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

Spanish 10-Year Note Yield Makes New High, Then ECB Pushes It Down (11/17/2011)

10y Spanish-German Yield Spread
gives back all gains (Bloomberg)
Yesterday, the Spanish 10-year note yield and the 10-year Spanish-German yield spread broke out to new highs, but both reversed sharply when, according to FT and Guardian, the ECB intervened and bought Spanish bonds (which lowered the yield). The Spanish 10-year yield hit a high of 6.78%, but closed at 6.48%; and the 10-year Spanish-German yield spread hit a high of 4.99, but closed at 4.59, or unchanged after the huge intraday spike (see the chart). Sovereign debt in every euro zone country is getting attacked, but most recently in Greece, Italy, France, Belgium and now Spain. The ECB (European Central Bank) keeps buying up distressed Italian and Spanish bonds as yields keep pushing higher. Read the articles below for more information. It's hard to tell what will happen next with the ECB manipulating european sovereign debt markets, and possibly the IMF, EU and sovereign wealth funds getting involved via the leveraged EFSF plan (European Financial Stability Facility). Update (11/17/2011): Or the ECB could lend money to the IMF to bailout "even the biggest euro zone sovereigns". FYI: The Lisbon Treaty says the ECB can't buy debt directly from governments, but can on the secondary market (WashingtonPost). it is illegal for the ECB to monetizeillegal for the ECB to It's obvious though that if government bond yields keep rising, these distressed leveraged governments that can't print money, and with large amounts of debt maturing next year, will either see huge interventions or debt restructurings. Read this article by Satyajit Das at Naked Capitalism on how the leveraged EFSF and a special purpose vehicle are supposed to save Europe: Satyajit Das – Europe’s Plan To End the Debt Crisis – Putting The “Con” in “Confidence” Part 1. And as you've noticed, the balance sheets of banks, broker/dealers and funds holding European sovereign debt are directly affected. That's why people are hoping a European fiscal union gets formed so it can issue T-bonds and have a tax base.

Getting a little Spanish bond yield perspective (FT Alphaville)
Spanish bond yields near critical level (FT)
Spain's prime minister pleads for help from EU and ECB as yields climb (Guardian)
Stocks Retreat While Italy Bonds Gain on ECB Buys; Euro Rises (SF Gate)
ECB buying drives down Italian yields (and Spanish yields) (FT)

Videos of Protests in Greece and Italy Today (11/17/2011)

If you think the Occupy Wall Street protests are getting bad, Russia Today has wild footage of today's protests in Greece and Italy on new austerity measures and government drama (videos below). Also read: Reforms spark riots in Italy, Greece (ABC Melbourne). Watch live footage of the Occupy Wall Street protests here. If it's possible to chart out this cycle of social volatility, which Elliott wave pattern are we in, 3 of 5?

Live Video of Occupy Wall Street at NYSE, Why Don't They Start Their Own Wall Street?

11/17/2011: Below are two Occupy Wall Street feeds to watch. I see no teargas or flash bombs yet after they failed to delay the opening bell. The OWS movement should start their own Wall Street and have foot soldiers promote online social bank startups all over the country. Get bankrolled by Michael Moore and Russell Simmons et al.

Distressed Link Arbitrage (11/16/2011)

Distressed linkfest for 11/16/2011. Follow me on Twitter and Google+

Video: Europe Has as Little as Weeks to Avoid Default, Citigroup's Willem Buiter Says: Tom Keene - Bloomberg

"Buiter on Europe's crisis: (transcript at Business Insider)

"Time is running out fast. I think we have maybe a few months -- it could be weeks, it could be days -- before there is a material risk of a fundamentally unnecessary default by a country like Spain or Italy which would be a financial catastrophe dragging the European banking system and North America with it. So they have to act now."

"The only two guns in town, one is only theoretical, and that is increasing the size of the EFSF to 3 trillion. It should happen but it can't for political reasons. The other one, the only remaining share is the ECB. They may have to hold their noses while they do it, and if they don't do it, it's the end of the euro zone."

Greek Bondholders Said to Meet at Deutsche Bank Tomorrow For Swaps Talks - Bloomberg

John Paulson Said to Cut Risk in Main Funds Amid Europe Crisis (cut net exposure to 30%) - BusinessWeek

Fitch: U.S. Banks Face Europe Contagion Risk - Bloomberg

Record Plunge In Jefferies Bonds Implies Chance Of Default Is 65% By 2019 - Zero Hedge

Moody's Downgrades 10 German Lenders - WSJ

Is Germany Working On A Eurobond? - Pragmatic Capitalism (at BI)

UniCredit Bombshell Shouldn’t Be the Last One: Jonathan Weil - Bloomberg

Citigroup may cut 3,000 or more jobs to cut costs - WSJ

Detroit Faces $45 Million Gap, Takeover by Michigan, Mayor Dave Bing Says - Bloomberg

With video: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing calls for 10% police, fire salary cut, tax hike for corporations in Detroit - Detroit Free Press

California Revenue May Fall $3.7 Billion Short of Estimates, Analyst Says - Bloomberg

Sir Mervyn King: Britain on the brink of second credit crunch, Bank of England Governor warns - Telegraph

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..."