10-Year French-German Spread +11% at 1.83, Belgium-German Spread +9.28% at 3.07, Italian CDS...

European credit markets and derivatives are volatile this morning. The Italian CDS rate is going viral on Twitter after hitting 600 basis points, a new high. Also, Italy's 10-year yield is back over 7% (Reuters). In other news, the 10-year French-German yield spread spiked 11% to 1.83. Last week on Bloomberg TV, Chris Wood of CLSA said "there is still the risk of a euro quake" and specifically said to monitor the French-German spread. Watch the interview. I also see that the 10-year Belgium-German yield spread is at 3.07, up 9.28% (h/t BI). Some boo-ya type action. Which highly leveraged bank or brokerage is the next MF Global sitting on European sovereign debt losses? FYI: There are sovereign yield spread futures for Germany-France and Germany-Italy at CME. Below are intraday charts of the spreads via Bloomberg.com and links to articles. Unicredit (UCG) is down 6.46% at 0.72 after reporting a huge loss, job cuts and a planned capital raise (WSJ).

10-year French-German Yield Spread (Source: Bloomberg.com)

10-year Belgium-German Yield Spread (Source: Bloomberg.com)


More reading:
Euro Weakens as Spanish Yields Climb at Auction; European Stocks Decline [Bloomberg]
European Stocks Drop as Monti Faces Resistance [Bloomberg]
Corporate Bond Risk Rises in Europe, Credit-Default Swaps Show [Bloomberg]
France, Spain Default Risk Rises to Records [Bloomberg yesterday]

David Rosenberg on Whether the U.S. Faces a Japanese-Style Lost Decade (Munk Debate Video)

Watch last night's Munk Debate on whether the U.S. faces a Japanese-style lost decade of high unemployment, slow growth and deflation. David Rosenberg, Chief Economist and Strategist at Gluskin Sheff, and Paul Krugman, Economist and Economics Professor at Princeton, believe this is the case. They debated with Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, and Lawrence Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary.

David Rosenberg during the first segment (not from official transcript)
David Rosenberg at Munk Debate
"Despite the fact that we have had 3 years of unprecedented and radical stimulus in the economy. I mean, as you've already heard we've had policy rates in the U.S. at zero. Zero percent policy rates for three years... We have had the Fed take it's balance sheet into the stratosphere. Which was once an $800 billion stable balance sheet is now $2.5 trillion. And we've had at the same time three years of government deficits in the U.S at the Federal level of over 10% of GDP. I mean, FDR never ran the deficit above 6% of GDP. For one year in the New Deal we've had three years of unprecedented fiscal stimulus. And yet what did we get out of it?... Real GDP growth of barely more than 2% at an average annual rate. Historically, what is normal in the context of a post World War II post recession recovery nine quarters in where we are today, and the answer is 5.5%."
"Our policy makers are bumping against the severe headwinds otherwise known as the debt deleveraging cycle. And also the fact that we still have a depression in housing four years after the initial detonation. But we have a consumer debt deleveraging in the United States of unprecedented proportions. We had what was a forty year secular credit expansion that went absolutely parabolic in 2002 because we had a government that believed that as an antidote to a bursted dot-come bubble we can actually save the system by engineering a financial and housing bubble. And so, that is the basic problem that we have on our hands, is, the largest component of the global economy called the U.S. household sector, 70% of GDP, is trying desperately to get out of debt..."
"So, so far the household sector has paid down or walked away from, delevered, roughly $1 trillion. And if we're talking about the concept of mean reversion, and mean reversion is very important in this business, and we're talking about taking debt/asset and debt/income ratios back to pre-bubble norms, which I believe is going to happen, you're talking about another $3 trillion of deleveraging."
How long do deleveraging cycles last?: "Working through these asset and credit cycles take seven years. So we've finished two, and I'm going to be optimistic, only 5 more to go" (he said that data was from McKinsey research)

Gerald Celente Explains How He Got Burned By MF Global (Video)

Gerald Celente, founder of the Trends Research Institute, explains how he got burned by MF Global on Russia Today. He owned December gold futures.

Natural Gas Analysis for the Week of November 14, 2011 - Guest Post

Natural Gas Spot Price (StockCharts.com)
Submitted by OilPrice.com (I included a chart of natural gas spot)

Natural Gas Analysis for the Week of November 14, 2011

Written by FX Empire

Natural gas futures continued to fall on the weekly chart. Last week the January contract took out three week’s worth of bottoms to set another contract low. The break in the market was so severe that it allowed prices to catch up with a pair of steep downtrending Gann angles at 4.469 and 4.317 this week.

A decline back under these angles will put the market in an extremely weak position and indicate that the market is likely to continue to fall at a rate of about .08 per week. A break of this magnitude indicates growing pessimism triggered by an overabundance of supply and weak demand.

In addition to continual increases in supply, mild weather conditions are also wreaking havoc on the market. The approaching winter season should lead to increased demand but mild conditions are making this a moot point. With the short-term forecast calling for average-to-above average temperatures, demand is expected to remain below normal. This can only mean lower prices to follow.

With traditional fundamentals pointing toward lower prices and the number of new short positions growing, traders should start to watch for a short-covering rally triggered by oversold conditions. With analysts continuing to use words such as “pessimism”, “supply glut” and “oversupply” as prices reach severe lows; counter-trend traders have to begin to wonder if this market is getting close to turning around because of oversold sentiment.

Crude Oil Analysis for the Week of November 14, 2011 - Guest Post

Light Crude Oil (via StockCharts.com)
Submitted by OilPrice.com (I included a chart of spot oil)

Crude Oil Analysis for the Week of November 14, 2011

Written by FX Empire

January Crude Oil finished sharply higher for the week, settling well above a key 50% support at $95.29, but below 61.8% resistance at $99.99. Additional Gann angle support is at $99.36 this week. The next important upside target is a downtrending Gann angle at $101.23.

The $99.36 to $99.99 combination should act as a pivot zone, controlling the market’s short-term direction. Since the steep Gann angle moves up at a rate of $4.00 per week. This market is going to have to close above $103.36 on a weekly basis in order for it to maintain its torrid upward pace.

Bullish traders will want to see the market continue to hold $99.36 this week. Since last week’s close was at $98.99, the market will have some catching up to do early in the trading session. A failure to regain the steep uptrending angle will be another sign that buyers are lightening up their positions and that sentiment may be shifting to the downside.

