Last week I warned if readers were tired of hearing me say "I told you so", they should ignore the topic of Greece, and a month ago I warned "As The Year Comes An End The Ability Of Greece To Kick The Can Mirrors The Chances Of A Man With No Feet". Eleven months ago, I publicly displayed the relatively simple mechanics behind a SERIAL Greek default (that's right, multiple bacl to back defaults), both on CNBC and on my blog... This situation will simply get worse, considerably worse, before it get better. I demonstrated in the post The Ugly Truth About The Greek Situation That's Too Difficult Broadcast Through Mainstream Media that anyone who purchased the last set of bailout bonds from Greece will simply lose their money as well (that's right, just like those who purchased the previous set) since Greece is still running deep in structural problems and can't afford the interest nor the principal on its borrowing. It's really that simple. The aforementioned link has an embeeded spreadsheet that walks you throught the scenario as well as my opinion on CNBC.

February 11, 2012, S&P at 1358, (roughly where it is right now on Dec. 3rd)

Yes, it's that easy to see coming - yet..... Here we are after a bond swap and a default, and a stern warning from BoomBustBlog that any who bought the new bonds in the bond swap would be facing redefault in less than three years and we have the following from Bloomberg: Greece Makes $13 Billion Buyback Offer as Merkel Floats Writeoffs

Greece offered 10 billion euros ($13 billion) to buy back bonds issued earlier this year as the bailed-out nation attempts to cut a debt load that may threaten future international aid.

Greek bonds rallied after the so-called modified Dutch auction was announced today by the Athens-based Public Debt Management Agency. PDMA offered an average maximum purchase price for the bonds maturing from 2023 to 2042 of 34.1 percent, based on information in the statement. The offer runs until 5 p.m. London time on Dec. 7.

Success of the buyback is crucial to releasing aid that’s been frozen since June. The offer was part of a package of measures approved by euro-area finance ministers last week to cut the nation’s debt to 124 percent of gross domestic product in 2020 from a projected 190 percent in 2014.

... The bid to ease Greece’s debt curden underscores a move away from austerity-first measures European leaders have embraced since the financial crisis began in 2009.

Because, even the most dense Eurocrat is now realizing that now matter how much you subtract something from zero, you will still get a negative number... Duhh!!!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday opened the possibility that Germany may ultimately accept a write-off of Greek debt, previously a taboo in the biggest contributor to euro bailouts.

Because the Germans have no choice but to come to grips with the fact that they are holding a bunch of zero paper (that's zero value, not zero coupon), and sooner or later they'll have to pay the piper.

Greek bonds rose for a third day, pushing the 10-year yield below 15 percent for the first time since the nation’s debt was restructured in March. The yield on the 2 percent securities maturing in February 2023 fell 151 basis points, or 1.51 percentage points, to 14.63 percent at 9:45 a.m. London time, leaving the price at 39.31 percent of face value. 

... Investors who join the buyback will receive payment in six- month bills from the European Financial Stability Facility, the Greek debt agency said.

Oh, they will get paid in that new funny munny paper that was just downgraded itself - EFSF, European Stability Mechanism Ratings Cut by Moody's, after it was downgraded before that - S&P downgrades European bailout fund. Keep in mind that these downgrades are from entities that are playing with kid gloves because, contrary to popular belief, they fear the EU states retribution - reference EU Allowing Rating Agencies To Be Sued For Errors Should Backfire Spectacularly - Cause Massive Downgrades Across The Continent!

The International Monetary Fund set the 2020 debt-cut target as a condition for continuing to fund a third of Greece’s bailout program. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said after the euro-area finance ministers’ meeting that the fund will examine the results of the buyback before deciding whether to approve disbursement of additional aid.

The buyback accounts for 11 percentage points, or more than half of the 20 percentage points of the planned drop.

Yeah, right!!! Like the IMF has any idea what the hell its doing. Once again, as a reminder to the not-so-distant financially historically challenged, I bring you Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!:

Let's take a visual perusal of what I am talking about, focusing on those sovereign nations that I have covered thus far.

image005.pngimage005.pngimage005.png

Notice how dramatically off the market the IMF has been, skewered HEAVILY to the optimistic side. Now, notice how aggressively the IMF has downwardly revsied their forecasts to still end up widlly optimistic. image018.pngimage018.pngimage018.png

Ever since the beginning of this crisis, IMF estimates of government balance have been just as bad...

image013.pngimage013.pngimage013.png

The EU/EC has proven to be no better, and if anything is arguably worse!

image031.png

 While Greece has gotten pledges for 240 billion euros of aid, the funds have been blocked since June as the government tries to get its bailout program back on track after it was disrupted by two elections and a deepening recession.

 Check this out - "the government tries to get its bailout program back on track after it was disrupted by two elections". That damn democracy bullshit. Get's in the way of debt slavery a bit too much more my taste, eh??? 

Then there's " as the government tries to get its bailout program back on track after it was disrupted by... a deepening recession." Well, my friends, the recession would not be deepening so as much if the χώρα που δεν εξαναγκάζονται σε χρέος που προκαλείται από την υποτέλεια στο όνομα της λιτότητας! You can guess what that says if you don't read Greek!

