BAC, MS Double Dipping to Financial Crisis Levels (Charts)

Morgan Stanley's stock (MS) closed down 7.7% at $12.47 and Bank of America (BAC) closed down 9.8% at $5.52. They are now back around the 2008/9 financial crisis levels. According to Zero Hedge, Morgan Stanley's CDS (credit default swap) spiked to 548 basis points today, a level not seen since October, 2008. You can see the delayed quote of Morgan Stanley's 5Y CDS (CMWD1U5:IND) at Bloomberg.com. These banks just won't go away will they. Bank of America is now charging $5 every month to use their debit cards. Why wouldn't someone just use the online bank ING Direct for free, which I believe is owned by Capital One now. Are online banks and Google wallets about to take over the financial system? Watch the PBS Newshour video on the new fee below.


MS and BAC Intraday - Source: FreeStockCharts.com

MS and BAC Since 2008 - Source: FreeStockCharts.com

Interesting articles from today:

Market Snapshot: Financials Flop, Credit Collapses, Market Closes At 2011 Lows (Zero Hedge)

Barclays, BofA Said to Consider Selling Stakes in Archstone (BusinessWeek)

Morgan Stanley Swaps Risk May Be Misread, Wells Fargo Says (SFGate)

MS CDS Soars As Cramer Says "Morgan Stanley Is Fine" (Zero Hedge)

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Credit Risk Soars (Bloomberg)

Banks Crushed Again in Stock, Credit Markets (WSJ)

Bank Of America Debit Card Fee Leads To Legislative Response (HuffingtonPost)

Russia Claims New Arctic Hydrocarbon Finds Effectively Double Nations Reserves - Guest Post

The rig at night
Guest post by OilPrice.com

Russia Claims New Arctic Hydrocarbon Finds Effectively Double Nations Reserves

Russia, currently vying for the title of world's top oil producer with Saudi Arabia, claimed that new findings in its offshore Arctic territories have effectively doubled the nation's energy reserves.

According to numerous Russian media reports, addressing a meeting of the sixth media forum of the United Russia Party on 25 September, Russian Natural Resources Minister Iury Trutnev said that the preliminary forecast is that resources in the Russian Arctic shelf are comparable to those in mainland Russia, adding, "Speaking of long-term planning, these reserves could last 100, may be 150 years, but longer is unlikely. Humanity will eventually have to look for new energy anyway. Recently, we completed 40-year talks with Norway, delineated the gray zone, and now obtained another 5 billion tons of fuel equivalent there."

Overnight AA Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Rate Chart Back at 2009 Levels

Click for larger view,  source: Federal Reserve
The Overnight AA asset-backed commercial paper rate moved from 0.13% on 7/8/2011 to 0.46% on 9/29/2011. Decent move, and it top ticked the market as well. I'm not sure what the exact catalyst was after July 8, but when looking back on my blog, the U.S was placed on credit watch negative, nations and banks in Europe were being downgraded, Italian and Spanish bond spreads to German bunds were breaking out, and the global economy was slowing. So, I'm assuming investors demanded an extra 33 basis points on overnight AA asset-backed commercial paper to compensate for the heightened risk. You can see that the rate is back at 2009 levels.

Here is how the commercial paper interest rate indexes are calculated.

Links: Albert Edwards, Soros, Gundlach, Morgan Stanley, Jim Chanos, ECRI

Albert Edwards on why the S&P will hit 400 (FT Alphaville)

Nomura's Bob Janjuah: "In One Year I Expect Global Equities To Be 25%/30% Lower; The S&P Will Reach Low 1000s In October" (Zero Hedge) -added 10/3/2011

George Soros: The Road from Depression (Project Syndicate)

S&P Cuts Its Outlook On The S&P 500 to 1,260 (Business Insider via Standard & Poor's)

Notes from the DoubleLine Lunch with Jeffrey Gundlach (The Reformed Broker)

Morgan Stanley's Stock Down, CDS Up on Exposure to European banks (BloombergWSJ, Zero Hedge)

Asian Stocks Could Slump Up to 40% in Worst Case Scenario: UBS Strategist (CNBC)

ECRI: U.S. Economy Tipping into Recession (Economic Cycle Research Institute)

Tim Backshall on Morgan Stanley CDS, China, And High Yield (CNBC Video at CapitalContext)

Goldman's Jim O'Neill: "Let's Worry About Everything" (Zero Hedge)

Chanos calls China syndrome (Globe and Mail)

NEIN, NEIN, NEIN, and the death of EU Fiscal Union (The Telegraph)

No Rise in Home Prices Until 2020: Bankers (CNBC)

Watch Occupy Wall Street Protests Live, 700 Protesters Arrested on Brooklyn Bridge

Wall StreetWatch the Wall Street protests live via Livestream below. If protesters really want to occupy Wall Street, they should peacefully occupy OTC trading desks like Kweku Adoboli did at UBS. That would get people's attention real fast (lol). Will there be protests during the week? I just read on msnbc.com (w/ video) that 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. Watch the live #OccupyWallStreet video and live twitter conversations after the jump.

"New York City police say about 700 protesters have been arrested after they swarmed the Brooklyn Bridge and blocked traffic lanes for several hours.
On the second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, a large group of marchers broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes."


Will The S&P Cyclically Adjusted P/E Ratio Overshoot To The Downside? (Robert Shiller, Chart)

Shiller Cyclically Adjusted P/E Ratio (interactive chart below)
Dr. Robert Shiller, Yale economics professor and co-founder of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, was interviewed by Aaron Task and Henry Blodget on Daily Ticker on 9/27/2011. He is still "worried" that stock valuations could overshoot to the downside. I embedded the video after the jump.

