The system for financing mortgages and regulating that financing has failed, completely and utterly. The mortgage and real estate markets are now in collapse.
Yesterday I wrote about how positive feedback loops lead to collapse. Welcome to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. As I have documented here numerous times, the entire U.S. mortgage market has already been socialized: 99% of all mortgages are backed by the three FFFs--Fannie, Freddie and FHA--and the Federal Reserve has purchased a staggering $1.2 trillion in mortgage-backed assets in the past year or so to maintain the illusion that there is a market for mortgage-backed securities.
There is, but only because the mortgages are backed by the Federal Government and propped up by the Federal Reserve.
The mortgage market is completely dependent on government guarantees and quasi-Government purchases of securitized mortgages. If the mortgage market were truly socialized, then the Central State would own the banks which originate, service and own the mortgages.
But then the private owners and managers of the "too big to fail" banks would not be reaping hundreds of billions in profits and bonuses. And since the banking industry has effectively captured the processes of governance (that is, Congress and the various regulatory agencies), then what we have is a system of private ownership of the revenue and profits generated by the mortgage industry and public absorption of the risks and losses.
Could anything be sweeter for the big banks? No.
The incestuous nature of the system is breathtaking. The Fed creates the credit which enables the mortgages, the Treasury guarantees the mortgages via Fannie, Freddie and FHA, the Fed buys the mortgages ($1.3 trillion in mortgages are on their balance sheet) and the private banks collect the fees and profits.
One of the core tenets of the Survival+ critique is the State/Financial Plutocracy partnership. There are many examples of this partnership (crony capitalism in which the State is the "enforcer" which collects the national income and distributes it to its private-sector cronies), but perhaps none so blatant and pure as the mortgage/banking sector.
But now the entire legal basis for that privatized-profits, socialized losses system has dissolved. The foreclosure scandal…
And it appears this is one ‘reform’ that can’t be blamed on ‘the liberals’ and Obama. Crony Capitalism is not a political party, it’s a way of life in which power and greed are the measure of all things.
Well, some of the New York real estate developers are poor, relatively speaking, compared to an investment banker or a trader pulling down a fifty million dollar annual bonus for packaging fraudulent financial instruments. But they are all rich in their well connected friends in the government.
The kleptocracy never sleeps; crony capitalism knows no bounds…
The federal government may soon come to the rescue of stalled luxury condominiums in Manhattan.
Manhattan luxury condominiums known for posh amenities and high price tags are beginning to apply for Federal Housing Administration backing.
Condominium developers hope to open financing opportunities for their purchasers as well as guarantee a little protection for themselves. Not only will lending institutions be more willing to lend to purchasers with FHA backing, but the FHA will pay the mortgage should a home buyer default.
The FHA loosened the condo rules because of “market conditions,” Lemar Wooley, an agency spokesman told Bloomberg.com
The administration recently agreed to insure mortgages for apartments at the 98-unit Gramercy Park development, known as Tempo in Match, according to Bloomberg. That deal allowed buyers to make a down payment of as low as 3.5 percent in a complex where apartments run up to $3 million…
As you may know, and as we suggested the other day, the ADP report, based on payroll data from American business, showed a loss of 84,000 jobs in December, versus expectations of a loss of only 75,000 jobs.
We also suggested that this Friday’s US Non-Farm Payroll Report will be a positive surprise, at least 10,000 or so jobs to the good. Here are the details.
The Imaginary Jobs component, also known as the Bureau of Labor Statistics Birth-Death Model, will contribute approximately 72,000 jobs allegedly created by small businesses with less credible evidence than a Bigfoot or an Elvis sighting.
Not that they are always positive. Each January there is an enormous job loss shown here, in the neighborhood of about 350,000 jobs. The reason they do this is because the seasonal adjustment factor is so huge in January that this imaginary jobs number does not matter, since it is subtracted (and added) from the numbers prior to the seasonal adjustment.