Keep in mind that this is after the Greeks said they didn't have any problems (Greek Crisis Is Over, Region Safe”, Prodi Says – I say Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!), after I Explicitly Forewarned, Greece Is Well On Its Way To Default, and Previously Published Numbers Were Waaaayyy Too Optimistic!, after an actual default and after a full restructuring. Said restructuing was actually guaranteed to produce another default, as clearly articulated and illustrated in  Beware The Overly Optimistic Greek Speculators As Icarus Comes Crashing Down To Earth! - to wit:

By the 2nd quarter of 2010 I clearly and articulately detailed exactly how Greece would default with specific structures in play- What is the Most Likely Scenario in the Greek Debt Fiasco? Restructuring Via Extension of Maturity Dates. Due to a few institutions who were skeptical, I attempted to make it a bit more real - A Comparison of Our Greek Bond Restructuring Analysis to that of Argentina.

Well, Greece defaulted according to plan, despite all of the "people in the know" saying otherwise -  - from government officials to the EC and IMF - Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! Even after the default, I made clear that this wasn't over for Greece, for the default actually left Greece worse off fundamentally, not better. Go wonder... I know I did, reference the warning from 5 months ago:

This will be exacerbated by a re-default of the Greek debt that was designed to bail out the defaulted Greek debt. Why will this happen? Greece has severe, rigid structural problems that simply cannot (and will not) be solved by throwing indebted liquidity at it. As a matter of fact, the additional debt simply exacerbates the problem - significantly! This was detailed in the post Beware The Overly Optimistic Greek Speculators As Icarus Comes Crashing Down To Earth!

..Subscribers can download my full thoughts on Greece's sustainability post bailout here - debt restructuring_maturity extension blog - March 2012. Professional and institutional subscribers should feel free to email me in order to receive a copy of the Greek restructuring model used to create these charts and come to these conclusions.

    • Even with the elimination of interest payments Greece will spiral downward.
    • Even with the near total absolution of its debt, as in a 90% haircut of the most recent bonds issued (which were swapped for bonds of which investors took an effective 74% haircut), Greece will spiral downward.
    • That is the likely reason why these newest bonds back by EU/IMF bailout economic capital are already trading 70 points below par and rated CCC.
    • These bonds are almost definitely slated for a 90%+ haircut by 2016

Ponder the excerpts from the news clips above as you keep these two charts in mind, the same charts that I've posted at least twice in the last 45 days. A picture is worth a thousand drachma...

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default!

Greece_Primary_deficit_copy

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Reggie_VPRO_Ratings_agenciesReuters reports that the EU now has made it easier to sue the ratings agencies for errors they have made, as excerpted:

Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of regulation who helped broker a deal on the new law, said it aimed to reduce the over-reliance on ratings and establish a civil liability regime.

The new rules should make it easier to sue the agencies if they are judged to have made errors when, for example, ranking the creditworthiness of debt.

The agencies came under fire for giving top-notch AAA credit scores to debt that later unravelled and they provoked more criticism by downgrading countries at sensitive moments of the crisis.

The EU PTB need to make up their collective minds. If the agencies are to correct the (purposeful) errors made in giving entities AAA ratings that didn’t deserve them, then those very same entities will (and should’ve) been downgraded at sensitive moments in the crisis. This is the kicker, and the statement really should make the EU officials regret they did this, as well as bring back true returns on fundamental analysis realistic market pricing:

The EU's executive said that the new rules ensured that a rating agency could be held liable in cases of negligence or intent that damaged an investor.

You see, if you can really sue the agencies for being wrong, slow or negligent, then the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis is a civil litigators 30 year capitalized Christmas present come true (even if they are Jewish). Let’s look at how this would have played out with the Greek debt and banks which should have traded as junk nearly 3 years ago as foretold by BoomBustBlog:

  1. Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! It was clear all were too optimistic regarding the Greek situation.
  2. Moody’s Follows Suit Behind Our Analysis and Downgrades 4 Greek Banks Moody's downgrades after the fact, and after investor losses are taken - LAWSUITS???!!!
  3. As I Explicitly Forwarned, Greece Is Well On Its Way To Default, and Previously Published Numbers Were Waaaayyy Too Optimistic! Greece's default was a foregone conclusion easil seen on BoomBustBlog, yet the agencies didn't reflect this in ratings. LAWSUITS???!!!
  4. A Comparison of Our Greek Bond Restructuring Analysis to that of Argentina Greece's bond restructuring would have had to have been extreme (as in damn near no recovery) to have had a chance of being effective. Did the agencies tell us this? LAWSUITS???!!!!
  5. This Time Is Different As Icarus Blows Up & Burns Greece's redefault was clearly visible before they even competed their first default. This was not reflected in agencies' opinions, analysis or reporting. LAWSUITS anyone???!!!

Greece's primary balance went long term negative in 2004, save the bubble levitated year of 2006...

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default! Simple addition and subtraction shows that there's no way in hell Greece can service its debt, defautled debt, or even its redefaulted debt or the round of debt after that. 

Greece_Primary_deficit_copyGreece_Primary_deficit_copyGreece_Primary_deficit_copy

We don't have to dwell in the past to prove this point either. Why hasn't Italy been dramatically downgraded? It's a wonder they finally got around to downgrading France (The Beginning Of The Great French Unwind…), after all of the evidence that I put forth - reference Italy Woes Lead To French Lows. Believe It… Let's stay on topic, about Italy? The 10 page BoomBustBlog report (subscribers, download the full report here File Icon Italy public finances projection, click here to subscribe) excerpted below is approaching 3 years old and it clearly outlined the tumult that is today's Italy and did so well in advance. My analytical staff is small in than Moody's stamp licking staff, yet somehow they fail to warn what I unequivocally cautioned on years ago. What was it did that EU official proclaim? Oh yeah... 

