- Germany Crisis Role in Focus After G-20 Rebuff (Bloomberg)
- G20 to Europe: Show us the money (Reuters)
- Draghi’s Unlimited Loans Are No Panacea (Bloomberg)
- Geithner says Europe has lowered risks of "catastrophe" (Reuters)
- Gone in 22 Seconds (WSJ)
- Gillard beats Rudd to stay Australian PM (FT)
- Brazil Will Continue Reducing Interest Rates, Tombini Says (Bloomberg)
- China to Have ‘Soft Landing’ Soon: Zoellick (Bloomberg)
- China To Be Largest Economy Before 2030: World Bank (Reuters)
- Obama pressed to open emergency oil stocks (FT)
- Obama Administration Said Set to Release Corporate Tax-Rate Plan Today (Bloomberg, WSJ)
- Greece races to meet bail-out demands (FT)
- IAEA ‘disappointed’ in Iran nuclear talks (FT)
- Hilsenrath: Fed Writes Sweeping Rules From Behind Closed Doors (WSJ)
- Fannie-Freddie Plan, Sweden FSA, Trader Suspects, CDO Lawsuit: Compliance (Bloomberg)
- Bank of England’s Bean Says Greek Deal Doesn’t End Disorderly Outcome Risk (Bloomberg)
- Greece Second Bailout Plan an ‘Important Step,’ Treasury’s Brainard Says (Bloomberg)
- Shanghai Eases Home Purchase Restrictions (Bloomberg)
Sprott strategist John Embry has never been a fan of the existing financial system. Today, he makes that once again quite clear in this interview with Egon von Grayerz' Matterhorn Asset Management in which he says: "I think that the current financial system, as we know it, will be totally destroyed, probably sooner rather than later. The next system will require gold backing to have any legitimacy. This has happened many times in history." Needless to say, he proceeds to explain why a monetary system based on gold, one in which one, gasp, lives according to one's means, is better. Logically, he also explains why the status quo, whose insolvent welfare world has nearly a third of a quadrillion in the form of unfunded future liabilities, will never let this happen. Much more inside.
The man whose fund is a pale shadow of his once invincible self, especially around the time he could tell Goldman which securities to short for him, with hapless and gullible Euros on the other side (but, hey, Goldman makes a market) continues to be the laughing stock of the market, following the latest 13F (with $13.9 billion AUM compared to $20.7 billion as Sept 30) release by Paulson. And considering the complete lack of liquidity in the market in Q4 (which is only getting worse now), the portfolio unwind of Paulson's holdings explains some very acute securities moves in November and December of 2011. Particularly the collapse in gold, which contrary to what economist Ph.D.s will tell you, was not due to technicals, or fundamentals, but due to Paulson dumping another 20% of his GLD, which is now just $2.6 billion as a share class, compared to $4.6 billion as of June 30, we for one can't wait for him to dump it all so that there is no more "Paulson overhang" in gold. Of course since this is a gold share class, it won't happen as long as Paulson & Co survives, but one can dream. What is far more laughable is that in the fourth quarter, Paulson dumped his entire Bank of America common stake (of which he had 64 million shares), his entire Citi common of 25 million shares (worth $627 million at Sept 30) and more than half of both his Capital One and SunTrust stakes, which went from $880 million to $401 million, and from $546 million to $210 million. He also cut almost his entire stake in Wells Fargo which went from $575 million to $96 million. That sure is some conviction in the always appropriately named "Recovery Fund." It is oddly ironic that precisely these stocks are the ones that have soared in Q1 as the Paulson overhang has been lifted.
These January jobs numbers make the Obama administration look good, at least relative to how it’s looked in the previous 12 months. However, they’re not reflecting as positively on two of Obama’s primary support groups: Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve.
We noted last week that credit spreads (particularly for financials in Europe and the US) were deteriorating rapidly. In Europe we saw financial stocks hold and then drop to catch up and once again today we see them holding up as credit drops further. In the US, from yesterday's gap up open exuberance, the major financials are significantly underperforming as they catch up to the ugly reality of the credit markets. Morgan Stanley and Citi are down 6% from yesterday's opening level, BofA and Goldman are down 3.5-4% and Wells Fargo is tracking the financial ETF (XLF) down around 2%. Even JPMorgan is down 1.4%. Several of these names are retesting their 200DMAs from above and volumes are picking up.
