Is There One More Market Rally Ahead? (Links - 7/23/2011)

Exclusive: John Paulson says bets were too aggressive - (Reuters
  • He's trimming his net long position to 50% from 81%;
  • Moving away from bank holdings with heavy mortgage exposure;
  • and increased his bet that the euro currency would fall as a hedge against further fallout from Europe's debt crisis"

Felix Zulauf on the inevitability of further crisis in Europe (Credit Writedowns)

"In the short run, Felix says, the plan, as we've seen, allows investors to exhale and markets to rally. But once the touch of euphoria plays itself out, the omens are anything but bright."

FX Concepts’ Taylor Sees One More ‘Risk Rally’ Before Recession Takes Hold - (Bloomberg)

Bob Janjuah: Euphoric In The Short-Term, Apocalyptic In The Longer (Zero Hedge)

Howard Marks on the U.S. Debt Ceiling: Oaktree Capital Commentary - "Down to the Wire" - (MarketFolly)

Resource Limitations 2: Separating the Dangerous from the Merely Serious, July 2011 (By Jeremy Grantham, founder of GMO Capital) - (GMO LLC)

Goldman's Complete Summary Of The European Council Decisions - (Zero Hedge)

I’m Gonna Tell You How It’s Gonna Be… "A chilling head-fake sell-off followed by new highs for equities." (The Reformed Broker)

Read these reports..

"Strategic Investment Conference: Luminaries In Finance Presentation Series: Part 2 - David Rosenberg" April 2011 - (Zero Hedge)

"Strategic Investment Conference: Luminaries In Finance Presentation Series: Part 1 - Gary Shilling" April 2011 - (Zero Hedge)

Video of Michael Burry On Bloomberg's RiskTakers (I Was 100% Confident)

Courtesy of Business Insider (read more there)
Former hedge fund manager Michael Burry, who was profiled in Michael Lewis's book "The Big Short", was featured on Bloomberg's RiskTakers a few days ago. I embedded the video after the jump. The picture with him and the black swans is from his 2007 ("I told you so") investor letter. He returned 472% for his investors in eight years (2000-2008). If interested, read his original thesis on his big subprime mortgage short at ScionCapital.com: "A Primer on Scion Capital’s Subprime Mortgage Short - November 7, 2006".

Burry didn't give any investment calls in this video, but in an interview last year on Bloomberg TV he said was bullish on gold, small asian tech, farmland with water on site and distressed, special situations in real estate. I'm not sure if the same holds true today. Below are a few quotes from the video:

"Ironically, I'm in this book, 'The Big Short,' but I'm not a big short. I don't go out looking for good shorts. I'm spending my time looking for good longs. I shorted mortgages because I had to. Every bit of logic I had led me to this trade and I had to do it. And I had to pull back on equities, because I saw what was coming I thought would affect everything."

"I tried to raise a fund, Milton’s Opus (being Paradise Lost) to just do this because I wanted to do it in big size, but I couldn’t get it going. And the urgency came from my belief that I can’t be the only one thinking this. Somebody will see it and when they do, spreads will blow out wide. I want to get it on when it’s cheap."

"My positioning with my investors had always been from the beginning, I need 3-5 years. I saw the time clock. I knew when it was going to happen. We just needed to make it through to that period. And that was a hard sell when it moved against us initially"

"Even when there was the investor rebellion and even when we had these difficulties in ’06, I was 100% confident when it was going to happen and I would tell people: just wait. We’re on the cusp, 2007, it will happen."

"I was actually 100% confident. I thought it was a sure thing. Because basically those mortgages started going bad by late 2005 and 2006. They started going bad early."


Updates On Oslo Bomb Attack, Utoya Island Gunman (Videos)

Amateur footage showing aftermath of bombing
Courtesy of Channel 4 News, below is amateur video footage showing wreckage from a bomb that hit the Office of the Prime Minister and set fire to the Norwegian Oil Ministry in Oslo, Norway. According to Reuters, the bomb killed 7 people and shortly after a gunman opened fire at a youth camp at Utoeya Island, which is north-west of Oslo. UPDATE: See Reuters and RussiaToday videos below.

