No surprise from the NAHB, whose Housing Market Index came at 16, unchanged for a 3rd consecutive month, missing expectations of 17. This is not surprising as the housing double dip is now fimly in place, and the only way to resolve this issue will be for the Fed to validate Bill Gross' MBS purchasing thesis and refresh QE2.5 with a fresh purchasing of MBS. We are confident the headline scanning machines will find some correlation that translates this into a massively bullish number and close stocks at multi-year highs.
Political change flows from shared awareness. If one million people have acute situational awareness but remain isolated in their insight, then nothing happens on a political scale. When those same one million people become aware that a million others share their situational awareness and the understanding that the other million people are also aware of each other being on board, then a political movement is possible. The stock market is an interesting example of this phenomenon. Small investors (so-called retail investors) have been exiting the U.S. stock market for 34 straight weeks, pulling almost $100 billion out of the market. They are voting with their feet based on their situational awareness that the game is rigged, and that the rigging alone greatly increases the risks of another meltdown.
Review Of Europe In 2010, And The 2011 Continental Outlook From The Rosy Prism Of Erik Nielsen; Is A New European Brady Plan Coming?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/19/2010 13:33 -0400
Reading Goldman's economic thoughts as recently as 1 month ago used to be insightful, and in many ways educational (this included its trading recommendations as well: after all, as the saying goes, someone who bats 0.000 - with perfect consistency - is just as valuable as someone who does 1.000). Unfortunately, ever since the firm, buckling under the demands of someone or something, or merely as an expression of its latest counter-agenda, flipped by 180 degrees, we are sad to say that it is nothing less than a complete chore to go through what is now an endless stream of Kool Aid, which while at least trying to be somewhat objective previously, is now like sitting through a Third Reich propaganda movie circa 1940. Which is why we scanned Erik Nielsen's latest "thoughts" on what happened in Europe in 2010 and what he expects to happen in 2011 with only a cursory focus. We present them here for those who care to know what the greater fools will be influenced by (to a little or greater extent). The key topics covered are: "Some thoughts on 2010, what we got right and what we got wrong; Will early 2011 be as bad as everyone seems to expect?; Reiterating my views on rescue or no rescue for Spain and Portugal; And the two key conditions for the longer term." The only really interesting observation is Nielsen's take on the European Plan B should all other measures fail: a Brady type of debt buyback. To wit: "The only real suggestion I have seen so far on this issue was the suggestions by the ECB’s Bini Smaghi, who pointed to a Brady style buyback of debt in the secondary market using loans from the official sector. I like that. As some of you know, I worked on the Brady plan at the World Bank years back, and this venue worked well in several cases." The bottom line is that even according to Nielsen, Europe has to become increasing more entrenched as not only a monetary but also fiscal union, with perpetual backstops at every stop. And since the dollar funding shortfall in the world amounts to over $6 trillion per last year's BIS analysis, said backstop will ultimately have to be funded by the Fed (with the respective consequences to the dollar as the Fed is engaged in printing nearly double digit trillion amounts of US currency). That said, Nielsen is certainly right about one thing: there will be some "amazingly interesting" events in 2011...
It is no secret that Zero Hedge's favorite contemporary painter since what now seems time immemorial is none other than the unbeatably original Geoffrey Raymond. While his art has not made Sotheby's yet, it will eventually: after all who would not rather bet on the upside appreciation of an annotated painting of Dick Fuld, capturing the bipolar euphoria of a just insolvent Lehman Brothers for $30K than a diamond skull by Damien Hurst for a hundred million, with guaranteed downside? That said, $30K may be a little steep for a population which still has to feel the impact of inflation on its paycheck. Which is why we are delighted to once again offer Zero Hedge readers the chance to get what Raymond calls The Perfect Gift for the Person who has (Almost) Everything... and at a discount. Geoffrey is offering signed and numbered prints of five of his favorite paintings with guaranteed delivery by the 24th. They are "The Annotated Fuld", "The Annotated Fed", "The American Investor", "Big Lloyd 3 (The Root)" and one of my all-time favorites, "Cramer: Naked Short". Taken together, they are an amazing visual document of the American financial meltdown. All these can be found at www.annotatedpaintings.blogspot.com. After all what better inflation hedge than acquiring a print of the unbridled genius presented below. Considering the subject's most recent Nielsen ratings, it may be archival very, very soon.
Because why go B when DD will do (and double as a gas mask). Or is Mark merely wishing he was part of the Power Lunch crew? We doubt it: for some odd reason, and completely independent of wardrobe, that particular segment continues to have some of the lowest Nielsen ratings on the Comcastic station.
