Today there is a horrific derivatives bubble that threatens to destroy not only the U.S. economy but the entire world financial system as well, but unfortunately the vast majority of people do not understand it. When you say the word "derivatives" to most Americans, they have no idea what you are talking about. In fact, even most members of the U.S. Congress don’t really seem to understand them. But you don’t have to get into all the technicalities to understand the bigger picture.
Basically, derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends upon or is derived from the price of something else. A derivative has no underlying value of its own. It is essentially a side bet. Originally, derivatives were mostly used to hedge risk and to offset the possibility of taking losses. But today it has gone way, way beyond that. Today the world financial system has become a gigantic casino where insanely large bets are made on anything and everything that you can possibly imagine.
The derivatives market is almost entirely unregulated and in recent years it has ballooned to such enormous proportions that it is almost hard to believe. Today, the worldwide derivatives market is approximately 20 times the size of the entire global economy.
Because derivatives are so unregulated, nobody knows for certain exactly what the total value of all the derivatives worldwide is, but low estimates put it around 600 trillion dollars and high estimates put it at around 1.5 quadrillion dollars.
Do you know how large one quadrillion is?
Counting at one dollar per second, it would take 32 million years to count to one quadrillion.…
If you watch any mainstream news program these days, it is almost a certainty that someone will mention the word "recession" before a half hour passes. In fact, it seems like almost everyone is either predicting that we are going into a recession, or they are warning of the need to avoid a recession or they are proclaiming that we are still in a recession. So will the U.S. economy once again be in recession in 2010? When you consider all the signs that are pointing that way, the evidence is compelling. The truth is that there is bad economic news wherever you turn. There is bad news in the housing industry. There is bad news in the financial markets. There is bad news in the banking system. There is bad news coming out of Europe. There are even signs that the bubble in China may be about to burst. Plus, the economic impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could end up being the straw (or the gigantic concrete slab) that really breaks the camel’s back. So there are certainly a lot of pieces of news that "gloom and doom" economists can hang their hats on these days. There is a very dark mood in world financial markets right now, and it seems like almost everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. But does all of this really mean that we are looking at the start of another recession before the end of 2010?
The truth is that nobody really knows. Things certainly look very ominous out there. The dark clouds are gathering and the economic winds are starting to blow in a bad direction. The following are 24 pieces of evidence that do seem to indicate that very difficult economic times are imminent….
-U.S. Treasury yields have dropped to stunning new lows. So why are they so low? Well, it is because so many investors are anticipating that we are headed into a deflationary period. In fact, many economists are warning that the fact that Treasury yields are so low is…
"We will have another armed robbery unless we prevent the banks, the banks that are too big to fail. We should say that if you’re too big to fail then you are too big to be. They need more restrictions, such as no derivative trading.” Joe Stiglitz
If a Nobel Prize winner in economics says the obvious, besides a few diligent bloggers, perhaps other economists will obtain ‘air cover’ in speaking about the economic and regulatory absurdity taking place today in the US and the UK. Winning the Nobel is even better than tenure.
Here is avideo of his speech in Brussels, because this Bloomberg article leaves out some of the more ‘pithy’ remarks on the Wall Street bank bonuses, the errors efficient market theory, political and ideological capture, lies (his wording) told by central bankers including Alan Greenspan, unproductive "taxes" by banks on the real economy, ‘criminal’ management of beta, and the social costs of this financial crisis from Joe Stiglitz from the Brussels banking conference.
Stiglitz characterizes the reforms being put forward by the US Congress as completely wrong, and harmful. Watch the video, and compare what Joe Stiglitz is saying with the ponderous mendacity of Larry Summers, and you may better understand why Obama’s policies are doomed to failure.
It does not take much imagine to see how things might be quite different if Joltin’ Joe was the Chief Economic Advisor or Fed Chairman, rather than ‘Last War’ Larry or Zimbabwe Ben.
Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) — Large banks should be banned from trading derivatives including credit default swaps, said Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize-winning economist.
The CDS positions held by the five largest banks posed “significant risk” to the financial system, Stiglitz said at a press conference in Brussels. Big banks should have extra restrictions placed on them, including a ban on derivative trading, because of the risk that they would need government money if they fail, he said in a speech today.
