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Frontrunning: July 31





  • U.S. stock futures slip amid lukewarm earnings, fall in commodities (Reuters)
  • Stressful times for low-polling Republicans who may miss debate stage (Reuters)
  • Trump shows staying power with surge ahead of first debate (Reuters)
  • China Market Manipulation Probe Targets Spoofers After Crash (BBG)
  • Beijing Chosen to Host 2022 Winter Olympics (WSJ)
  • Obama Warns Support on Iran Deal ’Getting Squishy’ Amid Pressure (BBG)
  • Pacific trade negotiators chase elusive final deal in tough talks (Reuters)
 
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US Middle Class Stays Dead: Homeownership Drops To 48 Year Low; Median Asking Rent Soars To All Time High





Earlier today, the US Census released its latest homeownership data, which confirmed that for what is left of America's middle class, owning a home has become virtually impossible, with the homeownership rate plunging from the lowest level since 1986, or 63.7%, to just 63.4% the lowest reading since the first quarter of 1967.  And the punchline, which should come as no surprise to anyone: with housing no longer affordable to most, the median monthly asking rent just rose to a record $803 across the US.

 
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The Hard Truth: For Retail Investors, The NYSE Is Always Out Of Service





The real reason why retail investors weren't impacted by the NYSE's halt is a hard truth... to retail investors, the NYSE is always dark

Where Do Retail Investor Orders Go? The simple answer: to the highest contracted bidder. Stock "wholesalers" or internalizers like Citadel or Knight pay retail brokers lots of cash to execute retail trades, essentially creating a "third market". Why? Because in a high frequency trading world, where stock prices have never been more fuzzy to the end user, but crystal clear to those that spend enormous sums on colocation and PhD employees, it's never been easier to print money (not unlike Bernie Madoff's scheme in the 90's). But that is the subject of a much, much longer story. Someone should write a book.

 
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Is The US Shale Industry About To Run Out Of Lifelines?





"Lenders in general are increasing pressure on oil companies either to raise more equity or do some sort of transaction to pay down their credit lines and free up extra cash."

"There’s another redetermination cycle in the fall, And I’m not going to say likely but it’s possible we’ll be selectively downgrading some clients."

 
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Frontrunning: July 15





  • Tsipras Braves Parliament on Aid as Greek Outlook Worsens (BBG)
  • European markets rise before Yellen speech, Greek vote (Reuters)
  • China’s Growth Beats Economists’ Forecast as Stimulus Kicks In (BBG)
  • China stocks drop again, positive data shrugged off (Reuters)
  • Yellen intensifies Republican outreach amid Fed probe, Senate bill (Reuters)
  • Iran deal holds both promise and peril for Hillary Clinton (Reuters)
  • Iranians Party Into the Night as Khamenei Backs Accord (BBG)
 
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Chinese Stock Plunge Resumes With 1200 Stocks Halted Limit Down; Yellen, Greek Elections On Deck





Just when the Chinese plunge protection team (and "arrest shortie" task force) seemed to be finally getting "malicious selling" under control, first we saw a crack yesterday when the composite broke the surge of the past three days as a result of yet another spike in margin debt funded purchases, but it was last night's reminder that "good news is bad news" that really confused the stock trading farmers and grandmas, which goalseeked Chinese economic "data" beat across the board, with Q2 GDP coming solidly above expectations at 7.0%, and retail sales and industrial production both beating, but in the process raising doubts that the PBOC will continue supporting stocks.

 
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Stocks Get Second Thoughts About Greek Deal: Turn Red From China To Europe





One day after the Greek "pre-deal" was announced and the world breathed a sigh of relief, sending US stocks soaring and Greek halted stocks, well, tumbling (via ETFs and ADRs), things are oddly quiet and in fact quite red in Europe, with futures in the US modestly lower, following both China's first red close in several days (SHCOMP -1.2%), and a Europe which is hardly looking very euphoric at this moment: it is almost as if the algos finally got to read the fine print of the Greek deal after trading all day on just the headlines.

