by phil - March 9th, 2012 7:53 am
The Greek debt crisis is over!
Again. Well, for now. Despite the "voluntary" participation of 85% of the debt-holders, collective action clauses (CAC) will be triggered to force other bondholders and a similar action in Argentina led to 10 years of lawsuits – so we have that to look forward to. "The rule of law has been treated with contempt," said Marc Ostwald from Monument Securities. "This will lead to litigation for the next ten years. It has become a massive impediment for long-term investors, and people will now be very wary about Spain and Portugal."
“Even if we band aid this Greek situation right now, they’re going to default down the road or write down 100 percent of the debt,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.
Now the European Commission has sent a team of experts to Spain to check its budget deficit data, according to Spanish website Expansion, and they will be greeted by a National Strike, scheduled for March 29th, to protest the austerity measures the EU is trying to enforce. Greek bonds are already passing the 20% mark again so this "fix" has lasted all of a few hours and already we're seeing rates creep up in Italy, Spain and Portugal (Ireland can't even borrow money – at any price) and part of the reason is they just blatantly screwed over the last batch of bondholders and Credit Default Swaps have now been revealed as completely useless tools to protect bond investments – and part of the reason is Uncle Sam needs to borrow a record $227Bn to pay the bills for February alone:
While the above chart may look like a catastrophe to a casual observer, especially considering February is the shortest month of the year – others may be cheered by the thought that the US will never actually have to pay this money back, as Greece has now shown us all that the path to default is celebrated by global markets climbing to record highs. So, if Greece's $450Bn default can get us to Dow 13,000 – imagine what the US's $16Tn default will do – I can't wait!
We are waiting for the jobs report this morning but according to the Gallup poll, there aren't any. Gallup sees 9.1% unemployment in February, up…
by phil - November 4th, 2011 8:24 am
Papandreou is trying to convince us he almost destroyed (the) Universe to get my consent. – Opposition leader Antonis Samaras
Ah the old "destroying the universe" ploy. It's the same one the Republicans are using in the Senate as they once again kill Obama's $60Bn infrastructure program that was meant to provide direct aid for highway and rail projects and set up an infrastructure bank. Without 60 votes, bills can't even make it to the Senate floor so nothing gets done.
This is ironic because, on the same day, China APPROVED another $160Bn of infrastructure spending – just to build new underground subway systems in 28 cities by the end of the decade – creating millions of Chinese jobs, lowering transportation costs and laying the foundation for continuing to kick our asses in the 21st Century. So, to be fair, the Republicans aren't destroying the Universe to advance their political agenda – just America.
Meanwhile, China's subway plans are coming AFTER they have developed the World's largest high-speed rail lines to connect to their World class shipping ports so goods can now be whisked around the country in a cheap and efficient manner while the knuckle-draggers in Congress debate whether or not it's worth fixing the potholes that are ripping the tires off trucks on our nation's roadways.
You don't make a nation great by talking about how great we are – you make a nation great by building a great nation and we are doing almost the exact opposite – squandering what once seemed to be an insurmountable lead in education, transportation, utilities, health care, housing and even environmental progress – and turning America into what is now one of the lowest-ranked developed nations in each of those categories.
Rather than employ millions of people to maintain our infrastructure, we allow it to decay and ship our manufacturing and jobs overseas to Nations that are willing to invest in their future and that leads to trade deficits that suck hundreds of Billions of additional Dollars out of our economy along with the hundreds of Billions of Dollars we ship overseas every year to pay for our addiction to oil because, for 40 years…
by phil - September 20th, 2011 8:28 am
Yay! Another crisis averted.
Well until next quarter, at least, when we can begin the "crisis" cycle all over again. As it stands, after much hand wringing yesterday, Greece will get the $11Bn they need to fund their nation for another 3 months. Yes, as I noted yesterday, this is not a typo – Greece needed $11Bn and the global markets gave up $1Tn in value because we weren't sure if they were going to get it on Monday morning.
To meet their budget goals in a declining economy, Greece is being pressure to cut 100,000 public jobs by 2015. With just 11M people in Greece, cutting 100,000 jobs is like asking the US Government to cut 3M jobs – isn't that insane? And by insane, of course, I mean – isn't that the Republican platform? Yes, nothing say "economic recovery" like firing 3M people in this topsy-turvry World.
