Saturday, 17 December 2016

Weekend Update 17/12/2016 – Italy, The End?

Old Three Card Monte of Siena is causing havoc. He’s eating all the livestock and demanding extortionate bailouts via his henchman the horrible new temporary Prime Minister of Italy. Bankrupt very, very, very, old Bankster Monte has decided to marry off his daughter to a rich Prince from an Arab land far away….

With apologies to Richard Gauntlett author of pantomime scripts.

We open the weekend with very, very, very old Three Card Monte di Siena, going, going, almost gone. This never ending tragedy looks like finally coming to a bad end next week. “It’s almost behind them.” “Oh no it isn’t!”

This being the inmate run asylum of the wealth and jobs destroying EUSSR, if they can find a way to destroy even more wealth and jobs by yet another botched “rescue,” you can be sure the inmates in Italy will seize it with both hands. This weekend at the very, very, very, old Dodgy Bank, they’re still trying to line up Qatar and Monte’s retail investors for the hit. If Qatar bites, they’ll probably buy a bridge in Brooklyn next. I’ve got a very old bridge in London for them, too. Its roadway goes up and down to allow tall masted ships to sail by.

Monte dei Paschi in last-ditch effort to lure retail investors

Fri Dec 16, 2016 | 7:10am EST
Italy's third biggest bank has until the end of this month to raise 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in equity or face the risk of being wound down, potentially triggering a wider banking and political crisis in Italy.
Should the privately-funded plan fail, the government is ready to step in with state money to keep the Siena-based bank in business, though such a move would require both retail and institutional investors to share in losses.

Monte dei Paschi said on Friday market watchdog Consob had given the go-ahead to the extension of a voluntary debt-to-equity offer to retail investors owning 2.1 billion euros of its junior debt. The offer runs from December 16-21.

The bank, noting there could be no certainty Rome would pump in public money, warned that any state aid could force bondholders to convert their securities on worse conditions than those of the lender's voluntary debt swap offer.

Underscoring its vulnerability, the bank said on Friday deposits had fallen by 6 billion euros between September 30 and December 13.

Outflows have totaled 2 billion euros since a December 4 referendum on constitutional reform which triggered the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, throwing the bank's rescue plan into disarray.

Besides the bond conversion, the bank's last attempt to avert state aid also envisages selling shares to cornerstone investors and on the market.

However, a source close to the matter said on Thursday that Qatar's sovereign wealth fund - which bankers had said could invest 1 billion euros - had yet to make up its mind on whether to put money in the bank.

---- Following the political turmoil triggered by Renzi's resignation, JPMorgan and other investment banks that had made a preliminary commitment to underwrite the share sale walked out of the deal citing adverse market conditions.

Monte dei Paschi estimates the cost of its rescue deal, including fees paid to investment banks, at 558 million euros, it said in a prospectus for the operation published on Friday.

The European Central Bank last week rejected Monte dei Paschi's request for more time to raise the funds, saying a delay could trigger a further deterioration in the bank's liquidity and capital position, putting its survival at risk.

In other news, our complacent, over confident, Trumpmania markets are sleepwalking towards disaster. In the escalating war between incoming President Trump and China, the Federal Reserve, according to Marketwatch,  will soon be the buyer of last resort for Uncle Scam’s debt. Only bad things happen after that.

