Goldman Sachs

Ecuador Transfers Half Its Gold Reserves To Goldman Sachs In Exchange For "Liquidity"

This is a great example of how the game works. In a world in which every government on earth needs “liquidity” to survive, and the primary goal of every government is and always has been survival (the retention of arbitrary power at all costs), the provider of liquidity is king. So what is liquidity and who provides it? ...Ecuador agreed to transfer more than half its gold reserves to Goldman Sachs for three years as the government seeks to bolster liquidity...“Gold that was not generating any returns in vaults, causing storage costs, now becomes a productive asset that will generate profits,” the central bank said in the statement.

France Furious At US $10 Billion BNP "Masterful Slap", "Racketeering" Fine

With Eric Holder suddenly playing hardball with the banks (most notably not US banks), it has not gone unnoticed among the largest European newspapers. The potential $10 billion penalty for BNP Paribas - France's largest bank - for alleged dealings with a sanctioned Iran has been called a "masterful slap," by Le Monde and Le Figaro said the U.S. was making an example of BNP to deflect criticism it had been "lenient with the American banks responsible for the financial crisis." This could make for an awkward week for Obama, not only facing Putin as he visits Europe to celebrate D-Day but as the allies themselves turn on him with France's Hollande likely to raise the matter and, as Bloomberg reports, newly elected National Front party called on the French government to "defend the national interest" in the case.

Frontrunning: June 2

  • Unstoppable $100 Trillion Bond Market Renders Models Useless (BBG)
  • Afghan president fumes at prisoner deal made behind his back (Reuters)
  • Spain to Unveil $8.6 Billion Stimulus Package (AP)
  • How fracking helps America beat German industry (Reuters)
  • Obama to Urge European Allies to Stay Tough on Russia (WSJ)
  • Frenchman 'admits' Brussels shooting in video (AFP)
  • Heloc Payment Jump to Take Bite Out of Consumer Spending (WSJ)
  • Obama Said to Propose Deep Cuts to Power-Plant Emissions (BBG)
  • Lehman Lesson Lost as Bank Lobby Gains Clout (BBG)
  • WSJ reports that WSJ reporting on Icahn insider trading probe may have killed it (WSJ)
  • KKR liquidates former Goldman Sachs traders-run hedge fund (Reuters)

Groupthink 101: What All Goldman Sachs Clients Believe Will Happen

At the beginning of the year, all - as in all - of the smart money expected a rising yield environment and a recovering economy. They were all wrong. Oddly enough, they still believe pretty much the same, using seasonal scapegoats to explain away their mistakes. As for what the most selective subset of the smart money believes, here is Goldman's David Kostin with the summary: "Almost all clients have the same outlook: 3% economic growth, rising earnings, rising bond yields, and a rising equity market." Goldman's own view doesn't stray much: "Our S&P 500 targets of 1900/2100/2200 for end-2014/2015/2016 are slightly more conservative but generally in line with consensus views." And of course, when everyone expects the same, the opposite happens... even if this is one of those financial cliches we wrote about yesterday.

Equity Blow Off Top Takes Brief Overnight Rest, Prepares For Another Session Of Low Volume Levitation

Last night's docket of atrocious Japanese economic data inexplicably managed to push the Nikkei lower, not because the data was ugly but because the scorching inflation - the highest since 1991 - mostly driven by import costs, food and energy as a result of a weak yen, and certainly not in wages, has pushed back most banks' estimates of additional QE to late 2014 if not 2015 which is as we predicted would happen over a year ago. As a result the market, addicted to central bank liquidity, has had to make a modest reassessment of just how much disconnected from reality it is willing to push equities relative to expectations of central bank balance sheet growth. However, now that the night crew trading the USDJPY is replaced with the US session algo shift which does a great job of re-levitating the pair, and with it bringing the S&P 500 higher, we expect this brief flicker of red futures currently observable on trading terminals to be promptly replaced with the friendly, well-known and "confidence-boosting" green. The same goes for Treasurys which lately have been tracking every directional move in stocks not in yield but in price.

Stocks Surge To Record Highs On Worst Economic Growth In 3 Years

One supremely smart CNBC talking head summed it all up, "today's negative GDP number was excellent news," and sure enough, thanks to someone's multi-billion-dollar bid at the all-time-highs mid-afternoon, we went to the moon, Alice. Trannies are on target for their best month since October (+5.7%). The dash-for-trash has a new life as "most shorted" have now risen 6 days in a row - the biggest squeeze in over 3 months. This all happened as bonds rallied (though yields rose modestly on the day), VIX rose, USDJPY would not play along and aside from the spike in volume, on a total lack of liquidity. Gold and silver were monkey-hammered early on but limped back off their lows as WTI crude rallied from the GDP print on. The S&P 500 is now only 30 points short of Goldman Sachs June 2015 target.