We expected this, of course, and we got very bullish with our picks yesterday morning and were handsomely rewarded into the close and hope to be even more handsomely rewarded this morning as QE FEVER once again takes over the nation (see November's "POMO Fever" article to review the scam).
Interestingly, my main suggestion for playing QE2 last year was: "We can bet on inflation with our gold plays with potentials for 923%, 309%, 3,900%, 567%, 276% and 46%." Gold was "only" $1,300 last November and I was still enthusiastic about it at the time. Yesterday we shorted it with the GLD Nov $180/174 bear put spread at $3.30, selling $193 calls for $3 for a net .30 trade that bets gold won't hold $2,000 through Thanksgiving.
Also different this year is that we are betting against TLT (also in yesterday's main post) and we got fabulous prices for our short play yesterday as TLT ran all the way up to our goal at $115. As we got a nice sell-off at the open, my morning Alert to Members had trade ideas to go long on Oil Futures (/CL) off the $85 line (now $87, up $2,000 per contract) and we sold some DIA Oct $111 puts for $3.10 in the Income Portfolio, which are already down to $2.70 (up 13%) – simply following our rule of ALWAYS selling into…
by phil - September 19th, 2011 8:04 am
Last Thursday, I said in the Morning Post:
We’ll certainly be angling to hedge back near neutral into the weekend. Next week is going to be a real thrill-ride as Greece boils over in the EU this weekend and Bernanke steps up to the plate on Wednesday.
In Member Chat on Friday we cashed out our FXI Oct $36 longs at $2 (up 117% in 2 days) in our $25,000 virtual portfolio (now over $80,000) – selling into the morning excitement and grabbed the QID Oct $44/47 bull call spread at $1.45, selling RIMM Oct $22 puts for $1.10 into the panic as a bullish offset. At net .35, it will be very easy to get a quick 100% or even 200% gain ahead of the Fed on the morning sell-off and we’ll be looking to cash out and switch horses if we can hold the same levels we held on Thursday, the same ones we were looking to break over on Wednesday (we did) – notably S&P 1,200 and Russell 700.
We are simply waiting on the Fed this week and little attention should be paid to any action in the markets as long as it stays within our range. What matters is the reaction to Wednesday’s FOMC statement at 2:15 and, between now and then, it’s all about Housing in the US, with the NAHB Housing Market Index this morning at 10 followed by Housing Starts and Building Permits tomorrow at 8:30 and then the MBA Mortgage Index Wednesday at 7am and, finally, Existing Home Sales at 10. After that the Fed has the floor and nothing really matters after that.
If Housing is bad, we are ready with IYR hedges in our Income Portfolio so we’ll be able to sell DIA puts to cover into the morning sell-off that we anticipated on Friday. We can also take advantage of the morning panic to short TLT again, as they should be flying over $113 again. Our last TLT spread was last Wednesday, where we sold the weekly $113 calls for .90 and bought the $114/112 bear put spread for $1.12 for net .22 and that one finished Friday at net $1.75, up 795% in two days – so you can why I’m excited to get another pop at it this morning!
Doug Short wrote an excellent article titled "Weighing the Week…
by ilene - September 12th, 2011 11:33 pm
Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker
One of the toughest calls to make here is whether or not we’ve got enough negativity in these S&P 500 levels yet. The answer is that we’re probably almost there in terms of apathy and disgust for stocks, but valuations aren’t yet alarmingly cheap and there is some difficulty in determining whether Europe has gotten close enough to the abyss to drop the big money bomb on it’s problems just yet. The washout, in my opinion, is still out there somewhere…
I dropped in on the CNBC Street Signs gang for a live taping from New Jersey today, we talked about this very subject and Hedgeye’s Keith McCullough was also in the mix. Enjoy!
by phil - July 22nd, 2011 8:22 am
Greece is getting another $229Bn at 3.5% with about 30 years to pay it from the EU (ie. Germany and France) and private bond-holders will share about 1/3 of the pain by "voluntarily" renegotiating their own notes. Sounds like a really great offer, right? BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Another $630Bn of already promised emergency aid has now been places into a very slushy fund that will now allow the EU to throw money at any nation that so much as sneezes – WHETHER OR NOT THEY ASK FOR ASSISTANCE. This will allow them to play economic Whack-A-Mole, putting out all the little Euro-zone fires until that money runs out (about 6 months at the EU’s current burn rate).