"A bomb ripped through Oslo's central government district on Friday and a gunman dressed as a policeman then opened fire at a youth camp on a nearby island, killing at least 17 people altogether." (Reuters at Yahoo News)

Update: "A gunman shot dead at least 80 youths at a summer camp of the ruling Labour Party on Friday, police said" (Reuters)

Norway death toll may rise to 98, police say. A man named Anders Behring Breivik was arrested (Reuters)

European Council's Statement On Greece's 109 Billion Euro Loan (EFSF), EUR/USD Charts and Articles

Source: The Council of the European Union
EUR/USD and stocks rallied yesterday on news that EU member states and the private sector would provide 109 billion euros of low interest financing to Greece to "fully cover the financing gap". The private sector will contribute 37 billion euros. Look how EUR/USD reacted to this news in the chart below. It is currently trading at 1.43841. I embedded the statement and linked to articles after the jump. EFSF = European Financial Stability Facility.

"STATEMENT BY THE HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT OF THE EURO AREA AND EU INSTITUTIONS

EURUSD Trend From 6/2010 (FreeStockCharts)
We reaffirm our commitment to the euro and to do whatever is needed to ensure the financial stability of the euro area as a whole and its Member States. We also reaffirm our determination to reinforce convergence, competitiveness and governance in the euro area. Since the beginning of the sovereign debt crisis, important measures have been taken to stabilize the euro area, reform the rules and develop new stabilization tools. The recovery in the euro area is well on track and the euro is based on sound economic fundamentals. But the challenges at hand have shown the need for more far reaching measures.

Today, we agreed on the following measures:

Greece:

1. We welcome the measures undertaken by the Greek government to stabilize public finances and reform the economy as well as the new package of measures including privatisation recently adopted by the Greek Parliament. These are unprecedented, but necessary, efforts to bring the Greek economy back on a sustainable growth path. We are conscious of the efforts that the adjustment measures entail for the Greek citizens, and are convinced that these sacrifices are indispensable for economic recovery and will contribute to the future stability and welfare of the country.

EURUSD July 21-22, 2011 (FreeStockCharts)
2. We agree to support a new programme for Greece and, together with the IMF and the voluntary contribution of the private sector, to fully cover the financing gap. The total official financing will amount to an estimated 109 billion euro. This programme will be designed, notably through lower interest rates and extended maturities, to decisively improve the debt sustainability and refinancing profile of Greece. We call on the IMF to continue to contribute to the financing of the new Greek programme. We intend to use the EFSF as the financing vehicle for the next disbursement. We will monitor very closely the strict implementation of the programme based on the regular assessment by the Commission in liaison with the ECB and the IMF.

3. We have decided to lengthen the maturity of future EFSF loans to Greece to the maximum extent possible from the current 7.5 years to a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years with a grace period of 10 years. In this context, we will ensure adequate post programme monitoring. We will provide EFSF loans at lending rates equivalent to those of the Balance of Payments facility (currently approx. 3.5%), close to, without going below, the EFSF funding cost. We also decided to extend substantially the maturities of the existing Greek facility. This will be accompanied by a mechanism which ensures appropriate incentives to implement the programme."

"5. The financial sector has indicated its willingness to support Greece on a voluntary basis through a menu of options further strengthening overall sustainability. The net contribution of the private sector is estimated at 37 billion euro."

Source: http://consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/123978.pdf

Daily Technical Report By MIG Bank (July 21), Look at Gold Charts

Today's technical analysis report has been supplied by MIG BANK, the first forex broker in Switzerland to become a Swiss bank. Click here to read the full report on their website.

The report includes technical analysis on EUR/USD, US Dollar Index, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, GBP/JPY, EUR/JPY, EUR/GBP, EUR/CHF, Gold and Silver. Their gold charts were interesting today. I couldn't embed their report today, but you can view the PDF here.

