Welcome to the new old normal 'Murica... buy those homes... lever up... spend the HELOC... die a debt serf...
Having exuberantly reached its highest level since September 2013 last month (despite the total collapse in mortgage applications), it appears the ugly reality of the housing market has peeked its head out once again. As prices rose, existing home sales plunged 6.1% - the most since July 2010 (against an expected 1.1% drop) to 4.93mm SAAR (the lowest in 6 months). As usual there is an excuse for this carnage... NAR's Larry Yun blames the stock market (and rising home values). Quite a conundrum for the Fed...
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
Wall Street Harbinger Jefferies Reports Q4 Bloodbath: 73% Plunge In Fixed Income Revenue, 45% Drop In EquitiesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/16/2014 14:42 -0500
What Jefferies is best known for among Wall Street shareholders is that, by still reporting a Nov. 30 fiscal year end, 1 month ahead of everyone else, it provides an invaluable glimpse into the fortunes of its Wall Street peers with a 4 week advance notice, especially when it comes to its bread and butter: fixed income trading (recall that CEO Rich Handler was a Drexel bond trader when the firm blew up). And report it did earlier today, although most of Wall Street shareholders would rather it didn't, because the numbers were absolutely abysmal, and indicative of nothing short of a trading bloodbath on Wall Street in the latest three months of trading.
One sign would be for non-energy junk bonds to begin dropping in price. That would mean large holders are exiting from all junk bonds, not just those companies affected by low oil prices.
Another sign would be sudden drops in share prices for banks or insurance companies that hold small amounts of energy-related bonds or bank loans, a clue that some market participants think they have derivative exposure.
A third sign to look for would be the rumors or news that the big, investment-grade energy companies are having trouble renewing their Commercial Paper, bank loans or maturing bonds (the Exxon-Mobils and Shells of the world).
- Oil slide hits European stocks, safe-haven assets sought (Reuters)
- IEA Cuts Global Oil Demand Forecast for 4th Time in Five Months (BBG)
- Cue constant pro-Abe propaganda out of Japan: Japan’s Secrecy Law Takes Effect as Abe Seeks Fair Vote Coverage (BBG)
- As if it has a choice: Japan’s GPIF Bets on Abenomics-Driven Recovery (WSJ)
- Heather Capital: How a $600 Million Hedge Fund Disappeared (WSJ)
- Senate Panel Votes to Authorize U.S. War on Islamic State (BBG)
- Japan’s 28 IPOs in 11 Days Give Abe a Lift as Startups Boom (BBG)
- U.S. authorities face new fallout from insider trading ruling (Reuters)
- Greek Stock Rout Means ASE Is 2014 Worst After Russia (BBG)
Underneath the Propaganda, the Economy Is In BAD SHAPE …
Here we go again! Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have now officially approved 3% down payment mortgages. Having government entities provide low down payment mortgages to people who can’t afford to buy a house is always a good move. Keynesians like Krugman approve wholeheartedly. The housing market will get a nice boost and the working taxpayers will fund the bad debt through Fannie and Freddie. You own Fannie and Freddie. Everyone wins. In case you forgot, the closing costs to sell a house are usually 8% of the home price. So these home buyers are immediately 5% underwater when they move in... "Sometimes I can’t believe I live in a world this f##ked up. And no one notices and no one cares."
When no lesser establishmentarian than Obama's former chief economist Jared Bernstein called for an end to the US Dollar's reserve status, it raised a few eyebrows, but as the WSJ recently noted, the voices discussing how the burden of being the world's reserve currency harms America, more than just Vladimir Putin is paying attention. While some argue that “no other global currency is ready to replace the U.S. dollar.” That is true of other paper and credit currencies, but the world’s monetary authorities still hold nearly 900 million ounces of gold, which is enough to restore, at the appropriate parity, the classical gold standard: the least imperfect monetary system of history.
Who Are the Worst Looters?
The actions of central bankers around the globe which have been driving stock prices higher are not a sign of control. They are signs of desperation. They are losing control. Their academic theories have failed. Their bosses insist they turn it up to eleven. Something is going to blow. You can feel it. John Hussman knows what will happen. Do you?
No matter the amount and severity of lawsuits, settlements, and bad publicity, it appears, at least in this case, that the act of signing without proper authority or knowledge as to that which one is signing, continues.
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.'"