All this fantastic news from Europe has sent the Dollar down to test the 74 line and that was down from 75.37 just ahead of yesterday’s open and that’s a 1.8% drop so we would expect our indexes to go up at least 1.8% – BUT – none of them did. In fact, the Nasdaq only gained 0.72% and the Russell was up 1.07% and the Dow was up 1.21% and the S&P was up 1.35%. The NYSE, which had been our perennial laggard, did the best yesterday – gaining a close, but still no cigar 1.57%.
Will we make it up today or is this an indication that things may not be quite so good as they seem? After the close yesterday, I did a news round-up for our Members and there is still plenty to worry about and we took a stab at some SPY Weekly (today) $135 puts at .79 for our aggressive $25K Virtual Portfolio on the off-chance they "fix" the US debt ceiling and accidentally make the Dollar strong again. At the moment, we are still playing our short lines in the futures, where we’ve been scalping nickels and dimes since my 3:23 am Alert to Members (if you are not a Member, you can sign up here), where I said:
I like shorting the Futures here: S&P (/ES) at 1,346, Nas (/NQ) 2,415, Dow (/YM) 12,720 and Rut (/TF) 842.6 – as long as 74.20 hold on the Dollar, we should get a bit of a sell off so these are levels to look for as the Dollar heads
by phil - July 20th, 2011 8:13 am
Here we go again!
We blew right though our expected bullish levels of Dow 12,500, S&P 1,317, Nasdaq 2,775 and Russell 825 but failed to make 8,300 on the NYSE so, as usual, our biggest and most difficult to manipulate index is holding us back – flashing a warning sign while the other indices scream for us to "party on." Fortunately, as I mentioned in yesterday’s morning post, we had already gone aggressively bullish with the SPY Aug $128/131 bull call spread at $1.83, selling the Sept $120 puts for $1.57 and that net .26 spread is already net $1.86 – up 615% since I posted the trade idea at 12:53 in Monday’s Member Chat.
It’s good to have a few aggressive trades like this to take advantage of market bounces. Before that we had taken the SSO Aug $51/53 bull call spread at $1.05, selling the Sept $44 puts for $1.07 for a net .02 credit at 10:46 in Member Chat (the SPY play was for late-comers who missed out on SSO). The Aug $51/53 spread finished the day yesterday at $1.35 but the real win comes from the short $44 puts, which fell to .70 so the .02 net credit is now a .65 net credit for .67 total profit, up 3,350% in less than 48 hours. See, options are fun!
The only other trade ideas from Monday were a long-term bullish play on RIMM (selling 2013 $22.50 puts for $4.20) a long futures play on the Russell Futures (/TF) off the 810 line (now 835) and I reiterated our bearish spread on CMG as I felt they would disappoint on earnings (they did). Yesterday we picked up a long-term longs on GLW, RYAAY and WFR, half covered our FAS longs (iffy so far), took a poke at shorting the DIA that worked for a quick 10%, shorted oil with a DUG spread (futures too scary) and picked up another short spread on CMG – selling 3 Aug $330 calls for $16 ($4,800) against 2 long Dec $360 calls at $18 ($3,600) for a net $1,200 credit – those should be nice winners this morning!
In the afternoon we flipped more bearish and picked up 10 SPY weekly $133 puts at $1.15 ($1,150 of our virtual dollars) for our $25,000 Virtual Portfolio and those are probably going to hurt this morning as the Dollar…
Greek Sovereignty Massively Limited; You Cannot Roll Over What You Do Not Have; Railing Against the Truth; EU Seeks to Curb Big Three Rating Firms
by ilene - July 7th, 2011 2:11 am
Courtesy of Mish
Jean-Claude Junker, the man who says "When it becomes serious, you have to lie", apparently has had a sudden splash of honesty, stating Greek sovereignty to be massively limited.
Greece faces severe restrictions on its sovereignty and must privatize state assets on a scale similar to the sell off of East German firms in the 1990s after communism fell, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said.
"The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited," he told Germany’s Focus magazine in the interview released on Sunday, adding that teams of experts from around the euro zone would heading to Greece.
"One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone," Juncker said.
Massive Loss of Sovereignty is an Insult
If I was Greek, I would take a statement regarding massive loss of sovereignty as an insult, not help. Thus, true to form, in aggregate, Juncker’s statements are a collective lie.
