Merrill

Merrill

Frontrunning: December 2

  • America’s Role as Consumer of Last Resort Goes Missing (BBG)
  • Holiday sales sag despite blitz of deals (WSJ)
  • Abe Support Falls Below 50% for First Time Amid Secrecy Drive (BBG)
  • U.S. airlines give China flight plans for defense zone (Reuters), while Japan: no change to airlines' notification policy when flying in East China Sea zone (Reuters)
  • Thai protesters seek to topple PM after clashes (Reuters)
  • Hilton Seeks as Much as $2.4 Billion in Biggest Hotel IPO (BBG)
  • Biden on delicate mission to defuse tensions in East Asia (Reuters)
  • Fed eyes financial system weak link (WSJ)
  • Pentagon in line of fire in US budget war (FT)
  • China’s monetary squeeze collides with housing bubble (FT)

Frontrunning: November 29

  • So much for the euphoria: Stores open early on Thanksgiving but shoppers in no rush (Reuters)
  • Get to work Mr. Chairwoman: Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Deadline Nears (BBG)
  • FX to Libor Probes Leave U.K. Traders Looking for Lawyers (BBG)
  • Protesters Briefly Storm Thai Army Headquarters (WSJ)
  • Berlusconi accused of bribing witnesses in prostitution trial (Reuters)
  • Japan Price Gauge Rises Most Since ’98 in Boost to Abe (BBG)
  • S&P downgrades Netherlands’ AAA credit rating (FT)
  • GrainCorp Verdict Clouds Australia Open-For-Business Pledge (BBG)
  • Hertz Fix in Dollar Thrifty Deal Fails as Insider Warned (BBG)
  • Narrow Budget Agreement Comes Into View (WSJ)

Frontrunning: November 27

  • Winter storm lashes eastern U.S., threatens Thanksgiving travel (Reuters)
  • Fed Reveals New Concerns About Long-Term U.S. Slowdown (BBG)
  • Private equity keeps $789bn of powder dry (FT) - because they are "selling everything that is not nailed down"
  • Merkel and SPD clinch coalition deal two months after vote (Reuters)
  • Japan approves new state secrecy bill to combat leaks (BBC)
  • CLOs are the new black: Volatile Loan Securities Are Luring Fund Managers Again (WSJ)
  • Health website deadline nears (WSJ)
  • Norway Debates $800 Billion Wealth Fund’s Investment Options (BBG)
  • Set of global trade deals stalls (WSJ)
  • Berlusconi To Learn Fate In Senate  (Sky)
  • Silvio Berlusconi withdraws support from Italy’s government (FT)

Margin Debt Soars To New Record; Investor Net Worth Hits Record Low

The correlation between stock prices and margin debt continues to rise (to new records of exuberant "Fed's got our backs" hope) as NYSE member margin balances surge to new record highs. Relative to the NYSE Composite, this is the most "leveraged' investors have been since the absolute peak in Feb 2000. What is more worrisome, or perhaps not, is the ongoing collapse in investor net worth - defined as total free credit in margin accounts less total margin debt - which has hit what appears to be all-time lows (i.e. there's less left than ever before) which as we noted previously raised a "red flag" with Deutsche Bank. Relative to the 'economy' margin debt has only been higher at the very peak in 2000 and 2007 and was never sustained at this level for more than 2 months. Sounds like a perfect time to BTFATH...

Frontrunning: November 26

  • M&A Mystery: Why Are Takeover Prices Plummeting? (WSJ)
  • Hedge-Fund Fight Club Traded Illegal Tips Not Punches (BBG)
  • Speed Traders Meet Nightmare on Elm Street With Nanex (BBG)
  • A new wave of U.S. mortgage trouble threatens (Reuters)
  • Penny Lane: Gitmo's other secret CIA facility (AP)
  • US hardens threat to leave Afghanistan with no troops (WSJ)
  • Russian Prison Stuns Captain of Greenpeace’s Bombed Ship (BBG)
  • ECB's Weidmann Warns Central Banks Might Be Too Dominated by Fiscal Concerns (WSJ)
  • China Air Move Splits Japan as Carriers Obey New Rules (BBG)
  • Inside the Breakup of the Pritzker Empire (WSJ)

Frontrunning: November 25

  • Washington turns bond market upside (FT)
  • China Air-Zone Move Expands Field of Islands Spat With Japan (BBG); Japan rejects China claim on airspace over disputed islands (FT)
  • 'Great Satan' meets 'Axis of Evil' and strikes a deal (Reuters)
  • Iran Pact Faces Stiff Opposition (WSJ)
  • Allies Fear a US Pullback in Mideast (WSJ)
  • India to resume paying Iran in Euros (Economic Times)
  • At 'Business Insider,' it's time to sell (USA Today)
  • More ECB currency war jawboning: ECB’s Hansson Says Rate Cut Options Not Fully Exhausted (BBG)
  • Spy World Links Plus Obama Ties Stoke Concern About NSA Review (BBG)
  • A disunited Europe will struggle even to disintegrate (FT)

Frontrunning: November 22

  • Wonder why: JPMorgan plans to keep pay roughly flat from last year (Reuters) - maybe this: Charles Schwab Warns "We Are In A Manipulated Market"
  • Democrats overturn filibuster rule, increasing Obama’s power (FT)
  • Day JFK Died We Traded Through Tears as NYSE Shut (BBG)
  • When even dictators snub Obama - Afghanistan rejects U.S. call for quick security deal (Reuters)
  • Obama Plunges in Investor Poll as Stocks Make New Highs (BBG)
  • Iran, six powers struggle to overcome snags in nuclear talks (Reuters)
  • Derision for China’s ‘rejuvenation index’ (FT)
  • Bottom is in: Paulson Said to Inform Clients He Won’t Add More to Gold (BBG)
  • German business sentiment rebounds strongly (WSJ)
  • WTO on verge of global trade pact (FT)

