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The Fed Says, “Let Me Squeeze Your Dollars…5 Basis Points at a Time”

The Fed Says, “Let Me Squeeze Your Dollars…5 Basis Points at a Time”

I still maintain no one will mark June 16th, 2021 as the day the world changed. Watching the dollar surge into this weekend thanks to a breakdown in the euro only validates that conclusion in my mind.

Remember, on June 16th Presidents Biden and Putin met for a summit which altered the course of geopolitics forever, agreeing to disagree about Nordstream 2 and reversing the worst of U.S./Russian relations among other things.

While that was happening the FOMC met and reversed the flow of dollars globally.

I told my Patrons something was up on June 18th. Then I did 2 hours worth of podcasts on it (herehere, and here) after thinking it through. Finally, after fully digesting it I wrapped it all up in a lengthy post on July 3rd.

The Fed’s decision to pay 5 basis point on Reverse Repos was the subtlest but most effective way to taper without tapering, tighten without tightening and undermine the WEF’s Great Reset while seemingly still supporting it.

I can hear the howls from the gallery who think otherwise so I’ll address them first.

Yes, normie macro-guys, the bond market has been screaming at the Fed that inflation is soaring and they need to raise rates.

Yes, first year domestic policy students, the Fed looks like it is putting pressure on Republicans to cave to Nancy Pelosi’s hardball over the Infrastructure, Budget and Debt Ceiling deadlock, so far to no avail.

Yes, second year geopolitics students, the Fed is forcing China to respond to soaring commodity prices while simultaneously trying to defend the yuan.

Yes, these are all effects of the Fed’s move in June.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weekly Commentary: Dangerous Addiction

Weekly Commentary: Dangerous Addiction

July 20 – Reuters (Karen Pierog): “Risk-off sentiment that drove Monday’s sell-off on Wall Street and rally in U.S. Treasuries widened credit spreads on corporate bonds to multi-month highs. The spread on the ICE BofA U.S. High Yield Index, a commonly used benchmark for the junk bond market, spiked from 318 bps on Friday to 344 bps as of the last update late Monday, its highest level since late March, according to Refinitiv data. It was also the biggest widening in a day since last June.”
The S&P500 dropped 1.6% in Monday trading, as U.S. stocks followed global equities lower. The VIX Index spiked to 25, a two-month high, while 10-year Treasury yields dropped to a five-month low 1.17%. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 indices sank 2.6% and 2.5% – to lows since May. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell another 1.8%, with the Hang Seng China Financials Index trading this week at an eight-month low. Global “Risk Off” was gathering momentum.

July 20 – Bloomberg: “Fresh signs of a cash crunch at China Evergrande Group sent shares and bonds of the world’s most indebted developer to new lows on Tuesday, stoking fears of broader market contagion. The property giant’s stock tumbled to the lowest level since April 2017, extending its two-day loss to 25%. Several of Evergrande’s local and offshore bonds sank to records, with its dollar note due 2025 falling to as low as 54 cents. Bonds of other junk-rated Chinese borrowers declined, while a gauge of developer shares dropped to a nearly three-year low. The nation’s bank stocks also slumped.”

July 20 – Bloomberg (Rebecca Choong Wilkins and Alice Huang): “Rising concerns over the financial health of China Evergrande Group are weighing down the broader market of high-yield bonds as contagion fears rise…
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Struggling to Make a Profit, Fracking Investors are Searching for the Exit

Banks and investors have given up on the U.S. fracking industry, which is bad news for current investors who waited too long to get out.
Derricks Credit: Pay No Mind (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Going out of business sign Credit: Michael Steeber (CC BY-SA 2.0) Photos adapted by: Justin Mikulka

The outlook is increasingly bleak for oil and gas companies. The beginning of this year has seen the highest number of companies announce bankruptcy during the first quarter in five years. Eight oil and gas companies announced they were filing for bankruptcy during the first quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, earlier this month The Financial Times noted that of 500 privately owned oil and gas companies in the U.S., 400 are losing money and unlikely to ever pay back their large debts. According to the Financial Times, the remaining companies are focused on a “last gasp” effort to look profitable to potential buyers in order to “secure a profitable exit.”

If they can’t secure a “profitable exit” that will help them pay back their debts, the most likely outcome is bankruptcy.

