Fortress Balance Sheet
When just one firm accounts for 99.3% of the physical gold sales at the COMEX in the last three months it’s not what most of us on this side of the rainbow would consider “broad-based” selling. Of course discovering this kind of relevant information requires an internet connection, 2nd grade math and reading skills, and the desire to do a teeny-weeny bit of reporting. Sadly they’ve wandered so far down the rabbit hole that the concept of “physical demand” (i.e. people actually wanting to take possession of the stuff) is puzzling to them because the vast majority of the world’s so-called “gold-trading” takes place in the realm of make believe (which is their natural habitat). It’s all fun and games until somebody loses their metal and “somebody” has lost one hell of a lot of metal in the last 90 days... J P Morgan has fumbled ownership of 1,966,000 Troy ounces of gold since February 1. That’s 74% more gold than the US mint delivered through the US mint’s American Eagle program in all of 2012. I mention this because there’s little doubt in my mind that the US government is one of JPM’s gold “customers.” So (if I am correct) the same US government who just let the Morgue dump its gold on the COMEX floor will once again be suspending gold sales to peasants.
JPM Beats Thanks To $1.1 Billion Reserve Release, Revenue Misses, Drops By $900 Million, NIM At Post-Crisis LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2013 07:41 -0400
If JPM and its "fortress" balance sheet and business model are supposed to represent Q1 earnings for US banks, it will not be a good start to the year. While EPS beat expectations solidly, coming at $1.59 on expectations of $1.39 print, this was largly driven by a bigger than expected loan loss reserve release in its real estate portfolios ($650MM pretax), and card services ($500MM pretax), which was the largest combined release number since the $2 billion reduction in Q1 2012. This took down total JPM total loan loss reserves to $20.8 billion, down from $21.9 billion in Q4, and down $5.1 billion from the $25.9 billion a year ago. This happened even though JPM's NPL declined far more modestly, from $10.7 billion to just $10.4 billion. It was the revenue of $25.12 that missed expectations of $25.85, down from $26.05 billion a year ago, and which is the bigger issue for the bank, driven by disappointing trading results with fixed income markets revenue of $4.8 Billion, down 5% YoY, equity markets revenue of $1.3 Billion, down 6% YoY, and Securities Services revenue of $974mm, flat YoY. Not surprisingly in order to maintain expenses, headcount continue to decline from 258,753 to 255,898.
Asia has badly lagged U.S. and European stock markets this year and over the past 12 months. We explain why it's happened and why it may continue.
Just under a year ago, when JPMorgan's London Whale trading fiasco was exposed as much more than just the proverbial "tempest in a teapot", Morgan watchers were left scratching their heads over another very curious development: the dramatic surge in the company's reported VaR, which as we showed last June nearly doubled, rising by some 93% year over year. Specifically we said that "in the 10-Q filing, the bank reported a VaR of $170 million for the three months ending March 31, 2012. This compared to a tiny $88 million for the previous year." JPM, which was desperate to cover up this modelling snafu, kept mum and shed as little light on the issue as possible. In its own words from the Q1 2012 10-Q filing: "the increase in average VaR was primarily driven by an increase in CIO VaR and a decrease in diversification benefit across the Firm." And furthermore: "CIO VaR averaged $129 million for the three months ended March 31, 2012, compared with $60 million for the comparable 2011 period. The increase in CIO average VaR was due to changes in the synthetic credit portfolio held by CIO as part of its management of structural and other risks arising from the Firm's on-going business activities." Keep the bolded sentence in mind, because as it turns out it is nothing but a euphemism for, drumroll, epic, amateur Excel error!
A few days after divesting its stake in the firm that started it all, AIG, and at a profit at that (ignoring that the risk has merely been onboarded by the Fed whose DV01 is now $2+ billion as a result), the US Treasury continues to divest of all its bailout stake, this time proceeding to GM, where the channel stuffing firm just announced it would buyback 200MM shares from the US government at a price of $27.50. More importantly, the "Treasury said it intends to sell its other remaining 300.1 million shares through various means in an orderly fashion within the next 12-15 months, subject to market conditions. Treasury intends to begin its disposition of those 300.1 million common shares as soon as January 2013 pursuant to a pre-arranged written trading plan. The manner, amount, and timing of the sales under the plan are dependent upon a number of factors." Assuming a price in the $27.50 range, this implies a nearly 50% loss on the government's breakeven price of $54. So much for the "profit" spin. One hopes all those Union votes were well worth the now booked $40+ billion cost to all taxpayers.
