Bernanke critics are on the attack (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
What is the most likely cause today of civil unrest? Immigration. Gay Marriage. Abortion. The Results of Election Day. The Mosque at Ground Zero. Nope.
Try the Federal Reserve. November 3rd is when the Federal Reserve’s next policy committee meeting ends, and if you thought this was just another boring money meeting you would be wrong. It could be the most important meeting in Fed history, maybe. The US central bank is expected to announce its next move to boost the faltering economic recovery. To say there has been considerable debate and anxiety among Fed watchers about what the central bank should do would be an understatement. Chairman Ben Bernanke has indicated in recent speeches that the central bank plans to try to drive down already low-interest rates by buying up long-term bonds. A number of people both inside the Fed and out believe this is the wrong move. But one website seems to believe that Ben’s plan might actually lead to armed conflict. Last week, the blog, Zerohedge wrote, paraphrasing a top economic forecaster David Rosenberg, that it believed the Fed’s plan is not only moronic, but "positions US society one step closer to civil war if not worse."
I’m not sure what "if not worse," is supposed to mean. But, with the Tea Party gaining followers, the idea of civil war over economic issues doesn’t seem that far-fetched these days. And Ron Paul definitely thinks the Fed should be ended. In TIME’s recent cover story on the militia movement many said these groups are powder kegs looking for a catalyst. So why not a Fed policy committee…
In October the FDIC held a large auction of properties it had acquired as a result of failed banks in Georgia. I thought this was an interesting story and wrote about it before the auction took place. It was my intention to write about it again after the results of the auction were released. No such luck. The FDIC has decided to keep us in the dark on this one. The following is an email I got from JP King, the auction house who ran the Georgia auction:
“Unfortunately, FDIC has prohibited us from releasing any information regarding the auction. We’ve been trying to get them to let us release the results, but they have denied our requests. We aren’t allowed to release any details.”
I would have thought that the results of a pubic auction of properties owned by FDIC would have to be publicly disclosed. So why is the FDIC trying to cover this up?
The answer is that the REO problem for the D.C. lenders and the FDIC is reaching a crisis level. In spite of every effort to avoid foreclosures the fact is that the number of properties owned by the Feds is rising on a daily basis.
There are approximately 55 million mortgages outstanding today. At least 10% will/have gone into default before this is over. Of those half will result in foreclosure. These numbers create an estimate of the Federal share of REO at about 1.5 mm homes. Depending on unemployment and the economy going forward that number could be much higher. Before this is over the Feds could own up to 5% of all residential RE.
D.C. is struggling with this. The Treasury Department has created HAMP and HARP, two programs designed to restructure bad mortgages and keep homeowners in the house at all costs. So far the results from these programs have been terrible. More than half of the restructured loans re-default within nine months.
Fannie and Freddie are going into the rental business with their REO. They are charging “market rates” of rent to defaulted owners who are willing to stay in the home. Given that market rents today are equal to the costs of ownership I doubt that the new ‘Renters’ are going to be able to make the payments. So this program…
Speaking of seeming backward, the economic data has continued to disappoint on virtually all fronts, earnings are weak and markets are grossly extended. Yet, investors are more bullish than ever as noted yesterday:
"While investors may be looking for returns, they are 'extraordinarily optimistic about their investment prospects in both the short and long term,' says Natixis. Respondents say they need 10.1 percent return on their investments, and 81 percent of them feel their expectations are realistic.
Fifty-four percent expect their returns this year to be better than 2014.
When it comes to investing in the stock market, do you feel leadership can be important. If so, you might want to pay attention to price action from a key global stock index. China has been in the news for hot stock market performance that past couple of months. When it comes to the past couple of years, Germany has been stronger than China and the S&P 500. In the past two years the DAX index has gained 18% more than the S&P 500, which is a 60% greater return.
The chart below looks at conditions in the DAX at this time and what message is coming from this index.
US futures began tanking around 6 AM ET, about the same the major European indexes started rolling over. Renewed anxieties of a Grexit (Greek eurozone exit) and a massive outage of Bloomberg terminals no doubt played a role. The EURO STOXX 50 subsequently posted a -2.07% for the day. The S&P 500 opened lower and had dropped a full percent fifteen minutes later. The index then traded sideways until post-lunch swoon took it to its -1.55% mid-afternoon intraday low. A modest late afternoon recovery trimmed the closing loss to -1.13%. The index is down 0.99% for the week.
Today the yield on the 10-year Note closed at 1.87%, down three bps from the previous close and nine bps from last week's close.
Here is a 15-minute chart of the past five sessions.
As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...
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As noted earlier, with equities now a barren wasteland of volume (and liquidity), the last remaining HFT master (of whale order frontrunning)has been forced to go to those asset classes where organic flow is still abundant such as FX, courtesy of central banks engaged in global currency wars. However, HFTs rea...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
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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