As Adam Waterous, head of the private equity group Waterous Energy Fund, told the Financial Times: “This business is broken. The industry is going through a multiyear process of wringing capital out of the sector, not bringing new capital in.”

Investors appear to be done with the fracking industry as they realize that the only people making money are the Wall Street banks and shale company executives. With investors losing interest in the fracking industry — and banks no longer interested in loaning money to fracking companies  —  there is a lack of new money available to prop up the struggling fracking business model.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

QE During the “Everything Mania”: Fed’s Assets at $7.7 Trillion, up $3.5 Trillion in 13 months

QE During the “Everything Mania”: Fed’s Assets at $7.7 Trillion, up $3.5 Trillion in 13 months

But long-term Treasury yields have surged, to the great consternation of our Wall Street Crybabies.

The Fed has shut down or put on ice nearly the entire alphabet soup of bailout programs designed to prop up the markets during their tantrum a year ago, including the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) that bought corporate bonds, corporate bond ETFs, commercial mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, municipal bonds, etc. Its repos faded into nothing last summer. And foreign central bank dollar swaps have nearly zeroed out.

What the Fed is still buying are large amounts of Treasury securities and residential MBS, though no one can figure out why the Fed is still buying them, given the crazy Everything Mania in the markets.

But for the week, total assets on the Fed’s weekly balance sheet through Wednesday, March 31, fell by $31 billion from the record level in the prior week, to $7.69 trillion. Over the past 13 months of this miracle money-printing show, the Fed has added $3.5 trillion in assets to its balance sheet:

One of the purposes of QE is to force down long-term interest rates and long-term mortgage rates. But long-term Treasury yields started rising last summer. The 10-year Treasury has more than tripled since then and closed today at 1.72%. Mortgage rates started rising in early January. Bond prices fall as yields rise, and the crybabies on Wall Street want the Fed to do something about those rising long-term yields and the bloodbath they have created in the prices of long-term Treasury securities and high-grade corporate bonds.

But instead, the Fed has said in monotonous uniformity that rising long-term yields despite $120 billion of QE a month are a welcome sign of rising inflation expectations and a growing economy:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

wolf richter, wolfstreet, qe, quantitative easing, money printing, credit expansion, fed, us federal reserve, central bank, interest rates, wall street

Three-Card Monte, Wall Street-Style

Three-Card Monte, Wall Street-Style

Their operation was in jeopardy, their ‘business model’ at risk. Their reaction was typical for the brazen barons of finance, writes Michael Brenner.

Surer than Three Card Monte, from the Tricks with Cards series (N138) Duke, Sons & Co. to promote Honest Long Cut Tobacco, 1887. (Metropolitan Museum of Art/Jefferson R. Burdick Collection)

This week witnessed an historic event – one that deserves to be memorialized. A band of financial speculators were beaten at their own game, losing $3 billion. A bunch of clever young guys used the hedge fund’s own methods to turn the tables on them.

For years, those white-collar cheats have been dealing 3-card monte on Wall Street with impunity. Now, their operation was in jeopardy, their ‘business model’ at risk. Their reaction was typical for the brazen barons of finance.

They rushed to Washington to complain to their retainers, demanding protection of their constitutional right to pillage the American economy.

What they are demanding is a police escort to secure their 3-card monte scam by screening out anyone who might know their tricks. So, what happens?

Nearly everyone in power from Nancy Pelosi to the head of the SEC quickly pledges to investigate this affront to the country’s financial markets – evidently having no other affronts to tend to.

“Guilty is a word unspoken except where innocence dares to plead.”

The electronic trading services went so far as to bar the mavericks from using their facilities; only marks welcome. All agree that it is a national emergency.

I am shocked! Shocked to hear reports of an attempt to manipulate the financial markets – the most transparent, fairest in the world. Some of my best friends are hedge fund directors; they’re the finest, most honest people you’d ever want to know!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Market Weekly: Game Stop Revolution or the Matrix Reloaded?

Market Weekly: Game Stop Revolution or the Matrix Reloaded?

I have to say as revolutions go, this one is hilarious.

Game Stop opened this morning above $330 per share, a sentence I never thought in a million years I’d ever write.

This open nearly ensures that all the attempts yesterday to push the price back down to bail out the hedge funds desperately short have failed spectacularly.

There’s options expiration today which will fundamentally change the way we look at markets if Game Stop closes in this range.

Because it shows that when people act in the aggregate they can overwhelm the attempts by a few central planners to control you.

