- Wonder why: JPMorgan plans to keep pay roughly flat from last year (Reuters) - maybe this: Charles Schwab Warns "We Are In A Manipulated Market"
- Democrats overturn filibuster rule, increasing Obama’s power (FT)
- Day JFK Died We Traded Through Tears as NYSE Shut (BBG)
- When even dictators snub Obama - Afghanistan rejects U.S. call for quick security deal (Reuters)
- Obama Plunges in Investor Poll as Stocks Make New Highs (BBG)
- Iran, six powers struggle to overcome snags in nuclear talks (Reuters)
- Derision for China’s ‘rejuvenation index’ (FT)
- Bottom is in: Paulson Said to Inform Clients He Won’t Add More to Gold (BBG)
- German business sentiment rebounds strongly (WSJ)
- WTO on verge of global trade pact (FT)
With Richmond, CA's plans to use eminent domain to "help" underwater homeowners still ongoing (as suits from mortgage-backed securities owners such as PIMCO, Blackrock, and DoubleLine having been initially dismissed), it appears the "wealth transfer" scheme is gaining traction around the nation. As we warned it would, the appeal of this "bailout" - with no thought to the unintended consequence of crushing an entire investing class out of the market (and its implicit rate-increasing result) - is just too strong for local government and sure nough New Jersey town Irvington is moving in that direction. As AP reports, Irvington's plan would focus on using eminent domain to purchase so-called "private label" security mortgages, or ones that are not backed by the U.S. government.
It is time for the centrally-planned markets to "try" for the round number trifecta of 16000, 1800 and 4000 again, although it may be a tad more difficult on a day in which there is no double POMO and just $2.75-$3.50 billion will be injected by the NY Fed into the S&P - perhaps it is Bitcoin that will hit the nice round number of $1000 first? Overnight, the Chinese Plenum news rerun finally was priced in and the SHComp closed red, as did the Nikkei 225 as the Asian euphoria based on communist promises about what may happen by 2020 fades. What's worse, the Chinese 7-day repo rate is up 140bp this morning to 6.63% amid talk of tightening domestic liquidity conditions, and back to levels seen during the June liquidity squeeze. All this is happening as China continues leaking more details and hope of what reform the mercantilist country can achieve, and how much internal consumption the export-driven country can attain: overnight there were also additional reports of interest rate liberalization and that the PBOC are to set up a floating CNY rate. Good luck with that.
This morning has seen a plague of talking-head-based soundbites propagated through the mainstream media as 'fact' and actionable. One that caught our eye, from none other than "largest asset manager in the world" Larry Fink of Blackrock, simply beggared belief:
- *FINK SAYS JAPANESE INVESTORS QUESTIONING INVESTING IN U.S. DEBT
As we recently noted, the Japanese bond market is now dead (for all intent and purpose) but a glance at the following chart of credit reality suggests those Japanese investors might stop to reflect a little on their own reality...
"I can only say: I'm sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing.... We were working feverishly to preserve the impression that the Fed knew what it was doing... The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.... Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets. As for the rest of America, good luck..... The implication is that the Fed is dutifully compensating for the rest of Washington's dysfunction. But the Fed is at the center of that dysfunction. Case in point: It has allowed QE to become Wall Street's new "too big to fail" policy."
- Twitter's IPO to Make Market Debut (WSJ); Twitter Raises $1.82 Billion, Pricier Value Than Facebook (BBG)
- Worried Senators Press Obama on Health Law (WSJ)
- Greenspan Says Yellen Was His Guide to Economics Research at Fed (BBG)
- European Central Bank seen holding rates despite inflation tumble (Reuters)
- Wall St. Bonuses Over All Are Predicted to Rise 5 to 10% (NYT)
- Cautious consumers seen curbing U.S. economic growth (Reuters)
- China Grants U.S. Investors Indirect Access to Its Stock Markets (WSJ)
- Higher Tax Rates Give Top U.S. Earners Year-End Headaches (BBG)
- Iran Loses Nuclear Leverage as World Ignores Export Drop (BBG)
- NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in the running for JPMorgan job (Post)
As we enter into the two final months of the year, it is also the beginning of the seasonally strong period for the stock market. It has already been a phenomenal year for asset prices as the Federal Reserve's ongoing liquidity programs have seemingly trumped every potential headwind imaginable from Washington scandals, potential invasions, government shutdowns and threats of default. This leaves us with four things to ponder this weekend revolving around a central question: "Does the Fed's Q.E. programs actually work as intended and what are the potential consequences?"
There was a time when the Fed's QE was, at least on paper, supposed to generate jobs (the broad inflation will come on its own, in due course). After all, the prospect of injecting $85 billion in liquidity into a market with the sole goal of pushing the stock markets that benefit the purchasing power of about 10% of the population would hardly have received broad approval even by the co-opted Congress. So, to all those who still naively claim Fed is not the sole reason for the market's relentless march higher, those billions in liquidity must go into the economy, and specifically into job creation, right? As a result, we decided to back into what the average private sector job has ended up costing the US population in pure dollar terms (which in turn ultimately manifests itself in terms of unsustainable government debt and pent up inflation) via the Fed's monetary pathway. Well, according to the ADP data released earlier, in which a paltry 130K private sector jobs were created in a month in which the Fed, as always, injected $85 billion, the bottom line came to a whopping $654K per job! And taking the average job growth throughout 2013, this number, as can be seen on the chart below, is a laughter-inducing $553K!
