"We cant stop here. This is bat country"
We get a glimpse into the latest leading unemployment indicators courtesy of Fox Biz' which notifies that Morgan Stanley in addition to previously reported job cuts, will also be shutting another 300 branch offices and cutting as many as 1,200 jobs over the next year in an attempt to reduce overhead. The primary reason for this: "there has been a significant slowdown in small investors turning to brokers to execute orders; many investors are sitting on cash because they are fearful of the recent volatility in the markets. Because of the declining retail order flow, every major brokerage firm will have to cut staff, Morgan even more so because of the overlap from the Smith Barney acquisition." Apparently promises by the SEC and the quant/HFT community that the May 6 crash will never, ever repeat again are insufficient to placate the investing population which is now justifiably turning its back on equity investments, as seen by last week's massive ongoing outflow from domestic equity mutual funds. Absent Obama making another March 2009-like appearance discussing attractive "profit and earnings ratios", we don't see a material catalyst to change risk perceptions.
As a reminder, for anyone considering this a buying opportunity (other than for a swing trade) based on rebalancing or mean-reversion should note two things: fund outflows are picking up for risk assets, and, even more importantly in our view, risk budgets will mean that allocations will be materially lower (in their wondrously pro-cyclical manner) as we note IG's three-month realized vol is its highest since NOV08 and HY's three-month realized vol is its highest since OCT07 (higher still if we adjust for intraday vol)!
All-in-all a very weak close to a worrisome day (especially given month-start rebalancing hopes). Even the positive ECO prints were questionable on the basis of regime-change a month ago and anything more recent was showing a disappointing trajectory. Weakness was evident across all sectors and industries in credit but the stress in the ENRG space are clearly particularly notable (especially given their somewhat safe-haven status that may have hurt so many recently). Levels to consider in IG are 109.5bps as next support with 118.75bps as a decent short-term pivot. HY held above its pivot of 645bps today with next stop 587bps (large range due to recent vol) and a target of 702bps in the short-term.
Earlier we disclosed market rumors that BofA/ML has raised PB margins. Bank of America has hit our tip box providing the following denial that PB margins have increased. We are happy that BofA/ML has seen it as sufficiently important to its business to refute rumors posted on a blog.
In response to earlier chatter this morning, please post the company statement below. Please confirm receipt and call with any questions.
“Bank of America Merrill Lynch has not raised its prime brokerage margins in any product including equity, credit, rates, FX, etc.”
You heard my warnings about the "best of breed", "incomparable on the Street" (and all of the other groupie talk, worshiping phrases thrown at this company) Goldman pillaging clients and of their excessive overvaluation for over two years in BoomBustBlog, yet now the mainstream media is starting to catch on as Goldman's stock plummets (down over $5 yesterday and over 20% for the month, with more to go). I wonder when they will get around to the other investment banks and FIRE sector companies that I warned about. Let's reminisce...
Wednesday Trading Session Set To Be "The Most Volatile In Living Memory" Warns Telegraph, Plunge In Bunds ExpectedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/18/2010 23:20 -0400
If there was any doubt about where futures will open tomorrow, the following article from the Telegraph should assuage all doubts: "Traders greeted the move by BaFin, the German regulator, with a mixture of anger and astonishment. One bond trader said he expected Wednesday's trading session to be one of the most volatile in living memory: "It will be complete chaos, I really don't know what the Germans think they are doing.""Without the two-way flow the German market is likely to become utterly dysfunctional," said one London-based bond trader. "Nobody ever thought they'd do this in a million years and it raises the long-term question of who is now going to want to buy their debt."
What do you think those bankers with perfect trading days in Q1 did with all the money they made? As Eli Broad said, "No one wants paper money — they want art.” This is the Fed's gift to these bankers.
There does not seem to pass a day anymore without Goldman having to do a daily trip to CVS to buy a barrel of KY. The NYT reports that today's criminal investigation comes courtesy of Ny AG Andrew Cuomo who is now investigating whether 8 banks provided misleading information to rating agencies in order to inflate grades of mortgage and other securities. The banks in question are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and Merrill Lynch. We are confident that unless "misleading information" is a euphemism for massive and totally unwarranted fees (and expenses), and oftentimes criminal leaks (Deep Shah comes to mind), Cuomo will find little to base an actual investigation on. Furthermore, as an escape mechanism, the rating agencies can always place the blame on Microsoft for creating a faulty Excel product whichalways # Ref'ed out whenever the agencies tried to put in anything less than infinite growth rates.
Re: Winning at Ethics, the Goldman Way
I have reviewed no less than seven times your entire
episode on Charlie Rose.
Your artful simplicity, studied humility and former
hairline all positively radiated against the set’s dark
As one of my lesser colleagues on the desk marveled,
“Lloyd seemed almost human: Why?” To which I replied, evenly:
“because he finally read my last memo.”
Of course there was no reason you should look to one of
your own traders for advice. But now that you have, we must
proceed quickly. American public opinion is volatile; our
exposure to it is peaking, and it will be more difficult than
usual to create the illusion for American mortals (or as we like
to call them, “The Morts”) that our business is in their
interest, much less that we share anything in common.
This time, please, do not wait five months to internalize
my new action items.
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. – May 12, 2010 – John Carney will be joining CNBC.com, the online destination for real-time global business news and expert analysis, as Senior Editor, it was announced today by Allen Wastler, Managing Editor, CNBC.com. In addition to writing for the site, Carney will also appear regularly on CNBC’s Business Day programming.
“John has deep connections on Wall Street and has a unique insight into its trading community,” said Wastler. “He is well-known within the financial world and we are delighted to have him on our team.”
Spreads ended the day wider in the US with HY underperforming IG and US underperforming Europe but the tale of the tape was 3s5s flattening and FINL underperformance. After opening notably gap wider this morning, credit markets rallied most of the morning with Main and XOver dramatically so as we sense some exaggeration by correlation desk hedging. HY never made it into positive territory today and even IG only managed a small compression at its best levels.
As I Warned Yesterday, It Appears the Market Is Calling the Europeans Bluff – It’s Now Put Up Or Get Put DownSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/11/2010 03:01 -0400
I told you it probably wouldn't work. Now, you really have speculators lining up to put on the short trade of the a lifetime. Methinks those lines may start to get pretty long as well as I spy the Asian markets as well as the US and European futures drop like rocks in desalinated pond water. Asking 2 trillion euro, can I get a bid for 2 trillion euro, going... going... gone!
This article was inspired by a conversation in January 2010 with fellow directors of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee: Chairman Bill Murphy, Secretary/Treasurer Chris Powell, and Directors Adrian Douglas and Ed Steer. In speaking about the growing role of the exchange traded funds in the precious metals market, it was clear that the disclosure that the precious metals ETFs described below were providing to investors was inadequate. However, was there a material omission under securities law? I found the issues complex. Understanding the commodities markets can seem daunting to someone like myself with a securities background. Meanwhile, the securities markets and related legal and regulatory issues can be unfamiliar to those with a background in commodities. I decided to ask my attorney to help me gather the relevant information into one document to make it easier for GATA supporters and other interested parties—whether from the commodities or securities markets—to examine these issues and to better understand and price these securities. - Catherine Austin Fitts, Solari Report
Paging, Teddy Roosevelt ...