Posts Tagged ‘ratings’

Shadow Banking Makes a Comeback

Shadow Banking Makes a Comeback

Oil being poured into water, studio shot

Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CounterPunch 

Credit conditions are improving for speculators and bubblemakers, but they continue to worsen for households, consumers and small businesses. An article in the Wall Street Journal confirms that the Fed’s efforts to revive the so-called shadow banking system is showing signs of progress. Financial intermediaries have been taking advantage of low rates and easy terms to fund corporate bonds, stocks and mortgage-backed securities. Thus, the reflating of high-risk financial assets has resumed, thanks to the Fed’s crisis-engendering monetary policy and extraordinary rescue operations.

Here’s an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:

"A new quarterly survey of lending by the Federal Reserve found that hedge funds and private-equity funds are getting better terms from lenders and that big banks have loosened lending standards generally in recent months. The survey, called the Senior Credit Officer Opinion Survey, focuses on wholesale credit markets, which the Fed said functioned better over the past quarter." ("Survey shows credit flows more freely", Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal)

In contrast, bank lending and consumer loans continue to shrink at a rate of nearly 5 per cent per year. According to economist John Makin, there was a "sharp drop in credit growth, to a negative 9.7 per cent annual rate over the three months ending in May." Bottom line; the real economy is being strangled while unregulated shadow banks are re-leveraging their portfolios and skimming profits.  Here’s more from the WSJ:

"Two-thirds of dealers said hedge funds in particular pushed harder for better rates and looser nonprice terms, and they said some of the funds got better deals as a result….(while) The funding market for key consumer loans remained under stress, with a quarter of dealers reporting that liquidity and functioning in the market had deteriorated in recent months."  ("Survey shows credit flows more freely", Sudeep Reddy, Wall Street Journal)

As the policymaking arm of the nation’s biggest banks, the Fed’s job is to enhance the profit-generating activities of its constituents. That’s why Fed chair Ben Bernanke has worked tirelessly to restore the crisis-prone shadow banking system. As inequality grows and the depression deepens for working people, securitization and derivatives offer a viable way to increase earnings and drive up shares for financial institutions. The banks continue to post record profits even while the underlying economy is…
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A Series Of Lucky Coincidences Involving Goldman Sachs And BP plc

A Series Of Lucky Coincidences Involving Goldman Sachs And BP plc

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Earlier, when observing the US AG disclosure of a civil and criminal investigation into BP plc, we noted in passing that BP’s former Chairman, Peter Sutherland, who left the firm is a Chairman of Goldman Sachs International. Mr. Sutherland holds some other interesting titles, including a position on the Trilateral Commission, he was a chairman of the London School of Economics in 2008, he is a UN special representative for migration and development; he was the founding director-general of the World Trade Organisation, he had previously served as director general of GATT since July 1993 and was instrumental in concluding the Uruguay GATT Round Negotiations. Needless to say, we focused on the Goldman relationship. When digging deeper, we uncovered some amusing correlations, most notably between the BP plc sellside ratings by Goldman BP analyst Michelle della Vigna and the Goldman Sachs Asset Management holdings of BP plc. These are summarized on the attached chart.

And in case this is not enough, another way to visualize Goldman’s rating history, together with price targets on BP is presented below, straight from GS itself:

As the first chart above demonstrates, there is an "odd" correlation between Goldman’s sellside sentiment on the stock, and the amount of stock held by Goldman’s asset management arm, especially evident in the days between December 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010, when despite a recent Buy rating attached to the firm, GSAM sold off more than 40% of its stake in the name. On December 31, Goldman held 71 million BP shares, and three months later this number went down 42.5 million. Another oddity is that back in 2008, when GS had the stock at Neutral, GSAM doubled its stake in the firm from 28.8 million shares to 57.3 million days before Ms. della Vigna raised the stock to a Buy, albeit if only for just over a month. Oddly enough, in the half year period when Goldman was telling its clients to Sell the stock, between 3/31/2009 and 10/28/2009, GSAM holdings declined by a whopping -3.9%.

Yet while the fact that GSAM did not follow the recommendations of its very own analyst is not peculiar. We have long pointed out that Goldman does precisely the opposite of what it advises its "clients" to do. What…
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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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S&P: Whoops, We Wildly Overestimated Junk Bond Default Rates

S&P: Whoops, We Wildly Overestimated Junk Bond Default Rates (HYG)

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

This once again goes to show that the ratings agencies like S&P aren’t biased in one way or another — they’re just behind the cycle. Case in point: S&P has just slashed its expected default rate on junk.

Reuters: S&P said it now expects defaults to decline to 6.9 percent a year from now from a September rate of 10.8 percent. On Oct 2, it had said it expected defaults to escalate to 13.9 percent by August 2010.

