Posts Tagged ‘Magnetar’

NYT Muffs Merrill/Magnetar Piece (And Why is No One Investigating the Related Bonus Fraud?)

NYT Muffs Merrill/Magnetar Piece (And Why is No One Investigating the Related Bonus Fraud?)

By Yves Smith and Tom Adams, an attorney and former monoline executive, at Naked Capitalism 

Radar Marking an Earthquake's Epicenter

Louise Story has penned what presents itself as an important story at the New York Times, one that charges Merrill Lynch with misrepresenting the size of its subprime, specifically, collateralized debt obligation exposures, in the runup to the global financial crisis. The ruse the article depicts is a CDO called Pyxis., which purportedly served as a dumping ground for exposures Merrill could not unload. Initially, Merrill was able to escape reporting these positions because it claimed to have hedged the risk. In fact, the hedges failed, the bank was ultimately on the hook and was later forced to ‘fess up to the magnitude of its holdings. This revelation sounds juicy in that Citigroup and some of its recent senior executives paid fines to the SEC for similar, albeit less convoluted-sounding, misconduct.

But in fact, the story is astonishingly incomplete, to the point of being misleading. While Merrill’s probable accounting improprieties are noteworthy and merit investigation by the authorities, they are not the most important element of this episode. CDO abuses amounted to accounting fraud to enable employees and executives to loot their companies. Moreover, they were not perpetrated by isolated actors, but were part of what Bill Black calls a criminogenic environment.

To put it more simply, if you think Merrill’s misrepresentations to investors are a big deal, they are only a small aspect of the bigger, and frustratingly largely untold, tale of the role of CDOs in the crisis. CDOs were the epicenter of the upheaval, the device that magnified a what otherwise would have been contained subprime bubble into an economy-wrecking meltdown. When the music stopped, it was the dealers themselves that wound up holding much of the toxic paper they’d created. AAA rated CDOs went from haircuts of 2-4% in early 2006 to 95% in later 2007. The collapse in CDO valuations and the resulting inability to use CDOs as collateral for repo was a major, if not the major, cause of dealer illiquidity and insolvency which resulted in massive bailouts and backdoor subsidies.

Accounts like Ms. Story’s are blind man and the elephant affairs: at best, they do a good enough job of depicting, say, the trunk, but leave the beast…
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Rahm Emanuel and Magnetar Capital: The Definition of Compromised

Rahm Emanuel and Magnetar Capital: The Definition of Compromised

By Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism 

Magnetar

1) A neutron star with an intense magnetic field, capable of emitting toxic radiation across galaxies
2) A hedge fund, the single market player most responsible for the severity of the 2008 financial crisis, through the toxic instruments it created

Rahm Emanuel

1) White House Chief of Staff
2) Politician selected by Magnetar’s CEO to be sole recipient of his political donations, 2006-2008

Strange as it may seem, nearly three years after the onset of the global financial crisis, its greatest, most destructive, and most profitable “it ought to have been a crime” has gone almost entirely unnoticed.

Most people believe that they understand the broad outlines of the financial crisis, and that a central element was an explosion in mortgages made to people who could not afford them.

But how did such destructive behavior occur on such a large scale? The conventional view is that the subprime mortgage blowup resulted from bank executives being short-sighted, greedy, or both.

But that simple story deters inquiry into how and why this disaster came to pass. Some recognize that the appetite for subprime mortgages seemed to come from investors. In fact, it resulted in a large degree from the way traders at certain large banks used subprime mortgages in a strategy to make their profits seem much larger than they actually were. The effect of this “negative basis trade” strategy was to overpay employees of those banks and consequently eviscerate the banks’ abilities to withstand future economic uncertainty.

The appetite for subprime mortgages was also inflated by people who were betting that the housing market would fail.

Moreover, the devastation wrought by this strategy remains virtually a secret. The fact that it has been almost invisible and appears to have been entirely legal, demonstrates a set of vexing problems. First, that investigations of the crisis have not delved deeply enough, and second, that the deregulation so keenly sought by the financial services industry has made activities legal that by any common-sense standard should be criminal.

