Posts Tagged ‘commercial banks’

The Volcker Rule & AIG: It’s Not About Prop Trading

The Volcker Rule & AIG: It’s Not About Prop Trading

Courtesy of rc whalen at Zero Hedge

Watching the President announcing his proposals to forbid commercial banks from engaging in proprietary trading, I am reminded of the reaction by Washington a decade ago to the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals, namely the Sarbanes-Oxley law.  The final solution had nothing to do with the problem and everything to do with the strange politics of the capital city and the national Congress.

The basic problems of the Enron/WorldCom scandals was financial fraud and the use of off-balance sheet vehicles to commit same.  By responding with more stringent corporate governance requirements, the Congress was seen to be responding — but without harming Wall Street’s basic business model.  In that regard, note that today former SEC chairman Bill Donaldson was standing next to President Obama on the dais, along with Paul Volcker and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

A decade on, we have the same basic problem, namely the use of OBS vehicles and OTC structured securities and derivatives to commit financial fraud via deceptive instruments and poor or no disclosure.  Another name for OTC markets is “bucket shop,” thus the focus on prop trading today in the President’s comments was entirely off target.  The Volcker Rule, at least as articulated today, does not solve the problem.  And what is the problem?

The poster child victim for this latest round of rape and pillage by the large dealer banks is, of course, American International Group (AIG) along with many, many other public and private Buy Side investors. The FDIC and the Deposit Insurance Fund is another large, perhaps the largest victim of the structured finance shell game. Prop trading was not the problem with AIG nor the cause of the financial crisis, but instead the rancid production from the securities underwriting side of the business.

Not a single major securities firm or bank failed due to prop trading during the past several years.  Instead, it was the customer side of the business, usually the mortgage conduit, that was the problem, the securities underwriting side of the business that the Volcker Rule conveniently ignores.  And this is the one area that you will most certainly not hear President Obama or Bill Donaldson or Chairman Volcker or HFS Committee Chairman Barney Frank mention.  You can torment prop traders, but leave the syndicate desk alone.

The dealers,…
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Capital City

Intro, courtesy of David at The Deipnosophist: 

No other way to state this, but baldly: The article, Capital City, is phenomenally brilliant and insightful. Its author, Kevin Drum, not merely knows his stuff, he did his homework and lays bare the connections for all to see.

And it comes with my strongest recommendation to read, despite its length. Not only will you learn a thing or two (I did), but it also is likely to bring your blood to a boil. 

(I do wish, though, that writers and their editors would learn the difference between "danger" and "peril" — they are not synonyms for the same notion. When Kevin Drum says, "dangerous" in fact he means "perilous.")
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

Capital City

A year after the biggest bailout in US history, Wall Street lobbyists don’t just have influence in Washington. They own it lock, stock, and barrel.

By Kevin Drum | January/February 2010 Issue of Mother Jones

THIS STORY IS NOT ABOUT THE origins of 2008′s financial meltdown. You’ve probably read more than enough of those already. To make a long story short, it was a perfect storm. Reckless lending enabled a historic housing bubble [1]; an overseas savings glut and an unprecedented Fed policy of easy money enabled skyrocketing debt; excessive leverage made the global banking system so fragile that it couldn’t withstand a tremor, let alone the Big One; the financial system squirreled away trainloads of risk via byzantine credit derivatives [2] and other devices; and banks grew so towering and so interconnected that they became too big [4] to be allowed to fail. With all that in place, it took only a small nudge to bring the entire house of cards crashing to the ground.

But that’s a story about finance and economics. This is a story about politics. It’s about how Congress and the president and the Federal Reserve were persuaded to let all this happen in the first place. In other words, it’s about the finance lobby—the people who, as Sen.Dick Durbin [5] (D-Ill.) put it [6] last April, even after nearly destroying the world are "still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."

But it’s also about something even bigger. It’s about the way that lobby—with the eager support of a resurgent conservative movement…
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An Independent Look into JP Morgan

An Independent Look into JP Morgan

Reggie MiddletonCourtesy of Reggie Middleton’s Boom Bust Blog

The JP Morgan forensic preview is now available. Remember, this is not subscription material, but a "public preview" of the material to come. I thought non-subscribers would be interested in knowing what my opinion of the country’s most respected bank was. There is some interesting stuff here, and the subscription analysis will have even more (in terms of data, analysis and valuation). As we have all been aware, the markets have been totally ignoring valuation for about two quarters now. It remains to be seen how long that continues.

Click graph to enlarge

image001.png, JP Morgan Notional Derivatives

Cute graphic above, eh? There is plenty of this in the public preview. When considering the staggering level of derivatives employed by JPM, it is frightening to even consider the fact that the quality of JPM’s derivative exposure is even worse than Bear Stearns and Lehman‘s derivative portfolio just prior to their fall. Total net derivative exposure rated below BBB and below for JP Morgan currently stands at 35.4% while the same stood at 17.0% for Bear Stearns (February 2008) and 9.2% for Lehman (May 2008).