Presenting JPMorgan's CEO Jamie Dimon's prepared remarks for tomorrow's debacle: The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the totally unvarnished version of the truth that will fulfill Jamie Dimon's obligations to sit through a few hours of snide remarks, condescension, and bating. It does seem however that our initial perspective on this being a systemic risk hedge (i.e. a 'delta-hedged' senior tranche position as opposed to some easily managed and understood pairs trade) that rapidly grew out of control due to risk control inadequacies, is absolutely correct - though we suspect that is as close to the real truth anyone will ever get.
Remember when Jamie Dimon showed the Fed who's boss and preannounced it was starting a share repurchase program? Turns out the Chairsatan will have the final laugh:
- DIMON SAYS JPM IS SUSPENDING SHARE REPURCHASES
- DIMON SAYS SUSPENDING REPURCHASE PROGRAM ISN'T RELATED TO LOSS
- DIMON SAYS SUSPENDING REPURCHASE PROGRAM ISN'T RELATED TO LOSS
- JPM'S DIMON SAYS THERE'S UNREALIZED $8B IN PROFIT FROM CIO
- JPM'S DIMON: DOESN'T SEE INVESTIGATION TO UNVEIL BIG SUPRISES
- DIMON SAYS LOSS IS AN ISOLATED EVENT
And the joke of the day:
- DIMON SAYS FORTRESS BALANCE SHEET REMAINS
JP Morgan may suddenly be finding itself in deep doodoo, with wide-ranging implications for what this huge prop trading loss means for other less than "fortress balance sheet" banks, all of whose trading blotters are surely riddled with comparable attempts at picking pennies in front of steamrollers, but at least "Europe is fine" and its banks are "solvent". So as a reminder, here is what Europe can look forward to next week: in a word - one of the heaviest bond issuance weeks so far in 2012. And no, these are not slam dunk Bills maturing inside the LTRO. Good luck Europe.
JPM Crashing After It Convenes Emergency Call To Advise Of "Significant Mark-To-Market" Losses In Bruno Iksil/CIO GroupSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/10/2012 16:50 -0400
Out of nowehere, JPM announced 40 minutes ago that it would hold an unscheduled 5pm call to coincide with the release of its 10-Q. Rumors were swirling as to why. The reason is as follows:
- JPMORGAN SAYS CIO UNIT HAS SIGNIFICANT MARK-TO-MARKET LOSSES - "Fortress balance sheet" at least until Bruno Iskil gets done with it.
- JPMORGAN SAYS LOSSES ARE IN SYNTHETIC CREDIT PORTFOLIO - but, but, net is NEVER, EVER Gross.
- JPM WOULD NEED $971M ADDED COLLATERAL IF RATINGS CUT ONE-NOTCH
- JPM WOULD NEED $1.7B ADDED COLLATERAL IF RATINGS CUT 2 NOTCHES - how about three notches?
- JPMORGAN: MAY HOLD SOME SYNTHETIC CREDIT POSITIONS LONG TERM - "Level 3 CDS FTW"
- "As of March 31, 2012, the value of CIO's total AFS securities portfolio exceeded its cost by approximately $8 billion"
As a reminder, the CIO unit is where Bruno Iksil was making $200 billion-sized bets. Basically JPM has suffered massive losses at its CIO group most likely due to its IG/HY positions held by Iksil.
Sudden collapse in withholding taxes... so now we can get back to the normal state, where the government borrows more than expected.
