Still confused by the last two days of Ben Bernanke testimony which in under 24 hours had elements of glaring contradiction? A) You are not alone and B) Judging by the market's response to the Congressional and Senatorial portions of Bernanke's testimony, not even he knows what monetary message he was trying to convey. And since all of his decisions are ultimately predicated by Goldman Sachs (either in the form of current GS employee Jan Hatzius, or former GS employee Bill Dudley) here is Goldman's take on the "Q&A on the Monetary and Fiscal Policy Outlook" based on Alec Phillips and Sven Jari Stehn's take of Humphrey Hawkins events in the past two days.
In advance of tomorrow's Bureau of Labor Statistics fireworks, Goldman's Andrew Tilton explains why GS has a prediction of +125,000 for tomorrow's NFP number (and sees the unemployment rate declining to 9.0%), and provides a short perspective on why the market is still bearish on the employment picture. Probably a more fitting question is why the market is not far more bearish on jobs: 13 weeks of 400K+ claims, offset merely by one 0.1 increase in the service ISM employment component (from 54.0 to 54.1). Ah yes, the ADP number. The same ADP number which "surged" in January leading Barclays to come up with the insane NFP prediction of +580,000 (and a 95% confidence in a 450,000 print) only for the final number to be a gross disappointment. But who cares about headfakes: the market is back in its mania phase when good news are doubly accentuated, and bad news are immediately ignored. So anyway, here is Goldman and David Rosenberg. As to what happens tomorrow, only the Obama administration, Congress, Larry Meyer, and virtually every single NFP bank, know what is coming tomorrow.
As Zero Hedge readers predicted by a margin of more than nearly three to one, Tim Geithner's next employer of choice, per bnet's Constantine von Hoffman, is none other than the universal viceroy-cum-vampire squid presiding at 200 West according to a just "leaked" letter. And while we all know the key resume highlights (issuing $1.5 trillion in debt a year for the duration of his tenure, mopped up on both sides by Quantitative Easing, bringing America to the verge of insolvency and living on an "auction to auction" basis), here is the summary of Geithner's key qualifications that make him a shoo in for the job.
Its one thing when Investment Banks use optimistic assumptions for revenue growth and margin expansion to "rationalize" a high price for its client's stock. Its another thing entirely to assume a Chinese company has the same level of risk as a U.S. one...
Sometimes observing the counterclockwise rotation on Jim O'Neill's Koolaid-O-Dispener knob from 10 to 1.5 is the most gratifying thing that can happen to a person. Which is precisely what the most recent weekly report by the man who was sanctimoniously relegated to managing Goldman's most unprofitable division, GSAM, present: a bleak world in which the perpetual twisting of reality by the Man Utd fan has lost all credibility. To wit: "On Thursday lunch time, I joined some Goldman Sachs colleagues for a lunch with some leading macro hedge fund investors, most of which I had enjoyed a similar lunch with last October. The mood this time couldn't be more different. I guess it is kind of understandable given the recent run of data, the markets and the apparent policy impasse in DC on fiscal matters. But it seemed to me it was all a bit over the top. The general mood around that lunch table was gloomy, whether it was about the US, Europe or China, both with respect to data and policy options. I was regarded as a raving lunatic for suggesting it was possible that US unemployment might fall below 6 pct by the end of 2013." Hmm, whoever could possibly conceive of the man whose predictive track record is only better to DB's Joe Lavorgna, as a raving lunatic. Anyway, more importantly, even O'Neill is now forced to admit that in the off case that he has OD'ed on the Keynesian-spiked red substance, that the Fed will have no choice but to launch into another round of easing, something which is pretty much a given for everyone else, and would indicate that the US economic depression, which started almost 4 years ago never ended, but was briefly interrupted by bear market rallies inspired by dollar dilution: "while a QE3 would clearly involve “externalities,” it seems obvious to me that if the recent weak US data is for real, then there is a good chance that the Fed would deliver on something more." Naturally O'Neill then goes on to explain why even a negative GDP print which may be in the cards for Q3 is absolutely nothing to worry about. Lastly, there is always next year's Champions' League for Manchester United...
