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Archive for 2011

Guest Post: Banks Face Renewed Headwinds

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by MacroStory.com

Banks Face Renewed Headwinds

In the fall of 2010, there was no shortage of news regarding faulty foreclosure processes, aka “robo-signing.”  Bank stocks took a hit and the threat of a nationwide foreclosure moratorium appeared imminent.  Then came  the concept of put back risk to the big banks claiming violations of reps and warranty agreements or pooling and servicing agreements (PSAs). Since that time the media has gone rather quiet on the subject and the price action in the bank stocks would imply all is well.  BAC settled for pennies on the dollar with one of the GSEs and the stock rocketed that very day as investors were no longer “worried about the uncertainty.” 

The story may have gone cold but the lawsuits, court rulings, class actions, investigations have only heated up and continue to grow.  In fact they have grown to the point where keeping up with all of it was next to impossible.  Banks have tried to downplay any of these threats in their most recent earnings releases and conference calls but suddenly things seem to have changed.  Recent SEC filings by JPM, earnings restatements by BAC, a quick departure of Howard Atkins from WFC and regulators investigating CDO transactions by C have begun to turn the spotlight back to the banks and the balance sheet risk they face.

MERS was recently sued by a small county in Massachusetts for $22 million for failure to pay recording fees.  This is just one small county in one state.  The warning shot has been fired. States face hundreds of billions in budget gaps.  States have been defrauded of legal recording fees by MERS who will argue their electronic system of registration was a more efficient process in a fast moving mortgage market.  MERS was created by the real estate finance industry (per their website) and should these floodgates open, the banks who used MERS to transfer mortgages may ultimately be liable.

“Citigroup, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, also said U.S. regulators are examining how it structured and sold collateralized debt obligations as part of an investigation into mortgage-related businesses.” – Bloomberg

The Obama administration as part of the ongoing 50 attorneys general investigation of robo signing is proposing a $20 billion settlement whereas proceeds will be used for principal reductions for those underwater in their mortgages.  The…
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Swing trading virtual portfolio – week of March 7th, 2011

This post is for live trades and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current virtual 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

Optrader 

Swing trading virtual portfolio

 

One trade virtual portfolio





Goldman’s Hatzius Launches Pre-Emptive Mea Culpa

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

One of our key predictions from early this year has been that Goldman Sachs’ formerly crack economic team (and now considered by some to be nothing but a propaganda team on crack) will in the coming weeks and months materially downward revise its dramatic economic upgrade from early December (just coincidentally coinciding with the minute the Fed released previously secret bank bailout records), which ended the firm’s skeptical stance on the US economy, and launched it into all out Kool-Aid mode on nothing but one-time adjustments courtesy of a last gasp attempt at fiscal stimulus. While we are still scratching our heads why Hatzius would totally discredit himself by doing nothing more than what momentum traders do at an inflection point, and calling for a paradigm shift in his outlook when the most recent bout of gains is not driven by any recurring fundamental improvements, frankly we don’t care. What we do know is when Goldman turns outright bearish again, some time in late March, early April, it will be time to buy QE3 with both hands, following a dinner or two between Hatzius and Bill Dudley at the Pound and Pence. Tonight, Hatzius issued his first and very vague intro to the coming mea culpa: “The increase in oil prices is emerging as a more meaningful downside risk to growth later in the year.  At this point, we emphasize that this is just a risk, not a change in the forecast, as our commodity strategists expect part of the near-term price increase to reverse if the situation in the Middle East stabilizes.  But we are now clearly moving into riskier territory” and “eventually, fiscal policy will need to tighten anyway because the current structural deficit is much too large to be sustained over the longer term.  But if this tightening occurs more quickly than expected, that would likely weigh on near-term growth and, in turn, reduce the likelihood of tighter monetary policy.” We are certain that today’s note is the first whisper to those who read between the lines on what is coming from Goldman as soon as a few weeks from today, perfectly in line with Zero Hedge expectations. To be certain, it wouldn’t be a Goldman report without the now traditional comic interlude: “Going forward, we expect employment to continue growing at a healthy clip, but participation is likely
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Egypt Paper Plunges On Latest Stock Market Reopening Delay, 266 Day Bond Hits 12.47% Following Partial Auction Failure