It sounds complicated, but it’s not. This market is being driven by momentum at this time. A slowdown in momentum will show up on the charts and will be the first indication that an overdue correction is about to begin. Traders have to watch for this momentum shift because the market is vulnerable to a correction of its rally. The first downside target is a 50% price level at $87.28.

CLSA's Chris Wood: Risk of "Euro Quake" During Crisis, Watch French-German Yield Spread

Source: Bloomberg.com
On 11/8/2011 (BloombergTV), CLSA Asia Pacific's chief equity strategist Chris Wood (author of the GREED and fear report) shared his views on the euro-zone crisis and what to expect going forward with the markets. Wood believes "we are in the process of reaching an end game in the euro-zone", which will end with the formation of a fiscal union forced by market pressure.

"The trend so far in this whole crisis is when the pressure gets really on, Germany agrees to more incremental moves towards fiscal union. Ultimately, I'm expecting that to be the end game. I'm expecting sooner or later the ECB to put up the white flag and engage in unsterilized monetization purchases of euro zone government debt. However, the quid pro quo for Germany will be an insistence that real fiscal safeguards are put in, European treasury set up, power to raise taxes, issue euro bonds. I believe this is the end game and the only issue is how long it takes."

In the meantime, Wood believes "there's still the risk of a euro quake that forces Europeans over this hump", which could hit risk assets (weaker stocks, commodities and euro) and force China, India and the ECB to ease and Federal Reserve to start QE3 (when dollar rises). To monitor this risk, Wood said to watch not only Italian government bond yields and its 5, 10-year yield spreads to German bunds, but also the French-German bund yield spread, which recently hit a new euro-era high. I transcribed more of what he said.

10-year French-German Spread (Bloomberg.com)
"Whether it's Italy going wrong or in due course France, that day is arriving. And the longer they take to resolve the issue the more it will cost and the more stress there will be in the interim. Clearly if the Italians get some austerity, if you get a new technocratic government, that might buy you 2-3 months of relative peace. But, I think that's the best case. Apart from looking at Italy, people also should be aware that the French bond yield over the German bund is now at euro-era highs. So I think that's as much an important variable to monitor..."

Groupon (GRPN) Options Arrive On Monday At CBOE

FYI, Groupon (GRPN) options arrive on Monday 11/14/2011.
"CBOE AND C2 TO LIST OPTIONS ON GROUPON, INC. (GRPN) ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14

CHICAGO, November 11, 2011 – The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and C2 Options Exchange (C2) today announced they will list options on Groupon, Inc. (GRPN) beginning Monday, November 14.

Citadel Securities, LLC will serve as the Designated Primary Market Maker (DPM) for GRPN options at CBOE. C2 does not use a DPM system.

The contract specifications for GRPN options are as follows:
Initial strike prices: 15 to 35, in $1 increments
Position limit: 200,000 contracts
Expiration cycle: January, with initial months of December, January, April and July

For more information on new listings, visit the Trading Tools section of the CBOE website at: http://www.cboe.com/NewListings."

Links: MF Global Drama, Italian Debt Crisis, Jefferson County Bankruptcy, Fannie Mae Aid

MF Global drama

Chicago's Harris Bank plays role in MF Global mess (Reuters)

MF Global Assets Have Left The Building: How, When, Where by Francine McKenna (Forbes)

MF Dumped European Debt at Loss Before Bankruptcy (WSJ)

MF Global's Customer Assets - STOLEN - And Nothing You Hold In This System Is Safe (Jesse's Café Américain)

Two MF Global Clients Spill About Their Frozen Accounts -- "It Was Like Being In The Twilight Zone." (Business Insider)

Wolfman Wednesday- Elvis (MF funds) have left the building (OptionMonster TV)

Chris Whalen on MF Global, Repo-to-Maturity and Large Bank OBS exposures (Zero Hedge)


Italian sovereign debt crisis and European news

Italy Bond Attack Breaches Euro Defenses (Bloomberg)

Crisis in Italy spurs fears of euro zone break-up (Reuters)

Italy’s Senate Speeds Austerity Vote (Bloomberg)

BlackRock Responds To Zero Hedge Query On Its Italian Debt Exposure (Zero Hedge)

France Extends Short-Selling Ban on Banking Shares (CNBC)

Italy 2s10s Inverts For First Time Since August 1994 As French and Spanish Spreads Widen To Records (Zero Hedge)

ECB's Stark warns EU govts against seeking ECB help (Reuters), needs fiscal union (Bloomberg)

Euro zone has no plans to rescue Italy: officials (Reuters)

Soros: European governments have the bazooka (7:56) (Reuters Video)

Lagarde Sees Risk of 'Lost Decade' for Global Economy (Bloomberg Video)

EU sees euro zone growth slowing sharply, recession risk (Reuters)

Italy CDS vs bonds: CDS win! (FT Alphaville)

Moody's assigns Aaa rating to EFSF's new 10-year benchmark bond (for Ireland) (Moody's)

Volatility Sonar Report - 35ish to 45ish November 9, 2011 (OptionMonster TV)

Guest Post - U.S. Government Confirms Link Between Earthquakes and Hydraulic Fracturing

Oklahoma Seismicity via USGS.gov
Guest post by John Daly of OilPrice.com

U.S. Government Confirms Link Between Earthquakes and Hydraulic Fracturing

On 5 November an earthquake measuring 5.6 rattled Oklahoma and was felt as far away as Illinois.

Until two years ago Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year, but in 2010, 1,047 quakes shook the state.

Why?

In Lincoln County, where most of this past weekend's seismic incidents were centered, there are 181 injection wells, according to Matt Skinner, an official from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the agency which oversees oil and gas production in the state.

Cause and effect?

The practice of injecting water into deep rock formations causes earthquakes, both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded.

The U.S. natural gas industry pumps a mixture of water and assorted chemicals deep underground to shatter sediment layers containing natural gas, a process called hydraulic fracturing, known more informally as "fracking." While environmental groups have primarily focused on fracking's capacity to pollute underground water, a more ominous byproduct emerges from U.S. government studies - that forcing fluids under high pressure deep underground produces increased regional seismic activity.

