The most recent broker to realize that private risk does not exist as a result of global moral hazard is Deutsche Bank, which is actively promoting ta long risk/short sovereign CDS trade. That is happening as IG13 trades at its all time record tights of 77 bps. In other words, buying an index of 125 investment grade credit provides less than 1% of incremental risk return. Pretty soon the ABX trade will be buying IG. Until then, however, the only risk continues being that of sovereign balance sheet, courtesy of onboarding of virtually all private sector risk at the Central Bank and via other backstop mechanisms.
Just as yesterday we shared the top 10 groputhink reasons for the rip in 10 years from 3.84% to 3.75%, so today we provide 10 possible justifications for the round trip back to 3.83%. Most likely, none of this is true or relevant, but we have to fill posts with content, even if it is complete bullshit.
In Order To Make The Ponzi Market Keep Going Ever Higher, Barney Frank Tries To Make Shorting Virtually ImpossibleSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/06/2010 15:01 -0400
As part of the Barney Frank proposed Manager's Amendment, which will accompany HR4173, the "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009", are three little-noticed rules that, if adopted, will make shorting stocks if not impossible, then extremely problematic and difficult. It is obvious why these rules would end up in an amendment: the outcry from retail and institutional traders would have been huge had these proposals made the full text of the proper Bill, and into the full view of the Mainstream Media. So why bother with these - simple. As everyone is aware, Ponzi schemes only work when constantly growing, as otherwise they blow up, implode under their own weight, once price discovery is attempted by all. Case in point: when Madoff's securities was unable to find another greater fool in the face of collapsing asset values, the jig was up overnight, and the value of the pyramid went from $50+ billion to $0 instantaneously.
In this manner, Ponzies are like sharks - they need to swim to live: any deviation from the norm threatens their very survival. By comparison, shorting has always been the most traditional way to force price discovery: as idiot money pension funds tend to be long-only, selling only occurs in times when book gains have to be realized, and facilitates a rising market without any natural checks and balances. If this amendment passes, the entire equity market will have become Madoff securities to the dot. It will continue going up, until market values are a reflection of no underlying fundamentals, but simply the latest pension fund long-only dumb terminal willing to throw managed capital into the bonfire of an inevitable future stock market collapse. And, to borrow another page from the Madoff analogy, when the inevitable correction does occur, it would not be 10% or 20%: the entire worth of the Ponzi would be gutted.
"This Time, It Is Not The Usual Suspects Such As Brazil And Mexico Who Are In the Worst Positions. Instead, It Is the Industrialized Nations"Submitted by George Washington on 01/05/2010 16:04 -0400
Will 2010 be the year of sovereign defaults ... or can the boys duct tape the system together until 2011?
Federal Reserve President Announces "Dismemberment" Of Large Financial Institutions Should Be ConsideredSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2010 12:29 -0400
Bad news for fixed income market monopolist Goldman Sachs. Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, in response to a question from University of Maryland Professor Carmen Reinhardt said "dismembering firms is a fair thing to consider." Hoenig further clarified that regulators "have people who are experts who understand what's going on inside institutions who could figure out how to carve out" some parts of a financial institution if they are taking undue risks with taxpayer backing." Surely, we expect LloydBlankfein to comment promptly on how even the Federal Reserve is now thoroughly underappreciating the divine nature of its prop/flow-focused business model, and how originating the proactively entire volume of OTC quote flow is just a natural side effect of completely cornering the CDS, bond and loan market.
In a report "Predicting Sovereign Debt Crises: 2010 Update" RBS' Timothy Ash is the latest one to chime in on the sovereign risk theme, a topic that has been prevalent ever since Bernanke did the great private-to-public risk bait and switch, which in turn was followed to a great extent by all the countries in the world. Soon, in addition to a risk to the bottom in carry trades, and inflation expectations, we will see a risk acceleration, once countries realize the fringe benefits arising from being the first defaulting sovereign in a global moral hazard climate.
A peek into what the top hedge funds and institutional funds are buying for 2010...
Some recapitulating thoughts on High Frequency Trading, in the year in which HFT probably became the primary market dynamic, courtesy of Themis Trading's Joe Saluzzi. "A NYSE study done recently indicates that spreads shrunk and liquidity was increased in large cap names, but in the small to mid-cap names it is just the opposite: liquidity has shrunk and volatility has increased because now you have predatory action." Yet with everyone trading just a few key stock purely on momentum trends, and everything else rising or falling on the beta wave, nobody will care until, again, it is too late.
