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Posts Tagged ‘Capital Markets’

Twilight of the Übermenschen

Courtesy of The Epicurean Dealmaker

Are you shooting at me?

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

Beware of the pursuit of the Superhuman: it leads to an indiscriminate contempt for the Human.

— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

* * *

Steven Davidoff opens a recent piece at The New York Times DealBook blog with the following words:

Reputation is dead on Wall Street.

This is powerful language. What does he mean?

Well, for one thing he means that the reputations of individual investment banks are no longer coterminous with the reputations of their executives and employees. He ascribes this to the tremendous growth in scale and complexity of financial markets over the past three decades:

Today’s Wall Street is not the Wall Street of 1907 when J.P. Morgan single-handedly used his reputation and wallet to stem a running financial panic.

Until the 1980s,… Wall Street was made up of traditional partnerships. These were small groups of investment bankers who represented companies in offering and selling securities and occasionally acquisitions. These bankers put their individual reputations on the line, because there were so few of them. Morgan Stanley, for example, had only 31 partners in 1970 and fewer than 1,000 employees.

But this began to change in the 1980s. Trading markets became much more sophisticated, and trading and brokerage became the investment banks’ primary business. This is a technology game. The better the technology, the better the trading and brokerage operation. Individuals became less important.

The growth of more complex capital markets and a global economy also created much larger financial institutions. Morgan Stanley now has more than 62,000 employees. These banks could use their assets and position to compete in the market for finance and trading. Again, individuals were less important as size dominated. A client now trades or does business with a bank based on its positions or ability to make a market or loan. The executive at the bank executing the transaction is unimportant.

In one respect, this is true. Lazard is no longer Felix Rohatyn. Goldman Sachs is no longer Sidney Weinberg. The


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Tavakoli: Biggest Fraud in the History of the Capital Markets

Tavakoli: Biggest Fraud in the History of the Capital Markets

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

newjanpic.jpg

Washington Post
‘This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets’
By Ezra Klein
10/8/2010 

Janet Tavakoli is the founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc. She sounded some of the earliest warnings on the structured finance market, leading the University of Chicago to profile her as a "Structured Success," and Business Week to call her "The Cassandra of Credit Derivatives." We spoke this afternoon about the turmoil in the housing market, and an edited transcript of our conversation follows.

Ezra Klein: What’s happening here? Why are we suddenly faced with a crisis that wasn’t apparent two weeks ago?

Janet Tavakoli: This is the biggest fraud in the history of the capital markets. And it’s not something that happened last week. It happened when these loans were originated, in some cases years ago. Loans have representations and warranties that have to be met. In the past, you had a certain period of time, 60 to 90 days, where you sort through these loans and, if they’re bad, you kick them back. If the documentation wasn’t correct, you’d kick it back. If you found the incomes of the buyers had been overstated, or the houses had been appraised at twice their worth, you’d kick it back. But that didn’t happen here. And it turned out there were loan files that were missing required documentation. Part of putting the deal together is that the securitization professional, and in this case that’s banks like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, has to watch for this stuff. It’s called perfecting the security interest, and it’s not optional. 

EK: And how much danger are the banks themselves in?

JT: When we had the financial crisis, the first thing the banks did was run to Congress and ask for accounting relief. They asked to be able to avoid pricing this stuff at the price where people would buy them. So no one can tell you the size of the hole in these balance sheets. We’ve thrown a lot of money at it. TARP was just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve given them guarantees on debts, low-cost funding from the Fed. But a lot of these mortgages just cannot be saved. Had we acknowledged this problem in 2005, we could’ve cleaned it up


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On Reflexivity & Animal Spirits: What Moves the Market from Here?

Kent Thune’s wonderful blog The Financial Philosopher is not just a financial site, it’s a "learning experience."  I highly recommend that you visit him and read some of his latest inspirational articles, such as Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin’To Embrace Death is to Embrace Life, and Entrepreneurs: Use Your Delusion, Sell the Illusion. – Ilene

On Reflexivity & Animal Spirits: What Moves the Market from Here?