"The EU's executive said that the new rules ensured that a rating agency could be held liable in cases of negligence or intent that damaged an investor."

 Italy public finances projections Page 01Italy public finances projections Page 02Italy public finances projections Page 03

Subscribers (click here to subscribe) can dig in the archives for this still highly relevant and profitable Italy research:

File Icon Italy Exposure Producing Bank Risk
File Icon Italian Banking Macro-Fundamental Discussion Note

icon Sovereign Contagion Model - Retail (961.43 kB 2010-05-04 12:32:46)

File Icon Sovereign Contagion Model - Pro & Institutional

Tell me, why do you have to hear this from me versus the rating agencies? Here's the reason...

What Is More Valuable, The Opinion Of A Major Rating Agency Or The Opinion Of A Blog? Go Ahead, I DARE You To Answer!

There are many areas where ratings agenceis still are not putting enough pressure, a few of which have been pointed out at the blog:

For those who haven't seen this documentary on the rating agencies by VPRO, it is more than worth your time...

Reggie_VPRO_Ratings_agenciesReggie_VPRO_Ratings_agencies

Continuing my rant on the effectiveness (not) of the ratings agencies, I bring to you an interesting documentary on the rating agencies' effect on the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, produced by VPRO Tegenlicht out of Amsterdam. You can see the full video here, but only about half of it is in English. I appear in the following spots: 4:00, 22:30, 40:00...

Reggie Middleton Discussing the Rating Agencies effect on Sovereign Europe

 

 

 

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Italy Woes Lead To French Lows. Believe It!

As a quick reminder, we're still looking out for the Great French Unwind, for it will start as The Pandemic Bank Flu Spread From Italy To France To ... You see, as I see it, the duopoly of those controlling the EU purse strings is far from invulnerable. As a matter of fact, from many perspectives, they have the farthest to fall. All you need to do is sit back and wait... Wait for the time when The Duopolistic Owners Of The EU Printing Presses Disagree On The Color Of The Ink! That's when the stinky brown stuff spatters from the fan blades. France will likely be the first to crack, with Italy as impetus, then recessionary Germany will stand alone, no? Not! For those hopium smoking Eurocrats who feel that Germany still will pull out of this unscathed, I reference the riddle: The Biggest Threat To The 2012 Economy Is??? Not What Wall Street Is Telling You...

I know all of this can get confusing, but it was easily foreseen back in 2010, and we've built a contagion model that helps track possible paths of mayhem. Of course, it's difficult to predict when things will go down or the precise route, but the how is really rather obvious. On with the concept of obvious, as stated many times in BoomBustBlog, French banks, hence the bank bailing socialist French government, is highly levered into Italy and Italian debt, among other porcine based fixed income instruments...

image008

Subscribers can reference French Bank Observations & Focus on...(519.21 kB 2012-06-28 08:36:37).  Part and parcel to this common sense update is recognition of the fact that Italy will bust French banks, causing France to do the socialist bailout thingy. See this chart from the report...

French bank Italian exposure

This exposure leaves France quite sensitive to Italian woes, considerably more so than your typical rating agency may lead you to believe even when downgrading France from AAA status - albeit it a year or so too late (Moody's Actions Add Pressure To The Inevitable In France?). Today, we see the MSM outlet CNBC espousing the obvious regarding Italy: Will Italy Need a Bailout in 2013? As you read this, remember they are essentially talking about France as 2nd derivative:

“We still see as our baseline scenario that Italy will likely be forced to ask for an international bailout at some point in 2013,” said Citi Analyst Giada Giani in a report on the country.

“Italian economic fundamentals have not really improved, despite some improvement in market conditions. The negative feedbacks from fiscal austerity on growth have been severe, as the ability of the private sector to absorb fiscal tightening by lowering its saving rate is limited.”

Economists at other banks and research institutions agreed that Italy’s recession will be deeper than financial markets are currently pricing in.

“The composition of austerity so far — skewed towards increases in taxation rather than cuts in expenditure — and the tight credit conditions, will weigh very negatively on the economy and the market will have to take stock of it,” said Nomura Economist Silvio Peruzzo.

“Weaker growth will have implications for fiscal plans and debt sustainability and could trigger a return of tensions.”

Mark Willis, an economist at Roubini Global Economics, said market focus on Greece’s and Spain’s economic woes had distracted investors from the structural weaknesses inherent in both Italy’s economy, and its political system.

He added that Italy suffered from three “core vulnerabilities” of weak growth, very high levels of public debt and regular bouts of political instability, the latter of which is likely to reappear in the build-up to the spring 2013 general election.

Italian woes lead to French Lows. Believe it! Subscribers are recommended to review the document icon Italy Exposure Producing Bank Risk (788.3 kB 2012-11-28 06:00:45)

As stated in the seminal pieces, The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs! and The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank” Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style!Bank runs are inevitable! 

