Chrysler

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How Cronyism And Corruption Brought Down Detroit





Detroit U.S.A.: Once the most prosperous city in America. With a booming manufacturing sector and cultural magnetism, the city had bright horizons after World War II. But as the 1960?s rolled in, the marriage of Big Business and Big Government overtook Detroit. The central planners in government needed the powerful corporations, and the powerful corporations came to depend on the bureaucracy, too. The marriage worked well for the politicians and for their corporate cronies, but Detroit itself entered a decades-long decline. How did so much money change hands between the world's most powerful corporate leaders and government officials while delivering on so little of the promise sold to America by central planners? Bankrupt: How Cronyism & Corruption Took Down Detroit answers this question, and many others.

 
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Bankruptcy In The USSA: Detroit Bondholders About To Be GM'ed In Favor Of Pensioners





First, the Obama administration showed during the course of the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings, that when it comes to Most Preferred Voter classes, some unsecured creditors - namely labor unions, and the millions of votes they bring - are more equal than other unsecured creditors - namely bondholders, and the zero votes they bring. Five years later we are about to get a stark reminder that under the superpriority rule of a community organizer for whom "fairness" trumps contract law any day, it is now Detroit's turn to make a mockery of the recovery waterfall. As it turns out, bankrupt Detroit is proposing to favor pension funds at roughly double the rate of bondholders to resolve an estimated $18 billion in long-term obligations, according to a draft of a debt-cutting plan reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

 
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Frontrunning: January 24





  • Emerging market sell-off raises specter of contagion (Reuters)
  • China Bank Regulator Said to Issue Alert on Coal Mine Loans (BBG)
  • Argentina to Ease FX Controls After Peso Devaluation (BBG)
  • Pimco's Gross problem: who can succeed the 'Bond King'? (Reuters)
  • Ukraine protesters seize building, put up more barricades (Reuters)
  • Mideast Turmoil Dominates Gathering of Business Elite (WSJ)
  • Central Banks Withdraw Dollar Funding (WSJ) - oh really?
  • Samsung warns of weak earnings growth this quarter (FT)
  • Three explosions rock Cairo, killing 5 (USA Today)
 
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Frontrunning: January 17





  • NSA phone data control may come to end (AP)
  • China to rescue France: Peugeot Said to Weigh $1.4 Billion From Dongfeng, France (BBG)
  • China to rescue Davos: Davos Teaches China to Ski as New Rich Lured to Slopes (BBG)
  • Hollande’s Tryst and the End of Marriage (BBG)
  • Iran has $100 billion abroad, can draw $4.2 billion (Reuters)
  • Target Hackers Wrote Partly in Russian, Displayed High Skill, Report Finds (WSJ)
  • Nintendo Sees Loss on Dismal Wii U Sales (WSJ)
  • Goldman's low-cost Utah bet buoys its bottom-line (Reuters)
  • Royal Dutch Shell Issues Profit Warnin: Oil Major Hit by Higher Exploration Costs and Lower Oil and Gas Volumes (WSJ)
  • EU Weighs Ban on Proprietary Trading at Some Banks From 2018 (BBG) - so no holding of breaths?
  • Sacramento Kings to Accept Bitcoin (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: January 14





  • House Unveils $1.01 Trillion Measure to Fund Government (BBG)
  • Credit Suisse Tells Junior Bankers to Take Saturdays Off (BBG)
  • Spot the odd word out: ECB Sees Bad-Debt Rules as Threat to Credible Bank Review (BBG)
  • Insert laugh track here: Spain GDP grows at fastest pace in almost six years (FT)
  • Scandinavian Debt Crisis Waiting to Happen Puzzles Krugman (BBG)
  • Fed Said to Release Plan to Limit Banks’ Commodities Activities (BBG)
  • Thai Protesters Extend Blockade After Rejecting Poll Talks (BBG)
  • China provinces set lower growth goals for 2014 (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: January 3





