It just is not Barclays' year. After being exposed (so far the only one) as a ringleader in a massive LIBOR-rigging scandal which cost Bob Diamond his job, yesterday the British bank added insult to injury, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) fined it $470 million - the largest penalty ever levied by the energy regulator, and even larger than the bank's LIBOR fine - for getting caught doing what Enron got caught doing about a decade ago: manipulating California's electricity markets. Although while the former ended up being the biggest corporate bankruptcy at the time, led to the end of one of the nation's largest auditors and sparked a scandal so great it was all corporate America spoke for about for the next year, this time the news has come and gone, and nobody cares. Perhaps this is to be expected: in a time when none other than the central bank intervenes each and every day in every single market to preserve the "wealth effect", habituation to epic corporate manipulation of every imaginable kind is perfectly normal.
For a few months there, we were worried that GM may have actually found a (government-funded) natural subprime buyer of its vehicles after the company managed to keep its channel stuffing in check for several months. Those fears ended today with the company's October car sales report, according to which GM sold 4.7% more cars, or 42,759 in absolute terms (from 153,005 to 195,764) in October than September, below expectations of a 7.8% increase. So far so good. What however will hardly get any mention from Government Motors cheerleaders is that GM auto inventory at dealers as of October 31 was a record 739,034 (a massive 98 days of supply), an increase of 49,700 from October's 689,334. In other words, the entire incremental rise in sales, and then some, was due to the firm stuffing dealers with even more inventory than they can possibly handle!
If you bought the deep OTM, high theta option that is the Greek stock market on October 1, or wheat on January 1, 2012, you can now retire. For everyone else who still hasn't gotten the hang of this here "New Normal" Cramer market, better luck next time.
Last week, when we reported last week's lucky Initial Claims expectations beat of 369K, we explicitly said the following: "today's Initial Claims number which magically "beat" expectations by 1K, printing at 369K, on expectations of 370K, will be revised to a miss of 372K next week." And guess what last week's number was just revised to? That's right: 372K, which means that last week's beat was actually a miss. But who cares. Oh, and this week's just as manipulated print of 363K, which was a beat of expectations of 370K, will be spun as a 9K drop in initial claims of course. Next week this number will be revised to 365K-366K as usual, because the BLS has now upward revised its weekly claims number for something like 80 weeks in a row.
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That by now absolutely nobody can possibly take any number out of the ADP seriously is beyond question. For those confused why, just read "ADP "Cancels" 365,000 Private Jobs Created In 2012." And yet the establishment, and its very serious PhD pretend this "advance look" into NFP is relevant for one simple reason: it provides an anchor for HFT algos to send risk ramping, even though everyone knows it is a purely goalseeked, statistical aberation. To that end, moments before it was announced we tweeted the following: "October ADP "beats", ES jumps, then after one year it is revised lower by 50%" Sure enough, seconds ago, the ADP reported that after its October number was revised from 162K to 88K, the November print just came out at 158K, on expectations of a 131K print (and a very serious sell side range of 80K to 170K). Now all we need is the October 2013 revision of this data series, which will say the ADP was only kidding and the number was really half of what was reported. "Automatic Data Processing" indeed...
- ISM Manufacturing: 51.7, Exp. 51.0, Last 51.5
- Consumer Confidence: 72.2, Exp. 73.0, Last 68.4
- Construction Spending: 0.6%, Exp. 0.7%, Last -0.1%
First it was news that Europe's weakest link may be broken following a Greek court doing the unthinkable, and actually enforcing the constitution, and now we learn that in addition to at least one definite defection from the Greek coalition government - PASOK (as reported earlier), the entire party is now on edge as its leader, former PM Evangelos Venizeloz seeks to quell a "rebellion" ahead of next week's vote which will hardly make the government any more popular in the eyes of the general population. From Kathimerini: "PASOK has plunged into turmoil as one MP and a prominent official quit the party following a fractious vote on the government’s privatization bill on Wednesday. The draft law paving the way for the sell-off of a number of utilities and ports passed narrowly and the failure of 17 PASOK MPs to support the legislation led to party leader Evangelos Venizelos, who failed to take part in the vote himself, calling an urgent meeting with his 33 lawmakers on Wednesday evening." Why is this relevant? Because two days ago, as reported, the third member of the ruling coalition: the Democratic Left, which mans 16 votes, announced it would vote against the Troika demands. This leaves the coalition with 160 votes on a matter in which it needs a majority. Should Pasok's 17 votes also be in danger of pulling out (assuming nobody from New Democracy votes no), then one can see why Greece may once again hold the fate of the Eurozone in its hands just as the US is voting for its next president and hardly needs more European drama.
