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Archive for 2010

More Bonus + Less Lending = The March on Wall Street

Courtesy of Static Chaos

By Static Chaos

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Treasury Department data, the biggest recipients of taxpayer aid made or refinanced 23% less in new loans in February, the latest available data, than in October, the month the Treasury kicked off the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). (Chart 1)

Excluding mortgage refinancings, consumer lending dropped by about one-third between October and February. Commercial lending slumped by about 40% over that period, the data indicates.  All but three of the 19 largest TARP recipients originated fewer loans in February than they did at the time they received federal infusions.

Meanwhile, the average Wall Street bonus soared almost 14 times higher (by 2006); the average worker’s salary has essentially been stagnant sine the mid-1980s. (Chart 2) 

Wall Street bonuses paid to New York City securities industry employees rose by 17% to $20.3 billion in 2009, according to an estimate released in February by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.  (Click here for a chart showing bonuses paid from 1985-2009.) 

Total compensation at the largest securities firms grew even faster and industry profits could exceed an unprecedented $55 billion in 2009, nearly three times greater than the previous all-time record. In 2008, the industry lost a record $42.6 billion.

Basically, after unloading their toxic assets onto the Fed / taxpayers’ balance sheet, Wall Street is able to increase bonus partly through less lending, because with the free money from the government, banks have discovered that lending to businesses and consumers does not give them as high returns as other activities such as juicing up stock markets and commodities.

A 17% bonus increase in a recession year with a nationwide jobless rate of around 10%, coupled with a reduction in lending while receving TARP money - a sure fire recipe for becoming public enemy number 1.

So, no surprise here -- a video from WSJ.com dated Apr. 30 showing thousands of demonstrators rallied against big banks in New York’s financial district, calling for accountability and job creation.  Wonder if Goldman Sachs employees are still packing guns?  

Static Chaos





ANOTHER GREEK BAILOUT, ANOTHER MONDAY MELT-UP?

ANOTHER GREEK BAILOUT, ANOTHER MONDAY MELT-UP?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

Traders piled into stocks last Thursday when the news of a Greek bailout hit the wires.  Stocks soared back to near highs as euphoria swept the markets and investors celebrated the austerity based recession that is now a near guarantee in parts of Europe.  The news became official this morning with a fresh bailout of Greece (which seems to be the market moving news just about each Sunday these days).  Greece will receive $145B in what can only be described as a Scott Norwood-like kick of the can down the road – hard but “wide right!”. Traders love the news, of course, just as they have every Sunday night that such reports have been released:

Mon ANOTHER GREEK BAILOUT, ANOTHER MONDAY MELT UP?

The politicians across Europe are playing this bailout as if it is a bailout of the people of Greece and Europe itself.   The truth is, these measures will force Greece into a near guaranteed recession for several more years and possibly to the brink of depression as savage austerity measures are imposed.  The likelihood of further austerity measures in surrounding nations is almost guaranteed as well.  Meanwhile, this bailout will be funneled through Greece and directly into the coffers of the foolish buyers of Greek bonds – primarily the large European banks.  Once again, these foolish politicians bailout Wall Street in favor of Main Street and sell it as a bailout of Main Street.  Hopefully the entire continent of Europe will remember this when they enter the voting booth.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves in the coming months.  My guess is that Greece is not the last domino in this row.  The problems in Italy, Portugal and Spain will continue to build as the Euro economy remains fragile.  Should these countries impose painful austerity measures in an attempt to get ahead of potential Greek-like problems they could actually drive their own economies closer to the brink.  The Euro has been exposed as a fatally flawed currency in its current format.   These measures have done nothing to solve the actual problem in the Euro, but have nearly guaranteed a much weaker economy than most Europeans deserve.

Despite the fact that nothing has actually been resolved here, traders are piling into equity futures overnight in anticipation of a Thursday-like celebration.  I think the following saying is appropriate:


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THE STOCK MARKET VS THE ECONOMY

THE STOCK MARKET VS THE ECONOMY

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

By Boeckh Investments: 

30757422-The-Economy-vs-the-Stock-Market-The-Boeckh-Investment-Letter





Editorial Note

This is a followup to TED’s previous post, American Baby

Editorial Note

Courtesy of The Epicurean Dealmaker 

No good deed goes unpunished.

— Anonymous

My recent exercise in flag-waving seems to have generated some confusion in a few quarters. If I interpret his telegraphic tweets aright1—always a risky business, under the best of circumstances—reader "CorneliusZH" seems to have interpreted my post as an attack on the banking industry qua industry, and that I implied that all its denizens, from lowest recent recruit to highest panjandrum, should be tarred with the brush of anticompetitive, plutocratic misbehavior.

