Tag Archives: credit bubble

Bank Loans Take A Dive: It’s The Economy, Stupid

I am compelled to correct a report posted on Zerohedge about the cliff-dive going on in commercial, industrial and consumer loans.  The report in ZH suggested the plunge is connected to two possibilities:  1)  this one from a Wall Street sleazebag from Barclays: “it is possible that companies have shifted from the loan to the bond market, and are selling more bonds to lock in cheap financing before rates rise, while not encumbering assets with issuing unsecured debt;” and 2) political uncertainty connected to Trump.

The first possibility could have some small amount of legitimacy except that if you parse through all the data available at the Fed, you’ll see that bank credit has plunged across the entire spectrum of U.S. business (I used size of loan as the proxy). Smaller businesses do not have access to public credit markets and thus the first explanation is the typical apology for a negative economic report that we would expect from a Wall Street con-artist. The second possibility is part of the anti-Trump narrative found in the fake news reports coming from the ignorant.

“It’s The Economy, Stupid”

That quote was created by James Carville as one of Bill Clinton’s campaign slogans in 1992. Those words ring even truer today. A primary example is the restaurant industry numbers discussed above. “Hope” and “confidence” do not generate economic activity. And “hope” is not a valid investment strategy. A better guide to what’s happening to economic activity on Main Street is to see what banks are doing with their lending capital. I borrowed the two graphs below from the @DonDraperClone Twitter feed (click to enlarge):

Commercial bank lending is a great barometer of economic activity. The top graph above shows the year over year percentage change in commercial and industrial loans for all commercial banks. You can see that the rate of bank lending to businesses is falling doing a cliff-dive. These are primarily senior secured and revolving credit loans that sit at the top of the capital structure. If bank lending is slowing down like this, it means two things: 1) the ability of businesses to repay new loans is declining and 2) the asset values used to secure new loans will likely decline. In fact, it is highly probable that the tightening of credit by the banks is a directive from the Fed. Yes, the Fed.  Despite its public commentary suggesting otherwise,  the Fed knows as well as anyone that the economy is tanking.  This is why the Fed can’t hike rates up to a level that would bring real interest rates up to at a “neutral” level (using a real price inflation measure, Fed Funds needs to be reset to at least 6%, and likely higher, to get the real rate of interest up to zero).

The only reason the Fed might “nudge” interest rates higher next week is for credibility purposes. Everyone knows inflation is escalating, which makes it difficult for the Fed to keep interest rates so close to zero. In addition, a rate hike now, even though it will be insignificant in magnitude, will give the Fed room to take rates back to zero when the public and Congress begin to scream about economy.

The second graph shows the year over year percentage change in auto loans. The implications there are fairly self-explanatory. Auto sales are slowing down because the “universe” of potential prime and subprime rated car buyers, new and used cars, has been largely exhausted. In fact, with the default rate on subprime auto loans beginning to hit double-digits, the next phase in the automobile credit market will likely be credit implosion crisis.

The above commentary was an excerpt from the latest issue of the Short Seller’s Journal.

Goldman to Trump: Situation Assessment, Government Bail-ins, Precious Metals Threat: Systemic Collapse

A guest post from Stewart Dougherty. Stewart included some thoughts in his email to me that I thought should be shared as a preface to his essay:

——————–

Hi Dave:
Some pretty heady stuff, particularly the part about the Fed’s balance sheet being a lie. (I am 100% convinced of this, but cannot prove it, at least not yet.) And remember, Bernanke was caught issuing $10 trillion in swaps to foreign banks, all of which was supposed to remain a complete secret. It is not as if they haven’t been caught doing what I am saying they are still doing, to an even larger degree.

I’ve stated that the “conversation” is imagined, intuited and fictional, so the small living parts of the shredded Constitution might actually protect my freedom of speech; wouldn’t that be amazing.

I believe “government bail-ins” is fresh terminology … people hear about bank bail-ins all the time … but they don’t hear about government bail-ins, which are going to affect far more people and are inevitable. (As I’ll explain in Part 2, government bail-ins are not going to be about taxes … tax increases are too slow, and oftentimes don’t even work.) Since it’s new, the term government bail-ins might gain a lot of attention.

——————–

Despite Goldman’s avid support for Hillary Clinton, fewer than three weeks after the election, Gary Cohn, the number two executive at Goldman Sachs met privately at Trump Tower with the President-elect. Ten days later, he was named to one of the most powerful financial positions in the world, Director of the National Economic Council of the United States of America.