Italian 10-Year Note Yield Spikes to 7.41%! Italy-German Spread is At 5.67 +14%, EUR/USD Smacked Down

EUR/USD (courtesy FreeStockCharts.com)
Italy's 10-year Note Yield rose 64 basis points to 7.41%, which is a new record high. It's been rising since it broke out in June-July and hasn't stopped. According to WSJ, Italy has $200 billion of their $2.63 trillion debt load maturing next year with a Debt/GDP ratio of 120%. Italian bonds are also selling off because LCH Clearnet SA, a clearing house, raised its margin rate on Italian bonds (read more at FT Alphaville). In addition, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered to resign yesterday, so there is political drama as well (Bloomberg). As you can see, the Euro-zone crisis is in full effect, and everything is riding on the EU bailout plan (leveraged EFSF) to contain it.

An hour ago Ran Squawk reported that Italian CDS hit a record high at 536bps. See the CDS trend here, but it's delayed a day. The 10-year Italian-German Bond Yield Spread rose 14% to 5.67; EUR/USD is down 1.19% at 1.36615; and the December E-Mini S&P future is down 2% (via ino.com). Check out the charts below of Italian activity and the Euro/Dollar. It's getting interesting. Listen to what CLSA's Chris Wood said yesterday on Bloomberg. He thinks we're "reaching an end game in the Eurozone, but the only issue is how long it takes" (for fiscal union). He then said, "we still have the risk of a euro quake to force the Europeans over this hump." He also talked about the Fed, I will watch it again later. Zero Hedge has a post out titled: Barclays Says Italy Is Finished: "Mathematically Beyond Point Of No Return"", which says the ECB will need to print euros.

ROBOT WATCH: PETMAN, Asimo and Watson (Videos)

PETMAN (Boston Dynamics)
Check out what's new with humanoid robot technology and artificial intelligence natural language computer systems. First, I embedded a video of a computer named Watson, designed by IBM, beating human beings (former champions I believe) at a game of Jeopardy. When asked a question, Watson's algorithms analyze relationships between words within its knowledge base (source documents), and then it ranks the best answers based on evidence. See the second video for a better understanding. People at IBM working on Watson believe it will transform the customer service, finance (banking) and health care industries.

Next, I embedded a new video of Boston Dynamic's PETMAN humanoid robot, which is essentially a terminator that can walk on a treadmill, get down on one knee, and even do push-ups. It is amazing. They need to put Watson's brain inside PETMAN's head. How will human labor survive this? I also embedded a new video of Honda's Asimo running around. Cool technology.

Sunny Egypt Interested in... Wind Power - Guest Post

Zafarana, wind farm
Zafarana Wind Farm in Egypt (Flickr)
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

Sunny Egypt Interested in... Wind Power

Egypt currently has a total electricity capacity of about 23,500 megawatts, which the government hopes to increase to 58,000 megawatts by 2027.

A prime potential element in increasing this electrical output?

Renewables.

One might think, given Egypt's climate, solar?

Wrong again - wind power, which currently contributes less than 1 percent to Egypt's energy mix.

In 2003 Egypt had its wind potential assessed and published a wind atlas, which found that with wind speeds of 7-10 meters per second, almost the entire nation was ideal for wind power installations, with the country's best areas being along the Gulf of Suez coast. Two years later the atlas's coverage was expanded to mapping the country's wind potential in detail and determined that large desert regions both to the east and the west of the Nile River, as well as parts of Sinai, have average annual wind speeds of 7-8 meters per second.

Three years ago, the government of former President Hosni Mubarak approved a progressive and ambitious project by 2020 to produce 20 percent of its energy from renewables, with 12 percent being generated by wind power. Mubarak's cabinet approved incentives for wind power development, including exemption from customs duties and 20 to 25 year power purchase agreements with government guarantees, a policy that the country's new transitional government has endorsed.

According to the World Bank, if the policy comes to fruition, then Egypt will realize a 7,200 megawatt wind power capacity, cut vehicle emissions through improved public transportation, and make industry more energy efficient.

Jonathan Walters, transport and energy manager for the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa regions, said that "high and persistent" winds in the Gulf of Suez suggest Egypt has "excellent potential for wind power - among the best in the world."

Ray Dalio's 2009 Hedge Fund Award Speech On Bridgewater, Uncorrelated Alpha and Beta

I found a video of Ray Dalio, founder of the $125 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, giving his acceptance speech after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 7th Annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards in 2009, which is run by Institutional Investor. He first talked about Bridgewater's culture and then the hedge fund industry. He said there needs to be more "uncorrelated alpha" and less beta replication. Watch the speech after the jump. Dalio's fund performed very well this year while other large funds collapsed (as of September). Related: Dalio Returns 25% With Diversified Bets as Markets Convulse (Bloomberg, 9/7/2011); Ray Dalio On Diversified Uncorrelated Bets and How The Machine Works (BloombergTV Interview, 9/15/2011).

Ray Dalio on Charlie Rose: We Have a Public and Private Sector Debt Issue, Deleveraging, Tapped Out Stimulus

Source: Charlie Rose
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the biggest hedge fund in the world with $125 billion under management (via pensions, endowments, foundations, foreign governments, central banks and other institutional clients), was interviewed on Charlie Rose on 10/20/2011 and said he's concerned about the overly indebted public and private sectors of the U.S. and Europe (debtor-developed economies) during this deleveraging period.

Dalio's main concerns are that fiscal and monetary policies are no longer affective and we're lacking the "quality dialogues" needed to deal with these issues, which ends up creating social tensions (ex. Occupy Wall Street). Watch the full interview at CharlieRose. I embedded a clip after the jump as well. Below are important quotes from the transcript (hat tip Zero Hedge). In an FT article recently, Dalio said: “Our character and our political and social systems are now being tested in ways that have typically been tested in past deleveragings.” It's getting serious people.

"I think it`s important to understand that we`re going through a deleveraging. So we have to understand the big picture is -- there`s a deleveraging. Three big themes: first there`s a deleveraging; secondly we have a problem with monetary and fiscal policies are running out of ammunition; and thirdly we have an issue in terms of people most importantly who are at each other`s throats politically and globally in terms of having a problem resolving those."

"I think it`s very important to understand that the government debt is the terrible challenging issue that we should talk about maybe but also more important is the private sector debt. So that resolving the public sector debt does not resolve the problem."

"We can`t solve the problem easily because we still have too much debt. But we can move forward in being able to make the best of it. We can spread it out, we can keep orderly we have a situation now in which we have a very severe situation, not only because we have a deleveraging going on, but we have a situation in which monetary policy cannot work the way it worked in the past, that fiscal policy will not be stimulative."