ITAR-TASS 02: IRKUTSK REGION, RUSSIA. NOVEMBER 30, 2008. Early twentieth century German pendulum clock with a statuette of Mnemosyne, Greek goddess of memory, on display at the Clock Museum, Angarsk, Irkutsk Region, Russia. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Nikolai Ryutin) Photo via Newscom

Courtesy of Kent Thune, at The Financial Philosopher

Are capital markets leading economic indicators or do they provide fuel for a growing economy? Or is it both? Isn’t the function of capital markets to raise capital for the financing of corporate and government operations through the sale of securities (stocks and bonds)?

If the stock market is rising, would this not then create the economic condition it is "predicting" as an economic indicator? In the absence of government stimulus, might financial markets save themselves? If so, how? Can financial markets rise spontaneously or do they require a fundamental boost or outside stimulation?

Capital markets have many functions and their participants have numerous objectives; however, we may simplify them all into two basic categorical functions: 1) Passive and 2) Active. Depending upon economic conditions and variables, capital markets can play one or both rolls. Consider recent comments by George Soros (Hat tip to Captain Jack):

…financial markets do not play a purely passive role; they can also affect the so-called fundamentals they are supposed to reflect. These two functions that financial markets perform work in opposite directions. In the passive or cognitive function, the fundamentals are supposed to determine market prices. In the active or manipulative function market, prices find ways of influencing the fundamentals. When both functions operate at the same time, they interfere with each other. The supposedly independent variable of one function is the dependent variable of the other, so that neither function has a truly independent variable. As a result, neither market prices nor the underlying reality is fully determined. Both suffer from an element of uncertainty that cannot be quantified. I call the interaction between the two functions reflexivity…

Mr. Soros’ idea of reflexivity asserts, as he says, "that financial markets do not necessarily tend toward equilibrium; they can…
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Seeking Solutions In An Uncertain World

Seeking Solutions In An Uncertain World

Courtesy of Todd Harrison of Minyanville

“We used to play for silver, now we play for life; ones for sport and one’s for blood at the point of a knife.” --Grateful Dead

Statue of liberty collage

We live in interesting times. During the last two years, a financial virus spawned and infected the economic and social spheres as a matter of course.

This isn’t just about money anymore. Our civil liberties, the foundation of free market capitalism and the quality of life for future generations are dynamically shifting as we traverse our current course. (See: The Short Sale of American Icons)

I once offered that Shock & Awe was a tipping point through a historical lens; as Baghdad blew-up on CNN, I somberly sensed America would never be the same. That’s not a political statement — we don’t know what would have been if we didn’t invade — it’s simply an observation. Almost overnight, world empathy turned to global condemnation.

If we’ve learned anything through these years, it’s that unintended consequences tend to come full circle. Whether it’s the moral hazard of bailing out some banks, the gargantuan profits of a chosen few — Goldman Sachs (GS), JP Morgan (JPM), Bank America (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo (WFC) — the caveats of percolating protectionism, or the growing chasm of social and geopolitical discord, times they are a-changin’ and it’s freaking people out.

As speculators are vilified and hedge funds are perceived as acceptable casualties of war, financial fatigue will evolve in kind. We’ve already seen the burnout manifest in trading volume — upwards of 70% of the flow are the robots — and we’ve witnessed it in financial media, with reported ratings of some of CNBC’s marquee shows down as much as 25% year-over-year. (See: The War on Capitalism)

art of warSun-tzu once said, “If your enemy is superior, evade him. If angry, irritate him. If equally matched, fight and if not, split and reevaluate.” As we navigate this socioeconomic maelstrom, an increasing number of people are weighing their options…
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The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

The Shanghai market isn’t really predicting anything

Courtesy of Michael Pettis 

A man looks at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai

It has not been a good year for the Shanghai stock market.  Since its closing peak at 6092 in October 2007, the closing high in the past year or so on Shanghai’s SSE composite was 3471, on August 4 last year.  Since then the market has been pretty bleak.  The SSE Composite finished 2009 by dropping nearly 6% from that high, to close at 3277.

This year things got only worse.  By May 20 the market had dropped a further 22% to close at 2556, and then bounced around for the past ten days closing yesterday at 2568.  In my May 12 blog entry, I finished the piece by saying “Last Friday the SSE Composite closed at 2688.  I bet it is much higher by the end of the summer.” 