As they say, knowledge is power, and power is knowledge; both open doors, ears and minds when they decide to. What could Cohn have said to Trump that resulted in his near-immediate hire? Using the Inferential Analytics methodology, we have synthesized a message a visitor of Cohn’s stature might have conveyed to Trump on November 29, 2016. And while it is inferred, intuited and fictional, the following transcript is deeply grounded in the nation’s current and prospective fiscal, financial, monetary and economic situation.

The Visitor: “I appreciate your invitation and it is a pleasure to meet with you today. Permit me to convey Lloyd’s congratulations. He would like to assure you that you have Goldman’s full support going forward.

“Our time is short, so I will give you a very high level situation assessment. Thousands of person hours and millions of dollars’ worth of research and analysis stand behind each of the themes I will touch on, and we can provide additional details if you wish. As one of the U.S. government’s closest financial allies for decades, particularly when it comes to the placement of the nation’s sovereign debt, we have a deep understanding of the financial dynamics at work. When I use the term “we,” it is because Goldman and the United States government have been close business partners for many years.

“As you correctly stated to the American people during your campaign, the situation is not good. It is containable at this time, but only if we continue to run substantial deficits and create large sums of new dollars, in other words, debt. With all due respect, we believe the U.S. government is going to need our help as never before in the coming months and years.

“I will briefly touch on nine topics. There are others we could discuss, but these tell the most important part of the tale. They are: 1) Deficits; 2) Debt; 3) Reporting; 4) War; 5) Perception; 6) Stocks; 7) Money Creation; 8) Currency; and, 9) Precious Metals.

“As you may know, I started my financial career as a Comex trader, and Lloyd began his as a gold dealer at J. Aron, which was acquired by Goldman. We both have extensive experience in the Precious Metals markets, and believe they are going to be of incalculable significance in the near future. I will review this topic later.

“All I ask is that you not shoot the messenger. Much of what I tell you is troubling.

“First, the deficits are structurally non-containable. The OMB itself confirms this, projecting escalating deficits for the next 50 years, with not one year of surplus during that entire time. The aggregate deficit during the next decade alone will be at least $10 trillion. If there is a slowdown or recession, it will be greater or even much greater. The deficits can only be reined by a massive political reset and wholesale reneging on the entire social contract, including Medicare, Social Security, public pensions and welfare. Such a reset would result in an economic collapse. Therefore, it is not feasible, although it could be forced upon us by endogenous or exogenous events that would take the situation out of our hands.

“The debt has gone vertical, rising from $10 to $20 trillion in eight years. Obama created more debt than all other presidents in the previous 230 years, combined. This amount does not include the federal government’s net, unfunded liabilities, which are an additional $150+ trillion, and growing by trillions per year on a GAAP accounting basis. Please understand that his shadow, unfunded debt is net of projected tax receipts; in other words, it is completely out of control.

“Debt is now increasing at an accelerating rate, with $1.4 trillion added last year alone. This debt can never be paid in future dollars having value anywhere even close to today’s, but for now at least, we are still able to peddle it. We do know that for us to successfully distribute the debt in the future, interest rates will have to go higher, which will compound the fundamental deficit and debt problems. Otherwise, we will have to print money on a scale never before seen, which will further damage the value of the dollar. There is a limit to how badly currencies can be damaged; they can and do go into freefall. Several are, as we speak.

“The so-called economic recovery has been false. The Obama administration, with the full support of the Fed created $10 trillion in counterfeit dollars and threw them at the economy, funding everything including non-stop wars, Food Stamps, a vast expansion of government, subsidized Obamacare, solar panel cronies, fund-raising and golf trips, you name it. It’s all included in the nation’s deliberately and, frankly, fraudulently inflated GDP. We understand; it had to be done, and we helped make it happen by being expert debt pushers.

“Some like to think that we can grow our way out of the deficits and debt, but our analysis disagrees. Assume 4% GDP growth. Given an $18 trillion economy (ours is not, as explained above, but let’s say it is), 4% growth means a GDP increase of $720 billion in Year 1. Let’s say the federal government is able to collect in taxes 25% of the gross GDP increase, a wildly optimistic assumption. That would produce $180 billion in incremental revenue. But the structural deficits, as reflected by the increases in debt, exceed $1 trillion per year. Even 4% GDP growth will hardly make a dent in the fiscal hemorrhaging. And to prime the pump for such growth, the government will have to spend a few hundred billion dollars per year on infrastructure spending and the like. This will fully negate the incremental taxes. So we have to dig a deeper fiscal hole for the privilege of digging an ever deeper fiscal hole.