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While Europe continues to plan and scheme, content in the knowledge that Greece can do nothing to derail plans of status quo preservation, especially ahead of next week's critical parliamentary vote that will see the country imposing even more austerity on its people (see the great profile in the AP today in "Hit by crisis, Greek society in free-fall"), Greece has just decided to pull a "Karlrushe Kardinals who say Nein" move, and as Reuters reported moments ago, the entire process may be scuttled by none other than yet another court, this time in Greece:
- GREEK COURT SAYS PLANNED PENSION CUTS, RETIREMENT AGE INCREASE SOUGHT BY EU/IMF LENDERS MAY BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Hedge Fund "gating", or the forced administrative limit on how much money hedge fund investors can redeem at any given moment, is one of those bad memories that most wish could remain dead and buried with the peak of the credit crisis, when virtually every hedge fund was swamped with redemption requests as impatient LPs couldn't wait to get what was left of their money back. However, the problem for hedge funds, in addition to underperforming the market substantially for a 5th year in a row, with almost all hedge funds now returning far less than the broader market (which continues to successfully defend the 1400 barrier every day) especially after October when the two biggest hedge fund darling stocks GOOG and AAPL finally reincountered gravity, is that their LPs have once again gotten restless and are now again actively seeking their money back from underperformers. Sadly, it was thus only a matter of time before the "gates" returned. As of this weekend they have.
Europe is, supposedly, fixed: between the upcoming one year anniversary of the 3 year LTRO, which has flooded the continent in excess €1 trillion of liquidity, and the OMP, which has supposedly backstopped sovereigns in perpetuity (even though the market has fully frontrun what now appears to be a massively unpopular political decision, as Spain has been demonstrating for the past 2 months), European bank liquidity needs are supposed to be fully taken care of. Yet something went bump on Halloween. As the ECB reports, borrowing on the prohibitive, and largely "last resort" ECB "Marginal Lending Facility" (whose rate is an usurious 1.50%), one or more banks saw their need for EUR explode in the last day of the month, sending overall usage on this credit line to €7.8 billion, the most since mid-March, and a surge of over €7 billion overnight. What spooked European banks so much (whose liquidity needs are not month or quarter-end window dressing driven) that the ECB had to step in on top of everything else it has already done? We will surely find out soon.
And for a second there we thought financial publications were supposed to at least pretend they are impartial. It appears that is not the case. Now we eagerly await to learn whom Playboy, the National Enquirer, and TMZ endorse...
As we enter the North American session, equity markets are seen marginally higher, as concerns over the never-ending Greek debt drama are offset by the release of an encouraging data from China. Chinese HSBC Manufacturing PMI printed a fresh 8-month high, while the official Chinese Manufacturing PMI came in line with expectations. In addition to that, a state researcher has said that the countries economy has bottomed and is stabilizing. Meanwhile in Greece, the fact that debt is now seen climbing to 192% in 2014 and an agreement on how to defuse the situation has yet to be found may lead to another speculative attack not only on Greek paper, but also other southern states. As a result, GR/GE 10s spread is seen wider by 30bps, however other peripheral bond yield spreads with respect to the German Bund are tighter. The second half of the session sees the release of the latest weekly jobs report, consumer confidence and the weekly DoE from the US.
Greece’s 2013 Budget Is A Total Disaster
1. Increases the Debt-to-GDP to 189.1%
2. Create a budget deficit of 5.2% of GDP.
3. Result in their GDP contracting 4.5%
The people who came up with this budget obviouslywould fail a urine drug test folks.
Euro-zone Unemployment at 11.6%
Bribes Using “Gold cards” in China
The Possible Black Swan For Skyrocketing Gold
$250 Million Grant Creates 400 Jobs
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