We can expect this model to continue to show positive annual jobs growth until the End of Days, and perhaps longer than that if there is fireproof paper in the afterlife. [click on tables and charts to enlarge]
The ‘headline jobs number’ which is the Seasonally Adjusted Number will be a positive 58,000 jobs, and provide much joy and exultation in Washington and on Wall Street. Pundits like Paul Krugman will caution that the economy is still fragile and a second stimulus bill will be required to insure these positive gains.
What is the basis for these projected numbers? The same basis used by the BLS – nothing. At least nothing connected with the real world. These are the numbers that bureaucrats might mindlessly crank out in response to the desire of their bosses for certain targets, a phenomenon well understood by most corporate financial staffs.
We drew the trendline on that chart earlier this year, assuming that the government would wish to show a steady job increase with a positive number by December, or at least January. So far we have not been disappointed, although there have been quite a few revisions along the way.
There will also be revisions this time again, with some jobs added and borrowed from prior months to help
At first it was just the smaller banks, but now the big boys have joined the collective cry against FASB 166 and 167, according to which beginning January 1, banks will likely see up to $900 billion in off-balance sheet assets being onboarded to bank balance sheets. This would likely mean banks need to dramatically increase their Tangible and Tier 1 Capital to offset the capital needed to account for possible asset deterioration. And that, of course, is unacceptable to banks who know too well the deep shit they still find themselves in.
The irony is that banks, which have already virtually halted lending to those in need of credit, are threatening they will cut any available credit even futher. How anyone could admit to being stupid enough to believe this latest episode of Mutual Assured Destruction courtesy of the US banking system is a mystery. And yet this is precisely the type of "gun against the head" negotiating that Max Keiser was fulminating against, and that the banks are once again perpetrating:
“With any increase in required capital, a banking institution is likely to reduce the amount of lending using such securitization vehicles, as well as other lending,” the American Bankers Association wrote in a letter to regulators. The association, the nation’s biggest banking lobby, suggested that any transition period should be three years at least, with no change in regulatory capital impact in the first year.
Taking a cue from the ABA, the big 3 record earners have decided to join in: last thing one would want is JPMorgan not earning yet another record amount in Q4. First Citi chimes in:
Banks should be given three years to raise capital for offsetting assets and liabilities that must be brought onto their balance sheets, Citigroup Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said yesterday in a letter to regulators. Requiring banks to “assume the risk-based capital effects immediately, or even over one year, is an undeniably severe penalty,” he wrote.
Then you have record earner JPMorgan:
The capital requirements “will have a significant and negative impact on the amount of consumer-conduit funding that will be made available by U.S. banks,” said
Jesse of Jesse’s Café Américain posted on the important subject of deregulation in his last post, “Why the Austrian, Keynesian, Marxist, Monetarist, and Neo-Liberal Economists Are All Wrong.” In it, he opined that it is entirely wrong-headed to assume everything will be alright if we just let free markets work their magic. I want to take his thoughts one step further because I think there is a misperception about what the free market entails and why the deregulation movement went astray.
To review, Diamond won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for his book Guns, Germ and Steel, which is a narrative of how Eurasian societies as a whole have dominated others throughout the last 10,000-odd years. One of his basic premises is that Eurasian societies are stratified, and hence less egalitarian, allowing individuals to specialize. The hierarchy and specialization have combined to give these societies advantages that less stratified (and less resource-rich) societies do not have.
The corollary of this – and where I want to concentrate – is that advanced societies are not egalitarian. Some will de facto have more, and others will have less. Moreover, as Diamond asserts, this lack of equality becomes, in essence, a kleptocracy i.e. a reverse Robin Hood organization where the elites enrich themselves at the expense of the others.
This has been the reality in all advanced societies based on agriculture, manufacturing and services for the last 10,000-odd years. This social structure has been net beneficial to the societies employing it in comparison to more simple societies – a case of a rising tide lifting all boats. So, on some level, kleptocracy is nothing about which to get irate.