“This leads to topic #3, Reporting. At this point, out of necessity, virtually every government economic statistic ranges from being “massaged” to outright false. GDP is particularly misleading. If we deducted government deficit spending and the multiplier effects it creates, the United States economy would immediately collapse. If that were to happen, we cannot credibly forecast a scenario that would restore it to growth. Economically, it would constitute an existential event.

“Obviously, we cannot openly admit the reality of the situation, or even let it become known. Therefore, the government must doctor the reports. Given the interrelationships among economic reports, we now have to lie about everything. If we just lied about certain metrics, say, GDP and employment, then the other metrics, if not similarly fabricated, would contradict the fabricated reports. We would be unable to explain the inconsistencies and contradictions. We have to lie about unemployment, GDP growth, retail sales, wages, money supply, the cost of Obamacare subsidies, current deficits, current debt, the true fiscal trajectory of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, government pension underfunding, projected deficits and debt, and all the rest. When it comes to false reporting, we’re in a box; there’s no alternative to it.

“This is one reason why the Alternative Media are so dangerous to us, and why we need to eliminate them. There are many talented analysts in that domain. They know the truth, and that we’re not telling it. The fact is that fake news comes from us, not them, as they are revealing to a growing army of citizens.

“In addition to false reporting, there is War. War is just like the Fed; it is never audited. This deliberate lack of oversight is how $6 trillion can go missing at the Army, alone. The Army’s missing funds are a small portion of the total amount that has disappeared into the military spending vortex. War spending is critical to topline GDP, and we can play a lot of non-detectible games with it. The saying, “War is the health of the state,” was coined for us. If we stopped fighting wars, GDP would crater. Wars are a necessary constant going forward, even if we have to invent them.

“This brings us to Perception, one of the most important factors of all. In reality, the economy and dollar have become a confidence game. We know that if confidence in an inherently dysfunctional system is lost, only a reset plus time can restore it. But as we discussed earlier, a reset is socially, politically and economically impossible. If the 200,000,000 U.S. citizens currently dependent upon the government to some degree were deprived of even a fraction of their payments, economic and social entropy would result. In fact, the people want more, not less. Free college; free or massively subsidized health care; a $15 minimum wage; the list goes on. Politicians have told them they can have these things, so there is a vast disconnect between popular expectations and fiscal reality.

“Stock market indices are one of the few tools we can use to create positive perceptions. We have successfully created a false perception of economic health by taking stocks to new highs. We have also deliberately engineered a “wealth effect,” which has artificially spurred spending and GDP, and boosted the so-called “animal spirits.” Doing these things has disguised reality and bought us a lot of time.

“But the real reasons we have manipulated stock markets higher go further. First, without a levitated stock market, the pension funds would collapse. Which would ripple through the economy in a massively destructive way.

“Second, federal, state and local governments need the capital gains-related tax revenue produced by the artificially propped-up stock markets. Dow 20,000 will produce a 2017 tax windfall, which is required to offset the damaged economy’s tax shortfalls. The stock markets are a crucial money machine when it comes to tax generation.

“Now to money creation, which takes us deep into the Dark Side. To fund the massive deficits and levitate the stock market, we have had to create trillions of new dollars. But if the actual amount were revealed, confidence in and the value of the dollar would collapse. So we have to lie about this, too. The Fed’s balance sheet is actually trillions more dollars than what is reported.

“We inject newly digitized currency into the system by crediting trusted, proven collaborators such as the BOE, BOJ and Bank of Israel with dollar amounts that can range into the trillions, depending upon circumstances. These collaborators use a portion of these credits to buy our stocks and bonds, in accordance with strict timing, allocation and dollar amount instructions. They funnel the remainder of the funds to trusted, third-party actors, including hedge funds, merchant banks and dark pool operators, providing them, too, with specific deployment instructions. Therefore, the buying comes from many different markets and locations, which makes it look normal and legitimate.

“What exists is a small club of trusted players who deploy enormous sums of money, all of it counterfeit and undocumented, to support the positive perception, healthy GDP and strong stock market agendas. This money costs our partners nothing; we create it for them, out of nothing. The fact is that management of the dollar is far more clandestine than any of the operations conducted by the CIA or NSA, and the Fed is the most secretive and sophisticated intelligence agency on earth. Geo-financial hegemony is its mission, and dollars are its spies, operating, misdirecting and deceiving from the shadows every minute of every day, all over the world.

