Merrill Lynch

Austrian Parliament Hears 80% Of Austrian Gold Bullion Reserves In London

The Austrian central bank keeps most of its 280 metric tons of gold reserves in the United Kingdom, Vice Governor Wolfgang Duchatczek was quoted as saying in the finance committee of the country’s parliament today, according to Bloomberg. Answering lawmakers’ questions, Duchatczek said 80%, or 224.4 metric tons of the metal was stored in the U.K., 17% or 48.7 metric tons in Austria and 3% in Switzerland, according to a summary of a closed-door committee meeting provided by the parliament. The reserve has been unchanged since 2007, Duchatczek was quoted as saying. The central bank has earned 300 million euros ($385 million) over the last ten years by lending the gold, he said.

Guest Post: Real Danger Of “Obamacare”: Insurance Company Takeover Of Health Care

Now that The Show is over, we are left with the equivalent of a Sunday morning hangover following a binge of promises and lies. After the Supreme Court upheld the PPACA, a spate of mergers rippled through the managed health care realm, to ostensibly cope with smaller profit margins and  ‘compliance costs.’  But really, it’s because each firm wants to corner as much as possible of the market, in as many states as it can, to garner more premiums and control more disbursements and prices at the upcoming insurance ‘exchanges.’ Meanwhile the more hospitals are viewed as profit centers, the more their Chairmen will cut costs to maximize returns, and not care quality. They will seeks ways to sell underperforming assets, programs or services and reduce the number of nonessential employees, burdening those that remain. And if insurance companies can manage doctors directly, they can control not just costs, but treatment – our treatment. It’s not an imaginary government takeover anyone should fear; but a very real, here-and-now insurance company takeover, to which no one in Washington is paying attention.

Merrill Lynch: "Greek Risk Is Back"

You read about it here first (here and here). Now it is time for the sellside (whose products your soft dollars so generously fund) to wake up to what is happening next week.

Dark Knight Capital... Again

Dear Valued Client,

As per Knight’s request below, please route away from Knight.  If a client routes an order to Knight, the order will be rejected by our system.  Information on existing orders will still flow back from Knight.

Guest Post: Before The Election Was Over, Wall Street Won

Before the campaign contributors lavished billions of dollars on their favorite candidate; and long after they toast their winner or drink to forget their loser, Wall Street was already primed to continue its reign over the economy. For, after three debates (well, four), when it comes to banking, finance, and the ongoing subsidization of Wall Street, both presidential candidates and their parties’ attitudes toward the banking sector is similar  – i.e. it must be preserved – as is – at all costs, rhetoric to the contrary, aside. Obama hasn’t brought ‘sweeping reform’ upon the Establishment Banks, nor does Romney need to exude deregulatory babble, because nothing structurally substantive has been done to harness the biggest banks of the financial sector, enabled, as they are, by entities from the SEC to the Fed to the Treasury Department to the White House.

Bernanke Set To Unveil Number Larger Than "Eternity"

It was just over a month ago that the Chairsatan formalized the incorrect named QE 3, aka the open-ended QEternity, whose purpose, for now, was to increase the Fed's balance sheet by $40 billion/month in new MBS purchases. Well, according to MarketWatch, whose previously unheard of Greg Robb is seemingly vying for the role of Jon Hilsenrath, Ben Shalom is preparing to unveil a number bigger than eternity: " After historic changes last month, Federal Reserve officials this week will discuss a possible expansion of the size of its third round of bond buying and better ways to guide markets about future policy actions." Just because $40 billion per month in new flow is apparently not enough, and because the market is now well below the level it was when "QE 3" was announced.

R(osenberg) & B(ernstein): Two Ex-Merrill Colleagues, Two Opposing Outlooks, One Permabull Rebuttal

Earlier this week two former Merrill colleagues, since separated, were reunited on several media occasions, and allowed to spar over their conflicting views of the world. The two people in question, of course, are Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, best known during the past 3 years for not drinking the propaganda Kool-Aid, and systematically deconstructing every "bullish" macroeconomic datapoint into its far more downbeat constituent parts, and his ebullient ex-coworker, Richard Bernstein, formerly head of equity strategy at a firm that had to be rescued by none other than Bank of America and currently head of RBA advisors, who just happens to be bullish on, well, everything. And since any attempt at holding an intelligent conversation on CNBC is ultimately futile (as can be seen here) and is constantly broken up by both ads, and interjecting anchors and show producers who care far less about facts than keeping the presentation 'engaging' (and going to such lengths to even allow Jim Cramer to have his own TV show), Rosenberg decided to dedicate his entire letter to clients today to "providing a rebuttal" of the slate of reasons why according to Bernstein the "we are on the precipice of a 1982-2000 style of secular market." What follows is one of the most comprehensive "white papers" debunking the bullish view we have seen in a while. Read on.