Fed's November Economic Projections, FOMC Statement and Bernanke's Press Conference (11/2/2011)

Nothing much has changed... The Fed is keeping rates at 0% and plans to "continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities". Watch Bernanke's press conference after the jump (here is the transcript). If they announce QE3, which could be in the form of "large scale MBS purchases" (that was Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo's idea), then that could change the game. Here's a snapshot of the Fed's economic projections vs. June. They lowered their real GDP projections and raised unemployment rate projections.


Full PDF: http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/fomcprojtabl20111102.pdf

Jefferies Discloses All Current Positions In Sovereign Debt Of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain

Source: FreeStockCharts.com
Today, Jefferies released an update on its net exposure to PIIGS debt. The stock (JEF) is now up 1.75% on the news at $12.22 after trading down 6% earlier. After collateral calls related to european sovereign debt exposure forced MF Global to file for bankruptcy, you can see why Jefferies is disclosing this internal information to the public. They are even going to post on their website "day-end, CUSIP-level holdings in the securities of these countries" later today.

In other news, "MF Global Holdings Inc., the bankrupt futures brokerage, has located $658.8 million in missing customer funds in a custodial account at JPMorgan Chase & Co." (Bloomberg) and "Iowa farmers feel ripples of MF Global bankruptcy" (Reuters). Surreal times.


Source: Jefferies

JEFFERIES DISCLOSES ALL CURRENTPOSITIONS IN SOVEREIGN DEBT OF
PORTUGAL, ITALY, IRELAND, GREECE AND SPAIN

NEW YORK and LONDON, November 4, 2011 – In response to inquiries, Jefferies is disclosing its position as of a few minutes ago in the sovereign risk of the nations of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. It should be noted that the interest-rate risk on such positions is insignificant, with DV01 equal to only $37,000.

Positions stated in USD MM’s
LongShortNet CashFuturesNet Total
Italy2,086(2,011)75(100)(25)
Spain191(209)(18)-(18)
Ireland110(80)30-30
Portugal20(16)4-4
Greece-----
Total2,407(2,316)91(100)(9)


“These are fragile times in the financial market and we decided the only way to conclusively dispel rumors, misinformation and misplaced concerns is with unprecedented transparency about internal information that is rarely, if ever, publicly disclosed,“ said Richard Handler, Chairman and CEO of Jefferies. “Later today, after the markets are closed in Europe and we have completed our inventory control accounting, we will post on our web-site our day-end, CUSIP-level holdings in the securities of these countries. We care for our clients, shareholders, bondholders and employees and want to allay any concern that may have arisen. As was the case yesterday, the facts about our sovereign debt exposure and other matters are straightforward and easily understood. We encourage all market participants and interested parties to review our public filings that contain extensive disclosure of the nature, extent and financing of our assets. Our firm stands on a solid foundation of over $8.5 billion of long-term capital and we look forward to continued success.”

“As is clear from this information, Jefferies has no meaningful credit risk in respect of the sovereign debt of these nations, and an insignificant risk related to interest rate movements,” said Brian Friedman, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Jefferies. “Jefferies is a leading market maker in the securities of these and other European nations, as well as a primary dealer in U.S. Government securities, and will continue to make an active two-sided market for our clients. These positions are held as inventory in the context of our market making activities and turn over frequently. Furthermore, nearly 95% of our financing of these positions is through central clearing houses.”

For further information, please contact:

Peregrine C. Broadbent
Chief Financial Officer
Jefferies Group, Inc.
(212) 284-2338

Jim Rogers: Next Economic Slowdown Will Be Worse Than 2008

Jim Rogers was on Fox Business on 11/2/2011 and said the next U.S. economic slowdown will be worse than 2008.
Source: Wikipedia
"Every four-to-six years throughout history we've had an economic slowdown in the United States for many many different reasons. So we're overdue, we're overdue in 2012-2013. When the next slowdown comes, what's America going to do? We cannot quadruple our debt again. We cannot print staggering amounts of money again. So the next slowdown is going to be worse than 2008, which was worse than 2002. So things just keep getting worse because the debt keeps getting higher and higher."

Unemployment Rate Is At 9.0%, Needs To Keep Trending Down (Charts)

During the month of October, 80,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate ticked down 0.1% to 9.0%. The U6 unemployment rate, or underemployment rate, is still high at 16.2%, but down from 16.5% in September. The market wasn't pleased about this data, or maybe it was combined with the Greek confidence vote and rise in Italian government bond yields. $SPY is down 1.61% at 124.23, pulling back at ceiling resistance; EUR/USD is down 0.58% at 1.37220; and I'm watching Jeffries Group (JEF), which is down 4.08% at 11.52 (down over 6% at one point). The one positive thing I see on the unemployment rate chart is it's been trending down since the 2009 peak. What we don't want to see is the rate spike towards 10% again during a new recession. Track the unemployment rate at bls.gov.


Chart of Unemployment Rate (BLS.gov)

Chart of Non-Farm Payrolls (BLS.gov)
"THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- OCTOBER 2011

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend up in October (+80,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in the private sector rose, with modest job growth continuing in professional and businesses services, leisure and hospitality, health care, and mining. Government employment continued to trend down.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons (13.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.0 percent) changed little over the month. The unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent since April. (See table A-1.)" (source)

ECB Cuts Rate to 1.25%, Papandreou Calls Off Referendum, SPY Testing Ceiling Resistance Again

Source: Freestockcharts.com
The market is rallying on stimulative news out of Europe today. First, the ECB lowered rates by 25 basis points, which was kind of expected given the recession fears and austerity measures. In other big news, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou called off the referendum vote on the EU bailout plan, so that uncertainty is off the table now (right?). From the New York Times:
"After a tumultuous day of political gamesmanship, Prime Minister George Papandreou called off his plan to hold a referendum on Greece’s new loan deal with the European Union, withdrew his previous offers to resign and opened talks on a unity government with his conservative opponents."

EUR/USD is up 0.92% at 1.38233 on the news and SPY (S&P ETF) is up 1.49% at 125.83. SPY is testing ceiling resistance again and is trading in a range between the 50 and 200 day moving average (red and blue lines). It is also fighting a downtrend (lower highs) as you can see, so SPY is at critical resistance levels to watch. EUR/USD ceiling resistance is around 1.40. Jefferies Group (JEF) was down 20% at one point today on European sovereign debt fears, but now it's up 1%!. All good there? All eyes are on the employment report tomorrow. ADP reported that private-sector payrolls in the U.S. rose by 110,000 in October.

