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Why 95% of Traders Fail

Garbage Bonds and Bonfires

Interest-Rates / US Bonds Jul 05, 2007 - 04:08 PM GMT

By: Jim_Willie_CB

Interest-Rates

HOLIDAY

In keeping with the Independence Day holiday, a preface is offered. The irony is stiff as a board, as thick as a fog, as ugly as a pig. Citizens in the Untied States have never seen such a broad, deep, palpable threat to their liberty, this time from within, in terms of the system and its leadership. Dependence, the opposite of the celebrated theme, is running strong. The corporate agenda takes a one-day holiday. Refer to waging war, deceiving the masses, selling out the Middle Class, undermining the institutions, and rendering any threat to systemic reform as anti-business or unpatriotic.


Any opportunity for a day off is a good thing, to be honest. If you ask me, somehow this year the nation should skip the holiday. It is one thing to commemorate the fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. However, as national financial catastrophe approaches, sure to shred liberty and compromise sovereignty, it makes sense to skip any festival for independence. How about calling it the Second Labor Day, since some workers toil twice as hard or long for the same wage, and others earn half as much as they used to for the same work. My preference would be to work toward independence from the US Federal Reserve and the US Military, whose monetary inflation and warmongering have enslaved 300 million Americans by destroying the currency and decimating manufacturing base respectively. (Decimate technically means kill every tenth person, but here let's call it sparing every tenth company.)

The bipolar alternatives are inconceivable to a sleepy, distracted, materialistic, hedonistic, betrayed, unhealthy, heavily medicated, poorly educated, misinformed public: a fully free bond market backed by gold currency, and an industrial dedication to research & development of products outside of weaponry. Like my top10 ideas for a economic, financial, political solution, not a single item of which stands a chance of enactment, the bipolar path is an exercise in futility and a waste of breath.

So let's celebrate a Dependence Day and hope for a bolt of lightning to save the day from our leaders, who regard the Constitution as a mere piece of paper, who work in a hideous manner to conceal their path toward a totalitarian state, the first stop being the North American Alliance, with a new amero currency sure to set off massive unprecedented controversy and retaliation on an international scale. The teetering dependence is acute, the US needing oil from the Persian Gulf , Nigeria , and Venezuela , offset by Europe needing Russian oil & natural gas. The teetering dependence is acute, the US requiring $3 billion per day in foreign capital, a continuing stream from China , constant flows from the Persian Gulf . The bona fide trouble makers reside in WashingtonDC and a suburban Virginia enclave, causing a rumpus domestically and internationally. They have inflicted terror for a long time.

In the meantime, amidst the tumult & shouting, before the chaos & mayhem take firm grip, invest in precious metals and energy. Maybe someday the US public investment community can be convinced of the commodity bull market virtues after a marketing promotion is launched, pitching them as the next Beany Babies. Enough, gotta get serious. Enjoy the holiday, as serfs need rest.

More than a few readers sent emails questioning or disputing the 50% erosion to income since 2000. Some lower math in simple terms reveals the fraud and hidden tax. For the last six years, the actual consumer price inflation rate has varied between 7% and 11%. Trust the Shadow Govt Statistics folks far more than any USGovt agency working an agenda. By taking 93% to the sixth power, one gets 64.7%, which means a 7% annual erosion delivers a whopping 35.3% cut in real terms for a flat income over six years time. Take 90% to the sixth power and get 53.1%, which translates a 10% annual erosion into a stunning 46.9% cut in real terms over six years time. We love compound interest in returns, but overlook compound attrition arithmetic when whittling away our wealth or purchasing power. The numbers are far too alarming and depressing on lost income through inflation since 1980. Let's not go there.

DOUBLE EDGED SWORD

The title of this article shows full respect for junk bonds. The derogatory label of ‘Garbage Bubble Bonds' befits the mortgage bonds, which pale in value by comparison to the respectable tainted paper sold as junk bonds in high yielding securities by companies with a speckled past. Junk bonds do not deserve any insult, since they almost always offer true value behind the bond, just some laden risk and a higher rewarding bond yield for investment return. Mortgage bonds do not, having been born of a bubble intentionally and recklessly created by Greenspan for the unexpressed purpose of covering up his stock bubble bust in 2000. Why is this man revered?

