by ilene - October 29th, 2010 3:29 pm
Courtesy of Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism
I’m so offended by the latest Obama canard, that the financial crisis of 2007-2008 cost less than 1% of GDP, that I barely know where to begin. Not only does this Administration lie on a routine basis, it doesn’t even bother to tell credible lies. .And this one came directly from the top, not via minions. It’s not that this misrepresentation is earth-shaking, but that it epitomizes why the Obama Administration is well on its way to being an abject failure.
On the Jon Stewart Show (starting roughly at the 1:10 mark on this segment) Obama claims the cost of this crisis will be less than 1% of GDP, versus 2.5% for the savings and loan crisis (hat tip George Washington, sorry, no embed code, you need to go here):
The reason Obama makes such baldfacedly phony statements is twofold: first, his pattern of seeing PR as the preferred solution to all problems, and second, his resulting slavish devotion to smoke and mirrors over sound policy.
The savings & loan crisis led to FDIC takeovers of dud banks and the creation of a resolution authority to dispose of bad assets. That produced costs which were largely funded by the Federal government. I’ve heard economists repeatedly peg the costs at $110 to $120 billion; Wikipedia puts it at about $150 billion. This approach, of cleaning up and resolving banks, has been found repeatedly to be the fastest and least costly way to contend with a financial crisis.
The reason Obama can claim such phony figures is that many of the costs of saving the financial system are hidden, the biggest being the ongoing transfer from savers to banks of negative real interest rates, which is a covert way…
by ilene - October 29th, 2010 3:22 pm
Courtesy of Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker
The economy, that is.
This is a must-read from Chris Whalen. He’s spot-on, and I will reprint only the conclusions – read through for the why, what and how.
- The U.S. banking industry entering a new period of crisis where operating costs are rising dramatically due to foreclosures and loan repurchase expenses. We are less than ¼ of the way through foreclosures. The issue is recognizing existing losses ??not if a loss occurred.
- Failure by the Bush/Obama to restructure the largest banks during 2008?2009 period only means that this process is going to occur over next three to five years – whether we like it or not. Lower growth, employment are the cost of this lack of courage and vision.
- The largest U.S. banks remain insolvent and must continue to shrink until they are either restructured or the subsidies flowing from the Fed, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac cover hidden losses. The latter course condemns Americans to years of economic malaise and further job losses.
The bottom line folks is that the fraud – massive and outrageous concealment of losses, intentionally making bad loans in the mid-2000s (now admitted to under oath by Citibank’s chief underwriter, among others) and the selling of that paper everywhere and anywhere that the banks could manage, along with holding much of it themselves, condemns us.
The opportunity to take these banks into receivership in 2007 existed. It existed in 2008 too. I counseled on doing exactly this during those years.
Instead, both Bush and Obama decided to protect those who had committed these offenses. First by attempting to bail them out, and then when it became obvious that $700 billion of taxpayer money was literally trying to **** on a forest fire to put it out they decided instead to paper it over by extorting FASB so the losses could be swept under the carpet instead of recognized.
The problem is that unlike long-run spending problems like Social Security and Medicare, which will detonate in ten year or more, this is a current account cash-flow problem and the deterioration continues month-by-month as the payments are not made. It’s like a barrel of dead fish. The next morning it starts to stink. Every day it stinks worse. Putting a…
by ilene - April 13th, 2010 3:43 pm
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Fox Business reports that the investigation around Lehman is intensifying. Surely the SEC, now generically equated with objects that float around in sewers in formal conversation, has realized it has to do something, anything, to find at least one scapegoat for the financial collapse. Which is why we read with little surprise Gasparino’s report that "thee SEC has ramped up its inquiry into Lehman’s fall, particularly after court-appointed bankruptcy examiner Anton Valukas issued a lengthy report stating that Lehman’s top executives were “grossly negligent” in possibly hiding the risky nature of the firm’s finances during its final day." What we find much more interesting is that "yet another investigative agency, the Public Accounting Oversight Board — created under the 1992 Sarbanes-Oxley law to investigate and discipline public accounting firms — has launched an inquiry into the role of Lehman’s auditor, Ernst & Young, following the examiner’s report, which accused the big accounting firm of “professional malpractice,” for its work in approving accounting techniques Lehman used during its dying days in the summer of 2008." In the absence of any Wall Street villains, which it is now all too clear have endless diplomatic immunity from prosecution by the corrupt regulators, will the auditor, together with Dick Fuld, be made into the sacrificial lambs? Or will we continue the farce that anything even remotely related to capital markets integrity and reporting is real and valid? Judging by the nearly 60 days of no S&P downticks, the market has answered that question for us.
More from Gasparino:
It was the use of one of those accounting techniques, known as Repo 105, which appears to be at the top of the list of investigators, people with knowledge of the inquiry say. The use of the accounting technique, which is designed to temporarily lower the amount of “leverage,” or borrowing a firm uses to stay afloat thus lowering its risk levels, isn’t necessarily illegal. In fact, Lehman sought and received a favorable opinion from Ernst & Young to use the technique in 2008.
But what might fall afoul of the securities laws, according to people close to the inquiry, is if Lehman turned to the gimmick in a concerted effort to hide its risk level. One person with knowledge of the inquiry say investigators
by ilene - March 21st, 2010 8:31 pm
Do you find yourself on a performance roller coaster? This is a situation in which you make money for a while, begin to think you have it all figured out, only to fall back, lose money, and feel like a rookie all over again.