What do you think? When looking at Shiller's CAPE (cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio), is it time for the stock market to trade under its long-term average P/E multiple and overshoot like it did in the 1920s, 1930s and 1980s? Or will it happen in another decade? Shiller has data available to the public online going back to 1881. You can chart out the S&P 500, dividend, earnings, consumer price index, long-term interest rate and more in excel format. Below is an interactive chart of the cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio going back to 1881 in log scale. For more on this topic, see Shiller's recent interview on Fox Business and read John Hussman's recent note on the possibility of secular undervaluation (and where the market could trade).

China's Rare Earths Monopoly - Peril or Opportunity? - Guest Post

Global Production of Rare Earth Oxides, 1950-2000 (Wikimedia Commons
Guest post by OilPrice.com 

China's Rare Earths Monopoly - Peril or Opportunity?

The prosperity of China's "authoritarian capitalism" is increasingly rewriting the ground-rules worldwide on the capitalist principles that have dominated the West's economy for nearly two centuries.

Nowhere is this shadow war more between the two systems more pronounced than in the global arena of production of rare earths elements (RREs), where China currently holds a de facto monopoly, raising concerns from Washington through London to Tokyo about what China might do with its hand across the throat of high-end western technology.

In the capitalist West, as so convincingly dissected by Karl Marx, such a commanding position is a supreme and unique opportunity to squeeze the markets to maximize profits.

Except China apparently has a different agenda, poking yet another hole in Marx's ironclad dictums about capitalism and monopolies, further refined by Lenin's screeds after his Bolsheviks inadvertently acceded to power in 1917 in the debacle of Russia's disastrous involvement in World War One. Far from squeezing its degenerate capitalist customers for maximum profit (and it's relevant here to call Lenin's dictum that if you want to hang a capitalist, he'll sell you the rope to do it), Beijing has apparently adopted a "soft landing" approach on rare earths production, gradually constricting supplies whilst inveigling Western (and particularly Japanese) high tech companies to relocate production lines to China to ensure continued access to the essential commodities.

Yale's Robert Shiller Is Worried Stocks Could Be In A Bubble (Video)

Robert Shiller, Yale economist and co-founder of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index and MacroMarkets, told Fox Business on 9/21/2011 that he thinks real home prices (inflation adjusted) could overshoot to the downside. But more importantly, since stock portfolios are 15.3% of household net worth as of Q2 2011 (which doesn't include mutual fund shares, see Fed data or the snapshot below), Shiller is worried that the stock market could be in a bubble.

If you've been following Shiller's historical stock market data, you can see that the S&P cyclically adjusted price/earnings ratio (average inflation-adjusted earnings over the past 10 years) is currently around the upper end of the 130 year range (since 1881). Multpl.com has charts available from Shiller's data sets. So, will stock valuations overshoot to the downside like housing? He was also asked about gold. Watch the video after the jump.

China, Japan Minuet Around the Issue of Rare Earths - Guest Post

Rare Earth Oxides (Wikipedia)
Guest post by OilPrice.com 

China, Japan Minuet Around the Issue of Rare Earths

It's official - China's de facto monopoly on current rare earths production is a threat to the global economy.

As least, that was the gist of hearings on 21 September by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

Center for a New American Security fellow Christine Parthemore ominously intoned, "Reliable access to critical minerals is a matter of both economic and geostrategic importance to the United States. Today, no minerals are more troubling to U.S. security and foreign policy than rare earth elements. Supplies are concentrated mostly in the hands of one supplier with its own rising demand, and the United States today has no good options for recycling rare earth minerals or substituting more easily obtained minerals. Even more important to the current circumstances, the United States possess rare earth reserves that will be economical to produce, which will be an important means of mitigating the foreign policy challenge surrounding rare earths while creating domestic jobs."

Not that the West should have been blindsided, as in 1992 China's former Premier, Deng Xiaoping commented, "The Middle East has oil. China has rare earths."

In 2010 the Chinese government cut its rare earth export ceiling by 40 percent from their 2009 levels, causing prices to skyrocket, earlier this year reaching the dizzying level of over $100,000 a ton.

UBS, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock on the S&P 500 (Links, 9/26/2011)

Are Equities Cheap Right Now? No, UBS Says (Forbes)

Morgan Stanley: The Terrifying 2012 Bear Case Scenario -EPS analysis (Business Insider)

UBS' Euro Doom And Gloom Team Releases Sequel: "The Eurozone Sovereign Crisis Has Entered A More Dangerous Phase" (Zero Hedge)

BlackRock's Bob Doll Turns Increasingly Pessimistic (Pragmatic Capitalism)

Germany at war over eurozone bail-out - Germany and France could lose AAA credit rating if EFSF leveraged (The Telegraph)

ECB's Liikanen sees downside risks to economy (Reuters)

China’s Developers Facing ‘Increasingly Severe’ Credit Outlook, S&P Says (Reuters)

Not Over by a Longshot (JohnHussman)

Paul Tudor Jones on the Economy (MemphisDailyNews via Business Insider)

Video: Jim Rogers on Gold, Silver, Base Metals and Agricultural Commodities (Business Insider

Sales of new homes fall in August (LA Times)

Trader Predicts Euro, Stock Markets Will Crash; Savings Will Vanish In Next 12 Months (OMFG)

Source: Youtube
In doom and gloom news, this BBC video clip went viral today. In a somewhat convincing way, Alessio Rastani, an independent trader who runs leadingtrader.com, told BBC that he thinks the euro zone rescue plan will fail, the euro and big stock markets will crash, and "in less than 12 months, savings for millions of people is going to vanish." Why? Because governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world, and Goldman Sachs does not care about this rescue package. Whoa...

Soros: U.S. Already In Double Dip Recession, Two or Three Euro Countries Could Default

Source: Norway UN (Flickr)
On 9/21/2011, billionaire George Soros, founder of the Quantum Fund and Soros Fund Management, shared his views on the euro zone crisis and U.S. economy with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC. He thinks the U.S. is already in a double dip recession and "two or three of the small countries" in Europe could default.

