Bloomberg out with an article disclosing what every "tinfoil" hat wearer has known for a long time, namely that it was precisely Goldman’s collateral extractions out of AIG that were the cause for the firm’s collapse, and the ensuing financial catastrophe that to this day has been propped up only thanks to the US government’s backstop of nearly $10 trillion in various worthless assets.
Goldman Sachs got $5.9 billion and Societe Generale received $5.5 billion of about $18.5 billion in collateral paid by AIG in the 15 months before the September bailout. The payments helped settle AIG’s obligations on $62.1 billion of credit-default swaps that the Federal Reserve later removed from the New York-based insurer as part of the rescue. Officials at AIG, Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale declined to comment.
“It was precisely that drain of liquidity to Goldman and SocGen that put AIG in a position of illiquidity and ultimately threw them into the government’s arms,” said Charles Calomiris, a finance professor at Columbia Business School in New York.
AIG disclosed a complete list last month of payments made to settle the $62.1 billion in derivatives. The figures for the period before the bailout were calculated by subtracting post- rescue payments disclosed in March from the sum of more than 150 transactions outlined in May.
“Goldman is to be congratulated for seeing the problem ahead of others and protecting itself from the impending failure of AIG,” said William Poole, former president of the St. Louis Fed, in an interview last week. “It’s not the responsibility of any private firm to determine what the public interest is — that’s why we have a government.”
Goldman Sachs bought protection on about $20 billion in assets from AIG, meaning the company was counting on $10 billion from the insurer after the underlying holdings lost about half their value, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said in a March conference call. The firm had “no direct exposure” to AIG because it held about $7.5 billion in collateral and hedged its remaining $2.5 billion risk to the firm’s potential failure, Viniar said. The $7.5 billion tally includes trades unrelated to Maiden Lane.
In the aftermath of Saturday's tragic and unprecedented bombing of an Afghanistan hospital by the US air force, one which killed 22 and continued for 30 minutes after mission command has been allegedly notified of the "error" which the US initially claimed was "collateral damage", the Doctors without Borders physician group in charge of operating the hospital has come out swinging and has equated the US bombing of a hospital to engaging in nothing short of a war crime.
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The Fed’s decision to not raise the fed funds rate at this time was ultimately taken by the market as a no-confidence vote on our economic health, which just added to the fear and uncertainty that was already present. Rather than cheering the decision, market participants took the initial euphoric rally as a selling opportunity, and the proverbial wall of worry grew a bit higher. Nevertheless, keep in mind that markets prefer to climb a wall of worry rather than ride a crowded bandwagon, and I continue to envision higher levels for the markets after further backing-and-filling and testing of support levels (perhaps even including the August lows).
With the VIX index jumping 120 percent on a weekly basis, the most in its history, and with the index measuring volatility or "fear" up near 47 percent on the day, one might think professional investors might be concerned. While the sell off did surprise some, certain hedge fund managers have started to dip their toes in the water to buy stocks they have on their accumulation list, while other algorithmic strategies are actually prospering in this volatile but generally consistently trending market.
Stock market sell off surprises some while others were prepared and are hedged prospering
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Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
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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