Wells Fargo

Frontrunning: May 7

  • Alibaba files for what may be biggest tech IPO (Reuters)
  • Early Tap of 401(k) Replaces Homes as American Piggy Bank (BBG)
  • Developers Turn Former Office Buildings Into High-End Apartments (WSJ)
  • Thai court orders Yingluck Shinawatra to step down as PM (Guardian)
  • German industry orders fell 2.8% in March, the biggest drop in one and a half years (RTE)
  • Ukraine Bulls Scatter as Death Toll Mounts (BBG)
  • China Property Slump Adds Danger to Local Finances (BBG)
  • Stein Says Fed May See Bouts of Volatility as It Approaches Exit (BBG)

Here They Go Again: Wall Street Is Offering Debt-On-Debt-On-Debt!

Wall Street is back in the business of lending money at the Fed’s gifted rate of zero plus a modest 80 basis point spread - so that the fast money can buy CLO paper on 9 to 1 leverage. There is your triple shuffle. It didn’t work out last time, but that doesn’t matter because the game is obvious. After enough buying on Wall Street’s triple leverage, junk loan prices might temporarily rebound. Then the brokers will put out the call to retail: The junk loan asset class is rebounding - its time to come back. For the final shearing, that is!

Frontrunning: May 6

  • Both sides bury dead as Ukraine slides towards war (Reuters)
  • Dollar wilts to 6 1/2-month low; shares drift (Reuters)
  • Draghi Grapples With Money Markets Signaling Recovery Too Early (BBG)
  • Foreign wristslaps: Credit Suisse Nears Record Tax Plea: Credit Suisse Settlement Expected to Exceed $1 Billion (WSJ)
  • OECD joins IMF in cutting global growth forecast, demanding moar QE from ECB  (WSJ)
  • Three Bankers Bolster Blankfein as Goldman Trading Sinks (BBG)
  • Strong performance from eurozone services sector (FT)
  • OECD Cuts Forecast for 2014 Global Growth; Urges ECB Action (WSJ)
  • Elite Colleges Don't Buy Happiness for Graduates (WSJ)
  • How Russia Inc. Moves Billions Offshore -- and a Handful of Tax Havens May Hold Key to Sanctions (BBG)

Frontrunning: May 5

  • Fed’s Fisher Says Economy Strengthening as Payrolls Rise (BBG)
  • Russia Knows Europe Sanctions Ineffective With Tax Havens (BBG)
  • EU Cuts Euro-Area Growth Outlook as Inflation Seen Slower (BBG)
  • U.S. Firms With Irish Addresses Get Tax Breaks Derided as ‘Blarney’ (BBG)
  • Portugal exits bailout without safety net of credit line (Euronews)
  • Puzzled Malaysian Air Searchers Ponder What to Try Now (BBG)
  • Barclays, Credit Suisse Battle Banker Exodus, Legal Woes (BBG)
  • Germany says euro level not an issue for politicians (Reuters)
  • Alibaba-Sized Hole Blown in Nasdaq 100 Amid New Stock (BBG)
  • Obamacare to save large corporations hundreds of billions (The Hill)

Frontrunning: May 2

  • Ukraine attacks rebel city, helicopter shot down (Reuters)
  • Euro Unemployment Holds Near Record Amid Factory Gains (BBG)
  • Yellen’s Fed Resigned to Diminished Growth Expectations (BBG)
  • Junket Figure's Disappearance Shakes Macau's Gambling Industry (WSJ)
  • China tried to undermine economic report showing its ascendancy (WSJ)
  • Liquidity Trap Hitting AAA Bonds Has ATP CEO Sounding Alarm (BBG)
  • AstraZeneca Snubs Pfizer Approach That U.K. Won’t Block (BBG)
  • Missing Jet Recordings May Have Been 'Edited' (NBC)
  • RBS turns corner as first-quarter profit trebles (Reuters)
  • Japan household spending hits four-decade high, wages key to outlook (RTRS) while Real Incomes Drop 3.3% in March, 6th straight decline

Frontrunning: May 1

  • Two-Thirds of Insurance Exchange Enrollees Paid Premiums (WSJ)
  • Panic: Criminal Charges Against Banks Risk Sparking Crisis (BBG)
  • Did the junk bubble pop: Junk Loans Pulled as Investors Say No After Fed Raises Concerns (BBG)
  • CME mulls price fluctuation limits for gold, silver futures (Reuters)
  • AT&T Has Approached DirecTV About Possible Acquisition (WSJ)
  • NBA sets wheels turning for Clippers sale; Oprah in wings (Reuters)
  • One way to fix prison overcrowding: Florida Jail Hit by Deadly Blast (WSJ)
  • New Boeing jets hold key to more than half of future sales (Reuters)
  • Sony slashes profit estimate by 70% (Guardian)

