There is one major problem with putting houses of card back together – they tend to fall…over and over. And while abundant liquidity in May and June served as an artificial prop to return European core and PIIGS spreads to previous levels merely as mean reversion algos took holds, the second time around won’t be as lucky. CDR’s Tim Backshall was on the Strategy Session today, discussing the key trends in sovereign products over the past few months, noting the declining liquidity in both sovereign cash and derivative exposure (we will refresh on the DTCC sovereign data later after its weekly Tuesday update). Yet the most interesting observation by Backshall is the declining halflife of risk-on episodes, which much like the SNB’s (now declining) interventions, are having less of an impact on the market, as ever worsening fundamentals can only be swept under the carpet for so long before they really start stinking up the place, and indeed, as Tim points out at 5:30 into the interview, even the IMF now realizes that soon the eventual second domino will fall, and it is better the be prepared (via the previously discussed infinitely expanded credit line), than to have to scramble in the last minute as was necessary in May. In other words, the storm clouds are gathering and only fools will invest in risk asset without getting some additional clarity on what is happening in Europe. The bottom line as Backshall asks is: "do they default now or default later." And that pretty much sums it up. Buy stocks at your own peril.
Incidentally all this is happening as we read in an exclusive Bloomberg piece that "four months after the 110 billion- euro ($140 billion) bailout for Greece, the nation still hasn’t disclosed the full details of secret financial transactions it used to conceal debt" and that EuroStat still has not received the required disclosure about just how fake (or real) the Greek debt situation truly is. When one steps back and ponders just how bad (and unknown) the situation in Europe is, and that stocks are unchanged for the year, one must conclude, as Dylan Grice does every week, that the lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.
Back in April, when we discussed the inception of the IMF’s then brand new New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) $500 billion credit facility, we asked rhetorically, "If the IMF believes that over half a trillion in short-term funding is needed imminently, is all hell about to break loose." A month later the question was answered, as Greece lay smoldering in the ashes of insolvency, and the developed world was on the hook for almost a trillion bucks to make sure the tattered eurozone remained in one piece (leading to such grotesque abortions as Ireland, whose cost of debt is approaching 6%, funding Greek debt at 5%).
Well, if that was the proverbial canary in the coalmine, today the entire flock just keeled over and died: today the IMF announced it "expanded and enhanced its lending tools to help contain the occurrence of financial crises." As a result, the IMF has as of today extended the duration of its existing Flexible Credit Line (FCL) to two years, concurrently removing the borrowing cap on this facility, which previously stood at 1000 percent of a member’s IMF quota, in essence making the FCL a limitless credit facility, to be used to rescue whomever, at the sole discretion of the IMF’s overlords. Additionally, as the FCL has some make believe acceptance criteria (and with countries such as Poland, Columbia, and Mexico having had access to it, these must certainly be sky high), the IMF is introducing a brand new credit facility, the Precautionary Credit Line (PCL), which will be geared for members with "sound policies [which just happen to need an unlimited source of rescue funding] who nevertheless may not meet the FCL’s high qualification requirements." In other words everyone. In yet other words, the IMF as of today, has a limitless facility to bail out anyone in the world, without a maximum bound in how much is lendable. One wonders who would be stupid enough to take advantage of the gullibility of IMF’s biggest backers (the US), to borrow an infinite amount of money for any reason whatsoever… And just what all this means for the imminent explosion of the amount of money in circulation…Not to mention the brand new Ben Bernanke smokescreen of…
As had been widely expected, today (a day before the stress test results finally stop leaking, compliments of the securities and exchange commission) the senate passed a measure approving the expansion of the credit line from the Treasury to the FDIC to $100 billion, from $30 billion previously. The vote passed 91 to 5. In addition, the FDIC will now have half a trillion credit limit that will expire by the end of 2010. As the senate has firmly decided that dollars are now not worth even their weight in zero-ply toilet paper, it makes sense to see just how quickly the FDIC has managed to eat through the Deposit Insurance Fund, of which it had roughly $19 billion at the end of 2008, and now has a couple of pennies above zero, which any way one looks at it is less than the statutory DIF reserve minimum of 1.15% of insured deposits (indicatively, the minimum balance in the DIF (at least according to existing laws: once can imagine these will be promptly "adjusted") should be $54 billion, or 1.15% of the $4.7 trillion in insured deposits. Once it falls below that amount the FDIC must come up with a restoration plan to raise the DIF to that level. Good luck with that) .
And all this was accomplished in a mere four months.
Oh, and by the way, advisor for the FDIC, in case you missed it before, is Perella Weinberg (here is the link for the ongoing Zero Hedge FDIC-Perella Weinberg compensation FOIA initiative).
[click on table for larger image] hat tip Guillermo
Today's end-of-day losses were disguised by the relatively light declines at the close. Markets opened strong, but were unable to maintain premarket strength. The consolidations in place since the 'Santa Rally' are holding on, but markets can ill afford additional losses from here.
The S&P finished on the 38.2% Fib retracement of the 'Santa Rally'. Aggressive longs may view this as a head-and-shoulder reversal; if this pr-oves to be the case then markets have to rally from the cash open. The S&P is a case in point.
The Nasdaq experienced a very wide day; opening above its 20-day and 50-day MA, but finishing well below these moving averages, and on...
The administration earlier this month cut the premium that borrowers with a Federal Housing Administration loan must pay for mortgage insurance to 0.85% from 1.35%. The half a percentage point reduction will reduce the cost of the average FHA loan by about $1,000 per year.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last month dropped the minimum down payment to 3% from 5% on some of its mortgages. FHA requires a 3.5% down payment.
Grant programs, such as CHFA in Colorado, allow home buyers to purchase...
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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...
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.
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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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