Below is Erik Nielsen's latest dose of European permabullishness. At this point it is pretty much pointless to keep track of who is who at Goldman - the last attempt to reignite "The Ponz" is going gull blast, and every single person has forsaken their credibility in order to pitch the propaganda line. How Goldman's strategists pretend to be even remotely relevant any more is a mystery to anyone. The bottom line, and cutting through all the bullshit, is that Germany will do almost everything to keep the Euro, and thus import the periphery's monetary weakness, keeping its exports cheep, absent a fiscal union, no matter what the petrified bureaucrat Schauble says. Luckily Angela Merkel gets it... for now. Which is why all those who were expecting the WSJ interview with the German finance minister to push the EURUSD higher in Monday trading are in for a disappointment judging by the early action in the pair.
You can't say I didn't tell you it was gonna happen! At this point, anyone who doubts the onslaught of Android is in sheer denial. My last post on Wikileaks highlighted the possibilities truly distributed computing such as Android promises in the form of making it virtually impossible to censor any type of web site or publication, ex. Wikileaks. Keep in mind such a feat would be quite difficult with iPhones.
...Just live in Spain. With millions of Option ARM mortgages still coming due in the next two years in the US, the Fed's ongoing push to drop mortgage rates has only made the problem worse, and instead of people refinancing out of adjustable rate mortgages into fixed, with the opportunity cost being so little, if any, the whammy of rising interest rates on home values upon Option ARM expiration will only exacerbate the triple dip in home prices once the ARM cliff hits some time in 2012/2013. Yet it seems that this final recourse to extend and pretend the housing bubble is only now coming (a tad too little too late) to those European countries which are already bankrupt and will do anything and everything to prevent reality from appearing. Behold the BBK Euribor+0.35% 5 Year Option ARM 50 year mortgage with an LTV of up to 100% (but only if you can be enslaved early on: the mortgage is only open for people 18-35). And just in case you can't actually afford Euribor+ 0.35%, that's factored in too: you have the option of not paying for years.
A Look At The Upcoming Week's European Events, Straight From The Establishment Propaganda Horse's MouthSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/05/2010 12:16 -0400
Goldman's Erik Nielsen looks at the immediate European future, is flummoxed by all the end of world calls (bank runs, Ireland rejecting budget, austerity riots everywhere), and sees a future so bright he just has to wear the kind of shades that only a multi-million dollar bonus can buy (especially after Goldman upgrades all banks and its own bonuses by about 10%). After all his colleague Hatzius, despite all the facts and data, just upgraded US GDP. It now appears that just like Moody's 5 years ago, Goldman's excel spreadsheets crash when one input a negative growth assumption. Arguably these are the same spreadsheets that Tim Geithner used to prepare his taxes.
In a sad twist of fate for Comcast, its recent business channel acquisition, which numerous independent reports have alleged has become nothing but a prattling brown-nosing drone for the administration, spewing forth an endless barrage of mindnumbing propaganda, is seeing an ever increasing plunge in its viewership (which arguably validates said independent reports) which in November dropped to 47 in the demo, a 36% slide from a year earlier. Nowhere is this more obvious than in what's left of the audience of the original CNBC icon: Maria Bartiromo. The once jet-setting, and now merely setting money honey, whose Closing Bell slot starts at 4PM, has stooped to having the dubious reputation of being in possession of the weakest 25-54 demo among all of CNBC's November viewership, at just 41K per Nielsen's, a massive 51% drop from November 2009, and a 11% drop from October, it seems CNBC's ever sparser viewers have decided that even icons have a useful shelf life. But that's ok: we are confident that once the next round of CNBC "business rationalizations" takes place shortly once the NBC Universal transaction formally closes, the $ Honey will be able to fall back on the proceeds from her latest bestseller: "The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account", which since publication on September 7, has blitzed almost to top of the charts and currently languishes in the much coveted spot #10,655 of bestsellers.