Soros: "I think that you could have two or three of the small countries default or leave the euro provided it is prepared and done in an orderly way."

Bartiromo: "Is what's happening right now in the U.S. and Europe worse than the Lehman Brothers fallout?" Soros: "It is a more dangerous situation, and i think that the authorities, when push comes to shove, will do whatever it takes to hold the system together."

Bartiromo: "Do you think we'll see a double dip here in the U.S.?" Soros: "I think we are in it already." (video and transcript source: CNBC)

FYI: Over the weekend, The Telegraph broke news that a €2 trillion fund is being planned "to meet Italy and Spain’s financing needs in the event that the two countries were shut out of the markets. Officials are working on a way to leverage the EFSF (440 billion rescue package) through the European Central Bank to reach the target."

Multi-trillion plan to save the eurozone being prepared (Telegraph, 9/24/2011) 
The €2 trillion fund to save the euro (Telegraph, 9/25/2011)
IMF may need billions in extra funding, says Lagarde (Telegraph, 9/25/2011)
EFSF's Regling: EFSF Borrowing From ECB May Not Be Legal (WSJ, 9/24/2011)

Financial Injections for 9/23/2011

Finance - Financial injection - Finance
Source: doug88888 on Flickr
Full Text: G20 Communique after meeting in Washington (Reuters)

Greece denies reports on default scenarios (Reuters)

ECB's Knot Admits to Chance of Greece Defaulting (Reuters)

China, Japan Say Europe Must Fix Own Crisis (Bloomberg)

Japanese default insurance costs spike (Financial Times)

EU to speed recapitalisation of 16 banks (Financial Times)

ECB Ready to Act Next Month If Outlook Deteriorates (Bloomberg)

Morgan Stanley's Exposure To French Banks Is 60% Greater Than Its Market Cap... And More Than Half Its Book Value (Zero Hedge)

Ray Dalio On Diversified Uncorrelated Bets and How The Machine Works

In an interview with Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker, Ray Dalio, founder of the $122 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates LP, explains how his macro fund made 25% this year using diversified uncorrelated bets, and how the "machine" works.

E-Mini S&P Future Is Down 2.83% at 1123, New Lows Coming?

The December E-mini S&P future is down 2.83% right now at 1,123 pre-open. It is clearly in the next wave down and needs to desperately find a support level. The 8/9/2011 low was 1,077. You can see the downtrend line that ES needs to break for a bullish reversal (and 1,217 retest). Is 1,000-1,100 in the cards? Not sure what's up, but proceed at your own risk!

chart snapshot courtesy of optionsxpress

Jim Chanos Is Still Short Chinese Banks, Property Developers (Bloomberg Video 9/21/2011)

Source: Bloomberg
Jim Chanos, founder of hedge fund Kynikos Associates, told Bloomberg's Carol Massar yesterday that he's still very bearish on China's property market and banking sector. He's been bearish on China for a few years now and now it's starting to move his way. The question now is, does China see a soft or hard landing? Chinese equity indices are breaking down as we speak and China's 5Y CDS (credit default swap) just made a new high. More on that in my next post. Here are a few (unofficial) quotes from the video (w/ links to related posts). Watch the Bloomberg video after the break.

Jim Chanos: "Well, the Chinese government balance sheet directly does not have a lot of debt, it's de minimis. But the fact of the matter is, the state owned enterprises and the local governments, and all the other ancillary borrowing vehicles, have lots of debt, and it's growing at a very very fast rate. And the assumption is, is the state stands behind all this debt. Well if we look at it on that basis, and Fitch and others have done so too, we see that debt in China, implicitly backed by the Chinese government, probably has gone up from somewhere about 100% of GDP to about 200% of GDP recently. And those are numbers that are staggering. Those are European kind of numbers, if not worse."

Peter Schiff's Testimony Before Congressional Committee of Oversight & Reform (9/13/2011)

Below is Peter Schiff's testimony before the Congressional Committee of Oversight & Reform with Q&A (hat tip reboilroom). Also embedded is the transcript of his testimony. He runs Euro Pacific Capital and is a hardcore Austrian economist. If you remember, he was one of the ones on CNBC and FOX that warned viewers about the pending housing crash, evaporation of home equity and negative effects from artificially low interest rates (see videos 1, 2, 3). Now that we're experiencing the aftermath of his predictions and ongoing de-leveraging, there's no doubt these are tough decisions to make. Thoughts?
"How the Government Can Create Jobs

Testimony by Peter D. Schiff

Offer to the House Sub-Committee on Government Reform and Stimulus Oversight

September 13, 2011

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking member, and all distinguished members of this panel. Thank you for inviting me here today to offer my opinions as to how the government can help the American economy to recover from the worst crisis in living memory.

Despite the understandable human tendency to help others, government spending cannot be a net creator of jobs. Indeed many efforts currently under consideration by the Administration and Congress will actively destroy jobs. These initiatives must stop. While it is easy to see how a deficit-financed government program can lead to the creation of a specific job, it is much harder to see how other jobs are destroyed by the diversion of capital and resources. It is also difficult to see how the bigger budget deficits sap the economy of vitality, destroying jobs in the process.

In a free market jobs are created by profit seeking businesses with access to capital. Unfortunately Government taxes and regulation diminishes profits, and deficit spending and artificially low interest rates inhibit capital formation. As a result unemployment remains high, and will likely continue to rise until policies are reversed." (continue reading below)

After FOMC Statement, Stocks Fall, Treasury Bonds Spike (SPY, TLT, UUP, FXE 9/21/2011)

In today's FOMC statement, the Federal Reserve decided to "extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities" on its balance sheet, aka "operation twist", to "support a stronger economic recovery". With no additional asset purchases involved (QE3), the stock market and EUR/USD plunged, while Treasury bonds and the U.S. Dollar (safe havens) spiked. Also, the problems in Europe and the global economic slowdown provided additional support for that trade (imo). See the full FOMC statement after the jump.
"The Committee intends to purchase, by the end of June 2012, $400 billion of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of 6 years to 30 years and to sell an equal amount of Treasury securities with remaining maturities of 3 years or less. This program should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help make broader financial conditions more accommodative."

