Portugal

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Europe Relishing Short Covering Ban For Now With FTSE MIB Still Broken





A quick update on market metrics this morning indicates that Europe has so far refused to protest violently against the short covering ban, and is for the time being enjoying the eye of the hurricane. According to the Bloomberg cross asset dashboard there is a sense of modestly improved sentiment in Europe as CDS spreads have mostly tightened for sovereigns and banks, following the French, Italian, Spanish (and Belgian? - they have a stock market? Must be to go with that government of theirs) ban on short sales as evident in:

  • Soc CDS for France -14.5 bps, Germany -6.7 bps, Italy -14.6 bps, SPain -14.9 bps, Greece -22.7 bps, Portugal -41.5 bps, and Belgium -27.1.
  • French bank CDS: SocGen -3.8 bps (just barely tighted after blowing out), UniCredit -12.6 bps, BNP -6.7 bps, Credit Agricole -11.7 bps
  • Bank funding pressures easing as Euribor, Libor/OIS spreads, 1 year euro basis swap moderately improved
  • Equities up 1-1.5 standard deviations, led by Euro Stoxx +2.1% on the short-sale ban
  • and most EU yield spreads to Germany moderately tighter
 


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Macro Commentary: The Endgame Of TBTF Banks And Rising Rates





Global markets are stabilizing a bit after authorities worldwide are pulling out all the stops to stem the bloody tide. Greece and South Korea have followed Italy’s recent lead and even banned the short-selling of equities. Brazilian Finance Minister Mantega said the G-20 was prepared to take action to calm the global crisis. The concerns over the debt levels of Italy, a country which is Too-Big-To-Bailout, are quickly spreading to the US as Citigroup and Bank of America both fell over 15% yesterday...No matter which way you turn, all roads lead to the TBTF banks, their leverage and the $700tr derivatives market. Until these issues are resolved, we will continue to go through bouts of panic, instability and market routs. The entire global economic system is threatened by the continued status quo regarding our TBTF banks and the global derivatives market. Everything else is just noise. Governments can be upgraded or downgraded, currencies can rise and fall and equity markets can rally or sell-off. But if one of the TBTF banks collapses, the game will change immediately to one of fear and collapse as the size of the potential asset write-downs that will follow is simply overwhelming.

 


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Guest Post: Where Is This Market Headed?





As I've stated before I wish I could be more definitive here. This market really showed its hand today. The late day selloff was a sign of funds and or individual investors waiting for a chance to sell into strength to meet margin and or redemption calls only to find lower prices and forced to sell at the close. Bank Of America remains a wild card as well and the companies statement today basically said the market had it wrong. Not the calming words long investors want to hear. What the fall 2008 pattern shows us is this market can remain oversold for a very long time. Initiating short positions at these levels is very difficult unless one is using hedged option trades such as vertical spreads. The volatility could easily turn a winning trade into a losing one. Lastly, remember it is human nature for others to relay their fears and limitations upon an event beyond their control. I'm listening to Carl Icahn right now say how this selloff is way overdone. He doesn't see it lastly any longer but what basis does he have for saying that? Other than talking his book he has none. Don't be greedy and don't be a hero. There may very well be more selling ahead of this market.

 


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Morgan Stanley Discloses $8.5 Billion In Europe Exposure, 8 Trading Day Losses, Lists Impacts Of US Downgrade On Market And Its Business





Some very interesting data points were disclosed in Morgan Stanley's just released 10Q. First, we learn that in the last quarter, the company which had "blow out" earnings, at least compared to expectations and Goldman, actually was not much to write home about by typical Wall Street standards, with a whopping 8 days of trading losses in Q2. Considering that most Wall Street firms had quarters in a row with no daily trading losses, this is, sadly, quite disappointing. Next, and more important, is that MS has disclosed it has a rather substantial $5 billion in gross exposure to the PIIGS, as well as another $3.5 billion in funding exposure to Europe. Considering that most European banks had already offloaded their PIIGS exposure, at least we now know who they were offloading risk to. Lastly, from the risk factors we read that a US downgrade will likley not be beneficial to Morgan Stanley or the stock market, to wit: "[a downgrade] could disrupt payment systems, money markets, long-term or short-term fixed income markets, foreign exchange markets, commodities markets and equity markets and adversely affect the cost and availability of funding and certain impacts, such as increased spreads in money market and other short term rates, have been experienced already as the market anticipated the downgrade. In addition, it could adversely affect our credit ratings, as well as those of our clients and/or counterparties and could require us to post additional collateral on loans collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities."

 


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The First Euro Bond Prints Are In, And The Loser Is...





On Friday, when we discussed that the EFSF could potentially be expanded to a ridiculous E3.5 trillion, we made the following observation in advance of the prediction that Germany would eventually throw up all over the creeping euro bailout proposal, we said:  "In the meantime, short Bunds (or to borrow a Gartmanism, go long gold in Bund terms) ahead of the market's realization that peak risk transfer from the periphery to the core is now in process." Well, the first eurobond prints are in (we already know where gold is trading), and the losers (and winners) are...

 


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Guest Post: America “Makes The Cut” – So What Happens Next?