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Remember when Egypt said that March 6 is the latest, guaranteed stock market reopen, or else? Well, the day has come and gone, and no Egypt stock market (all those who have been buying the EGPT ETF are forgiven for feeling like total idiots right about now). What however is trading are Egyptian bonds, which have plunged as a result of the ongoing total and complete chaos in the revolutionary country, which is now seeing a second wave of reactionary violence as fighting escalates between the police and protesters in Alexandria. As BusinessWeek reports: “Egypt’s borrowing costs are rising to the highest in more than two years and stocks listed overseas are tumbling as the Cairo exchange’s five-week shutdown and new rules on shareholder disclosure keep investors away. The Ministry of Finance sold 3 billion pounds ($509 million) of bonds yesterday, 1.5 billion pounds less than planned, as yields on 266-day notes climbed 31 basis points from the last auction to 12.47 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Global depositary receipts of Commercial International Bank Egypt SAE sank 15 percent in London last week to the lowest level since July. Orascom Telecom Holding SAE traded 5.2 percent below its Jan. 27 close, when the Egyptian Exchange shut down.” Our advice: don’t expect Egypt to reopen any time soon, and certainly not before the situation in Libya is under control, which won’t be for a long time. In the meantime the flight to safety trade (read gold, silver and crude) is raging overnight. And if and when it reopens, look for nothing less than freefall: “The EGX30 may drop another 10 percent when it eventually reopens, said Slim Feriani, London-based chief executive officer of Advance Emerging Capital Ltd., which manages $750 million in frontier and developing nation stocks including Egyptian shares.”

From BusinessWeek:

Egypt’s bourse delayed indefinitely the reopening planned for yesterday citing the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik in a March 3 statement. Regulators said last week they may require investment funds to disclose their shareholders as part of a probe of officials linked to ousted president Hosni Mubarak. The new rules and the bourse’s closure are deterring foreign funds and may spur selling when trade resumes, according to F&C Asset Management Plc and ING Investment Management.

“The fact that Egypt’s market


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You Call This An Economic Recovery?

44 Million Americans On Food Stamps and 10 Other Reasons Why The Economy Is Simply Not Getting Better

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at Economic Collapse 

When Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and the mainstream media tell us that we are in the middle of an economic recovery, is that supposed to be some kind of sick joke?  According to newly released numbers, over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps.  That is a new all-time record and that number is 13.1% higher than it was just one year ago. 

So how many Americans have to go on food stamps before we can all finally agree that the U.S. economy is dying?  50 million?  60 million?  All of us?  The food stamp program is the modern equivalent of the old bread lines.  More than one out of every seven Americans now depends on the federal government for food.  Oh, but haven’t you heard?  The economy is showing dramatic improvement.  Corporate profits are up.  The stock market is soaring.  Happy days are here again.

It just seems inconceivable that anyone can claim that the economy is improving when the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set a brand new record every single month.  But the food stamp program is not the only indicator that the economy is still having massive problems.  The following are 10 more reasons why the U.S. economy is simply not getting any better….

#1 Some recent statistics actually indicate that the number of unemployed Americans is still going up.  According to Gallup, unemployment in the United States rose to 10.3% at the end of February.  That is the highest number Gallup has reported since early last year.

#2 The housing industry is still a complete and total disaster.  In fact, new home sales in the U.S. in January were 11.2% lower than they were in December.  Not only that, the number of new home sales in January was18.6% lower than the number of new home sales in January 2010.  That is not a sign of improvement.

#3 There wouldn’t even be much of a housing industry at all at this point if it was not for the U.S. government.  Right now the U.S. government is either writing or guaranteeing well over 90 percent of all mortgages in the United States.  So what would the housing market look like in 2011 if the government was not


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What’s Driving the Surge in Auto Sales?

Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY

Originally published at CounterPunch

Subprime is back!

Only this time it’s popped up in the auto market where it’s triggered an impressive surge in sales. According to Marketwatch, General Motors February sales topped 45% to a robust 207,028 vehicles, way above analysts expectations. But soaring car sales have less to do with the allure of those gussied-up Silvarados than they do with "easy financing" for people with less-than-stellar credit. Here’s a clip from an interview on Wednesday’s Nightly Business Report with Autonation’s President Michael Maroone that helps to explain what’s going on.

NBR’s Susie Gharib: Another dose of good news today from the auto world, a day after Detroit`s big three reported strong February sales. Autonation, the country`s largest seller of new and used cars, reported a big jump in its numbers. New vehicle sales rose 29 percent compared to a year ago. And U.S. brands made up 40 percent of sales. GM models were especially popular….. Mike, what about any kind of special deals or incentives to entice consumers to buy?

Maroone: Well, almost every day there`s a new incentive. They`re used in a very tactical manner. The incentives are relatively flat with prior periods. But today we saw GM announce zero percent financing, up to 72 months on specific models. We`re seeing Honda increase their incentives. Nissan`s got a very aggressive program. Toyota has been aggressive. So almost every manufacturer has something and it varies tremendously. It`s certainly tactically driven and it is stimulating business.

Gharib: What about on the credit side, for someone that does need financing, is it getting easier to get a loan or is it still pretty tough?