For the last few years, a constant reminder has banged around inside my head, that the housing crisis & mortgage debacle represent a double edged sword, as the households lose valuable home equity while the mortgage bonds lose basic principal value. Kurt Richebächer stresses numerous times in our conversations, that for every homeowner suffering a loss is a bond holder suffering an equal loss. The $22 trillion housing sector is matched by a comparable but lower number of trillion$ in mortgages, perhaps half of which are secured in mortgage bonds. The $750 billion in subprime mortgage bonds is only the tip of the iceberg. Layer upon layer of other asset-backed bonds are in trouble, each with larger size, each with probably less loss, versus the previous layer of higher risk. The point of the double edged sword is that for every loser on the home equity property owner side, one can point to a loser on the mortgage bond investor side. The argument extends to distress, market troubles, and more.

Just as the mortgages have begun to reset to higher adjusted rates (an average of 1.8% to 2.2% higher), the mortgage bonds must next be reset to lower ratings than ‘AAA' which stands as an insult to the intelligence of a warm bodied investor with a pulse. Value is not based upon assumptions in a flimsy model. The significantly higher monthly mortgage payments coincide with the massive mortgage bond valuation declines. Just as foreclosure auctions essentially go ‘No Bid' with 90% of the home inventory to move, the mortgage bonds have gone ‘No Bid' with those auctions in the public view.

Bankers and lenders face a tough decision. Soon the cost of portfolio insurance will exceed the loss from their liquidation. Then mortgage bonds will be sold in droves. Correspondingly, soon it might dawn on millions of homeowners that their home equity might go negative. Then marginal property owners will sell their homes in droves. My forecast stands. This housing bear market will be the worst, without any semblance of doubt or dispute when it ends, since World War II and probably since the Great Depression. It will be denied every step of the way, as losses mount for homeowners and bond investors alike. The denial is intended to prevent a housing stampede and bond meltdown.

For years the homestead, the house property has been considered the ultimate inflation hedge asset. Sure, price inflation wrecked havoc in the USEconomy, but the nation of citizens had a home which was rising in value to offset the undermine from inflation. Now the leaders point to still substantial gains in home equity from the last six years when the housing bubble was erected. In two to three years, they will sing a different tune, since most of the gains from the entire six years, nearly $10 trillion in additional home equity, will evaporate. A strong claim. Just watch as it happens.

Call me crazy, send me nasty emails, but not a single forecast of mine has been outlandish in hindsight. This devastation will unleash the extraordinary economic recession, the unending bond crisis, the USDollar global upheaval, and the political response. In a matter of several months to a couple years, a growing sense of chaos will take over the landscape. After chaos intensifies, a totalitarian state is a certainty. The cry will be for order, not growth or job preservation. The next painful phase will involve inflationary recession, not stagflation. The powers mismanaging matters of state and banks will hope for stagflation, and not see it except in this falsified statistics.

The USEconomy has already handed its manufacturing base to Asia . Banking officials and economic counselors have leaned upon the residential real estate as foundation for the entire consumption driven economy, against all sacrosanct wisdom in full heretical style. The price to pay will be economic decline, lost wages, a lower standard of living, and rising chaos. People will lose their homes and lose their jobs. People unfortunately will volunteer to forfeit their freedoms in order to maintain order. They will eventually beg for order when the suburbs are invaded. When? Something like by year 2010.

What lies around the corner is the end of the United States of America as we know it. The objective of each citizen is to preserve wealth, even to profit from the predictable decline, decay, degeneration, which will affect every aspect of life. The homestead is officially under siege, as are banks. Remember that 40% of all bank assets are tied to mortgage portfolios or mortgage bonds. Japan went underwater for a decade, due to heavy real estate commitment and losses. Expect something similar with the United States .

My viewpoint is focused upon the SCHEDULE of the decline, with a TIMETABLE of rate resets, mortgage defaults, foreclosures, new inventory aggravation, mortgage bond downgrades, heavy writeoffs, and more, which have been WRITTEN in stone for the next two years. Contagion is absolute. Even former FDIC head Bill Siedman acknowledges the pathogenesis.

PRICE AFTER FAILED AUCTIONS

If an auction fails, what is the value of items raised for sale which do not sell? This is the key question asked after the failed auction by Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns. They tested the market, sought price clarity, and received the worst of all possible news. NO VALUE. The exercise is surely to be repeated in subsequent months. How does a market respond? The process within more easy reach require stocks to halt trading during disequilibrium imbalance, as sellers mass, buyers vanish, and price is unclear. The stock reopens a day or two later, after news sets the stage more clearly, usually with a 20% to 50% price cut.