Remember when minutes before the September FOMC announcement everyone was absolutely certain the Fed would announce tapering, only to leave a lot of very angry traders fuming? Fast forward one month when everyone is absolutely certain, again, that there is no way the Fed can announce anything even remotely suggesting a taper. One wonders though: since the Fed has by now burned all credibility bridges, and since the capital market bubble is now far greater than it was when both Stein and Bernanke, implicitly, warned about a building asset bubble (a chorus which has now been joined by JPM, Pimco and BlackRock) in early 2013, would today not be the best opportunity for the Fed to once again stun the market with a dramatic policy U-Turn, just to teach those momentum wave-riding vacuum tubes who is in charge? Probably not. However, as Lloyd Christamas noted, there is a chance. Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid explains why.
- FINK SAYS IT'S "IMPERATIVE" THAT THE FED BEGIN TO TAPER
- FINK CALLS MARKET `OVER-ZEALOUS'
- FINK SAYS THERE ARE "REAL BUBBLE-LIKE MARKETS AGAIN"
So... when the three largest banks/asset managers in the US say that Ben Bernanke has blown the largest asset bubble in history and that the time to taper has come, will Janet Yellen once again turn a blind ear to warnings that come not just from the "tinfoil" blogosphere but the "respected" legacy financial institutions made up of serious people, and after the cataclysm admit that, just like last time, she "never saw it coming?"
It's gotten beyond silly: with less than a day to go until the first X-Date, beyond which if Jack Lew is correct (he isn't) all hell will break loose if the US doesn't have a debt deal in place, stocks couldn't care less, Bills continue to sell off, carry traders only care how big the central banks' balance sheets are, all news are generally shunned and yet stocks have soared 600 DJIA points on Harry Reid's relentless optimism a deal will get done, even though so far none has. Today, as we observed on Monday, we expect more of the same: stocks and futures will ignore the reality that the midnight hour will come and go with no deal in place, but will continue to explode higher as Harry Reid's latest set of "optimism" headlines hits the tape in low volume trading. We expect the first big hope rally around POMO time, then shortly after Senate comes back in Session, around noon. Then for good measure, another one just before market close. Why not: it's not like the "market" even pretend to be one anymore. Keep an eye on today's 4-Week bill auction before noon. It should be a far bigger doozy than yesterday's longer-dated bills.
Yesterday it was JPMorgan's money-market funds adjusting to their fiduciary duty and following Fidelity's lead in getting out of any and all short-term non-risk-free Treasury Bills. Today, another massive money-market fund provider sells it all...
- *BLK'S MONEY FUNDS HAVE NO ASSETS IN TREASURIES TIED TO DEFAULT
- *BLACKROCK SAYS `ZERO EXPOSURE' TO DEBT MATURING IN LATE OCT.
- *BLACKROCK SAYS NO HOLDINGS IN TREASURIES MATURING IN EARLY NOV.
It seems remarkable that all three of these funds would ignore the advice of blowhard bloggers who suggested this was nothing. But, as Barack Obama himself said yesterday, "Ultimately, what matters is: What do the people who are buying Treasury bills think?" It seems only the Fed (and PIMCO) is left.
- JPMorgan eyes $4bn ‘pay for peace’ deal (FT)
- Prosecutors Pursue Big SAC Settlement (WSJ) - in the US if you are rich enough, no crime is bad enough
- Cruz's Defiant Stand Is Also a Lonely One (WSJ); Texas senator speaks for more than 14 hours (FT)
- Iran Applies Brakes to U.S. Mideast Plans (WSJ)
- Americans in Poll Doubt Economy Rebound in Defiance of Forecasts (BBG)
- Big Banks Cut Basel III Shortfall by $112 Billion at End of 2012 (BBG) - the equivalent of 10 bridges to the Kalahari desert
- Obama’s Jabs at Russia on Syria Shows Diplomacy Tensions (BBG)
- ICAP Staff Face Criminal Charges Tied to Libor (WSJ)
- Alibaba Is Said to Shift Target for I.P.O. to U.S. From Hong Kong (NYT)
- Home gold rush is over (Reuters)
- Conoco in landmark Alaska drone flight (FT)
- U.S., Russia to push for new Syria peace talks (Reuters)
- Elite Syrian Unit Scatters Chemical Arms Stockpile (WSJ)
- Obama to nominate Summers as Fed chief: Nikkei (Reuters)
- Boehner Wants Joint Talks on Debt, Budget (WSJ)
- House Republicans go for broke in fiscal battles (Reuters)
- Pimco, BlackRock Together Received More Than a Quarter of Verizon's $49 Billion Bond Deal (WSJ)
- Insane financial system lives post-Lehman (Gillian Tett)
- JPM to add $2.5 billion to its litigation reserves in the second half of the year (WSJ)
- Goldman’s Zurich offices visited over working-hours complaint (FT)
Back in May, with the release of the quarterly TBAC presentation, we penned "Desperately Seeking $11.2 Trillion In Collateral, Or How "Modern Money" Really Works" in which we described in detail Wall Street's lament that as a result of upcoming changes and regulations of the shadow market, that there may be a dramatic shortage in collateral over the next several years, which in addition to other factors, may hit over $10 trillion. Well, we can scratch the collateral concerns off.
- G20 TASK FORCE SAYS NEW SHADOW BANKING RULES EXPECTED TO BE IN PLACE BY 2015
- WON'T IMPLEMENT GLOBAL MINIMUM 'HAIRCUT' ON REPOS, SECURITIES LENDING UNTIL MARKET CONDITIONS RIGHT
Said otherwise, Wall Street looked at the shadow banking abyss, and promptly ran away when the abyss looked back.