Total Outstanding Notional Value of OTC Derivatives Tops $700 Trillion (BIS, 6/30/2011)

Total Notion Amounts Outstanding of OTC Derivatives
(Source: BIS, click for OTC FX Derivatives chart as well)
In November, the Bank for International Settlements reported that the total notional amounts outstanding of OTC derivatives stood at $707.569 trillion at the end of June 2011, up 17.7% from $601.046 trillion at the end of December 2010. Read the full report here: OTC derivatives market activity in the first half of 2011. Of this total, $441.615 trillion were interest rate swap contracts, up 21.2% from $364.377 trillion at the end of 2010. At the end of June, the total gross market value of OTC derivatives outstanding was $19.518 trillion, down from $21.296 trillion at the end of 2010.

More from BIS:

Could War Flare Again Between Iraq and Kuwait? - Guest Post

Guest post by John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

Could War Flare Again Between Iraq and Kuwait?

According to Iraqi Council of Representatives Oil and Energy Committee member Furat al-Sharei, the 10 oil fields that spread across the Iraqi-Kuwaiti frontier are still waiting to have a line drawn through them to delineate the border, more than eight years after a coalition led by U.S. forces toppled the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

According to al-Sharei, the two countries must first collaborate in developing legislation for equitably sharing the fields before oil extraction can begin, noting, "The problem of the common fields can be resolved by developing legal mechanisms."

While Iraq and Kuwait are now at peace, many of the border issues that led to conflict two decades ago remain, which no amount of diplomatic bonhomie can completely paper over.

U.S. Biofuel Camelina Production Set to Soar - Guest Post

Camelina Fuel (U.S. Navy/Wikimedia)
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

U.S. Biofuel Camelina Production Set to Soar

The U.S. biofuel industry has long been stymied by the lack of USDA federal crop insurance, leaving only the most adventurous farmers willing to plant renewable energy crops.

Biofuel sources currently under development include algae, jatropha and camelina. Of the three, camelina is increasingly emerging as the frontrunner in attracting initial investment worldwide, as global demand for aviation fuel for passenger flights is now more than 40 billion gallons annually.

Camelina has a number of advantages over its competitors, including using far less water, thus allowing it to be grown on marginal land, thereby not taking food acreage out of production.

Furthermore camelina has a relatively short growing season of 80 to 100 days, requires no special equipment to harvest, and the silage remaining after processing can be fed to livestock and poultry, with the added side benefit of increasing their omega-3 production.

Jon Corzine's Testimony During MF Global Bankruptcy Hearing, Has No Idea Where Missing Money Is

Source: C-Span (click for hearing video)
Watch the full MF Global bankruptcy hearing with former CEO Jon Corzine at C-Span. I embedded his full statement below (via the House Agriculture Committee). He talked about MF Global's investment in RTM's (repo-to-maturity transactions) involving European sovereign debt, the weeks leading up to its bankruptcy filing, and the missing $1.2 billion. He has no idea where the money is. Sound financial system we have.

"The Unreconciled Accounts

Obviously on the forefront of everyone’s mind – including mine – are the varying reports that customer accounts have not been reconciled. I was stunned when I was told on Sunday, October 30, 2011, that MF Global could not account for many hundreds of millions of dollars of client money. I remain deeply concerned about the impact that the unreconciled and frozen funds have had on MF Global’s customers and others.

As the chief executive officer of MF Global, I ultimately had overall responsibility for the firm. I did not, however, generally involve myself in the mechanics of the clearing and settlement of trades, or in the movement of cash and collateral. Nor was I an expert on the complicated rules and regulations governing the various different operating businesses that comprised MF Global. I had little expertise or experience in those operational aspects of the business.

Official EU Council Statement, French Banks Downgraded, Soros Buys European Debt (via MFG), Euro Update

Source: European Council (Flickr)
If you want to read the offical EU Council statement, here's a link to the official document. PragCap broke it apart and explained it in a post ("No Bazooka"). EUR/USD is currently at 1.33233, down a little bit from my previous post on the ECB and EU draft a few hours ago. Below is the part on stabilization tools at the end. EUR/USD is now at 1.33155... Articles to read.

*Moody's Downgrades Three French Banks (Reuters)
*Moody's downgrades Société Générale's long-term ratings to A1 (Moody's)
*Moody's downgrades Credit Agricole SA's long-term ratings to Aa3, concluding review (Moody's)
*Moody's downgrades BNP Paribas's long-term ratings to Aa3, concluding review (Moody's)
*Eurozone to forge ahead as UK blocks treaty change (France24)
*EU States to Send IMF $267 Billion in New Crisis Fight (Bloomberg)
*CDOs To Buy European Bank Stocks And Other Silly Ideas (DealBreaker)
*Wells Fargo to pay $148M fine for Wachovia misdeeds (CNN Money)
*Shadow banking and the seven collateral miners (FT Alphaville)
*Corzine's Loss May Be Soros's Gain - "Investor George Soros's family fund bought about $2 billion of European bonds formerly owned by MF Global Holdings Ltd." (WSJ)

"Strengthening the stabilisation tools

11. Longer term reforms such as the ones set out above must be combined with immediate action to forcefully address current market tensions.

12. The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) leveraging will be rapidly deployed, through the two concrete options agreed upon by the Eurogroup on 29 November. We welcome the readiness of the ECB to act as an agent for the EFSF in its market operations.

13. We agree on an acceleration of the entry into force of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty. The Treaty will enter into force as soon as Member States representing 90 of the capital commitments have ratified it. Our common objective is for the ESM to enter into force in July 2012.

14. Concerning financial resources, we agree on the following:

ECB Disappoints Market, EUR/USD Testing Trend Lines, EU Statement Draft Released

Courtesy of EUR/USD (FreeStockCharts.com)
EUR/USD is at 1.33523, -0.40%, and testing important trend lines today after ECB President Mario Draghi disappointed markets by not announcing plans to buy European government bonds (read analyst reactions at Reuters). The ECB lowered its key interest rates by 25 basis points. For real-time news on what's really going on in Europe, I suggest you follow the money. Here are the ECB's statements on fiscal policy (ECB release).
"Turning to fiscal policies, all euro area governments urgently need to do their utmost to support fiscal sustainability in the euro area as a whole. A new fiscal compact, comprising a fundamental restatement of the fiscal rules together with the fiscal commitments that euro area governments have made, is the most important precondition for restoring the normal functioning of financial markets. Policy-makers need to correct excessive deficits and move to balanced budgets in the coming years by specifying and implementing the necessary adjustment measures. This will support public confidence in the soundness of policy actions and thus strengthen overall economic sentiment.