Stock market closes lower after China seizes U.S. underwater drone

By Wallace Witkowski and Ryan Vlastelica Published: Dec 16, 2016 4:25 p.m. ET
U.S. stocks closed lower Friday, with the Dow industrials swinging to a loss, following reports that a Chinese warship seized an underwater U.S. Navy drone in international waters off the coast of the Philippines.
Even as the Dow was curtailed from its advance to the psychologically important 20,000 level, the blue-chip average still nabbed its longest weekly winning streak in more than a year, rising six weeks in a row.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.04% which had been up by as many as 71 points earlier, swung to a loss after the Department of Defense announced a Chinese naval vessel took an underwater Navy drone that was collecting water measurements like temperature and salinity. The average finished down 8.83 points, or less than 0.1%, at 19,843.41. The largest blue-chip decliners were Caterpillar Inc. CAT, -2.06% and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, -1.69%  
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.18% which had been struggling earlier, declined 3.96 points, or 0.2%, to close at 2,258.07. All but five of the S&P 500’s 11 primary sectors rose on the day. The biggest gainers were utilities and real estate, which both closed up 1.2% despite a weak reading on housing starts.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.36%  fell 19.69 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 5,437.16.
“One of the wild cards out there is our relationship to China,” said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Financial, in an interview. “Anything with China in the headline is going to spook investors, and forces them to take a look at that the market has been partying like there are no risks.”
Also, following the report, gold for February delivery GCG7, +0.62%  received a boost, and settled up 0.7% at $1,137.40 an ounce.

Dow Stops Short of 20,000 in Worst Week for Banks Since Election

by Oliver Renick
What began as a record-setting streak for U.S. stocks fizzled as the week progressed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average approaching and ultimately falling short of 20,000, as the biggest driver of the post-election rally declined.

Financial firms decreased for the first time since Donald Trump’s presidential victory, ending a five-week advance in which the group propelled benchmark indexes to records. The S&P 500 Index lost 0.1 percent to end at 2,258.07, while the Dow average climbed within 0.45 percent of 20,000 before ending at 19,843.41, a gain of 0.4 percent for the five days.

Even with this week’s drop, banks remain the market’s hottest industry since Trump won, rising more than 20 percent since just before the election, compared with 13 percent for the next-best group, energy producers. 

Gains of more than 20 percent in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co have taken the Dow up 8.3 percent since the election, compared with a 5.5 percent gain in the S&P 500. Both fell more than 1 percent this week, including losses on Friday after China seized an unmanned U.S. drone in the South China Sea.

Japan surpasses China as the U.S.’s largest creditor

By Joseph Adinolfi Published: Dec 16, 2016 11:36 a.m. ET

Japan once again is the largest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury debt — but both it and China were net sellers in October

The United States has a new creditor-in-chief.
Japan has overtaken China as the largest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury debt, according to data released by the Treasury Department late Thursday.
The latest data, which measures shifts in foreigners’ Treasury holdings during the month of October, show China dumped $41.3 billion in Treasury bonds, bringing total holdings of private and official investors (i.e. its central bank, the People’s Bank of China) to $1.115 trillion. Japanese investors also dumped Treasurys in October, but at a much slower pace: The Japanese sold $4.5 billion, bringing their net holdings to $1.131 trillion.
The data don’t account for Treasurys owned by Chinese investors that are held in custody accounts in other countries, which could alter the rankings. But by this measure, China has held the top spot for a number of years, though Japan briefly overtook it for one month in February 2015.
Foreign investors, and central banks in particular, have been selling Treasury notes and bonds at the fastest pace in at least a decade, according to Treasury data. In the 12 months through October, foreign central banks dumped more than $400 billion worth of Treasurys, with China alone selling $140 billion.
Because of its far-reaching implications for the Treasury market and the broader U.S. economy, the trend is making investors nervous. If foreign demand continues to wane, the U.S. Federal government will be forced to pay higher interest rates on its debt, forcing it to spend more of its annual budget on debt service
“Flagging foreign sponsorship for U.S. Treasuries remains the No. 2 concern for investors we speak with, No. 1 is whether Trumponomics ultimately will lead to reflation and growth,” said Ian Lyngen and Aaron Kohli, a team of fixed income strategists at BMO Capital Markets.

----China has been selling Treasury bonds since before the election, but Trump’s anti-China rhetoric, and his decision to accept a congratulatory call from Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, have angered the Chinese, have ignited speculation that the PBOC could seek revenge by sowing discord in the Treasury market.
But if China does step up the pace of selling too much, Kohli believes the Federal Reserve would step in as the buyer to calm the market and prevent U.S. borrowing costs from skyrocketing.