In all the excitement over the December 21 LTRO, Europe forgot one small thing: since it is the functional equivalent of banks using the Discount Window (and at 3 years at that, not overnight), it implies that a recipient bank is in a near-death condition. As such, the incentive for good banks to dump on bad ones is huge, which means that everyone must agree to be stigmatized equally, or else a split occurs whereby the market praises the "good banks" and punishes the "bad ones" (think Lehman). As a reminder, this is what Hank Paulson did back in 2008 when he forced all recently converted Bank Holding Companies to accept bail outs, whether they needed them or not, something that Jamie Dimon takes every opportunity to remind us of nowadays saying he never needed the money but that it was shoved down his throat. Be that as it may, the reason why there has been no borrowings on the Fed's discount window in years, in addition to the $1.6 trillion in excess fungible reserves floating in the system, is that banks know that even the faintest hint they are resorting to Fed largesse is equivalent to signing one's death sentence, and in many ways is the reason why the Fed keeps pumping cash into the system via QE instead of overnight borrowings. Yet what happened in Europe, when a few hundred banks borrowed just shy of €500 billion is in no way different than a mass bailout via a discount window. Still, over the past month, Europe which was on the edge equally and ratably, and in which every bank was known to be insolvent, has managed to stage a modest recovery, and now we are back to that most precarious of states - where there is explicit stigma associated with bailout fund usage. And unfortunately, it could not have come at a worse time for the struggling continent: with a new "firewall" LTRO on deck in three weeks, one which may be trillions of euros in size, ostensibly merely to shore up bank capital ahead of a Greek default, suddenly the question of who is solvent and who is insolvent is back with a vengeance, as the precarious Nash equilibrium of the past month collapses, and suddenly a two-tier banking system forms - the banks which the market will not short, and those which it will go after with a vengeance.
If JPM, which just launched the financials earnings onslaught by first reporting Q4 results, is any indication, it will not be pretty for the financial sector which has seen dramatic moves higher in the past several weeks, because as Jamie Dimon says, Q4 was "Modestly Disappointing." The reason: a top line miss, and a continuing contraction in capital markets leading to yet another decline in Investment Banking results. Also, what DVA giveth, DVA taketh away, and with CDS tightening in the quarter, DVA resulted in a $567 million loss in the quarter. Yet even with the DVA impact exclusion, revenue, which was reported at $21.47 billion would still have missed estimates of $22.56 billion. Finally, what would a quarter be if a bank did not reduce its loan loss allowance and release even more reserves, no matter how the market is actually doing: JPM did just that in its mortgage banking division, lowering its net loan loss allowance by $230 million following a $1 billion allowance reduction in loan-losses offset by actual impairments of $770 million. Stock is down following the release.
Bank Of America Continues Firesales To Shore Up Liquidity, Sells Canadian Credit Card Business To TD GroupSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/15/2011 07:52 -0400
After it was disclosed that Bank of America's firesale of its China Construction Bank is not going as well as expected, Moynihan's company, which was trounced by the market in the past week, continues to shed assets, this time offloading its $8.6 billion Canadian credit card portfolio to TD Bank for an unknown amount, a deal about which all BAC said was that the "transaction is expected to have a positive impact on the company's Tier 1 common and tangible common equity and the respective ratios." So it may also have a negative impact? That's encouraging. This news follows earlier disclosure that BAC has sold its UK and Ireland credit card business. Unfortunately for BAC shareholders, as long as the CFC bad bank is not nationalized by the Fed (sending its tracking CDS to parity with US default risk) such incremental asset sales will continue. Which also means that as BAC retains the non-performing assets, it is forced to sell its cash-generating trophies. At what point will there be nothing left of BAC but a husk that promises to everyone that going forward its Tier 1 ratio will be over 6% for real this time. And how long until the next Reps and Warranties lawsuit against BAC's mortgage handling practices?
The last time we saw letters of this nature, John Thain and Dick Fuld were assuring their employees all shall be well. It is about that time again. The CEO of the soon to be bailed out company has just distributed a memo to his "teammates" doing his best to rebuild rock bottom morale, and failing: "Because we serve one in two households in the U.S. and have leading positions with the global Fortune 500 companies here and around the world – a market advantage in most respects – turbulence in the global economy will affect us as well. But we have weathered challenging times before and we will now." Correct: you did so courtesy of $15 billion in TARP funding from the Fed. And we are certain that you will do the same all over again, so you, or actually your imminent replacement can write sentimental drivel such as this all over again. That said, we find it truly shocking that there is no mention of the fact that Bank of America is about $20-50 billion underprovisioned for the perfect litigation storm that is coming courtesy of the worst transaction in M&A history: BAC's purchase of CFC.
Also lots of chatter about JPM's "fortress balance sheet." Ahem, shorters are already crossing the moats.