North Korean Bank (WSJ)
  • Libya defense minister quits over siege of ministries by gunmen (Reuters)
  • London Recruiter Says City Job Vacancies Rose 19% (BBG)
  • Colleges Cut Prices by Providing More Financial Aid (WSJ)  or, said otherwise, loans
  • Jeweler agrees to plead guilty in KPMG insider-trading case (LA Times)

Surprising German Factory Orders Bounce Offset ECB Jawboning Euro Lower; Australia Cuts Rate To Record Low

The euro continues to not get the memo. After days and days of attempted jawboning by Draghi and his marry FX trading men, doing all they can to push the euro down, cutting interest rates and even threatening to use the nuclear option and push the deposit rate into the red, someone continues to buy EURs (coughjapancough) or, worse, generate major short squeezes such as during today's event deficient trading session, when after France reported a miss in both its manufacturing and industrial production numbers (-1.0% and -0.9%, on expectations of -0.5% and -0.3%, from priors of 0.8% and 0.7%) did absolutely nothing for the EUR pairs, it was up to Germany to put an end to the party, and announce March factory orders which beat expectations of a -0.5% solidly, and remained unchanged at 2.2%, the same as in February. And since the current regime is one in which Germany is happy and beggaring its neighbors's exports (France) with a stronger EUR, Merkel will be delighted with the outcome while all other European exporters will once again come back to Draghi and demand more jawboning, which they will certainly get. Expect more headlines out of the ECB cautioning that the EUR is still too high.

Bank Of America's Latest Credit Trade Reco: "We Got Crushed"

It is one thing for Bank of America's chief credit strategist Hans Mikkelsen to be wrong on his long-term strategic call about a "Great Rotation" out of bonds and into stocks year... after year... after year (somewhat ironic that the credit guy gets the equity call right, and is dead wrong on the credit side). After all, it has gotten to the point where the buyside bets how long it takes until the latest vintage of said "great" call blows up in his face. These are, after all, "strategic" call, and as everyone knows, when the sellside says one thing strategically, it is time to do the other. However, not even the most jaded and cynical of market observers had any clue just how spectacular Mikkelsen's "tactical" call implosion would be.  Apparently, neither did he. And judging by his language, his clients - if there are any left of course - most certainly did not either.  "We wrote last Friday that this week would be crunch time for our challenged tactical (short term) short stance on the market, expressed by buying protection on the CDX.IG. We got crushed. Thus we remove our tactical view and cover the short."

This Is Why The $1.6 Billion MBIA Settlement Will Have Zero Impact On Bank Of America's Q2 Earnings

Moments ago, Bank of America and MBIA both formally announced the earlier leaked settlement that sees the bank pay the monoline a long-overdue $1.6 billion in cash plus the issuance of MBIA warrants to buy 9.94 million shares, or 4.9%, of MBI stock at an exercise prices of $9.59/share, which may be exercised at any time prior to May 2018. It is perhaps worth point out that the settlement took place with nearly half of the second quarter already in the books. In addition, BAC will also provide a $500MM credit facility to MBIA. End result: a $1.6 billion pretax charge for Bank of America. And yet, none of this settlement will impact any Bank of America Q2 numbers. Why? The press release explains.

MBI Saga Over: Bank Of America To Settle Long-Running Litigation, Take 5% Stake; MBIA Stock Soars 50%

The seemingly endless MBIA saga, in which the mortgage insurer sued Bank of America and where a settlement has been overdue for some two years (see here), is finally coming to an end. Moments ago Dow Jones reported what the final settlement may look like: $1.6 billion in cash as well as a $500 million line of credit. Just as notable, BAC will buy a 5% equity stake in the name. MBIA was briefly halted as a circuit breaker was triggered, and has continued to surge following the unhalt. As a reminder, a settlement in this case may push the company into the $20 handle realm. Finally, our report from September 2011 on MBIA's potential to be the next Volkswagen courtesy of its massive short interest as a percent of float can be found here.

Full NFP Preview

  • Bank of America 125K
  • UBS 130K
  • Deutsche Bank 140K
  • Citigroup 140K
  • JP Morgan 145K
  • Goldman Sachs 150K
  • Barclays 150K
  • HSBC 170K