Watch EUR/USD During the ECB Meeting (Chart)

EUR/USD is currently trading at 1.34025, -0.02%. It is currently testing a near-term downtrend line, and check out the perfect trend line below it. Articles to read: ECB to cut rates as focus on bond buys intensifies (Reuters); ECB May Dig Deeper Into Crisis Toolbox (Bloomberg). Will they cut the rate by 25 basis points or 50 basis points? See key ECB interest rates here. Watch EUR/USD trade live in the quote widget on my sidebar (notes: 11/25/2011 low is 1.32121, 10/4/2011 low is 1.31460). Click the chart for a larger view.


Source: FreeStockCharts.com

Robert Shiller: Home Prices Back at 2003 Levels, Could Overshoot to Downside (Charts, Video)

Robert Shiller, Yale professor and co-founder of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, was featured on Reuters TV on 11/30/2011 after the September housing data was released. Guess what people, "Detroit has now recorded three consecutive months of positive annual rates." Below are charts from the S&P/Case-Shiller press release.


New York, November 29, 2011 – Data through September 2011, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller

Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, show that nationally home prices did not register a significant change in the third quarter of 2011, with the U.S. National Home Price Index up by only 0.1% from its second quarter level. The national index posted an annual decline of 3.9%, an improvement over the 5.8% decline posted in the second quarter. Nationally, home prices are back to their first quarter of 2003 levels.

As of September 2011, the annual rate of change in 14 of the 20 MSAs and both Composites, covered by S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices, improved versus August. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa recorded lower annual declines in September compared to August. Detroit and Washington DC were the only two MSAs to post positive annual rates of +3.7% and +1.0% respectively. Detroit has now recorded three consecutive months of positive annual rates."

Source: S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index Press Release

Source: S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index Press Release


During the Reuters TV interview, Shiller said "this was definitely a surprise on the downside, and "I don't see any reason to predict a recovery now". He thinks that high unemployment is weighing on the housing market right now, and is worried that home prices could overshoot to the downside.
"At best we can hope it that it doesn't overshoot. We are back down to normal levels for home prices, but after a crisis they could overshoot and become cheap overall."

I also found a Standard & Poor's interview with Robert Shiller and Karl Case that was conducted on 10/25/2011.

Mexico - Rising Natural Gas Superstate? - Guest Post

Source: Gobierno Federal (Flickr)
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

Mexico - Rising Natural Gas Superstate?

Americans looking south of the Rio Grande tend to forget, if they ever knew, that Mexico is, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, now America's second largest source of imports. Of the United States' total crude oil imports averaging 9,033 thousand barrels per day (tbpd), Mexico is the second largest source of imports, at 1,319 tbpd, exceeded only by Canada with 2,666 tbpd.

But now, Mexico's future seems even brighter. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, Mexico's significant untapped natural gas reserves, if properly developed, could eventually provide Mexico with energy independence.

On 29 November in Washington, presenting the most recent EIA report on Mexico van der Hoeven stated, "Mexico is sitting on very large natural gas fields that could allow it to end gas imports and could give it energy independence.

Grantham's S&P Chart Showing Projected Overshoot to Downside (2011-2021)

Source: GMO Capital Q3 2011 Letter
Jeremy Grantham's Q3 2011 letter is out, and it includes a must see projected S&P chart (going out to 2021) that might put the long only, buy-and-hold crowd in a tizzy. His projection is based on the average overcorrection of "10 great (pre-Greenspan) equity bubbles". If the projection is right, the S&P is currently topping out and will base out around 800 in the coming years. The bottom in 2013 looks too clean on the chart, in my opinion.

Grantham's explanation of the chart:
"Historians would notice that all major equity bubbles (like those in the U.S. in 1929 and 1965 and in Japan in 1989) broke way below trend line values and stayed there for years. Greenspan, neurotic about slight economic declines while at the same time coasting on Volcker’s good work, introduced an era of effective overstimulation of markets that resulted in 20 years of overpriced markets and abnormally high profit margins. In this, Greenspan has been aided by Bernanke, his acolyte, who has continued his dangerous policy. The first of the two great bubbles that broke on their watch did not reach trend at all in 2002, and the second, in 2009 – known by us as the first truly global bubble – took only three months to recover to trend. This pattern is unique. Now, with wounded balance sheets, perhaps the arsenal is empty and the next bust may well be like the old days. GMO has looked at the 10 biggest bubbles of the pre-2000 era and has calculated that it typically takes 14 years to recover to the old trend. An important point here is that almost no current investors have experienced this more typical 1970’s-type market setback. When one of these old fashioned but typical declines occurs, professional investors, conditioned by our more recent ephemeral bear markets, will have a permanent built-in expectation of an imminent recovery that will not come. For the record, Exhibit 1 shows what the S&P 500 might look like from today if it followed the average fl ight path of the 10 burst bubbles described above. Not very pretty"

Grantham is the co-founder of GMO Capital, which manages $93 billion in client assets (hnw, institutional). Read his views on commodities as well: Jeremy Grantham: "Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever".

Hat tip Zero Hedge

DeMark: S&P Rallies to 1,330-1345 in December, Overall Trend Still Down (Video, SPX Chart)

S&P 500 Index (not future) - StockCharts
Tom DeMark, creator of the DeMark Indicators (exhaustion indicators) that large hedge fund traders use on charts to time the market, was featured on Bloomberg TV yesterday, and said he expects S&P futures to hit between 1,330-1345 by December 21, but the overall trend is still down.

In the chart below, the S&P 500 Index (cash, not future) is testing the 200 day moving average resistance level (1,264.23). It closed at 1,258.47 on Tuesday. If the S&P breaks above that level, it could squeeze shorts, break through that downtrend line from July, and proceed to test the October high (1,293). But if the overall trend is down, that would mean it's just a false breakout. We shall see. Get ready for the ECB meeting on December 8, EU summit on December 8-9, and Fed (FOMC) meeting on December 13.

