Today's jobs number is expected to come at 125,000, with a high estimate of 154,000 from John Hancock financial, and a low of 30,000 from Westpac Banking, and with a whisper expectation at 150,000 courtesy of yesterday's "stronger than expected" ADP re-revised print. A beat or miss at over 1 standard deviation will promptly wake the HFT algos from their deep slumber. Wait did we say miss? Hah. Anyway, just to put today's seasonally adjusted expected monthly job growth in context, below is a chart showing the average seasonal adjustment for each month of the year in the past decade. In October, seasonal adjustments subtract just over 1 million "jobs" (purely statistically of course, merely to smooth the underlying "noise"). This means that the final monthly print will be just over 10% of the actual X-12-ARIMA goalseeked statistical adjustment. Add to this another ~80K or so which will be "added" from the birth death adjustment, and one can see how in the grand scheme of things, the statistical error factor alone dwarfs what is the actual underlying data. To think that in this labyrinth of layered adjustments to an actual number, the BLS will somehow allow the final number to be disappointing means having a locked bid on the Alaska to Russia bridge market.
Only in public schools and universities is the fairy tale still taught that governments are representative of the people. The blue collared man on the street realizes the chips are stacked against him. For those who don’t have political connections, the pseudo fascist system that is still referred to as “capitalism” in the U.S. is akin to a casino game of chance. That is, the odds are always in the house’s favor. The house is the federal leviathan and its equivalent at the state and local level as well as the big, cartelized industries which feed off government protection. With Obamacare, the middle class will end up being liable for yet another entitlement program that, like any other government initiative, will cost more than was initially estimated. Worse yet, they will be bombarded with advertisements they paid for which attempt to convince them that Uncle Sam has once again delivered prosperity with a badge and a gun. The disheartening part is some Americans will be foolish enough to actually believe it.
New meaning to the words, use it or lose it.
Goodbye 11th hour. Hello 12th hour and 1 minute. According to MF Global's Chris Krueger, the probability that congress fails to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 is now 55%. Which means at least a 1 if not more notch downgrade by the rating agencies, which means massive and completely unpredictable spillover effects in money markets, structured finance, muni and all other financial products, which means the military will soon have to conduct many more urban exercises to prepare for "Tehran" (because the Iranian capital's downtown has at least 3 John Hancock center replicas). In the meantime, the market still thinks that Bernanke can fix this.
Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact...The 56 signers of the Declaration Of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
John Paulson's worst nightmare is on the verge of coming true. As reported yesterday, JP is a holder of 34.7 million shares of Sino-Forest, which was halted yesterday after Muddy Waters came out with a report exposing the company as a fraud, and by implication, all the sellside analysts covering the company with a buy rating, not to mention all the funds who had bought into it, as diligenceless monkeys who refuse to actually do their homework and merely follow the leader in the worst example of Wall Street groupthink. Well, yesterday groupthink became gangbang, after names as varied as JP, CapRe, Bessemer, Blackrock, John Hancock, Hartford, and many more learned they all may have been fooled by the biggest ponzi fraud since Madoff. And while the funds may pretend things are good courtesy of the continued freeze of TRE.TO on the Toronto Stock exchange, where it still has to issue an announcement despite promises it would do so before market open, its sister stock, SNOFF.PK continues to trade domestically. And it's a bloodbath. After opening at $18 yesterday, the stock just touched $2.45, generating a loss of over $500 million for John Paulson, who in addition is rumored to be very heavily long the company's bonds. It will be ironic if one Chinese fraud (despite our repeated warnings) ends up being the black swan that confirms that there is no such thing as a consistently good hedge fund, and it is all merely a function of one right trade, at the right time, executed with infinite amounts of leverage (thank you CDS). In the meantime, we hope Muddy Waters is working a report exposing that biggest ponzi scheme of all: the US stock market.
One can not blame Mort Zuckerman for being bullish on housing (or at least some segments thereof): after all the outspoken Obama critic just splurged $930 million on the John Hancock building (which recently went into foreclosure at a $660 million valuation, but Mort has a story about how improvements in the parking lot and somesuch are worth the 50% hike in price). Yet what the Boston Properties chairman likes in commercial real estate (and for a contrarian and somewhat more lucid view feel free to peruse comparable thoughts by Howard Davidowitz) he loathes in residential real estate, which would be bad news for Bank of America if the bank's real name wasn't Bank of Banana Republic. In an interview with CNBC's finest, the USNews editor said that the record shadow inventory is "what’s going to put downward pressure on residential prices. And in my judgment, that’s going to continue forat’s going to continue for several years. We’ve seen home prices go down now for four months in a row, according to the Case-Shiller Index , by 1.3 percent in the last month. So it’s an accelerating downtrend in those prices. This is on top of three to four years of declines.” Oddly enough, no mention of the fact previously discussed by Davidowitz that "we have 21 square feet of selling space for every man woman and child in this country" but then again that may not be too bullish for CRE. And at the end of the day everyone has an agenda.
