Merrill Lynch

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Verizon Launches $49 Billion Largest Bond Deal Ever; Postpones Europe Investor Meetings





Smashing the previous record $17 billion deal from Apple which is doing so badly (in yield and spread terms), Verizon - in order to fund the mega deal with Vodafone - is launching an 8-part $49 billion deal done at what appear reasonable spread levels (though spreads are dramatically wider than a month ago as one would expect for such a releveraging). With the bulk of the deal ($36 billion) maturing 7 years or longer, it would appear that (and desk chatter confirms) demand was relatively high and BofAML also notes that Verizon will now have a huge $69 to $79 billion of index-eligible bonds. This will make Verizon the 4th largest issuer in the US high-grade market index, right up their with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Amid all this exuberance though, something odd popped up:

  • *VERIZON POSTPONES EUROPE INVESTOR MEETINGS ABOUT VODAFONE DEAL

Reuters is reporting that with a $101 billion order book already, it appears they had no ned to shop the deal in Europe. Amazing what ZIRP repression will do...

 

 
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Frontrunning: September 11





  • Obama Holds Fire on Syria, Waits on Russia Plan (WSJ)
  • China Shadow Banking Returns as Growth Rebound Adds Risk (Reuters)
  • Not one but two: Greece May Need Two More Aid Packages Says ECB’s Coene (WSJ)
  • BoJ insider warns of need for wage rises (FT) ... as we have been warning since November, and as has not been happening
  • California city backs plan to seize negative equity mortgages (Reuters)
  • Home Depot Is Accused of Shaking Down Suspected Shoplifters (BBG)
  • Most-Connected Man at Deutsche Bank Favors Lightest Touch (BBG)
  • Norway Pledges to Limit Oil Spending (BBG)
  • China Shadow Banking Returns as Growth Rebound Adds Risk (BBG)
  • Gundlach Says Fed Is Mistaken in How It's Ending Easing (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: August 28





  • Merkel Blames SPD’s Schroeder for Letting Greece Into Euro (BBG)
  • U.S. Bank Legal Bills Exceed $100 Billion (BBG)
  • U.K. to Request U.N. Action to Protect Syrians From Chemical Weapons  (WSJ) - and Russia to veto any decision
  • U.N. inspectors in new Syria mission as West prepares to strike (Reuters)
  • Emerging-Market Rout Intensifies on Syria Jitters (WSJ)
  • Rebels Without a Leader Show Limit to U.S. Role in Syria War (BBG)
  • Anger at IRS Powers Tea-Party Comeback (WSJ)
  • China has much at risk but no reach in Middle East (Reuters)
  • 'London Whale' Penalties Put at $500 Million to $600 Million (WSJ)
  • U.S. lawmaker says 'compelling' evidence of Syrian chemical attack (Reuters)
 
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BATS And DirectEdge To Merge, Terms Not Disclosed





When you add High Frequency Trading exchange 263 and  High Frequency Trading exchange 264 (read all about DirectEdge over the years here), you get a whole lot of happy algos. It also means that MtGox is on its way to becoming the world's most stable exchange. We now expect the market to crash in celebration. We joke, of course, but if anyone trips over the BATS extension cord that sends AAPL under $500 and the NYSE Arca and NASDAQ shutting down again, we take no responsibility. Finally, in continuing the spirit of full transparency and openness of everything HFT-related, the terms of the transaction will not be disclosed.

 
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Guest Post: What Is Going To Happen If Interest Rates Continue To Rise Rapidly?





If you want to track how close we are to the next financial collapse, there is one number that you need to be watching above all others.  The number that we are talking about is the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries, because it affects thousands of other interest rates in our financial system.  When the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries goes up, that is bad for the U.S. economy because it pushes long-term interest rates up.  When interest rates rise, it constricts the flow of credit, and a healthy flow of credit is absolutely essential to the debt-based system that we live in. 

 
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The Incredible Shrinking COMEX Gold Warehouse Inventories





Since the end of last April, registered gold held at the COMEX depositories has collapsed from a total of 2,147,398 ounces to just 852,930 ounces. That is a collapse of 60% of the registered gold inventory in less than 4 months.

 
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Stock Market Bubbles And Record Margin Debt: A (Repeating) History Of Ignoring All Warnings





It is well-known that as part of the S&P500's ascent to new records, investor margin debt has also surged to all time highs, surpassing for the past three months previous records set during both prior, the dot com and the housing, stock market bubbles. And as more attention has shifted to the topic of speculator leverage once more, inquiries into the correlation between bets upon bets and stock performance are popping up once more, in this case in a study by Deutsche Bank titled "Red Flag! - The curious case of NYSE margin debt." Of particular note here is a historical comparison of margin-debt warnings that have recurred throughout history but especially just before major stock bubble crashes, such as in the period 1999/2000, 2007/2008 and of course today, which have time and again been ignored. Here is what was said then, what is being said now, and what is ignored always.