ECB Statement:
"3 November 2011 - Monetary policy decisions

At today’s meeting the Governing Council of the ECB took the following monetary policy decisions:

The interest rate on the main refinancing operations of the Eurosystem will be decreased by 25 basis points to 1.25%, starting from the operation to be settled on 9 November 2011.

Jefferies Statement on European Sovereign Debt Exposure (JEF -7%, LUK -5%)

Jefferies Group (JEF) is down 7% (was down 20% at one point!) on fears of its european sovereign debt exposure after MF Global went bankrupt. According to Jefferies' press release, they have "long inventory of $2.684 billion" and "offsetting short positions of $2.545 billion as well as offsetting positions in futures instruments" in European sovereign debt. They said its net exposure to Portuguese, Greek, Spanish, Irish and Italian debt was $178 million. See the statement below.

They were downgraded by Egan-Jones yesterday according to Zero Hedge: "Egan Jones Downgrades Jefferies On Concerns About Sovereign Exposure Amounting To 77% Of Equity". If gross exposure doesn't matter in this case, Jefferies went on to say its "combined net short exposure of approximately $38 million equals approximately 1% of Jefferies’ shareholders’ equity, which as previously reported is not meaningful to Jefferies’ shareholder equity." Leucadia (LUK), which owns 27.9% of Jefferies, is down 6%.

China Completes First Biofuel Jet Test Flight (Derived From Jatropha) - Guest Post

Air China - Boeing 747-400
Air China Boeing 747 (source: rob-the-org on Flickr)
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

China Completes First Biofuel Jet Test Flight

On 28 October Air China conducted its first trial flight of a passenger jet powered by a mix of biofuel and traditional aviation fuel.

The Jet A-1 biofuel kerosene used in the flight was derived from the seeds of tung trees, more commonly known as jatropha.

Air China's Boeing 747-400 landed safely at Beijing Capital International Airport at 9:30 a.m. after burning more than 10 tons of the biofuel, a 50-50 mixture of traditional Jet A-1 derived from oil and Jet A-1 processed from the jatropha seeds. The jatropha Jet A-1 is what's known as a drop-in, simply being admixed in a 50-50 ratio with conventional Jet A-1, and requires no engine modifications.

Air China Vice President He Li said the composition and the burning efficiency of the biofuel admixture had been tested along with its impact on the Boeing 747's four Pratt and Whitney JT9D high-bypass turbofan engines.

The Hydro-treated Renewable Jet Fuel (HRJ) used Honeywell/ Universal Oil Products' process to produce the biofuel. According to Jennifer Holmgren, UOP's former director for renewable energy and chemicals, UOP licenses the process "nonexclusively." UOP said in a statement, "The flight is a result of a broader effort kicked-off in 2010 by China's National Energy Administration and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to address the technical, economic and institutional factors required for the development of a new biofuels industry in China."

Apocalypse Redux? U.S. Natural Gas Find off Vietnam Could Raise Tensions with China - Guest Post

Offshore Oil Rig In Vung Tau, Vietnam (Wikimedia)
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

Apocalypse Redux? U.S. Natural Gas Find off Vietnam Could Raise Tensions with China

First, the good news...

U.S. oil company ExxonMobil is reporting a "potentially significant" gas discovery off the coast of Vietnam, stating in a press release, "We can confirm ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Vietnam Limited drilled its second exploration well offshore Danang in August 2011 and encountered hydrocarbons."

ExxonMobil is the world's largest publicly traded oil company by market value. While Vietnam, an oil exporter and the third-largest oil producer in South Asia, began offshore exploration of its reserves in the 1970s, Hanoi only started in 2004 awarding offshore exploration concessions to a plethora of foreign companies, including those from the U.S., Canada and India with ExxonMobil receiving concessions from the Vietnamese government allowing it to explore blocks 117, 118 and 119 off Danang, an area that Vietnam insists is well within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone under international maritime law.

The bad news?

The South China Sea's offshore resources are currently claimed by six countries - China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines, with competing claims overlapping in a crazy quilt pattern. Given the billions of dollars at stake for exploiting the undersea energy resources, it is unlikely that the contradictory claims will be resolved anytime soon, making Southeast Asian waters a potential flash point for conflict.

Greek Bond Yield Update: 1-year GGB Yield At 224% (11/2/2011)

1-year GGB yield intraday via Bloomberg
Wow, Greece's 1-year government bond yield hit a high of 233% today and closed at 224%. How high will this thing go? Track government bond yields at Bloomberg.com.

Greek 1-year government bond yield GGGB1Y:IND 224.74%
Greek 2-year government bond yield GGGB2Y:IND 96.68%
Greek 5-year government bond yield GGGB5Y:IND 34.58%
Greek 10-year government bond yield GGGB10Y:IND 25.46%
Greek 30-year government bond yield GGGB30Y:IND 17.20%

News for today:

Euro Declines as European Leaders Withhold Aid Before Greece’s Referendum (Bloomberg)

Nicolas Sarkozy tells Greece: If you don't stick to the rules, leave the eurozone (Telegraph)

IMF to consider Greek aid after referendum-Lagarde (Reuters)

Greek cabinet backs PM's referendum decision (Al Jazeera Video)

Jeffrey Sachs vs. Niall Ferguson on Occupy Wall Street Movement (CNN Video)

Source: CNN
Economist Jeff Sachs of Columbia vs. Historian Niall Ferguson of Harvard on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Enjoy. Niall Ferguson was also on Yahoo's Daily Ticker today: Poor Public School Education Not Wall St. to Blame for American Inequality, Is the West Doomed to Fail? Yes, If We Don’t Start Working Harder, Says Author Niall Ferguson.

SPY, EUR/USD Make Lower Highs, Greek Referendum Analysis

SPY (the S&P ETF) and EUR/USD made lower highs recently after the S&P posted the biggest monthly gain since 1974 (was cut short on Halloween). They both peaked out in April and have been making lower highs ever since. On 10/31/2011, exhausted SPY and EUR/USD failed at 200-day moving average resistance, broke through the steep uptrend, and re-crashed through the March and June 2011 floor (now resistance again). EUR/USD even sold through its 50 day moving average, but regained that level today on oversold conditions. SPY is still above its 50dma, but it looks testable on this down move. We'll see. The surprise plan for a Greek vote on the EU bailout was the catalyst for the sell-off.


