Posts Tagged ‘bank lending’

An Avoidable Depression

An Avoidable Depression

Great DepressionCourtesy of MIKE WHITNEY at CounterPunch

The economy has gone from bad to worse. On Friday the Commerce Department reported that GDP had slipped from 3.7% to 2.4% in one quarter. Now that depleted stockpiles have been rebuilt and fiscal stimulus is running out, activity will continue to sputter increasing the likelihood of a double dip recession. Consumer credit and spending have taken a sharp downturn and data released on Tuesday show that the personal savings rate has soared to 6.4%. Mushrooming savings indicate that household deleveraging is ongoing which will reduce spending and further exacerbate the second-half slowdown. The jobs situation is equally grim; 8 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession, but policymakers on Capital Hill and at the Fed refuse to initiate government programs or provide funding that will put the country back to work. Long-term "structural" unemployment is here to stay.

The stock market has continued its highwire act due to corporate earnings reports that surprised to the upside. 75% of S&P companies beat analysts estimates which helped send shares higher on low volume. Corporate profits increased but revenues fell; companies laid off workers and trimmed expenses to fatten the bottom line. Profitability has been maintained even though the overall size of the pie has shrunk. Stocks rallied on what is essentially bad news.

This is from ABC News:

"Consumer confidence matched its low for the year this week, with the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index extending a steep 9-point, six-week drop from what had been its 2010 high….The weekly index, based on Americans’ views of the national economy, the buying climate and their personal finances, stands at -50 on its scale of +100 to -100, just 4 points from its lowest on record in nearly 25 years of weekly polls…It’s in effect the death zone for consumer sentiment."

Consumer confidence has plunged due to persistent high unemployment, flat-lining personal incomes, and falling home prices. Ordinary working people do not care about the budget deficits; that’s a myth propagated by the right wing think tanks. They care about jobs, wages, and providing for their families. Congress’s unwillingness to address the problems that face the middle class has led to an erosion of confidence in government. This is from the Wall Street Journal:

"The lackluster job market continued to weigh on confidence. The share of


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Atlanta Fed asks: How “Discouraged” are Small Businesses?

Atlanta Fed asks: How "Discouraged" are Small Businesses?

Courtesy of Mish  

Girl at lemonade stand

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Asks How "Discouraged" are Small Businesses? Here are some Insights from an Atlanta Fed small business lending survey.

Roughly half of U.S. workers are employed at firms with fewer than 500 employees, and about 90 percent of U.S. firms have fewer than 20 employees. While estimates vary, small businesses are also credited with creating the lion’s share of net new jobs. Small businesses are, in total, a big deal.

Many people have noted the decline in small business lending during the recession, and some have suggested proposals to give incentives to banks to increase their small business portfolios. But is a lack of willingness to lend to small businesses really what’s behind the decline in small business lending? Or is it the lack of creditworthy demand resulting from the effects of the recession and housing market distress?

We at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta have also noted the paucity of data in this area and have begun a series of small business credit surveys. Leveraging the contacts in our Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), we polled 311 small businesses in the states of the Sixth District (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) on their credit experiences and future plans. While the survey is not a stratified random sample and so should not be viewed as a statistical representation of small business firms in the Sixth District, we believe the results are informative.

Indeed, the results of our April 2010 survey suggest that demand-side factors may be the driving force behind lower levels of small business credit. To be sure, when asked about the recent obstacles to accessing credit, some firms (34 firms, or 11 percent of our sample) cited banks’ unwillingness to lend, but many more firms cited factors that may reflect low credit quality on the part of prospective borrowers. For example, 32 percent of firms cited a decline in sales over the past two years as an obstacle, 19 percent cited a high level of outstanding business or personal debt, 10 percent cited a less than stellar credit score, and 112 firms (32 percent) report no recent obstacles to credit.

Perhaps not surprisingly, outside of the troubled construction and real estate industries, close to half the firms polled (46 percent) do not believe there


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Bernanke’s Outlook For Recovery and What It Means For Jobs

Bernanke’s Outlook For Recovery and What It Means For Jobs

Man Plugging his Ears

Courtesy of Mish

Earlier today, At the Economic Club of New York, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his Outlook for the Economy and Policy.