Obviously my timing was off.  Within a week of my prediction the market had managed to lose another 132 points.  I still believe that the market will be higher by the end of this summer, and that within weeks we will see moves by the regulators to prop it up.  With all the liquidity sloshing around, all we need is a reasonable period off stability before the market comes roaring back, I suspect.

So am I predicting a strong economy?  Not really.  It is tempting to read falling stock prices as an indication that Chinese investors believe that the economy is poised to slow dramatically, and if the market surges, that Chinese growth is back, but we should be very cautious about how we interpret the meaning of the gyrations in Chinese stocks. 

We’re used to thinking about stock markets as expected-cash-flow discounting machines, and we assume that stock price levels generally represent the market’s best estimate of future growth prospects, but this is not always the case, and it is certainly not the case in China.  I am often asked to comment on big price moves on the Chinese stock markets and what they mean about growth expectations, but I usually try to caution people from reading too much meaning into the market.

Three investment strategies

To see why, it is probably useful to understand how investors make trading decisions.  This blog entry is going to be a pretty abstract piece on how I think about the underlying dynamics of a well-functioning capital market, and how these…
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Dylan Ratigan’s Explanation For The Crash

Dylan Ratigan’s Explanation For The Crash

Courtesy of Zero Hedge 

…the former Fast Money lead man is actually pretty spot on. And for all you retail investors who think this market is anything but a two-tiered playground built now exclusively for Wall Street to fleece you every single day, our advice is to get the hell out. Everyone else already is… Except of course for the banks and the various 3-3,000 man quant operations, which are the only market participants left. We hope they cannibalize whatever is left of each other and blow themselves all up in the process. Whatever is left will have infinitely more credibility than the busted mockery of capital markets we have now. 

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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An Independent Look into JP Morgan

An Independent Look into JP Morgan

Reggie MiddletonCourtesy of Reggie Middleton’s Boom Bust Blog

The JP Morgan forensic preview is now available. Remember, this is not subscription material, but a "public preview" of the material to come. I thought non-subscribers would be interested in knowing what my opinion of the country’s most respected bank was. There is some interesting stuff here, and the subscription analysis will have even more (in terms of data, analysis and valuation). As we have all been aware, the markets have been totally ignoring valuation for about two quarters now. It remains to be seen how long that continues.

Click graph to enlarge

image001.png, JP Morgan Notional Derivatives

Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM’s derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008).

JP Morgan cartoonWe all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don’t we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet. Both of these companies were rated investment grade at the time, just like "you know  who". Now, I am not saying JPM is about to collapse, since it is one of the anointed ones chosen by the government and guaranteed not to fail – unlike Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and it is (after all) investment grade rated. Who would you put your faith in, the big ratings agencies or your favorite blogger? Then again, if it acts like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is it a chicken??? I’ll leave the rest up for my readers to decide. 

This public preview is the culmination of several investigative posts that I have made that have led me to look more closely into the big money center banks. It all started with a hunch that JPM wasn’t…
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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!

 
 

Chart School

Regression to Trend: A Perspective on Long-Term Market Performance

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Quick take: At the end of September the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 index price was 89% above its long-term trend, up from 85% above trend the previous month.

About the only certainty in the stock market is that, over the long haul, over performance turns into under performance and vice versa. Is there a pattern to this movement? Let's apply some simple regression analysis (see footnote below) to the question.

Below is a chart of the S&P Composite stretching back to 1871 based on the real (inflation-adjusted) monthly average of daily closes. I've using a semi-log scale to equalize vertical distances for the same percentage change regardless of the index price range.

The regression trendline drawn through the data clarifies the secular pattern of variance from the trend — those multi-year periods when the marke...



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Zero Hedge

Meanwhile In Hong Kong "Tonight Is Going To Get Messy"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While overnight the massive student protest crowd swelled to as much as 200,000 according to eyewitnesses as today's deadline for their demands that HK Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying resign arrives, the gathering was surprisingly peaceful. That may change at any moment.

BREAKING: Hong Kong police warn of serious consequences if protesters charge government buildings

— The Associated Press (@AP) October 2, 2014

As ...