Here is a chart showing how $TLT (20+ Treasury Bond ETF), $UUP (U.S. Dollar Index ETF), $FXE (Euro Index ETF) and SPY (S&P 500 ETF) reacted to the news.


source: freestockcharts.com

Moody's Downgrades Bank of America and Wells Fargo (9/21/2011)

Déjà vu.. Moody's downgraded BAC and WFC today.
Source: MoneyBlogNewz on Flickr
"Moody's downgrades Bank of America Corp. to Baa1/P-2; Bank of America N.A. to A2, P-1 affirmed

Global Credit Research - 21 Sep 2011

New York, September 21, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the ratings of Bank of America Corporation's (BAC) holding company to Baa1 from A2 for long-term senior debt and to Prime-2 from Prime-1 for short-term debt. The long-term deposit ratings of Bank of America N.A. (BANA) were downgraded to A2 from Aa3, while BANA's short-term rating was affirmed at Prime-1. The actions conclude a review for downgrade announced on June 2, 2011. The outlook on the long-term senior ratings remains negative.

EUR/USD Technicals, Barclays Sees 1.33 In One Month

Euro Man (source: rockcohen on flickr)
EUR/USD and the Euro FX December Future are back where they were last night after Italy's downgrade. Ran Squawk just reported that Barclays sees EUR/USD at 1.33 in one month and 1.25 in 3 months. It is currently trading at 1.36741 and testing a steep downtrend line. If it can't break through the trend, it will probably retest the 9/12 low of around 1.35000. If that gets taken out, I don't see any support until 1.287, or the January 2011 lows.

The market is speculating on whether Greece defaults or gets its next tranche of bailout money from the IMF/EU, or establishes a fiscal union with euro bonds. If Greece or another country in the euro zone defaults, then the European banking system would be at risk of contagion. So what is going to happen? Are China and Brazil going to provide a backstop? I see Greece raised 1.65 billion euros in a 13-week Treasury bill auction yesterday. According to CMA Datavision's Sovereign Risk Monitor, Greece 5Y CDSs (at 5,639 basis points) have a default probability of 94% and Portugal 5Y CDSs (at 1,271 basis points) have a default probability of 63%. They are at the top of the list, then Ireland at 50%, Italy at 36% and Spain at 30%. See my link fest from a few hours ago for articles to read. See charts after the jump.

Links: IMF Projections, Hugh Hendry, Fitch on Greece, Chanos, Grantham, EUR/USD, China

IMF Real GDP Projections (report)
Troika makes ‘good progress’ on Greek deal (Financial Times)

Greece to default but not leave euro zone-Fitch (Reuters)

Greece Raises €1.65 billion in 13-week T-Bill Auction (WSJ)

China voices confidence in Europe after Italy downgrade (Reuters)

Brazil Says Europe Must 'Save Itself' (Reuters)

Kynikos's Jim Chanos Discusses European Debt Crisis (Bloomberg Video)

Chanos on China's Economy, Debt, Real Estate Market (Bloomberg Video)

French Bank Stocks Accelerate Losses In Afternoon Trade (WSJ) 9/20/2011

Fitch report on European banks and market turmoil (Reuters)

Grantham: ‘No market for young men’: Market veteran blasts income inequality, buys blue-chip stocks (MarketWatch)

China growth fears boost Hendry’s fund (Financial Times via London Spectator)

Barclays sees EUR/USD at 1.33 in 1 month, 1.25 in 3 months (RanSquawk)

S&P Downgrades Italy; Euro, S&P Futures Initially Plunge, Then See Strong Reversal (Chart)

S&P downgraded Italy's credit rating to A from A+, read the full report at Zero Hedge: "Italy Unsolicited Ratings Lowered To 'A/A-1' On Weaker Growth Prospects, Uncertain Policy Environment; Outlook Negative". Initially the euro and equity index futures plunged, but after a few hours they rallied back to positive territory. The Fed meets today and tomorrow (correction), so markets could be positioning for the FOMC statement. Or perhaps the action is related to Greece. Either way, nice reversal; we'll see if it lasts. The December E-mini S&P Future (ESZ11) is at 1,200.25, up 0.23%; the December Comex Gold Future (GCZ11) is at 1,791, up 0.73%; and the December Euro Future (ECZ11) is at 1.3675, up 0.12%. Check out the chart comparing the S&P, euro and gold tonight.


Courtesy of OptionsXpress

Interesting news today:

Exclusive: Brazil seeks to help Europe via IMF (Reuters)

Merkel Signals She’ll Dodge Coalition Breakup (Bloomberg)

Siemens Pulls €500 Million From A French Bank, Redeposits Direct With ECB (Zero Hedge)

Bank of China halts FX swaps with some European banks (Reuters)

German Investor Confidence Fell in September (Bloomberg)

Greece Default Would Leave German Taxpayers Facing Bills From ‘Bad’ Banks (Bloomberg)

S&P Italy downgrade new blow for distressed Europe (Reuters)

Google Wallet Demo Video and Review, Looks Interesting

Check out the demo video for Google Wallet. I would love to use this. For now, Google Wallet is only available on Sprint Nexus S 4G Android phones with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, but will be available on other phones in the future. It looks like a great way to leverage Google Offers. At this time, Google Wallet only works with Citibank MasterCards with PayPass enabled merchants, or Google Prepaid Cards. This is the future. What about biometrics? Google Keys?
"Rob von Behren and Jonathan Wall, Founding Engineers on Google Wallet, introduce the app that makes your phone your wallet. Learn more at http://www.google.com/wallet"