Your best proof that this is at least a part of what’s going on is the way Wall St. and the regulators in D.C. are reacting. Because they are screaming that this is outrageous, that we need stronger enforcement tools to ‘ensure the integrity of our markets.’

That’s just code for ‘only we’re allowed to game the markets not the little people.’

And with options expiring on Game Stop nearly every week in February and March this game isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination.

Populist is a Four-Letter Work

In fact, It’s the beginning of a new form of populist revolt.

We’ve seen what they think of populist revolts. They have utter disdain for them. They squash them and hope to ignore the consequences.

Vote for Trump? Can’t have that happen again.

Speak out against any facet of the Great Reset? Get censored.

Try to build a new platform not controlled by them? Get deplatformed.

Show up at the Capitol to peacefully assemble? Get caught up in a false flag to justify arresting you and shaming you into submission.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

GameStop: Why the elites hate peer-to-peer power

GameStop: Why the elites hate peer-to-peer power

During Great Britain’s golden age of gambling, a Scot named William Cunninghame Graham—losing at cards, out of money, but not yet ready to quit for the evening—secured a loan of 1,000 pounds from a Colonel Archibald Campbell. Graham pledged as security the use of his estate to Campbell for the rest of Campbell’s lifetime should Graham be unable to repay the loan. Graham lost all the money. And thus, for a 1,000-pound loan did Graham gamble away his entire estate in one evening.

Today, a group of Wall Street hedge funds are acting like Graham on steroids in the face of a growing group of small investors who have awakened to the power of peer-to-peer communications made possible by social media. (More on peer-to-peer communications below.) In this particular case these small investors seem to be winning hand after hand by pledging much of their savings—in some cases their total life savings—to another risky but decidedly much more political proposition: Beating Wall Street hedge funds at their own game by forcing losses on them for bets the hedge funds have made against a down-on-its-luck retail chain called GameStop and other companies. The focus, however, has been on GameStop which specializes in video games and equipment which increasingly can be purchased online. Another blow to GameStop has been the ongoing pandemic which has kept people out of its retail stores.

The small investors, emboldened by an online Reddit group called WallStreetBets, have so far inflicted nearly $20 billion in losses on their arch short-selling foes as the stock price of GameStop has rocketed from about $17 a share on January 4 to $325 a share on Friday. The stock sold for under $4 a share as recently as July 31. On January 25 the stock closed at $76.79 a share. Two days later it closed at $347.51.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Update on Fed’s QE: The Crybabies on Wall Street, which Clamored for More, Are Disappointed

Update on Fed’s QE: The Crybabies on Wall Street, which Clamored for More, Are Disappointed

And five SPVs expired, including the one that bought corporate bonds and bond ETFs.

The Fed has now put on ice five of its SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) which had been designed back in March to bail out the bond market. It unwound its repo positions last June. Its foreign central bank liquidity swaps are now down to near-nothing except with the Swiss National Bank, which seems to have a need for dollars. The Fed has been adding to its pile of Treasury securities at the rate spelled out in its FOMC statements, thereby monetizing part of the US government debt. And it has been adding to its pile of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS).

The result is that total assets on its weekly balance sheet through Wednesday, at $7.4 trillion, are roughly flat with the level in mid-December and are up by $200 billion from early June, with an average growth rate over the six-plus months of $30 billion a month.

And the crybabies on Wall Street that have for months been clamoring for more QE have been disappointed. It’s still a huge amount of QE, but for the crybabies on Wall Street, it’s never enough:

But the long-term chart shows just how hog-wild the Fed had gone, furiously trying to bail out and enrich the asset holders, which are concentrated at the very top, thereby creating in the shortest amount of time the largest wealth disparity the US has ever seen. From crisis to crisis, from bailout to bailout, and even when there is no crisis:

Repurchase Agreements (Repos) remained at near-zero:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lessons From Wall Street: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Lessons From Wall Street: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world. That’s all you’re seeing in efforts to manage information via censorship, algorithm changes, “fact” checking, Russian propaganda panic, etc. Humans are story-driven animals, so if you control the stories you control the humans.

Lessons from this whole Wall Street/Reddit ordeal:

  • The stock market is a scam.
  • There is no “free market” and there never will be.
  • Wall Street predators are the most despised people on earth.
  • The public can do more to fight back than it had previously assumed.
  • There’s surely a lot more we can do to fight back that we haven’t thought of yet.