Next, as a service to our older readers, who have forgotten most of what they almost learnt all those years ago in school, we provide a refresher on the four seasons. We are about to enter our shortest season, but I’m sure you all knew that already.

December solstice starts shortest season

By Bruce McClure in | December 16, 2016
The 2016 December solstice will come on the 21st at 10:44 UTC. That’s 4:44 a.m. on December 21, for those in the central time zone in North America. It’s when the sun reaches its southernmost point for the year. This solstice marks the beginning of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, and the start of the summer season in the Southern Hemisphere. And, no matter where you are on Earth, it marks the beginning of your shortest season.

By season, we mean the time between a solstice and an equinox, or vice versa. The upcoming season – between the December solstice and March equinox – is a touch shy of 89 days.

Contrast the number of days of the upcoming season with that of the longest season, a Northern Hemisphere summer or Southern Hemisphere winter. The longest season as measured from the June solstice to the September equinox lasts 93.65 days.

Why is the upcoming season nearly 5 days shorter? Every year in early January, the Earth swings closest to the sun for the year. Because Earth is nearest the sun at this time, Earth moves most swiftly in its orbit. That’s why a Northern Hemisphere winter or Southern Hemisphere summer is the shortest of the four seasons.

On the other hand, in early July, Earth is farthest from the sun and moving most slowly in its orbit.

Lengths of the astronomical seasons:

December solstice to March equinox: 88.99 days
March equinox to June solstice: 92.76 days
June solstice to September equinox: 93.65 days
September equinox to December solstice: 89.84 days

According to the computational wizard Jean Meeus, a Northern Hemisphere winter or Southern Hemisphere summer became the shortest season after the year 1246. The astronomical season between the December solstice and the March equinox will reach a minimum value of 88.71 days around the year 3500, and will continue to reign as the shortest season until about 6430.

We end for today with a little pretentious snobby Champagne nonsense from Bloomberg UK. Too much about “nose” and complaints about the bubbles, poor Dom Perignon must be spinning in his grave. If you don’t like bubbles order a still white wine not Champagne. Personally I prefer Tesco’s Demi Sec at £5.00. America’s Korbel Champagne’s not bad too. Shame that they can’t export it to Europe.

The Year’s Best Champagne as Picked by a Top Sommelier

Our judge is at ease with $6,000 bottles, but his choice for the holidays can be had for $20.
by Richard Vines 14 December 2016, 09:58 GMT
Giovanni Ferlito is head sommelier at the exclusive Ritz hotel in London, where you can enjoy some of the world's finest wines in one of the most glamorous dining rooms in Europe. 
He can appreciate fine Champagnes, such as the Krug, “Clos d’Ambonnay” Brut, Vintage 1996, which is on the wine list for £4,550 ($5,770). So what is he going to make of a supermarket variety costing £9.99? We asked him.
Ferlito agreed to conduct a blind tasting of Champagne from stores around London. He was excited and unsnobby about the challenge and said there wasn't a bad one in the whole bunch. But there were surprises: Marks & Spencer's entrant, normally £25 but now on sale for £16, beat pricier bottles from Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. Here's what he had to say.
Oudinot Brut, Marks & Spencer (£16 to Jan. 1) 9/10:
"This is bright and very lively. It is fresh and citrussy, with some white flowers and perhaps some almonds. There is complexity on the nose. It is crisp and mineral. You can really feel the chalkiness of the soil. I like the crisp acidity and I like the bubbles because they are quite rich but still very smooth and elegant. This is distinctive and it is my kind of Champagne."
Harrods Premier Cru (£31.95) 8/10:
"There are a good number of bubbles. but not too many, and they are quite small so the first impression is the Champagne could be quite elegant. I like the color. It is medium pale gold. The nose is fruity, some yeast flavors. I would say gold apple. Some white flowers. I am happy with the nose as well. It is clean, it is pure. Good fruitiness. Nice minerality. A Little bit of yeasty flavor. It is a good quality champagne and the palate is elegant and clean as well."
Waitrose Vintage Brut 2005 (£24.99) 8/10:
"This is the darkest so far. A lot of bubbles, quite big bubbles.  Perhaps aged for a long time. It is an intense gold color. It is the most intense and complex and powerful on the nose, with notes of ripe pear. It is quite yeasty. It is really nutty on the nose. This is a big Champagne. much more rich on the palate, much more creamy. Good structure but it is more heavy. This is not something I would drink as an aperitif. I would serve this with your meal."
Les Pionniers (The Co-op) £16.99 7.5/10:
"This is a full gold color with a lot of bubbles. It's quite different from some of the others,  more aggressive. It is very intense but you don’t get too many flavors. It is quite rich and might go well with food. It is just all right. I don’t necessarily like the bubbles. When you taste it, it doesn’t become creamy. You feel the liquid and the bubbles separately."
Comte de Senneval Grande Reserve (Lidl) £18.99 7.5/10:
"It's pear, green apple, yellow flowers: fresh fruits and citrussy. It is light and subtle, not yeasty. It’s a refreshing Champagne that is very approachable with good acidity. It would be perfect to drink on its own as an aperitif. You shouldn't expect too much from a Champagne like this. It's to be drunk when it is young."