Maroone: Susie, it`s gotten much easier. The big driver of the recovery in 2010 was the restoration of credit. The change in 2011 is we`re now seeing an improving environment for sub-prime. So last year prime and near prime were more normal and this year we`re starting to see the sub- prime segment come along and that`s very important for our industry. (The Nightly Business Report)

Repeat: "72 months zero percent financing" to people with dodgy credit. Sound familiar?

But why would the big car dealers want to get caught up in another enormous subprime meltdown? How do they benefit from issuing loans to people who may not be able to repay the debt?

Ahh, that’s…
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An Ugly Breakup — A Look at the Relationship Between Oil and Stocks

By Bespoke Investment Group

From the start of the bull market back in March 2009 until just recently, oil and the stock market had a seemingly wonderful relationship.  Most of the time, when stocks moved higher, oil moved higher as well.  On the rare occasion that equities headed lower, oil tagged along to the downside.  This wonderful relationship has recently become strained, however, and the two have seemingly chosen to go their separate ways.

Below is a chart highlighting the rolling 1-month correlation between the S&P 500 and oil (using daily % changes) since the start of the equity bull market on March 9th, 2009.  The higher the number on the positive side, the more closely the two are moving together.  The lower the number on the negative, the more the two are moving in the opposite direction.  As shown, the correlation between the stock market and oil remained positive up until just recently, but the breakup between the two has been swift and extreme.  At the moment, the one-month correlation between the two stands at -0.70.

Continue here: Bespoke Investment Group – Think BIG – An Ugly Breakup — A Look at the Relationship Between Oil and Stocks.

50 Ways to Leave your Lover – Paul Simon





Bill Buckler On How The US Morphed From A “Global Beacon Of Freedom” To A Symbol Of Political And Economic Repression

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

In his latest edition of the Privateer newsletter, Bill Buckler confirms that he is one of the premier politco-economic commentators, with one of the most devastating expositions on how America, once the land of the brave and the home of the free, and truly a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world, has entered the death spiral of its cilivizational curve, which “beginning of the end” started in 1913 with the introduction of the income tax and the ascent of the Federal Reserve, and now, a century later, has morphed into what can poetically be called the “ending of the end.” Recent events in the Middle East and Africa only underscore how rapidly the sun is setting on the world’s once undisputed superpower. That China is merely biding its time before it disconnects its mutual life support system to the US (which contrary to conventional wisdom, is far more important to the US than vice versa, now that the Fed is by the far the biggest owner of US debt), and ends its symbiosis with US fiscal and monetary policy, should not be a reason for optimism to anyone. With each passing day, Chinese superiority is becoming ever more palpable (even despite the massive loan bubble currently in process in China), even as desperate US attempts to cling to the last trace of its former superpower status are getting increasingly ignored by virtually everyone. If Buckler is correct, the final nail in the US superpower status coffin could come as soon as the unwind of events in MENA, where the people have made it all too clear the US is no longer welcome. What happens next will indicate just how rapidly the complete fall from grace for the US will transpire: “The Middle East is again in strife. This time, the conflict is between the regimes which have been installed and supported by the US government in their march to empire and the people who those same regimes have ruled with an iron fist. To these people, the US is not looked upon as an “exemplar” of anything – except political AND economic repression.

There is much more in this week’s full Privateer newsletter, but the following segment should be read by all

“They Hate Us For Our Freedom”:

There are two supremely


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Silver Bullet…

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

In the chart below, Silver stocks (ETF) looks to have broken from its sideways channel.  Both had a nice relative strength day this past Friday! See performance results in the chart below.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE 

Gold may be getting the headlines of late, yet when it comes to commodity/portfolio performance, Silver/Silver stocks is the clear winner over the past 30 days.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

Game Plan…remain overweight Silver Futures/Silver ETF (SLV) and owners of Silver Stock ETF (SIL). Will remain using the breakout as the stop loss.





QE2: An Unmitigated Disaster?

Courtesy of asiablues

By Dian L. Chu

There was a debate recently between Rick Santelli of CNBC and James Bullard, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis regarding the inflation effects of the QE2 initiative.

Bullard, the economist, cited the core inflation rate, and even the headline inflation rate as illustrative of a lack of serious inflation pressures in the US economy. Santelli, on the other hand, talked the trader`s perspective of inflation wanting to use the CRB Index (Fig. 1) as a true indication of inflation effects since QE2 was brought up at Bernanke’s Jackson Hole Speech in August 2010.

So let us compare two scenarios and ask ourselves would the US economy be doing better without the QE2 initiative?