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, and Debt is Recovery
In light of the ever-present and unyieldingly persistent exclamations of ‘an end’ to the recession, a ‘solution’ to the crisis, and a ‘recovery’ of the economy; we must remember that we are being told this by the very same people and institutions which told us, in years past, that there was ‘nothing to worry about,’ that ‘the fundamentals are fine,’ and that there was ‘no danger’ of an economic crisis.
Why do we continue to believe the same people that have, in both statements and choices, been nothing but wrong? Who should we believe and turn to for more accurate information and analysis? Perhaps a useful source would be those at the epicenter of the crisis, in the heart of the shadowy world of central banking, at the global banking regulator, and the “most prestigious financial institution in the world,” which accurately predicted the crisis thus far: The Bank for International Settlements (BIS). This would be a good place to start.
The economic crisis is anything but over, the “solutions” have been akin to putting a band-aid on an amputated arm. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central bank to the world’s central banks, has warned and continues to warn against such misplaced hopes.
What is the Bank for International Settlements (BIS)?
The BIS emerged from the Young Committee set up in 1929, which was created to handle the settlements of German reparations payments outlined in the Versailles Treaty of 1919. The Committee was headed by Owen D. Young, President and CEO of General Electric, co-author of the 1924 Dawes Plan, member of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation and was Deputy Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As the main American delegate to the conference on German reparations, he was also accompanied by J.P. Morgan, Jr. What emerged was the Young Plan for German reparations payments.
The Plan went into effect in 1930, following the stock market crash. Part of the Plan entailed the creation of an international settlement organization, which was formed in 1930, and
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.
The S&P 500 oscillated a bit during its opening hour, hitting its -0.23% intraday low in the first 30 minutes of trading. The index then rose in a couple of waves to its 0.71% closing gain, fractionally off its 0.74% intraday high. This was a big week for the 500, surging 4.12% and nearly erasing its October loss, which now stands at -0.39%. It is now only 2.33% from its record close on September 18th.
The yield on the 10-year Note closed at 2.29%, unchanged from yesterday's close and up 7 bps from last Friday's close.
Here is a 15-minute chart of the week.
On the daily chart below we see that volume was relatively light -- the first daily gain with volume below its 50-day moving average since September 26th. Today's closing price is just a hair below its 50-day day moving average.
If you're following Valeant's proposed takeover (or merger) of Allergan and the lawsuit by Allergan against Valeant and notorious hedge fund manager William Ackman, for insider trading this is a must-read article.
Linette Lopez describes the roles played by key Wall Street hedge fund owners--Jim Chanos, John Paulson, and Mason Morfit, a major shareholder in Valeant. Linette goes through the con...
There is lots of action in Southwest Airlines Co. November expiry call options today ahead of the air carrier’s third-quarter earnings report prior to the opening bell on Thursday. Among the large block trades initiated throughout the trading session, there appears to be at least one options market participant establishing a call spread in far out of the money options. It looks like the trader purchased a 4,000-lot Nov 37/39 call spread at a net premium of $0.40 apiece. The trade makes money if shares in Southwest rally 9.0% over the current price of $34.32 to exceed the effective breakeven point at $37.40, with maximum potential profits of $1.60 per contract available in the event that shares jump more than 13% to $39.00 by expiration. In September, the stock tou...
Last week brought even more stock market weakness and volatility as the selloff became self-perpetuating, with nobody mid-day on Wednesday wanting to be the last guy left holding equities. Hedge funds and other weak holders exacerbated the situation. But the extreme volatility and panic selling finally led some bulls (along with many corporate insiders) to summon a little backbone and buy into weakness, and the market finished the week on a high note, with continued momentum likely into the first part of this week.
Despite concerns about global economic growth and a persistent lack of inflation, especially given all the global quantitative easing, fundamentals for U.S. stocks still look good, and I believe this overdue correction ultimately will shape up to be a great buying opportunity -- i.e., th...
Now that bitcoin has subsided from speculative bubble to functioning currency (see the price chart below), it’s safe for non-speculators to explore the whole “cryptocurrency” thing. So…is bitcoin or one of its growing list of competitors a useful addition to the average person’s array of bank accounts and credit cards — or is it a replacement for most of those things? And how does one make this transition?
With his usual excellent timing, London-based financial writer/actor/stand-up comic Dominic Frisby has just released Bitcoin: The Future of Money? in which he explains all this in terms most readers will have no tr...
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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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