Archive for 2008

Bailout Bill Update and Text

Bailout bill unveiled, heads to House

Excerpt:  "WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Democratic congressional leaders announced their agreement Sunday on details of a massive financial rescue plan proposed by the Bush administration, releasing a draft text trumpeting taxpayer guarantees and caps on executive compensation.

The draft bill, titled the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," follows days of legislative wrangling over a $700 billion plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as U.S. financial markets teetered on the edge of a collapse triggered by the U.S. mortgage crisis.

The bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives Monday morning and then head to the Senate, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

"This isn’t about a bailout of Wall Street, it’s a buy-in so we can turn our economy around," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a press conference announcing the agreement.

The draft legislation would authorize $250 billion immediately, with another $100 billion upon presidential certification. A further $350 billion would also be available subject to congressional approval…

Read proposed legislation"…

 

Text includes some executive-pay caps, taxpayer protections

By Ruth Mantell & Andrea Coombes, MarketWatch





WallSt., Meet MainSt.

Here’s a balanced article on the bailout plan, discussing Nouriel Roubini’s suggestions and the effect of credit drying up on the average American citizen.  Courtesy of Stormy, at Angry Bear.  

Wall Street, Meet Main Street

By Stormy

For the man on the street, the proposed bailout seems like nothing more than handouts to the rich. To him, the fortunes of Wall Street are distinguishable and separate from his fortunes. "Let the suckers sink."

While I deeply sympathize with this view, we all must see how what is happening on Wall Street affects everything, from house mortgages, to car and student loans, to credit cards, and more.

Quite simply, credit is drying up.

If credit disappears, then everyone--rich or poor--is affected. The farmer needs a sizable loan to carry him through the rough times. The poor student needs a loan so that he can position himself better in marketplace. The small town may to float a bond to cover a much-needed fire engine. Already, student loans are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Car loans and mortgages are becoming more and more problematical.

To tell Wall Street to take a hike makes for a good sound bite, but it may not be really wise. What happens on Wall Street governs the level of credit, the grease that makes loans and bonds possible.

The problem is: How to fashion a comprehensive plan that addresses everyone’s needs. Our country is mired in debt. Only the very well off can stand alone, fretting foolishly over a million lost here or there. The rest of us, even if all our bills are paid, stand to suffer as the economy crashes around us. Jobs will be lost; incomes will dwindle.

To understand the depth of our dilemma, I would like to go through Nouriel Roubini’s rescue plan. In his solution, he does hit most (not all by a long shot) of the buttons. I do this summary as much for myself as for others.

Take note: We are faced not with a mere recession, but a real depression. It is no accident that parts of the Roubini plan harken back to the Great Depression.

Roubinis plan, which is far more intelligent that what so far has appeared in the public media, only begins to touch on our real difficulties.…
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Barry’s Memo to DC

A Memo Found in the Street

By BARRY L. RITHOLTZ

Excerpt:

"WOW, WE’VE MADE QUITE A MESS OF THINGS here on Wall Street: Fannie and Freddie in conservatorship, investment banks in the tank, AIG nationalized. Thanks for sending us your new trillion-dollar bailout.

We on Wall Street feel somewhat compelled to take at least some responsibility. We used excessive leverage, failed to maintain adequate capital, engaged in reckless speculation, created new complex derivatives. We focused on short-term profits at the expense of sustainability. We not only undermined our own firms, we destabilized the financial sector and roiled the global economy, to boot. And we got huge bonuses.

But here’s a news flash for you, D.C.: We could not have done it without you. We may be drunks, but you were our enablers: Your legislative, executive, and administrative decisions made possible all that we did. Our recklessness would not have reached its soaring heights but for your governmental incompetence.

THIS MEMO PROVIDES A BRIEF HISTORY OF your actions that helped create this crisis.

1997: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s famous “irrational exuberance” speech in 1996 was somehow ignored by, um, Fed Chairman Greenspan. The Fed missed the opportunity to change margin requirements. Had the Fed acted, the bubble would not have inflated as much, and the subsequent crash would not have been as severe.

1998: Long Term Capital Management was undercapitalized, used enormous amounts of leverage to purchase all manner of thinly traded, hard-to-value paper. It failed, and under the authority of the Federal Reserve a “private-sector” rescue plan was cobbled together. Had these bankers suffered big losses from LTCM, they might have thought twice before jumping into the exact same business model of undercapitalized, overleveraged, thinly traded, hard-to-value paper. Instead, they reaffirmed Benjamin Disraeli’s famous aphorism: “What we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.”

1999: The Financial Services Modernization Act repealed Glass-Steagall, a law that had separated the commercial-banking industry from Wall Street, and the two industries, plus insurance, came together again. Banks became bigger, clumsier, and hard to manage. Apparently, risk-management became all but impossible, even as banks had greater access to larger pools of capital.

2000: The Commodities Futures Modernization Act defined financial commodities such as “interest rates, currency prices, and stock indexes” as “excluded commodities.” They could trade off the
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SEC

Conclusion:  Voluntary regulation does not work, a lesson learned (hopefully) the hardest way.

