Reggie Middleton's picture

I said it! Bill Gross said it (and put his money where his mouth was by selling off all US treasuries)! Common sense says it... Central Bank manipulated interest rates are too low. They will rise. What happens when they rise during a supply glut of real estate, foreclosure issues and a slow economy??? Put it this way... What made the markets crash in 2008: unemployment, slow economy, snow... Or real estate prices getting in touch with reality?

Reggie Middleton's picture

This has to be one of the biggest "I Told Ya So's" of the year! JP Morgan is forced to come clean on the legal liabilities that I have been pounding the table about for two years as Wall Streets sell side coterie and JPM management have managed to underplay for about as long. Now, it looks as if the chickens are coming home to roost...

Dollar Plummets As Expectations Of QE3 Spread

While it is not surprising that the Swiss Franc is surging almost as much as silver in today's flight to safety episode, and even "value investor" Whitney Tilson is rumored to be shorting Netflix again after topticking his cover with immaculate perfection, what is a little disturbing is that the dollar has plunged to the lowest levels since February 3. The reason, of course, is that with global unrest spreading like Molotov cocktail fire, and implied US GDP plunging by 5% in the past week on the hike in oil prices, it is becoming very evident that the recovery myth is now over, despite claims by the NAR charlatans, and another round of quantitative easing is almost inevitable. What that means for the dollar is precisely what one can see on the chart below. As for the use of funds in the upcoming QE episode, perhaps the Fed can instruct the Primary Dealers to go out and buy some WTI this time instead of just crowding into Apple and REITs...

When Is The Market Going To Reverse?

Another week, another POMO-induced meltup. Bill Fleckenstein must be having nightmares, as the insane non-stop bottlerocket moves in many big name stocks is being repeated again. My condolences to the "pro traders" and "technical experts" like Tom O'Brien, David White, and Larry Pesavento over at who have been bearish on the market for the last 6 months. Meanwhile, the Monster Energy swilling 19-year old motion chasers without MBA's or any sort of CMT credentials are killing it. How far is this thing going to go?

Richard Koo On The Weakest Links In The Bernank's QEasy Logic

Richard Koo's just released note has the usual set of insightful observations into the fringe Keynesianism which we all suffer on a daily basis, where one false move will lead to a systemic collapse, and as usual deals exclusively with the aftermath (and concurrent-math) of the Fed's QE. First, he brings forward the "ketchup declaration" which is a sad harbinger of what may soon happen to the US. "The “ketchup declaration” was made about a decade ago in the context of an argument between the Bank of Japan and a group of overseas economists that included Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke. The BOJ’s position was that quantitative easing could have no impact as long as there was no demand for loans among businesses and households." What has happened, is that the BOJ adopted precisely what Bernanke espoused in the beginning of the last decade... to an abysmal failure. But that won't stop the Chair from repeating Japan's faults here. The scarier thought is that it is precisely Bernanke who will next proceed to monetize all equity-related assets: ETFs, REITs, and everything else. Yet the most notable argument, and the one which even Bernanke does not get in his push for reflation whose only hope is to get consumers to purchase on credit instead of just cash, is what happens if the US consumer is consuming, but is content to do so without leveraging again. That is by far the weakest link in Bernanke's argument. A link which will be broken soon enough by his relentless exporting of inflation, until such a point is reached that the entire world takes America aside, and tells them to get rid of the Chaircreature, or else.

Why A Record Steep Curve Means The End Of The Fed's Subsidies To Banks

Over the past week, one of the less noticed and more notable developments, was that the 2s10s quietly climbed back to just short of all time record wides: at 273 bps, the curve is just 13 basis point away from the all time record 286 bps achieved on February 2, 2010. For those who still don't understand how this most recent gift to the banks by the Fed and the government works, the math is that for every 100 bps in spread widening, banks make profits by borrowing free at the 2 Year and lending out at the 10 Year spread (on a Price x Volume basis, although as we will discuss momentarily while the price (i.e. spread) may be there the volume is missing), even as home prices decline by about 12% for each percentage point. In other words, in the past year the entire double dip in home prices can be attributed to the spike in long-term rates, which have in turn caused mortgage rates to jump to year highs. All of this has been predicated by increasing concerns that the Fed will allow runaway inflation, as a result pushing 10 and 30 Year spreads (and gold) ever higher. And while traditionally, a steep curve implies substantial bank profits, this time it is really is different, as demand for mortgages, by far the biggest bank product beneficiary from rising LT interest rates, is non-existent - recent new and refinancing mortgage applications are plumbing 15 year lows, meaning that even if banks make exorbitant profits on a spread basis, there is just not enough of them to go around, which in turn means that banks once again have to rely on accounting gimmicks such as declining reserve provisions to pad their books. And unfortunately for the banks, every incremental basis point increase from here on out only means accelerating home price deflation (regardless of how many days in a row cotton, wheat and whiskey closes limit up), which will wreak havoc on myth of any "recovery." This is in fact the most salient point of Scott Minerd's of Guggenheim latest letter: while the bulk of his latest thoughts is focused on Europe, we believe that the critical part if really that dealing with US interest rates. As he concludes: "The story in housing remains a compelling reason yields on the 10-year note above 4 percent are simply not sustainable at this juncture." We complete agree, which also means that the strawman of higher bank earnings due to the yield curve is now dead and buried. Alas for all the bank bulls, from this point on the only direction the curve can go is down... Unless of course the Fed really loses control of the long end in which case all bets are off and QE3 is sure include purchases of MBS.

