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This Is the Fear Chart that the Smart Money on Wall Street Is Watching

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Bank and Insurance Companies' Stock Prices, Feb 15 through March 23, 2020

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

The chart that tells you how all of today’s economic troubles are going to end is not the bar graph of new deaths from coronavirus in Italy versus deaths in the U.S. It’s the chart that shows the number of potential deaths among the banks and insurance companies that have gorged themselves on risky derivatives and serve as counterparties to each other in a daisy chain of financial contagion.

The chart above is why the Federal Reserve is throwing unprecedented sums of money in all directions on Wall Street. Because despite being a primary regulator to these massive bank holding companies, the Fed has no idea who is actually in trouble on derivative trades, other than looking at a chart like the one above.

The chart above also justifies the Democrats refusing to sign off on the fiscal stimulus legislation that would have given U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a $500 billion slush fund where the names of the recipients of bailouts could be withheld from the public.

In January 2007, prior to the last financial crisis, Citigroup’s stock was trading at the split-adjusted level of $550 a share. At yesterday’s stock market close, Citigroup’s stock price was $35.39. If you are a long-term shareholder in Citigroup, you’re still down 94 percent on your principal, not including dividends. After receiving the largest taxpayer and Federal Reserve bailout in banking history during the Wall Street financial crash of 2007 to 2010, Citigroup did a 1-for-10 reverse stock split to dress up its share price. In other words, if you owned 100 shares of Citigroup previously, you now owned just 10 shares at the adjusted price. If Citigroup had not done that, you would have seen a closing price yesterday of $3.54 cents instead of $35.39.

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