But the sponsors of this toxic trade did bother to make sure they had a powerful friend. The head of the firm in question gave substantial amounts of money by political contribution standards to Rahm Emanuel’s PACs, and only his PACs, over the period when


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Phil's Favorites

Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines - which means putting ethics before profits

 

Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits

Indian health workers doing health checks in Mumbai, June 17, 2020. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File

Courtesy of Nicole Hassoun, Binghamton University, State University of New York

As COVID-19 surges in the United States and worldwide, even the richest and best insured Americans understand, possibly for the first time, what it’s like not to have the medicines ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines - which means putting ethics before profits

 

Ending the pandemic will take global access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccines – which means putting ethics before profits

Indian health workers doing health checks in Mumbai, June 17, 2020. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File

Courtesy of Nicole Hassoun, Binghamton University, State University of New York

As COVID-19 surges in the United States and worldwide, even the richest and best insured Americans understand, possibly for the first time, what it’s like not to have the medicines ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is the Nasdaq 100's Out-Performance Nearing a Top?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is the latest ramp higher and Large-cap tech stocks have been the clear market leader, out-performing the broad market for months.

In today’s chart, we look at the Nasdaq 100 to S&P 500 performance ratio in an effort to answer the question: Is the ramp higher in tech stocks and severe out-performance sustainable?

While we may not be able to answer that question today, the ratio IS at an inflection point. And following today’s ratio chart should help us answer that question.

As a reminder, the ratio rises when the Nasdaq 100 is out-performing the S&P 500. Note also that it is a longer-term “monthly” price chart.

Important Br...

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Zero Hedge

Homebuilder Optimism Explodes Higher As Mortgage Rates Plunge To Record Lows

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

US Homebuilders’ Confidence index soared higher in July (to 72 from 58 last month), back to March (pre-COVID) levels.

  • Measure of present single family sales rises to 79 vs 63 last month

  • Future single family sales gauge rises to 75 vs 68 last month

  • Prospective buyers traffic measure rises to 58 vs 43 last month

...

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ValueWalk

Whitney Tilson Is Bullish On Bank Stocks

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors disucssing him being bullish on bank stocks; the bear case; Doug Kass with the bull case.

Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Earnings Season For The Big Banks

1) It's earnings season for the big banks this week.

Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Wells Fargo (WFC) reported this morning... Goldman Sachs (GS) is up tomorrow... and Bank of America (BAC) and Morgan Stanley (MS) round things out on Thursday.

The sector has been decimated this year. The Invesco KBW Bank Fund (KBWB) is down 35% year to date, vast...



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Digital Currencies

Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bloomberg, Kanye, Apple Twitter Accounts All Hacked In "Nigerian" Bitcoin Scam, Over $100,000 Stolen In Minutes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

The twitter accounts of two of the world's richest men, Bill Gates and Elon Musk (and perhaps others) were hacked late on Wednesday, in what appears to be a version of a "Nigerian" bitcoin scam.

At 440pm ET, Musk tweeted the following:

Microsoft founder Bill Gates had a similar tweet.

As did Jeff Bezos:

...



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The Technical Traders

Second Phase Real Estate Collapse Pending

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Real estate, especially commercial real estate, is likely to be the first segment of the real estate market to enter the second phase of an extended collapse.  The COVID-19 virus has created an atmosphere where continuing operations for retail, restaurants, and many other business segments is virtually impossible to maintain.  Without the ability to earn sufficient income, thousands of restaurants and other retail businesses have already closed or are in the process of closing.  This has pushed the commercial real estate market into turmoil.  We believe the residential real estate market will follow the commercial market because consumers are going to suffer as commercial real estate collapses....



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Chart School

Dow 2020 Crash Watch - Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Like 1929 the markets have bounced. This time it is on the back of the FED $6.5T money printing.

Previous Post: Dow 2020 Crash Watch 

But can the FED blow $6T every time the market rolls down to test support.

Yes, maybe before the US 2020 elections the FED will do 'what it takes'. But post elections not so much, the year 2021 is a long way from the next election (presidential or congress) and defense of the markets may not be so supportive at $6T or $10T per market smash. The FED may hesitate, and that will be window for stocks to break lower.

The 36 month simple moving a...

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Lee's Free Thinking

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

 

These Charts Show COVID 19 Is Spreading in the US and Will Kill the Economy

Courtesy of  

The COVID 19 pandemic is, predictably, worsening again in much of the US. Only the Northeast, and to a lesser extent some Midwestern states, have been consistently improving. And that trend could also reverse as those states fully reopen.

The problem in the US seems to be widespread public resistance to recommended practices of social distancing and mask wearing. In countries where these practices have been practi...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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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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