SEC Lambasted on Bear Sterns

Courtesy of Todd Sullivan’s – ValuePlays

Like I’ve said repeatedly, time for Cox to go…

 





Nouriel: Plan’s a Disgrace

Is Purchasing $700 billion of Toxic Assets the Best Way to Recapitalize the Financial System? No! It is Rather a Disgrace and Rip-Off Benefitting only the Shareholders and Unsecured Creditors of Banks

Courtesy of Nouriel Roubini, at Nouriel Roubini’s Global EconoMonitor 

Whenever there is a systemic banking crisis there is a need to recapitalize the banking/financial system to avoid an excessive and destructive credit contraction. But purchasing toxic/illiquid assets of the financial system is not the most effective and efficient way to recapitalize the banking system. Such recapitalization – via the use of public resources – can occur in a number of alternative ways: purchase of bad assets/loans; government injection of preferred shares; government injection of common shares; government purchase of subordinated debt; government issuance of government bonds to be placed on the banks’ balance sheet; government injection of cash; government credit lines extended to the banks; government assumption of government liabilities.

A recent IMF study of 42 systemic banking crises across the world provides evidence on how different crises were resolved. First of all only in 32 of the 42 cases there was government financial intervention of any sort; in 10 cases systemic banking crises were resolved without any government financial intervention. Of the 32 cases where the government recapitalized the banking system only seven included a program of purchase of bad assets/loans (like the one proposed by the US Treasury). In 25 other cases there was no government purchase of such toxic assets. In 6 cases the government purchased preferred shares; in 4 cases the government purchased common shares; in 11 cases the government purchased subordinated debt; in 12 cases the government injected cash in the banks; in 2 cases credit was extended to the banks; and in 3 cases the government assumed bank liabilities. Even in cases where bad assets were purchased – as in Chile – dividends were suspended and all profits and recoveries had to be used to repurchase the bad assets. Of course in most cases multiple forms of government recapitalization of banks were used.

But government purchase of bad assets was the exception rather than the rule. It was used only in Mexico, Japan, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Jamaica, Malaysia, and Paraguay. Even in six of these seven cases where the recapitalization of banks occurred via the government purchase of bad assets such recapitalization
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It’s the Derivatives, Stupid!

Here’s an excellent article by Ellen Brown which focuses on the financial derivatives industry.  (Wikipedia has a helpful introduction to derivatives, here.)  The previous article posted, Behind Insurer’s Crisis, Blind Eye to a Web of Risk, provides a clear illustration of how billions of dollars can quickly evaporate in the derivative world.  

IT’S THE DERIVATIVES, STUPID!
WHY FANNIE, FREDDIE AND AIG ALL HAD TO BE BAILED OUT
South Sea Bubble Cards

“I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men.”
– Sir Isaac Newton, after losing a fortune in the South Sea bubble

Something extraordinary is going on with these government bailouts.  In March 2008, the Federal Reserve extended a $55 billion loan to JPMorgan to “rescue” investment bank Bear Stearns from bankruptcy, a highly controversial move that tested the limits of the Federal Reserve Act.  On September 7, 2008, the U.S. government seized private mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and imposed a conservatorship, a form of bankruptcy; but rather than let the bankruptcy court sort out the assets among the claimants, the Treasury extended an unlimited credit line to the insolvent corporations and said it would exercise its authority to buy their stock, effectively nationalizing them.  Now the Federal Reserve has announced that it is giving an $85 billion loan to American International Group (AIG), the world’s largest insurance company, in exchange for a nearly 80% stake in the insurer . . . .

The Fed is buying an insurance company?  Where exactly is that covered in the Federal Reserve Act?  The Associated Press calls it a “government takeover,” but this is not your ordinary “nationalization” like the purchase of Fannie/Freddie stock by the U.S. Treasury.  The Federal Reserve has the power to print the national money supply, but it is not actually a part of the U.S. government.  It is a private banking corporation owned by a consortium of private banks.  The banking industry just bought the world’s largest insurance company, and they used federal money to do it.  Yahoo Finance reported on September 17:

“The Treasury is setting up a temporary financing program at the Fed’s request. The program will auction Treasury bills to raise cash for the Fed’s use. The initiative aims to help the Fed manage its balance sheet following its efforts
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Porkie du Credit Shambles

Here’s a fascinating article in the NY Times on A.I.G., the London unit of A.I.G. known as A.I.G. Financial Products, credit default swaps, or C.D.S., Goldman Sachs, and our government actions, but let’s start with an introduction by Greg Newton, at Nakedshorts.

Porkie* du Credit Shambles

The Unbearable Lightness of Goldman Sachs

SucklingPig 
QuoteOpenSmall 
A Goldman spokesman said…that the firm was 
never imperiled by AIG’s troubles and that
 
Mr. Blankfein participated in the Fed
discussions to safeguard the entire
financial system, not his firm’s own interests.
QuoteCloseSmall

I think we’ve reached the point where somebody really needs to go to jail. And 85 Broad would be an excellent place to start rounding up a few of the usuals.Goldman Sachs Headquarters

Behind Insurer’s Crisis, a Blind Eye to a Web of Risk
by Gretchen Morgenson
The New York Times Sep. 28 2008

*Cockney Rhyming Slang: Porkie = Pork Pie = Lie

************ 

Behind Insurer’s Crisis, a Blind Eye to a Web of Risk

Excerpt:

“It is hard for us, without being flippant, to even see a scenario within any kind of realm of reason that would see us losing one dollar in any of those transactions.”