His speech contains much self-serving claptrap about how Federal Reserve policy save the day. Nowhere has the Fed admitted its role in creating the mess.

Bernanke thinks printing money and borrowing from the future via cash-for-clunkers can have lasting benefits. I think that if anything lasting comes from cash-for-clunkers, it will be net-negative.

Bernanke is still extremely concerned about commercial real estate, bank lending, and jobs. On those issues he is certainly right to be concerned. Here are a few snips from the speech.

Bank Lending Practices

Access to credit remains strained for borrowers who are particularly dependent on banks, such as households and small businesses. Bank lending has contracted sharply this year, and the Federal Reserve’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices shows that banks continue to tighten the terms on which they extend credit for most kinds of loans--although recently the pace of tightening has slowed somewhat. Partly as a result of these pressures, household debt has declined in recent quarters for the first time since 1951. For their part, many small businesses have seen their bank credit lines reduced or eliminated, or they have been able to obtain credit only on significantly more restrictive terms. The fraction of small businesses reporting difficulty in obtaining credit is near a record high, and many of these businesses expect credit conditions to tighten further.

While I am on the topic of bank lending, I would like to add a few words about commercial real estate (CRE). Demand for commercial property has dropped as the economy has weakened, leading to significant declines in property values, increased vacancy rates, and falling rents. These poor fundamentals have caused a sharp deterioration in the credit quality of CRE loans on banks’ books and of the loans that back commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). Pressures may be particularly acute at smaller regional and community banks that entered the crisis with high concentrations of CRE loans. In response, banks have been reducing their exposure to these loans quite rapidly in recent months. Meanwhile, the market for securitizations backed by these loans remains all but closed. With nearly $500 billion of


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Speculation In China Does Not Mean Inflation In The US

Speculation In China Does Not Mean Inflation In The US

Courtesy of Mish

Inflationists and even hyperinflationist are coming out of the woodwork. Even some people I highly respect have jumped on the hyperinflation bandwagon. Given that the Flow of Funds Report Offers Hard Evidence of Deflation, I am not changing my tune.

Some of the inflation fears stem from a falling US dollar that seems to me to be range bound. In addition, there has been a strong rebound in commodity prices. OK oil prices more than doubled from the December low to over $70. However that is a far cry from $140.

Even many deflationists (at least me) thought oil prices bottomed and Treasury yields may have. Yet, suddenly a snapback rally in commodity prices is supposed to mean a powerful surge in inflation, perhaps even hyperinflation?

WTIC – Light Sweet Crude Weekly

WTIC chart

click on chart for sharper image

On a log chart the oil rebound looks impressive. On a retrace perspective, the story is different. The first Fibonacci retrace level at 38.2% has not even been reached. This is hyperinflation?

Fear the Dark Side of China’s Lending Surge

The easy scapegoat for rising commodity prices is a collapsing US dollar, strong inflation or even hyperinflation in the US. Sadly, few seem to have noticed (except when it is convenient to their theories) that this is a global economy, peak oil is a factor, and so are happenings in China.

I had a bookmark of an interesting post by Andy Xie lined up for today to talk about. It’s called "Fear the Dark Side of China’s Lending Surge". Unfortunately the post is no longer available or the site is now restricted.

However, Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism posted it earlier this weekend. Please consider Xie: Chinese Banks Funding Commodities Speculation, Casting Doubt on Recovery

The current surge in commodity prices, for example, is being fueled by China’s demand for speculative inventory.

Commodity prices have skyrocketed since March. The weak global economy can’t support high commodity prices. Instead, low interest rates and inflation fears are driving money into commodity buying.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) alone account for half of the activity on the oil futures market. ETFs allow retail investors to act like hedge funds. This product has serious implications for monetary policymaking. One consequence is that inflation


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Phil's Favorites

From cannabis edibles to plant proteins: 2019 food trends

 

From cannabis edibles to plant proteins: 2019 food trends

Plant-based foods, including fruits and vegetables, will be more popular this year. Sydney Rae/Unsplash

Courtesy of Michael von Massow, University of Guelph; Aaron De Laporte, University of Guelph; Alfons Weersink, University of Guelph, and Liam D. Kelly, ...