A while back, I wrote about the performance roller coaster and some of the emotional factors that sustain it. The gist of that important post was that how we process wins and losses affects our subsequent trading--and sometimes contributes to winning and losing streaks.
I just finished an enjoyable interview with Mark Wolfinger of the Options for Rookies site. One topic that came up was the way in which traders identify with their P/L. Once a trader’s sense of identity and esteem becomes caught up in profits and losses, the trader begins an emotional roller coaster simply due to the natural ups and downs of markets.
by ilene - February 10th, 2010 11:40 am
Evidence that the brain’s region called the "amygdala" is at least partly responsible for fear-based loss aversion: – Ilene
Imagine you’ve lost your job. You have some money saved, and a chance to double it with a gamble. But if you lose the bet, you’ll forfeit everything. What would you do?
Most people would not gamble their savings, according to Benedetto De Martino of California Institute of Technology, author of a study published February 8 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. People tend to choose avoiding losses over acquiring gains—a behavior known as loss-aversion.
But people with damage to the amygdala—an almond-shaped part of the brain involved in emotion and decision-making—are more likely to take bigger risks with smaller potential gains, De Martino’s study found. Two women with bilateral amygdala damage showed a dramatic reduction in loss aversion compared with age-matched control subjects on a series of experimental gambles, despite understanding full well the values and risks involved.
by ilene - June 26th, 2009 4:49 pm
Here’s an educational article on the fatal mistakes made by 90% of traders, resulting in – surprise! - losing money. Courtesy of Elliott Wave International. – Ilene
Five Fatal Flaws of Trading
By Jeffrey Kennedy
Close to ninety percent of all traders lose money. The remaining ten percent somehow manage to either break even or even turn a profit – and more importantly, do it consistently. How do they do that?
That’s an age-old question. While there is no magic formula, one of Elliott Wave International’s senior instructors Jeffrey Kennedy has identified five fundamental flaws that, in his opinion, stop most traders from being consistently successful. We don’t claim to have found The Holy Grail of trading here, but sometimes a single idea can change a person’s life. Maybe you’ll find one in Jeffrey’s take on trading? We sincerely hope so.
The following is an excerpt from Jeffrey Kennedy’s Trader’s Classroom Collection. For a limited time, Elliott Wave International is offering Jeffrey Kennedy’s report, How to Use Bar Patterns to Spot Trade Setups, free.
Why Do Traders Lose?
If you’ve been trading for a long time, you no doubt have felt that a monstrous, invisible hand sometimes reaches into your trading account and takes out money. It doesn’t seem to matter how many books you buy, how many seminars you attend or how many hours you spend analyzing price charts, you just can’t seem to prevent that invisible hand from depleting your trading account funds.
Which brings us to the question: Why do traders lose? Or maybe we should ask, ‘How do you stop the Hand?’ Whether you are a seasoned professional or just thinking about opening your first trading account, the ability to stop the Hand is proportional to how well you understand and overcome the Five Fatal Flaws of trading. For each fatal flaw represents a finger on the invisible hand that wreaks havoc with your trading account.
Fatal Flaw No. 1 – Lack of Methodology
If you aim to be a consistently successful trader, then you must have a defined trading methodology, which is simply a clear and concise way of looking at markets. Guessing or going by gut instinct won’t work over the long run. If you don’t have a defined trading methodology, then you don’t have a way to know what constitutes a…
by ilene - May 12th, 2009 4:10 pm
Courtesy of Mish
Advanta Corp., the issuer of credit cards for small businesses, will shut down accounts for its 1 million customers next month and seek to pay off securitized debtholders early as the recession pushes defaults higher.
Lending will cease June 10 as part of a plan to preserve capital after uncollectible debt reached 20 percent on some cards as of March 31, the Spring House, Pennsylvania-based firm said yesterday in a statement. Advanta will use as much as $1.4 billion to pay investors as little as 65 cents on the dollar to buy back securitized credit-card loans. That would be the first so-called early amortization of a trust since 2003, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Christopher Flanagan.
“Early-amortization has been viewed as a catastrophic event for issuers,” Scott Valentin, an analyst at Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co., said today in a research note. “Given that all credit-card accounts in the trust will be shut down to future use, we expect losses to increase as the cards have substantially less utility to cardholders.”
The company plans to use up to $1.4 billion to make cash offers to trust investors at a price of 65 percent and 75 percent of the debt’s face value. While the company has “no indication” if investors will accept that offer, the price is “relatively consistent with recent trading levels of the bonds,” Browne said.
“They’re hoping they can stay alive barely until the environment changes,” said David Robertson, president of the Nilson Report, the Carpinteria, California-based industry newsletter. This is “a big sign that the credit-card industry has problems that are going to be around for several years.”
Advanta was the 11th-biggest U.S. credit-card issuer at the end of 2008 with about $5 billion in outstanding balances, and the only major lender focused on small business borrowers, Robertson said.
With the economy shedding jobs at an unprecedented rate, consumers and small businesses are under extreme stress. Please consider the following chart.
Economy losing 500,000+ jobs for six consecutive months
For more details on jobs, please see Jobs Contract 16th Straight Month; Unemployment Rate Soars to 8.9%.
Even if losses improve to