Moody's: Outlooks For U.S. States, Local Governments Remain Negative

Source: gcclark.net
Moody's still sees a tough environment for states and municipalities. According to Moody's, the weak economy, real estate market and cuts in federal funding will continue to put pressure on states and local governments. Have any big local munis gone under? They are the most at risk given their limited taxing abilities and reliance on state funding. Jefferson County, Alabama has been in the news recently.
"Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Jefferson County, Alabama, which approved a deal with holders of $3.14 billion of its sewer debt, now needs action by state lawmakers to end a more than three- year saga that kept it on the brink of filing the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history." (BusinessWeek)

Announcement: Moody's: Outlooks for U.S. states and local governments remain negative
Global Credit Research - 19 Sep 2011

"New York, September 19, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service is maintaining negative outlooks for the U.S. states and local government sectors despite the fact that most issuers have demonstrated strong budgetary management in difficult times, given the dual challenges of a weakening economy and diminished support from the federal government.

Fairholme Can Now Own 50% of St. Joe Co. (SEC Filing, JOE)

St. Joe Corp (JOE) - StockCharts.com
On 9/14/2011, St. Joe Co. entered into a stockholder agreement with Fairholme Capital Management "permitting Fairholme to acquire beneficial ownership of up to 50% of the company's outstanding common stock" (see more below). This is up from 30% previously. The $12 billion Fairholme Fund ($FAIRX) already owns 28.86% of St. Joe Co. ($JOE) as of June 30, 2011.

In July, Bruce Berkowitz, founder and CIO of Fairholme, mentioned in a Bloomberg interview that he wanted to own more of the company if the price moved lower. His wish came true in August when equities crashed and JOE hit a low of $14.80, which is near the March 2009 low of $14.53. It closed at $18.20 on Friday, up 6.56%, after the filing hit. The stock hit a high of $30 in January on a nice short squeeze after David Einhorn's bearish report, and on speculation that some type of transaction would occur (at 3x book). But nothing happened, shares failed inside the judgment triangle, and now Berkowitz can average down on JOE cheaper for his long term thesis. Or position for a buyer? St. Joe Co. is Northwest Florida's largest private landowner with 575,000 acres and has valuable timberland assets.

I wonder if Whitney Tilson (T2 Partners) and David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital) are still short the stock. They valued the company between 7-$12 per share based on its timberland assets. The stock has been trending down since 2005, so it needs to break through that long term downtrend line for bullish confirmation. But, until then, JOE needs strength from Fairholme, other institutional investors, timberland prices and the housing market for it not to hit $12.90 (the 1999 low). The December S&P future is down 1.88% right now overnight.

Unauthorized Trading in S&P 500, DAX, EuroStoxx Index Futures Causes $2.3 Billion Loss For UBS

UBS Trading Floor (nickjtaylor on flickr)
So it wasn't the Swiss Franc that caused Delta One trader Kweku Adoboli to lose $2.3 billion for UBS. $2.3 billion is a lot of dough to blow! Here is the UBS statement.
"Zurich/Basel, September 18, 2011, 04:00 PM 
UBS provides more detailed information on unauthorized trading

On September 15, 2011 UBS announced that it had discovered unauthorized trading in its Investment Bank. This trading was conducted by a trader in its Global Synthetic Equity business in London. The trader in question has been charged by UK authorities with fraud by abuse of position.

Before making a further announcement, we needed to be certain that we understood the positions that were booked and that we knew the amount of our resulting loss.

We have now covered the risk resulting from the unauthorized trading, and the equities business is again operating normally within its previously defined risk limits. The loss arising from this matter is USD 2.3 billion. As previously stated, no client positions were affected.

The loss resulted from unauthorized speculative trading in various S&P 500, DAX, and EuroStoxx index futures over the last three months. The positions taken were within the normal business flow of a large global equity trading house as part of a properly hedged portfolio. However, the true magnitude of the risk exposure was distorted because the positions had been offset in our systems with fictitious, forward-settling, cash ETF positions, allegedly executed by the trader. These fictitious trades concealed the fact that the index futures trades violated UBS's risk limits.


Following inquiries directed to him by UBS control functions that were reviewing his positions, the trader revealed his unauthorized activity on September 14, 2011.

UBS's Board of Directors has set up a special committee to conduct an independent investigation of the unauthorized trading activities and their relation to the control environment. The committee will be chaired by David Sidwell, the Senior Independent Director, and will report to the Board of Directors. The other members of the committee are Ann Godbehere and Joseph Yam.

UBS AG"

Read these interesting posts at Kid Dynamite's World:

1) Losing $ 2B Without Anyone Knowing About It Is Much Harder Than You Think
2) “I Have An Error”.

Bob Prechter Explains 'Triple Top' Forming in U.S. Stock Market (Video)

Bob Prechter, founder of Elliott Wave International, sees a 12 year head and shoulders top forming in the Dow. Disagree? Please comment your thoughts. Will QE3-4-5-6-7 provide a backstop?

Courtesy of Elliott Wave International

Bob Prechter Explains 'Triple Top' Forming in U.S. Stock Market (Video)

This excerpt from the special video issue of the August Elliott Wave Theorist brings you Bob Prechter’s analysis of the triple top that has been forming in the U.S. stock market over the past 12 years. Watch as Bob himself explains what this pattern means for you and the markets.

Momentum Analysis Using MACD By Elliott Wave International (Video)

Courtesy of Elliott Wave International

Momentum Analysis Using MACD

Learn more about using Momentum analysis to make Elliott wave trading decisions in this video by EWI European Interest Rate Analyst Bill Fox. Find more lessons on technical indicators in EWI's newest free report. See the information below.