Excerpted from our professional series File Icon Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion:

BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_01BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_01BNP_Paribus_First_Thoughts_4_Page_01

This is how that document started off. Even if we were to disregard BNP's most serious liquidity and ALM mismatch issues, we still need to address the topic above. Now, if you were to employ the free BNP bank run models that I made available in the post "The BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Model Available for Download"" (click the link to download your own copy of the bank run model, whether your a simple BoomBustBlog follower or a paid subscriber) you would know that the odds are that BNP's bond portfolio would probably take a much bigger hit than that conservatively quoted above.  Here I demonstrated what more realistic numbers would look like in said model... image008image008image008

Yes, European bank runs are inevitable, but the causes of the bank runs are not. That's the problem. Instead of addressing the root causes of the bank runs, EU decision makers opt to throw more paper money into a gaping furnace to be burned as fast as it can be shoveled. 

Since the problems have not been cured, they're literally guaranteed to come back and bite ass. Guaranteed! So, as suggested earlier on, download your appropriate BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Models (they range from free up to institutional), read the balance of this article for perspective, then populate the assumptions and inputs with what you feel is realistic. I'm sure you will come up with conclusions similar to ours. Below is sample output from the professional level model (BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version) that simulates the bank run that the news clippings below appear to be describing in detail...(Click to enlarge to printer quality)

image014

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 Throughout the last two quarters I have bandied about corny, colloquial, yet highly descriptive articles describing the factual representation of Spain's outlook, such as The Economic Bloodstain From Spain's Pain Will Cause European Tears To Rain or You Have Not Known Pain Until You've Tried To Limit The Borrowing Costs of Spain!!! Well, as humorous as my nascent stand-up routine may appear to be, the facts of the matter should have market participates on edge. 

Fact 1: As revealed in the post, The Embarrassingly Ugly Truth About Spain: The IMF, EC and ALL Major Rating Agencies Are LYING!!! Spain has serious asset/liablity mismatch and extreme issues with NPAs in its banking system. It will NOT be able to grow out of this situation in the near term and this was apparent 3 years ago! 

I warned that Spain was effectively ignoring some very large, bank related and budgetary problems as far back as 2009/10.... Reference The Spain Pain Will Not Wane: Continuing the Contagion Saga:

In the general our analysis Spain public finances projections_033010, the first four (of 12) pages basically outline the gist of the Spanish problem today, to wit here are the first two:

Spain_public_finances_projections_033010_Page_02

Fact 2: These NPAs will get much worse before they get better, detailed in As The Truth Catches Up With Spain, Will Banks Finally Be Forced To Mark To Market? You don't need my analysis to see the light. Spain currently sports more than  than 50% youth unemployment. Greater than 50% - and it's major grading partners are not far behind, or even far ahead!

See this chart from  ZeroHedge:

Data: Bloomberg and Greek Statistics Office

Fact 3: Spain is already on FIRE, yet so few refuse to smell the fumes.

What is FIRE? See Reggie Middleton Sets CNBC on F.I.R.E.!!! and First I set CNBC on F.I.R.E., Now It Appears I've Set...

For more on this, see The F.I.R.E. Is Set To Blaze! Focus On Banks, part 1. A lot of people, even professionals, truly believed that the FIRE malaise would not be European in nature. Whaattt????!!!

Here are some more anecdotal facts fanning the FIRE...

Egypt Pays Less Than Spain for Euros as IMF Talks Persist

Businessweek- Egypt locked in lower borrowing costs than higher-rated Spain in selling a more-than-planned 640.2 million euros ($817 million) of debt, 

Spain's bad loan ratio hits new record of 10.7%: central bank

MADRID -- Spanish banks' bad loans surged to a new record level in September with more than one in ten classed as high risk, the central ...

Spain Sells 4.94 Billion Euros of Debt, Exceeding Maximum Target

Spain exceeded its maximum target at an auction of bills and its borrowing costs were little changed from a month ago as euro region finance ..

To bad the Spanish aren't Egyptians, though... Egypt Pays Less Than Spain for Euros as IMF Talks Persist

Egypt locked in lower borrowing costs than higher-rated Spain in selling a more-than-planned 640.2 million euros ($817 million) of debt, ..

The Spanish heat is not just in real estate and banking, either. Reference this European Insurer That Needs Insurance As $6B Of Its Bonds Are Instantly Subordinated Due To "Spain's Pain". Insurers are very heavy investors in European sovereign debt AND the debt of financial institutions. This is a wonderful place to be when you are recovering from the most expensive natural disaster that hit the US eastern seaboard, eh? But hey, weren't the European financial institutions getting killed by choking on Sovereign debt (reference Dead Bank Deja Vu? How The Sovereigns Killed Their Banks & Why Nobody Realizes They're Dead)? You know the saying, "You can run but you can't hide?" Well, banking officials have been doing a lot of hiding (of NPAs), and soon its going to be time for the running to come into play. In case you missed the pun, European Bank Run Watch: Spaniard Edition

It would be interesting to see who will be in the condition to feast at the Spanish barbecue...

 thumb_Reggie_Middleton_on_Street_Signs_Fire

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FB Sep 21 12 18 puts

A couple of weeks ago after Facebook reported, I posted Hey Muppets, Only Another 100% Climb In Share Price To Go Before You Break Even With MS/GS/FB Investment Advice. You see, I warned about FB a half of a year before the IPO (reference the FB IPO Analysis & Valuation Note - update with per share valuation released exactly 5 months ago on 05/21/2012 (click here to subscribe)) stating that this thing was coming to market at multiples of a realistic valuation. So, what did Facebook's bankers do? They raised the offering price even more. Makes sense doesn't it?