— Joseph J. Cassano, a former A.I.G. executive, August 2007

Two weeks ago, the nation’s most powerful regulators and bankers huddled in the Lower Manhattan fortress that is the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, desperately trying to stave off disaster.

As the group, led by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., pondered the collapse of one of America’s oldest investment banks, Lehman Brothers, a more dangerous threat emerged: American International Group, the world’s largest insurer, was teetering. A.I.G. needed billions of dollars to right itself and had suddenly begged for help.

The only Wall Street chief executive participating in the meeting was Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Mr. Paulson’s former firm. Mr. Blankfein had particular reason for concern.

Although it was not widely known, Goldman, a Wall Street stalwart that had seemed immune to its rivals’ woes, was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to six people close to the insurer who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. A collapse of the insurer threatened to leave a hole of as much as $20 billion in
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Do you know who you’re messin’ with?





Fiddling While Rome Burns

Here’s an article from Spencer at Angry Bear pointing out that a couple of his leading indicators of world economic growth are looking pretty sickly.

Fiddling While Rome Burns 

By Spencer

While Congress fiddles and postures it might be informative to look at two highly reliable leading indicators of world economic growth.

The first is the Dry Ships Index of various daily bulk cargo rates. Over time this has proven to be a highly sensitive leading indicator of world economic activity. About half of the recent plunge in the blue index so far this year has occurred this month.


The second index is the CRB:Index of Industrial Raw Material Prices — it includes no energy or agricultural foodstuffs prices. About one quarter of the drop in this index so far this year occurred since the end of last month.

Both of these indicators are signaling that the slowdown in world economic growth is accelerating.

I’ll just remind readers that these are two of the signals that I used as leading indicators of a peak in oil prices earlier this year.

 





Oil

I found Why the Oil Crisis Will Persist, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, SciAm, via Mark Thoma’s website, Economist’s View, discussing oil and where we should go from here.  Here’s Mark’s article, citing the SciAm article. 

Oil

Jeff Sachs says "current energy crisis will most likely worsen before it gets better":

Why the Oil Crisis Will Persist, by Jeffrey D. Sachs, SciAm: …[F]undamental factors of supply and demand in the world economy will keep oil costly for years to come. … Drilling in protected areas would provide little relief, and at horrendous environmental risks. Only a concerted move to new transport and energy technologies will relieve the pressures.

The greatest irony about the Bush Administration is that it correctly focused on energy needs at the start of its first term, but then got everything wrong in the strategy. Viewing the world through the eyes of Texas oilmen, it focused on gaining concessions to Iraqi oil fields and opening U.S. protected areas to drilling, while scorning fuel economy standards, renewable energy sources, and climate change mitigation. But the simple arithmetic of oil and carbon was always against the strategy.

World demand for conventional oil is outstripping world supply. … There are few prospects for mega-discoveries that could keep up with fast-growing world demand. …

The boom in global driving is likely to be relentless. … If China attains just half of the U.S. per capita ownership of passenger vehicles, it would have … roughly twice as many as the U.S. And that prospect is not a silly scenario. Vehicle production in China has already tripled… With … massive house building on the spreading periphery of city centers, China seems intent on reproducing America’s metropolitan sprawl and commuter-based society. A similar, though still less dramatic trend, is getting underway in India. …

Conventional oil has little prospect of keeping up with this soaring demand.

What then will give? Of course a grave economic crisis—war, global depression, economic collapse of one or more major economies—would cut oil demand the hard way. There are two much better alternatives. The first is a redesigned, far more energy-efficient automobile that uses … electricity or hydrogen. Several variants of plug-in-hybrid and all-battery cars have been promised by major auto producers as early as


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Zero Hedge

Auto Shares Surge As Fiat, Renault Confirm Merger Talks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With President Trump in Japan for a state visit and most of Europe headed to the polls to vote in the quinquennial EU Parliamentary elections, there was enough news to keep market watchers occupied during what was supposed to be a quiet holiday weekend in the US. 

But on top of these political headlines, on Saturday afternoon, the news broke that Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler had approached France's Renault with a merger proposal that would leave the shareholders of each carmaker with half of the combined company, in a tie-up that would create the world's third-largest au...



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Phil's Favorites

Trump and the problem with pardons

 

Trump and the problem with pardons

Courtesy of Andrew Bell, Indiana University

As a veteran, I was astonished by the recent news that President Trump may be considering pardons for U.S. military members accused or convicted of war crimes. But as a scholar who studies the U.S. military and combat ethics, I understand even more clearly the harmful long-term impact such pardons can have on the military.

My researc...



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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...



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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!


Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!







Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at readtheticker.com we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University

...



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ValueWalk

More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...



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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

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. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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