BIS: $601 Trillion OTC Derivatives Are Outstanding (Notional Value As Of December 2010)

Source: http://www.bis.org/statistics/otcder/dt1920a.pdf 
Here's a fun fact. According to the Bank for International Settlements, at the end of 2010 the total notional amount of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives outstanding stood at $601 trillion! The gross market value stood at at 21.1 trillion.

"The notional amount (or notional principal amount or notional value) on a financial instrument is the nominal or face amount that is used to calculate payments made on that instrument. This amount generally does not change hands and is thus referred to as notional." (wikipedia)

Of this amount there were $465 trillion interest rate contracts ($364 trillion interest rate swaps, $51 trillion forward rate agreements, $49 trillion interest rate options), $57 trillion foreign exchange contracts ($28 trillion forwards and forex swaps, $19 trillion currency swaps, $10 trillion options), $29.8 trillion credit default swaps ($18.1 trillion single-name instruments and 11.7 trillion multi-name instruments, $7.4 trillion index products), $5.6 trillion equity-linked contracts ($1.8 trillion forwards and swaps, $3.8 trillion options) and $39 trillion unallocated (????). Is it just me, or does this have black swan written all over it. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Trader Loses UBS $2 Billion On Unauthorized Trades (No Client Positions Affected)

Source: Twicepix on Flickr
This came out of nowhere.
"Zurich/Basel, September 15, 2011, 08:54 AM Media Release 
UBS has discovered a loss due to unauthorized trading by a trader in its Investment Bank. The matter is still being investigated, but UBS's current estimate of the loss on the trades is in the range of USD 2 billion. It is possible that this could lead UBS to report a loss for the third quarter of 2011. No client positions were affected."  
Source: UBS

UBSN on the Swiss Stock Exchange is down 5.85% right now on this news, and it is down 44% in 1-year. It hit a low of 9.88 today, which is somewhat close to the capitulation low of 8.55 on 3/10/2009. I found more articles on the situation: ETFs under the spotlight as shadow falls across UBS's Delta One operation (Telegraph), The curse of Delta One strikes UBS (FT Alphaville), UBS rogue trader – Grübel memo (FT Alphaville) UBS rogue trade – the wider costs (FT Alphaville). Here is related news from 11/6/2009 when it happened with client money. Risk management problems?
"The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined UBS £8 million ($13.2 million) for weak controls that allowed staff in its private bank to make thousands of unauthorised trades with clients’ money and then hide the losses. It is the third-largest fine awarded by the FSA." (timesonline.co.uk

*Update: UBSN closed down 10.75% at 9.75. Kweku Adoboli, of UBS's Delta One division, which trades and makes markets in "synthetic assets" and derivatives for clients, has been arrested. Mis-hedging against Swiss franc exposure and volatility could have been responsible for the $2 billion loss, according to eFinancialNews. The Swiss National Bank recently pegged EUR/CHF at 1.20 to halt runaway appreciation in the Swiss Franc during the Eurozone crisis.
"Several market participants told Financial News this morning that Adoboli may have mis-hedged his exposure to the Swiss franc and attempted to hide it from his team when the market moved against him by overcompensating with a hedge in the opposite direction. Any short position on Swiss franc volatility would have suffered after volatilities rose again earlier this week." (continue reading at efinancialnews)

Here's more on Delta One trading desks at the Financial Times.
"Many Delta One desks also specialise in providing swap execution services to so-called synthetic ETFs, meaning they provide the over-the-counter derivative which allows the ETF to track its underlying asset. “Delta One desks are essentially huge trading counterparties which means they take on a lot of risk for a huge amount of business,”" (continue reading at FT.com)

World Bank President Robert Zoellick's Speech, CNBC Interview (9/14/2011)

World Bank President Robert Zoellick  (worldbank Flickr)
Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank Group, delivered a speech yesterday ("Beyond Aid") at George Washington University and appeared on CNBC's Kudlow & Company, see below.
"The global economy has entered a new danger zone with little running room as European countries resist difficult truths about the common responsibilities of a common currency. Japan has resisted structural economic and social reforms that could retool its sputtering economic model. The United States is facing record peacetime deficits, with no agreed approach in sight for cutting the drivers of debt. The lesson of 2008 and earlier crises is that the later you act, the more you have to do, and the more painful it becomes. It is not responsible for the Eurozone to pledge fealty to a monetary union without facing up to either a fiscal union that would make monetary union workable or accepting the consequences for uncompetitive, debt-burdened members. It is not responsible for the United States to falter in facing fundamental issues such as unsustainable growth in entitlement spending, the need for a pro-growth tax system, and a stalled trade policy. Unless Europe, Japan, and the United States can also face up to responsibilities they will drag down not only themselves but the global economy." [continue reading]

In different words, on CNBC's Kudlow & Company, Zoellick said:

Links: S&P Target, CRE, Soros, Ackman, Hong Kong Dollar, French Banks, European Debt

Commercial Real Estate Verses Bonds (Charts: 10-year treasury, AAA, BAA corporate bond yields vs. Core Cap Rate and cap rate spreads vs. bond yields ) - CREconsole <-interesting chart comparable
Hong Kong Dollar (Wikipedia)

Ackman Bets Hong Kong Dollar to Appreciate - Bloomberg

The Ackman Trade: Reactions - NetNet

Goldman Cuts 2011 S&P Price Target From 1400 To 1250 - Zero Hedge

Markets Would Rally if Greece Defaults, Blain Says - Bloomberg Video

Risk of second recession rising in developed economies - Reuters

China Willing to Buy Bonds From Crisis Nations: Zhang - Bloomberg

China Safe From Defaults: Merchants Bank President - Bloomberg

Does the Euro Have a Future? by George Soros (on a "common European Treasury") - New York Review of Books