Most people read the headlines (and heard Obama tell us) today that the federal government and 49 state attorneys general reached a $25bn agreement with the five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. It seems that many people are unclear on what the implications of the various aspects of the settlement are and so we present Bank of America's concise summary of the costs, commitments, penalties, and scope of the long-awaited agreement. Theoretically this by no means closes the book on bank litigation liabilities, as BofA discusses, but we note very mixed performance post the settlement announcement (which admittedly seemed well telegraphed) as WFC rallied modestly (+0.2% from the 10amET announcement), with Citi (-1.2% from the announcement), BofA (-0.85%), and JPM (-0.4%) underperforming.
US To Settle Fraudclosure For $25 Billion Even As It Channels Fake Tough Guy In Meaningless Lawsuit Against Very Same BanksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/08/2012 23:08 -0400
Remember robosigning and the whole fraudclosure scandal? In a few days you can forget it. Because in America, the cost of contractual rights was just announced, and it is $25 billion: this is the amount of money that banks will pay to settle the fact that for years mortgages were issued and re-issued without proper title and liens on the underlying paper, courtesy of Linda Green et al. Why is this happening? Because staunch hold outs for equitable justice (at least until this point), the AGs of NY and California folded like cheap lawn chairs (we can't wait to find what corner office of Bank of America they end up in), but not before the one and only intervened. From the WSJ: "The Obama administration made a full-court press over the past four days to secure the support of key state attorneys general, including those from Florida, California and New York." Nothing like a little presidential persuasion to help one with overcoming one's conscience. Because in America the push to abrogate the very foundation of contractual agreements comes from the very top. But wait, there's more - just to wash its hands of the guilt associated with this settlement which shows once and for all that the Democratic administration panders as much if not more to the banking syndicate as any republican administration, as it announces one settlement with one hand, with the other the US will sue banks over the mortgage reps and warranties issue covered extensively here, in the most glaringly obtuse way to distract that it is gifting trillions worth of contingent liabilities right back to the banks, not to mention discarding the whole concept of justice. From the WSJ: "Federal securities regulators plan to warn several major banks that they intend to sue them over mortgage-related actions linked to the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the matter. The move would mark a stepped-up regulatory effort to hold Wall Street accountable for its sale of bonds linked to subprime mortgages in 2007 and 2008. At issue is whether the banks misrepresented the poor quality of loan pools they bundled and sold to investors, the people said." Wait, let us guess -that particular lawsuit will end up in a... settlement? Ding ding ding. We have a winner. All today's news succeed in doing is finally wrapping up any and all legal loose ends, so that banks can finally wrap all outstanding litigation overhangs at pennies on the dollar. And if at the end of the day, they find themselves cash strapped, why the US will simply loan them more cash of course.
The last week has offered an amusing display of the difference between the cheerleading corporate mainstream media, lying Wall Street shills and the critical thinking analysts. What passes for journalism at CNBC and the rest of the mainstream print and TV media is beyond laughable. Their America is all about feelings. Are we confident? Are we bullish? Are we optimistic about the future? America has turned into a giant confidence game. The governing elite spend their time spinning stories about recovery and manipulating public opinion so people will feel good and spend money. Facts are inconvenient to their storyline. The truth is for suckers. They know what is best for us and will tell us what to do and when to do it.... The drones at this government propaganda agency relentlessly massage the data until they achieve a happy ending. They use a birth/death model to create jobs out of thin air, later adjusting those phantom jobs away in a press release on a Friday night. They create new categories of Americans to pretend they aren’t really unemployed. They use more models to make adjustments for seasonality. Then they make massive one-time adjustments for the Census. Essentially, you can conclude that anything the BLS reports on a monthly basis is a wild ass guess, massaged to present the most optimistic view of the world. The government preferred unemployment rate of 8.3% is a terrible joke and the MSM dutifully spouts this drivel to a zombie-like public. If the governing elite were to report the truth, the public would realize we are in the midst of a 2nd Great Depression.