SPY at FreeStockCharts.com 

10-year Italian-German Bond Spread Hits 4.52, New High; EUR/USD, Banks Are All Red

10-year Italian-German Bond Yield Spread (Bloomberg)
The 10-year Italian-German Bond Yield Spread is at 4.52, +11%, and the 5-year Italian-German bond yield spread is at 5.27, +11.53%. Since German bonds are considered the safest government bonds in the euro zone, spreads widen when sovereign debt fears rise. I wrote about the 10-year Italian-German spread back in June when it initially broke out to new highs. The 10-year Spanish-German spread broke out in July. Watch the charts on Bloomberg.com to monitor sovereign risk in Europe. It is too bad Bloomberg.com took down down sovereign CDS quotes and charts. For a whole list of spreads to German bunds go to my post with links.

At the end of October, the market was very optimistic that the EU Summit deal reached to save Europe would go as planned. Read the full EU Summit Statement on the plan (the leveraged EFSF aka European Financial Stability Facility, 50% Greek debt haircut and austerity measures). However, now Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is calling for a referendum (1, 2, 3, 4) that could put the EU plan at risk since 58% of Greeks (1, 2) are against the plan. This puts contagion risk back on the table again if government bond yields continue to rise, Greece defaults, and/or credit default swaps, toxic sovereign debt holdings and sovereign collateralized swaps (repurchase agreements) force collateral calls on banks and then bankruptcy filings. If the plan fails, will the ECB print euros?

List of Events Leading Up to MF Global's Bankruptcy (PDF)

MF's last days in October
Hat tip to Distressed Debt Investing for linking to info on MF Global's bankruptcy case. Visit his site for more info on MF Global's debt and what Jon Corzine, MF Global's CEO, said during the most recent earnings call. In MF Global's bankruptcy declaration by COO Bradley Abelow, he explained the events leading up to the bankruptcy filing. Read the full document here (mfglobalcaseinfo.com) or it is embedded below. See my previous blog post on MF Global's $6.3 billion short-term European sovereign portfolio that ended up killing the company. It shows how equity can get wiped out at these financial institutions in the matter of days from regulators increasing net capital requirements, credit rating downgrades and collateral calls.
"E. Events Leading To Chapter 11 Filing

33. As a global financial services firm, MF Global is materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and worldwide economic conditions. On September 1, 2011, MF Holdings announced that FINRA informed it that its regulated U.S. operating subsidiary, MFGI, was required to modify its capital treatment of certain repurchase transactions to maturity collateralized with European sovereign debt and thus increase its required net capital pursuant to SEC Rule 15c3-1. MFGI increased its required net capital to comply with FINRA’s requirement.

MF Global Files For Bankruptcy On European Sovereign Debt Exposure via Repo Trades

These swaps and shadow banking markets continue to put financial firms at risk even after the 2008 financial crisis. MF Global went bankrupt (DealBook) today because they took on European sovereign debt exposure, via "repo-to-maturity" trades with so called "limited risk", until things turned for the worse by the end of October. MF Global explained the events leading up to its Chapter 11 filing in a bankruptcy declaration today: 1) On October 24, 2011 MF Global was downgraded by Moody's to one notch above junk; 2) On October 25, 2011 MF reported a $191 million loss for the second quarter and was forced by FINRA to "announce that MFGI held a long position of $6.3 billion in a short-duration European sovereign portfolio financed to maturity"; and 3) on October 27 it was downgraded by Moody's and Fitch to junk, which forced collateral calls from counterparties and concerned clients to pull their money from the institution. Also read the bankruptcy petition (via DealBook). The blog Distressed Debt Investing has more detail on the bankruptcy filing and the bonds.

MF explained their low-risk revenue strategy in an October 2011 fact sheet embedded below. It's another example of how these so called low-risk trades can end up destroying financial institution equity in a matter of days. Here's an excerpt from the fact sheet.

"Revenue diversification strategy

In keeping with MF Global’s ongoing strategy to diversify revenue streams, the firm expanded client facilitation and principal activities across a variety of asset classes. As previously disclosed, we have seen revenue opportunities in the short-duration European sovereign markets. 

The following provides more detailed information on MF Global’s short-term European sovereign portfolio and solid financial position. 

Background on transactions: European sovereign portfolio as of September 30, 2011

• MF Global maintains a net long position of $6.3 billion in a short-duration European sovereign portfolio financed to maturity (repo-to-maturity) 

• We entered into reverse repurchase and repurchase transactions to maturity, as the firm does in U.S. government securities 

• The firm’s European sovereign portfolio financed to maturity (repo-to-maturity) includes:

Source: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/

And towards the end of the document they talk about risk being limited.

Solar Energy Companies Worldwide Threatened by Cuts in Government Subsidies - Guest Post

Photovoltaic power plant near Po river
Photovoltaic Power Plant (Italy) - NightFlier on Flickr
Guest post by OilPrice.com

In any country, at the end of the proverbial day, both energy utilities and consumers are finally interested in the technologies that generate a kilowatt of electricity most inexpensively, all other considerations aside.

Accordingly, all countries involved in solar energy are optimists, but nascent industrial efforts to generate power on a commercial scale from the sun are without exception dependent upon current government subsidies to enter the market, which is littered with optimism, the failure of U.S. federally subsidized company Solyndra being Exhibit A.

But countries worldwide are seeking government support to shield their embryonic solar industries from market realities until conditions improve, and few countries are more caught between the realities of the "free market" and national priorities in developing energy alternatives than Israel, whose energy imports remain a major topic of concern to the government. Subsidies are viewed as critical worldwide by solar producers, especially in a recession market, but fiscal realities are asserting themselves, which alternative energy companies warn could kill their efforts.

America Going Green: U.S. to Provide 71% of World's Biofuels by 2021? - Guest Post

2008-09-28 - Liberty Corn Maze - 0020
Source: Flickr (Smitme)
Guest post by OilPrice.com

A recent study, released on 11 October, "Biofuel Markets and Technologies" released by Pike Research states that the global biofuel market will double within the next decade to $183.3 billion from its current level of $82.7 billion, with ethanol production accounting for $78 billion of future worldwide biofuel production, while predicting that biodiesel production will reach $25.5 billion. Perhaps not surprisingly, Pike Research predicts that the US will become the world's leading biofuel producer, accounting for 71 percent of alternative fuel by 2021.

Colorado-based Pike Research on its website defines itself as "a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets."

How realistic a prediction is this? Many in the media are utilizing the company's press release on the gist of the report, as one has to be a user to login even to find out the price of the report, which the website helpfully notes, contains 144 "Tables, Charts, Figures."

So, is America about to go ever more green to raise ethanol?