Guest Post: Suspicious Deaths Of Bankers Are Now Classified As "Trade Secrets" By Federal Regulator

It doesn’t get any more Orwellian than this: Wall Street mega banks crash the U.S. financial system in 2008. Hundreds of thousands of financial industry workers lose their jobs. Then, beginning late last year, a rash of suspicious deaths start to occur among current and former bank employees.  Next we learn that four of the Wall Street mega banks likely hold over $680 billion face amount of life insurance on their workers, payable to the banks, not the families. We ask their Federal regulator for the details of this life insurance under a Freedom of Information Act request and we’re told the information constitutes “trade secrets.”

Frontrunning: April 28

  • U.S. Plans to Hit Putin Inner Circle With New Sanctions (BBG)
  • Russian Billions Scattered Abroad Show Trail to Putin Circle (BBG)
  • GE’s Alstom Bid Gains Steam as Hollande Said Not Opposed (BBG)
  • Russia-West tensions pressure stocks, buoy oil prices (Reuters)
  • Toyota Said to Plan to Move U.S. Sales Office to Texas (BBG)
  • Egyptian court seeks death sentence for Brotherhood leader, 682 supporters (Reuters)
  • Greece warned of 14.9 billion euro financing gap (FT)
  • Comcast to shed 3.9 million subscribers to ease cable deal (Reuters)
  • Big U.S. Banks Make Swaps a Foreign Affair (WSJ)

Frontrunning: April 25

  • Russia raises interest rates to 7.5% (FT)
  • Shanghai to Allow Raw Material Exchanges in Trade Zone (BBG)
  • US, Japan Fail to Clinch Trade Deal (WSJ)
  • 'We don't have a magic wand', says ECB's Constancio (Reuters)
  • Tokyo Inflation Quickens to Fastest Since 1992 (BBG)
  • Demand for Home Loans Plunges (WSJ)
  • EU banks urged to grasp chance to raise capital (FT)

Frontrunning: April 23

  • Ukraine's leaders say have U.S. backing to take on 'aggressors' (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs Stands Firm as Banks Exit Commodity Trading (BBG)
  • Obama reassures Japan, other allies on China as Asia trip begins (Reuters)
  • China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup (BBG)
  • Google’s Stake in $2 Billion Apple-Samsung Trial Revealed (BBG)
  • No bubble here: Numericable Set to Issue Record Junk Bond (WSJ)
  • 'Bridgegate' scandal threatens next World Trade Center tower (Reuters)
  • Supreme Court Conflicted on Legality of Aereo Online Video Service (WSJ)
  • Barclays May Cut 7,500 at Investment Bank, Bernstein Says (BBG)

Mortgage Standards Are Plunging – It’s Muppet Fleecing Time All Over Again

In February, we highlighted the fact that subprime loans were about to make a returnSubprime Mortgages are Back…This Time Marketed as “Second Chance Purchase Programs.” In that article, we posited that with the “all cash” private equity shops and hedge funds no longer able to make good returns through buying new homes to rent, these investors would need some sucker to sell to in order to realize a return (Blackstone’s purchases have plunged 70% recently). That sucker, as always, will be the retail muppets, and those muppets will be lured in through subprime. This is now starting to happen in earnest. "We're sorry, but on what sort of bizarro crackhead planet is putting 3% down toward an asset mean you are “buying it.” ... The Truman Show rolls on..."


David Stockman On 'The QE Follies': Bernanke's Swell Gift To The Big Four Banks

The Fed’s 5-year campaign to drive the 30-year mortgage rate from 6.5% to 3.3% has accomplished nothing except to touch off another of those pointless “refi” booms which enable homeowners to swap an existing mortgage for a new one carrying a significantly lower interest rate and monthly service cost. Such debt churning exercises have been sponsored repeatedly by the Fed since the S&L debacle of the late 1980s. The overwhelming evidence, however, is that America’s shop-till-they-drop consumers have finally dropped. But while peak debt means that the Fed’s entire 5-year money printing spree was destined to fail, it nevertheless has produced massive impacts - all of them bad or stupid. One of the most crucial is that it generated an artificial refi windfall to the Big Banks which now dominate the home mortgage business. And the profit windfall was a doozy. Now that financial results for Q1 2014 have been posted, the impact on Big Four financial results can actually be quantified. The four charts below on mortgage originations per quarter during the course of the Fed’s balance sheet expansion binge are the smoking gun.