  • Heavy snowstorm hammers northeastern U.S. (Reuters)
  • Coins Remain a Bright Spot for Gold (WSJ)
  • Gross’s Mistake on Fed Taper Echoes Across Pimco Funds (BBG)
  • China December services PMI falls to four-month low (Reuters)
  • General Mills Starts Making Some Cheerios Without GMOs (WSJ)
  • U.S. considers flammability risk of Bakken crude after accidents (Reuters)
  • China Mobile’s Costly iPhone Deal with Apple (WSJ)
  • Hezbollah Upgrades Missile Threat to Israel (WSJ)
  • UK House Prices Cap Best Year Since 2006 as Mortgages Surge (BBG)
  • China tells police to be loyal to party amid graft crackdown (Reuters)
 
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Snow Day Market Summary





In a day that will be remembered for the first major snowstorm to hit New York in 2014 and test the clean up capabilities and resolve of the city's new populist mayor (not starting on a good note following reports that JFK airport will be closed at least until 8:30 am Eastern), it was only fitting that there was virtually no overnight news aside for the Chinese non-manufacturing PMI which dropped from 56.0 to 54.6, a new 4 month low. Still, following yesterday's ugly start to the new year, stocks in Europe traded higher this morning, in part driven by value related flows following the sell-off yesterday. Retailers led the move higher, with Next shares in London up as much as 11% which is the most since January 2009 and to its highest level since 1988 after the company lifted profit forecast after strong Christmas trading performance. Other UK based retailers with likes of AB Foods and M&S also advanced around 2%.

 
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Frontrunning: January 2





  • Threatening snowstorm may be early test for N.Y. Mayor de Blasio (Reuters), U.S. Northeast Threatened With Blizzard, Travel Delays (BBG)
  • Scarred U.S. consumers a hard sell for traditional retail (Reuters)
  • Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower (NYT)
  • A Few Brave Investors Scored Huge, Market-Beating Wins (WSJ)
  • Fiat gets full control of Chrysler for $4.35 billion (Reuters)
  • Billions Vanish in Kazakh Banking Scandal (WSJ)
  • SAC’s Cohen Focus of Trial as Martoma Rebuffs U.S. (BBG)
  • World's first state-licensed marijuana retailers open doors in Colorado (Reuters)
  • Hyundai, Kia face fading growth as currency tides buoy Japan rivals (Reuters)
  • Bond investors braced for new year shock (FT)
  • Putin vows total destruction of 'terrorists' after bombings (AFP)
 
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Futures Unhappy On The First Trading Day Of 2014





The first trading session of previous years has always been a whopper for those betting on central planning and capital flows. In fact, if one adds up the S&P performance on the first trading day of each year going back to 2009 (i.e., 1/2/13: + 2.54%, 1/3/12: + 1.55%, 1/3/11: + 1.13%, 1/4/10: + 1.60%, and 1/2/09: + 3.16%), one gets a whopping 10% return just on that one trading session. Which is why the fact that futures are glowing read, if only for the moment, may be disturbing for index investors and all those others who put all their faith, not to mention money, in St. Janet. Today's red open is hardly being helped by the 10 Year which continues to drift lower with the yield now at 3.04%, even as the Spanish 10 Year yield just got a 3 handle as well. At this rate the two streams should cross some time in the next two months. Just what a higher yield in the US vs Spain would imply for fair and efficient markets, we leave up to readers to decide.

 
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Frontrunning: December 23





  • Apple, China Mobile sign long-awaited deal to sell iPhones (Reuters)
  • U.S. growth hopes help shares shrug off China money market jitters (Reuters)
  • Rule Change on Health Insurance Rattles Industry (WSJ), Obamacare's signup deadline on Monday has its exceptions (Reuters)
  • Tale of Two Polish Mines Shows Biggest EU Producer’s Woes (BBG)
  • Probes See U.K. Market Manipulation Reports Rise 43% (BBG)
  • Shoppers Grab Sweeter Deals in Last-Minute Holiday Dash (BBG)
  • Banks Mostly Avoid Providing Bitcoin Services (WSJ)
  • Secret Handshakes Greet Frat Brothers on Wall Street (BBG)
 
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Auto Makers' Channel Stuffing Highest Since 2005





While the abundance of commercials for cars across all media this time of year is nothing new, the manufacturers (and even more so the dealers) are likely getting more desperate. As Bloomberg reports, inventory climbed to almost 3.4 million cars and light trucks entering November - at 76 days of supply, that was the highest for the month since 2005. This should come as no surprise as we previously noted GM's post-crisis highs in channel stuffing as hope remains high that the recent slowdown in sales does not continue. The question, of course, is, "will manufacturers be responsible and curb production to keep inventory in check, or are some going to resort to old, bad habits and churn it out and then throw incentives on them." We suspect we know the margin-crushing answer.

