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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Phil's Favorites

How many Americans really misuse opioids? Why scientists still aren't sure

 

How many Americans really misuse opioids? Why scientists still aren't sure

Defining opioids. Darwin Brandis/shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Joseph Palamar, New York University Langone Medical Center

With rates of prescription opioid use disorder and opioid-involved overdose deaths on the rise, the U.S. opioid crisis appears to be continuing unabated.

Data on overdose and de...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

King Dollar Created Multi-Year Topping Pattern?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The currency markets often play a role in asset management for investors. And one key asset that pays close attention to the US Dollar is Gold (and precious metals). Could a near-term trend change be in store for the US Dollar… and its counterpart, the Euro? Precious metals bulls would love to see the US Dollar topping and the Euro bottoming.

In the chart below, you can see that the two currencies are showing similar reversal patterns – a traditional head and shoulders top for the US Dollar Index and an inverted head and shoulders bottom for the Euro.

BUT, they need to confirm these pattern by breaking down / up.

It’s worth noting that NOTHING has been proved so far, but the potential of both creating longer-term reversal patterns is there and traders should stay tuned.

US D...



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Zero Hedge

Italy's 5 Star Threatens To Ditch Coalition Over Budget Talks, Italian Bonds Slide

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

While the market turmoil over Italy's budget has quieted down in recent weeks as a result of soothing words by the ruling coalition that it would comply with European demands, that snapped moments ago when DPA reported that the leader of Italy's Five Star Movement has threatened to pull the plug on the country's populist government if it cannot find money to implement election campaign promises.

"If we do not find the resources to do what we have said, then it is better for us to go home, there is no point in...



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ValueWalk

How Soon Will A.I. Replace All The Traders: Q&A With Gaurav Chakravorty, CIO Of Qplum

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

VW: Tell our readers, what is Qplum?

Qplum is an AI-driven investment management firm. We manage money for individuals, families, and institutions. We actively manage investments using machine learning and deep learning technology.

Our three product lines are:

  1. Wealth, servicing the financial needs of individuals and families via separately managed accounts.
  2. Alpha, for institutional clients only, where we offer different products like GTAA (Global Tactical Asset Allocation), managed futures program, etc. and
  3. Solutions, where we work on customized tactical asset allocation solutions for pension funds and family offices to target a dual loss-aversion and return-seeking investment mandate.

[REITs]

...

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Digital Currencies

Mania to Mania

 

Mania to Mania

Courtesy of 

“Russell rarely played the stock market and had little investing experience when he put around $120,000 into bitcoin in November 2017.”

This comes from a CNN money article, Bitcoin crash: This man lost his savings when cryptocurrencies plunged. From January 2017 through the peak in early 2018, Ethereum gained 16,915%.

Any time you have something go vertical, you just know that some peopl...



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Insider Scoop

A Peek Into The Markets: US Stock Futures Flat Ahead Of Housing Starts, Current Account Data

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded mostly flat in early pre-market trade. Data on housing starts for August and the current account report for the second quarter will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1 point to 26,273.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures traded declined 2 points to 2,909.75. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index slipped 1.5 point to 7,523.

Oil prices traded ...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Sep 16, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

Slow and steady drip up all this past week in a very quiet news environment.  A gap down top open the day Tuesday (which was recovered quickly) and a gap up Thursday (which held) were the highlights!

The latest on TRADE WARS!(tm):

Tuesday, news hit that China vowed to retaliate and plans to ask the World Trade Organization next week for permission to impose sanctions on the U.S. for Washington’s noncompliance with a ruling in a dispute over U.S. dumping duties, Reuters reported. That’s part of a dispute that goes back to 2013.

“Trade wars are certainly a concern, but I don’t know that they’re a one...



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Members' Corner

Nike, Colin Kaepernick and the pitfalls of 'woke' corporate branding

 

Adding this article to Members Corner, in case anyone wants to share their opinions on Nike and Kaep, or on divisiveness in general. Also see the article I mentioned in the comments section, "A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come" and What’s behind the current wave of ‘corporate activism’? ~ Ilene

Nike, Colin Kaepernick and the pitfalls of 'woke' corporate branding

Courtesy of Simon Chadwick, University of Salford...



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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

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

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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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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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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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

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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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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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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