Alan Simpson, the co-chair of the deficit reduction committee says we have a serious problem with our debts and deficit. And we should believe him, right? Why? Because he has ZERO background in the financial industry or in monetary operations. He is a law grad, served in the US Army and a lifelong politician. Certainly an admirable resume. But where is his background in the financial world and why in the world is he discussing the deficit and its impacts on the economy?
It’s not fair to single Mr. Simpson out. After all, he is just the CO-chair of this committee. His partner in crime is Erskin Bowles. Now, Mr. Bowles is no stranger to the financial world. He worked at Morgan Stanley and helped found his own successful financial firm. He went on to become Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff and was instrumental in helping the Clinton administration substantially reduce the national debt. That all sounds great until you realize that Mr. Bowles is simply another case of Mr. Obama rehashing the Clinton administration and hoping for the same results. Yes, the same results that helped lay the foundation for this very financial crisis.
In a press conference earlier today Mr. Bowles said that he is initiating an important discussion. According to him it’s an:
“adult conversation about the dangers of this debt”.
While everyone knows that it was two and a half decades of imbecilic monetary policy courtesy of the Monstro [sic] that caused the credit bubble, few things were as much of a direct proximal cause of the market crash as the August 2007 quant collapse. And few indices tracked the obliteration of the M/N quant landscape that followed as well as the HSKAX (below). Well, after two years of painful grinding (for the market neutrals), the HSKAX is back to the same level to which it plunged in that week in early August 2007. What does it mean? Who knows, suffice to say that the market not only stopped working when the quants were all briefly destroyed back in 2007, but it marked the all time high in the S&P. We are now back to those same levels.Only this time instead ot the Market Neutrals providing the traditional market liquidity it is the HFTs, the NYSE DMMs, and the New York Fed. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
This is certifiably one of those days when the insanity refuses to end. The latest laugh out loud episode come from the lunatic who has outstayed his “analytic” welcome by about 2 years following his Buy recommendation on a soon to be bankrupt Lehman Brothers (sorry Dick, nobody will ever let it go): The Rochdale analyst, continues to reprise the role of the evil grandpa-in-law who just. refuses. to. leave. even though it is about 12 hours past his credibility-time, now sees Bank of America as worth $21 in bankruptcy. You really can’t make this shit up. To wit: from a very funny Dick: “In death, this company would be worth 91% more than it is worth in life.” You may laugh now.
From Tricky Dick Bove: Bank of America (BAC) – Let’s Get Real
It has been reported that Wikileaks has obtained the hard drive of a Bank of America executive. This hard drive is believed to have 5 gigabytes of data on it. Consequently, it may take until the beginning of next year for Wikileaks to sort out the information and select what it wants to reveal. The organization is striving to make the biggest impact by touching upon data that is relevant in today’s marketplace.
It is further believed that this may narrow the data down to either the Merrill Lynch acquisition or Countrywide’s lending policies. It may be that the executive indicated that Bank of America was fully aware of all the write-offs and bonuses at Merrill well before this information was made available to shareholders.
Or, the data may deal with Countrywide’s underwriting policies and some type of collusion between the bank and Countrywide related to the issuance of securities. Possibly, the “friends of Angelo” may be revealed including Senator Dodd’s relationship with the company.
Wikileaks may not even know at this moment what it is going to reveal. The only issue one can be sure of is that whatever the data it will be sensational.
However, will it be relevant? Bank of America has already paid fines related to the events surrounding its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and no further government action is contemplated.
The Countrywide underwriting policies and Bank of America’s collusion or non-collusion is now in the courts and there are multiple lawsuits still being prepared relative to
Central bankers hate gold. That’s surprising given that they collectively own the lions share of what’s out there. The record is pretty clear however, most of the majors have sold gold over the past few decades. Today they have even more reason to hate it. It makes them look bad. This chart shows that both the Euro and the dollar are losing the race against gold as a store of wealth.