Goldman: EU Debt Woes Raising Risk to Commodities Outlook - Reuters at CNBC

World Bank chief says world economy in danger zone (Robert Zoellick) - Reuters

Julian Robertston on CNBC: Greece Will Default "Macro Is So Bad Everywhere " - PragCap

Moody's downgrades Credit Agricole SA’s long-term ratings to Aa2 on Greek exposures, ratings remain on review to consider impact of funding challenges on Credit Profile - Moody's

Moody's downgrades Societe Generale long-term ratings to Aa3 on normalised systemic support, Outlook negative, BFSR remains on review to consider impact of funding challenges on credit profile - Moody's

Limits to Keynesianism - Gregor.us

China, Japan Indexes Are Down Tonight (Hang Seng, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nikkei)

Asian stock indexes are down tonight: Shanghai Index -0.76%, Shenzhen Index -0.79%, Nikkei 225 -1.06% (Tokyo), Hang Seng -1.34% (Hong Kong). Chinese stock indexes (and ETFs) are testing important support levels. I will chart them out specifically in a few hours. China's CDS (credit default swap) is up 28% in a month, and it appears that there's an inverse relationship between FXI (iShares FTSE China 25 ETF) and the China 5Y CDS. China news: "China Stocks Retreat to July 2010 Low; Anhui Conch Drops on Housing Sales", "World Must ’Get House in Order,’ Not Rely on China: Premier Wen".


Source: Bloomberg.com

Full Video of CNN Tea Party Republican Debate

Watch the CNN videos after the jump. The Republican presidential candidates are Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Legalize and tax "alternative medicine"!

Based on CDS, Greece's Default Probability is 97.64% (CMA)

According to CMA's Sovereign Risk Monitor (see it free), Greece has the highest default probability percentage at 97.64%. Greece's 5Y credit default swap mid spread is at 7318.25, with Portugal right behind it at 1308.51 (default probability 63.75%). You can see Ireland, Italy and Spain are further down the list. Membership in the highest default probability club hasn't changed much since June 2010 (minus Dubai, Iraq, Illinois and California), but spreads and the CPD% have increased substantially for the PIIGS.

Read these articles for more info:

Greece Default Risk Jumps to 98% as Euro Crisis Deepens (Bloomberg)
Greece – The First of the Dominoes? (Pragmatic Capitalism)

Source: CMA Datavision

Fed Minutes on Additional Policy Tools; Bernanke's Speech at Economic Club of Minnesota (9/8/2011)

FOMC Meeting (Philadelphia Fed)
Fed Watch: Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave his outlook for U.S. economic growth, inflation and monetary policy during a speech at the Economic Club of Minnesota on 9/8/2011. I quoted the portion on monetary policy and provided an excerpt from the FOMC Minutes on 8/9/2011 (released 8/30/2011), which discussed additional tools the Fed could use to "promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability."

Some Fed participants believe "providing additional stimulus at this time would risk boosting inflation without providing a significant gain in output or employment." The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting is on September 21-22. Also read the transcript of Ben Bernanke's Jackson Hole Speech, which was delivered on 8/26/2011. What are the odds of QE3?

Chairman Ben S. Bernanke at the Economic Club of Minnesota Luncheon, Minneapolis, Minnesota (September 8, 2011) - Source
"Monetary Policy

BNP Paribas Is Down 12% On Possible Moody's Downgrade, EURUSD Bounced Off 1.34986

Source: Google Finance
Large European banks, BNP Paribas (BNP), Societe Generale (GLE), Credit Agricole (ACA), Deutsche Bank (DBK) and UniCredit (UCG), are down 8-13% today with traders pricing in possible credit rating downgrades by Moody's and Greece's ongoing debt crisis. Greece needs to meet its budget goals to receive the next bailout tranche from the EU/IMF, or it will run out of cash in mid-October (Deputy Finance Minister). However, it appears that French banks will not be affected by a Greek default (Noyer Says French Banks Can Contend With Any Greek Problem, French banks can weather Greece default: SocGen CEO Frederic Oudea). Do they hold Portuguese, Irish, Italian and Spanish debt? To be sure, I'd monitor European bank credit default swaps or default insurance premiums. I see SocGen is planning to sell off $4 billion euros worth of assets by 2013. EUR/USD hit a low of 1.34986 and bounced back hard to 1.36252. I'll be monitoring la situation.

EUR/WTF! Traders Nervous Over Greece (Euro/US Dollar At 1.35719)

EUR/USD is still selling off pretty hard. See the linkfest in my previous post for news on Greece and European banks. I'm not sure where support is for the pair, but it's starting to price in an important catalyst ahead. Hopefully it is clean.





Charts are courtesy of freestockcharts.com

Links: Greece Default Risk, French Banks, Jim Rogers (CNBC), China's Empty City, ECB

Linkfest for 9/11/2011 (R.I.P to the innocent lives lost during the 9/11/2011 attacks). Market Update: EUR/USD is at 1.35870 -0.49%, Japan's Nikkei Index is down 1.9% at 8,572, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index is down 3% at 19,270, and the E-mini S&P September 2011 Future is down 1% at 1,146.