Old School Video of Tom DeMark Talking About "Trading the Nines" (1990s)

I found this old school video clip of Tom DeMark, founder of Market Studies and creator of the DeMark Indicators, talking about "trading the nines" on charts on a screen in the 1990s. It must have been related to his book at the time, The New Science Of Technical Analysis, which was published in 1994. You can see a poster in the back. Large hedge fund traders use his technical indicators on charts to time the market at exhaustion points.

Australia Going Solar - Gonna Cost Ya, Mate - Guest Post

Img: Wikimedia Commons
Guest post by John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

Australia Going Solar - Gonna Cost Ya, Mate

Green activists, take note - for Australia fully to embrace solar power, Canberra would have to spend $100 billion, with photovoltaic cells to generate the electricity covering an area twice the size of Sydney in order to replace Australia's indigenous inexpensive coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources.

This is not an insignificant figure, as Australian coal currently generates 80 percent of Australia's electrical energy output.

AAPL Chart Watch: Sitting on 50DMA, Still On Uptrend, Above 200DMA (for now!)

9-year AAPL chart (see below)
Here's a quick look at Apple's chart (AAPL) that hasn't officially broken down yet. AAPL is sitting right on the 50 day moving average today, and still holding the 200DMA and recent uptrend from 2010. Monitor this trend closely to see if it breaks down and starts a new bear market. I'm going to watch the options as well going forward. AAPL peaked out around $200 in 2008 before hitting $75 in the previous bear market. Also, if you look at the first chart, AAPL's 9-year uptrend line (support) hits today around $275-$325. The MACD and RSI indicators are interesting as well. If AAPL goes, so goes QQQ. Or, maybe it means competitors like Google or Amazon are gaining ground. See charts after the jump if on the index page.

News:
Canaccord Genuity: Kindle Fire will take 15.3% of tablet market (Fortune)
Canaccord Reiterates Buy, $560 Target on Apple (Benzinga)
JP Morgan Maintains Overweight, $525 Target on Apple (Benzinga)
UBS Analyst Maynard Um: iPhone Growth to Boom in Holiday Season, AAPL target $510 (Mac Observer)
UBS Dismisses iPad Concerns on Corning Glass Warning (Mac Observer)
Apple's best November ever saw supply chain sales spike 17% in one month (AppleInsider)
Ticonderoga Securities analyst has $666 target on Apple, sees positive supply chain (CNBC Video)
Apple: Retail Growth to Re-Accelerate, Says Barclays (Barrons)
EU in antitrust probe of Apple, e-book publishers (AP)
Acer likely to launch ultrabooks priced from US$699-799 in 2012, say sources (Digitimes)
Amazon's Kindle Fire Will 'Vaporize' Android But Leave Apple Unscathed (Reuters)
Apple loses ‘iPad’ trademark in China (Zdnet)

10Y French-German Yield Spread Spikes After S&P Places AAA Eurozone Countries On CreditWatch

10-year French-German Bond Yield Spread (Bloomberg.com)
As noted yesterday, S&P placed AAA countries in the eurozone on "CreditWatch with negative implications". The list includes the largest contributors to the EFSF, Germany at 29.07% and France at 21.83% (efsf.europa.eu - pdf). S&P is going to review what happens at the EU summit on December 8-9 (Thursday-Friday), and then decide if they should downgrade Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, and Luxembourg by up to one notch, and France by up to two notches.

According to Reuters, France "has the highest debt and deficit levels of the six AAA-rated euro zone members". Read S&P's report on France here. In the press release below, S&P explained five interrelated factors causing "systemic stresses" in the eurozone. I provided a chart of the 10-year French-German bond yield spread, which is up 7.44% at 1.00 right now.

Articles related to the downgrade: We've Just Witnessed A Major Turning Point In The Euro Crisis (BI); France: S&P warning serious but no austerity needed (Reuters); France says has more to do than others to keep its AAA (Reuters); EFSF Bailout Bonds Drop After S&P Cuts Euro-Nation Debt Outlooks (Bloomberg).

Standard & Poor's Puts Ratings On Eurozone Sovereigns On CreditWatch With Negative Implications

60 Minutes on Prosecuting Wall Street, Countrywide and Citigroup Fraud!

Img: $BAC via StockCharts, +Flickr (TheConsumerist)
On Sunday, 60 Minutes had segment on prosecuting Wall Street, and you won't believe what Eileen Foster, former executive vice president in charge of fraud investigations at Countrywide, and Richard Bowen, former senior vice president and chief underwriter in the consumer lending division at Citigroup, had to say about what actually went down inside these institutions before they were bailed out by the government. Watch the videos after the jump. I added the extra 60 Minutes video featuring Tom Forgers, senior fraud investigator for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). Read the full FCIC report here. To your right is a 5 year stock chart of Bank of America (BAC), which currently owns Countrywide.


Eileen Foster at Countrywide (read the full 60 Minutes script)


Kroft: How much fraud was there at Countrywide?

Foster: From what I saw, the types of things I saw, it was-- it appeared systemic. It, it wasn't just one individual or two or three individuals, it was branches of individuals, it was regions of individuals.

Kroft: What you seem to be saying was it was just a way of doing business?

Foster: Yes.

In 2007, Foster sent a team to the Boston area to search several branch offices of Countrywide's subprime division - the division that lent to borrowers with poor credit. The investigators rummaged through the office's recycling bins and found evidence that Countrywide loan officers were forging and manipulating borrowers' income and asset statements to help them get loans they weren't qualified for and couldn't afford.


SPY Gives Back Gains After S&P Warns AAA Rated Euro Nations (Charts)

This put cold water on the rally today, which was fueled by Italy's austerity measures and Merkel/Sarkozy's budget plan for the EU today.

S&P ratings warning to top euro nations -- FT
"The US ratings agency is poised to announce later on Monday that it is putting Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, and Luxembourg on “creditwatch negative”, meaning there is a one-in-two chance of a downgrade within 90 days." (AAA rated)

Let's see if SPY can make another lower high. It pierced through the recent uptrend, but we'll see how equities react to the ECB's decision on rates on December 8 and the EU summit meeting on December 8-9 (Thursday-Friday). The Fed meets next Tuesday on December 13. Also, this probably isn't good for the employment number: Postal plan: Slower delivery, 28,000 jobs lost (CNN Money).


