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.


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"

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

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) -
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.


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”.