Blogs

  • Govt to follow Buffet's lead...

    * Govt to follow Buffet's lead... * Aussie $ has biggest gain ever... * Yen reverses on carry trades... * China's currency reserves rise... Good day...And what a day it was! As I stated in yesterday's Pfennig, Columbus day is just sort of a holiday for the markets. These 'semi-holidays' can create some volatile trading, as not all of the markets are open and many desks are short staffed. So with the Federal Reserve and the banking system closed, the equity markets had the largest one day gain in over seven decades. I guess the stock jockeys figured they weren't going to get any bad news out of the credit markets, which were closed, so no news is good news!! The rally was certainly welcomed, and hopefully some of the gains will stick today as we return to a normal trading environment. And I guess some of the credit for the stock rally has to go to finance ministers around the globe who finally agreed on a plan which seems to be able to work. The leaders of a majority of the worlds largest economies borrowed a page from Warren Buffet's playbook and decided to invest directly into some of their largest financial institutions. The Bush administration announced it would invest $125 billion in nine of the biggest US banks. The US move came after France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Austria committed $1.8 trillion to guarantee interbank loans and take equity stakes in European banks....
  • Why The Worst Will Soon Be Over

    The credit crisis is global. Interestingly, some of the more creative and straight forward solutions are coming from England. This week in Outside the Box I am presenting you with a very well written (even entertaining) letter from Bedlam Asset Management from London www.bedlamplc.com on their view of the crisis. It is always instructive to look at your problems from the point of view of another party, and even more some when they give you some thoughtful and cogent analysis. I have to admit, seeing green on my screen feels good, but we are in a recession that is global and is likely to get worse. What we need to do now is assess what our response will be. First, we need to avoid the pitfalls and then look around for the opportunities which will be presented us. I think this week's Outside the Box will help you think through your personal situation....
  • Fed floods the markets with US$...

    * Bernanke gets help opening the spigot... * Euro and Pound rally... * Yen to continue to benefit from carry reversals...* Aussie $ rallies... ** Fed floods the markets with US$... Good day...and happy Columbus day! This is an official bank holiday here in the states, so all of the banks are closed, but the stock markets are open. We will have a half day here on the desk to try and catch up with all of the work which has been piling up the past few weeks. The phones are turned off, since it is an official bank holiday, but we will be checking messages and try to get back to everyone as quickly as possible. It is a very unusual holiday, as the banks are all closed with no funds transfers possible, but the stock markets are open. Currency desks are lightly staffed, so we will have to really work to get the trades done this morning. These strange holidays usually can lead to some real market volatility, and with today will probably be another rollercoaster. In an all out effort to ease the credit freeze, the Federal Reserve recruited help from the ECB, Bank of England, and the Swiss central bank to flood the market with US$. These central banks will auction unlimited dollar funds with maturities of seven days, 28 days, and 84 days at a fixed interest rate. This move is unprecedented, as all previous dollar swaps were capped at a maximum amount while these auctions will be for unlimited funds....
  • Where Do We Go From Here?

    I have been writing for almost a year that the next shoe to drop on US banks would be commercial construction lending. Today we look at some hard numbers. We look across the pond to sort out the problems in Europe. We look at the consequences of the losses stemming from Lehman. Then we look at one of the more serious consequences of the banking crisis, one that will bring the crisis home to you. Finally, we look at what the various governments of the world must do in response. It may not be fun, but it should be interesting. And it is important. Feel free to forward this letter to anyone who asks why we not only need the bailout but will need even more coordinated government action....
  • The Room - 10/10/2008

    In last week's edition of this meandering missive, I mused as follows... "What, I wonder, will the government do when next week, or the week after maybe, the U.S. stock market takes another header for 500 points? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, gold is at $826, down considerably over the past week. Like when a tsunami sucks the water away from the shore just before hitting, we're in a transition period. I'm not worried about where gold is going next. I wish I could say the same about the world." According to the number crunchers, the U.S. stock market is on track to have its worst week since 1937. Which, as you can see from the DJIA chart here, is an acceleration of the broader trend that has held sway for some time now. While we can't yet say what action the U.S. Government will take next, glancing over the horizon, we see a growing number of countries implementing a euphemistically named "market holiday." In Iceland, all banks and markets are now enjoying a day off. And Kevin Brekke, our Switzerland-based researcher, just wrote that there is a rising call to halt trading in Germany. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the same were to occur in the U.S....
  • Who Owes Who?