Gold Charts 7/21/2011 (via MIG Bank)
"Gold

Sharp correction expected beneath trigger level at 1588/82.
  • Gold price activity remains fragile after its recent sharp correction. The move followed an unprecedented rise of 10 consecutive higher closes, which also triggered multiple exhaustion signals (notably DeMark™ Combo/Sequential). SEE our trade alert for more details.
  • With such explosive moves (upside or downside), it is critical the market confirms a reversal beneath a filtered price/time trigger point. Watch for a sustained DAILY close beneath our trigger level at 1588/82.
  • In terms of the big picture, this move is also taking place within the apex of a 12-year exhaustion pattern (illustrated on the weekly log chart), which has also developed a unique long-term DeMark™ exhaustion signal.
  • Downside risk favours an initial move into key support at 1577.57 (02nd May peak) and 1558.25 (22nd June high). Meanwhile, a sustained close above 1620 will lead to a reassessment of this view.
  • Gold’s COT liquidity indicator (net long positions) is also squeezed within a tight range (as Gold continued to make push to record highs on lower volume). At this stage, the risk remains for a downside breakout which would unlock over 1.5 years of sizeable gold long positions."

PEMEX and the long road to privatization - Guest Post

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Guest post by Andrew Smolski of OilPrice.com

PEMEX and the long road to privatization

Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) is the state-owned oil company (and natural gas) of México, which since the 90's has been discussed for privatization like many other state-owned companies in México. The policy of privatization is sometimes called liberalizing the company, however many aspects of privatization need to be taken into consideration when discussing such a lucrative portion of the federal budget for México. PEMEX has 41 divisions, and is a source of Mexican sovereignty, and any talk of privatization will not happen without a strong fight, not only from the left, but also Mexican nationalists who see it as a source of pride. This article will attempt to give a brief summary of these considerations and bring forth an argument on what will happen in the future of PEMEX and its worth for investors.

According to the Mexican constitution (Article 27) all subsurface minerals are the property of the Mexican government, and not the people who own the land where these minerals are found. This has led to 1/3rd of the federal budget being derived from the fossil fuels found and produced in México, and accounting for 10% of all export earnings for the country. However, over the past 5 years the amount of barrels per day being produced has been declining, mostly due to the difficulty that surrounds new oil exploration, the need for more advanced technology and risk taking investment. With the need for investment and most of the profit utilized as expenditures in the federal budget, PEMEX lacks the resources necessary to continue to produce optimally and also to reach its goal of 600,000 barrels of crude per day by 2021.

Gary Shilling Sees 20% Drop In House Prices and New Recession In 2012

Source: The Daily Ticker (Yahoo)
Gary Shilling, President of A. Gary Shilling & Co., who predicted the first housing and economic recession in 2006 (watch Shilling on Kudlow & Company on 11/27/2006 below), thinks home prices will drop by another 20% and cause a new recession in 2012. He discussed housing with Jeff Macke on The Daily Ticker on July 13, 2011.

Shilling believes excess inventories will cut house prices even further:

"The problem is that there are just too many excess inventories. We estimate that there are 2 to 2.5 million excess housing unit inventories over and above the normal working levels, and that's a lot. We normally build about a million and a half houses a year. Getting rid of those excess inventories, if you look at what's happening in terms of household formation and new housing being built, it will probably take 4 or 5 years, and that's plenty of time for this excess inventory to depress prices. Excess inventories are the mortal enemy of prices. We're looking for another 20% decline in house prices."

When asked if housing was already priced in, Shilling said:

"If we have the 20% decline, which would bring us back to the long term trend inflation adjusted on house prices. If we have that, and I think that's likely, and markets often overshoot on the downside by the way so it may be a conservative estimate, the percentage of mortgages underwater by our calculations would jump from 23% now to 40%, and at that point........"