“While a large and increasing number of citizens now demonstrate broad skepticism about government institutions, they still have blind faith in the statistics reported by the Fed. Which is upside down, because the Fed’s figures are the most dishonest of them all. It proves the power of propaganda, particularly when billions of dollars are spent on it. If the Fed were subject to audit, which of course it deliberately and necessarily is not, none of this would be possible. And if the true size, composition and deployment of the Fed’s balance sheet were known, the entire global financial system would implode.

“That is the situation, in a nutshell. As you can see, it is fragile and untenable. We can continue to manage it in the current context, but if the context were to change, even in small ways, it could all come down. We have to prevent that at any cost because if it does come down, even our most sophisticated computer simulations cannot posit a scenario by which it could be propped back up.

There is a subtle knock on the office door. Trump realizes he is out of time. He says to his guest, “I understand what you have said, and need you to come back and finish.” They arrange for the visitor to return in three days, December 2nd. Trump asks, “So we can move as fast as possible then, please give me a brief outline of what we will discuss.”

The visitor responds: “Most people do not think about these issues at all, but the sophisticated ones do. We have deliberately misdirected that cohort’s attention. We have distracted them with talk of bank bail-ins and other financial gossip to keep their thinking off of what is actually a much more profound and necessary outcome: government bail-ins. We have before us a complex, four dimensional puzzle, in which the puzzle pieces represent events wrapped in time. Both the controlling elite and the people are putting the puzzle pieces in place as fast as they can, because they know their futures depend on it. The side that first completes and comprehends the puzzle will win; the other side will lose. Two of the most important puzzle pieces are currency and precious metals, both swaddled in time. Which is running out for one side or the other.”

[To be continued in Part 2]

Stewart Dougherty is the creator of Inferential Analytics (IA), a forecasting method that applies to events proprietary, time-tested principles of human instinct, desire and action. In his view, forecasting methods not fundamentally based upon principles of human action are unlikely to be reliable over time. He is a graduate of Tufts University (BA) and Harvard Business School (MBA), is a 35+ year veteran of the business trenches and has developed IA over a period of 15+ years.

Historic Market Blow-Up Is Brewing

I was chatting with a good friend who works at a pension fund. He said that pensions are historically overweighted in stocks right now. But it looks like the latest push higher in the stock market is coming from hedge funds, who apparently missed a large portion of the “Trump rally.”   We determined that the best reason to invest in stocks for both pension and hedge funds is “to avoid looking like an idiot.”

That’s it – that’s the “fundamental” justification for investing in stocks right now is because everyone else is and if your portfolio on Dec 31 is underweighted in stocks you’ll look like an idiot.

That stocks are more overvalued now than at any time in history except maybe 1999 is unequivocally undebatable.  However, if the GAAP accounting standards in force in 1999 were applied to current earnings, both the Dow and S&P 500 would be at record valuation levels.   I discuss this in more detail in the latest Short Seller’s Journal.

So, chasing stocks higher to avoid looking like a moron makes a lot of sense, right? Currently I can’t find evidence that the Fed is printing money to fuel this stock market so I have to believe that it has relaxed credit standards to enable banks, hedge funds and mutual funds (yes, many mutual funds now have the ability to tap credit lines) to borrow money with which to chase stocks.

Debt/credit behaves just like printed money until the debt has be repaid.  So creating credit is de facto printing.  But, what happens when debt defaults begin to pick up?  This is beginning to happen now in mortgage, auto and credit card debt.  Again, I provide proof of concept in the Short Seller’s Journal.

This is perhaps the most dangerous market – both stocks and bonds – in history.  It’s the largest money bubble in history that has been blown by the Fed, in conjunction with the ECB, BoE, BoJ and PBoC.   Silver Doctors/News Doctors invited me on to its Metals & Markets weekly podcast to discuss why 2017 could witness an historic market collapse:

Untitled

Party Like It’s 1999: The Stock Market Is A Propaganda Tool

The degree and level of propaganda now flowing from the Establishment and the Establishment-controlled mainstream media is on par with that of the old Soviet Politburo or German Third Reich.   In fact, I’d confidently propose that this point is incontestable.

With modern technology and regulations which have made Fed operations and accountability tragically opaque, I have zero doubt that the Fed and the Government have managed to turn the stock market into another propaganda tool.  Studies have shown that, over the short term, the direction of the stock market and consumer sentiment measures are highly correlated.

Thus, pushing the stock market a lot higher is a mechanism that can be used to influence the public’s sentiment and willingness to spend.  This is critical after an election in which the political party controlling Capitol Hill changes and – more important – during the holiday shopping season.