Of course, this is hardly news to the market, which has been bidding up junk like crazy for months now.

Here’s a pretty chart on the iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG)

chart on the iShares iBoxx High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) - tbi

See Also:

Will The Junk Bond Shortage Help Business Credit Lines Open Up?

 


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EXCLUSIVE: Former Moody’s Insider Says “Moody’s Should Be Liquidated”

EXCLUSIVE: Former Moody’s Insider Says "Moody’s Should Be Liquidated"

Courtesy of Yael Bizouati at Clusterstock

riot police, liquidating moody's, tbiSylvain Raynes, an ex- Moody’s vice president of the ABS group, agrees with the agency’s whistleblower Eric Kolchinsky, who said that Moody’s is still issuing inflated ratings.

In an exclusive interview with The Business Insider, Raynes said that Kolchinsky is right on the money, and this pattern of behavior has been going for years at Moody’s. 

Raynes was fired from the firm for raising concerns about ratings on several deals.

“Moody’s should be liquidated right now. They need to be put out of their misery, and the CEO should resign now,” he says.

Talking about the deal Kolchinsky raised questions about, Raynes qualifies it as “bullshit” one.

"They needed a Baa2 rating to sell it--no one would buy a deal like that right now," he said.

Asked about why Moody’s-–which has come increasingly under fire in recent weeks--is still in business, Raynes says: "It’s like prostitution. It’s a crime but it’s feeding a need."

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S&P To Downgrade Most Of 2005-2008 CMBS Classes, Derails TALF For CMBS

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

S&P To Downgrade Most Of 2005-2008 CMBS Classes, Derails TALF For CMBS

The lives of the CMSA and Chris Hoeffel are about to get a whole lot more complicated. In a report issued today by S&P, titled "U.S. CMBS Rating Methodology And Assumptions For Conduit/Fusion Pools" Standard & Poors is issuing a Request For Comments on ‘its proposed changes to its methodology and assumptions for rating U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities." Aside from the RFC, S&P goes into detail what the changes to its rating methodology will be, and the impact from these on CMBS. The latter will immediately cause many headaches for all who rode the CMBS AAA train from 1,200 bps to 600 bps, and potentially start a selling puke shortly. In S&P’s own words:

Impact On Ratings

It is likely that the proposed changes, which represent a significant change to the criteria for rating high investment-grade classes, will prompt a considerable amount of downgrades in recently issued (2005-2008 vintage) CMBS. Classes up through the most senior tranches of outstanding deals (so-called "A4s," "dupers," or "super-duper seniors") are likely to be affected. Our preliminary findings indicate that approximately 25%, 60%, and 90% of the most senior tranches (by count) within the 2005, 2006, and 2007 vintages, respectively, may be downgraded. We believe these transactions are characterized by increasingly more aggressive underwriting than prior vintages. Furthermore, recent vintage CMBS, particularly those issued since 2006, were originated during a time of peak rents and values, and as such, may be more affected by the proposed rental declines discussed in this RFC. We are currently evaluating the impact of the potential criteria changes on conduit/fusion CMBS transactions from all vintages. Once we evaluate the potential impact on existing ratings, we expect to issue a follow-up publication to this RFC.

And all this just days after the government had finally drafted what it hoped was the last and final version of its TALF term sheet. Lets rewind: in the May 19th version of TALF, in order the be eligible, CMBS "must not have a rating below the highest investment-grade rating category from any TALF CMBS-Eligibile Rating Agency." Throw in a downgrade of 90% of the 2007 vintage and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Basically, the impending


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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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Phil's Favorites

Was that the Top?

 

Was that the Top?

Courtesy of  (originally posted on July 13, 20) 

That was one heck of a reversal today in tech stocks. At one point the Nasdaq-100 was up more than 2%, but it gave up all of those gains and then some, finishing the day down over 2%.

After a 60% move off the March lows, the question on many investor’s minds tonight is, “was that the top?”

This type of reversal is rare and is only seen in volatile markets. It happened at the bottom in March 2020, and before that you’d have to go all the way back to the bottom of March 2009.

It’s happened at the bottom, but it also ha...



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Biotech/COVID-19

How 'good' does a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine need to be to stop the pandemic? A new study has answers

 

How 'good' does a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine need to be to stop the pandemic? A new study has answers

The lower the vaccine’s effectiveness, the more likely social distancing in some form may still be necessary. Gopixa via Getty Images

Courtesy of Bruce Y. Lee, City University of New York

The U.S. is pinning its hopes on a COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine, but will a vaccine alone be enough to stop the pandemic and allow life to return to normal?

The answer depends on a how “good” the vaccine ends u...



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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

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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

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

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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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