Thursday, May 17, 2012

JP Morgan Derivatives Exposure: Systemic Risk Is Everywhere

The $2 billion loss of JP Morgan in derivatives trading is signaling, once again, the enormous risks big banks take with taxpayer backing. All U.S. banks are covered by the FDIC, and if a loss is big enough, it could threaten the financial system just as it did in 2008. JP Morgan has $70 trillion in total derivative exposure. The entire world has a little more than $700 trillion in derivative exposure, and one bank has 10% of all the derivative exposure on the planet! If JP Morgan gets into trouble, it alone could cause systemic failure. Today, the FBI announced an investigation into the surprise $2 billion (or more) trading loss that happened last week at the bank. Reuters reported, “The probe was seen in some quarters as necessary, given the ongoing debate in Washington about bank regulation and reform, and one expert said it raised the level of concern around what happened. ‘The FBI looks for evidence of crimes and goes after people who it alleges are criminals. They want to send people to jail. The SEC pursues all sorts of wrongdoing, imposes fines and is half as scary as the FBI,’ said Erik Gordon, a professor in the law and business schools at the University of Michigan.” (Click here for the complete Reuters story.)

The Obama Administration has to be very worried about JP Morgan which has the biggest derivative exposure ($70.1 trillion) of American banks. The next 4 big U.S. banks after JP Morgan, also, have huge derivative exposure. Citibank has $52.1 trillion in total derivatives, Bank of America has $50.1 trillion, Goldman Sachs has 44.2 trillion and HSBC USA has $4.3 trillion in total derivatives. Combined, the five biggest commercial banks have $220.9 trillion in total derivative contracts. Weigh that against the combined assets of those same top five banks of just $4.8 trillion, and you get an eye popping 46 to 1 leverage! What could go wrong? (Click here for the OCC 4th quarter report.) Please remember, in 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) changed how banks value assets such as real estate and mortgage-backed securities to whatever the institution thinks they’ll fetch in the future. These “assets” are not valued at what they would sell for today. I call this “government sanctioned accounting fraud.” (more)

We are at a major bottom in gold and gold shares - Bob Moriarty

Trotting the globe in his unrelenting quest for investing opportunities, Bob Moriarty had just completed a 21,000-mile travel-a-thon when he picked up the phone for this exclusive interview with The Gold Report. He liked a lot of what he saw and found plenty of bargains along the way. Ever the contrarian, he is picking up stocks when everyone else is dumping them; he plans to cash in when the mass of sellers morphs into a mass of buyers and drives prices up.

The Gold Report: We're hearing many people these days warning that it's not a good time for investing in junior mining stocks. The TSX Venture Exchange has been experiencing some of its lowest volumes in six to nine months. What do you believe investors should do this summer?

Bob Moriarty: Anybody following my website for years will be familiar with me saying this: You can ignore technical analysis. You can ignore seasonality. You can ignore fundamentals. The only thing you can ever absolutely make money in is being a contrarian. Some very big names in the mining industry, including Rick Rule and Eric Sprott, have said, yes we're in the bottom but it'll be several months before you should invest. Where were they April 25 last year, when I said we'd reached the top in silver? For months afterward, the very best place to be was in cash. You have to look at what people say and when they say it. Very few people got it last year, but I clearly was one of them. (more)

McAlvany Weekly Commentary

Five Keys to Restoring America’s Prosperity: An Interview With John Taylor

A Look At This Week’s Show:
-Predictable policy is a must
-We must move from discretionary policies to the rule of law
-It’s time to clearly limit the role of government

John Williams: The Real Unemployment Rate: 22% – Not 8.1%

Jim welcomes back John Williams from Shadow Government Statistics. John believes the real unemployment rate is 22%, not 8.1%, which is why it still feels like a recession. He also calculates the CPI at 6%, not 2.8%, and explains how the government manipulates the rate of inflation. Lastly, John believes the US is still on track for hyperinflation in 2014 as we near the coming fiscal cliff. Listen to the interview.

John received an A.B. in Economics, cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1971, and was awarded a M.B.A. from Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School of Business Administration in 1972, where he was named an Edward Tuck Scholar. During his career as a consulting economist, John has worked with individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies. Formally known as Walter J. Williams, his friends call him John. For nearly 30 years, John has been a private consulting economist and, out of necessity, had to become a specialist in government economic reporting.

JIM: Joining me on the program today is John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics.

And John, before we get into a real big issue that’s going to hit the economy January 2013, I want to talk about the front page of your website. And you have two graphs that are available publicly and one is the unemployment rate where you have U3, U6 and then SGS, which is your own. Let’s talk about those numbers, what they mean for our listeners and the differences between them. [1:11] (more)

Chart of the Day - Colgate-Palmolive (CL)

The "Chart of the Day" is Colgate-Palmolive (CL), which showed up on Tuesday's Barchart "All Time High" and "Gap Up" lists. Colgate-Palmolive on Tuesday posted a new all-time high of $101.82 and closed up 2.05%. TrendSpotter has been long since April 16 at $97.67. Colgate-Palmolive was last featured on "Chart of the Day' as of the close on August 29, 2011 when the stock was at $89.77. In recent news on the stock, Argus on May 15 upgraded Colgate-Palmolive to Buy from Hold with a price target of $118 based on emerging market opportunities, improving free cash flow, and expectations for continued stock repurchases and dividend increases. Colgate-Palmolive, with a market cap of $47 billion, is a leading global consumer products company, focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Household Surface Care, Fabric Care and Pet Nutrition.


Global Systemic Risk Soars To 5 Month Highs

from Zerohedge:

Only two weeks ago, we noted that the 30 most systemically important financial institutions in the world were seeing risk surging to 3-month highs. Today has seen that eclipsed dramatically as the credit risk of these entities soars to the year’s worst levels jumping 22% in the last two weeks alone. At 264bps, we are now close to the 3/9/09 peak crisis levels (of 274bps) and pushing up to the Q4 2011 peaks over 300bps as every region is deteriorating systemically – with the US and Europe worst (US below previous peak levels but Europe at record wides), Asia accelerating wider, and even the Aussie banks now losing it. While markets are staging a mini-recovery this morning, financials are not really participating as this index of global systemic risk has now retraced all of the LTRO benefits.

Read More @

Gold miners will need prices at $3,000 in 5 years - WGC

Sharp increases in mining costs mean gold will need to reach $3,000 an ounce in five years for the industry to stay profitable, World Gold Council chief executive Aram Shishmanian said on Monday.

Miners currently needed a gold price of $1,300 to survive, Shishmanian said, but faced steep rises in mining costs, along with the cost of dividends and host nation taxes.

"If this continues for the next five years the gold price needs to be at least $3,000 just to stay in the business," he said. However, he was optimistic sustained demand would drive prices higher over the long term.

Spot gold fell to a four-and-a-half month low of $1,556.5 an ounce on Monday on concerns over the European debt crisis. Normally a refuge for investors in times of economic turmoil, gold has recently traded in line with risk assets like base metals and stocks. (more)