SPY intraday move after S&P warning - FreeStockCharts.com

SPY (S&P ETF) since September 2011 - FreeStockCharts.com

Links: Italian Yields Fall on Austerity, Euribor Rates Rise

Here are a few links before the U.S. market opens. European equities and U.S. index futures are up and Italian bond yields are down on Italian austerity measures. Oil is rising with "risk on" and the drama in Iran.

*Added: The End of Growth in the United States (Gregor.us).

Merkel Heads to Paris as EU Leaders Seek Debt Strategy (Bloomberg)

Italy PM Monti unveils sweeping austerity package (Reuters)

Monti Seeks Support for 30 Billion-Euro Austerity Package to Trim Italy Debt -delay retirement, tax on first homes... (Bloomberg, Video)

Italian Bond Yields Fall After Austerity Package (WSJ)

Euribor rates tick up on debt crisis tensions (Reuters) *banks' overnight deposits with the ECB hits new 2011 high

Commerzbank to Boost Capital (WSJ)

Q&A Euro crisis: everything you need to know (Telegraph)

Fed may give loans to IMF to help euro zone: paper (Reuters)

Watch the World's Fastest Flying Human Espen Fadnes at 250 km/h

Wingsuit proximity flying is the coolest sport I have ever seen. Espen Fadnes, the world's fastest flying human, was interviewed at the Goovinn Blog: http://www.goovinnblogg.se/2011/11/release-of-the-film-sense-of-flying/. I found this video originally at CBS News. Here's the description from Vimeo, watch it after the jump.
"What´s it like flying down a mountain at 250 km/h? Espen Fadnes - The World’s Fastest Flying Human Being 2010 - teamed up with Project Managers Goovinn to communicate the experience of flying. ”SENSE OF FLYING” came out of the collaboration."

Nomura's Bob Janjuah: S&P Moves 35% Lower, 90 EPS x 9 P/E = 810 (Video, SPX Chart)

S&P 500 Weekly Chart, w/ MACD (stockcharts.com)
Bob Janjuah, the co-head of cross-asset allocation strategy at Nomura International Plc, believes the S&P 500 moves 35% lower from here [9 P/E x 90 EPS = 810].  He was interviewed on BloombergTV on 12/2/2011, watch the interview below. To your right is a weekly chart of the S&P 500 going back to 2004 with trend lines. The MACD looks interesting. In addition, Janjuah believes...

*Overall equity markets will lose 20-25%;

*Greece could see a hard default in Q1 2012, which is not priced in the market;

*The risk of more countries defaulting is high, mentions Portugal;

*This will force ECB to be lender of last resort;

*U.S. sees no recession but growth below trend in 2012, between 1-1.25%;

*"China is not an unstoppable locomotive of global growth";

*Markets could see "much higher levels of volatility";

*Fiscal drag expected in Q1-Q2; sees no extensions for payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits;

*Banking sector risks taking down governments;

*Likes non-financial large-cap corporates with strong balance sheets and the potential for special dividends and stock buybacks (due to ex-growth).

Disastrous Friendly Fire Event in Pakistan Could Grind the U.S. Afghan Campaign to a Halt - Guest Post

Guest post by John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

NATO recently literally shot itself in the foot, imperiling the resupply of International Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan by shooting up two Pakistani border posts in a "hot pursuit' raid.

Given that roughly 100 fuel tanker trucks along with 200 other trucks loaded with NATO supplies cross into Afghanistan each day from Pakistan, Pakistan's closure of the border has ominous long-term consequences for the logistical resupply of ISAF forces, even as Pentagon officials downplay the issue and scramble for alternative resupply routes.

Pakistan, long angry about ISAF/NATO cross border raids, has apparently reached the end of its tether. Following the 26 November NATO aerial assault on two border posts in Mohmand Agency in Pakistan's turbulent NorthWest Frontier Province, Islamabad promptly sealed its border with Afghanistan to NATO supplies after the allied strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

VIX Futures In Contango, Upside Protection Purchased (Call Spreads) - Charts

S&P 500 vs. VIX (stockcharts.com)
Index futures are up 1.3% this morning. The BLS releases U.S. employment data at 8:30 (EST). The S&P is testing the 200 day moving average resistance level and the VIX is at 200DMA support (or just above it). Yesterday, on the Option Monster Volatility Sonar Report, Jamie Tyrrell, of Group One Trading, reported that the VIX futures curve is in contango (front month prices < back month, see chart below) and customers bought VIX December call spreads, or upside volatility protection, to hedge against negative market catalysts. He said on 11/30 a customer bought 55,000 December 45-60 call spreads for $0.32, and on 12/1 a customer bought 10,000 December 32.5-42.5 call spreads for $0.95. VIX Cash and the December VIX Future closed at 27.41 and 27.90. The VIX, or Volatility Index, is calculated using S&P 500 options prices. I added the Optionmonster video after the jump.

During the week, coordinated actions by central banks to lower the cost of Dollar liquidity, and China's move to lower its Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR), put a nice bid under asset markets. We'll see how the markets react to the employment report. Monitor ECB (European Central Bank), Federal Reserve and Congressional news closely this month. Here are articles to read:

*Merkel urges euro fiscal union to tackle debt crisis (BBC)
*ECB opens door to action, Sarkozy seeks (Reuters)
*European Central Bank head hints at more action if euro countries curb spending (Washington Post
*Central Bank Chief Hints at Stepping Up Euro Support (NY Times
*Fed Officials See No New Move (WSJ)
*Barclays' Maki: Extend Payroll Tax Cuts or Expect QE3 (Newsday)
*House GOP Bill Renews Jobless Benefit (Time)

David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff, and Komal Sri-Kumar, chief global strategist at TCW, think more shoes could drop in the months ahead before the Eurozone sovereign debt and banking crisis gets resolved. Will sovereign debt haircuts, bank recaps and nationalizations be the catalysts for a nice capitulation event? Watch them discuss the Eurozone crisis on Bloomberg TV at Business Insider.

Here's a chart of the VIX futures curve using CBOE quotes. Click the charts for a larger view.

China to Embrace Fracking In an Effort to Ramp up Energy Production - Guest Post

Guest post by John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

China to Embrace Fracking In an Effort to Ramp up Energy Production

China is leaving no shale deposit unturned in its effort to develop indigenous energy resources.

On 24 November China's Ministry of Land and Resources geological exploration department head Peng Qiming said during a press conference that China's combined oil and natural gas output, 280 million tons in 2010, is projected to rise to 360 million tons of oil equivalent by 2015, a 23 percent increase in four years and will rise to 450 million tons by 2030, a 62 percent increase over 2010 production, impressive rises in production by any yardstick.