David Levy Sees Treasury Bonds Appreciating Over The Next Year Or Two (Jerome Levy Forecasting Center)

Source: Bloomberg
On July 14, David Levy of the Jerome Levy Forecasting Center, was interviewed on Bloomberg Television and said if Europe can't contain their crisis, the U.S. could be affected. He is also bullish on Treasurys. Watch the full interview after the jump.

"If there is either a financial crisis or recession in Europe, one would trigger the other (the U.S.). And given that the U.S. is not in the greatest shape to start with, possibly with deficit reduction of our own that might be excessive, we could easily be knocked into recession by that. So between our own political questions, and political questions in Europe, and severe private sector balance sheet problems in both continents, it is not a pretty nice picture.

"Number 1, protect capital. Treasurys are I think a spectacular way right now to do that. And unlike a lot of people, I think Treasury yields are going to go down. The yield may not be attractive, but the capital gains bonds will bring over the next year or two, if you can ride out a little bit of daily noise, I think is very attractive."

The Return of Gazprom - Guest Post

Guest post by John Daly for OilPrice.com

The Return of Gazprom

The December 1991 collapse of the USSR was an unmitigated disaster for all 15 nations emerging from the desiccated carapace of the Soviet Union.

Now, like a plate of mercury smashed with a hammer, rivulets of the former USSR member state's energy assets two decades later are trickling back under the control and influence of Eurasia largest energy concern, Gazprom.

All the new post-Soviet states faced the triple problems of raging hyperinflation, evolving ad hoc nationalistic policies and, perhaps most importantly, coping with the detritus of Union-wide systems that suddenly deposited fragments of their former selves on the territories of the new nations.

Of these debris fields, the three most important were the former USSR's communications, transport and energy grids. Working out new relationships between the nations emerging from the USSR's demise was a long, convoluted process, given that all three systems as a whole had been designed to serve the Soviet Union as a whole, rather than its constituent republics.

Ray Dalio Sees 10 Year+ Deleveraging Period With Money Printing; Soros, Gartman..

Hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, was interviewed by The New Yorker and at the end of the article Dalio gave some pessimistic views on currencies and economic growth going forward. He thinks "late 2012 or early 2013 is going to be another very difficult period". But what does Dalio think about the reflation trade going forward (equities and commodities)? This is important...

Now that the slowdown appears to have arrived, Dalio thinks it will be prolonged. “We are still in a deleveraging period,” he said. “We will be in a deleveraging period for ten years or more.” 

“There hasn’t been a case in history where they haven’t eventually printed money and devalued their currency,” he said. Other developed countries, particularly those tied to the euro and thus to the European Central Bank, don’t have the option of printing money and are destined to undergo “classic depressions,” Dalio said.

Read the full story at The New Yorker

Iran Opens Oil Bourse - Harbinger of Trouble for New York and London? - Guest Post

Iranian Rial (Wikimedia Commons)
Guest post by John C.K. Daly for OilPrice.com

Iran Opens Oil Bourse - Harbinger of Trouble for New York and London?

The last three years of global recession have dealt a major blow to American capitalist ideas trumpeted throughout the world on the value of "free markets." Wall St has been revealed as a form of casino economy, with the bankster insiders gambling with other people's, and eventually, the government's money in the form of bailouts. As the Republicans in Congress, scenting victory in the 2012 presidential elections, hold a gun to the Obama administration's head and rating agencies consider downgrading U.S. government bonds in light of Washington's possible defaulting, many ideas around the world that previously seemed implausible because of the dominance of the U.S. economy are garnering renewed interest.

Not surprisingly, many of these concepts originate in countries not enamored with Washington's influence, perhaps none so more than "Axis of Evil" charter member Iran, which has seen its economy hammered by more than three decades of U.S.-led sanctions. Now Iran is working a program, that, if it succeeds, could help undermine the dollar's preeminence as the world's reserve currency more effectively than a Republican filibuster.

Iran's sly weapon against the Great Satan's currency? An oil bourse on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, which has now begun selling high-grade Iranian crude oil.