The problem is that not all kleptocracies are created equal. At some point, the ruling class overreaches in a way that subtracts from rather than adds to the overall…
Foster Wheeler AG (Nasdaq: FWLT) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with AMEC plc (OTC: AMCBF) pursuant to which AMEC will make an offer to acquire all the issued and to be issued share capital of the Company. Under the terms of the offer, AMEC will offer to exchange for each outstanding share of Foster Wheeler common stock transaction consideration consisting of 0.8998 shares of AMEC stock and $16.00 in cash.
Separately, Foster Wheeler expects to pay a one-time dividend of $0.40 per share prior to, and not conditional on, the closing of the offer. The Company expects that there will be no Swiss withholding taxes on the...
The bankruptcy of the once largest Bitcoin exchange may be history, but now the real drama begins.
First, over the weekend, allegations surfaced that not the whole truth may have been revealed during the heartfelt announcement by Mt. Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles, who claimed that $400 million in Bitcoin were stolen by hackers. As Forbes reported, hackers took over the Reddit account and personal blog of Mark Karpeles, to reveal that the exchange he ran had actually kept at least some of the bitcoins that the company had said were stolen from users.
"It’s time that MTGOX got the bitcoin communities wrath instead of [the] Bitcoin Community gettin...
Here was the score after Tesla Motors spent more than a year attempting to establish a direct sales operation in New Jersey: 0 to 696,749.
It was a blowout.
The luxe electric car company was outraged Tuesday when the The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission approved a proposal banning auto manufacturers from selling cars directly to consumers. In a blog post and series of tweets Tesla blamed the move on bad faith negotiating by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie and "attacks" from the New Jersey Coalitio...
China credit issues are about to jump from the back page of the WSJ to the front page, you can expect these charts to change as the Chinese credit shakes get more violent.
As it looks like the Chinese will NOT be bailing out everything that goes bust, ZeroHedge have been covering this story.
We consider the trust market the most vulnerable part of the major financing channels for companies, i.e. loan, corporate bond and trust. The quality of the borrowers in the trust market tends to among the lowest. Within the trust market, collective trust products, i.e. those sold to more than one investor, tend to be risker than single trust products, i.e....
Shares in McDonald’s are up the most in the Dow Jones Industrial Average today, rising nearly 4.0% to $98.92 and the highest level since November 26th during the first hour of the session. The rally in shares of the world’s largest restaurant chain today is more than making up for yesterday’s dip in the price of the underlying on the heels of a larger than expected dip in February same store sales. Options traders hungry for continued gains in the stock in the very near term appear to be snapping up weekly options across several striking prices today.
The most traded weekly options by volume are the 14 Mar ’14 $97 strike...
DAILY PRICE REPORT
Today’s AM fix was USD 1,348.00, EUR 973.57 and GBP 810.44 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,334.25, EUR 961.55 and GBP 800.87 per ounce.
Gold rose $0.7 or 0.05% yesterday, to $1,339.90/oz. Silver dropped $0.08 or 0.38% to $20.81/oz.
Gold in US Dollars - 1 Year (Bloomberg)
Gold rose in all currencies again today and headed towards a four month high in dollar terms as the standoff between Russia and Ukraine led to demand for gold as a haven. Silver surged 1.4%, platinum added 0.3% to $1,481.60/oz and pal...
Today was the beginning of “spring break” for the market. At least it seemed that way with a very low trading volume of only 600M shares on the NYSE. Either the college crowd does more trading than we imagined or parents are taking the week off as well.
The market barely woke up for the session with the S&P 500 down 0.05% and the NASDAQ down 0.03%. However, the DJI must have gotten extra sleep this weekend as it was up 0.21%. Small caps took a bigger hit with the Russell 2000 dropping nearly 0.50% percent. There was nothing major in the news other than a disappointing trading figure from China. Indeed, the whole week will only include a meager four major economic reports with Wholesale Inventories tomorrow, Retail Sales and Jobless Claims on Thursday, and Producer Price In...
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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.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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