Must See: Howard Davidowitz Destroys The Recovery Illusion, Debunks The Consumer Renaissance

Today's must see TV comes from the following interview of Pimm Fox on the consumer and the economy with retail expert Howard Davidowitz, who in 10 minutes provides more quality content and logical thought than we have seen from CNBC guests in probably all of 2010 (except of course for that one time when Erin Burnett kicked out Mike Pento, but that's a different story). Where does one start? Probably at the end: "I am not surprised by the strength of retail sales, because i knew that 30% of consumers are responsible for retail sales, and these 30% did much better because of the performance of capital markets. I don't think it is indicative of anything going forward. I don't think the economy is going to get any better. If you look at our fiscal and monetary policy, we went two trillion in the hole last year. Two trillion... to produce this... and unemployment went up to 9.8%! We've spent two trillion we're printing money we're going bananas. Our balance sheet, we've got $2.6 trillion on there, and what;s on there government securities, and MBS." And here is the kicker for the world's biggest hedge fund, which at least one person besides Zero Hedge appears to get: "If interest rates go up a point Bernanke's bankrupt. Everything he's bought is underwater. All the MBS are underwater, the whole country is underwater." Does anyone see the issue now with why rising interest rates, aside from predicting a "recovery", may also, courtesy of its now $2 billion DV01, "predict" the insolvency of the Federal Reserve?

Reader Threatens To Sue Fed After Losses Incurred By Going Long Inverse Leveraged ETFs

Remember when double and even triple inverse leveraged ETFs were all the rage? That all occurred in the brief period of time before it became clear that Bernanke would first take down the global financial system before he let Citi get back to $1/share again. Apparently one reader recalls it all too well: "In 2008 at the bottom of the market I sold positions I owned in physical gold and banks stocks such as Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C) and also non financial companies such as Ford (F). I used these proceeds to purchased inverse ETF’s such as NYSE: FAZ (Direxion Financial 3x Short) and NYSE:SRS (Proshares Real Estate 2x Short). Since making these purchases, these ETF’s have suffered significant drops in value as reflected in their price. In fact NYSE: FAZ has plummeted from $1100 per share to $11 per share and SRS has reduced in price from $1000 per share to $19.50 per share. It is now apparent that the Fed spent trillions of dollars to raise the price of bank stocks and to inversely suppress the price of these inverse ETFs." Yet is this nothing but a case of fippers' remorse? Is there legal precedent for an actual claim? Was the Fed in breach of duty "by allowing investors to make investments into funds such as FAZ and SRS and other inverse ETF’s, while the Fed was performing transactions that the Fed knew or should have known would severely harm the investors in these publicly traded fund." Will Bernanke cave and make whole everyone who dared to put money into the market, even if it meant betting on a broad market decline? After all the whole purposes of the latest propaganda campaign is to get people to put money in the market with no fear of loss whatsoever: whether one is bullish or bearish (and as the lack of participation shows, most are certainly still bearish). Which is where it gets interesting: "Therefore, I appeal to your office to make due and just compensation in treble damages amounting to $__ million dollars for a full and good faith settlement of this matter. If this is agreeable, I am prepared to enter into a confidential good faith settlement." In our ridiculous bizarro world, in which nothing makes sense following each recurring Fed intervention, perhaps the Fed making whole those who lose money regardless of their bias, is just what is needed to break the 33 weeks of outflows...

David Rosenberg On Perception Versus Reality

We have already broadly discussed the recent euphoria in the market which especially in the Nasdaq has hit 5 year+ extremes. And as always in times of such irrational exuberance, the disconnect between perception and reality is truly astounding. David Rosenberg presents his views on the latest developments in the market's ongoing fight with manic-depressive disorder.

Rosenberg On Why Fighting The Fed In Real Terms Has Been Very Successful

Today, David Rosenberg has some good commentary which proves that those who say to not fight the Fed, may be 100% wrong when it comes to fighting adjusted for inflation, or as the case may be - deflation (conveniently, few talk about what bothers even seasoned hedge fund managers such as David Einhorn - i.e., "corn and oil"). And Rosie is spot on: the deflation in all credit-intensive purchases is accelerating, and will accelerate because the only thing that matters, as we have claimed for over a year, is the shadow capital/credit contained in the shadow banking system. That is the number that is collapsing at a rate of more than half a trillion per quarter. No matter what Bernanke does to M2 will even remotely offset this deleveraging deluge. Which is why we have long claimed that the only trump card Bernanke has is to devalue the dollar (both relative to other currencies and absolutely - relative to gold) to the point that its fate as a reserve currency is imperiled, ostensibly leading to a monetary crisis. One is free to name the resulting chaos in dollar denominated prices as one sees fit. But the bottom line is that as long as the shadow banking system continues to contract, which it will for years as the bulk of the funding came from European and Japanese banks: both of which are now gripped in austerity, and not really flooded with leveraged depositor money, everything else is merely a short-term blip on a long-term decline in both economic output and market terms. Also known as noise.