Goldman Blames Fed For Creating "Abnormal" Trading Enviornment

First it was JPM, then it was, surprisingly, none other than NY Fed chief Bill Dudley - the head of the trading desk that proudly boasts trader extraordinaire Kevin Henry, then Citi, and now joining the chorus of banks and Fed presidents blaming all that is wrong in the banking system on near record low volatility resulting in a collapse in trading is none other than Goldman Sachs, whose president Gary Cohn spoke at a Sanford Bernstein conference earlier today, said that fixed income volumes - the bread and butter of Goldman's juggernaut FICC division - are under significant pressure, and blamed low interest rates and, drumroll, the Fed's QE on the drop in volatility, summarizing the current trading environment as "Abnormal." It appears increasingly more are voicing their displeasure with the New Centrally-Planned Abnormal... but only after their balance sheets are full to the brim with some $2.8 trillion in fungible reserves.

Goldman Warns 'Don't Expect Large QE' From ECB In June

While France's Hollande demands action - amid his country's "political earthquake" this weekend - Goldman warns investors should not expect any signal that the Governing Council is pondering in earnest a large-scale asset purchase program. Goldman expects the ECB to lower policy rates by 15bp at the June meeting and the announcement of targeted credit easing measures, probably in the form of a vLTRO as Draghi warns "the potential for a negative spiral to take hold between between low inflation, falling inflation expectations and credit, in particular in stressed countries."

Buy Stocks, Buy Bonds, Buy Quality, Buy Trash

It has gotten beyond ridiculous: a few short hours ago the yield on the 10 Year bond tumbled to a fresh low of 2.49% (and currently just off the lows at 2.50%), wiping out all of yesterday's "jump" on better than expected Durables and leading to renewed concerns about the terminal rate, deflation and how slow the US economy will truly grow. Amusingly, this happened just as US equity futures printed overnight highs. Doubly amusing: this also happened roughly at the same time as Spanish 10 Year yields dropped to a record low of 2.827%, or about 30 bps wider than the US (moments after Spain announced that loan creation in the country has once again resumed its downward trajectory and a tumble in retail deposits to levels not seen since 2008). Triply amusing: this also happened just about when Germany had yet another technically uncovered 30 Year Bund issuance, aka failed auction. So yes: nothing makes sense anymore which is precisely what one would expect in broken, rigged and centrally-planned markets (incidentally those scrambling to explain with events in bond world where one appears to buy bonds to hedge long equity exposure, are directed to the minute of the Japanese GPIF pension fund which announced it would buy junk-rated bonds to boost returns - good luck to Japanese pensioners).

Here Come The Bilderbergs: The Complete 2014 Cast And Host Nation Breakdown

The only thing more ominous for the world than a Fed raising interest rates is a Bilderberg Group meeting. The concentration of politicians and business leaders has meant the organisation, founded at the Bilderberg Hotel near Arnhem in 1954, has faced accusations of secrecy. Meetings take place behind closed doors, with a ban on journalists. As InfoWars notes, the 2014 Bilderberg meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark is taking place amidst a climate of panic for many of the 120 globalists set to attend the secretive confab, with Russia’s intransigence on the crisis in Ukraine and the anti-EU revolution sweeping Europe posing a serious threat to the unipolar world order Bilderberg spent over 60 years helping to build.

The New Normal In One Sentence: "In The US Equity Market, The Worse A Company’s Finances, The Better It’s Doing"

It was just last Friday when we updated our list of the most hated, i.e., most shorted, stocks which are so critical in the New Normal because as we have reported constantly since 2012, going long the most shorted names remains the best alpha-generating strategy, outperforming the broader market by orders of magnitude. Today, it is Bloomberg's turn to recap just how broken the market is with an article that highlights the "balance sheet bombs" rallying by 94%. The lede: "In the U.S. equity market, the worse a company’s finances, the better it’s doing." Because there is nothing like rewarding failure and capital misallocation to promote economic growth and employment recovery.

The Top 100 Hedge Funds Ranked By Equity Holdings

We don't know what is more disturbing: that the largest 50 hedge funds (in a universe of about 777) account for some $716 billion in long equity assets or more than half the total (this number does not include non-equity long positions and, don't laugh, shorts of any kind), or that as we reported over the weekend, the investment thesis creativity across the hedge fund world has completely gone down the drain (considering the most popular stocks over the past three years have been Apple, GM and Google). What we do know is that when it comes to the epic pissing contest that are hedge funds, size matters. So for all your pressing questions whose is biggest... long equity book that is... here is the answer.

Here Are The Most Popular "Hedge Fund" Stocks

On Friday we showed what the most hated (by everyone) Russell 2000 stocks are as of the most recent period (and hence most susceptible to epic short squeezes), here is a listing of what the most beloved stocks, by hedge funds, are as of March 31. One thing to note: just like in the case of first Apple, then GM, any time virtually everyone piles into the most held stock, it means just one thing - there are no marginal buyers left.