Without question the U.S. economy is beginning to quickly crumble.  If you “peel away” the manipulative techniques applied to the economic reporting it reveals that every segment of the economy is now contracting.  Even the factory orders report for October released  yesterday – which showed a 2.7% gain over September – is still down 2.3% YTD vs the same YTD period in 2015.  Strip away the transportation component and it’s down 2.7%.

With interest rates on the long end up over 100 basis points in a very short period of time, the Fed’s balance sheet has taken a big hit. It currently owns over $4 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage securities. Assuming an average duration of 10 years on its holdings, the market value of the Fed’s balance sheet has dropped 8.4%, or approximately $320 billion. As of this past Thursday, the Fed’s balance sheet showed $46 billion in book equity. If the Fed were forced to mark-to-market its fixed income holdings, the Fed’s net worth would be significantly negative – close to $300 billion negative. Think about that: the only thing backing the value of the U.S. dollar right now is the U.S. military and a Central Bank with a massive negative net worth.  – excerpt from IRD’s latest Short Seller’s Journal

Market intervention in this manner is an attempt to convince the public that the economic system is healthy and will be even healthier in the future.  As such it’s another subtle propaganda tool – a perception management device.   If the Fed were step away from the market, the stock market would rapidly re-price to reflect the true underlying economic reality.  In short, stocks would crash and concomitantly gold and silver would soar.

The Fed injected billions into the system in late 1999 ahead of Greenspan’s Y2k scare. It led to the biggest stock market blow-off top of all-time.The current market is quite similar, only the economic and financial fundamentals underlying both the public and private sectors of the system are far worse than they were in 1999.

The ONLY thing that can explain the move in the stock market since around 2:00 a.m. EST after the election is massive Fed stimulus in some form – either direct cash injections done in a format that won’t show up on the Fed’s balance sheet or a massive spike up in the availability of short term credit lines made available to banks and extended to hedge funds. There is no other explanation.

Today for example, the stock market is spiking higher AND bond prices are higher/yields lower. This makes absolutely no sense and can only be explained by official intervention of some sort.

Gold and silver will “sniff” this out and at some point I expect to see gold begin to move a lot higher and the dollar sell-off precipitously. I also expect that the Chinese are going to send their response to Trump’s inimical overtures on Twitter by accelerating their sale of U.S. Treasuries.

lf the same GAAP accounting standards used in 1999 to measure corporate earnings – the standards having been relaxed more almost every year since 2000 to enable companies to report higher GAAP earnings – were applied to today’s earnings numbers, we would see that the current stock market is by far the most overvalued in history.

This will not end well.

The Financial System Is On The Cusp Of Collapse

DB stock is now in a full panic sell-off as I write this.  It just hit another new all-time NYSE low on by the heaviest volume ever in the stock since its 2001 NYSE listing.  It’s currently down almost 10%.  No doubt the Central Banks will try to bounce it.

Deutsche Bank may well be the scapegoat this time around just like Lehman was the scapegoat in 2008. Central Banks in collusion can prevent just one bank from collapsing. It was the co-collapsing of AIG and Goldman Sachs that prompted then-Secretary of Treasury, ex-Goldman CEO Henry Paulson, to put in motion the bailout of the U.S. and European banking system.

Yesterday it was reported that the rate the Fed charges the banks to borrow collateral surged to its highest rate in 7 years – LINK. The rush to borrow collateral was no doubt prompted by OTC derivatives-related counter-party collateral calls. A collateral call is like a margin call in a stock account. This occurs when a derivatives trade goes south for an entity that is on the long side of the derivatives bet – a bet that Deutsche Bank won’t default, for instance – and the counterparty to that trade demands more collateral to be posted in order to insure that the bet can be paid off if the “long side” loses.

Now multiply that concept across thousands of derivatives trades involving hundreds of hedge fund and bank counterparties totalling $100’s of trillions. It does not take too many collateral calls before counterparties and Central Banks run out of collateral that can posted against these OTC derivatives margin calls. That’s happening now.

This is 2008 redux – only this time the damage inflicted by derivatives counterparties collapsing will be much worse because the size and scale of the problem is much larger.

Deutsche Bank is at the center of focus, but there’s no question that U.S. Too Big To Fails are in similar financial condition.  If that’s not the case, then why won’t Fed unwind the “QE” that created the $2.3 trillion in bank “excess reserves” sitting at the Fed?  Pull this rug out from under Goldman, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, B of A etc and the entire U.S. banking system will collapse.   But that will happen at some point unless the Fed cranks up the printing press again.