Well, it makes more sense than the lock-up of hundreds of millions of shares ending, flooding the market with excess supply and the price of the stock.... increases!!!

Well, there may be a logical reason for this. By now, the more astute early investors in Facebook either read my analysis or somehow have come up with similar conclusions independently. That being the case, these guys had massive unrealized capital gains and a strong incentive to preserve them. Thus, they did what every hedge fund should do but what so little ever seem to do. What is that you ask? They hedged. I would assume that as soon as FB shares became available for short and/or puts started trading, these guys competed with me to get short in order to lock in whatever gains they still had left. That being the case, once the lock-up period expired, and actual sales occurred it was offset (and possibly then some) by the supportive buying created by the short position covering.

Of course, this is just a theory, but its a plausible one. Only time will tell if it holds water, for if the upward price pressure was cause by short covering, it will be over by next week and we should see a marginal decline.

FB Sep 21 12 18 puts

 
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Last Friday I posted Deconstructing The Most Hated Trade Of The Decade, The 375% BoomBustBlog Apple Call!!, wherein I outlined the profitability of the BoomBustBlog Apple research from a trading perspective. This crux of that article was to debunk the widely assumed notion that I was bearish on Apple's share price for 2 years. The reality of the matter was that the paid research and opinion clearly supported much of Apple's share price until right about the last earnings report, until I notably went bearish and Apple promptly lost 25%.

apple stock and front month options

Notice how this chart shows subscription research would have provided ample profits LONG and short, with the long presumed to be unleverred as a straight stock purchase. This is to put to bed any naysayers. Now, as to whether my many proclamations over the last two years regarding Apple were able to hold water, we let the facts speak on the reasoning behind the call and the accuracy of my call in the deterioration of Apple's margins, market share and status. The following was a document that was only available to paid subscribers (published in late 2010) but now is freely available since its message has come to pass. As you read this, please keep in mind that the document was published a year and a half ago, even though it does seem like it is recent. I have just released fresh research on Apple that details the lower bounds (pessimistic scenario) that I see for the share price. Subscribers can access it here Apple 4Q2012 update professional & institutional and Apple 4Q2012 update - retail).

If after reading the article linked in the first sentence and the material below, and you believe that I'm the best thing since Wall Street brokerages were private partnerships that could squander other peoples capital at insanely levered levels while misleading muppets with inanely bullshit analysis and sales pitches to 89% losses on their recommendations (reference Multiple Muppet Mashing Leaves Groupon Shareholders Holding The Bag After 89% Off IPO Coupon) just to get paid multi-million dollar bonuses instead of jsil time, then feel free to subscribe here. 

Apple -Competition and Cost Structure Page 08Apple -Competition and Cost Structure Page 10

As very accurately predicted in our report published above over a year ago, Samsung has eclipsed Apple in smartphone sales and capability!applApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 01Apple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 02Apple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 03 copyApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 04 copyApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 05Apple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 07 copyApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 08 copyApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 09 copyApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 10 copyApple -Competition and Cost Structure - unlocked Page 11Apple -Competition and Cost Structure Page 08Apple -Competition and Cost Structure Page 10

 

 

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Following up on the post of Tuesday, 14 August 2012, Muppets Get MASHED Once Again - Groupon Half Off Share Price Coupons Selling for 20 Cents On The Dollar!!! Groupon is now trading at $2.61 after its most recent earnings announcement. We warned pre-IPO that this stock was pure trash. Let's see how that warning panned out... (spoiler alert: free BoomBustBlog Anti-sell side research available for download below)...

Groupon charg

An 89% drop since the IPO. For those not paying attention, that's damn near all of the share price... disappeared! You could have made a fortune selling this. You may have even made a dollar or two litigation with the issuers or the company itself. Don't forget,  At least eight brokerages slashed their price targets on the firm. Where were these firms when we were warning pre-IPO? 

Here are some key highlights: Groupon restates revenue, EXACTLY as I warned just three months earlier.

  1. Monday, 26 September 2011 What's The Best Way To Profit From Groupon's IPO?
  2. file iconGroupon Revenue Restated 09/26/2011
Groupon starts trading on the Nasdaq via IPO...
  1. Sunday, 13 November 2011 I Hope You Groupon IPO Investors Got Coupons At The IPO!!! Yeah, That's Right I Was The First To Say It
Favorite hits from said documents...
Groupon revenue restated Page 1
Groupon revenue restated Page 2
Groupon Valuation redacted Page 14
 
Groupon revenue restated Page 1Groupon revenue restated Page 2Groupon revenue restated Page 3Groupon revenue restated Page 4Groupon Valuation Page 01Groupon Valuation Page 02Groupon Valuation Page 03Groupon Valuation Page 03 copyGroupon Valuation redacted Page 11Groupon Valuation redacted Page 12Groupon Valuation redacted Page 14

You know that you really don't have to follow eight brokerages to make money on Groupon. All you really had to do was subscribe to BoomBustBlog, reference For Those That Want To Take A Peek Inside the Professional BoomBustBlog Paywall, Here's All of My Groupon Research - MUPPETS!!!