Moody's Places 5 Aaa States on Review For Possible Downgrade Due To U.S. Sovereign Risk Vulnerability


Source: Moody's Investors Service - July 19, 2011

"MOODY'S PLACES RATINGS OF FIVE OF 15 Aaa STATES ON REVIEW FOR POSSIBLE DOWNGRADE DUE TO U.S. SOVEREIGN RISK VULNERABILITY

PPROXIMATELY $24 BILLION OF RATED DEBT AFFECTED; HIGH FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT AND MEDICAID EXPOSURE CITED

New York, July 19, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has placed on review for possible downgrade the Aaa ratings of the states of Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In connection with Moody's July 13 action placing the Aaa government bond rating of the United States on review for downgrade, Moody's announced that it would assess the ratings of Aaa-rated states to gauge their sensitivity to sovereign risk. The review actions affect a combined $24 billion of general obligations and related debt.

Should the U.S. government's rating be downgraded to Aa1 or lower, these five states' ratings would likely be downgraded as well. Moody's will review the ratings of the five states on a case-by-case basis and announce any rating actions within seven to ten days following a sovereign action.

Daily Technical Analysis Report By MIG Bank (July 19, 2011) - Guest Report

Today's technical analysis report has been supplied by MIG Bank, the first forex broker in Switzerland to become a Swiss bank. Click here to read the full report on their website. The report embedded below includes EUR/USD, US Dollar Index, GBP/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, GBP/JPY, EUR/JPY, EUR/GBP, EUR/CHF, Gold and Silver.

EUR/USD, US Dollar Index
DAILY TECHNICAL REPORT By MIG BANK
19 July, 2011


EUR/USD
  • Bullish engulfing targets key zone between 1.4282-1.4325.
  • EUR/USD triggered a bullish engulfing today that targets key resistance zone between 1.4282-1.4325 (14th July high/61.8/66% level). We remain negative, expecting current upside probes to fail into the latter zone.
  • Our short position continues to favour a resumption of the downside pattern breakout, offering an accelerated impulsive (wave 3) into1.3700/1.3659 (2 yr uptrend/61.8% Fib-Jan 2011 rise), thereafter squeezing further conservative trend-followers into our initial objective at 1.3370.
  • A sustained close above 1.4325 would trigger a move into 1.4405/20. Only above here offers meaningful upside recovery into 1.4578 (05th July peak).
  • Inversely, the US dollar index still needs to hold above 76.36 (23rd May high), to confirm a multi-month base pattern for an extension into 77.01and 78.03 (50%/61.8% Fib-Jan 2011 Decline), then 79.00 (objective).

BNY Mellon's Simon Derrick Sees Euro/Dollar In Low 1.30s By Year End

BNY Mellon's Simon Derrick on BloombergTV
Bank of New York Mellon's Chief Currency Strategist, Simon Derrick, told Bloomberg's Oliver Joy on July 11 that EUR/USD could see the low 1.30s by year end. It is currently trading at 1.41. Here are a few points he made during the interview. Watch the 11:57 minute Bloomberg TV video after the jump.
  • In 2-3 months time, there is a "very real prospect" that there won't be a Greek bailout in place, and Greece won't get the next tranche of cash from the IMF and EU.
  • "If there is technical default on Greece, there is a very good chance the ratings agencies will move Ireland and Portugal into junk territory (Moody's has Ireland at Ba1 -junk and Portugal at Ba2 -junk), which means investors can't hold that debt and that also causes issues further down the line."
  • Uncertainty drives investors out of Euros and risk assets, "and back into the funding currencies, the US Dollar and the Yen, and also into the ultimate safe haven currency which is the Swiss Franc."
    EUR/USD (FreeStockCharts.com)
    He's betting on a trend breakdown
  • "If there were a quick resolution for Greece, I feel fairly certain that there'd be a reasonable rally for the Euro."
  • Important secondary issue related to China and the end of QE2: "Over the course of the last 12 months, one of the main forces driving the Euro higher, despite the Euro crisis, has been the recycling of reserves by countries like China. The stronger the reserves flow into those countries, the stronger the diversification at the margins, the higher the Euro's got. At the moment there is a concern that maybe China is going to have a slowdown during the second half of this year. And particularly coming at the same time that QE2's dissipating in the United States, there is a belief that less money will be flowing into those markets." (which means less recycling into Euros, or support for the Euro)
  • Outlook for EUR/USD at year end: "We've been actually bearish for quite a while now. Our belief really from about February of this year was that this summer would see a turning point for the Euro, and that we would see a more risk averse, more soft patch for growth taking place in the second half of the year. So we've pretty well been bearish; the only question is do we need to revise down our targets even further from where they currently are. My belief we'll probably end up with targets in the low 1.30s for Euro/Dollar by year end." 