This was not my intent at all.2 Let me be clear: as CorneliusZH wrote, many of the people who work in the investment banking industry are indeed Horatio Alger stories themselves. (For what it is worth, so am I.) Careful readers will recall that I alluded to the current CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, as an admirable exemplar of that very thing.3 I have known very few, if any, colleagues or competitors over the years who have achieved success at (or even entry into) investment banking based on nepotism or anything other, really, than a rare combination of high native intelligence, relentless hard work, and grand ambition. There have been a few people I know who got a start based upon who Daddy was, but they quickly got winnowed out if they couldn’t deliver the goods like their peers. (Most of those were hired with the implicit understanding that Daddy would hand out fee business to the investment bank which hired Junior, anyway. Unless they proved themselves otherwise, such quid pro quos were always viewed as temporary investments in human capital only.)4

There was also nothing in my post which should lead a cautious reader to assume I advocate the dissolution of investment banks, the imposition of punitive taxes on finance industry compensation, or the passage of badly written, excessively repressive legislation on the industry itself. Number one, that just isn’t in my piece. And number two, have you read anything I’ve written in these pages over the past few years? Shit, man, carve out a couple days, pour yourself a few beers, and read it. You will quickly find such impressions to be badly mistaken.…
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Oil Spill: Here’s The Inside Scoop

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog

The Gulf oil spill is much worse than originally believed.

As the Christian Science Monitor writes:

It’s now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard’s figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register.

CNN quotes the lead government official responding to the spill – the commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen – as stating:

If we lost a total well head, it could be 100,000 barrels or more a day.

Indeed, an environmental document filed by the company running the oil drilling rig – BP – estimates the maximum as 162,000 barrels a day:

In an exploration plan and environmental impact analysis filed with the federal government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a “worst-case scenario” at the Deepwater Horizon site, which the document described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout — 6.8 million gallons each day.

Best-Case Scenario

BP is trying to perform a difficult task of capping the leak by using robotic submarines to trigger a “blowout preventer” 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. Here’s a photo of the robot trying to activate the switch on April 22nd:

(courtesy of the US Coast Guard)

If successful, the leak could be stopped any day. Everyone is rooting for the engineers, so that they may successfully cap the leak.

Already, however, the spill is worse than the Exxon Valdez, and will cause enormous and very costly destruction to the shrimping, fishing and tourism industries along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Florida. It will be years before good estimates on the number of dead fish, turtles, birds and other animals can be made.

The Backup Plan

If the blowout preventer can’t be triggered, the backup plan is…
continue reading





Oil Spill: The Inside Scoop

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog

The Gulf oil spill is much worse than originally believed.

As the Christian Science Monitor writes:

It’s now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard’s figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register.

CNN quotes the lead government official responding to the spill – the commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen – as stating:

If we lost a total well head, it could be 100,000 barrels or more a day.

Indeed, an environmental document filed by the company running the oil drilling rig – BP – estimates the maximum as 162,000 barrels a day:

In an exploration plan and environmental impact analysis filed with the federal government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a “worst-case scenario” at the Deepwater Horizon site, which the document described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout — 6.8 million gallons each day.

Best-Case Scenario

BP is trying to perform a difficult task of capping the leak by using robotic submarines to trigger a “blowout preventer” 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. Here’s a photo of the robot trying to activate the switch on April 22nd:

(courtesy of the US Coast Guard)

If successful, the leak could be stopped any day. Everyone is rooting for the engineers, so that they may successfully cap the leak.

Already, however, the spill is worse than the Exxon Valdez, and will cause enormous and very costly destruction to the shrimping, fishing and tourism industries along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Florida. It will be years before good estimates on the number of dead fish, turtles, birds and other animals can be made.

The Backup Plan

If the blowout preventer can’t be triggered, the backup plan is…
continue reading





Oil Spill: How Bad?

Courtesy of George Washington

Washington’s Blog

The Gulf oil spill is much worse than originally believed.

As the Christian Science Monitor writes:

It’s now likely that the actual amount of the oil spill dwarfs the Coast Guard’s figure of 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, a day.

Independent scientists estimate that the renegade wellhead at the bottom of the Gulf could be spewing up to 25,000 barrels a day. If chokeholds on the riser pipe break down further, up to 50,000 barrels a day could be released, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by the Mobile, Ala., Press-Register.