EU Seeks to Curb Big Three Rating Firms
Bloomberg reports EU Seeks to Curb Big Three Rating Firms After Portugal Downgrade.
European policy makers lashed out at rating companies after Moody’s Investors Service cut Portugal’s debt to junk, reviving calls to curtail their clout.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the grip of the big three rating companies had to be broken when asked about Moody’s downgrade. “I have said before that we have to curb the influence of the rating agencies,” Schaeuble told reporters in Berlin today. There’s a need to “break up” the companies’ dominance, he said.
European Commission President Jose Barroso said he “deeply” regrets the timing and magnitude of Portugal’s downgrade by Moody’s and said proposals for increasing regulation of the rating companies in Europe would come out this year. The moves by Moody’s “do not provide for more clarity. They rather add another speculative element to the situation,” Barroso told reporters in Strasbourg today.
The commission, the European Union’s executive arm, “is looking into the regulation of rating agencies to determine whether there are some measures that need to be taken with regard to the prevention of possible conflicts of interest and other matters,” he said. “Developments since the sovereign- debt crisis show we need to take a further look at reinforcing our rules.”
Truth Not Appreciated
by ilene - July 7th, 2011 1:44 am
The latest tranche of loans from the EU and the IMF has helped buy debt-ridden Greece some time. But the Greeks will find it hard to get back on their feet. Their country has been ruined by three political dynasties, which created a bloated system of cronyism that is hard to change. By SPIEGEL Staff.
Regardless of whether it happens under Papandreou alone or with both politicians working together, if Greece starts economizing, it risks choking its own economy. "It’s like a cat chasing its own tail," says Greek economics professor Yanis Varoufakis.
Former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff recently warned: "If they just continue with the European Union’s austerity program, they’re going to be in slow growth or recession as far as the eye can see, and at the end of the day they’re still going to default."
And it’s not as if Greece hasn’t already adopted austerity measures. Athens managed to cut its budget deficit from 15.4 percent of its gross domestic product to 10.6 percent last year, thanks to its first austerity package. The government made cutbacks in salaries, retirement funds and social benefits, among other things.
This austerity policy also caused 200,000 people to lose their jobs last year, with unemployment reaching an all-time high of 15 percent by late March.
With pay in the private sector also often falling by 10 to 20 percent, consumption likewise dropped by nearly 10 percent and the recession intensified. It’s a vicious circle. Since taxes need to increase and spending needs to decrease, the situation is likely only to get worse.
by phil - June 16th, 2011 8:11 am
Good golly what a mess!
I hate to say I told you so but… Oh wait, no, I’m actually loving this… I TOLD YOU SO! Look at July 2008 and look at June 2011. Now, look at July 2008 and look at June 2011. Now, look at where oil USUALLY trades. Is it over $100 or under $80? You don’t want to go back further because then the case could be made for under $60.
Wages have not gone up (adjusted for inflation, since 1973), home prices have not gone up (since 1985), stocks have not gone up (since 2006) – just oil and gold and silver and other stuff that greedy rich bastards like to hoard in hopes of making themselves even richer – even though it comes at the expense of EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
One of the protesters in Greece had a sign that said Prime Minister George Papandreou was "Goldman Sach’s employee of the month" – now THAT’s a good insult! At least it indicates that the Greek people UNDERSTAND how they are being screwed over while it’s the Americans who are bending over and taking it from the Banksters without complaint.
I’m not going to get into it again but WHO pays that extra $30 a barrel for oil? The bottom 99.9%, that’s who. Sure The Donald also pays $4 a gallon when he gasses up the limo and he also pays double to heat his gigantic homes but a full tank in the limo is $120 while the prix fixe at Masa is $450 per person for Donald’s lunch so I doubt he’s as worried as you are about a tank of gas. The American people are having $1.5Bn PER DAY extracted from their wallets at $4 per gallon, which is $547Bn a year and Globally that’s $2Tn spent on gasoline alone. All that money is/was disposable income that is being directed AWAY from other parts of the economy.
Add in the heating oil, natural gas, oil products (rubber etc.) and all the pass-through energy costs from manufactures and we’re up to about $5Tn, nearly 10% of the global economy going up in flames to enrich perhaps 1,000 oil men (and some of those men fund terrorism with their profits) and the speculators who shove the prices higher. THEY ARE DESTROYING THE WORLD! And it shouldn’t be the people…