Deutsche Bank may well be the catalyst that throws a “spark” that lights the fuse on $100’s of trillions of financial weapons of mass destruction.  It was just reported that DB’s hedge fund clients are rushing to draw all excess cash held at the bank.  That’s how the run begins.   DB’s stock is down 8% right now on 33 million shares.  This is 3x the 10 day average trading volume and over 6x the 90 day average – with 2 hours left in the trading day. It’s as if someone turned on the light in the kitchen and the cockroaches are running for cover.

Make no mistake, DB is not the only big bank in trouble right now.  I have no doubt the phone wires between the U.S. and European Too Big To Fails are sizzling.  This is also the reason the manipulators have been throwing a “scorched earth” attempt to push gold and silver lower.  Again, this is just like 2008 when the manipulators took the price of gold down from $1020 to $700 – right before the entire banking system de facto collapsed.

Deutsche Bank may well be the “canary” but the “coal mine” is the banking system – European and U.S. – and there will be plenty of dead birds before this is over.

For additional insight on the DB saga, see Eric Dubin’s:  Deutsche Bank Is Imploding.

Derivatives: Unexploded Financial Weapons

Central counterparties keep records of trades and help suck risk out of the banking system, but this only works if they themselves are well capitalised and have plans in place to deal with a sudden collapse of one or more of its members and get close to failure. Otherwise, they’re just unexploded nuclear bombs nestling deep in the financial system.   – Business Insider LINK.

Who are we kidding.  Since the 2008 de facto banking system collapse, the OTC derivatives problem has mushroomed out of control.   The Obama Government heralded in the Dodd Frank legislation, which allegedly made the financial system safer for everyone.  In reality it is nothing more than a fairlytale written with  the goal of allowing the Too Big To Fail banks to cover up their continued derivatives Ponzi scheme.

Now the BIS has issued yet another warning about the dangers lurking with derivatives. The “central clearing exchanges,” like the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation, are giant derivatives-infested vipers nest which harbors the next – and possibly imminent – financial system collapse.

This is one of the reasons behind Carl Icahn’s recent candor regarding the U.S. financial system:  “sooner or later there’s going to be a massive problem.”  LINK

In today’s episode of the Shadow of Truth,   we discuss the reasons why the BIS is sounding the derivatives alarm bell again and why Carl Icahn has become “Dr. Doom” on the stock market:

Tuesday Morning Massacre In The Large Cap Miners

Something very ominous is brewing behind the scenes.  It is systemic and related to a ongoing credit collapse behind “the curtain.”  The indicators are right in front of our eyes, regarded with indifference by a zombified, propaganda-infused public injected with the “hope heroin” greedily pedaled by Wall Street, the Fed and the Government.

The credit markets are in a slow state of collapse led by high yield bonds and leveraged loans, which have been declining for the better part of a year.  Recently that decline has turned into a tail-spin in the more toxic classifications of “high yield.”

It was revealed by Zerohedge LINK, in a display of adept journalism, that the Dallas Fed has quietly told its regional member banks to refrain from marking to market their distressed energy loans and to defer an initiative to foreclose on defaulting loans to technically bankrupt energy companies drowning in debt.

Of course the head of the Dallas Fed, a former high-ranking Goldman Sachs executive, has issued a polished denial.  We need to two more denials before the intel is confirmed to be true.  But I know from a source that it is indeed true.  A couple months ago a little birdie passed on the remarks made to his client from the President of a big regional bank in Texas:  the economic hurricane brewing from the collapse in energy prices is about to hit Texas hard and it will hit every sector of the Texas economy.

Back to the Dallas Fed issue, does this sound familiar?  Anyone happen to learn anything from “The Big Short” about the fraudulent behavior of the big banks when their fraudulent business activity hits the wall?   One well-read analyst dismissed this latest round of fraud by attributing it to the change in mark to market accounting rules passed in 2009.  But these rules were meant to enable the big banks to avoid reporting asset mark-downs for GAAP purposes, enabling them to mark-up bad assets.  This further enabled these banks to misrepresent their earnings per share in quarterly earning reports.  But that analyst is whistling past the graveyard on this issue.   This is much more insidious and fraudulent than changing the GAAP accounting rules.  This is about telling banks to let bankrupt companies pretend to be solvent, just like we saw in The Big Short with CDO’s and CLO’s.

This latest move by the Fed is an attempt to play Atlas and hold up the world of banking on its shoulders.  It’s about enabling these banks to avoid taking big hits to their reserve capital.  This lets the banks carry on as if nothing is wrong when they should be selling assets hand over fist and raising even more capital to use as reserves against collapsing energy assets.   The canary has died and the Dallas Fed is going to try and carry the canary out of the mine before anyone sees the corpse.