I have commented ad nauseum on the percieved need to do business with name brands, those who do God's work, and those who simply cannot trade - muppet masters and all - as I clearly articulated on the Max Keiser show last week.
... and on previous shows. 

Now, all of you Goldman, Morgan Stanley, et. al. lovers, don't get your muppetware in a bunch, you know that I know that you know that It Is Now Common Knowledge That Goldman’s Investment Advice Sucks???, as excerpted:

It's official, the mainstream media has turned on those "doing God's work" and come to the side of BoomBustBlog.

In case you still don't get it, the sell side research departments of these banks did not offer BoomBustBlog research to their clients. Oh no, then how in the hell can they dump their stock??? They issued glowing reports from their own analytical cum soft sales staff.

On that note, let's reminisce.... In June of 2011 I release proprietary research to BoomBustBlog Subscribers. You can now download said report absolutely free, here icon Groupon Forensic Analysis & Valuation (923.04 kB 2011-06-16 10:34:36). After reading said report, prepare for some real comedy, as reported by Dailypolitical.com:

Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) was downgraded by equities research analysts at Stifel Nicolaus from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) downgraded shares of Groupon from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have a $20.00 price target on the stock, down previously from $30.00. Separately, analysts at Benchmark Co. cut their price target on shares of Groupon from $32.00 to $28.00 in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have a “buy” rating on the stock. Finally, analysts at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Groupon in a research note to investors on Thursday, February 9th.

Groupon traded down 3.20% on Monday, hitting $14.54. Groupon has a 52-week low of $14.85 and a 52-week high of $31.14. The company’s market cap is $9.376 billion.

Whoa!!! Goldman Sachs reiterated their "buy" recommendation just in time for their damn Muppet Clients to lose ~40% by the close of the market today. Go ahead, stuff those damn Muppets, fellas!For the record, in June of 2011, a full ten months ago, I made clear to my subscribers the following (as excerpted from the now free download)...

We value Groupon at $6.6bn using DCF. The current valuation is based on 10 years of revenue projections which are overly optimistic in our view.  We have forecasted revenues of $4.0bn in 2011 and expect revenues to nearly double to $7.5bn in 2012 and reach $35bn by 2020. We have assumed cost of equity of 12% and terminal growth of 3% from 2021 onwards. We have kept gross profit at stable levels and assumed operational gearing to (∆ Operating Profit / ∆ Revenue) to improve considerably. Despite these optimistic projections we were still not able to justify a valuation close to $10bn let alone $20-25bn. We only see downside risks to valuation of $6.6bn and believe that Groupon’s rejection of Google offer of $6.0bn was a mistake in first place. Google’s valuation of $6.0bn most assuredly included a premium for synergies that Google could have achieved with Groupon which would be clearly absent in the standalone entity. We see the fair value of Groupon close to $3.0-4.0bn if we assume a more realistic picture. Given all kinds of questions surrounding Groupon’s business regarding the sustainability of revenue growth, costs control and even the business model itself (i.e., the relationship with merchants) and external competition, we remain deeply concerned even on the sustainability of a successful IPO for Groupon. 

For the record, at about $3 per share, Groupon is market-valued at about $2.2 billion dollars!!!! Here are some key highlights: Groupon restates revenue, EXACTLY as I warned three months before the IPO.There's a WHOLE LOT MORE, but this post is long enough as it is. Simply download the links above, and don't forget to reference the valuation section of original forensic report. There's an early Christmas present in there for the stingy muppets!

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Many have asked me if I believe in austerity measures or the Keynsian approach of spending out of recession. I have stated, time and again, that the question is loaded - hence the answer can never be sufficient. When you are trying to go from your home to the market across town in a crowded urban environment, you cannot make the trip successfully by deciding ahead of time that you are just going to make left turns (austerity? Austrian?) or right turns (stimulus? Keynsian?). You come to an intersection and you make the turn that's necessary to get you where you want to go. It might sound overly simplistic and common, but I'll be damned if common sense is one of the most uncommon things I've come across over the last 7 years or so!

On that note, there does appear to be a misunderstanding on how government finances work as compared to finances in the private sector. The government is not a for profit player that competes directly with those in the private sector, but is instead a universal support network that benefits from the success of the private sector. Hence, the government must work in the best interests of the private sector in order to thrive. This sometimes entails taking the other side of the trade to ensure that a trade can take place. One pundit who has done a good job of explaining this through pretty charts that explain the peculiar situation that we are now in (a balance sheet recession), is Dr. Richard Koo of Nomura Securities. See the FT.com article abstract:

In 2008, Barack Obama told the US people the nation’s economic crisis would take a long time to overcome. In 2012, many of those voters are losing patience, because they have not been told why this recession has lasted so long or why his policies were the correct response. Here is the missing explanation – based on not only the US experience, but also that of Japan and Europe. 

when-the-government-tries-premature-fiscal-consolidation-things-get-much-worse-and-debt-goes-higher

Today, the US private sector is saving a staggering 8 per cent of gross domestic product – at zero interest rates, when households and businesses would ordinarily be borrowing and spending money. But the US is not alone: in Ireland and Japan, the private sector is saving 9 per cent of GDP; in Spain it is saving 7 per cent of GDP; and in the UK, 5 per cent. Interest rates are at record lows in all these countries.