Pre-QE2 Prices:

  1. 2.50-2.70% 10-Year Treasury Yield  
  2. $2.64 US Gasoline Price (August 2010)  
  3. Cotton Prices at $85 (Contract Size 50,000 pounds)   
  4. S&P 500 Index 1100   
  5. Copper Prices $3.25 a pound  
  6. US Dollar Index at 83.00  
  7. Lumber Prices at $200 (Futures Contract –Contract Size 110,000 board feet)  
  8. Sugar Prices at $17.50 (Futures Contract-Contract Size 112,000 Sugar #11)  
  9. Cattle Prices at $92 (Futures Contract-Contract Size 40,000 pounds)   
  10. Milk Prices at $14 (Futures Contract-Contract Size 200,000 pounds Class III)

QE2 Effects So Far:

  1. 3.50% 10-Year Treasury Yield  
  2. $3.50 US Gasoline Price  
  3. Cotton Prices at $215 (Futures Contract -50,000 pounds)  
  4. S&P 500 Index 1320  
  5. Copper Prices $4.50 a pound  
  6. US Dollar Index at 76.40  
  7. Lumber Prices at $303 (Futures Contract)  
  8. Sugar Prices at $30 (Futures Contract)  
  9. Cattle Prices at $114 (Futures Contract)  
  10. Milk Prices at $19.50 (Futures Contract)

About That Unemployment Rate…

This just gives a snapshot of some of the inflationary effects for the US consumer.  I cannot think of any argument where higher interest rates resulted from QE2 are good for the housing sector, which is the most troubled part the US economy.

Nevertheless, I must add that the unemployment rate is better, and we have created more jobs since QE2 but with a highly fluctuating job pool where workers give up looking and leave the labor market it is hard to gauge the real unemployment numbers.

Plus how much of the job creation is due to other factors…
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Zero Hedge

Guest Post: The Slow Death Of The Old Global Order

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Robert Merry via The National Interest,

In the spring of 2012, The National Interest produced a special issue under the rubric of “The Crisis of the Old Order: The Crumbling Status Quo at Home and Abroad.” The thesis was that the old era of relative global stability, forged through the crucibles of the Great Depression and World War II, was coming unglued. In introducing the broad topic to readers, TNI editors wrote, “Only through a historical perspective can we fully understand the profound developments of our time and glean,...



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Chart School

A Long-Term Look at Inflation

Courtesy of Doug Short.

The April Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) released this morning puts the March year-over-year inflation rate at 1.51%, which is well below the 3.88% average since the end of the Second World War and 37% below its 10-year moving average.

For a comparison of headline inflation with core inflation, which is based on the CPI excluding food and energy, see this monthly feature.

For better understanding of how CPI is measured and how it impacts your household, see my Inside Look at CPI components.

For an even closer look at how the components are behaving, see this X-Ray View of the data for the past five months.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has compiled CPI data since 1913, and numbers are conve...



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Phil's Favorites

French Email Ban Update: "Duty to Disconnect"

Courtesy of Mish.

In response to France Prohibits Sending Work Emails, Answering Cell Phones, Outside Working Hours one reader strenuously objected.

After exchanging numerous emails, his main objection was the accuracy of the title itself "France Prohibits Sending Work Emails, Answering Cell Phones, Outside Working Hours."

Here is the exact headline of the La Vanguardia article that I translated "France prohibits sending mails from work outside working hours".

The reader's big objection? Claiming "France" did this.

Similarly, the Guardian received a lot of flak for its report When ...



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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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Insider Scoop

Ginnie Mae To Big Banks: Show Us Your Mortgages. But Can They?

Courtesy of Benzinga.

The Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) recently discovered that Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is missing key documents relating to mortgages the bank services for it, reported Kate Berry for National Mortgage News.

Because Bank of America is missing so many key documents,

Posted-In: News ...



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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 2014

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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Market Shadows

Winning: Defined as Losing Less

By Paul Price of Market Shadows

Market Shadows Excelled – With a 1.36% Weekly Decline

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King. Our Virtual Value Porfolio took on that role this week as we lost a modest 1.36% of our value while the DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped from 2.35% - 3.10%.

We remain bullish despite the shaky end of week sentiment. Our original $100,000 now totals $145,058 including our 2.8% cash reserve.

 ...



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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 is the new Stock World Weekly. Please sign in with your user name and password, or sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly. Click here. 

Chart by Paul Price.

...

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Option Review

Bearish Prints In DDD Put Options

3D Systems shares had been in positive territory earlier in the session, up as much as 4.2% to touch an intraday high of $50.85. The stock bounced off a low of $47.17 in the early going, a new six-month low for the share price and a more than 50% drop from DDD’s record high of $97.28 reached back on January 3rd. Shares managed to stay in the green for much of the session before succumbing to selling pressure this afternoon. Options expiring next week suggests at least one trader is positioning for further weakness in the near term.

The 17Apr’14 $47 puts traded more than 2,000 times this morning against previously existing open interest o...



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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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FeedTheBull - Top Stock market and Finance Sites



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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