Around the world, starting Monday, all eyes are on the markets. The tension is palpable. The uncertainty is ample. And anger is heavy in the air. As predicted, the debt ceiling deal was not only NOT enough to assuage economic fears, it actually exacerbated them, triggering a flight from the Dow, and creating a decisive opportunity for ratings agency S&P to cut the once perfect U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+. At Alt-Market, we often talk about points of balance, and how certain moments in history become highly visible indicators of balance lost. If we pay close attention, and know what we are looking for, these moments can be recognized, allowing us time to shield ourselves from the explosion and the resulting financial shrapnel. The past two weeks have culminated into one of these defining events that tell us the tide has fully turned, and something new and dangerous is just over the horizon. The question now is; what should we expect? The nature of the credit downgrade situation is not necessarily “unprecedented” in history, but it is surely unprecedented on the scale we see currently in the U.S. It is difficult to predict how exactly the investment world will react. Some consequences, though, are probable, if not inevitable. Let’s examine the events we are likely to see in the coming weeks as well as the coming months, as nations attempt to adjust to America’s final plunge…

 


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Summarizing Italy's Catastrophic Predicament In 15 Simple Bullet Points





The irony about the blow up over the past month in "all things Italian" is that the facts about its sovereign debt and viability profile have always been available for anyone to not only see, but make the conclusion that the situation is unsustainable. The fact that so few dared to do so only confirms that affirmative confirmation bias that dominates within 99% of the investing population. Sites such as Zero Hedge and others had been warning for over a year that the Italian "contagion" (which is a misnomer: Italy's lack of viability is perfectly-self contained: it does not need Greece or Portugal to blow up, and can do so perfectly well on its own, but the punditry certainly needs a scapegoat, in this case the incremental layering of "revelations" about how insolvent Europe is) and we have long presented primary source data confirming just how precarious the house of cards is not only in Italy but everywhere else too. Regardless, no matter how conventional wisdom got to the big picture revelation of just how ugly Italy's reality is (and don't think for a minute that Spain is any better) the truth is that the cat is not only out of the bag, but is widely rampaging through the china store (no pun intended), high on speed and methadone. So for everyone who still wishes to know why the Italian jobs is very much hopeless absent the ECB stepping in an bailout out the country, below is a succinct list of 15 bullet points courtesy of The Telegraph, which explains all there is to know about the country's current predicament. In retrospect we certainly can not blame Tremonti for wanting to get the hell out of there.

 


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Italian Treasury "Discovered" Larger Cash Pile Than Expected; Likely To Withdraw From More If Not All 2011 Bond Auctions





And the news just gets uber-surreal. According to a Reuters report, the Italian Treasury has a "larger cash pile than generally perceived according to sources." As a reminder this is precisely the excuse that Italy used when it scrambled to cancel medium and long-term auctions for late August as was previously noted. Which can only mean one thing: in order to prevent more ongoing routs, Italy will likely now withdraw from all bond auctions for the "foreseeable future" in order to not give the market a chance to do some real price discovery. Sure enough, the subsequent Reuters headline says that the "Italian Treasury's cash pile is enough to last most of 2011." Odd that we predicted this, and the next steps, just this morning, when we said: "look for Spain to follow Italy in a self-imposed bond market exile." Translation: while Greece, Portugal and Ireland are unable to access capital markets, Italy, as we predicted, has just self-imposed a capital markets exile likely until the end of the year.

 


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ECB Buys Italian Bonds, Third Major Central Bank Intervention In Past 24 Hours As Status Quo Panic Explodes





At exactly 9 am, half an hour into Trichet's press conference, the world's most undercapitalized hedge fund: the European Central Bank, demonstratively came in and started buying Italian bonds in hopes the market will forget just how broke the European continent truly is. This is the third major intervention by a central bank in capital markets in the past 24 hours following the SNB and the BOJ. Next up the Fed, and everything going to hell. Because even as Italian bond yields drop below 6%, the selloff in Portugal bonds is accelerating and the 10 Year yield is now 15 bps wider at 11.34%. We have a question: at what point does the ECB have to officially start printing Euros before its capitalization goes negative?

 


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Here Is What Goldman Thinks Europe Should Do To Save Italy And Spain (Hint - More Bond Buying This Time On The Books)





When it comes to its opinion on the shape of the bailout, Goldman is a force to be reckoned with (as in every other endeavor, no matter how self-serving the outcome ultimately is): after all it was Goldman which first proposed expanding the EFSF and using it as a "bad bank" SPV which has the extra benefit of being off the balance sheet, and can issue more debt than virtually any financial institution in the world (see EFSF - Too Small? Too Big? Or Just Wrong?). Which is why when Goldman discusses next steps, you can be positive, this is precisely what will end up happening, and that Goldman is already well positioned to profit from whatever policy recommendations it has imposed. So without further ado, here is Dirk Schumacher's latest outlook on how to perpetuate the European status quo.

 


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Europe Again In The Spotlight After Latest Weak Spanish Auction, Sends Futures Much Lower





While the key topic this morning is the BOJ's intervention in the JPY, which had been selling the Japanese currency virtually all night and was rumored to be constantly on the USDJPY bid (a move which is doomed to failure just like all such previous attempt by a central planner to take on the Bernank), the primary reason why futures are largely in the red is due to yet another very weak Spanish auction which sold €3.3 billion in 2014 and 2015 bonds at the highest yield since 2000. This is despite the rumored resumption of ECB bond buying as was reported by the Telegraph previously, a development which would mean that monetization via currency devaluation has commenced indirectly in Switzerland, Japan and the Eurozone, (soon the UK) in advance of the Fed's own third QE round. As for the Spanish bond auction specifics, the Treasury was expected to sell between €2.5 and €3.5 billion, ending with an amount of €1.111 billion of 4.4% bonds due 2015, a yield of 4.984% and a 2.4 Bid To Cover, and €2.2 billion in bonds due 2014 at a just modestly lower yield of 4.813% (compared to 4.291% in July) - the Bid To Cover was also a very weak 2.14. Once again, all these results assumed the ECB would backstop futures secondary market purchases: should this be proven to be a bluff, look for Spain to follow Italy in a self-imposed bond market exile.

 


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