Frontrunning: November 20

  • JPMorgan $13 Billion Mortgage Deal Seen as Lawsuit Shield (BBG)
  • J.P. Morgan Is Haunted by a 2006 Decision on Mortgages (WSJ)
  • World powers, Iran in new attempt to reach nuclear deal (Reuters)
  • Keystone Foes Seek to Thwart Oil Sands Exports by Rail (BBG) - mostly Warren Buffet?
  • How Would Fed Deal With Debt Ceiling Crisis? Look to Minutes for Clues  (Hilsenrath)
  • Anything to prevent the loss of prop trading: 'Volcker Rule' Faces New Hurdles (WSJ)
  • BOE Sees Case for Keeping Record-Low Rate Beyond 7% Jobless (BBG)
  • Obama Backs Piecemeal Immigration Overhaul (WSJ)
  • Abenomics Seen Cutting Japan Bad-Loan Costs to 2006 Low (BBG)

Frontrunning: November 19

  • J.P. Morgan, U.S. Reach Historic Settlement (WSJ)
  • OECD cuts global growth forecast (AP)
  • Guess the profit margin: Wal-Mart Touts $98 TV as Holiday Seen Weakest Since 2009 (BBG)
  • Republicans defy threat, block another Obama judicial pick (Reuters)
  • Fed Ponders How to Temper Tapering Without Rate Increase (BBG)
  • Wall Street uses 'merchant' workaround to cling to commodity assets (Reuters)
  • PBOC to ‘Basically’ End Normal Yuan Intervention, Zhou Says (BBG)
  • Italy’s leader warns Germany of rise of anti-European sentiment (FT)
  • Yellen Nomination for Fed Chairman to Get Vote This Week (BBG)
  • As U.S. default threatened, banks took extraordinary steps (Reuters)
  • NSA vowed repeatedly to fix its collection errors (AP)
smartknowledgeu's picture

In 1997, the SE Asian Tigers all faced severe economic stresses, partially triggered by a primarily foreign capital-funded massive real estate bubble in Thailand. Today the EXACT same thing is happening as untempered foreign investment into Thailand’s real estate market has created not a “soaring” real estate market as economists always incorrectly explain them, but massive real estate market distortions better known as a bubble.

Frontrunning: November 18

  • What can possibly go wrong: Tepco Successfully Removes First Nuclear Fuel Rods at Fukushima (BBG)
  • Japan's Banks Find It Hard to Lend Easy Money (WSJ)
  • U.S. Military Eyes Cut to Pay, Benefits (WSJ)
  • Airbus to Boeing Cash In on Desert Outpost Made Field of Dreams (BBG); Dubai Air Show: Boeing leads order books race (BBG)
  • Sony sells 1 million PlayStation 4 units in first 24 hours (Reuters)
  • Russian Tycoon Prokhorov to Buy Kerimov's Uralkali Stake (WSJ)
  • Google Opening Showrooms to Show Off Gadgets for Holidays (BBG)
  • Need. Moar. Prop. Trading: Federal Reserve considering a delay to Volcker rule (FT)
  • Raghuram Rajan plans ‘dramatic remaking’ of India’s banking system (FT)
  • SAC Capital's Steinberg faces insider trading trial (Reuters)

6 Things To Ponder This Weekend

The third stage of bull markets, the mania phase, can last longer and go farther that logic would dictate.  However, the data suggests that the risk of a more meaningful reversion is rising.  It is unknown, unexpected and unanticipated events that strike the crucial blow that begins the market rout.  Unfortunately, due to the increased impact of high frequency and program trading, reversions are likely to occur faster than most can adequately respond to.  This is the danger that exists today. Are we in the third phase of a bull market?  Most who read this article will say "no."  However, those were the utterances made at the peak of every previous bull market cycle.

Frontrunning: November 15

  • China to Ease One-Child Policy (WSJ), China announces major economic and social reforms (Reuters)
  • Consumers line up for launch of PlayStation 4 (USAToday)
  • Trust frays between Obama, Democrats (Politico)
  • Yellen Stands by Fed Strategy  (Hilsenrath)
  • Hero to zero? Philippine president feels typhoon backlash (Reuters)
  • Brussels warns Spain and Italy on budgets (FT)
  • Moody’s Downgrades Four U.S. Banks on Federal Support Review  (BBG)
  • CIA's Financial Spying Bags Data on Americans (WSJ)
  • Germany Digs In Against Risk Sharing in EU Bank-Failure Plan (BBG)
  • Bill Gates wants Norway's $800 billion fund to spend more in Africa, Asia (RTRS)

Frontrunning: November 14

  • Yellen to defend Fed's ultra-easy monetary policy (Reuters)
  • Japan growth slows on global weakness (WSJ)
  • Eurozone third-quarter growth falters (FT)
  • Fed Debates Its Low-Rate Peg (Hilsenrath)
  • Yellen: Economy Still Needs Fed Aid (WSJ)
  • ‘Obamacare’ launch fiasco rouses sceptics (FT)
  • DoubleLine's Gundlach says U.S. equities 'only game in town' (Reuters)
  • Indian Inflation Exceeding Estimates Adds Rate-Rise Pressure (BBG)
  • HUD Said to Fail in Bid to Sell $450 Million of Mortgages (BBG)
  • Boeing machinists reject labor deal on 777X by 67 percent (Reuters)