It's time for try number two. Moments ago BATS announced that it has just priced its second attempt at going public by pricing its (second) initial public offering at a price to the public of $19.00 per share (this time the high end of the range). The size of the offering has been increased from the initially announced 11,200,000 shares of common stock to 13,300,000 shares of common stock.
After a brief hiatus during which central banks refrained from stimulating their economies by the only way they know how, i.e., devaluing their currency through monetary policy, moments ago Singapore broke ranks when its central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, unexpectedly eased monetary policy and drew a line against further appreciation when it announced that it would move to zero-percent appreciation in its currency.
In a historic event, one which is perhaps the lowlight of the sad demise of the US coal industry, U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy, the largest U.S. coal producer which employs 8,300 workers, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, the most powerful convulsion yet in an industry that’s enduring the worst slump in decades.
"In September, regulators from the OCC, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. met with dozens of energy bankers at Wells Fargo’s office in Houston... Regulators pushed lenders to focus instead on a borrower’s ability to make enough money to repay the loan, according to the person familiar with the discussions."
It's not just the shale drillers who are in danger as they see their liquidity evaporate. As the WSJ writes today, and as covered here since January, it is the lenders themselves whose unfunded revolver exposure may suddenly become funded and expose them to even greater risks from the energy sector should oil not rebound far more forcefully and put US oil and gas companies back in the black. How big is the exposure? Very big: $147 billion.
Hot on the heels of Wells Fargo's $1.2 billion settlement, Bloomberg reports that Goldman Sachs will pay $5.1 billion to settle a U.S. probe into its handling of mortgage-backed securities involving allegations that loans weren’t properly vetted before being sold to investors as high-quality bonds. “This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery.
it has been a rather quiet session, which saw Japan modestly lower dragged again by a lower USDJPY which hit fresh 17 month lows around 170.6 before staging another modest rebound and halting a six-day run of gains; China bounced after a slightly disappointing CPI print gave hope there is more space for the PBOC to ease; European equities rose, led by Italian banks which surged ahead of a meeting to discuss the rescue of various insolvent Italian banks, while mining stocks jumped buoyed by rising metal prices with signs of a pick-up in Chinese industrial demand.
Things are going from bad to worse for the efficacy of the grand - and failed from the beginning - experiment known as Abenomics. As Bloomberg reports, Larry Fink's Blackrock has changed its stance on investing in Japan, and joins Citigroup, Credit Suisse, and LGT Capital Partners, the $50 billion asset manager based in Switzerland in their decision to head for the exits. Ironically, Blackrock's decision comes only a few months after blogging about "The Case for Investing in Japan", in which they explicitly cited increased demand for Japanese stocks.
Nearly a decade since the housing bubble burst the dirty skeletons still emerge from the closet, and still nobody goes to jail. In the latest example of how criminal Wall Street behavior leads to zero prison time and just more slaps on the wrist, overnight Warren Buffett's favorite bank, Wells Fargo, admitted to "deceiving" the U.S. government into insuring thousands of risky mortgages. Its "punishment" - a $1.2 billion settlement of a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit, the highest ever levied in a housing-related matter.
"...we tried carefully to look at evidence of potential financial instability that might be brewing and some of the hallmarks of that, clearly overvalued asset prices, high leverage, rising leverage, and rapid credit growth. We certainly don’t see those imbalances. And so although interest rates are low, and that is something that could encourage reach for yield behavior, I wouldn’t describe this as a bubble economy."