And Beijing authorities in their drive are embracing a controversial natural gas production technique that is coming under increasing government scrutiny in both the United States and Britain - hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking." China has started drilling to meet an ambitious annual production target of 80 billion cubic meters by 2020 by which time the government is seeking to meet a target of generating 10 percent of its energy needs from natural gas and 15 percent from renewable sources and launched a national shale gas research center in August 2010.

Central Banks Coordinate to Lower Cost of Dollar Liquidity, S&P Spikes 4.3%

Source: Flickr (Ken_Mayer)
Coordinated moves by central banks to ease liquidity concerns in the financial system caused the S&P to rise 4.33% to 1246.96 yesterday. For more information read the Fed's release and this Reuters article: "Q+A: Why everyone cares about dollar liquidity swaps". Banks are directly exposed to the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, and I'm sure the bank credit rating downgrades recently had something to do with this coordinated move. Read this Reuters article: "S&P downgrades hit bank funding, counterparty cost". Bank of America (BAC) almost breached $5 on Tuesday before it was downgraded by S&P after the close. It smells a little bit like 2008, no? Below is the Federal Reserve's press release, which includes links to the other central bank releases and an FAQ on foreign currency liquidity swaps.

"Release Date: November 30, 2011

For release at 8:00 a.m. EST

The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank are today announcing coordinated actions to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system. The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity.

S&P Downgrades BofA, Chris Whalen's Views ($BAC Closed At 5.08)

Yesterday, Standard & Poor's, using its new ratings criteria, downgraded 15 big banks including BAC, C, JPM, WFC, MS, GS and BK. BAC closed at $5.08 before the announcement. U.S. index futures are currently down overnight (Emini S&P -0.86%), so we'll see if BAC trades in the $4s tomorrow.


Image: FreeStockCharts.com

From S&P's research update:
"Following a review of Bank of America Corp. (BofA) under Standard & Poor's revised bank criteria (released on Nov. 9, 2011), we have lowered our issuer credit rating (ICR) on BofA to 'A-/A-2' from 'A/A-1'. We also have lowered our long-term ICR on its operating subsidiary Bank of America N.A. to 'A' from 'A+'. The short-term rating on the operating subsidiary remains 'A-1'."

"The negative outlook reflects our view that there are significant earnings headwinds and potentially material legal uncertainties, specifically within BofA's mortgage business, and our negative outlook on the U.S. sovereign."

On CNBC's Fast Money yesterday, Chris Whalen, Managing Director at Institutional Risk Analytics, said BofA should have the "courts appoint an equitable receiver" (read his 11/28 comment at IRA) and then break-up into five or six banks. He said he'd rather buy BAC's bonds than the stock, and his favorite big bank is U.S. Bancorp (USB). Watch the video after the jump.
"The question is what are the parents' cash needs? Does anybody want to put more capital into the parent company? No. No sane person would do that. See, I think, ultimately, that a lot of investors in our community who have big claims pending against this company -- we put out a comment yesterday that says we need an equitable receiver, we don't need bankruptcy, because the investors get stuffed, and there won't be any third-party claims. We need a receiver to sort this out, just the way we had with Stanford Group. No Bankruptcy. But we need to get this organized, get these claims dealt with, and then this company is fine. I would break it up. You could sell five, six banks out of Bank of America. They're the biggest IPOs in history." (via CNBC transcript)

In addition, this is the line in BAC's most recent 10Q (ending 9/30/2011) that everyone is talking about. Does it still apply?
"In addition, if at September 30, 2011, the ratings agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for the Corporation by one incremental notch, the amount of additional collateral and termination payments contractually required by such derivative contracts and other trading agreements would have been up to approximately $5.1 billion comprised of $3.4 billion for BANA and $1.7 billion for Merrill Lynch. If the agencies had downgraded their long-term senior debt ratings for the Corporation by a second incremental notch, approximately $1.5 billion comprised of approximately $1.0 billion for BANA and $500 million for Merrill Lynch, in additional collateral and termination payments would have been required."

Google Reins in Spending on Renewable Energy Technology - Guest Post

image: techdreams.org
Guest post by James Burgess of OilPrice.com

Google Reins in Spending on Renewable Energy Technology

Back in July Larry Page became Google's new chief executive and immediately began a campaign to reign in Google's projects and focus their resources. This was due to the stiff competition they were facing in mobile computing and social networking from Apple and Facebook, and also investor sentiment towards increasing expenditure on non-core businesses.

One of the latest casualties of this "spring cleaning" was the big green initiative, RE<C (Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal), which was an ambitious idea to make renewable energy cost competitive with coal-fired power plants. The plan was to build cheaper and more efficient heliostats, mirrors that reflect the sun's rays onto water-filled boilers in order to create steam and generate electricity in turbines.

Prechter: "The Trend Is Exhausted", Witnessed Historic Reversal In Credit Supply In 2008 (Video)

Image: Elliott Wave video
Article syndicated by Elliott Wave International

Prechter: "The Trend Is Exhausted"
Robert Prechter explains what's the real problem with today's market
November 28, 2011

By Elliott Wave International

What is the real problem with today's market? Watch this excerpt from Robert Prechter's special, video issue of the August 2011 Elliott Wave Theorist. Prechter shows you how the buildup of dollar-denominated debt has brought us to what he calls a critical market juncture.

Get even more information about current market trends and how to prepare for what's ahead with our new 14-page investing report. See details below.

Crude Oil Analysis for the Week of November 28, 2011 - Chart

Light Crude Oil Spot Price (StockCharts.com)
Note with chart: Light crude oil (WTI) hit a high of $100.74 today but closed around the low at 97.60. It is still above the 200 day moving average (95.65).

Guest post by OilPrice.com

Crude Oil Analysis for the Week of November 28, 2011

January Crude Oil closed lower for the second consecutive week but losses could have been worse if not for a strong comeback on Friday. The primary reason for the weakness throughout the week was concern that the European debt crisis would trigger the start of a global recession. As bearish conditions spread throughout the Euro Region, traders pressured the Euro, driving up the U.S. Dollar and lowering demand for the dollar-based crude oil market.