Kiss The Foreclosure Settlement Goodbye: Bank of America, Wells And JP Morgan Are Sued Over Use Of MERSSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2012 12:57 -0400
A little over a year since the day that the world first learned about robosigning and the broader problem of fraudclosure, which is merely the functional equivalent of infinite rehypothecation of an underlying asset between a daisy-chain of lien holders, we get the first legal incursion into this farce. From Bloomberg we learn that:
- BANK OF AMERICA, WELLS FARGO, JPMORGAN SUED BY NEW YORK OVER MERS
- NY AG SUIT CITES FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURE FILINGS
In other words, kiss that foreclosure settlement goodbye. In the meantime, the electronic momos keep taking BAC ever higher even as this news confirms that the bank is about to suffer a multi-billion impairment shortly.
Listen to the Landlord in Chief lay out his REO to LBO plan live and in stereo. Since everyone will end up paying for it, directly or indirectly, sooner or later it probably is relevant.
We noted last night that heavy and large average trade size was going through after the cash market close in S&P futures and it seemed overnight we needed one more push to flush out some more chasers before today's less than euphoric macro prints (aside from CFNAI's market-centric index) stalled the Fed-induced excitement. Financials had their worst day of the year (worst performing sector 2 days in a row), down just under 1% as did the Tech and Energy sectors as Utilities were best once again. Volumes were up with ES at its 50-day average and NYSE volume second highest of the year as ES (the e-mini S&P 500 futures contract) slid 20 points or so from opening highs up near 1330. Equity and credit markets tracked on another closely all day (as did broad risk drivers) with a last-30-minutes ramp (once again on high average trade size) just for good measure taking ES back to Tuesday after-hours swing highs. The late swing up looked like a recovery from being modestly oversold relative to risk assets as TSYs, FX, and commodities all trod water as stocks pulled up 5-6 S&P pts into the close. TSYs all rallied on the day with 2s-10s all at week low yields and 30Y starting to catch up to the excitement at the end of the day (though 2s10s30s remains notably 'low' relative to ES currently). Gold and Silver continued to outperform (up around 3.5% on the week) and Copper held onto its gains while Oil dropped back below $100 after getting above $101 early in the day. The correlation of EURUSD and risk has re-emerged recently and post-Europe's close today, USD strengthened though EUR remained just above 1.31 as we closed.
Scared by PM Volatility? Identify Severe Undervaluation Points in Gold & Silver v. Trying to Call Perfect BottomsSubmitted by smartknowledgeu on 01/26/2012 06:39 -0400
For a new investor in gold and silver, here is the most lucid piece of advice I can offer. Identifying severe undervaluation points in gold and silver, buying gold and silver assets during these times, and not worrying about interim short-term volatility, even if the immediate volatility is downward, is much more likely to impact your accumulation of wealth in a positive manner than trying to perfectly time market tops and bottoms in the highly manipulated gold and silver game.
The CDS index market remains one of the most liquid sources of hedges and positioning available (despite occasional waxing and waning in volumes) and is often used by us as indications of relative flows and sophisticated investor risk appetite. However, as Kamakura Corporation has so diligently quantified, the broad CDS market (specifically including single-names) remains massively concentrated. This concentration, evidenced by the Honolulu-based credit guru's findings that three institutions: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citibank National Association, have market shares in excess of 19% each has shown little to no reduction (i.e. the market remains as closed as ever) and they warn that this dramatically increases the probability of collusion and monopoly pricing power. We have long argued that the CDS market is valuable (and outright bans are non-sensical and will end badly) as it offers a more liquid (than bonds) market to express a view or more simply hedge efficiently. However, we do feel strongly that CDS (indices especially) should be exchange traded (more straightforward than ever given standardization, electronic trading increases, and clearing) and perhaps Kamakura's work here will be enough to force regulators and the DoJ to finally turn over the rock (as they did in Libor and Muni markets) and do what should have been done in late 2008 when the banks had little to no chips to bargain with on keeping their high margin CDS trading desks in house (though the exchanges would also obviously have to step up to the plate unlike in 2008).