You can’t expose how rigged the system really is without pushing against its power structures according to its own rules. When the entire system pushes back and boots you out in front of everyone, more people are made more aware that it is rigged. This can only be a good thing.

Every single hedge fund plutocrat has at some point in their lives thought the words “I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!”

This is another one of those awkward “we need to shut down the rabble without looking like a totalitarian oligarchy” standoffs.

Myth: The rich compete with each other and ordinary people benefit from it.

Reality: The rich collaborate with each other against ordinary people.

Example:

It will always tend to be more profitable to do bad things than good things: ecocide over preservation, exploitation over equality, war over peace. Humanity remains on a doomed trajectory for as long as its systems maintain profit-seeking as the driving force behind its behavior.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Instability

Instability

In every century the same thing happens at one point or another. Society loses the plot and gets caught up in a mania, a grandiose exercise in self delusion. It can be political, it can be religious, and yes it can be economic. Sometimes these manias are confined to regions or small groups of people, sometimes they are vast in reach and impact and have global consequences. We can all think of examples. Religious? How about witch burnings? Politics? How about Nazism? Economics? How about all the manias that had fervent believers and adherents that with the hindsight of time were completely insane? The South Sea Bubble, the Tulip mania, the 1929 mania, etc. All of these bringing about vast social instability versus the previous status quo with often disastrous consequences.

And whatever we got going here is now approaching a similar frantic delusion that appears to infect everyone.

All of these manic periods have something in common: Believing in something absolutely even though it is either completely wrong or unrealistic. Seeing reality becoming untethered.

I’ve long argued that central banks aiming to be a stabilizing force are actually bringing about societal instability. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the storming of the Capitol, angry Trump voters, angry Democrat voters and yes even Gamestop reddit buyers may all have different causes and triggers and motivations, but they actually have one thing in common: They are angry, angry at a system that has screwed them over, a sense of deep pervasive injustice and inequality, a fissure that keeps widening with every central bank intervention program.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Update on the Fed’s QE

Update on the Fed’s QE

No Wonder the Cry Babies on Wall Street are clamoring for more. Five SPVs, already on ice, will expire on December 31.

The Fed released details today of its corporate-bond purchases in November ($215 minuscule millions) and corporate-bond ETF purchases in November (zilch). Last time it bought any ETFs had been on July 23. It released details about its other activities in its Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), which are essentially on ice. Five of them will expire on December 31, including the SPV that handles the corporate bond purchases.

The Fed unwound its “repo” positions in early July down to zero, and more recently most its “central bank liquidity swaps.” Its purchases of residential mortgage-backed securities (MBS) have been in a holding pattern since mid-September. What it is still buying at a steady clip are Treasury securities, thereby monetizing part of the debt the government is adding monthly to its gigantic pile.

The net effect is that its total assets have edged up just 1.0% since June 24, with a dip in the middle, after exploding higher in the prior three months. This is the Fed’s tool to bail out asset holders during each crisis, and enrich them when there is no crisis:

There is now clamoring among the crybabies on Wall Street that the Fed should increase its asset purchases, and they’re pressuring the Fed to announce a big increase at the next meeting, because, I mean, how else are markets going to keep on going up?

In terms of 2020: Total assets on the Fed’s balance sheet for the week ended December 9 rose by $20 billion from the prior week to $7.243 trillion, but were down a smidgen from the peak on November 18, having gone essentially nowhere over the past five months:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fourth Turning Election Year Crisis

FOURTH TURNING ELECTION YEAR CRISIS

“The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe  The Fourth Turning 

How a contested election could send the U.S. into a constitutional crisis - MarketWatch It's not the chairman of the Joint Chiefs' job to remove Trump from office if he won't leave.

“There is no darkness but ignorance. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” William Shakespeare

I read The Fourth Turning in 2006, after seeing it described in John Mauldin and Doug Casey’s newsletters as an uncannily accurate assessment of American history based upon generational configurations which recur on eighty-year cycles, a long human life. Strauss and Howe wrote the book in 1997 and used their generational theory to predict the Crisis that would begin in the mid-2000’s and come to an indeterminate climax in the mid-2020’s.