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Phil's Favorites

Federal Judge Smacks CalPERS on Sanctity of Pensions; CalPERS Liens Null and Void

Courtesy of Mish.

Exceptionally good news from California today: A federal judge ruled CALpers claim of "Sanctity of Pensions" is invalid. Today's ruling went even further than the bankrupt city of Stockton originally sought in court.

For details, please consider the New York Times article In Ruling on California Town’s Bankruptcy, Judge Challenges Sanctity of Pensions. A federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday upended the widely held belief that public workers’ pensions have a special status in California that makes them impossible to cut, further chipping away at the idea that pensions are sacrosanct in a municipal bankruptcy.

The ruling, which came du...



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Digital Currencies

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

Better than a Bitcoin? The Mexican Libertad is a real coin made out of silver or gold whose value is based on the price of silver or gold. It's tangible, like our coins and paper money, but the value is pegged to its weight in previous metal. 

The Mexican Libertad: The Currency Solution?

By Jeff Thomas of The International Man

The Libertad is a Mexican coin that was first issued in 1981 in .999 fine gold and then in silver in 1982. Beginning in 1991, the Libertades became the only coins in the world that were issued in the convenient sizes of 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce—again, in both gold and silver. This made them very practical if they were to be used as currency.

But of course, gold and silver coin...



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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

Mixed Economic Data, Ebola Scares Rattle Markets

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related ALL The Allstate Corporation Is Now Historically Overbought And Nearing Resistance: Time For A Pullback? Marchex, Inc. Loses Third-Largest Customer, Cuts FY14 Outlook

U.S. stocks declined sharply as investors digest reports of a confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. In addition, economic data relea...



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Option Review

VIX Call Spreads Trade

The CBOE Vix Index topped 17.0 and the highest level since early-August on Monday morning amid declines in U.S. equities to start the trading week. The volatility index is off its earlier highs to trade 5.0% higher on the session at 15.65 as of 11:30 am ET. Options volume on the VIX is hovering near 360,000 contracts, or just more than 50% of the average daily reading of around 660,000 contracts. Calls are far more active than put options, as evidenced by the call/put ratio up above 4.2 in morning trading, perhaps as some traders position for volatility to stick around.

Large call spreads traded on the VIX today caught our attention as one big optio...



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Sabrient

Sector Detector: Stocks fight off predictable weakness, but expect more downside

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Yes, the market showed significant weakness last week for the first time in quite a while. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits each day. But it was all quite predictable, as I suggested in last week's article, and certainly nothing to worry about. Now the market appears to be poised for a modest technical rebound, and longer term, U.S. equities should be in good shape for a year-end rally. However, I still believe more downside is in order before any new highs are challenged. Moreover, market breadth is important for a sustained bull run, so the challenge for investors will be to put together broader bullish conviction, including the small caps.

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



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 29th, 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

Ebola vs. Us

Ebola vs. Us

By Ilene 

Ebola is spreading too quickly for Ebola-vaccine makers to conduct typical studies of safety and efficacy on experimental vaccines. Instead, vaccines will be tested for basic safety, but then deployed with protocols devised now in order to test for efficacy essentially on the field. Testing has to be expedited because the situation in West Africa gets worse every day while there are no approved vaccines or other treatments.

The chart below is from a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine showing estimates of the virus's trajectory projecting out to November 1, 2014. If current trends continue...



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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.

The latest issue of Stock World Weekly is now available. Please sign in with your PSW user name and password. Or simply take a free trial to try out our weekly newsletter. 

...

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Promotions

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Pharmboy

Biotechs & Bubbles

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

Well PSW Subscribers....I am still here, barely.  From my last post a few months ago to now, nothing has changed much, but there are a few bargins out there that as investors, should be put on the watch list (again) and if so desired....buy a small amount.

First, the media is on a tear against biotechs/pharma, ripping companies for their drug prices.  Gilead's HepC drug, Sovaldi, is priced at $84K for the 12-week treatment.  Pundits were screaming bloody murder that it was a total rip off, but when one investigates the other drugs out there, and the consequences of not taking Sovaldi vs. another drug combinations, then things become clearer.  For instance, Olysio (JNJ) is about $66,000 for a 12-week treatment, but is approved for fewer types of patients AND...



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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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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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