Imagine that in the mortgage bond arena, a 20% to 50% slice off principal value, depending upon the type of bond, like subprime or Alt-A or a shade of anything below sterling ‘A' rating. The real fun will be with the derivative leveraged paper, where the guys in propeller hats set up 20:1 leverage, are stuck with cancerous assets behind the paper, and value is without any question whatsoever negative. Why? Because a 5% loss employing 20-fold leverage produces a total wipeout of the original investment. A 20% loss, by the way, using again the 20-fold leverage, produces a 400% loss, meaning a total wipeout plus added losses by three times more. The power of leverage cuts both ways, with profit and loss.

So what is the value of hundreds of billion$ in mortgage bonds? Probably something on the order of 20 to 30 cents at most on the dollar for low quality ‘BBB' mortgage bonds, typical of the subprimes, whose bonds now actually offer in the neighborhood of 30% yields. That is a 70% to 80% loss on original investment on the collateralized bond. Get ready to watch a skein of court lawsuits by investors against Bear Stearns and a host of other Wall Street firms. They misrepresented the asset behind the bond. Watch for a bold attempt by WS to have new legislation to exempt them from bond related law suits.

Hedge funds have begun to fall like birds in a drought. Recent news points to Horizon ABS and United Capital as blocking redemptions. Lawsuits follow. Their investors are told they cannot get their money out!!! Wall Street firms already have covenants written into their bond issuances, limiting liability and investor rights to make claims against fraudulent misrepresentation. This is yet another sign of the times with clear large letters spelling out the Mussolini Fascist Business Model, where government and industry collude to pilfer pillage and profit. The USGovt is endorsing limited liability by inaction from regulatory bodies.

The failed auctions might result in unclear value to be determined. Watch the impact to balance sheets and collateral posted for loans. This will become interesting, much like watching a developing industrial fire, as chemical caches explode unexpectedly. Creditors might act with draconian harshness soon, refusing any longer to accept certain collateral, and thus call in loans by the billion$. Formal statement of balance sheets might assign at some time in the future no value on certain collateralized bonds. They are priced by convenient goony models dependent upon collusion by rating agencies. Failed auctions expose the shenanigans and might disable these very models. Vast writeoffs are certain on the mortgage bonds. The size of writeoffs depends on the level of corruption permitted by the authorities. So far they have given gigantic extensive latitude to distort prices higher than true value.

With lower mortgage bond principal comes higher bond yield. With higher bond yield comes higher mortgage rates. With higher mortgage rates come lower home purchase demand. With lower demand comes lower home prices. The dominoes are falling in ultra-slow motion. With lower home values, less spending results. With lower home values come more decisions to sell properties. With more homes up for sale come an aggravation to inventory strain. With colossal bond damage, related bond and asset sales will ensue. The meltdown is underway. Bear Stearns lit the fire. Wall Street in its infinite stupidity, recklessness, and cliquish behavior endorsed the torching of their colleague's bond basements.

THE USDOLLAR AND GOLD WILL REACT TO THE CONTAGION AND CRISIS. SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS ALWAYS INFECT THE US $ & GOLD. RECOGNITION COMES FROM BOND EXPERTS SUCH AS PIMCO'S BILL GROSS, AND CONFIRMATION FROM OVERSIGHT GURUS AT THE BANK FOR INTL SETTLEMENTS IN SWITZERLAND . THE CHINESE ARE RESTLESS, HAVING SOLD A SCAD OF USTBONDS IN MAY, AND PROBABLY JUNE ALSO. THEY PROBED FOR WEAKNESS AND SAW IT IN SPADES.

COERCION NEXT

So without a doubt the USDollar is the weakest link, and the USTreasury Bonds are the traded security behind the bloated black hole that best symbolizes the current Administration and its economic stewardship. Don't expect a Democrat Admin to be any better. They will merely shift the furniture around, redirect the flows a bit, disallow certain profitable procedures to perpetuate, change taxes here & there, be pressured into continuing the foreign wars, and make their own colossal errors. They will be dumbstruck by the bonfires in the bond world and the wreckage in the housing world. Republicans always seem to enable corporate profiteering with impunity. See a dozen examples in the last six years. Democrats always seem to attempt to help the little guy, but harm the system in critical ways. See higher tax rates resulting in lower tax revenue. See environmental obstacles, confusing regulations, higher federal taxes & withholdings, resulting in lost jobs. The nation is stymied, crippled, and heading to the cleaners. My label has been ‘The Receivership Economy' from dependence upon bubbles, debt default, and Old Europe pulling the strings.