For those who may not get the gravity of this statement, it makes no sense to save money with a negative risk/reward proposition, unless of course the saver does not see it that way. One must save if savings are in deficit, and the risk to invest funds is considered greater than the benefit of having said funds in the first place. We are still attempting to wade through the bursting of a massive bubble, and we are playing defensive - not offensive.  In other words, are Americans seeking return OF capital over return on said capital? We are over-leveraged, and to effectively delever you cannot borrow more money or take the risk of aggressive investments. This is so even if investment capital is being offered at zero interest rates. Mr. Koo illustrates the consequences of such behavior eloquently...

However, if someone is saving money or paying down debt, someone else must be borrowing and spending that money to keep the economy going. In a normal world, it is the role of interest rates to ensure all saved funds are borrowed and spent, with interest rates rising when there are too many borrowers and falling when there are too few. 

But when the private sector as a whole is saving money or paying down debt at zero interest rates, the banks cannot lend the repaid debt or newly deposited savings because interest rates cannot go any lower. This means that, if left unattended, the economy will continuously lose aggregate demand equivalent to the unborrowed savings. In other words, even though repairing balance sheets is the right and responsible thing to do, if everyone tries to do it at the same time a deflationary spiral will result. It was such a deflationary spiral that cost the US 46 per cent of its GDP from 1929 to 1933. 

Those with a debt overhang will not increase their borrowing at any interest rate; nor will there be many lenders, when the lenders themselves have financial problems. This shift from maximising profit to minimising debt explains why near-zero interest rates in the US and EU since 2008 and in Japan since 1995 have failed to produce the expected recoveries in these economies. 

For some reason, the Fed doesn't seem to get what Mr. Koo and BoomBustBloggers do!

With monetary policy largely ineffective and the private sector forced to repair its balance sheet, the only way to avoid a deflationary spiral is for the government to borrow and spend the unborrowed savings in the private sector.

Wait a minute! The EU states are definitely borrowing, but they are not redploying the capital back into the private sector, they are simply bailing out banks! In addition, the banks are not deploying the capital into the private sector, they are simply sitting on it, just as Mr. Koo stated they would in the article excerpt above! So, after trillions of borrowing, there's no surprise why there's just relatively pennies making it into the private sector. What Mr. Koo and many who follow Keynsian economic theories seem to forget to include, is that upon borrowing the money to plunge into the private sector, you have to have a plan for paying said monies back. When you borrow said monies and simply waste them (ex. perpetual dead bank bailouts) you create a truly structural problem. Simply ask Greece, or see How Greece Killed Its Own Banks! and then move on to...

As The Year Comes An End The Ability Of Greece To Kick The Can Mirrors The Chances Of A Man With No Feet

Despite extensive, self-defeating, harsh and punitive austerity measures that have combined with a lack of true economic stimulus, Greece has (to date) failed to achieve Primary Balance. For the non-economists in the audience, primary balance is the elimination of a primary deficit, yet the absence of a primary surplus, ex. the midpoint between deficit and surplus before taking into consideration interest payments.

Greece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balanceGreece_Primary_balance

The primary balance looks at the structural issues a country may have.

Government expenditures have outstripped revenues ever since 2007 and have gotten worse nearly every year since, despite 3 bailouts a restructuring, austerity and a default!

Greece_Primary_deficit_copy

On to Mr. Koo's diatribe... 

Recovery from this type of recession takes time because the flow of current savings must be used to reduce the stock of debt overhang, necessarily a long process when everyone is doing it at the same time. Since one person’s debt is another person’s asset, there is no quick fix: shifting the problem from one part of society to another will solve nothing.

The challenge now is to maintain fiscal stimuli until private sector deleveraging is completed. Any premature attempt to withdraw that stimulus will result in a deflationary implosion – as in the US in 1937, Japan in 1997, and Spain and the UK most recently.

Japan’s attempt in 1997 to reduce its deficit by 3 per cent of GDP – the same size as the “fiscal cliff” now facing the US – led to a horrendous 3 per cent drop in GDP and a 68 per cent increase in the deficit. At that time, Japan’s private sector was saving 6 per cent of GDP at near zero interest rates, just like the US private sector today. It took Japan 10 years to climb out of the hole.

when-the-government-tries-premature-fiscal-consolidation-things-get-much-worse-and-debt-goes-higher

Average citizens find it hard to understand why the government should not balance its budget when households and businesses must all do so. It is risky for politicians to explain but, until they make it clear that the economy will implode if everybody is saving and nobody is borrowing, public support for the necessary fiscal stimulus is likely to weaken, as seen during the past four years of the Obama administration.

The US economy is already losing forward momentum as the 2009 fiscal stimulus is allowed to expire. There is no time to waste: the government must take up the private sector’s unborrowed savings, to keep the economy from imploding and to provide income for businesses and households so they can repair their balance sheets. Fiscal consolidation should come only once the private sector has repaired its finances and returned to profit-maximising mode.

I have ventured along these lines several times in the past. Here is the subscription research that I feel is best poised to take advantage of the guaranteed mistakes to be made ahead, simply click your industry/sector for the most recent research (note, non-subscribers will only be able to view free reports, you may click here to subscribe)...

As for whether Mr. Koo is correct in the application of severe austerity when one should be trying to prime the pump....