The soft crude oil market firmed up on Friday on the news that violence had erupted in Saudi Arabia. With unrest already taking place in Egypt and Yemen, the news that it had spread to Saudi Arabia led to speculation that an escalation of events may destabilize the country. Egypt and Yemen are small players in the oil game while Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest crude oil exporter. Increased violence in this country would drive oil prices sharply higher on the fear that supply would be reduced.

Fitch Keeps U.S. Credit Rating at AAA, Outlook Revised to Negative

Image: SolvencyIIWire
Fitch Ratings warned they would revise their outlook on U.S. debt to negative if the Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to reach an agreement. Today it happened. From the Fitch release.
"The affirmation of the U.S. 'AAA' sovereign rating reflects still strong economic and credit fundamentals. U.S. sovereign liabilities, both the dollar and Treasury securities, remain the global benchmark and accordingly the U.S. credit profile benefits from unparalleled financing flexibility and enhanced debt tolerance, even relative to other large 'AAA'-rated sovereigns. The U.S. dollar's status as the pre-eminent global reserve currency and depth of the U.S. Treasury market render financing risks minimal and underpin a low cost of fiscal funding."

"The Negative Outlook reflects Fitch's declining confidence that timely fiscal measures necessary to place U.S. public finances on a sustainable path and secure the U.S. 'AAA' sovereign rating will be forthcoming following failure of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSCDR) to agree at least USD1.2 trillion of measures to cut the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years as mandated under the Budget Control Act passed in August (BCA 2011)."

Links: IMF/Italy, EFSF, Moody's on Eurozone, Ackman vs. Icahn, Fed Loans to Banks

Articles today are on Europe, Eurozone sovereign ratings, Fed loans to banks between 2007-2008, Ackman vs. Icahn beef and China property curbs. I'm seeing some 'risk-on' action this morning: E-mini S&P future +2.51% at 1,182; EUR/USD +0.51% at 1.33531; Gold spot +0.51% at 1,714.79; and oil is spiking right now +3.03% at 99.72.

IMF denies in Italy aid talks - Reuters

Euro bailout fund leveraging rules ready (EFSF): documents - Reuters

IMF Italy Loan Report 'Wide of the Mark,' BBH's Chandler Says - SF Gate

IMF readying '€600 bn rescue plan' for Italy - AFP (see above)

The eurozone really has only days to avoid collapse Wolfgang Münchau - Financial Times

Germany, France examine radical push for eurozone integration - Reuters

S&P and IMF Warn Japan About Debt, JGB CDSs Rise (Charts)

Last week, JGB 5 and 10-year CDSs broke above the 10/21 highs and now look like they could test the 10/4 highs (and beyond?). What do you think, check out the charts. On Friday 11/25, JGB 5Y CDS closed at 135 basis points and JGB 10Y CDS closed at 161 bps (Bloomberg.com data). It is the cost to insure $10 million of Japanese government bonds (100 basis points = 1% per year). And on 11/25, the Japanese 10-year government bond yield completed its "biggest weekly gain since January". Watch Japanese credit data and news. Last week the IMF warned Japan about its debt load and borrowing costs, S&P warned that Japan "may be" close to a downgrade, and yesterday Bank of Japan's Shirakwa warned about the economy. Moody's downgraded Japan's credit rating to Aa3 from Aa2 in August.

JGB 5-Year CDS at Bloomberg.com

JGB 10-year CDS at Bloomberg.com

Strategist David Rosenberg On Corporate Bonds, Treasuries, More MF Globals (Video)

David Rosenberg, Chief Economist and Strategist at Gluskin Sheff, was interviewed by Consuelo Mack WealthTrack on 11/11/2011. His view, which is nothing new, is that the U.S. is in "in the throes of a modern day depression much like Japan". Why does he think this? We've experienced a ten year period of no employment growth; the stock market hasn't appreciated in 12 years; the yield on the 3-month Treasury Bill is at one basis point (0.01%, actually closed at 0.02% on Friday); we're experiencing a "secular contraction of credit, especially in the household sector" (in the U.S. and Europe); and "deleveraging cycles can last 7-10 years".

Source: StockCharts.com
On employment and the economy, Rosenberg said they both could "start contracting in the opening months of next year". On investment opportunities, Rosenberg believes "there is a possibility Treasury yields could go lower, maybe they go to 1.5% from 2%" (10-year note yield), but believes North American corporate bonds with "decent spreads", "quality balance sheets", and risk "mispriced for the economic outlook", present an attractive investment opportunity. Oh, and he thinks MF Global might be the Bear Stearns of 2011 (more to come). And the ECB's balance sheet and euro bonds ("hitched to Germany's credit rating") will decide the fate of the Eurozone. Watch the full interview below courtesy of WealthTrack.

Rare Steve Jobs Interviews on NeXT Computers (1986, 1990)

Watch this rare interview with Steve Jobs in 1990 on the future of computing (hat tip Finance Trends). He was at NeXT Computer at this time after getting fired from Apple in 1985. Apple bought NeXT in 1996. During the interview Jobs discusses the transitions between spreadsheets, desktop publishing and interpersonal computing (human-to-human communication). Watch the 50 minute interview after the jump via PBS NOVA. UPDATE: I embedded another Steve Jobs interview in a 1986 documentary titled "Entrepreneurs" by John Nathan, where Jobs talks about NeXT..

Groupon Sold Off Another 15%; Put Options, Implied Volatility Spike As GRPN Trades Below IPO Price

GRPN from IPO (FreeStockCharts.com)
Groupon is now trading below its $20 IPO price after closing at $16.88 yesterday (11/23), down 15.50% . On 11/22 it closed at 20.07, down 14.75% (previous post: Groupon Lost 14.8% Yesterday, Social Media Stocks Destroyed In November). I think GRPN's options put a spell on the stock when they arrived at the CBOE on 11/14/2011. The December GRPN 22-25 puts sold off initially when GRPN traded between 23-26.9, but then rose 102%-191% when GRPN broke down and hit a low of $16.71 yesterday (chart of Dec 23 put below). GRPN's implied volatility spiked to 123% from 80% initially (ivolatility chart below).

