Posts Tagged ‘ratings agencies’

The Silver Curtain

The Silver Curtain

Courtesy of Marla Singer, Zero Hedge 

On the 5th of March in 1946, in Fulton Missouri, at Westminster College, Winston Churchill delivered an address (since christened the "Sinews of Peace") lamenting the burgeoning power and influence being slowly but surely gathered up by the Soviet Union.  Perhaps the address will be familiar to some of you owing to its most famous passage:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone — Greece with its immortal glories — is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation.

Ironic, as I will address, that he should mention Greece.

Much less well known perhaps is this later passage:

Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will become.1

The "Iron Curtain" came, of course, to signify the cavernous ideological, and eventually concretely physical, divide between East and West.  It took some 43 years before it was lifted once more, first and haltingly, in the form of the removal of Hungary’s border fence in mid-1989 and then, of course, finally via the fall of the Berlin Wall in November that same year.

Not to be compared with a production of Italian Opera, the Iron Curtain did not describe a sudden, smooth, abrupt descent over the stages of Eastern Europe.  Quite the contrary, its drop was in stutters of discrete, fractional lowerings, such that it was a full fifteen years after Churchill used the term before its ultimate expression, the Berlin Wall, was finally…
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Is That A Cop Investigating Big Banks?

Is That A Cop Investigating Big Banks?

Thinkstock Single Image Set

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

If so, it’s about damn time…

May 13 (Bloomberg) — U.S. prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission are cooperating in a preliminary criminal probe into whether banks misled investors about their participation in mortgage-bond deals, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The list is a who’s who of the big banks.  JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Citigroup, Goldman, Morgan Stanley. 

All in all eight banks are being scrutinized by both the toothless SEC but more-importantly Andrew Cuomo, who wields a fairly nasty set of powers through NY’s Martin Act.

Cuomo is investigating whether Goldman, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole SA, Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch misled rating companies to obtain higher ratings, the New York Times said. Cuomo issued subpoenas on Wednesday, the newspaper reported.

Hmmmm… now that’s a good sign. 

We know from the public data flow, including testimony before the Congress, that firms did use their knowledge of rating agency models to "tailor" submissions. Whether this rises to the level of intentional deception for the purpose of gaming the system remains to be determined, but that this sort of thing happened isn’t conjecture – it’s admitted fact.

"Changes to prevent it from happening again" are insufficient.  Those who were defrauded, if they indeed were, are entitled not only to recompense but to criminal sanction against wrong-doers as a means of dissuading firms and individuals from doing it again.

I’ll believe this is real when I see handcuffs come out. 


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The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain (folks)

The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain (folks)

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker  

How backwards does a modern nation have to be for a 20% unemployment number to be even remotely tolerable?

I’m always fascinated with democracies that choose to embrace a form of quasi-communism after watching every single one of these experiments toppled – from Russia to Latin America to Asia.

When will they learn?  22% unemployment?  25%?  30%?  Must the people be boiling and eating shoe leather before the marxist regime is finally dismantled?

In Spain’s case, apparently.

The timing of the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombing couldn’t have been worse…3 days later, a nationwide legislative election was held in which the Socialist Party, under current Prime Minister Zapatero, pulled off a major upset.  The socialists carried the vote as cowardly citizens ran from the previous ruling party which had been tough on terror, essentially performing the script that the Islamo-Fascists had written for them.

Immediately following the election, Zapatero let the populace of Spain know that there would be no coalition government, that the Socialist Party would be using its perceived mandate to take the country hard-left.

The trouble with this large-scale adoption of big government was that it began just prior to a meltdown.  Within just a few years, the global real estate bubble began its descent into hell.  The Spanish had gorged on mortgages and buildings with the best of us, levering up to a median…
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Market Manipulation, Systemic Risk and Fraud, Pure and Simple, And It Continues Today

Market Manipulation, Systemic Risk and Fraud, Pure and Simple, And It Continues Today

Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

This article by the Financial Times should remove any doubt in anyone’s mind that Goldman Sachs was willfully selling fraudulent financial instruments. It appears that they were working in conjunction with Ratings Agencies, Mortgage Origination Firms, and Hedge Funds to cheat investors.

"Cheat" means to circumvent or distort the normal price discovery process through misrepresentation, price manipulation, and omissions and distortion of key data.

Carl Levin summarized the situation in his opening statement this morning in tying together various Congressional hearings and investigations into aspects of the recent financial crisis and the underlying frauds. It sounds remarkably like the frauds that Enron had so recently inflicted on the American public.

In particular, Congressman Levin gave a good description of the key role that derivatives played in this control fraud.

"Of special concern was Goldman’s marketing of what are known as “synthetic” financial instruments. Ordinarily, the financial risk in a market, and hence the risk to the economy at large, is limited because the assets traded are finite. There are only so many houses, mortgages, shares of stock, bushels of corn or barrels of oil in which to invest.