JP Morgan cartoonWe all know what happened to Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, don’t we??? I warned all about Bear Stearns (Is this the Breaking of the Bear?: On Sunday, 27 January 2008) and Lehman ("Is Lehman really a lemming in disguise?": On February 20th, 2008) months before their collapse by taking a close, unbiased look at their balance sheet. Both of these companies were rated investment grade at the time, just like "you know  who". Now, I am not saying JPM is about to collapse, since it is one of the anointed ones chosen by the government and guaranteed not to fail – unlike Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and it is (after all) investment grade rated. Who would you put your faith in, the big ratings agencies or your favorite blogger? Then again, if it acts like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, is it a chicken??? I’ll leave the rest up for my readers to decide. 

This public preview is the culmination of several investigative posts that I have made that have led me to look more closely into the big money center banks. It all started with a hunch that JPM wasn’t…
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Market Gaming: Pressin’ Their Bets

This article by Karl Denninger helps explain Zero Hedge’s previous article on Goldman Sach’s principle trading unit and the ETF-underlying pair trades.

Market Gaming: Pressin’ Their Bets

Courtesy of Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker


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Zero Hedge

Trapped (When Will We Know 'They' Lost Control?)

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

What? You thought a 850+ point drop in the $DJIA would result in a down week? No Sir. The unholy alliance has struck again. Massive jawboning by multiple administration officials about how well the China trade deal was going, a favorable jobs report and above all, the US Federal Reserve, all contributed to a furious rally to make markets green for the week on (whe...



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The Portfolio Gap

 

The Portfolio Gap

Courtesy of 

Dalbar is known for publishing a study on returns from equity funds compared to the returns that investors capture in those same funds. Every year reveals the same message: The average investor, with remarkable consistency, underperforms their own investments, ostensibly by buying and selling at inopportune times.

The methodology behind the study has been under assault for at least the last 15 years. Here is ...



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Digital Currencies

Visualizing The New Cryptocurrency Economy

Courtesy of ZeroeHedge

Over a decade ago, the birth of Bitcoin sparked a revolution in the digital world - and just last year, the number of active cryptocurrencies jumped from roughly 1,600 to over 3,000 worldwide.

As Visual Capitalist's Ashley Viens details below, cryptocurrencies have now evolved past simple digital currencies, offering solutions to meet the complex needs of modern financial markets.

Today’s graphic from Abra visualizes the complex, ever-evolving cryptocurrency ecosys...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold Miners Indicator Attempting Multi-Year Breakout, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Are Gold Mining stocks about to be sent a bullish signal they haven’t received in years? Possible says Joe Friday.

This chart looks at the Senior Miner/Junior miner (GDXJ/GDX) ratio over the past few years. Historically when the ratio is heading up, miners tend to do very well.

The ratio has created a series of lower highs just below the falling line (1), since the summer of 2016. The ratio is currently testing the strong falling resistance line and the June 2019 highs at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am; If the ratio succeeds in a double breakout at (2), it sends miners a long-awaited bullish message.

...

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Insider Scoop

Scott Galloway Calls For Twitter's Board To Replace 'Part-Time CEO' Jack Dorsey Amid Africa Move Plans

Courtesy of Benzinga

A shareholder in Twitter Inc. (NASDAQ: TWTR) and New York University business professor wrote an open letter Friday to the company's board calling for the replacement of CEO Jack Dorsey.

What To Know

Scott Galloway, who owns more than 330,000 shares of Twitter stock a...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE - Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

 

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE – Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

Courtesy of Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner 

The Fed is ramping up “Not QE” .

The Fed bought $2.2 billion in notes today in its POMO, “not QE,” operations. Actually $2.15 billion because they sold back a whole $50 million. Must have been a little glitch in the force.

This brings the Fed’s total outright purchases of Treasuries to $170 billion since it started Not QE, on September 17.

It also did $107 billion in gross new repo loans to Primary Dealers to buy Tre...



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Chart School

Silver stock taking the sector higher

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

As the US economy begins to show late cycle characteristics like: GDP slowing, higher inflation, higher wage costs, CEO confidence slump. 

Previous Post: Gold Stocks Review

The big players in the market are looking for the next swing off good value lows. This means more money is finding it way into the gold and silver sector, and it is said gold and silver stocks actually lead the metal prices.

The cycle below shows prices are ready to move in the months ahead (older chart re posted).


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Members' Corner

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

 

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

By Matt Wilstein

Excerpt:

Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the International Leadership Award at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit on anti-Semitism and hate Thursday. And the comedian and actor used his keynote speech to single out the one Jewish-American who he believes is doing the most to facilitate “hate and violence” in America: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He began with a joke at the Trump administration’s expense. “Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry,” Baron Cohen said, according to his prepared...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

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

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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:

 

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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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