Without a doubt the USDollar is the weakest link, as numerous holes must be plugged to in the leaking dike. Gold and silver must be prevented from a zoom rise in price, since they serve as warning signals. Crude oil and natural gas must be prevented from a zoom rise in price, since they directly strain the USDollar. The long-term interest rates must be prevented from jumping higher. The stock market indexes must be prevented from falling sharply, since the public sees stocks as a visible signal of wealth. The USDollar must be prevented from a sudden freefall.

The entire Wall Street and US Federal Reserve leadership is in the process of soiling their skivvies. The best investment might be in Depends Adult Diapers. These guys, leverage mechanics in financial engineering, destroyers of economies, snake oil salesmen of cancer ridden asset bonds, they are sweating bullets, pooping their pants, staring into space, stunned by failed auctions and uncertain valuation, wondering about leverage implications and debts called by creditors. These are no longer exaggerations written in tabloids, but rather front page news items.

Feeble denials by USFed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secy Paulson have rendered each a marginalized institution. Is that possible? No, but their commentary is of marginal importance and substance anymore. They are the official denial mouthpieces. A better viewpoint toward reality can be found by the Bank for Intl Settlements out of Switzerland (the central bank among central banks) and by the private citizen Alan Greenspan.

He can now speak freely about the wreckage he permitted under his watch, and the sequential bonfires lined up and now torched. Countless scandalous worthless doomed mortgage bonds were dressed before vanity bureaus, prepped for sale, lipstick on pigs. The BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES will provoke a sharp economic, banking, and political response. Restrictions on hedge fund redemptions might soon be matched by restrictions on mortgage bond sales, especially their highly leveraged Collateralized Debt Obligation derivatives employing 10-fold crazy leverage. Imagine heavy leverage against a corroded base!

The weakest link in the above list of assets to protect is the USDollar. The untold story is that the strain on credit derivatives has put tremendous pressure on the USDollar, which cannot hold. The sale and liquidation of countless billion$ in credit derivatives will deliver a series of unending blows to the USDollar, sure to crack before long. With $120 trillion in notional value for credit derivatives, figure with 30:1 leverage that $4 trillion in original equity tied to margin investment is involved. The FOREX markets (foreign exchange for currency trades) involves between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion in daily volume, less on holidays and more during crises. We have a crisis building. The USDollar in my view cannot be defended in the face of a credit derivative crisis. Look for coercion next, in the form of threats to those wishing to liquidate vast tranches of bonds. To expect no interweaving of military activity with the coercion would be naïve. It is a certainty. It has past precedent.

In my view, the credit derivative events began with Fat Freddie Mac and Fatter Fannie Mae. They are holders of the absolute worst quality of all mortgages and related bonds. In fact, typically the worst quality loan portfolios are packaged into bonds, as the best are kept for servicing and higher reliability in returns without delinquencies and defaults. Fannie & Freddie obviously went bust three years ago, without a doubt suffering credit derivative meltdown, papered over by the Paulson Crew. Their stocks will be delisted only after the insiders and aristocrats evacuate the FNM and FRD from their portfolios. If you need a good laugh, remember that FNM remains in the S&P500 stock index. Bear Stearns is the visible GROUND ZERO of the mortgage bond bonfire.

However, Fannie & Freddie are the hidden GROUND ZERO of the same bonfire. Wall Street maintains mostly buy recommendations! Neither company (or whatever they are, more like centrifuge sewer treatment plants) has been in the news lately, despite the fact that Fannie Mae owns over $1.3 trillion in mortgage bonds and owns over $1 trillion in mortgage portfolios. If you think the Bear Stearns bonds have empty value, check Fat Freddie & Fatter Fannie. Well, you cannot, since they are under wraps, otherwise known as RECEIVERSHIP, or controlled audits and dribbled statements after the cleansing. The next story soon told will be the CONNECTION of fires between the Bear Stearns type of mortgage bonds and the impact to Fannie & Freddie bonds. Translated: the fires are spreading, the contagion is realized, the system is weakening.

CRUDE OIL AS CANARY

In the face of a weak link USDollar, a fast eroding Petro-Dollar defacto standard enforced by Persian Gulf principal players, one should expect the crude oil price to hurtle higher. It is doing precisely that. Blame had been put on the Nigerian situation, but that is but a false facade and distorted assessment intentionally given. The links have always been firm between the USDollar and crude oil. The alchemists cannot control them, while at the same time keep their controls in place on the vast price capping required throughout the Western bond world on long-term interest rates.

