When we commented on Mel Watt's Einsteinianly-insane plans to reform FHFA, allowing bad creditors to buy houses (again) with only 3% down-payments (again), we expected nothing but echoes as the "it's everyone's 'right' to own a home"-meme gets played out for all to see in this goldfish-like societal memory that has entirely lobotomized the actions (and impact) of when this idiocy was trued before. However, a funny thing happened this week... called an 'election'. And The Republicans have been quick to take note of Obama-appointee Mel Watt's (replacing acting director Ed Demarco - who had some less-politik plans for real reform) plans with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling exclaiming he was "extremely concerned," about Watt's "efforts to force taxpayers to back high-risk mortgages with ultra-low down payments," concluding this plan "must be rejected."
- The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare (Matt Taibbi)
- Explains the midterm results: Optimism precedes job data (Reuters)
- EU Dream Ebbs Amid Weak Growth, Putin's Jets, 25 Years After Wall Came Down (BBG)
- SEC Probing Trading Activity at Apple Supplier GT Advanced (WSJ)
- Boehner touts bills to repeal Obamacare, build Keystone (Reuters)
- China Gold Buying Means Price Floor to Standard Chartered (BBG)
- High-Speed Ad Traders Profit by Arbitraging Your Eyeballs (BBG)
- Central Banks Can’t Be ‘Only Game in Town’ Boosting Economies (BBG) - less talking, more getting to work
Central banks are printing rules almost as fast as they’re printing money. The consequences of these fast-multiplying directives — complicated, long-winded, and sometimes self-contradictory — is one topic at hand. Manipulated interest rates is a second. Distortion and mispricing of stocks, bonds, and currencies is a third. Skipping to the conclusion of this essay, Jim Grant is worried: "The more they tried, the less they succeeded. The less they succeeded, the more they tried. There is no 'exit.'"
The Recent Liquidation Avalanche As Explained By Dan Loeb, And Why He Is Back To Shorting Stocks AgainSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/22/2014 08:23 -0500
"Amidst this volatility and performance dispersion, we struggle with our instinct that it is a good time to short stocks with the reality of the past few years of short-selling carnage. We were intrigued by investment legend Julian Robertson’s recent comments that, “we had a field day before anyone knew anything about shorting. It was almost a license to steal. Nowadays it’s a license to get hosed.” There is no doubt that the complexities around single name short selling have increased massively following 2008 – partly as a function of government regulation and intervention, partly due to negative rebates being the norm – but we have slowly been getting back in to the shallow end of the pool." - Dan Loeb
Mel Watt is one of the most dangerous financial oligarch puppets operating in America today. As Bloomberg reports, "a U.S. housing regulator plans new steps to encourage banks to lend to buyers with less than-perfect credit scores... Watt will also discuss an effort that would allow borrowers to put down as little as 3% of the purchase price." It’s for the good of the people right? He’s a “liberal” so he’s always working for the little guy, right? Wrong...
The last time the stock market reached a fevered peak and began to wobble unexpectedly was August 2007. Markets were most definitely not in the classic “price discovery” business. Instead, the stock market had discovered the “goldilocks economy." But what is profoundly different this time is that the Fed is out of dry powder. Its can’t slash the discount rate as Bernanke did in August 2007 or continuously reduce it federal funds target on a trip from 6% all the way down to zero. Nor can it resort to massive balance sheet expansion. That card has been played and a replay would only spook the market even more. So this time is different. The gamblers are scampering around the casino fixing to buy the dip as soon as white smoke wafts from the Eccles Building. But none is coming. For the first time in 25- years, the Wall Street gamblers are home alone.
Fed's Lacker Slams Fed For "Inappropriate" Bond-Buying, "Distorting Markets & Undermining Independence"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/08/2014 09:40 -0500
Modern central banks enjoy extraordinary independence, typically operating free from political interference. Central bank actions that alter the allocation of credit blur those boundaries and endanger the stability the Fed was designed to ensure. Such interference in the allocation of credit is an inappropriate use of the central bank’s asset portfolio. It is not necessary for conducting monetary policy, and it involves distributional choices that should be made through the democratic process and carried out by fiscal authorities, not at the discretion of an independent central bank.
He's back. A month after Appaloosa's David Tepper explained the end of the bond bull market was here (and 10Y rates are now 5bps lower), the trend-following master-of-the-universe explained to Bloomberg TV's Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker how the departure of Bill Gross from PIMCO was "nothing... who cares?"; why "the US economy is pretty good", how junk bonds are at "fair value" and stocks are cheap as "multiples are not high." Finally he explains how he "wished he didn't have any investment" in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and clarifies in his billionaire-all-knowing-ness how he is sure the United States can contain Ebola.
It is not a good morning for Bill Ackman's Pershing Square or Bruce Berkowitz's Fairholme Capital, or the US government for that matter, of course, which happen to be the three largest investors in Fannie Mae. The reason: FNM stock, which at last check, was crashing by nearly 60%.
- European Bond Yields Go Negative (WSJ)
- Traveler from Liberia is first Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S. (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Protesters Step up Pressure on Leung to Quit (BBG)
- JPMorgan to face U.S. class action in $10 billion MBS case (Reuters)
- Turkey mulls military action against Islamic State (Reuters)
- Singapore Home Prices Fall for Fourth Straight Quarter on Curbs (BBG)
- Italy's Economic Woes Highlight Dilemma for European Central Bank (WSJ)
- Advanced iOS virus targeting Hong Kong protestors (Reuters)
- Fed Scrutiny of Leveraged Loans Grows Along With Bubble Concern (BBG)
- Mosquito Virus That Walloped Caribbean Spreads in U.S. (BBG)
At the heart of the problem is the fact that the Federal Reserve’s manipulation of the money supply prevents interest rates from telling the truth: How much are people really choosing to save out of income, and therefore how much of the society’s resources — land, labor, capital — are really available to support sustainable investment activities in the longer run? What is the real cost of borrowing, independent of Fed distortions of interest rates, so businessmen could make realistic and fair estimates about which investment projects might be truly profitable, without the unnecessary risk of being drawn into unsustainable bubble ventures? All that government produces from its interventions, regulations, and manipulations is false signals and bad information.
What if it had gone differently? What if, six years ago, in the throes of the financial crisis, the political leaders in D.C. had decided that enough was enough, and they were going to seize the opportunity to make real and meaningful positive changes?
The stories make you want to take all of your money out of the stock market and put it in your mattress!
The failure to understand money is shared by all nations and transcends politics and parties. The destructive monetary expansion undertaken during the Democratic administration of Barack Obama by then Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke began in a Republican administration under Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan. Republican Richard Nixon’s historic ending of the gold standard was a response to forces set in motion by the weak dollar policy of Democrat Lyndon Johnson. For more than 40 years, one policy mistake has followed the next. Each one has made things worse. What they don’t understand is that money does not “create” economic activity.
Among this week's most notable moves was the decompression of high-yield credit spreads to near 9 month wides (and continued outflows). What went notably-under-reported by the mainstream media, however, was an even bigger selloff in US mortgage bonds. While JPMorgan is unable to see "any fundamental reason" for the plunge in prices, the worrying indication from the magnitude of the drop relative to volumes is that liquidity has evaporated. As Bloomberg notes, with dealer inventories sold down (due to new regulations that make repo and agency securities unpalatable), they have no way to 'smooth' the selling when investors want to exit positions. Weakness of this magnitude when the 10Y gained only 2bps on the week is a big wake-up call that traders are looking for the exits from housing debt and the door is very narrow.