Tag Archives: short stocks

Orwell’s Theorem: The Opposite of Truth Is The Truth

All propaganda is lies, even when one is telling the truth. – George Orwell

A reader commented that the number of corporate lay-offs in America is escalating, yet the unemployment rate seems to keep going lower.  Part of the reason for this is that the 2008 collapse “cleansed” corporate america’s payrolls of a large number of workers who are eligible to file for unemployment benefits.

The Labor Force is derived from the number of people employed + the number of people looking for work.  To continue receiving jobless benefits during the defined period in which fired workers can receive them, they have to demonstrate that they are looking for work.  Ergo, they are considered part of the Labor Force.  Once the jobless benefits expire, they are removed from the Labor Force unless an enterprising Census Bureau pollster happens to get one on the phone and they answer “yes” when asked if they are/were actively looking for work.   Those who do not qualify for jobless benefits more often than not are removed from the Labor Force tally.  This is why, last month for example, over 600,000 people were removed from the Labor Force.

Reducing the Labor Force de facto reduces the unemployment rate.  Thus, there’s an inverse relationship between layoffs and the unemployment rate.  It’s an Orwellian utopia for the elitists.

Today’s stock market is a great example of the “opposite of truth is the truth” theorem.   It was reported by Moody’s that credit card charge-offs have risen at to their highest rate since 2009 – LINK.  This means that defaults are rising at an even faster rate, as finance companies use accounting gimmicks to defer actual charge-offs as long as possible.  A debt that is charged-off has probably been in non-pay status for at least 9-12 months.

The same story has been developing in auto loans. The 60+ day delinquency rate for subprime auto loans is at 4.51%, just 0.18% below the peak level hit in 2008. The 60+ day delinquency rate for prime auto loans is 0.54%, just 0.28% below the 2008 peak. In terms of outright defaults, subprime auto debt is just a shade under 12%, which is about 2.5% below its 2008 peak. Prime loans are defaulting at a 1.52% rate, about 200 basis points (2%) below the 2008 peak. However, judging from the rise in the 60+ day delinquency rate, I would expect the rate of default on prime auto loans to rise quickly this year.

Now here’s the kicker: In Q3 2008 there was $800 billion in auto loans outstanding. Currently there’s $1.2 trillion, or 50% more. In other words, we’re not in crisis mode yet and the delinquency/default rates on subprime auto debt is near the levels at which it peaked in 2008. These numbers are going to get a lot worse this year and the amount of debt involved is 50% greater. But the real problem will be, once again, the derivatives connected to this debt. It would be a mistake to expect that this problem will not begin to show up in the mortgage market.

Amusingly, the narrative pitched by Wall Street and the sock-puppet financial media analysts is that the credit underwriting standards have only recently been “skewed” toward sub-prime. This is an outright fairytale that is accepted as truth (see Orwell’s Theorem). The issuance of credit to the general population has been skewed toward sub-prime since 2008. It’s the underwriting standards that were loosened.

The definition of non-sub-prime was broadened considerably after 2008.  Many borrowers considered sub-prime prior to 2008 were considered “prime” after 2008. The FHA was the first to pounce on this band-wagon, as it’s 3% down-payment mortgage program enabled the FHA to go from a 2% market share 2008 to a 20% market share of the mortgage market.

Capital One is a good proxy for lower quality credit card and auto loan issuance. While Experian reports an overall default of 3.3% on credit cards, COF reported a 5.14% charge-off rate for its domestically issued credit cards. COF’s Q1 2017 charge-off rate is up 48 basis points (0.48%) from Q4 2016 and up 100 basis points (1%) from Q1 2016. The charge-off rate alone increased at an increasing rate at Capital One over the last 4 quarters. This means the true delinquency rates are likely surging at even higher rates. This would explain why COF is down 17% since March 1st despite a 2.1% rise in the S&P 500 during the same time-period.

To circle back to Orwell’s Theorem, today the S&P 500 is hitting a new record high. But rather than the FANGs + APPL driving the move, the push higher is attributable to a jump in the financial sector. This is despite the fact that there were several news reports released in the last 24 hours which should have triggered another sell-off in the financial sector. Because  the stock market has become a primary propaganda tool, it’s likely that the Fed/Plunge Protection Team was in the market pushing the financials higher in order to “communicate” the message that the negative news connected to the sector is good news.  Afer all, look at the performance of the financials today!

Days like today are great opportunities to set-up shorts. Most (not all) of the ideas presented in the Short Seller’s Journal this year have been/are winners.  As an example Sears (SHLD) is down 39% since it was presented on April 2nd.   I’ll present two great short ideas in the financial sector plus a retailer in the next issue.  You can learn more about the Short Seller’s Journal here:  SSJ Info.

SNAP Snapped – Stock Plunges 18%

SNAP just reported horrible numbers vs. Wall Street forecasts.  Net income was actually a Net loss of $2.31 vs. a loss of 19 cents forecast.  Revenues were light by $8 million, coming in at $149.6mm vs. $157.9 million expected.  Active subscribers were also lower than expected.   The Ponzi stock is down 18% as I post this:

IRD reviewed SNAP when it IPO’d and warned investors to avoid or short this stock:  Avoid SNAP.  Short Seller Journal subscribers were presented with an even more detailed analysis.

Investment Research Dynamics’ Short Seller’s Journal has presented several ideas recently which offered subscribers significant gains from shorting or buying puts on the ideas. KATE and IBM are two examples. Find out more clicking the link above or the banner below

The Latest Short Seller’s Journal: The Greater Fraud Contest

The stock I feature in the latest issue of the Short Seller’s Journal was down 3.5% today. The company’s revenues are highly correlated with the GDP,  which is going negative rather quickly.  This stock easily has another $20 of downside by the middle of the summer, which would be another 33% from here.

Icahn has always been one of the shrewdest investors out there. I doubt he’s betting on anything less than a 35-50%% decline. The SPX could drop 50% tomorrow and still be overvalued. Based on historic GAAP accounting and historical valuation metrics, the S&P 500 is intrinsically worth 500-800.

I am working to determine whether TSLA or AMZN is the biggest stock fraud in the history of our markets. Both companies aggressively implement the same business model: charge the end-user (buyer) a price below the all-in cost of getting the product from the factory floor to the customer’s possession for the sake of generating revenues.

AMZN stock has run up $72 to $673 (Friday’s close) since its earnings were reported last Thursday. The Company continued with the same highly misleading accounting in Q1 2016 and the misleading presentation of its numbers that I layout in Amazon.con.  AMZN burned through OVER $3 billion in cash during Q1 2016 despite making the claim that it generated $5 billion of free cash flow.

Of all propaganda-promoting publications, the Wall Street Journal featured a story last week which outlined the ways in which Elon Musk (TSLA founder) moves around cash among TSLA, Space-X and Solar City, depending on which entity recently raised money and which entity needs money. Pure Ponzi scheme.

TSLA is now down over 6% from when I originally recommended shorting it on March 27, despite the fact that SPX is slightly higher. I reiterated the recommendation in last week’s Short Seller’s Journal issue – it’s down 17% since then.

The S&P 500 is getting ready to roll over again and edge off the cliff.  It’s not a question of “IF” but a matter of “WHEN.”  In the latest Short Seller’s Journal I present three great short ideas, including a not well known company who’s revenues are highly tied to GDP activity. This stock could easily shed $30 over the next 3-6 months.  Subscribers to the SSJ gain access to the Mining Stock Journal for half-price (and vice-versa).  You can access the SSJ by clicking here:  Short Seller’s Journal.

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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.