Distressed MF Global Is Trying To Sell Its Futures Brokerage, Goldman Buying MF Assets?

MF Global Holdings (MF) Stockcharts.com
MF Global (MF), a world leading broker-dealer for "futures and options, commodities, fixed income, equities and foreign exchange" run by John Corzine, closed at $1.20 today, down from $4 at the beginning of October. MF Global's bonds maturing on 8/8/2016 (MF.AD, 6.25% 6.25% fixed coupon, FINRA has variable not sure why) last traded at 49 cents on the dollar with a 25.20% yield (source: TRACE at finra.org). Are there credit default swaps? MF Global is also "one of the 22 primary dealers authorized to trade U.S. government securities with the New York Fed". It looks like MF is on the wrong side of a few trades in european sovereign debt, or actually repurchase agreements collateralized by euro government bonds.

Bloomberg on their exposure:
"The firm, which has a market value of $198 million, holds $6.3 billion of sovereign debt from Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Ireland that it’s using in repurchase agreement trades with customers." (Bloomberg)

MF was just downgraded to junk by Moody's and Fitch, and, according to Reuters, some MF Global clients are pulling their money from the brokerage. As a result, MF Global tapped two credit lines and is now trying to sell-off its futures brokerage unit to raise capital ($765 million?).

Dick Bove, analyst at Rochdale Securities, thinks Goldman Sachs is scooping up MF Global assets at distressed prices, and believes they will make a "huge windfall profit" (watch after jump). This reminds me of Dick Bove talking about Lehman on Bloomberg in August 2008 during the financial crisis! The Wall Street Journal, via Fox Business, mentioned there were other firms interested as well. Watch Charlie Gasparino, of Fox Business, explain what's going on after the jump.
"According to The Wall Street Journal, Goldman, State Street and Australia’s Macquarie are all either eyeing New York-based MF Global or its parts. Other firms may also be looking at the company, but any deal would be expected to happen quickly as its stock plunged below $1 on Friday." (Fox Business)

Update: J.C. Flowers, MF Global in Talks (DealJournal). J.C. Flowers already owns 6% of MF Global's preferred stock and is on the board. J.C. Flowers injected $300 million into MF in 2008 after the firm suffered $141 million in trading losses from rogue trades in wheat futures. According to DealJournal, "they cautioned a deal may not happen". Seems like principal trading activities have worked out quite well for financial institutions recently (wtf?).

Links: Euro Deal, Greek Banks, Dalio, Chanos, Birinyi, S&P's Biggest Monthly Gain Since 1974

Greek Bank Investors Facing Wipeout (Bloomberg)

China on ‘Bigger, Faster Treadmill’: Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates (Bloomberg, Video)

Italy 10-Year Auction Yields Hit New Euro Lifetime High (Reuters)

Goldman Economist Says Chinese Inflation ‘Basically Controlled’ (Bloomberg)

S&P 500 Extends Best Month Since ’74, Euro Rises (Bloomberg, Carpe Diem) *see monthly candlestick chart below

There's A 30% Chance Of Another Global Downturn - Bridgewater Founder Ray Dalio (WSJ, sub)

Video of Ray Dalio on Charlie Rose (CharlieRose.com)

Risk on the rise as political leaders give in to mob rule (Financial Times)

The Great American False Dilemma: Austerity vs. Stimulus (Gregor.us)

Birinyi Associates: Market at Extreme Overbought Levels (CNBC)

Albert Edwards: "The Eurozone Crisis Will Get Much, Much Worse" And "The ECB Will Print" (Zero Hedge)


All about the euro plan, Greek bond haircut and Greek CDS

EURO SUMMIT STATEMENT - 10/16/2011 (consilium.europa.edu PDF)

The euro deal: No big bazooka (Economist)

Chart: EUR/USD Sitting On Uptrend Waiting On EFSF Decision

EUR/USD at uptrend + ceiling intersection (freestockcharts.com)
EUR/USD, up 0.03% at 1.39280, is sitting on a steep uptrend line from the October low (as is the S&P), and waiting on the EFSF catalyst to make its next move. As noted on my charts, if EUR/USD reverses sharply and breaks through that steep trend line and the recent highs, it could see a decent retracement to the downside (imo). Overhead resistance is around 1.40, which took five long months to break if you remember, so EUR/USD is at a critical intersection.

Today, the EU summit meetings in Brussels and the German parliament vote will decide the fate of the proposed leveraged EFSF plan (European Financial Stability Facility), and will probably be the catalysts that directionalize the euro and equities. It's a pretty complex plan, and I'm still trying to figure it all out, so I'll refer you to a bunch of articles below for more information. The plan essentially involves the EU, IMF, other countries, sovereign wealth funds and private financial institutions (via Special Purpose Investment Vehicles) throwing money at distressed (toxic) sovereign debt and banks in the eurozone to prevent a major financial crisis. The EFSF, which is funded by EU member states (the majority by Aaa rated France and Germany), would backstop a portion of the losses. That's why the 10-year French-German yield spread hit a 20 year high last week and Moody's put France's "stable outlook" on review. But to make it all worse, should Greece or another country default, there are credit default swaps written on Greek debt with counterparty risk, similar to 2008.




Greenspan: Why European Union Is Doomed to Fail (CNBC Video)
Euro Investment Vehicle 'Giant Sub-Prime CDO' (CNBC)
Satyajit Das: Euro-Zone’s Leveraged Solution to Leverage (Naked Capitalism)
Merkel Puts Rescue Fund to Vote Before EU Crisis Summit (SF Gate)
Europe Struggles for Crisis Cure Ahead of Summit (Bloomberg)
Ferguson Says ECB to `Print Its Way Out of the Crisis' (Bloomberg Video)
Rescue plan could take weeks to fund, draft warns (Irish Times)
Brussels summit: the main issues to be resolved (Telegraph)
German Lawmakers Set To Back EFSF (WSJ)
Hard line adopted on Greek debt loss (FT)
Merkel Gambles on Parliamentary Support for Euro Backstop (Spiegel)
Europe Readies Its Rescue Bazooka (Naked Capitalism)
Annotated European Union Document On EFSF Status (Zero Hedge)
Italy steps closer to meeting EU demands with pension compromise (Deutsche-Welle)
Euro Backstop to Be Leveraged to One Trillion Euros (Spiegel)

S&P ETF Pulling Back At 61.8% Retracement, Has Crazy Monthly Candle - Chart

The S&P 500 Index ETF (SPY) is up 16% from the October 4 low and pulling back after hitting the 61.8% retracement level (May 2 high and October 4 low) and ceiling resistance. The 200 day moving average is at 127.61 and sloping downward (SPY hit a high of 125.78 yesterday and is now at 123.20, -1.82%, testing the uptrend). See charts below.