In keeping with the Christmas spirit of Charlie Munger at Berkshire Hathaway and The Donald’s incoming team from Goldman Sachs:

“There’s danger in just shoveling out money to people who say, ‘My life is a little harder than it used to be, at a certain place you’ve got to say to the people, ‘Suck it in and cope, buddy. Suck it in and cope.’”

Proper Charlie Munger.

"Thank God For Bank Bailouts"

Proper Charlie Munger.

And finally, our usual update from Jason in California. There may be trouble ahead.

Overt Clash on NASA & Climate Research Between California Governor Jerry Brown and President-elect Trump a Harbinger of Things to Come Across U.S.

N. Jason Jencka  December 17th, 2016 2:55 am ET

Much attention has been focused in the weeks since the November 8th election on Donald Trump's steady stream of grand but vague policy pronouncements laced with rhetoric. Comparatively little press  coverage has been given to the nationwide efforts being undertaken by legitimately impactful liberal groups and at the state level to push back against extreme shifts away from Obama-era norms. One policy area that is on a collision course for state/federal conflict is that of man-made climate-change and attempts at mitigation thereof. Perhaps though this is to be expected when an incoming president considers climate change a “..hoax by and for the Chinese..” while his incumbent predecessor has said that said that "No challenge  poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,". A contrast of this magnitude between is not easily bridged 

Those concerned by the potential real-world implications of Mr. Trump's open hostility to climate science are sure to be encouraged by the words of a familiar progressive voice, 4-term California governor Jerry Brown. Brown told an audience at an American Geophysical Union conference that “ If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellites” Brown's comments were in allusion to Mr. Trump's assertion that he would direct NASA to stop climate research and focus solely on space exploration. Whether Brown's tone is carried forward by other states with regard to the issue of climate change research and mitigation remains to be seen but what is certain is with regard to California, in the words of its governor, “...we've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers, we're ready.” In perhaps one of the few certainties of recent months, compelling policy battles and a dash more political theater are forthcoming.

1.    Alex Johnson, NBC News December 16th, 2016:

2.    Louis Jacobson, Politifact June 3rd, 2016

3.    Laura Barron-Lopez The Hill January 20th, 2015 :
N. Jason Jencka is presently studying Finance and Economics at Sierra Nevada College, located near the shores of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada. His interests include the interplay between world markets and the global political sphere, with a focus on developments of both sides of the Atlantic in North America and Europe. In his leisure time he enjoys connecting with those people that have an interesting story to tell and a genuine desire to make an impact in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment