Posts Tagged “MF Global”
Out of far left field, I see something coming that I never expected.
It’s more like the coming together of pieces of a puzzle that have eluded us for too long.
By the way, Occupy Wall Street, if you’re listening, and I hope you are, and you’re still floundering (which I know you are) without a cause that anybody can really wrap their heads around, drop your drums, chants, and wanderings, and make the coming together of this puzzle what you’re protesting.
And make what could result what you are demanding.
Because, really, this could be the mother lode.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is accusing six former executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of playing down the risk to investors of their firms’ aggressive fast-forward into subprime mortgages… which caused them to implode spectacularly.
Two separate civil suits, filed last Friday, allege that the executives “knowingly misled investors” who owned shares in the companies and were thus deprived of critical information against which meaningful investment decisions are generally made.
The two wards, currently under U.S. conservatorship (life support attended by a wet-nurse), were themselves spared being sued, on account of their signing civil non-prosecution agreements and promising to cooperate and not dispute allegations (and also not have to admit nor deny wrongdoing). Yet the SEC is seeking financial penalties, disgorgement, and an order barring guilty parties from serving as officers or directors of any public companies in the future against the implicated executives.
The SEC faces an uphill battle based on one word – “subprime.”
The problem is, subprime has never been legally defined.
You know what it means, I know what it means, everybody knows what it means, without knowing its exact definition. But if there’s no definition of subprime, defense lawyers will counter that it’s not possible to sue based on a standard that has never been defined.
How about we compare mortgages to cars and subprime to clunkers. If you’re on my used car lot and I offer you two cars at the same price and don’t tell you one is a clunker, is that fair? You wouldn’t need me to define “clunker.” If I said one was a clunker, you would simply choose the other car; after all, it’s the same price.
There is a difference, there’s a big difference.
Over on the Fannie and Freddie lots between 2006 and 2007, they were loading up on clunkers and not telling anyone what they were stocking. In fact, they were saying things like, “basically (we) have no subprime exposure” in the single-family realm.
One of the reasons they were loading up on subprime was because Wall Street banks were eating their lunch by buying up subprime loans, packaging them, and selling them to investors hand over fist, and Fannie and Freddie wanted in on that very lucrative business. It’s not that they hadn’t dabbled in subprime before; they had. But as they saw stresses in the marketplace on the better mortgages in their portfolios, they still loaded up on far weaker credits; also known in the business as SUBPRIME.
So what’s next?
There are going to be a lot of emails and other testimony coming out about who knew what when, and who lied to who to make how much.
It’s going to be fun to watch this thing unfold.
But the whole point of this piece of the puzzle coming to light is that, to make their bonuses bigger and their options worth more, these executives leveraged their essentially “private” companies knowing that their losses would be “socialized” (paid for by taxpayers) if their bets fell apart.
Their lies are no different than the lies told to investors by the big banks during the credit crisis (and most of the time, for that matter).
Yes, if the SEC wins their cases, there’s hope that the lying executives of our biggest banks (and, if there is a God, the liars at the Federal Reserve, too) will be brought to justice for misleading not only their investors, and the American public that bailed them out, but also Congress (not that they would ever lie), who crafted legislation to save us from another financial catastrophe without knowing how the banks and the Fed lied to us all.
Thanks to Bloomberg LP and Fox News Networks LLC – who sued the Fed to get them to cough up data under the Freedom of Information Act – we know just how much they all lied.
We now know the bankers were telling lies to our faces while being propped up by the backdoor boys at the Fed. Heck, most Fed regional bank presidents didn’t know, the Treasury Secretary didn’t know. Nobody but the bankers and the Fed knew that they were lying to us.
Again, courtesy of Bloomberg, here’s what they were saying, when they were saying it, and how much money they got from the Fed to keep their doors open on the exact dates that their borrowings peaked:
- On September 21, 2008, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack said, “Morgan Stanley is in the strongest possible position.” By September 29, 2008, they had borrowed $107 billion from the Fed and took another $10 billion in TARP money.
- On January 16, 2009, Citicorp CEO Vikram Pandit said, “We have an irreplaceable franchise.” By January 20, 2009, they had borrowed $99.5 billion from the Fed and took $45 billion in TARP money.
- On January 22, 2009, Bank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis said, “The diversity and strength of our company is allowing us to continue to invest in our business to drive future profit growth.” By February 26, 2009, they had borrowed $91.4 billion from the Fed and took $45 billion in TARP money.
- On December 16, 2008, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said, “Our deep and global client franchise, experienced and talented people and strong balance sheet position our firm well.” By December 31, 2008, they had borrowed $69 billion from the Fed and took $10 billion in TARP money.
- On February 23, 2009, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said, “We believe we have a fortress balance sheet.” By February 26, 2009, they had borrowed $48 billion from the Fed and took $25 billion in TARP money.
- On March 6, 2009, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf said, “We couldn’t feel better about the future.” Meanwhile, as of February 26, 2009, they had borrowed $45 billion from the Fed and took $25 billion in TARP money.
They are all liars. They should all be prosecuted for misleading their investors, the public, and Congress.
It was these very banks that were feeding crap to Fannie and Freddie and at the same time competing with them to grow the whole pie for all their bonuses and stock options.
It was a giant scheme – don’t you get it?
And because they are such good liars they, the banks, and the Fed will tell us and Congress that we can’t handle the truth and they lied to us to protect us from the reality of how bad things really were.
Really? We need to be protected from the truth so we can continually be lied to so they can all make more money?
Sure, that’s why total assets held by the country’s above-named biggest banks have risen 39% since 2006. That’s why average banker pay in 2010 was the same as it was in 2007. That’s why banks spent 33% more money lobbying Congress from 2006 through 2010. That’s why Dodd-Frank isn’t completed and never will be. That’s why America has become a sinkhole.
And speaking of sinkholes…
No, I’m not going to point to that former MF Global leader Jon Corzine, who used to brag that he co-authored Sarbanes-Oxley when he was a U.S. Senator (such an august body!), which hopefully he will be hung by, along with the entire gallery of rogues above who deserve the gallows… no, not him.
In case you Occupy Wall Streeters missed the other pieces of the puzzle, there was the list of lies the bankers foisted on us while being aided and abetted by the lying Fed and how they should all come under the axe of Sarbanes-Oxley, after all, it is still the law of the land. Those are the pieces of the puzzle that need to come together.
But, alas, I digress once again; back to Freddie and Fannie.
No doubt you knew that Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, a House member since 1979, author of the Contract With America, and the distinguished first House member in history (he will like this, he is an historian, did you know?) to be disciplined (and fined $300,000) for ethics violations. (He actually faced 84 charges during his, did I say “distinguished,” term, and quit before he could be kicked out of that, did I already say “august,” body).
When he “quit” he said, “I’m willing to lead, but I’m not willing to preside over cannibals.” Good for him! Because once freed, the august historian was called upon to eat at the august table of Freddie Mac.
Of course, he didn’t approach them. He says, “I was approached to offer strategic advice.” Nice work for $1.6 million if you can get it, being an “historian” I mean, and offering The Freddie …”advice on precisely what they didn’t do.”
He actually said that.
Oh, what they didn’t do, now I get it.
The Newton bomb must have been talking about Freddie not raising the fees it charged back in 1995.
You probably don’t remember, but back then some actually, really august members of the House wanted Freddie and Fannie to raise their fees to make them more competitive with private mortgage outfits. There was serious concern back then that the Government Sponsored Enterprises were too enterprising and, with their de facto government backing, could raise money cheaper than private outfits and outcompete them in their rather large business space.
But Newt-to-the-rescue – the same Newt who said, “I’ve never done a favor for Fannie or Freddie” saw to it that the proposed fees would never see the light of day. Ah, all in a day’s work over at our august Capitol.
Is he a liar? I would never accuse anyone of being a liar, you know me… so let me put it nicely… He is a liar.
Where was I?
Oh, have a Happy Holiday… and if you don’t have any presents to give out, you can always pass this along as a pillow to any of the cold kids camped out with their Occupy Wall Street posters as comforters.
Seriously, Happy Holidays!
And one more thing. There won’t be an Insights & Indictments in your mailbox this Sunday morning… I just don’t have the heart to do that on Christmas.
Tags: Bank of America, banks, Bloomberg, Citicorp, congress, Dodd-Frank, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon, John Mack, John Stumpf, Jon Corzine, JPMorgan Chase, Kenneth D. Lewis, Lloyd Blankfein, MF Global, Morgan Stanley, Newt Gingrich, Occupy Wall Street, Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC, subprime, subprime mortgages, the Fed, Treasury Secretary, Vikram Pandit, Wells Fargo
Very soon we will see if the old market adage “Buy the rumor, sell the news” is true.
While rumors of Europe’s impending demise were momentarily shot down by an array of silver bullets, the actual news out of Brussels of a grand bargain wasn’t… exactly… honest.
Let’s call the half-measures agreed to by European leaders “Brussels sprouts,” because they’re more like “green shoots” than a cabbage patch panacea.
The leaders agreed to agree that they needed an agreement on how to more closely integrate their fiscal and monetary interests.
Yeah, that’s what they said. I say good luck with that.
Actually, they made some other moves, too.
They moved up the date for the European Stability Mechanism to get funded (yeah, right), promised to revisit the European Financial Stability Facility’s financing so they could have twin facility spigots. And – this one’s my personal favorite – they winked at having European central banks make bilateral loans (up to €200 billion) to the IMF so the IMF could back Europe’s central banks and the ECB.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Seriously, there’s nothing like a crisis to consolidate your power – which is what the Northern Europeans are angling for.
But for the life of me, I can’t imagine a bunch of sovereign nations subjecting themselves to forced austerity, being taxed by technocrats (who, of course, will be non-partisan, non-xenophobic, nonplussed objectivists), and dictated to as occupied territories by the machinery that ground them down in the first place… and wants to keep them there.
What… You don’t get that?
Here’s a newsflash for you: The “new” rules about maintaining strict debt to GDP ratios and other my-way-or-the-highway fiscal demands are not new at all.
The same metrics for fiscal discipline that were lauded last week were already in place – it’s just that no-one followed them.
Everybody cheated… starting with the Germans themselves.
See, the whole idea of a “common currency” was a ploy by the Germans and their French followers to facilitate cheap financing across Europe so European politicians, especially the profligate PIIGS, could float ever-larger deficits to give ever-wanting constituents buying power to, guess what, buy exports from the Northern Alliance.
And it worked.
Now, with no place to go but debtor’s prison (whose chief warden is the IMF), the PIIGS and others who lapped up cheap euro financing schemes won’t be able to devalue themselves to make themselves more competitive.
So, while they are being told to tighten their belts and being taxed into no-growth (which will then demand “stimulus” measures), the Northern Alliance plans on enjoying a more competitive position in global markets by the pending devaluation of the euro. That will come about when the ECB eventually capitulates to likely quantitative easing schemes.
It’s one thing for the leaders of Europe to try and lead the Union out of its crisis, but it’s quite another for the people of Europe to capitulate to some foreign fiscal power. The Brits already said take a hike, and three of the remaining 26 nations that are supposed to be agreeing can’t agree to anything until their parliaments vote on whether they agree.
Ah, there’s the rub… Agree on what?
What is the plan, exactly? What taxing authority will be granted? What disciplinary measures will be imposed on treaty breakers? Who will run the detention camp and sit in the watchtower? Details, details, they’re not important.
My point is, is there really another point to what seems to be happening in Europe? Are we missing something? Are we being set-up for a surprise splitting-up of the E.U.?
We very well could be.
Look behind the curtain, and you’ll see all kinds of levers being pulled to flood Europe with liquidity. Why? First of all, because they need it. Second, to avoid another Lehman moment (which still may be coming) from turning into a global meltdown.
European banks have to be flushed up with liquidity, lest in a moment’s notice they are flushed down the toilet.
Enter the Fed and the ECB.
The Fed is providing unlimited dollar swaps to anybody who needs dollar liquidity, namely European banks. The week before last, about $3 billion was tapped. Last week, that number rose to $50 billion. It’s good to see things are getting better, right?
Then, this week, the ECB lowers its benchmark interest rate to 1%, offers an unlimited amount of term borrowing (three-year loans), and (my favorite) starts accepting all kinds of crappy collateral (not that sovereign bonds aren’t crappy enough) from banks who come a-calling to the money store.
Do you think any of these moves came to pass because S&P was passing out warnings about sovereign downgrades being teed-up? Hmmm? Maybe? Nah, probably not.
The Markets Did Not Love All This Stuff
Sure, the U.S. had a decent week, but Europe pretty much fell on the week, and Asia tanked.
We’ve yet to see U.S. markets break above their 200-day moving averages. Yet to see any of the innumerable correlated charts around the globe evidence a breakout anywhere.
Will it happen this week? Maybe for the U.S., but then again, maybe not.
The rumors are reconvening, and the old news is out. It just may be time to sell this U.S. rally on the news that the news out of Europe wasn’t all good news.
Personally, I’m still short, but I am feeling some heat (as several of you have so graciously written to point out).
I’m still looking at the Dow breaking convincingly above 12,200 and the S&P breaking above 1285 before I cover and consider a new round of selective shorting if we continue to rally while Europe and China are slowing down.
If we break out to the north I’m going to start buying select stocks for my newsletter subscribers. But we will tiptoe in and race out if there’s no follow-through on any breakouts on decent volume. There are market forces trying to push us higher, and they just might get their way for another couple of weeks, or months.
Europe isn’t fixed; it’s merely been liquefied.
Still, all its gas could cause it to explode. So we all better keep an eye open when we sleep.
And speaking of sleep…
Did you see Jon Corzine testify in front of the House Agriculture Committee? Is that guy sleepwalking or what?
This is Worse than Disgrace
He had no answer to the question about what happened to the missing $1.2 billion of bankrupt MF Global’s customer funds. When asked if he transferred customer funds to back his failing monster bet on European debt instruments, he acted like the whole thing was a dream and not his own personal nightmare.
How dare he answer that, if customer funds were used, he didn’t “intend” for that to happen?
As the CEO, with just a little background in the business, you know he knows what’s up.
He had to authorize it. As powerful as he is, no-one, no underling is ever going to just go ahead and use segregated customer funds to finance the CEO’s Big Bet on European debt. If it happened – and it looks like it did – he could NOT not have known.
In other words, he’s a liar.
Unless there’s something so screwy in this can of worms that the money is actually somewhere where it can be recovered, then this mess is going to turn into criminal charges, and Jon Corzine may end up worse off than just “disgraced.”
Good thing he’s on his own now, and not tainting his old shop, Goldman Sachs. For once, they’re not directly involved in this caper. Indirectly? Maybe…
Here’s a Riddle for You
See if you can find the common denominator in the following string of seemingly disconnected connections:
You knew that Jon Corzine was formerly co-CEO of Goldman Sachs, right? Did you know that Corzine got the top job at MF Global because his good buddy, billionaire J. Christopher Flowers, head of J.C. Flowers & Co., was a big investor in MF Global and wanted him on board? How do they know each other? Flowers, of course, worked at Goldman Sachs before hanging out his own shingle.
Then shortly after taking the helm at MF Global, Corzine, in an effort to amp up the company’s status, managed to have the firm named as one of only 20 “primary dealers” authorized to trade directly with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s trading desk. Who makes the decision about who becomes a primary dealer? There are some protocols of course, but ultimately the decision falls on the President and CEO of the Fed’s New York bank. That would be William C. Dudley, the former Goldman Sachs chief economist until 2007.
You’re going to hear about CFTC regulation 1.25, if you haven’t already.
You see, 1.25 has to do with allowing firms like MF Global to invest customer assets in foreign government bonds. But the CFTC realized that was a bad idea and were in the process of changing the regulation to NOT allow purchases of foreign sovereign debts. Only, the change never happened. It got “delayed” by the chairman of the CFTC, who supposedly got lobbied hard by Corzine to not implement the new rules. Who is the chairman of the CFTC? That would be Gary Gensler, who, oddly enough, worked for Jon Corzine when he labored for 18 years at, guess where… Goldman Sachs.
I’m not going to take this too far by speculating that Corzine was betting on things turning around in Europe, maybe partly because another Goldman alum, Mario Draghi, recently became the head of the ECB. The ECB, if I’m not mistaken, has something to do with Europe’s finances. But I could be wrong.
So, did you figure it out? The common denominator is the usual suspect: Goldman Sachs cronyism. That’s one hell of a fraternity.
There are other Goldmanites in the Corzine web. But, alas, I’m getting tired of picking on poor, poor pitiful Goldman Sachs… NOT.
Okay, last but not least, good old House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called in Rep. Spencer Bachus, he of insider trading fame, and quite by chance also the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, that’s thankfully looking into that whole silly Congressional insider-trading thing, and told him not to do anything.
It seems that Mr. Cantor wants to just take it slow and not rush to judgment on the whole affair.
Try chewing on that for a while without getting sick to your stomach.
Tags: austerity measures, banks, crony capitalism, ECB, euro, Europe, Gary Gensler, Goldman Sachs, IMF, J. Christopher Flowers, Jon Corzine, Mario Draghi, market watch, MF Global, PIIGS, Rep. Spencer Bachus, stimulus, William C. Dudley
Did you hear the story about MF Global?
No, not the headlines about its bankruptcy – the real story.
If you haven’t heard it yet, it goes something like this.
MF Global became a primary dealer only eight months ago.
“Primary dealer” is an elite status. It means the firm is one of only 22 government bond dealers that trades directly with the Federal Reserve’s New York trading desk.
Only, the Federal Reserve doesn’t regulate or oversee MF Global, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) does – or rather is supposed to.
But, even more incongruously, the CFTC isn’t the first overseer of MF Global . It ceded that responsibility to the CME Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CME), which owns and operates the largest futures exchanges in the United States. The designated self-regulatory organization for more than 50 futures brokers, CME was supposed to be the cop on the beat.
However, t he not-so-funny thing about the relationship between MF Global and the CME Group is that MF Global recently boasted on its Website that it “was the top broker by volume at CME’s metals and energy exchanges in New York and in the top three at its Chicago exchanges.”
So, is it any wonder that the CME just last week audited MF Global’s segregated customer funds and found them to be in compliance?
These are the same supposedly segregated funds which the CME is now saying may have been tampered with. According to the CME:
“It now appears that [MF Global] made subsequent transfers of customer segregated funds in a manner that may have been designed to avoid detection insofar as MF Global did not disclose or report such transfers to the CFTC or CME until early morning on Monday October 31, 2011.”
How much money are we talking about? About $633 million – or 11.6% out of a segregated fund requirement of about $5.4 billion.
Do you see what I’m driving at?
So the real story is, the Federal Reserve, which doesn’t regulate MF Global but regulates all banks in the United States, lets a futures commission merchant with investment bank wannabe desires become an insider in its dealings. Meanwhile, a private for-profit enterprise that runs the self-regulatory apparatus that oversees its own customers steps in for a federal agency that’s supposed to be in charge of commodities, futures and derivatives markets.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Let me jump on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) next, because you aren’t going to believe this, either.
Subterfuge at the SEC
It’s come to light recently that the SEC has been blatantly violating federal law for decades.
Since at least 1992 through 2010, the SEC has destroyed more than 9,000 documents that by law were supposed to be saved and turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration and kept for 25 years.
The documents were records of enforcement cases where, after preliminary inquires, it was decided not to pursue full-blown investigations.
When the SEC has information – an anonymous tip or insights from a whistle blower, for instance – that could lead to an investigation, the subjects are pursued as “matters under inquiry,” or MUIs.
A couple of examples of MUIs that went nowhere include: The several tips the agency received that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme; the anonymous tip on Ernst and Young letterhead that said Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. (PINK: LEHMQ) was cooking its books; or the MUIs on insider trading, fraud, and market manipulation at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), and SAC Capital Advisors, to name a few others.
But since none of these MUIs morphed into full-blown investigations, the SEC decided to destroy all records pertaining to these inquiries rather than hand them over to the National Archives, as federal law requires.
When confronted with the unauthorized disposal of federal records, thanks to a couple of steadfast and honest lawyers in the enforcement branch of the SEC, the agency said it was “not aware of any specific instances of the destruction of records.”
What’s shocking and sickening is that even while addressing the Archives’ inquiry into the missing documents, the SEC somehow forgot to disclose to the keeper of federal records its policy to “destroy all such documents” when no further action is warranted.
Too bad for the SEC an internal investigation by SEC Inspector General H. David Kotz brought to light the agency’s directive to destroy certain MUIs, along with the discovery of MUIs on old hard drives that somebody accidentally forgot to erase and destroy.
Why wouldn’t the SEC keep records of enforcement activities? Why would they destroy critical data and information that could be used in the future to pursue cases that re-surfaced and could lead to bone-crushing conspiracy or racketeering charges, if not even the simple garden variety securities law violations?
With any luck, we just might find out.
The SEC could and should face criminal charges for breaking federal law.
There’s a powerful push by a quiet group of angry journalists to get to the bottom of this, and I’m one of them. So, expect to hear more about this as we press on for the truth.
In the meantime, it’s high time we take a good look at regulators and not just regulations to see where the cracks are in the prudential governance of markets, financial institutions, and most importantly, individuals who are responsible for decisions that break the law or grossly impact markets and our economy.
After all, it’s not just regulations we need to worry about – it’s the regulators too.
Tags: AIG, Bank of America, Bernie Madoff, CFTC, financial regulators, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, MF Global, SAC Capital Advisors, SEC, the Fed
A referendum? In Greece? Are you kidding me?
As my 16-year-old nephew Nathaniel says, “What the…?“
Apparently, that’s a popular statement of surprise in his southern California surf town. The first time he said it, I was flabbergasted, thinking he was going to finish that well-worn exclamation with a bad word. But it works better his way…
What isn’t going to work is George Papandreou’s call for a referendum.
He wants the Greek people to decide if they want to tighten their belts so much that they’re willing to starve themselves to death for the sake of paying back the IMF and their European neighbors.
With this referendum, the Greek Prime Minister singlehandedly undid what the European Union, the ECB, the IMF, Western governments, central bankers everywhere, and global markets have been counting on. That is, stemming potential contagion from an outright default by Greece on its $480 billion in sovereign debt.
Already, as of late last night, at the G20 meeting in Cannes, Papa Papandreou was taken to the woodshed. He was told in no uncertain terms by Angel Merkel (yes, she is an angel for putting her reputation and the German taxpayers money on the line to save Greece), by St. Nick Sarkozy (he’s a saint because his wife is a goddess), and by IMF chief Christine Lagarde (a.k.a. “la fashionista”) to move the referendum date up from mid-January to December 3 – and to make it a vote on whether they “want to remain part of the euro zone or not.”
In the words of French President St. Nick, the Greeks would get “no French taxpayer money, no German taxpayer money” until that question is answered.
What’s close to insane is that Greece may not even make it to a referendum…
First, there’s going to be a no-confidence vote on Papa’s government tomorrow (Friday). Papa has to first survive that vote. If he doesn’t, the referendum is off the table until a new government can be formed.
If it comes to that, though, even more insanity will follow. A new government would have to decide whether it wants to put Greece’s future in the euro zone to a referendum. But, by then, the Greek people may demand a vote anyway.
A new government doesn’t have to give them that opportunity. A new government could bow to the E.U. and IMF and hold its hand out for the next tranche of money needed to stave off default and promise to force draconian austerity measures on the population.
Some “democracy” the world’s original democracy is turning into… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Papa might survive. Although even if he does, Greece may not. Without the next €8 billion of bailout money promised as part of the last €109 billion dole package (they’ll need even more when this temporary fix runs out), that could trigger an outright default.
Time is of the essence. And time is what the markets do not have.
There’s not enough time, and certainly not enough money in place anywhere it can be easily tapped into, to save European banks – and let’s be honest here, several American institutions too – from becoming insolvent, again, if Greece defaults outright.
The whole deal that was just woven (and celebrated by global markets last Thursday) on threadbare hopes of stemming contagion from a Greek default was predicated on haircutting Greece’s sovereign obligations by some 50%. If there is no haircut, but rather an outright razor ripping write-down of what banks and everyone else is owed by Greece,
all bets are off.
I’ll say it again (thanks, Nate, I’m starting to love this exclamation): “What the…?“
And then I’ll quote myself from Monday, if I may: “The markets are broken. Everything is broken.”
You better have stops in place, if you own anything. Better yet, clear out and head for the sidelines.
Capital preservation is everything; so is preservation of democracy.
We could be facing a challenge to both, so do what you have to do to be safe.
Don’t worry about the next rally if it comes out of nowhere. There will be plenty of rallies to enjoy. But you won’t be able to participate if you’re out of ammo. So keep your powder dry and your head down.
Even if you’re short, like I am, keep tight stops on your positions.
Everything is broken, and anything can happen.
Now switching gears – but certainly in keeping with my “What the…?” theme…
In Singapore, This Guy Would Be Flogged
How about Jon Corzine?
What a pig! (Is that politically incorrect? What the…? Who cares if it is?)
The former muckety-muck fixed-income trader “genius” of Goldman Sachs made it to the top of that shining example of Western capitalist infamy as their co-chair and co-CEO (and was later booted out before they went public in 1999). He then did his civic duty by getting elected (more like buying the election) as New Jersey’s senator, then governor.
And he just proved he is a pig. Or maybe just a swing-for-the-fences moron.
By leveraging up MF Global (some calculations put firm leverage at 40 to 1) – the 228-year-old firm he joined as head honcho chairman and CEO (and apparently head trader) only 18 months ago – this greedy moron Corzine bet the house on one trade.
And wouldn’t you know it… he bet on Europe’s sovereign debt crisis… and got it dead wrong.
It’s not that he destroyed 3,000 jobs that’s so disgusting to me – though he should be flogged for it.
Nor is it that, by bankrupting MF Global, he has probably bankrupted many traders who now can’t get their desperately needed cash or securities out of the firm that is so disgusting, and for which he should be flogged.
He’s disgusting because he stole (strong words, yes, but it sure looks like he did it) customer money to place his leveraged bets to try to beat his old Goldman Sachs rivals (sounds like an egomaniac) to the top of Wall Street’s money and power temple.
And if he was in Singapore, he would be flogged.
The demise of MF Global is nothing short of a legendary story playing out before our very eyes in real time.
This is no virtual world of make-believe greed and hubris. This is real Wall Street vomit being spewed all over the public and private sector.
It’s this disgusting behavior that makes me sick, that compels me to expose it for what it is, and that makes me scream, “WHAT THE…?”
Tags: Angela Merkel, bailouts, banks, Christine Lagarde, democracy, ECB, Eurozone, Goldman Sachs, Greece, IMF, Jon Corzine, MF Global, Nicolas Sarkozy, referendum