But a synthetic instrument has no real assets. It is simply a bet on the performance of the assets it references. That means the number of synthetic instruments is limitless, and so is the risk they present to the economy. Synthetic structures referencing high-risk mortgages garnered hefty fees for Goldman Sachs and other investment banks. They assumed an ever-larger share of the financial markets, and contributed greatly to the severity of the crisis by magnifying the amount of risk in the system.

Increasingly, synthetics became bets made by people who had no interest in the referenced assets. Synthetics became the chips in a giant casino, one that created no economic growth even when it thrived, and then helped throttle the economy when the casino collapsed."

This is also a good description of the basis of the emerging scandal in the silver market, and other commodity markets such as those that Enron manipulated, in which synthetic bets are being used to manipulate price, and improbable sales are being misrepresented under the cover of secrecy and opaque markets as…
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Most Wall Street Banks Using Lehman Style Accounting Trickery Enabled by the Fed to Hide Their Risk

Most Wall Street Banks Using Lehman Style Accounting Trickery Enabled by the Fed to Hide Their Risk

Courtesy of  JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN

This analysis from the Wall Street Journal indicates that most of the big US Banks are engaging in the same kind of repo accounting at the end of the quarter that Lehman Brothers was doing to hide their financial instability until deteriorating credit conditions and liquidity problems made them precipitously collapse, as all ponzi schemes and financial frauds do when the truth becomes known.

The basic exercise is to hold big leverage and dodgy debt, but swap it off your books with the Fed at the end of each quarter for a short period of time when you have to report your holdings.

This could easily be corrected by requiring banks to report four week averages of their holdings for example, rather than a snapshot when they can hide their true risk profiles so easily, compliments of that protector of consumers and investors, the Fed.

This is nothing new to us. Many of us have noted this sort of accounting trickery and market manipulation at key events especially at end of quarter.

It is facilitated by the Federal Reserve, and FASB, and the agencies.

"Their Fraud doth rarely falter, and is subsidized, instead, 
for none dare call it bank fraud, if it’s sanctioned by the Fed."
(apologies to Ovid)

The US is Lehman Brothers on a scale writ large. And when it is exposed by some series of events, the implosion could be more sudden than any can imagine. But in the meantime the US is still the ‘superpower’ of the world’s financial system, through its currency, its banks, and its ratings agencies.

WSJ
Big Banks Mask Risk Levels
By KATE KELLY, TOM MCGINTY and DAN FITZPATRICK
April 9, 2010

Quarter-End Loan Figures Sit 42% Below Peak, Then Rise as New Period Progresses; SEC Review

Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

A group of 18 banks—which includes Goldman Sachs


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Zero Hedge

This Is What Happens Behind Closed Doors When U.S. Presidents Meet With Fed Chairs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Last week, Donald Trump ventured into what until recently was uncharted, for US presidents, territory.

First, during a CNBC interview, the president went so far as to say that the strong dollar "puts us at a disadvantage" then went on to do what so many consider anathema, and said he is "not thrilled" about the Fed rising rates "because we go up and every time you go up they want to raise rates again."

One day later, Trump doubled down, ...



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Phil's Favorites

There Are 3 Main Theories That Explain Trump's Approach to Putin and Russia-Which One Makes the Most Sense?

Theory Time

Thom Hartmann suggests that the Manchurian Candidate theory is the least likely explanation for Trump's pro-Russia behavior in ...



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Insider Scoop

BofA Points To Yum China's Earnings Downside Risk In Downgrade

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related 31 Stocks Moving In Friday's Mid-Day Session Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For July 20, 2018 ...

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Chart School

Small Caps Enjoy Best of Action

Courtesy of Declan.

There wasn't a whole lot going on today except Small Caps were able to attract some buyers despite finishing below resistance; bulls have been taking advantage of the 20-day MA test. Today's action coincided with 'buy' signals in the MACD and +DI/-DI.


The S&P held its breakout and today's losses - despite higher volume selling - didn't do a whole lot of damage.

...

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Digital Currencies

Citadel CEO Says Bitcoin Still A "Head Scratcher" But Billionaire Lasry Sees $40,000 Soon

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Ken Griffin, the CEO and founder of the Citadel hedge fund, has reiterated his negative stance on Bitcoin (BTC) in an interview with CNBC this morning.

Speaking at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York, ...



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Biotech

How summer and diet damage your DNA, and what you can do

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

How summer and diet damage your DNA, and what you can do

Bright sun and fatty foods are a bad recipe for your DNA. By Tish1/shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Adam Barsouk, University of Pittsburgh

Today, your body will accumulate quadrillions of new injuries in your DNA. The constant onslaught of many forms of damage, some of which permanently...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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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

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

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Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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