Art Cashin On The 25th Anniversary Of 'Black Monday'

On this day (+1) in 1987 (that's 25 years ago, if you are burdened with a graduate degree), the NYSE had one of its most dramatic trading days in its 220 year history.  It suffered its largest single day percentage loss (22%) and its largest one day point loss up until that day (508 points). No one who was on the floor that day will ever forget it. While it was an unforgettable single day, there were months of events that went intoits making. The first two-thirds of 1987 were nothing other than spectacular on Wall Street. From New Year to shortly before Labor Day, the Dow rallied a rather stunning 43%.  Fear seemed to disappear. Junior traders laughed at their cautious elders and told each other to "buy strength" rather than sell it, as each rally leg was soon followed by another. One thing that also helped banish fear was a new process called "portfolio insurance". It involved use of the newly expanded S&P futures. Somewhat counterintuitively, it involved selling when prices turned down.

Frontrunning: October 18

  • Germany will pay Greek aid (Spiegel)
  • Spain Banks Face More Pain as Worst-Case Scenario Turns Real (Bloomberg)
  • China’s Growth Continues to Slow (WSJ)
  • Executives Lack Confidence in U.S. Competitiveness (WSJ)
  • Poor Market Conditions will See 180 Solar Manufacturers Fail by 2015 (OilPrice)
  • Wen upbeat on China’s economy (FT)
  • Gold remains popular, despite the doubts of economists (Economist)
  • Armstrong Stands to Lose $30 Million as Sponsors Flee (Bloomberg)
  • IMF urges aid for Italy, Spain but Rome baulking (Reuters)
  • EU Summit Highlights Financial Divide (WSJ)
  • FOMC Straying on Price Target, Former Fed Officials Say (Bloomberg)
  • Putin defiant over weapons sales (FT)

Frontrunning: October 17

  • Obama takes offensive against Romney in debate rematch (Reuters)
  • Obama Says Romney Words Aren’t ‘True’ in Second Debate (Bloomberg)
  • Obama takes Romney head-on in debate (FT)
  • And another joins the club: Thailand Unexpectedly Cuts Rate as Global Outlook Worsens (Bloomberg)
  • PBOC Injects Less Cash (WSJ)
  • Japan to Hold Special Cabinet Meeting After Economy Downgraded (Bloomberg)
  • Greek Coalition Duo Reject Labour Moves Proposed by Troika (WSJ)
  • Opposition wanes to Spanish aid request (FT)
  • RBS to Exit U.K. Asset Protection Plan After $4 Billion Fees (Bloomberg)
  • Spain Retains Investment Grade Credit Rating From Moody’s (Bloomberg)
  • US diplomat asks Japan, ROK to resolve islands spat (China Daily)
  • Stagnation not due to austerity, says OBR (FT)

Frontrunning: October 4

  • Romney dominates presidential debate (FT)
  • What Romney’s Debate Victory Means (Bloomberg)
  • Obama Lead Shrinks in Two Battlegrounds (WSJ)
  • "Everything will fall apart unless the Spanish conditions are extremely tough" German policy-maker (Telegraph)
  • Draghi Stares at Spain as Brinkmanship Keeps ECB Waiting (Bloomberg)
  • RBS facing loss after Spanish property firm collapse (Telegraph)
  • Burdened by Old Mortgages, Banks Are Slow to Lend Now (WSJ)
  • The Woman Who Took the Fall for JPMorgan Chase (NYT)
  • European Banks Told to Hold On to $258 Billion of Fresh Capital (Bloomberg)
  • Europe Weighs More Sanctions as Iran’s Currency Plummets (Bloomberg)