 
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David Stockman: Hedge Funds, Prime Brokers, And The Whirligig of Wall Street Finance





As David Stockman, Reagan's infamous Budget Director, writes in his bestseller, The Great Deformation: The Corruption Of Capitalism In America – "the last thing hedge funds do is hedge."  The hedge fund complex is "not so much a conventional industry as it is a giant moveable trade": Wall Street trading desks frequently morph into independent hedge fund partnerships, and senior hedge funds often sire “cubs” and then sons of cubs. The protean ability of this arrangement to spawn, fund, and replicate successful momentum trades cannot be overstated, and has "generated trillions of permanent momentum-chasing capital." Ultimately, he warns, "apologists for the Fed’s evisceration of the capital markets could not see... they had unleashed the financial furies in the violent momentum trading modus operandi of the hedge fund casino."

 
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Frontrunning: August 6





  • Washington Post Company Chairman and CEO Donald Graham talks about the sale, what it means for the future of The Post (WaPo)
  • Private-equity firms are adding debt to companies they own to fund payouts to themselves at a record pace (WSJ)
  • U.S., U.K. Urge Citizens to Leave Yemen (WSJ)
  • India Names Rajan Central Bank Governor as Rupee Plunges (BBG)
  • Family Offices Chasing Wealthy’s $46 Trillion in Assets (BBG)
  • UK 'bad bank' repays $2.9 billion to taxpayers in first half (Reuters)
  • Sony rebuffs Daniel Loeb’s push for entertainment spin-off (FT)
  • Public Pensions Up 12% Get Most in 2 Years as Stocks Soar (BBG)
  • Hidden Billionaire Found With Food Fortune in California (BBG)
  • Fonterra under fire over milk scare; more product recalls (Reuters)
  • Crédit Agricole Profit Rises After Greek  (WSJ)
 
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Guest Post: Trying To Stay Sane In An Insane World - Part 2





This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character. There is a common denominator in all the bubbles created over the last century – Wall Street bankers and their puppets at the Federal Reserve. Fractional reserve banking, control of a fiat currency by a privately owned central bank, and an economy dependent upon ever increasing levels of debt are nothing more than ingredients of a Ponzi scheme that will ultimately implode and destroy the worldwide financial system. Since 1913 we have been enduring the largest fraud and embezzlement scheme in world history, but the law of diminishing returns is revealing the plot and illuminating the culprits. Bernanke and his cronies have proven themselves to be highly educated one trick pony protectors of the status quo. Bernanke will eventually roll craps. When he does, the collapse will be epic and 2008 will seem like a walk in the park.

 
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Guest Post: Still Waiting





We do not inhabit a “normal” economy. We live in a financialised world in which our banks cannot be trusted, our politicians cannot be trusted, our money cannot be trusted, and – not least thanks to ongoing spasms of QE and expectations of much more of the same – our markets cannot be trusted. At some point (though the timing is impossible to predict), asset markets that cannot be pumped artificially any higher will start moving, under the forces of inevitable gravitation, lower.

 
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Goldman Sued For Monopolizing US Aluminum Warehousing Market





Over two years after Zero Hedge first accused Goldman and JPMorgan of becoming monopolists in the commodity warehousing business (see "Goldman, JP Morgan Have Now Become A Commodity Cartel"), and two weeks after the NYT's reminder the world of just this leading to the latest Kangaroo Court congressional hearing on the matter, which may or may not have resulted in JPMorgan announcing it would exit the physical commodities business, the long overdue legal fight began this Friday when lead plaintiff Superior Extrusion sued Goldman and London Metal Exchange owner HKEx for engaging in "anticompetitive and monopolistic behaviour in the warehousing market in connection with aluminium prices" and accusing the firms of violating the Sherman anti-trust act. Precisely what Zero Hedge said, some 26 months ago.

 
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Guest Post: Enron Redux – Have We Learned Anything?





Greed; corporate arrogance; lobbying influence; excessive leverage; accounting tricks to hide debt; lack of transparency; off balance sheet obligations; mark to market accounting; short-term focus on profit to drive compensation; failure of corporate governance; as well as auditors, analysts, rating agencies and regulators who were either lax, ignorant or complicit. This laundry list of causes has often been used to describe what went wrong in the credit crunch crisis of 2008-2010. Actually these terms were equally used to describe what went wrong with Enron more than twenty years ago. Both crises resulted in what at the time was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history — Enron in December 2001 and Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Naturally, this leads to the question that despite all the righteous indignation in the wake of Enron's failure did we really learn or change anything?

 
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