That the Euro is hitting all time lows against gold is an old story. But the move has gone parabolic of late, including a 3% pasting today
A very high percentage of Europeans own some gold. Much more than Americans. Younger people who don’t own gold have parents that do. They are more aware of gold as an asset class and something to turn to when there is trouble. Therefore the collapse of the Euro against gold is much more relevant then the fall in the EURUSD. EURGOLD is probably the best barometer of how desperate Europeans see their collective financial future. This does not bode well for consumer or business confidence.
The US Fed is adding to the misery of the EU Central bankers. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution. They are contributing to the appreciation of gold at a time when the Euro is weak versus the dollar. This creates the exponential price action in EURGOLD.
Many things are influencing gold of late. Inflation in China, nuts shooting cannons, a melt down of Europe’s financial picture and of course the biggest of all is the Fed and its effort to create inflation as a policy goal. What does this story from the WSJ do for gold?
It’s a good bet that Ben Bernanke and his talking heads will get their way. Actual inflation, and even worse, expectations of inflation will rise. Gold will rise against the dollar as a result. It’s an equally good bet that the Euro is headed lower against the Buck. So the measuring stick that Europeans look at is going to get even more stretched. I wonder if those European central bankers (and a few political leaders) are hating Ben for adding to their woes.
First WikiLeaks spilled the guts of government. Next up: The private sector, starting with one major American bank. In an exclusive interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011. Assange said the documents could "take down a bank or two."
Assange mentioned Goldman Sachs by name in the interview, but did not confirm the Wall Street giant will be the target of the leak. Assange wouldn’t say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation’s bad behavior.
"We have one related to a bank coming up, that’s a megaleak. It’s not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it’s either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it."
"It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume."
"Yes, there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos … and that’s tremendously valuable."
"You could call it the ecosystem of corruption,” Assange added. “But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest."
Assange also told the magazine that his group has material on many businesses and…
Google is near a deal to acquire Groupon, the pioneering online discounter, for as much as $6 billion, people with direct knowledge of the matter told DealBook on Monday.
At that price, Groupon — known for its daily discounts — would be one of Google’s largest acquisitions, dwarfing its $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick, the display advertising giant, in 2007.
The deal would also be Google’s boldest foray in local business online advertising, a large and untapped market it has been trying to get into, most recently by promoting Marissa Mayer to oversee the local business and attempting to buy Yelp, the local review site, last year.
The average Groupon deal offers 50 to 90 percent off retail goods and services, from restaurant certificates to skydiving lessons. It has grown beyond local merchants to encompass retailers like Gap, which offered a nationwide deal this summer. On the day of the Gap promotion, Groupon sold 440,000 units and generated $11 million in revenue.
Groupon’s success has helped turn the company into a cash-generating machine, signing up more than 12 million registered users and reaping more than $350 million in estimated annual revenue.
Efforts to make pension accounting more transparent could cause corporate profits to become more volatile if gains and losses from pension assets are mingled with results from companies’ business operations.
The agency for international accounting standards is expected to take up a proposal next year that would require companies with defined-benefit pensions to report annual changes in the value of their pension assets as part in their income statements. Under current procedures, returns on pension investments and gains and losses in pension-plan assets are accounted for in small increments over several years to keep them from skewing companies’ earnings.
The change would provide a more immediate snapshot of companies’ pension-plan performance. But U.S. companies, aside from Honeywell International Inc. (HON), have so far been reluctant to voluntarily change their pension accounting. Observers warn that investors could be subjected to bouncier stock prices if earnings become significantly less reliable with the addition of unpredictable gains and losses from pensions.
“If we’ve learned nothing else over the last three years, it’s that the market isn’t always rational,” said Alan Glickstein, senior consultant for Towers Watson, an employee benefits consultancy. “It’s not necessarily a good thing if [the accounting change] just increases earnings volatility.”
If the International Accounting Standards Board--the nongovernmental agency for accounting rules used by companies outside the U.S.--adopts the change for pension accounting, observers predict the Financial Accounting Standards Board will follow suit for the sake of consistency and amend the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles used by U.S. companies.