The wizards of financial chemistry have an even greater more powerful adversary in Mother Nature. The depletion of the large elephant oil fields inflicts harm on the supply side of the crude oil equation, thus putting extra pressure on the USDollar to the downside. It could very well be that the crude oil will signal the breakdown in the USDollar.

The crude oil market has become a veritable clusterhump of mismanagement and grotesque disturbance to the efficient mechanisms so urgently needed to provide adequate supply. All kinds of inter-connected financial and derivative models link crude oil price to the USDollar exchange rate. Depletion interferes with the smooth operation of the price capping intricate workings. Recall forecasts one year ago that crude oil would test the $40 level? Now we hear of repeated questions on whether the crude oil price has peaked. They will continue to confuse matters, muddy the waters, and keep investors off balance enough to hang onto their overpriced mainstream stocks in the S&P500. The exodus into commodity stocks will resume in the second half. They claim a USEconomic recovery will come. IT WILL NOT. Leading Economic Indicators look really bad. Capital goods orders have turned down, rendering the strong April figure as an outlier blip.

GOLD AWAITS

In time, the push upward in crude oil price will be matched by a push upward in the gold price. The two are strongly correlated. A systemic bonfire has been lit, the effects of which will undermine the confidence in the US banking system, the US bond arena, and the USDollar itself. To date, the authorities have succeeded in tossing a wet blanket over the gold market. See the monumental official gold bullion sales out of Europe . But they cannot break gold, which has been successfully defended at the $650 mark. In time, analyses will surface that the entire US banking system is at risk, possibly to repeat the Japanese 1990 decade outcome.

The USDollar DX index has a horrible looking chart. The US Federal Reserve auctions are not being welcome or well bid. A deadly bear triangle is evident in the USDollar DX index multi-year chart. Meanwhile, gold holds its support levels with strength. Gold seems to lurk near the bonfires, awaiting the exodus, as gold will offer more security. The bond bubble is in the process of a grotesque grand grave bust. Alternatives to the corrosive USTreasury Bonds are actively being sought, pursued, and secured. Commodity investments are the new rage among central bank investment funds. These are analyzed more fully in the July Hat Trick Letter. The chart below is HORRENDOUS. A breakdown is not far on the horizon. As the 10-year TNote yield relaxed a bit toward 5.0%, the USDollar did not benefit. Next is a new down cycle.

The USDollar received some assistance today, as the Euro Central Bank held back from another interest rate hike, now at 4.0% still well below the 5.25% US official stuck rate. The English raised by 25 basis points to 5.75% to surpass the US stuck rate. The euro flirts with 136, even as the British sterling currency seems to prefer at least a 200 exchange rate as a base. The USDollar is poised for round after round of assaults. The bonfire will affect the crippled buck, which stands as perhaps the weakest link, along with the crude oil price. By the later months of 2007, the world will be focused directly on the bonfires in the US bond arena, questioning the entire US financial sector, its inflation directives, its housing bubble bust, its absent manufacturing base of stability. Gold over $700 by year end seems assured, but one is hard pressed to exude confidence at this point. Take comfort in its resilience. And by the way, watch gold but ride the silver vehicle, which will outperform gold by a 2:1 ration, as usual. Central banks dump gold, but nobody dumps silver. The powers scramble to meet delivery in silver, in fact. Also the very large commercials are in deep trouble on their short silver positions, unable to cover at these lower silver prices.

Looming over the wreckage, sure to worsen, is the hamstrung USFed and the compromised US Dept of Treasury. They might prefer to be slow to recognize the debacle, the rating agencies might prefer not to downgrade at all, and the big banks & broker dealers might succeed in containing their fire for many more weeks or months. Conditions must worsen much more before the USFed takes drastic action. A fly on the wall at panicky meetings behind the scenes has the best spot of all. Envy the fly.

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By Jim Willie CB
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Use the above link to subscribe to the paid research reports, which include coverage of several smallcap companies positioned to rise like a cantilever during the ongoing panicky attempt to sustain an unsustainable system burdened by numerous imbalances aggravated by global village forces. An historically unprecedented mess has been created by heretical central bankers and charlatan economic advisors, whose interference has irreversibly altered and damaged the world financial system. Analysis features Gold, Crude Oil, USDollar, Treasury bonds, and inter-market dynamics with the US Economy and US Federal Reserve monetary policy. A tad of relevant geopolitics is covered as well. Articles in this series are promotional, an unabashed gesture to induce readers to subscribe.

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