The market is pricing in all of these bailouts/stimulus plans in Europe and the U.S., as well as the potential for QE3 and a soft landing in China. Or, the market is pricing in the rally in credit spreads (Tom Lee of JPM), its own move creating economic growth via reflexivity, or perhaps the move is related to the huge spike in sunspots in October. But, many technical analysts (Katie Stockton, Tom DeMark) and portfolio managers (Jeffrey Gundlach) believe this is just a short squeeze in a bear market. Also, ECRI (Economic Research Institute) provided this reminder: "Flashback to an April 2008 interview discussing how ECRI's recession call remained intact despite a rise in stock prices and other data." See ECRI's recession call here. If the S&P manages to break through the steep uptrend line, it could pullback and retest some support levels (simple as that), then we'll see what happens.

There is a big EU meeting tomorrow and a German vote on the new EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility), which will be used to backstop losses from the Eurozone sovereign debt and banking crisis ("The EU paper, obtained by Reuters, shows two options for increasing the fund's firepower -- an insurance model and a special purpose investment vehicle (SPIV)"). See the linkfest below. This Seeking Alpha article said October could post the largest monthly gain in 54 years. That explains the massive green candle on chart 2. MACD on the monthly saw a downward crossover, just like it did in 2007. Also, if the 50 month moving average crosses the 200 month, that would not be good, imo. The market was able to stay above the 200MMA in August and barely in October.

What Next for Libya? - Guest Post

Colorful Old Oil Barrels
Source: L.C.Nøttaasen on Flickr
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

What Next for Libya?

Libyan Colonel Gaddafi's 42 year brutal reign is over, but the future looks murky ahead for a country primarily known for exporting oil and terrorism.

One thing is for certain - international oil companies will be packing out flights to Tripoli to cut deals for a piece of the action.

Libya remains the wild card, with only 25 percent of the country's oil potential territory explored. Whatever the demerits of the Gaddafi regime, it kept tight rein over its oil industry, and that, combined with international sanctions for its terrorist proclivities, largely stymied development of the country's resources, much in the way that the development of Iran's petrochemical sector has been largely devoid of foreign capital. After all, they did not call the 1996 U.S. legislation "the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act" (ILSA) for nothing. In September 2006 ILSA was renamed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), as Gaddafi was behaving himself more, but the damage to the country's energy infrastructure was by then deep and systemic.

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95 percent of export earnings, 25 percent of GDP, and 80 percent of government revenue. All of this is up for grabs now.

Prior to the outbreak of conflict in February, Libya was exporting about 1.3-1.4 million barrels per day from production estimated at roughly 1.79 million barrels per day of high-quality, light crude, of which approximately a mere 280,000 barrels per day were indigenously consumed. But current production is the proverbial mere drop in the bucket. Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa with 42 billion barrels of oil and over 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, according to conservative estimates.

Now that the fighting is apparently over, the issue of Libya's oil production will swiftly move front and center in international interests.

Tom DeMark: S&P Is Operating Against The Trend; Weekly, Monthly 13s Still In Down Mode (10/20/2011)

Source: Bloomberg
Tom DeMark, founder of Market Studies and creator of the DeMark Indicators, was on Bloomberg Television on 10/20/2011 sharing his views on the market. In bold letters below is his overall view that the market is still in a downtrend. His immediate-term outlook was more confusing though, at least in words. He said he sees downside risk in the near-term after this monster rally off of the October low, which generated a daily 13 signal. However, he said there's a possibility that the market could thrust to 1,250 on a positive catalyst out of Europe, but that would be "indicative of a market top" on good news. That is for the immediate term only. He thinks if the S&P hits 1246-1254 and sells off, the market would see an "extended period of sideways movement and then be resolved to the downside." Watch the video for more info.
"On May 2, we had a coincidence of what we call the combo and sequential indicators. They all spoke on a monthly, weekly and daily basis; they all produced 13s exactly the day and the week of May 2 (also in February). And at the August 9 low, combo and sequential only spoke of one voice, and that was a daily 13. The weekly and monthly are still in a down mode. So we're really operating against the trend."

Steve Jobs' Biographer William Isaacson On 60 Minutes (Video)

Last night, Steve Jobs' biographer, William Isaacson, was interviewed on 60 Minutes about his new book on Jobs' life story. Watch part 1 and 2 below. I also added the extra clip where Jobs talks about Bill Gates, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg. Interesting story.

JP Morgan's Tom Lee Still Expects S&P to Hit 1,475 By Year-End (Videos - 10/17/2011)

Source: Breakout on Yahoo Finance
Tom Lee, JP Morgan's Chief Equity Strategist (who's been bullish on the stock market since June 2009), was interviewed by Matt Nesto on Breakout (Yahoo Finance) on October 14 and 17, and told viewers that he expects a 20% rally in the S&P into year-end (1,475 target), which is a new bull market high.

"I think that this rally that we've seen since October is much more credible than the ones we've seen since July. The reason being, I think a very important market to watch when you're looking at equities is the high yield market. And the high yield market had been selling off on almost every rally, so you really had a big divergence. Since October 4, we've seen the biggest rally in high yield in 2 years. So I think you're basically getting a confirmation that investors are embracing risk again, which means the stock rally I think has a lot more legs to it." (video #1).

"And then as I look at Q4. We have to think about the fact that Brent Crude is down $25 from its high, that's almost a $3 tailwind to S&P earnings. And then these economic momentum indicators, like the Citigroup Surprise Index, have actually moved up. Historically that's been associated with an upward revision in S&P earnings." (video #1)

"I think it's going to be very possible to see something like a 20%+ rally from current levels in the S&P." (video #2)

S&P at 1,475 is in the 2007-2008 channel, around the peak (stockcharts.com)

Reasons why:

1) "Europe is moving towards the endgame" (finding a solution).

2) Macro risk of a hard landing in China is off the table.

3) Hedge funds have been net short the market, and historically get positive (bullish) when credit spreads rally and economic surprise turns up.

4) "High yield bond prices, which are 91% correlated with S&P price/book, are telling us the S&P should be fairly valued close to 1,400" (interesting).

He provides individual stock picks in the video clips below. Let's see if he can time the top of the bull market, or at least get close (in the media).