    * Trading theme pushes yen higher... * Settlement day for Lehman CDO's... * Oil price fall hurts loonies... * Gold climbs back above $900... ** Who Owes Who? Good day... And a Happy Friday to one and all! It certainly doesn't look as though it will be a Fantastico Friday in stocks, as yesterday was a bloodletting, and overnight the Japanese stock market sold off 11%, and Europe is down about 9% at this point. UGH! This is getting quite ugly... But remember what I've been saying this week about the currency trading theme... When things look bleak, the dollar goes up... And when it looks as though all the stimulus might work, the dollar sells off... This has been quite evident in Japanese yen overnight, as stocks sold off 11%, the currency rallied to a 98 handle from 101 yesterday... And... Then in dollar trading, other than yen, the dollar is stronger this morning, pushing the euro back to the 1.35 handle. The high yielders, which enjoyed a day in the sun yesterday before U.S. stocks took a turn on the slippery slope, got whacked hard overnight! UGH!...
  • Lehman Credit Default Swaps Announcements Today

    If you are looking for a reason why stocks are plunging, here's one major reason. Today, at 10:30 AM and then again at 2 PM (both eastern time) announcements re settlement of the massive Lehman Bros. credit default swaps will occur. According to one...
  • Week of 10/09/2008

    Bargains Are Starting To Appear
    A Bottom Fishing Check List
    The Bear Isn't Finished Yet
    Big Drops Lead To Big Rebounds
    Financial Stocks Attract More Attention
    There Is One More Shoe To Fall
    The Biggest Question: Will The Bailout Work?
    The Bottom Line This Week

    Wall Street's thrill ride continued over the past week as investors made king-sized moves after every drop in the economic outlook. By the time the closing bell rang on Friday, the Dow and the Nasdaq were down 7.3% and 10.8% respectively. A good time was definitely not enjoyed by all.

    Once again, investors saved their biggest gyrations for the following Monday when the market plunged some 800 points. Fortunately, the market regained 430 points before the end of the day. Stocks resumed their slide on Tuesday and Wednesday when they fell a total of 689 points.

    ...
  • A New Trading Theme...

    * Coordinated rate cuts...* Did the Fed reignite soaring inflation?* More pain in Iceland...* Revisiting the 90's in Japan... ** A New Trading Theme... Good day... And a Tub Thumpin' Thursday to you! Well... How about those wily veteran Central Bankers? They all got together and decided to cut rates... The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) went first with their 100 BPS cut, and opened the rate cut sea for the rest of the Central Banks around the world. The European Central Bank, The Riksbank (Sweden), Swiss National Bank, Bank of Canada, Bank of England, and the Bank of China all lined up at the rate cut table... The Bank of Japan, The Norges Bank (Norway), and Reserve Bank of New Zealand did not participate. The Bank of Japan doesn't have any rate to cut, The Norges Bank will wait until their regularly scheduled meeting on 10/15, and the RBNZ believes that they have taken their toxic waste bond flu shot......
  • Coordinated Rate Cuts!

    * Yen trades to 98! * Carry Trades unwinding hurt high yielders... * Gold rallies back to $900! * Central Bank rate cuts.... ** Coordinated Rate Cuts! Good day... And a Wonderful Wednesday to you! Well... There's a ton of stuff to talk about today, one of which is the amazing run that Japanese yen has had in the past month, but particularly the last week! No need to sneak a peak at the currency round-up, Japanese yen is trading 98.80! WOW! I could be acting like a contortionist and trying to slap myself on the back, but that would unprofessional... And besides, the rest of the currencies are taking shots to the mid-section. Anyway... Blow the horn, the Carry Trade (for yen) is dead, may it rest in peace! OK... The currencies tried like all get out yesterday to rally VS the dollar, the euro did end the day 1% higher on the day, which after the bloodshed of the past month, I'll take that any old time! I would love to go back to 2005 (not really, but for this conversation's sake I will) and pull out some old Pfennigs where I talked about all the naysayers talking about a break up of the euro... We had the NO votes from France and Denmark on accepting the European Union's (EU) Constitution, we had riots in the streets of France, we had rising interest rates in the U.S. and dozens and dozens of naysayers called out the euro and said it would collapse under the weight. I said then, and I'll say now... HOGWASH!...
  • Beyond the Sound Bite: My Interview on NPR

    The folks over at National Public Radio noticed my blog posting of yesterday re the credit markets, Treasury yields, LIBOR, and the TED spread and did an interview with me on the topic, which you can listen to by clicking on the following link. To listen...
  • Finding Higher Returns with Low Risks

    Market volatility and uncertainty spur the search for investment alternatives. Index fund investors broke even or lost money the last 10 years, depending on what the markets did in the latest volatile week. The index fund investors did worse than simply...
  • Mortgage Bailout Passes, Finally - Now What?

    This week we take an inside look at the massive government bailout bill that was hastily signed into law by President Bush late last Friday. As taxpayers who are ultimately on the hook for the now $850 billion bailout package, we need to understand how this program is expected to work (or not work). So I will give you the latest details as we understand them. I also ponder whether the bailout is, or is not, the right thing to do. Following that, we will take a look at the latest Electoral Map which has shifted significantly in Barack Obama's favor, unfortunately. Finally, we will revisit Scotia Partners and update you on their performance in the latest stock market meltdown....
  • Gurus Ring the Bell

    Gurus Ring the Bell Ahh, the newsletter crowd is getting bullish. My inbox is full of stock-picking gurus saying now’s the time to be bold and buy stocks. Fear is rampant, they say. Distant relatives are calling in the wee hours asking for advice...