We have already noted our amusement at Sorkin's inaccurate and dictated defense of Goldman's housing short position previously (apparently the DCF expert has absolutely no understanding of such concepts as DV01, delta, gamma, capital structure priority, gross vs net notional, and exposes so many other misconceptions that we will simply wait for the official Goldman 8K to come out, as opposed to this unofficial one, before issuing out full debunking of any Goldman defense). One thing we did not note, however, that needs disclosure, is the glaring conflict of interest in ARS' puff piece. As Taibbi pointed out, it is none other than Goldman who is a critical backer of Sorkin's Dealbook. To wit: "Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, Sotheby’s and Tata Consultancy Services
are charter advertisers for the relaunch of DealBook." Indeed, it is perhaps time to have a disclaimer at the end of every article that there is substantial squid pro quo involved in namesdropping-for-brownnosing modus operandi. But even that is nothing compared to the latest attempt to glorify those who perform god's work on earth. Below is a snapshot of FierceFinance's spirited defense of Goldman Sachs. The author mocks the concept of Sorkin as an apologist for those who enjoy seeing their name in a good light in the NYT and on HBO: "Sorkin might be accused of trying to bolster his base with his report--Wikipedia describe him as "an apologist for Wall Street/Goldman Sachs." I kid you not. But Sorkin makes a lot of sense when discussing how one unit in a very large company may be hell-bent on shorting the market even as another unit in the same company may be stuck with certain securities." It is not the ongoing misunderstanding of previously noted concepts, but the actual advertisement as part of the piece. Once again, we see that only those who directly get funding from Goldman Sachs would be willing to destroy their credibility by coming to its defense.
"Please sell anything that is not nailed down. Thank you. Oh yes, your invite to this year's Christmas elves party is in the mail"
A month ago, when Goldman, just as we predicted, cut its GDP outlook for Q1 (to be followed by downgrades to both H2 and Q2) we said: "Some other things nobody will be able to predict: Hatzius dropping full
year GDP from 4% to 2.25%; Goldman's downgrade of precious metals,
Kostin's 2011 S&P 500 price target reduction by 20%, and Goldman
getting its New York Fed branch to commence monetizing $1.5 trillion in
debt some time in October." One by one all of the predictions are starting to come true: this morning Goldman head market strategist just cut his S&P 500 outlook from 1,500 to 1,450 (granted it is not 20%...yet. There is, however, over 7 more months left in the year). In the meantime, look for the thunderous Wall Street lemmings herd to do the same. Just as we have been predicting on both. Time for CNBC to trot out Laszlo Ultrasound and to advise him to angle the predictive instrument known as a ruler a littler lower: the S&P 2,854 call in 2 years suddenly appears in jeopardy (absent QE7 of course).
5 Year Bond Prices At Record Bid To Cover As Indirect Demand Surges In Bond "Shorted" By Goldman SachsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/25/2011 13:17 -0400
Today's $35 billion 5 year bond auction was one of the strongest auctions completed in recent years, with a Bid To Cover of 3.20, the highest in the series, compared to 2.77 before and a 2.79 average in the last twelve auctions. This happened despite the yield dropping from 2.124% to 1.813%, the lowest since December 2010. Total competitive bids tendered surged from $97 billion to $112 billion, primarily due to Indirect bids rising from $18.6 billion to $24.4 billion, resulting in a drop in the hit rate from 74.9% to 67.5%. The Primary dealer hit rate also dropped from 25.7% to 20.7%. Indirect take down at 47.1% was the highest since September 2010. Completing the internals, was the -1.7 tail. As a reminder, on March 18 Goldman advised clients to short the 5 Year. That trade did not work out too well. As for the fact that this auction takes total Marketable Debt even further above the debt ceiling, that's irrelevant: the Treasury can just underfund retirement account holdings by another $35 billion.
A former CDO manager and investor says the "case" against Goldman is nowhere near as strong as Taibbi claims. Nowhere close...
Reggie Middleton and Max Keiser Discussing Goldman Sachs, the Super-Powered race to the bottom three, banks as the “new tobacco companies” and Choking on ZIRPSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/17/2011 10:16 -0400
Here’s my latest with Max Keiser discussing Goldman Sachs (remember, I was the first and original public Goldman Bear), the race to the bottom for the profligate three (or the Triumvirate of super states looking to crash the other two), the banks as the “new tobacco companies” and the accuracy of my call that banks are choking on Bernanke’s ZIRP flavored medicine…
You just don’t hear this stuff in the mainstream, do ‘ya?