 
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The Crony Capitalist Pretense Behind Warren Buffett's Banking Buys





When Warren Buffet put $5 billion in Berkshire Hathaway funds into Goldman Sachs the week after Lehman failed, amidst total turmoil and panic, it appeared from the outside a high risk bet. Buffet had long tried to portray himself as a folksy engine of traditional stability, investing only in things he could understand, so jumping into a wholesale run of chained liabilities may have seemed more than slightly out of character. We have no particular issue with Buffet making those investments, only the pretense of intentional mysticism that surrounds them. The reason the criticism of crony-capitalism sticks is because this was not Buffet's first intervention to "save" a famed institution on Wall Street. If Buffet's convention is to stick with "things you know" then he has been right there through the whole of the full-scale wholesale/eurodollar revolution.

 
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"There Is Going To Be A Taper Tantrum In Latin America... It Is Inescapable"





Greece needs a bailout and China's stock market is in meltdown mode. But the global economy has another rising red flag: Latin America.

 
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China Soars Most Since 2009 After Government Threatens Short Sellers With Arrest, Global Stocks Surge





The Shanghai Composite Index had dropped as much as 3.8% to a 4 month low before the news that the cops were going to arrest anyone who was caught "maliciously shorting stocks", when everything suddenly took off, and the SHCOMP closed  a "Dramamine required" 5.8% higher, the biggest daily increase since March 2009! Stocks around the globe followed, with US equity futures wiping out much of yesterday's losses and up 1% at last check.

 
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Cronyism Pays: Eric Holder Triumphantly Returns To Law Firm That Lobbies For Banks





After failing to criminally prosecute any of the financial firms responsible for the market collapse in 2008, former Attorney General Eric Holder is returning to Covington & Burling, a corporate law firm known for serving Wall Street clients. The move completes one of the more troubling trips through the revolving door for a cabinet secretary. Holder worked at Covington from 2001 right up to being sworn in as attorney general in Feburary 2009. And Covington literally kept an office empty for him, awaiting his return. When the firm moved to a new building last year, it kept an 11th-story corner office reserved for Holder.

 
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China Scrambles to Put Plunge Protection Team Together: Banks Pledge Support For Crashing Market





China has moved in the direction of direct intervention in its flagging equity markets, although it appears Beijing will try to orchestrate a “private” sector (whatever that means in China) solution first before going the nuclear route with the central bank’s balance sheet. As Bloomberg reports, the country’s largest brokerages are teaming up to invest nearly $20 billion in “blue chip” Chinese equities.

 
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Frontrunning: June 18





  • WSJ urges Fed to blow uberest of all bubbles: Memo to Fed: Let the Economy Overheat (WSJ)
  • Gunman at large after killing nine at black South Carolina church (Reuters)
  • Nine Dead in Charleston Shooting Labeled a 'Hate Crime' (BBG)
  • Hong Kong Votes Down Beijing-Backed Election Plan (WSJ)
  • Greece Has Already Cost Investors $897 Billion This Year (BBG)
  • Merkel Maintains Tough Stance on Greece as Deadline Looms (WSJ)
  • Small U.S. frackers face extinction amid drilling drought (Reuters)
  • Brian Williams to Stay at NBC, but Lester Holt Will Be Anchor (WSJ)
 
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Deutsche Bank Exodus Continues As Real Estate Chief Leaves For Blackstone





On the heels of resignations from co-CEOs Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, Deutsche Bank loses another high profile employee as the bank's global head of commercial real estate departs for Blackstone. Jonathan Pollack's departure comes just one month after the bank's head of structured finance Elad Shraga left to start his own fund and seems to lend credence to the idea that Deutsche Bank may be in trouble.  

 
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Should Students Voluntarily Default On $1.3 Trillion In Debt?





"Over the last couple of decades, we have been engaged in an enormous national experiment, taking impressionable and often ignorant teenagers and young adults and seeing just how much student loan debt they can handle.There is a practical question at hand for people who feel as if they are in over their heads: Is it ever a good idea to try to beat the system by openly defying it and refusing to repay the debt that you willingly took on?"

 
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