2010 is going out with a bang as every piece of data beat guesses today including new claims for unemployment, pending home sales, and...
Two weeks ago we first touched upon a key tangential topic of the whole mortgage mess, namely the implication of what potential MERS fraud means for Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities. Well, the topic which has so far avoided broad media attention to the benefit of all CMBS holders may be about to go mainstream. As part of our initial inquiry, we asked: "If residential mortgage foreclosures are being halted and if the very fabric of the MBS securitization architecture is put into question, when will someone ask whether MERS® Commercial allowed such pervasive title fraud as is now apparently ubiquitous in the residential space, to take the CMBS space by storm, and how many billions in dollars will Banc of America Securities, Bear Stearns (d/b/a JP Morgan), GE Capital Real Estate, GMAC Commercial, John Hancock and Wells Fargo be forced to buy back loans that were fraudulently certified." Our question is now being reiterated by Barclays Capital. Next up Bloomberg, Ratigan, and everyone else.
The irresponsible actions by MERS are rapidly becoming the stuff of folklore: from their direct and indirect involvement in every fraudclosure, to the president himself falling for what appears to be a MERS agent with a split signature personality, to MERS just-released refutation of it ever having done something wrong, the hammer on MERS seems to be preparing to fall with a resounding thud. Yet with everyone focusing on MERS' involvement in the residential mortgage space, pundits have ignored that "other" space where MERS made the possibility of outright robosigning fraud a distinct possibility - commercial real estate. For specifics one has to go back 7 years in time, to July 28, 2003, and read the following press release from the company titled: "MERS Liberates Commercial Marketplace From Assignments" in which we read that "MERS announces the release of its latest
product, MERS® Commercial, designed to eliminate the repurchase risk and
costs associated with preparing, recording and tracking assignments for
the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) marketplace." Ah yes, how convenient for MERS to come to the CMBS market with a "time saving" yet fraud facilitating product, at precisely the time when various CMBS issues would start propagating and flooding the market with hundreds of billions of commercial real estate securitizations. Which begs the question: if residential mortgage foreclosures are being halted and if the very fabric of the MBS securitization architecture is put into question, when will someone ask whether MERS® Commercial allowed such pervasive title fraud as is now apparently ubiquitous in the residential space, to take the CMBS space by storm, and how many billions in dollars will Banc of America Securities, Bear Stearns (d/b/a JP Morgan), GE Capital Real Estate, GMAC Commercial, John Hancock and Wells Fargo be forced to buy back loans that were fraudulently certified.
The recovery of the economy depends on several important factors, but the recovery of the real estate market is near the top of the list, especially commercial real estate (CRE) because most of America's banks are loaded down with CRE debt. Here is a current assessment of the state of the CRE market.
"Despite the contortions of the pundits, it looked (from the playing field) like the selloff was 75% Greece and, maybe, 25% Goldman. The selling was quite broad. Nearly 80% of the stocks that traded closed down. The added problem for the bulls was the increased volume brought on by the option expiration. That made Friday a clear distribution day in the key indices.
Traders headed for the ritual marination wondering what the next step in the Greece situation would be. Reports were that the ECB and IMF might be in Athens as early as Monday. It sparked the bulk of post close conversation." - Art Cashin
Continuing our series of impending Commercial Real Estate debacles, today we focus on CMBX 3 (H1 2007 transactions). As Fitch disclosed on Friday, the November delinquency rate across CMBS increased by 43 bps to 4.29%, while more than double, 9.16% of the entire Fitch universe, was in special servicing. Of this CMBX 3 (together with 4) hold the brunt of the collapse in CRE. Of the 25 deals in CMBX 3, those performing the worst as of the latest remittance report were:
- COMM 06-C8, with 18.3% of all deals delinquent or in special servicing ($680.4 million of $3.7 billion total)
- CSMC 07-C1, with 16.5% of all deals delinquent or in special servicing ($552.3 million of $3.3 billion total)
- LBUBS 07-C1, with 15.6% of all deals delinquent or in special servicing(576.4 million of $3.7 billion total)
And highlighted below are the properties most indicative of the CRE collapse within CMBX 3, and in CRE in general. Once again, this is merely a sample with many other properties already in foreclosure and/or delinquency.
Zero Hedge's feelings about commercial real estate are no secret. Yesterday's sale of the John Hancock Tower to Normandy was an interesting market test, with media reports claiming it implied either nothing much or only good things about CRE and CMBS recoveries. A contrarian (and realistic) analysis on the transaction out of Morgan Stanely implies that based on this deal, not all is good in CRE land. (hat tip to reader David).
The board of Trump Entertainment, absent the lovely Ivanka Trump, is currently meeting to prepare a bankruptcy filing early tomorrow morning according to the WSJ.