Groupon only offered 5.5% (35 million) of its total outstanding shares, so there is a tight float. A week before the options started trading, all of the "available" shares were used to short the stock (borrow-and-sell). I also read that due to the tiny float, brokers initially charged "an annual rate of 90 percent to 100 percent last week to borrow Groupon's stock." Then, according to Crain's Chicago Business, "the premium to borrow such shares fell from more than 90% to about 30% early this week, opening the door for short sales." It was interesting to see how it all panned out, especially after reading multiple blog posts recently on the best ways to own or short the stock. You can see that $23-$23.30 was the line in the sand and then the IPO price. Watch that steep descending channel (downtrend) and overhead resistance level (looks like $18) to see when the trend changes. By the way, Morningstar analyst Rick Summer believes Groupon is worth $8 per share. He was featured on Fox Business on 11/6, watch the video below.

Intense Euro Linkfest, Charts (Banks, Economy, Bond Yields, EUR/USD) - 11/23/2011

So much is going on in Europe right now that it's hard to keep track. Here's a linkfest on the fly with a few charts (EUR/USD, 10-year German Bund yield). The 10-year German Bund yield is at 2.06%, up 7.56%, and EUR/USD is at 1.34027, down 0.46%. It was below 1.34 earlier this morning. Read the articles below and also see Eurozone PMI charts.

EUR/USD (FreeStockCharts.com)

HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI Falls to 48, Output Index Falls to 46.7 (Most Since March 2009)

*see more charts on the release
Stocks in Asia are lower after weak (preliminary) Chinese manufacturing data was released. The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) fell to 48 in November from 51 in October, and the Flash China Manufacturing Output Index fell to 46.7 in November from 51.4 in October. Under 50 = contraction. The release said both indicators were at 32-month lows, and it opened with the headline "Chinese manufacturers report sharpest fall in output since March 2009". This is the preliminary November PMI release. The final data is published on December 1. As you can see from the PMI and Production charts, the trend is down and both are below the 2010 lows.

More from the press release at Markit Economics.
Source: MarkitEconomics.com
"Commenting on the Flash China Manufacturing PMI survey, Hongbin Qu, Chief Economist, China & Co Head of Asian Economic Research at HSBC said: “The dipping headline manufacturing PMI implies that IP growth is likely to slow further to 11-12% y-o-y in the coming months, as domestic demand cools and external demand is set to weaken despite the still resilient new export orders. That said, as inflation is likely to decelerate at a faster than expected pace, it will leave more room for Beijing to step up selective easing measures, which should gradually filter through to keep China on track for a soft-landing.”"

See PMI releases for Germany, France and the Eurozone as well.

Groupon Lost 14.8% Yesterday, Social Media Stocks Destroyed In November (GRPN, LNKD, P, OPEN, Z)

Groupon (GRPN) closed at $20.07 yesterday, down 14.89% and near its IPO price of $20. When GRPN started trading on 11/4/2011, it initially popped to about $30 and then lost about a third of its value. Since 11/4, Groupon (GRPN) is down 23%, Pandora (P) is down 22.14%, LinkedIn (LNKD) is down 16.61%. Google only lost 2.71%, OpenTable lost 18.74% and Zillow got destroyed, down 29.39%. The S&P lost 5.2%, QQQ lost 5.67% and PNQI, the PowerShares Nasdaq Internet Portfolio, lost 8.38%. So, these recent IPOs/social internet companies (less Google, because of Google+?) did worse than the market and internet index on the second wave down. I found out there's a Global Social Media ETF (SOCL) run by GlobelXFunds. According to Morningstar, "SOCL holds 26 social networking, file sharing, and web-based media companies from all around the globe." I would have added Angie's List to the chart but I couldn't due to a limit.





Courtesy StockCharts.com

Spanish 3-Month and 6-Month Bill Yields Spike at Auction, Both Over 5% (Chart)

Spain 3M T-bill Auction (Bloomberg)
At an auction today, the average yield on the Spanish 3-month T-bill spiked to 5.11%, up 122% from 2.29% at the previous auction on 10/25/2011. And the average yield on the Spanish 6-month T-bill spiked to 5.227%, up 58% from 3.30% at the previous auction. Click the links for quotes and charts at Bloomberg.com. Spain is getting squeezed.

Spanish Yield Curve Inverts Most Since 1994 - Zero Hedge
Spain pays more than Greece to borrow - FT
EURO GOVT-Spain bill yields soar, pressuring periphery - Reuters
Spanish yields spike as crisis exits blocked - Reuters
Spain's Borrowing Costs Skyrocket - WSJ
Spanish Government Bonds Decline After Bill Auctions; Belgian Debt Slides - Bloomberg
Germany Sees No ‘Bazooka’ in Crisis as Spain Yields Surge - BusinessWeek
Spain pays 5.1% for three month money - FT Alphaville
Spain Requests Data Providers Change Reference Bond Price - WSJ(?)

Moody's Warns France, CDS Hits New High, Fitch Warns U.S. 'Super Committee'

Credit rating agencies released updates on France and the United States recently. Fitch said, if the U.S. 'Super Committee' fails to reach an agreement on deficit reduction measures, it would "most likely" result in a "revision of the rating outlook to Negative."
"Fitch Ratings-London/New York-21 November 2011: In Fitch's August 16 statement, when it affirmed the US 'AAA' sovereign ratings with a Stable Outlook, the agency commented that it would update its US economic and fiscal projections in light of the work of the 'Super Committee'. Fitch also commented that failure by the Super Committee to reach agreement would likely result in a negative rating action -- most likely a revision of the rating Outlook to Negative, which would indicate a greater than 50% chance of a downgrade over a two-year horizon. Less likely would be a one-notch downgrade.

The announcement today that the Super Committee was unable to reach agreement on at least USD1.2 trillion of deficit-reduction measures underscores the challenge of securing the political consensus on how to reduce the federal budget deficit and place US public finances on a sustainable path over the medium-term. Fitch now expects to conclude its review of the US sovereign rating by the end of November." (Source: Fitch)

However, since no agreement would still force $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts, both Moody's and S&P said it wouldn't affect the U.S.'s credit rating. But if the deficit reduction plan happens to change, that could be the catalyst for more downgrades (read more at Bloomberg). Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, believes "2012 is shaping up to be a very, very tough year. And in large part it's because the Super Committee decided to punt" (Fox Business). More on this in another post. The "payroll tax holiday" expires at the end of the year and emergency unemployment insurance expires on 1/3/2012.