Now does it sound familiar?  This is exactly what happened in 2008 in the mortgage market. Only this time around it will be worse because this dynamic will encompass most of the biggest lending sectors of the financial system:   energy, auto loans and student loans.  Don’t worry, mortgages won’t be left out.  The pool of homebuyers sitting on 0-3% down payment mortgages has bubbled up.  I predict that within the next twelve months a large portion of the subprime mortgages disguised as FNM/FRE/FHA conventional loans will be come quite problematic for the banks.

How does this relate to the Tuesday morning massacre in the large cap miners?  Whenever something really bad is about to hit the system, one of the first places it manifests is with an unexplainable raid on the mining stocks.  I thumbed through the news announcements of every single component of the HUI index and could not find any news reports that would have triggered a 6% hit on the HUI.   Some of the biggest stocks, like BVN, Kinross and Newmont are down 7-10%.   Unexplainably down.

This could lead to a big attack on gold/silver, so brace yourself.   It won’t last and anyone who sells into it out of fear will regret doing so in 3-6 months.

The global financial system is collapsing.  It was reported yesterday that Italy’s big banks are melting down.   This will trigger a big daisy-chain explosion credit default swaps.  I expected to see the S&P futures down 2% on this report.  They were up 1.5% overnight. I guess a melt-down starting in the European financial system is a good reason to pile into U.S. stocks…But on the contrary, I knew I would wake up to find the SPX futures up big and that’s what confirmed for me that the system is collapsing.   The Tuesday morning slaughter in the large-cap miners is Fed’s attempt to get that canary past the last group of people entering the mine and it further confirms that the global economic system is failing.

Atlas Shrugged

A friend sent me a news item from U.S. News and World Report which reported that Louisiana’s board of education is going to implement a new policy which requires all students to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to receive a high school diploma – LINK.

Think about that for a moment.  In order to receive a high diploma, the State of Louisiana is requiring that high school seniors fill out an application which would enable them to go into debt the moment they receive their diploma.

This is a mind-blowing event.  Most jobs available to high school grads do not require a college degree.  But some might require a high school diploma.  I have to wonder what the motive is behind this.  A significant portion of student debt is now being used for corporate-owned “universities” which are largely worthless to everyone except the entities who own the schools.  Goldman Sachs is a big player in this space.   Student debt, backed by the Taxpayer, is just another form of wealth transfer from the public to the banks and big corporations.

Untitled

The amount of student debt issued and outstanding is now over $1.3 trillion. Obama pats himself on the back because student loan delinquency rates are falling a bit.  But this is because he has made it easier to defer payment – LINK.  While 11.5% – roughly $150 billion – is in delinquency, about 50% of this debt is in some form of grace period, deferment or forebearance.  Loans in deferment are not part of the delinquency rate calculation.  The true level of delinquency and technical default is probably somewhere in the 35-45% range.

I have to believe that the requirement being implemented in Louisiana is violating some part of the Constitution.  Of course, with the simple stroke of a pen, Obama can override the Constitution with yet another Executive Order upholding this requirement.

This requirement in Louisiana is exactly the type insane laws which were imposed by the Government as described in the narrative laid out in “Atlas Shrugged.”  Acts of mandate which enabled the Government and the corporate friends of the Government to suck wealth from the populace and from productive workers and redistribute the largesse amongst themselves.

We know how the story unfolds in “Atlas Shrugged.”  Unfortunately, I see the same type of story unfolding in the United States.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered…I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.  – Thomas Jefferson

The Credit Markets Are Starting To Collapse

I kind of wish Alan Greenspan were still the FOMC Chairman.   He makes a great “Wizard” figure.   Bernanke looks more like an unethical elf – a spineless pansy who couldn’t bluff his way out of a paper bag but viciously vindictive when no one can see him.  And Janet Yellen…well, she just looks like Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffith show, only with a much lower IQ.

I mention this because it’s become glaringly apparent that the credit markets are starting to collapse behind the proverbial “curtain.”  Several analysts point to the Merrill Lynch triple-C junk bond yield index and remark that “something” blew up:

Untitled

But it’s not “something.” “Something” is a general melt-down of the credit markets.  The C-rated high yield index reflects this reality.   If it were just one or two names blowing up, yields on related paper might drift higher, but not spike up like this.   This is the market’s realization that it has been overpaying for its risky investments not by a little bit, but by a gargantuan amount.   Add to that the well-publicized dearth of liquidity to accommodate general selling and we have the perfect recipe for the collapse of the entire credit market. The spike in the graph above is the market’s way of saying, “I want out.”

The unraveling of Kinder Morgan is another indicator of the malaise prevailing behind “the curtain.”  When KMI announced its earnings on October 22, it increased its dividend and projected growth over the next year of 6-10% in its dividend payout.  Seven weeks later, it slashes its dividend by 75%.

What the heck happened?  What changed?  If you look at KMI’s statement of cash flows, over the last three years KMI has funded both CAPEX and its dividend payout by issuing more debt every year.   How many Wall Street or Seeking Alpha Einsteinian analysts pointed out that fact?   Zero.   This is just speculation on my part – as it would be on anyone’s – but I suspect that Kinder Morgan was informed by its investment bankers that any continued debt issuance would be extremely expensive and conceivably not possible, especially given the collapsing price of oil and gas.  Yes Virginia, contrary to the popular myth of CNBC La La Land, KMI has business exposure to the directional movements in the price of oil and gas.

There are plenty of other market signals but perhaps the one that reflects the most desperation by the insider elitists to keep  a pretty cover page on the horror story unfolding is the daily price beating administered to the price of gold.  In a Groundhog Day scenario, every night the price of gold rallies while the physical gold buying heathens and NATO foes of the east feast on the cheap gold that the criminals of the west provide for them every day once the paper gold markets are in full swing.

If you don’t want everyone to run out of the coal mine when they see the dead canary, remove the bird before it dies.

As this unfolds, there is a lot of money to be made shorting all of the hideously overvalued stocks.   My new subscription service will be rolling out at least one idea per week that will help you find ways to exploit the gross price distortions and sector bubbles that have developed after 6 years of extremely reckless monetary policy by the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.    You can subscribe by clicking here:   SHORT SELLER’S JOURNAL.

It’s a weekly report delivered to your email inbox with:  1) a brief comment on the previous week’s trading action plus any thoughts on the upcoming week;  2) I will feature 1 or  2 short-sell, trading, or investment ideas – the investment ideas will be primarily junior mining stocks; 3) trading recommendations, charts and put/call option ideas.

A Bearish Warning From The Pending Home Sales Report

The warning signals are coming from several sources now.   Many major MSA’s have gone from apartment rental shortages to oversupply with more supply on the way;  Sam Zell recently unloaded a big chunk of apartments from his flagship REIT – a repeat of a  move he made in 2007;  housing prices have been dropping for the better part of the last year in several MSAs – 30% All Homes Lost Value Last Year;  large investment funds are now starting to  unload large portfolios of homes that had been  structured for  high yields from rents but have significantly underperfomed.

The crux of the problem is that the Fed’s massive stimulus of the mortgage market, combined with increased Government subsidization of FNM/FRE/FHA mortgage programs, accomplished no more than temporarily stimulating a small bounce in homebuying.  But a large portion of this homebuying was done by “investors” and flippers.  That ship has sailed as housing prices, contrary to the calculus reported by the Case-Shiller index (which Robert Shiller has admitted in the past is flawed) have been declining in most cities since the spring.  Flippers are now finding themselves stuck on homes that they are unable to flip unless they are willing to eat loss.

I explore the significance of the latest Pending Home Sales Index report, which has now declined in 3 or the last 4 months in this Seeking Alpha article:  Pending Home Sale Indicating The Bear Is Back.    This is true despite the fact that the Government just allocated more taxpayer support by rolling out  a zero-down mortgage program for the low-income demographic.   As I discuss in this article, mortgage subsidies won’t help a population that can’t earn enough income to support the monthly cost  of home ownership.

I have published a new homebuilder report which shows why this particular homebuilder is going to get cut in half in price over the next year.  This company happens to focus on the lower-end homebuying demographic and it recently reported a continued decline in unit sales.   This stock fell 9% after it reported and it has yet to rally back to its pre-earnings level despite the massive move up in the S&P 500.

You can access this report here:  HOMEBUILDER REPORTS

In response to several recent inquiries, I’m offering a package of my older homebuilder reports at a discount.  The numbers in the report are dated but the primary premise explaining why each homebuilder is a great short is still intact.  In fact, two of the companies are now well below their stock price when I published the reports, despite the fact that the S&P 500 is significantly higher than when the reports were published.  There’s a message there…

I am offering the older reports at a discount until I get the numbers up-to-date, which  I will be doing over the next couple of weeks.  Anyone who buys these reports will be entitled to receive future updates per my report buying policy.  If you are interested, contact me at investmentresearchdynamics@gmail.com