Jim Bianco submits: "The Federal Reserve owns 80% of AIG. With each passing day it looks like the Federal Reserve is adopting AIG Financial Product’s business practices. That is, when faced with a financial problem, they create complicated tools (like CDS). When critics says these new products will not work, tell them they do not know what they are talking about and create even more complicated tools to dazzle everyone. Once the tools are so complicated that no one understands them, you will be hailed as an expert with no peer. You might even be named TIME’s Person of the Year."
Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke can both sleep well - the Great American Ponzi ("GAP") can continue for at least one more month, courtesy of Senate Democrats who all, with the exception of Evan Bayh, voted to raise the debt ceiling by $290 billion to $12.4 trillion. 59 Democrats all did their job in pretending that an exploding budget deficit is nothing to write home about, as there is this thing "called the printing press" yet with 60 votes needed America could have been on the verge of its first ever technical default. The savior: Republican George Voinovich of Ohio, who voted against party lines, and 39 other Republicans, and voted "for" unlimited printer cartridges.
After an initial bounce early in the am courtesy of a variety of undeserved and circly jerkular upgrades by the big banks, equities zombied out as the liquidity providers scalped their penny quota for the day. In the meantime the DXY hit another multimonth high, passing and closing above 78, creating massive losses for a whole range of FX trading and correlation desks which have yet to unwind underwater positions. If the dollar continues rallying into the New Year a few banks will start 2010 from a 6 feet under (the water surface) position. Another observation, as Nic Lenoir discussed earlier, Treasurys are getting spooked. The name of the game is, once again, starting the be supply, supply, supply, made ever more dreary courtesy of some "we don't get this whole M.A.D. thing" statement in China. The whole posturing about the trade deficit means that Obama will now do everything to make consumer stay true to their noun. If this means Cash for Chinese Crap, or even Cash for Cash, so be it. Summers is already on it, and Bernanke just ordered another 100 tons of ink.
With sovereign CDS (and risk) finally becoming a heated topic of debate, Moody's has compiled its 2009 Review and 2010 Theme Review for sovereigns. The report opens with some rather stark and reasonable observations: "2010 may prove to be a tumultuous year for sovereign debt issuers given the uncertainties surrounding the likely pace and intensity of fiscal and monetary 'exit strategies' as governments start to unwind quantitative easing programs. Indeed, the only certainty is that the exit strategies will be fraught with a good deal of execution risk. In our view, the key policy challenge facing advanced economies is therefore to time the exit perfectly: not too quickly or too soon so as to prevent choking off growth; and not too slowly or too late so as not to unsettle financial markets." In short: 2010 will be the year when the experiment of offloading all private sector risk on the public balance sheet ends. Whether the conclusion will be a happy or sad one, remains to be seen.
- Bad news for Athens: ECB says no bailouts, look for record Greek CDS risk shortly (WSJ)
- Suspected intervention weighs on Swiss franc (FT)
- For stocks, the worst decade ever (WSJ)
- Fund boss made $7 billion in the panic (WSJ)
- Mihskin's brilliance to the forefront again, as Iceland lawmakers reject Icesave bill, another downgrade impending (Bloomberg)
- China now exporting its bubbles: considers extra $200 billion for CIC sovereign wealth fund (Bloomberg)
- Tishman's $5.4 billion boomerang gives Rob Speyer costly lesson (Bloomberg)
If you have a hedge fund in dire need of some managed account TLC, call this man (and get ready for daily multi-hour explanations on why you put "this or that" trade to people who have yet to complete remedial math); if you have a strategy to front run mutual funds which may or may not end amicably with the SEC in the form of a few hundred dollar settlement, call this man; if you are in the market for some barely occupied property at 740 park, call this man; If you are a CDS trader with special Deutsche Bank sales coverage connections, call this man; if you work for RenTec and feel like borrowing some of their strategies and making a mint, call this man (by the time you get the non-compete subpoena you will be sitting on a beach, earning 20%).
All you need to know about the man who heads the big quant shop, er pardon hedge fund, at the soon to be bankrupt 666 Fifth.