Indeed, CNN quotes the lead government official responding to the spill – the commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen – as stating:

If we lost a total well head, it could be 100,000 barrels or more a day.

Best-Case Scenario

The oil company running the oil drilling rig – BP – is trying to perform a difficult task of capping the leak by using robotic submarines to trigger a “blowout preventer” 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.

If successful, the leak could be stopped any day. Everyone is rooting for the engineers, so that they may successfully cap the leak.

Already, however, the spill is worse than the Exxon Valdez, and will cause enormous and very costly destruction to the shrimping, fishing and tourism industries along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Florida. It will be years before good estimates on the number of dead fish, turtles, birds and other animals can be made.

Worst-Case Scenario

As the Associated Press notes:

Experts warned that an uncontrolled gusher could create a nightmare scenario if the Gulf Stream carries it toward the Atlantic.

This would, in fact, be very bad, as it would carry oil far up the Eastern seaboard.

Specifically, as the red arrows at the left of the following drawing show, the Gulf Stream runs from Florida up the Eastern Coast of the United States:


[Click here for full image.]

In a worst-case scenario – if the oil leak continued for a very long period of time – the oil could conceivably be carried from…
continue reading





Full, Unabridged And Totally Hilarious G-Pap Speech To Cabinet

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have convened this Cabinet today to an historic meeting. All the citizens of Greece feel the crucial nature of these moments and the burden of historical responsibility. Avoiding bankruptcy is a red line for the Nation.

“I would like to make it absolutely clear to everybody — I have done and will always do whatever it takes for the country not to go bankrupt. We are waging together a difficult and relentless battle dealing with the problems — the dimensions of which one could never have imagined. It is true, we were the first to speak of the crisis — a crisis of politics, a crisis of institutions, a crisis of values which in turn led to the huge economic crisis. “No citizen of Greece could however ever have imagined the size of the debt and the deficit which the former government had caused and hid upon its exit. This is not the time for accusations, however. The people of Greece are fully aware of where they lie. The consequences however are manifold.

“First of all, the lack of trust that Greek citizens have in their institutions and the present political system, the lack of credibility of our political system is so great that citizens even show distrust to us and to this government. From the first day however I personally and all of us here have fought battle after battle trying to finally make those profound changes and create a society where justice prevails, where the money of the Greek people is put to good use and where the democratic state protects the rights of its citizens.

“For the first time in years a government is working with such dedication to the task assigned to it by the citizens of this country.

“In all sincerity, we are a different government. Despite this long battle with the crisis of debt and lending, day by day, we are
making small and even greater reforms to a system which did not serve the interests of this country.

“This is something we will continue to do ceaselessly as we round the cape of economic crisis in order not to find ourselves in this situation again. “Our first concern was to regain credibility with our citizens. We have been honest from the…
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Investor Sentiment: Time To Pay Attention!

Courtesy of thetechnicaltake

After 8 months of indifference to the constant and persistent rise in stock prices, the "smart money" has finally turned bearish. It is time to pay attention.

The "Smart Money" indicator is shown in figure 1. The "smart money indicator is a composite of the following data: 1) public to specialist short ratio; 2) specialist short to total short ratio; 3) SP100 option traders. The "Smart Money" indicator is has turned bearish for the first time since January, 2009.


Figure 1. "Smart Money" Indicator/ weekly

*****

The "Dumb Money" indicator (see figure 2) looks for extremes in the data from 4 different groups of investors who historically have been wrong on the market: 1) Investor Intelligence; 2) Market Vane; 3) American Association of Individual Investors; and 4) the put call ratio. The "Dumb Money" indicator is bullish to an extreme degree, and this implies that a price move is either nearing its end or the ascent of prices is surely to show. This is our expectation 85% of the time.

Figure 2. "Dumb Money" Indicator/ weekly
*****

Figure 3 is a weekly chart of the S&P500 with the InsiderScore "entire market" value in the lower panel. From the InsiderScore weekly report we get the following: "early signals indicate that insiders are not going to deviate from the path they’ve taken over the past year".

Figure 3. InsiderScore/ weekly "entire market" value
*****

Figure 4 is a weekly chart of the S&P500. The indicator in the lower panel measures all the assets in the Rydex bullish oriented equity funds divided by the sum of assets in the bullish oriented equity funds plus the assets in the bearish oriented equity funds. When the indicator is green, the value is low and there is fear in the market; this is where market bottoms are forged. When the indicator is red, there is complacency in the market. There are too many bulls and this is when market advances stall.

Currently, the value of the indicator is 67.14%. Values greater than 58% (arbitrarily chosen) are associated with market tops, and the red dots over the price bars indicate such.