Interesting MF Global Commercials, Trustee Says $1.2 Billion Missing

I found interesting MF Global commercials on Youtube. They had creative ad agencies. First, some news updates: MF Global Revelations Keep Getting Worse -pdf (by Janet Tavakoli of Tavakoli Structured Finance via jca)MF Global trustee says $1.2B or more missing (AP); Insight: Farm belt rage over MF Global could chill markets (Reuters).

Russia Ups Ante with Caspian Neighbors by Moving Offshore - Guest Post

Source: kvitlauk (Flickr)
Guest post by John C. K Daly of OilPrice.com

Russia Ups Ante with Caspian Neighbors by Moving Offshore

On 16 November in Astrakhan Lukoil president, Vagit Alekperov told journalists that his company will spend over $16 billion over the next decade to develop the country's Caspian offshore Korchagin and Filanovskii oil and natural gas fields in the Caspian, at the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Astrakhan Region.

An equitable division of the Caspian's offshore resources have bedeviled the region since the December 1991 implosion of the USSR, putting the Soviet Union's previous cozy arrangements with the Shah's Iran "into the dustbin of history," to quote Leon Trotsky.

Before the collapse of the USSR, the Soviet Union and Iran effectively divided the inland sea amongst themselves, according to the terms of the 1940 Soviet-Iranian treaty, which replaced the 1921 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries, which awarded each signatory an "exclusive right of fishing in its coastal waters up to a limit of 10 nautical miles." The treaty further declared that the "parties hold the Caspian to belong to Iran and to the Soviet Union."

Since 1991 three new nations have arisen in the Caspian basin to contest this bilateral arrangement - Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. For the past two decades the five nations have wrangled about how to divide the Caspian offshore waters, and little has been achieved.

Crude Oil Analysis for the Week of November 21, 2011 - Guest Post

Light Crude Oil (StockCharts.com)
Guest post by Oilprice.com (I added a chart of light crude oil (WTI) with simple technical analysis. It bounced off the 200dma today)

Crude Oil Analysis for the Week of November 21, 2011

January Crude Oil futures succumbed to selling pressure last week, reaching a high at $103.37 and forming a closing price reversal top. Once confirmed, this pattern often leads to a minimum 50% correction of the most recent rally. Although a sell-off is likely, it doesn't mean the trend has changed to down. What this pattern may be doing is giving long traders a reason to take profits before a correction takes place. Aggressive counter-trend traders may be interested in the short-side.

Based on the main range from the May top at $115.22 to the October bottom at $75.36, crude oil exceeded a major retracement zone at $95.29 to $99.99. Selling pressure, however, was strong enough to push the market back inside of this zone, re-establishing its importance as a potential resistance zone. In addition, downtrending Gann angle resistance and uptrending Gann angle support formed a cluster of prices with the retracement zone to identify a possible topping area.

This week the retracement zone stays intact, but one Gann angle drops down to $100.72 and the other moves up to $103.36. Since the contract closed under both of these angles, it begins the week in a weak position. In addition, taking out $96.70 will confirm the weekly top and a trade through $95.29 will put the market on the bearish side of the retracement zone.

Going forward, the short-term range is $75.36 to $103.37. This range formed a retracement zone at $89.37 to $86.06. Uptrending Gann angle support from the recent bottom moves up to $89.36. This creates a support cluster and possible downside target at $89.37 to $89.36. If the closing price reversal is confirmed then traders should look for a possible break into this support cluster over the near-term.

E-Mini S&P Testing 50DMA, Deficit Reduction Committee Tries To Strike Deal (Video, Charts)

Here is overnight chart action for the December E-Mini S&P 500 Future and December E-mini Nasdaq Future. ES is testing the 50 day moving average and NQ is below the 50 and 200 again after failing to break above the 2011 high. NQ also pierced through the 2007 high again (support). The U.S. deficit reduction "super committee" failed to strike a deal to cut $1.2 trillion from the budget. They vote on Wednesday. Keep an eye on the credit ratings agencies to see what they think of this (BusinessWeek: U.S. Bond Risk Rises as Lawmakers Fail to Agree on Budget Cuts). Watch the NEDN video below for more information. Also, keep an eye on European government bond yields.

E-mini S&P 500 December 2011 Future (optionsxpress)

E-mini Nasdaq December 2011 Future (optionsxpress)

Links: China Property, MF Global Lawsuits, U.S. Deficit Reduction Committee, ECB, Iran Oil, Clearwire

Quick links...

U.S. deficit reduction committee updates (11/20/2011): No deal in sight on U.S. budget cuts ($1.2 trillion) (Globe and Mail), Debt-reduction panel spirals toward failure (Reuters), U.S. Debt Supercommittee Said Ready to Announce Failure (SF Chronicle), Deficit Effort Nears Collapse (WSJ), The Super Bad Committee's Quest to Weaken the Economy (PragCap), US 'super committee' on spending cuts admits its heading for failure (Telegraph)

via MF Global on Youtube
MF Global Customer Counsel Koutoulas: JPM Stalling on First Lien Request, CME Likely to 'Make Investors Whole' (the Commodity Customer Coalition is comprised of 7000+ MF Global customers with missing money and a gang of experienced lawyers) - Benzinga Radio Interview

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Sued for Alleged MF Global Misstatements (as well as "Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., RBS Securities Inc. and Jefferies & Co.") - BusinessWeek

"Iran's oil minister says oil could be used as a political tool, if necessary." - Al Jazeera English

China Property Prices Record First Fall Since Cooling Campaign - WSJ (sub/summary)

China House Inflation Hits Year Low, Prices Fall - CNBC

China Said to Warn Banks on Risks Tied to Local Government, Property Loans - Bloomberg

China says will "strengthen" yuan's trading flexibility - Reuters

Yes, it’s legal for the European Central Bank to save Europe (Lisbon Treaty says the ECB can buy sovereign debt on the secondary market, but not directly from governments) - Washington Post

ECB Lending To IMF Proposal Gaining Traction - Sources - WSJ (sub/summary)

ECB as "the blue guitar" - Bathos on Econ and Trading

General Maritime - Not What The Banks Needed - Zero Hedge

Mattress Firm Holding Corp. Closes Up 15.8% Post-IPO - WSJ (sub/summary)

Clearwire’s Debt Threat May Be ‘Ploy’ to Win Sprint Agreement - BusinessWeek

Clearwire Down 28% As Firm Mulls 'Skipping' Interest Payment - Zero Hedge

Bill Miller's exit marks fresh start for Value Trust fund (Legg Mason) - Baltimore Sun