Mark To Market

Happy 6th Birthday: The Day FASB Folded & "Mark-To-Fantasy" Was Born

The captured corporate MSM is celebrating the six year anniversary of when the stock market bottomed in March 2009. They will spin a false narrative of Bernanke, Obama and Geithner saving the world with TARP, QE, and the $800 billion Porkulus bill. In fact, Bernanke and Geithner stopped the market from falling in March 2009 by threatening the accounting geeks at the FASB and forcing them to allow fraudulent reporting by the insolvent Wall Street banks. The crisis ended – precisely – on March 16, 2009, when the Financial Accounting Standards Board abandoned FAS 157 "mark-to-market" accounting, and Mark to fantasy was born.

On February 7, 2009 Bernanke Admitted What It Was All About

"I am somewhat concerned, at least given the way things stand now, about the market reaction. First, the lack of details will create some uncertainty and concern, particularly because there’s not a great deal said about the “problem children,” the BAC and Citi. Secondly, I think the markets will be disappointed in the following sense: As I will describe, this is a real truth-telling kind of plan. It’s fundamentalist. It’s not about giving the banks a break. It’s not about using accounting principles  to give them backdoor capital. It’s very much market-oriented and “tough love.” And I think we all will like that. I like that. But the banks’ shareholders aren’t going to be thrilled about it."

The Oil Market Actually Works, And That Hurts

The benefits of cheap oil are no match for the destruction that touches on a thousand different parts of our economies. It doesn’t help that much of both Canadian and American oil, especially the unconventional kinds, were drowning in debt even before oil turned south with a vengeance. But that’s not even the most crucial part. Our entire economies revolve around oil, it’s not just something that you put in your car, oil is everywhere, it’s built our world and it maintains it. And therefore the effects of a sudden 40% price drop – and counting – will be felt everywhere. What we’ve seen so far can still be labeled ‘orderly’, but that’s not going to last. Still, look at the bright side: at least you can say that for once in your life you’ve witnessed a functioning market.

The Fallacy Of The Volcker Rule (Or "Fixing" The Banks In 5 Easy Steps)

Volcker Rule - Who cares?  I know we are supposed to care more about this convoluted rule, but we just can’t. The concept that somehow “prop” trading brought down the banks seems silly.  The idea that market making desks were a dangerous part of the equation is ludicrous. They could have fixed this with a few simple changes, but that would have meant some blame would have had to be shifted onto the regulators...

The Fed's Impersonation Of The Hunt Brothers Continues

As we head towards NFP and discussion about tapering picks up again it is crucial to understand the Fed balance sheet report, where, at least in terms of the treasuries they own, they continue their Hunt Brothers impersonation. What this means is we would be very nervous about being too short treasuries here because in addition to steep curves and low inflation, you have the potential for a short squeeze as the free float of longer bonds is just small.

Guest Post: Take It To The Bank

If one was a foreigner visiting for the first time, one would think Space Available was the hot new retailer in the country. Thousands of Space Available signs dot the bleak landscape, as office buildings, strip malls, and industrial complexes wither and die. At least the Chinese "Space Available" sign manufacturers are doing well. The only buildings doing brisk business are the food banks and homeless shelters. However, reports like the recent one from SNL Financial – Branch Networks Continue to Shrink - are emblematic of the mal-investment spurred by the Federal Reserve easy money policies, zero interest rates, and QEternity... In a truly free, non-manipulated market the weak would be culled, new dynamic competitors would fill the void, and consumers would benefit. However, extending debt payment schedules of the largest zombie entities and pretending you will get paid has been the mantra of the insolvent zombie Wall Street banks since 2009.