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Zero Hedge

The Glitch Who Stole Christmas

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Michael Every of RaboBank,

What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four little hours. Yesterday we were kicking our heels. Now anyone who was still clinging to the belief that we are in market business as usual should be kicking themselves instead.

First, US December retail sales collapsed the most since 2009at -1.2% m/m (expected 0.1%) and -1.7% for the control group (expected 0.4%). Of course, this head-long fall took place at the same time as a polar vortex was freezing the country, and as the government shut-down was in place, including the people who were supposed to be collating these data. Near-t...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gasoline bullish breakout could fuel higher prices, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Are we about to pay much higher prices at the gas pump? Possible!

This chart looks at Gasoline futures over the past 4-years. Gasoline has become much cheaper at the pump, as it fell nearly 50% from the May 2018 highs. The decline took it down to test 2016 & 2017 lows at (1). While testing these lows, Gasoline could be forming a bullish inverse head & shoulders pattern over the past few months.

Joe Friday Just The Facts- If Gasoline breaks out at (2), we could all see higher prices at the gas pump. If a breakout does...



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Insider Scoop

10 Stocks To Watch For February 15, 2019

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

  • Wall Street expects PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) to report quarterly earnings at $1.49 per share on revenue of $19.52 billion before the opening bell. PepsiCo shares rose 0.2 percent to $112.82 in after-hours trading.
  • NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) reported upbe...


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ValueWalk

Global Quality Edge Fund: Tail-Risk Hedging Strategy

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Global Quality Edge Fund presentation titled, “Tail-Risk Hedging Strategy.” How to leverage the end of the business cycle without exposing our fund to permanent capital loss?

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Objective:

  • Understand the current convergence between business cycle and the long term debt cycle.
  • Empathize the benefits of Tail Hedging as a means to shield from capital loss. We began implementing this strategy in Q4-2018 to protect the fund from significant market downturns, similar in sca...


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Biotech

Cancer: new DNA sequencing technique analyses tumours cell by cell to fight disease

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

 

Cancer: new DNA sequencing technique analyses tumours cell by cell to fight disease

Illustration of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, showing lymphoblasts in blood. Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Alba Rodriguez-Meira, University of Oxford and Adam Mead, University of Oxford

...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Feb 10, 2019

Courtesy of Blain.

A good week for the bulls once again as a very overbought market essentially went sideways to help work off some of those near term extreme conditions.  The S&P 500 stalled exactly at the 200 day moving average after a frantic rally the past month and a half.  It was generally a quiet week with lowered volatility as the word “patience” continues to have the investor class in a happy daze.

In economic news, ISM Services fell from 58.0 in December to 56.7 last month, below economists’ expectations of a 57.4 reading. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity.

For the week the S&P 500 gained 0.1% and the NASDAQ 0.5%.  That is 7 up weeks in a row.

Here is the 5 day weekly “intraday” chart of the S&P 500 … ...



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Digital Currencies

People don't trust blockchain systems - is regulation a way to help?

 

People don't trust blockchain systems – is regulation a way to help?

Using blockchain technology can feel like falling and hoping someone will catch you. Nicoleta Raftu/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Kevin Werbach, University of Pennsylvania

Blockchain technology isn’t as widely used as it could be, largely because blockchain users don’t trust each other, as research shows. Business lea...



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Members' Corner

Why Trump Can't Learn

 

Bill Eddy (lawyer, therapist, author) predicted Trump's chaotic presidency based on his high-conflict personality, which was evident years ago. This post, written in 2017, references a prescient article Bill wrote before Trump even became president, 5 Reasons Trump Can’t Learn. ~ Ilene 

Why Trump Can’t Learn

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (...



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Mapping The Market

Trump: "I Won't Be Here" When It Blows Up

By Jean-Luc

Maybe we should simply try him for treason right now:

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

The president thinks the balancing of the nation’s books is going to, ultimately, be a future president’s problem.

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the nationa...



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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.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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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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