Figure 4. Rydex Total Bull v. Total Bear/ weekly
*****
Shorter term Rydex measures showed excessive bullishness (i.e, not seen since 2004) earlier in the week.


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Greece Bailed Out To Get In Even More Debt

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Does anyone have a problem with the attached chart?

Ignore for a second the sheer lunacy of anyone who thinks that the Greek government can grow GDP and decline the budget deficit in a straight line now that the country will see crippling strikes and rolling riots (not to mention blackouts) on a daily basis. But do note the black line, which shows the projected Debt/GDP ratio for the country as part of the bailout package. In essence Greece will go from having “only” a 133% Debt/GDP ratio to an insane 149% in 2013 before presumably dropping to 144% lower in 2014, still a good 11% higher than currently. Greece just got bailed out so it can get into even more debt! What psychopath of the Keynesian school thinks that this unbelievable trajectory is anything but a complete and utter waste of money? German, and US taxpayers, are merely giving Greece money so it can increase it debtor status with French and a few other European banks. To say that this is a viable solution is something that only those who bow at the altar of Alan Greenspan can do.





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Existing Home Sales See 2nd Biggest MoM Plunge Since May 2010

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The 3.7% plunge MoM in December's pending home sales is the 2nd largest since May 2010, drastically missing expectations of a 0.5% rise in sales (buoyed by exuberance from homebuilders). All regions saw weakness but the Northeast was worst with a 7.5% MoM plunge (so weather will be blamed we are sure - though it appears analysts never thought of that). Inventories fell for the first time in 16 months but NAR's chief economist proclaims it is time for "current homeowners to realize their equity gains and trade-up." Yep - more leverage...

...

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Phil's Favorites

Asset Price Deflation Coming Up? Food Prices About to Drop? CPI About to Go Negative? Credit Deflation?

Courtesy of Mish.

When inflation alarmists want to convince everyone the dollar is about to become worthless, they post this chart of the CPI.

CPI - Urban Consumers - All Items - Index



Inflationists claim that is a trend to oblivion. And actually it is. But it's a slow trend towards oblivion with intermittent disruptions as the following chart shows.

CPI - Urban Consumers - All Items - Percent Change From Year Ago



As measured by consumer prices, inflation went negative from December 2008 until October 2009....



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Chart School

New Jobless Claims at 265K, Lowest Since April 2000

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Here is the opening statement from the Department of Labor:

In the week ending January 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 265,000, a decrease of 43,000 from the previous week's revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 307,000 to 308,000. The 4-week moving average was 298,500, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 306,500 to 306,750.

There were no special factors impacting this week's initial claims. [See full report]

Today's seasonally adjusted 265K came in well below the In...



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Market Shadows

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

Courtesy of Paul Price

Suppose you had the technical ability and raw materials to print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Assume you could spend them as fast as you could create them with no fear of any repercussions.

Would you prudently print up only as much fresh currency as you needed for your current lifestyle? Would you create just a bit more than that to help relatives or those in need?

It is most likely you’d have your printing press running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Becoming the richest person in the world would confer great power upon you.

You could rationalize this action because you plan to use the money for good purposes. Imagine the warm feeling you’d get by giving every person in America one million do...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of January 26th, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: With the Fed fading into shadows, investors look overseas for new catalysts

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

By Scott Martindale

Last week, the S&P 500 put an end to its streak of weekly losses, despite giving back some gains on Friday. Thursday provided the big catalyst, with the ECB’s announcement of its bold new monetary stimulus plan. Investors were cheered and soothed for the moment. And U.S. fundamentals still look strong. But with Greece trying to turn back time, with volatility elevated (and likely to continue as such), and with the technical situation still dicey, the near term outlook is still worrisome.

In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart...



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Digital Currencies

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services

So as I was saying yesterday (Bitcoin: The Biggest Clown Show In History?), Bitcoin has several obstacles on the path to potential success as an alternative currency. But I forgot to mention hacking and theft at Bitcoin exchanges and other technical problems. This is related to the lack of government backing and the fact that the value of Bitcoins is based entirely on confidence.  

Jitters After Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Services 

By 



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Pharmboy

2015 - Biotech Fever

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

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...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here's this week's Stock World Weekly.

Click here and sign in with your user name and password. 

 

...

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Option Review

SPX Call Spread Eyes Fresh Record Highs By Year End

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...



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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

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 jennifersurovy@yahoo.com 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.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-get-shadowfax-out-from-the-darkness-of-medical-bills-/126743

Thank you for you time!




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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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