 

As a student of history, the theory spoke to me. I have been writing articles since 2009, using the Fourth Turning as a guide to interpreting what has been happening and what might happen as this crisis period accelerates towards its violent culmination. The quotes above perfectly capture exactly what has happened since this crisis began in September 2008, with the Fed/Wall Street created financial collapse. The existing social order is disintegrating, but they are willing to destroy the country rather than relinquish their wealth, power and control.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fed Has Given Big Business A Huge Advantage

The Fed Has Given Big Business A Huge Advantage

And Its Gone!

The last few months have been painful for small businesses across America. These businesses often have a difficult time getting a bank loan. Bubbling up to the surface is the recognition the Fed has played a major role in pushing inequality higher. This was highlighted when Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell admitted it’s tough for the Fed to boost lending to smaller businesses. “Trying to underwrite the credit of hundreds of thousands of very small businesses would be very difficult,” Powell said. He acknowledged that many of these small loans are really nothing more than the personal promises of people struggling to keep the doors of their business open.As the financial pain from the pandemic and government restrictions placed on businesses continue, much of the money thrown out to ease our pain has rapidly flowed into the hands of Wall Street and big business. The reality that most small businesses close in failure underlines the risk involved in loaning money to such concerns. Still, it is difficult to deny the importance of small business in the overall economy. It plays a major role in communities by both creating jobs and allowing individuals to better their lot in life. 

During a recent exchange between House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Powell, it became evident that Powell was not rushing to implement changes in the way things are done in an effort to aid small businesses and level the playing field. Waters suggested the Fed and Treasury Department lower the minimum size of the loans under the Main Street Lending Program to $100,000 from the current $250,000 to help a larger number of small companies that have been hurt by the pandemic. Powell even went so far as to claim there was little demand for loans below $1 million.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Inflation” and America’s Accelerating Class War

“Inflation” and America’s Accelerating Class War

Those who don’t see the fragmentation, the scarcities and the battlelines being drawn will be surprised by the acceleration of the unraveling.

I recently came across the idea that inflation is a two-factor optimization problem: inflation is necessary for the macro-economy (or so we’re told) and so the trick for policy makers (and their statisticians who measure the economy) is to maximize inflation in the economy but only to the point that it doesn’t snuff out businesses and starve workers to death.

From this perspective, households have to grin and bear the negative consequences of inflation for the good of the whole economy.

This narrative, so typical of economics, ignores the core reality of “inflation” in America: it’s a battleground for the class war that’s accelerating. Allow me to explain.

“Inflation” affects different classes very differently. I put “inflation” in italics because it’s not one phenomenon, it’s numerous phenomena crammed into one deceptively simple word.

When “inflation” boosts the value of homes, stocks, bonds, diamonds, quatloos etc. to the moon, those who own these assets are cheering. When “inflation” reduces the purchasing power of wages, those whose only income is earned from their labor suffer a decline in their lifestyles as their wages buy fewer goods and services.

They are suffering while the wealthy owners of soaring assets are cheering.

The Federal Reserve and federal authorities are not neutral observers in this war. The Fed only cares about two things: enriching the banking sector and further enriching the already-rich.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fed Just Pulled Off Another Backdoor Bailout of Wall Street

The Fed Just Pulled Off Another Backdoor Bailout of Wall Street

Source: Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve has authorized 11 financial bailout programs thus far. Despite Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s reassurances at his press conferences that these programs are to help American families, a full 10 of these programs are actually bailouts of Wall Street banks or their trading units.

The latest Wall Street bank bailout to come out of hiding is the Fed’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF). This program was supposed to buy up corporate bonds in the secondary market in order to help corporate bond markets regain liquidity. Thus far, the only thing the SMCCF has bought up are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) holding investment grade and junk-rated bonds.

The SMCCF program began operations on May 12. By May 18 the Fed had spent $1.58 billion buying up ETFs. The ultimate goal of the facility, at this point, is to spend $250 billion on ETFs and secondary market corporate bonds. The U.S. Treasury Department was supposed to hand over $25 billion of taxpayer money to eat losses on the SMCCF program. Instead, without explanation, the latest data from the Fed shows that the Treasury deposited $37.5 billion into the SMCCF, suggesting the program is expecting losses of greater than $25 billion.

The bulk of the purchases of ETFs were those issued by BlackRock, the company to whom the New York Fed has outsourced the program. The Fed is allowing BlackRock to buy up its own, previously sinking, ETFs as well as those of other ETF issuers. The New York Fed gave BlackRock a no-bid contract to run the program as investment manager. But that’s far from the only outrage.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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