 
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Frontrunning: November 26





  • M&A Mystery: Why Are Takeover Prices Plummeting? (WSJ)
  • Hedge-Fund Fight Club Traded Illegal Tips Not Punches (BBG)
  • Speed Traders Meet Nightmare on Elm Street With Nanex (BBG)
  • A new wave of U.S. mortgage trouble threatens (Reuters)
  • Penny Lane: Gitmo's other secret CIA facility (AP)
  • US hardens threat to leave Afghanistan with no troops (WSJ)
  • Russian Prison Stuns Captain of Greenpeace’s Bombed Ship (BBG)
  • ECB's Weidmann Warns Central Banks Might Be Too Dominated by Fiscal Concerns (WSJ)
  • China Air Move Splits Japan as Carriers Obey New Rules (BBG)
  • Inside the Breakup of the Pritzker Empire (WSJ)
 
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No Car, No FICO Score, No Problem: The NINJAs Have Taken Over The Subprime Lunatic Asylum





One of the most trumpeted stories justifying the US economic "recovery" is the resurgence in car sales, which have now returned to an annual sales clip almost on par with that from before the great depression. What is conveniently left out of all such stories is what is the funding for these purchases (funnelling through to the top and bottom line of such administration darling companies as GM) comes from. The answer: the same NINJA loans, with non-existent zero credit rating requirements that allowed anything with a pulse to buy a McMansion during the peak day of the last credit bubble.  Bloomberg reports on an issue we have been reporting for over a year, namely the 'stringent' credit-check requirements for new car purchasers by recounting the story of Alan Helfman, a car dealer in Houston, who served a woman in his showroom last month with a credit score lower than 500 and a desire for a new Dodge Dart for her daily commute. She drove away with a new car.

 

 
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Frontrunning: October 31





  • US Blasts Germany's Economic Policies (WSJ)
  • Citigroup, JPMorgan Said to Put Currency Dealers on Leave (BBG)
  • Watchdog: Syria Destroys Chemical-Arms Equipment (WSJ)
  • Kynikos Alumni Start Hedge Fund Betting on Declining Stocks (BBG)
  • China state media calls for stern action after Tiananmen attack (RTRS)
  • IMF warns of financial shock risk to Africa (FT)
  • Insurers Oppose Obamacare Extension as Danger to Profits (BBG)
  • BoJ content to ignore Fed tapering and go its own way (FT)
  • U.S. attorney wants DOJ to take civil action against BofA (RTRS)
  • NSA Fallout Hits AT&T's Ambitions In Europe (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: October 28





  • Budget deficit priorities people: U.S. NSA spied on 60 million Spanish phone calls in a month (Reuters)
  • Stuck in countless scandals, Obama does what he does best: speak. Obama To Speak At Installation Of FBI Director James Comey (TPM)
  • Five killed as car ploughs into crowd in Beijing's Tiananmen Square (Reuters)
  • U.K. Storm Brings Power Cuts, Snarls Transport in South (BBG)
  • China Signals ‘Unprecedented’ Policy Changes on Agenda at Plenum (BBG)
  • Sandy's Legacy: Higher Home Prices (WSJ)
  • Merkel Enters Concrete SPD Talks as Finance Post Looms (BBG)
  • Keep arming those Syrian al-qaeda rebels: Car bombs kill scores in Baghdad, in sign of crisis in Iraq (WaPo)
  • J.P. Morgan's Mortgage Troubles Ran Deep (WSJ)
  • Detroit’s public library contains story of city’s decline (FT)
  • Argentina elections: President loses in Buenos Aires province (BBC)
  • Phone-hacking: trial of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks to begin (Guardian)
 
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