Matt Taibbi does the seemingly impossible: translates the 650-page Levin report "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse" in simple English, and lays out the criminal case against one Goldman Sachs for everyone to read, comprehend, and scratch their heads how nobody has gone to jail yet: "They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it. When it came time for Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein to testify, the banker hedged and stammered like a brain-addled boxer who couldn't quite follow the questions. When Levin asked how Blankfein felt about the fact that Goldman collected $13 billion from U.S. taxpayers through the AIG bailout, the CEO deflected over and over, insisting that Goldman would somehow have made that money anyway through its private insurance policies on AIG. When Levin pressed Blankfein, pointing out that he hadn't answered the question, Blankfein simply peered at Levin like he didn't understand....This isn't just a matter of a few seedy guys stealing a few bucks. This is America: Corporate stealing is practically the national pastime, and Goldman Sachs is far from the only company to get away with doing it. But the prominence of this bank and the high-profile nature of its confrontation with a powerful Senate committee makes this a political story as well. If the Justice Department fails to give the American people a chance to judge this case — if Goldman skates without so much as a trial — it will confirm once and for all the embarrassing truth: that the law in America is subjective, and crime is defined not by what you did, but by who you are.
Summary of takeaways:
- Activity growth was weak though there are some uncertainties in terms of how weak it is.
- The moderation in M2 and power shortages were the likely drivers of the slowdown.
- CPI came in slightly above our and market consensus forecasts, but it nevertheless represented a sequential moderation.
For all those who read the initial attempt at damage control from Jan Hatzius over the S&P warning yesterday, this follow up from Goldman's Alec Phillips will come as no surprise. To all those who may have missed the prompt note which came out after Mohamed El-Erian FT oped, the below will still not come as a surprise. Bottom line: "Although the US already appears to be on the edge of AAA territory by rating agency criteria and further deterioration of those measures seems likely, policy credibility is likely to be more important than the level of fiscal ratios at any given time. While enactment of major structural reforms to entitlement programs or the tax code look challenging in the next year, today’s announcement from S&P may on the margin increase the likelihood that Congress enacts one or more fiscal rules along with the increase in the debt limit, which we already viewed as a good possibility. The most likely change would be discretionary spending caps, which could apply for multiple years and would be difficult to undo once put in place. A second possibility is some version of the “failsafe” concept that President Obama proposed last week, which would require automatic reductions in spending and “tax expenditures” if by 2014 the debt to GDP ratio has not yet stabilized and is not projected to decline in the second half of the decade." Of course as those who followed our notes during the S&P conference call, to a rational man, none of the above would come as credible, therefore inevitably pushing the US to an AA handle by 2013. Of course, this little piece of theater is once again very much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things: by 2013 we will have much bigger issues on our hands.
Now that Goldman is back in the spotlight following Carl Levin's concluding report, referring Goldman Sachs to the same law enforcement authorities that are overeager to get a job at none other than Goldman (the most recent example of which came yesterday when Bank of America which hired Gary Lynch, a former director of enforcement at the SEC, to head its legal, compliance, and regulatory relations efforts) for misleading investors and perjury, the wave of indignation at the glaringly obvious is once again back in vogue. To wit: on Friday's Andreson Cooper, Matt Taibbi and Eliot Spitzer presented their views on the fact that several years into the biggest ponzi collapse in Wall Street history, stabilized only by the Fed's pledging of trillions in taxpayer capital and the Treasury issuing like amount in debt to prevent the insolvency of Wall Street's corner offices, nobody has still gone to jail. It was actually an oddly open and forthright show. Some of the notable soundbites from the transcript: "Eliot, do you believe Goldman broke the law and lied? - Yes, I do. And I know people are going to say how can you say that as a lawyer? I have read this report. It confirms our worst fears about double dealing, lying. Goldman Sachs has zero, none, nada credibility in my book"....."Tim Geithner, treasury secretary, apparently reported in today's "New York Times" was calling people saying don't bring cases, it will unsettle the markets, so they let these guys go free. Meanwhile, he signed off on $12.9 billion to Goldman to cover a bad bet they made."....."Goldman Sachs was the number one private campaign contributor to Barack Obama's presidential election campaign. It's one of the single biggest campaign contributors to both parties in Congress"..."Anderson, before I sued, went after Merrill Lynch, which was the first case we filed many years back, I was told by their lawyer -- this is a direct quote -- "Be careful, we have powerful friends"...and the kicker: "Do you think the Justice Department will prosecute? Spitzer: If they don't, shame on them. If they don't, the Attorney General should resign if he can't bring this case." And when Holder resigns, he can go work as Goldman's newest General Counsel, the end. Hopefully, unlike last time people got angry, only to promptly lose interest in Wall Street's crimes, this time it actually leads to something.