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.
Morgan Stanley's real estate division hits yet another home run in (in fees) as investment clients get (literally) taken to the bank.
This Mornings News Flow Is Essentially A "Didn't Reggie Tell Us This In Full Detail Up To Two Years Ago" Parade As Indebted Europe Continues To Rip At The Seams!Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 01/05/2011 10:08 -0400
Don't say I didn't tell 'ya so!
Davidowitz's Rant On Overt Optimism In The Retail Space And Malls Is Not Only On Point, But Has Been Preached At BoomBustBlog For 3 Years & CountingSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 12/31/2010 11:05 -0400
When one spits the truth, there is really nothing to do but sit back and listen. Happy New Years to one and all...
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?
As Clearly Forecasted On BoomBustBlog, Housing Prices Commence Their Downward Price Movement In Search Of Equilibrium Scraping Depression LevelsSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 12/28/2010 14:02 -0400
There never was a housing recovery, just a reflex reaction from .gov bubble blowing. Now that that's over, we return to our regularly scheduled housing crash...
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...
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.
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.
There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen. … the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil.
Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850)
This is an extensive post designed for those who want to truly comprehend what I perceive to be both the root causes and the practical solution to the Irish sovereign debt problems and the threat of Pan-European possibly global financial and economic contagion.
The third annual ranking of the chief executive/applied finance group wealth creators—and destroyers—sees new contenders surface and several that sustained performance through tough times.
Now in its third year, the wealth creation index developed by Chief Executive, Applied Finance Group and Great Numbers! attempts to identify those business leaders who have performed best in creating true economic value—as opposed to mere accounting value—as measured by GAAP metrics.
- BOJ confronts two-decade land slump with planned purchase of REITs, ETFs.
- U.S. sales of cars and light trucks rose 13.4% in October from a year ago.
- AES's Sept. net income declines from $185M to $114M.
- Aetna's net rose 53% on invt gains, lower costs. Ups 2010 EPS view to $3.60 (prev $3.05-3.15).
- Alcatel-Lucent Falls on lower-than-expected operating margin
- Amdocs sees Q1 EPS at $0.49-0.58 (cons $0.60); revs of $760-780M (cons $774.39M).
- Becton Dickinson reports in line; posts Q4 EPS of $1.24, Revs up 1% at $1.87B.
Reggie Middleton with Max Keiser on the Keiser Report Discussing Banks, Fraudclosure and Derivative ExposureSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 10/28/2010 11:42 -0400
Reggie Middleton with the rather animated Max Keiser (the guy actually had a Lloyd Blankfein action figure for waterboarding) on the Keiser Report Discussing Banks, Oligarchs, Fraudclosure & Derivative Exposure. Also included - how Britain is avoiding confrontation with suicide bankers who took down the financial system "for kicks". If you guys think I'm offensive, you ain't seen nothing yet. Regular ZHers will probably enjoy the whole thing. Those in the banking industry should just fast forward to my portion so you can just harshly disagree vs being thoroughly offended :-)
Japan Decision To Allow BOJ To Monetize ETFs, REITs And BBB-Rated Bonds Sends Yen Higher, Gold SpikesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/28/2010 09:02 -0400
Earlier, the Japanese government approved the BOJ decision to monetize in addition to the traditional JGB securities, also ETFs, REITs, and BBB and higher-rated bonds. In other words, the BOJ is now permitted to do what the Fed will have authority to do with a few months: buy virtually all risk assets, as buying ETFs is the same as buying the general market courtesy of the most traded security in the world, SPY, to push and pull the entire market in whatever direction it goes. There are two questions at this point: is the BOJ allowed to buy foreign (read US) assets that fall under the above buckets, and whether the FX currency swap line recently established with the BOJ will allow the Fed to use Japanese proxies to monetize various US assets. Or will the Fed first seek input from the BOJ on how to proceed with sending the Dow to 36k.