In the world of finance theory, a credible suggestion that you are being forced to raise cash at exorbitant rates or are internally valuing your assets sharply below where the market appears to value them is traditionally a death sentence for your share price. The reasons for this are straight forward enough: Investors hate desperation but not as much as they hate making an asset play and being wrong on the value of the assets.
Then there is InterOil.
A Cairns, Australia- and Houston, Tx-based oil and gas producer that has been touting in one form or another a potentially epic find in the wilds of Papua New Guinea for more than a decade now, it recently raised cash at exorbitant rates and appears to be internally valuing its assets way below what the market appears to think they are worth.
The story is none too complicated: InterOil, a company whose shares are seemingly made of titanium, is paying rates for cash that only credit cards aimed at those with bad credit can obtain. Better still, the person pulling InterOil’s eyeballs out is its long-time sponsor and key investor, Clarion Finanz AG and its controversial chief, CarloCivelli.
[Civelli’s record as a broker, investor and promoter of a series of often troubled energy enterprises drives skeptics somewhere north of berserk. He and InterOil have loudly proclaimed that he is little more than an investor and advisor, although the power dynamics of this picture would seem to indicate otherwise. When having your company feted at the NYSE, it is customary to have the CEO or the company’s founder/guiding spirit ring the bell at the opening. Civelli, in the picture, is the one reaching over to ring the opening bell.]
To call InterOil a battleground stock is to be droll. The dispute over the proper level of its valuation and prospects in every sense of the word is analogous to the sanguinary trench combat of the First World War’s Western Front. Short-sellers, critics and investigative reporters raise more and more questions about management disclosures and candor but the stock continues to enjoy robust support. To follow through on…
China’s property bubble is now on the verge of collapse. Transaction volumes are significantly down and declining volume is how property bubbles always burst. In simple terms, the pool of greater fools eventually runs out.
In China’s case, the pool of fools is heavily involved in "loan shark" schemes where speculators hope property values rise fast enough to cover the interest.
In this article we will show how the ponzi shark loan scheme works and why we think the regime in China will fall. Our research is based on sources INSIDE CHINA
This is how this Ponzi scheme works:
Local officials, [required by] the government to produce double digit GDP growth numbers, give real estate developers permits to build housing projects in return for bribes. They also get bribes in return for allowing the shark loan companies to operate under their jurisdiction. Some of them are active partners in shark loan businesses. Every scheme has a ring leader whose job is to collect money from all the participants in the Ponzi scheme. When some of these Ponzi schemes blow up, the party leaders always get bailed out first.
Most of the funds that are collected in this classic Ponzi finance go to local land purchases and real estate development. Part of the funds are used in order to pay back the rolling loan. The short term interest rate in this black market is very high and ranges between 20%-150% annual rate. The sources of the Ponzi funds are diverse, as ordinary citizens, banks with corrupted bank officials, and state enterprises play the game.
A reader wrote to us this email two weeks ago, which triggered our in depth research:
“My hometown is Zhejiang, now I live in shanghai, my sister pledged her home to bank, she lived in Hangzhou, she bought her home around 500,0000rmb five years ago, now her home worth 2 million RMB, so she can get huge loan from bank, she gave this loan to a shark loan company with 30% return every year, she has been doing and living on this for 4 years, she is a middle school
Barry Ritholtz and Dean Baker discuss a concept I’ve advanced – effectively Fannie and Freddie (or as we call them around here, FanFredron) are being run for loss to create a false housing economy via subsidization. They do put forth an additional point that I have not harped on as much: one added benefit of this ‘policy’ is our financial oligarchs win…. again.
If we ever do get back to a world where the private sector is truly a part of financing the housing market it is going to be mighty interesting to see what true mortgage rates will settle at, now that ‘strategic default’ is part of the American lexicon. The higher risks involved will create an increase in costs to every future mortgage due to this exciting new fad. But with government now supporting some 95%+ of all financing this is an issue that won’t face us for many years. Thankfully the government does not price in any risk and gleefully backs mortgages of almost any kind (still). Until some far in the future reform date, more below market rates offered by the 2 institutions that can gladly lose money forever – ponzi style.
(Amazing fact I heard the other day, Fannie Mae has lost more money the past 2 years than it made the previous 30 years. Chew on that for a moment before you move onto the next paragraph. Thankfully there is no such thing as a clawback in corporate America.)