It's time for a shirt: "Irish bondholders got a bailout and all the EURUSD managed was a measly 35 pips higher." It seems the currency vigilantes are calling the bluff in JC Trichet, and tomorrow Portuguese bonds will be next on the bidless brigade, further validating that the IMF's, just like the Fed's, primary mandate is to rescue insolvent bankers everywhere there is a taxpayer population that can be raped. But back to the EUR: at last check the currency was trading well inside 1.33, and only about 2.2k pips from Thomas Stolper's 12 month target of 1.55. Not to begrudge anything to Tom: after all, post QE4 he will certainly be spot on (the only question is how long it take Blackhawk Ben to get us there), but we wonder if another Goldman luminary got the memo. To wit: in an interview with the Telegraph, Jim "BRIC" O'Neill told Kamal Ahmad that "the eurozone must embark on a significant round of fiscal and political harmonisation if the euro is to survive...there are elements of the black swan concept that seem rather applicable
to the EMU story" and if that wasn't clear enough, he added that the "euro should carry a "risk premium" and that it was over-valued by at least 10pc." Bottom line, according to O'Neill the "fair value for the euro is €1.20 against the dollar and anyone buying it 10pc above that is not very sensible." Uh.... What? Did Wikileaks intercept the memo from Thomas Stolper sent out just this November 25, in which the chief currency strategist said: "Overall, we believe the EUR/$ remains very much on track for the projected trajectory of 1.40 in 3mths as well as 1.50 and 1.55 in 6 and 12 months." And like that, Goldman has all bases covered. Of course, seeing how the outcome is binary, Goldman has just discovered the Schrodinger currency: per the bank that rules the world, the euro is now both alive and dead at the same time.
Goldman's Thomas Stolper joins Erik Nielsen with an updated, and painfully bullish, Euro forecast: "our baseline is that these risks will not escalate much further." As Stolper is the guy who has successfully top.ticked.every.single.move in FX, it is time to call the undertaker (the profit margins on a coffin the size of Europe will be sufficiently high no matter the input cost of lumber). Not surprisingly then Stolper follows up: "we believe EUR/$ remains very much on track for the projected trajectory of 1.40 in 3mths as well as 1.50 and 1.55 in 6 and 12 months." Recall that Stolper came out with his upward revised EURUSD forecast just before the pair topped out in the low 1.40s (which was shortly after he scrapped his 1.15 target just after the eurozone stopped its implosion last time around after the Stress Test lie and QE2 rumors started). In other words, we just doubled down on our bet that John Taylor is once again spot on. What is unsaid here is that Goldman expects the world to start pricing in QE3 imminently, and punish the USD: "one question we face very often is about the viability of Eurozone
growth with EUR/$ at 1.55. Our answer is that we really believe in broad
USD weakness." At the end of the day, as we have claimed for over a year, the key dynamic is between the race of USD and EUR to devaluation: on one hand via outright currency printing and on the other via a continental disintegration. The one thing that many are forgetting, is that the faster a European crisis unwinds, the bigger the European banks' funding needs for dollars due to record FX asset-liability mismatch (and now, due to the dollar serving as a carry funding currency). In other words, the worse Europe gets, the doubly-faster that the Fed will need to print reserves to keep the dollar low. All that is a long-winded way to say that we anticipate Stolper will revise his EURUSD forecast lower within a month, once Goldman's ex-prop-now-"client facing" desks have accumulated enough USD positions.
Goldman's Erin Nielsen is early in his weekly outlook report which however will not catch anyone by surprise. Somehow the Goldman strategist looks at recent economic data coming out of Europe, which even CMA said was indicative of a start of a double dip, and calls these "great macro numbers" - this kind of stunning subjectivity used to get analysts fired in the past; now it gets you promoted to partner; oh well, you can get the man out of the bias but you can never get the bias out of the man and all that. Furthermore, despite Germany making it expressly clear than any future bailouts will hinge on restructuring, Nielsen is adamant that this too is a misread: " I strongly disagree with some of the aspects of what has been reported in the press today as being the German proposal, particularly as it relates to making a future rescue conditional upon debt restructuring." Well, Erik, there is the German people, and there is your opinion. q.e.d. The balance of the note is filled with the same traditional permabullish fluff, which would have forced those who followed Nielsen's always rosy advice to incur irreparable P&L damage. But since the man has a verbiage quota to fill (regardless of content quality), and skeptics to amuse, we are confident he will have a long and prosperous career at Goldman. In the spirit of thanksgiving: we thank you Erik for providing countless hours of naive amusement.
Erin Gone Broken Bank: The 2nd EMU Nation That Didn’t Need a Bailout Get’s Bailed Out Within Months, Next Up???Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 11/22/2010 09:24 -0400
Exactly was we predicted in the beginning of the year, Ireland is the 2nd Euro nation that didn't need a bailout to get bailed out! Now that some may start taking this seriously, I go through a quick history of how we got to this point and prep for an intense analysis of how the contagion will unfold, how ugly the haircuts (that nobody needs, of course) will get, and who may be the next domino to fall.
After Greek CDS went offerless, and is about to pass 1,000 bps following news of Austria's defection from the EU rescue fund over Greece's endless lies, now we get the next defector: Finland, who it appears is opposing an Irish rescue. This is not too odd, since Finland actually has a viable banking system whose viability does not depend on the generosity of Irish and European taxpayers. What this means, however, is that European unity is finally coming apart at the seams.