Germany's 5Y Credit Default Swap Makes New 2-Year High (64 bps)

German 5Y CDS (CDBR1U5:IND at Bloomberg.com) made a new 2 year high yesterday at 65.61 basis points. I'm not sure what to make of it, but look at the snapshot of the chart going back to 2008. During the financial crisis German 5Y CDS hit a high of 91 bps.

Source: Bloomberg

Gundlach Has 10% In Cash, Hussman Sees Topping Process, Taylor Sees EURCHF At Parity, Rosenberg...

Wall Street (Source: Jpellgen on Flickr)
Links for 7/18/2011

Gundlach Leads Bond Funds Boosting Cash (Bloomberg)

"“We are looking for a more severe down move in prices, for a better level to buy,” said Jeffrey Gundlach"

“Gundlach, the chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital Inc., said in a telephone interview that he has 10 percent of the fund’s assets in cash, about five times what it usually holds. He views a move in the 10-year Treasury yield above 3.5 percent as a buying opportunity."

David Rosenberg (Gluskin Sheff) Explains "Why We Should Be Worried" (Zero Hedge)

Rosenberg on CNBC: We Are One Small Shock Away From a New Recession (Pragmatic Capitalism)

Swiss Franc Is Most Expensive Currency as Taylor Sees Euro Parity (BusinessWeek)

“The Swiss franc looks like it will go to par with the euro,” said John Taylor, founder of FX Concepts LLC in New York, the world’s largest currency hedge fund." (hat tip ZH)

Watching GLD/SPY Ratio, Down 16% From March 2009 S&P Low - 7/18/2011

GLD/SPY (see below)
I'm watching the GLD/SPY ratio at the moment, or Gold/S&P 500 in ETF form. With the ratio at 1.18 (as of 7/15/2011), GLD/SPY is close to testing 2010 resistance at 1.20. As you already know, Gold and the S&P 500 have rallied hard over the past two and a half years on the reflation trade and "breadth thrust" after the financial bailouts. But it is interesting to note that GLD/SPY is down 16.42% from the March 2009 bottom on the S&P (see chart #2).

The first chart (as seen above) shows more than two years of sideways action after the ratio put in a blow off top at 1.41 in early 2009. I'm wondering if GLD outperforms SPY going forward, even if they both go down in tandem. It depends if the ratio can take out 2010 resistance in the sideways channel and stay on the uptrend line from 2007. If GLD underperforms SPY in the near term and breaks down, there is still a major uptrend line to test when using the 2000 and 2007 lows. If GLD/SPY gets above 1.20, it could be ready to test the 1.41 high (imo).

When looking at the last two recessions, GLD outperformed SPY during the 2000-2003 and 2007-2009 periods. Not only are the Euro and US Dollar looking ugly at the moment due to fiscal crises, some economists and analysts are predicting a new recession in 2012. Treasury yields and Eurozone solvency are probably the wild cards for gold and currencies in my opinion. What do you think. GLD by itself is in a strong ascending channel using the uptrend from 2008. GLD looks strong at the moment, but it also looked strong in the second half of 2007 before it peaked at 100 and lost 30% in 2008. When that happened, the GLD/SPY ratio chopped around between 0.64 and 0.85. See charts below of GLD/SPY, GLD:SPY performance and GLD.