First, Let’s Kill the Angels
Equal Choice, Equal Access, Equal Opportunity
Some Quick Thoughts on Goldman
La Jolla and Dallas
When you draft a 1,300-page "financial reform" bill, various special interests get language tucked into the bill to help their agendas. However, the unintended consequences can be devastating. And the financial reform bill has more than a few such items. Today, we look briefly at a few innocent paragraphs that could simply kill the job-creation engine of the US. I know that a few Congressmen and even more staffers read my letter, so I hope that someone can fix this.The Wall Street Journal today noted that the bill, while flawed, keeps getting better with each revision. Let’s hope that’s the case here.
Then I’ll comment on the Goldman Sachs indictment. As we all know, there is never just one cockroach. This could be a much bigger story, and understanding some of the details may help you. As an aside, I was writing in late 2006 about the very Collateralized Debt Obligations that are now front and center. There is both more and less to the story than has come out so far. And I’ll speculate about how all this could have happened. Let’s jump right in.
First, Let’s Kill the Angels
I wrote about the Dodd bill and its problems last week. But a new problem has surfaced that has major implications for the US economy and our ability to grow it. For all intents and purposes, the bill will utterly devastate angel investing in the US. And as we will see, that is not hyperbole. For a Congress and administration that purports to be all about jobs, this section of the bill makes less than no sense. It is a job and innovation killer of the first order.
First, let’s look at a very important part of the US economic machine, the angel investing network. An angel investor, or angel (also known as a business angel or informal investor) is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business startup, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. A small but increasing number of angel investors organize themselves into angel groups or angel networks to share research and pool their investment capital.
Angels typically invest their own funds, unlike venture capitalists, who manage the…
One week ago, gold market observers were surprised when in the span of four days, gold held in the JPM Comex vault declined by nearly 50%, starting on November 16 when the 668,498 ounces held in the vault below 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza declined precipitously to just 347,899 ounces, a new all time low.
Furthermore, as of the latest Comex activity update, on Friday the Registered gold held by JPM dropped another 2,802 ounces to a record low and virtually negligible 7,975 ounces, essentially equivalent to zero as shown in the chart below, even as JPM's eligible gold has also been seeing a substantial decline in recent months.
We often read in the press rather alarming stories about the rise of an ugly and belligerent nationalism in China, but while these stories are certainly very real, after the November 13 bombings in Paris I was struck by a very different kind of Chinese behavior. A lot of young people that I know in Beijing – high school and college students, young professionals, musicians, etc. – were horrified by the violence that occurred in Paris and very eager to express a real sympathy for Parisians, which they did in the ways that young people express themselves today, via smart phones, social media, and all the other things that wouldn’t have occurred to me. I saw an awful lot of...
Crude Oil is quite simply the most important commodity on the planet. But volatility with Crude Oil prices emerges every time there is conflict in oil producing nations or an economic slowdown.
And this has led to some pretty big swings in Crude Oil prices over the past several years.
But the latest swing lower is nearing a moment of truth. In fact, this decline may be the most important swing lower of the 2000’s.
Why? Because oil prices are currently testing a key price support level comprised of the 2004 breakout level (above the 1990 highs) and the 2009 price lows – see red circles and line. In fact, this price support area also marks the 23.6 Fibonacci support level (from the 1999 lows to 2008 highs). AND crude oil is as oversold as it was back at the 1999 price lows!
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As evidenced by the Greek, Chinese, and now Argentine 'jumps', the world remains increasingly aware of the inevitable worth of fiat currencies and fears the desperate acts of governments as the react to that reality (and is looking for alternatives).
This infographic explains the wide ranges of the Bitcoin universe, accompanied with quotes from some of its best-known business leaders.
Nope it is not interest rates, nope it is not Donald Trump, it is!
It is the CRUDE OIL crash, simple!
Jim Willie has good comments in the first 40 min of this pod cast.
Energy company ... - Debt is blowing up (See energy element of HYG). - Hedging at oil $100 is coming to an end. - Iran coming back to the market, more supply. - Saudi still providing massive supply. - Oil tankers holding oil parked in the ocean are coming in to harbor to unload - US dollar strength supports lower oil prices - World wide DEMAND slump for energy or deflation. - More oil being sold outside the US Dollar - The Oil futures can not be manipulated easily as folks actually ...
Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...
1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...
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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.
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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