Germany May be Ready to Surrender Over Greece (Bloomberg)

Greek ‘Orderly’ Default Can’t Be Ruled Out, Roesler Tells Welt (Bloomberg)

Greece Announces New Tax As Unrest Flares (DJ @ Nasdaq)

Moody's May Downgrade Top French Banks (WSJ)

Goldman's Complete Economic Outlook From Now Through 2012 (Business Insider)

China's empty city of Ordos (Al Jazeera English Video + embedded after the jump)

The Party is Over (iBankCoin)

Jim Rogers (on CNBC) Explains Why He Is Short Stocks, Long Commodities, And Wants Europe To Fail (Zero Hedge)

China official: Swiss intervention won't work (Market Watch)

The investor’s dilemma: Earnings, valuation and what to do now (Barry Ritholtz @ Washington Post)

Europe Banks Valued at Post-Lehman Low (Bloomberg)

Greece 5Y CDS Spikes to 3,399 bps, Judgment Day is Near (Chart, 9/9/2011)

Greece's five year credit default swap spiked to 3,399 basis points today, up 20.37%. The detailed quote on Bloomberg.com today showed the contract hitting a high of 3,623 basis points. In other words, the cost to insure 5-year Greek government bonds rose to 33.99% per year, or $3,399,000 to insure $10 million of Greek five year bonds. Judgment day is near. Will selling off (or collateralizing) state assets prevent a default? Links: "Greece says to speed up privatisation plan" (AFP, 9/7), "Greek state assets seen as collateral for new bailout" (EurActiv, 8/26). GGB yields are very high as well.

1-year Greece Government Bond yield, 97.964% (Bloomberg)
2-year Greece Government Bonds Yield, 56.97% (Bloomberg)
5-year Greece Government Bond Yield, 25.62% (Bloomberg)
10-year Greece government Bond Yield, 20.55% (Bloomberg)

"German Finance Minister Prepares for Possible Greek Bankruptcy" (Spiegel)
"Germany Is Said to Prepare Plan to Assist Banks If Greece Defaults on Debt" (Bloomberg)
"Papandreou to Defend Austerity as Greek Default Bets Mount" (Bloomberg)
"Greece Dismisses Default ‘Rumors,’ Says Committed to Agreements" (Bloomberg)
"Market Chatter Of Greek Default Over The Weekend" (Zero Hedge)
"Truglia Says Greece Is `Very Close' to Debt Default" (Washington Post/BloombergTV)
"A Greek T-bill oddity" (FT Alphaville)  - 3, 6-month bill yields aren't updating on Bloomberg.com


Greece 5Y CDS (Source: Bloomberg.com)

Euro Looks Broken For Now (EURUSD), Ashraf Laidi Gives Update on BNN

EUR/USD (courtesy of FreeStockCharts)
Unless China steps in here, EUR/USD looks broken to me, at least for a while. It broke the uptrend line from June 2010, so it needs an injection from somewhere to get back on path. You can see the nasty sell off that occurred recently in the first chart and the near-term downtrend line to break for a relief rally. It could roll on down to test support in the descending channel.  On BNN yesterday, Ashraf Laidi, of Intermarket Strategy, had interesting views on the Euro.
"Only a very aggressive QE from the U.S. will do the trick for the Euro. Meaning, only something so aggressive easing policy of the Fed will be bad enough for the Dollar to come down and good enough for the Euro. We think the Fed is not going to be that aggressive and we think that the Euro is going to come back down."
"But the big trades we are talking about right now is, Euro/Dollar is going to test 1.37. If we do break below that, I think we are going to look at 1.30." (Ashraf Laidi on BNN)

Here is analysis on the ECB.
"The European Central Bank, or ECB, is most likely to reverse its recent rate hikes due to weak economic outlook and fading upside risks to price stability, Jennifer McKeown, a senior economist at Capital Economics, said." (INO.com)

"If it remains a market crisis, the ECB may just give banks more liquidity but if it spreads to the real economy, they may even cut rates,” said Chris Scicluna, deputy head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe in London." (Bloomberg)

Obama's Speech on the $447 Billion American Jobs Act (Video, Full Text, Fact Sheet)

Below I embedded Presiden't Obama's speech on the American Jobs Act. If you can't watch it, I put up the full speech transcript and fact sheet with a table showing where the $447 billion would be allocated.
"THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that’s made things worse.

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by -- giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.

David Tepper Has a Large Cash Position, Update on Appaloosa's Q2 Holdings

David Tepper (Appaloosa Mgmt)
Yesterday, an article in Institutonal Investor mentioned that David Tepper, founder of $15 billion hedge fund Appaloosa Management, was 30-40% in cash.

"Sources say he has gone 30 percent to 40 percent in cash, which is very high for him. Some of his cash is invested in U.S. Treasuries, which have in turn risen in value in recent weeks."

"Word is he will remain cautious until there is improvement in the European bank crisis." (continue reading)

This doesn't surprise me. On 6/13/2011 he told CNBC:

"Basically Bernanke said no QE3. If SPX is down a couple hundred points and financial conditions tightened maybe they would reconsider. There is no logic to QE3 now and the only result might be more food and energy inflation. We're in a difficult investing environment."

In the Aftermath of Fukushima, Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Rise to 20 Percent - Guest Post

Wind Farm In Neuenkirchen (Source: Wikipedia)
Guest post by OilPrice.com

In the Aftermath of Fukushima, Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Rise to 20 Percent

The worldwide implications for nuclear power advocates in light of the 11 March disaster at Japan's Daichi Fukushima nuclear complex, battered first by an earthquake and a subsequent tsunami, are slowly unfolding.

Nations committed to nuclear power are being subjected to a relentless PR barrage by nuclear construction firms, who stand to lose billions if current contracts are suspended or, even worse, cancelled.

Despite the bland reassurances of the nuclear power industry that "it can't happen here," in Europe, Italy has canceled plans to construct nuclear reactors, while Germany's Bundestag last month passed a resolution to close all 17 of the nation's nuclear power plants. Seven NPP plants were immediately shuttered with the remainder to be passed out by 2022.

So, where to go for the juice?

Shifting gears since the beginning of the year, a trend accelerated by Japan's Fukushima debacle, in a statement released by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), commenting on renewable energy input to the country's national grid since January, "Renewable energies have crossed the 20 percent mark in Germany for the first time." Last year, Germany's green energy consumption totaled 18.3 percent of total demand.