“To the degree that a company wants to make sure that their financials are reflective of their operations, it would make sense to go through a change like this. It would add transparency to the numbers,” said Daniel Holland, an analyst for research firm Morningstar Inc.
More than 340 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index have defined-benefit pensions that guarantee employees pension incomes when they retire. To meet these obligations, the companies have set aside a combined $1.22 trillion that is invested in stocks, bonds and
Per BreakingNews.com, Interpol has just issued an international arrest warrant for Julian Assange. The offense listed: SEX CRIMES. And somehow Interpol does not have access to the Internet and is unable to pull an image of the wanted criminal. Unclear if Ben Bernanke will follow suit in the same Sex Crime category for repeated involuntary fornication with the world’s middle class. In other news, we are now taking odds on a dramatic, globally televized slow speed chase on a California highway in Julian Assange’s future?
There was a time when the SEC at least tried to pretend the market is safe and efficient for investors. That was before Reg NMS, ATS and who knows what other mandated changes to market structure made a once stable marketplace into a labyrinth of fragmented sub-markets, exchanges, ATS, OTC venues and dark pools, where flash crashes, sub-pennying, HFT scalper algos, feedback loop generating synthetic CDOs aka ETFs, bank internalization and rampant outright fraud made the market into a sad and pale imitation of what it used to be. Of all this, May 6 was merely the culminating point. It is no wonder that since the first of many Flash Crashes investors have pulled money in 29 consecutive weeks: the message is all too clear – the retail participant has left the building…and the market. And to put the final nail in the coffin of investor confidence, we present the following detailed analysis from Nanex, which proves that in the past 5 years trading is nothing short of a travesty. The market analysis firm has conducted the definitive exchaustive analysis of “mini crashes” and has found a whopping 18,209 events of either mini melt downs ot melt ups. We hope Mary Schapiro reads this report and provides us with a refutation of either the analysis or the conclusion. We will gladly provide her the venue she so desperately needs to address an infinitely skeptical public that she has anything under control at this point.
We have analyzed all listed equities for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 for potential “mini crashes” in individual stocks. We were surprised at the number of incidents we found.
To qualify as a down-draft candidate, the stock had to tick down at least 10 times before ticking up — all within 1.5 seconds and the price change had to exceed 0.8%.
To qualify as a up-draft candidate, the stock had to tick up at least 10 times before ticking down — all within 1.5 seconds and the price change had to exceed 0.8%.
Because there are so many of these instances, showing all the individual charts on a page would simply be to unwieldy. Instead, we are providing ZIP archives for each year analyzed. Simply download the files, unzip and start viewing. We also made 10 pages…
The “Cashless economy” is myth. Forget what you think you know about credit and debit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, Apple Pay and any other modern conveniences meant to displace physical currency. The truth is that transactional currency ($1 through $20 bills) in circulation per capita today in America is essentially where it was, inflation adjusted, in 1994: $661 then and $649 today. Moreover, the Federal Reserve’s orders from the U.S. Treasury for small bills have grown faster in the last five years than the 20 year average: 4.5% annually versus a 3.5% long run growth rate. This year should be no different, with the Fed ordering $4...
In 2006-2007 I called for a recession. We got a big one. I called for another one in 2011, as did the ECRI. That recession never happened.
50% is not a very good recession predicting track record except in comparison to consensus economic opinions that have never once in history predicted a recession. Consensus opinion is batting a perfect 0.00%
Investigating the Record
By the way, the ECRI was late in calling the recession of 2007. They still deny it. And questions regarding the 2001 recession and ECRI have still not been answered.
I have talked about all of this before, and it's worth a recap, if for no other reason than to note the difficulty of calling recessions in real time.
Note from dshort: The NYSE has released new data for margin debt, now available through January. I've updated the charts in this commentary to include the latest numbers.
The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let's examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.
The first chart shows the two series in real terms — adjusted for inflation to today's dollar using the Consumer Price Index as the deflator. I picked 1995 as an arbitrary start date. We were well into the Boomer Bull Market that began in 1982 and approaching the...
Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.
Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...
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Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 cha...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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