Greece Is To Pathogen As Cyprus Is To Contagion As Spain Is To Infected...

CNBC reports Greece Austerity Strike Will Hurt GDP Further even as Cyprus Expects Bailout as S&P Cuts Ratings to Junk:

Cyprus said on Wednesday it expected talks to start with lenders on badly needed aid next week, as ratings agency Standard & Poor's pushed it deeper into junk territory, implying domestic political expediency lay behind a delay in clinching a deal. One of the smallest nations in the euro zone, Cyprus sought European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) aid in June after its two largest banks suffered huge losses due to a write-down of Greek debt.

Well, our Contagion Model showed clear paths of the knock on effects of Greek infection, and we haven't even gotten started with the economic pathogen party yet!

 

Although it seems as if Tyler is being a smart ass, he couldn't be farther from the truth. Reference my piece Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! concerning the accuracy of the IMF's baseline scenarios...

image005.pngimage005.png

And back to the ZH post:

....Breakdown of IMF deleveraging forecasts for the three scenarios, of which the realistic one is highlighted:

  • Under weak policies, the withdrawal of foreign investors accelerates to twice the pace seen since 2009. Periphery spreads widen by about one standard deviation above the baseline.

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ZeroHedge, in its snarky, smart ass, Reggie Middleton-like manner made me chuckle this morning with this headline: Mario Draghi Sends Risk Reeling After Exposing Bitter European Truth

It was shaping up like the perfect overnight ramp following yesterday's Goldilocks election result... and then Mario Draghi opened his mouth.

    • DRAGHI SAYS DEBT CRISIS STARTING TO HURT GERMAN ECONOMY
    • DRAGHI SAYS GERMAN RATES LOWER THAN THEY WOULD BE OTHERWISE

And so finally, after months and months of explaining the fundamental dichotomy in Europe (see here), it is finally becoming transparent. And it is as follow: Germany, which is the economic dynamo of Europe, needs a weaker EURUSD to keep its export economy running. Period, end of Story. The problem is that the lower the EURUSD, the greater the implied and perceived EUR redenomination risk, which in turns send the periphery reeling, and will force first Spain, and then everyone else to eventually demand (not request) a bailout.

A quick search on the topic reveals much more of the same...

Draghi admits Germanys f234ked

I emphasize this point because this problem was woefully evident nearly a dull year ago. On Thursday, 12 January 2012, after railing on the US education system (How Inferior American Education Caused The Credit/Real Estate/Sovereign Debt Bubbles and Why It's Preventing True Recovery), I made clear to all Harry Potter aficionados (you know, those Euro-types who would rather believe magic over math) that biggest threat to the 2012 economy was sitting right beneath their noses couched as a savior more than a threat. Reference The Biggest Threat To The 2012 Economy Is??? Not What Wall Street Is Telling You..., wherein I painstakingly took the tie to attempt to reassert the authority of math over magic. With the exclusion of central bank mysticism and the attrition of the belief that these bastards can create something out of nothing, or more to the point, can drive nearly everything towards nothing and then suddenly state that they have created something, I bring you my warning prescient warning on Germany and the macro-fundamental call to be aware of the bear Bund trade, to wit:

I believe Germany poses the biggest threat to global harmony for 2012. Here's why...

European banks are (in addition to borrowing on a secured basis from those customers they usually lend to) also paying insurers and pension funds to take their illiquid bonds in exchange for better quality ones, in a desperate bid to secure much-needed cash from the ECB, which only provides cash against collateral. This may not be as safe a measure as it sounds. Below is a sensitivity analysis of Generali's (a highly leveraged Italian insurer, subscribers see File Icon Exposure of European insurers to PIIGS) sovereign debt holdings.

image004image004

As you can see, Generali is highly leveraged into PIIGS debt, with 400% of its tangible equity exposed. Despite such leveraged exposure, I calculate (off the cuff, not an in depth analysis) that it took a 10% hit to Tangible Equity. Now, that's a lot, but one would assume that it would have been much worse. What saved it? Diversification into Geman bunds, whose yield went negative, thus throwing off a 14% return. Not bad for alleged AAA fixed income. But let's face it, Germany lives in the same roach motel as the rest of the profligate EU, they just rent the penthouse suite! Remember, Germany is not in recession after a rip roaring bull run in its bonds, and I presume the recession should get much deeper since as a net exporter it has to faces its trading partners going broke. Below you see what happens if the bund returns were simply run along the historical trend line (with not extreme bullishness of the last year).

image005image005

Companies such as Generali would instantly lose a third of their tangible equity. This is quite conservative, since the profligate states bonds would probably collapse unless the spreads shrink, which is highly doubtful. Below you see what would happen if bunds were to take a 10% loss.

image006image006

That's right, a 10% loss in bunds translates into a near 50% loss in tangible equity to this insurer, which would realistically be 60% plus as the rest of the EU portfolio will compress in solidarity. Combine this with the fact that insurers operating results are facing historically unprecedented stress (see You Can Rest Assured That The Insurance Industry Is In For Guaranteed Losses!) and it's not hard to imagine marginal insurers seeing equity totally wiped out. The same situation is evident in banks and pension funds as well as real estate entities dependent on financing in the near to medium term - basically, the entire FIRE sector in both European and US markets (that's right, don't believe those who say the US banks have decoupled from Europe).

thumb_Reggie_Middleton_on_Street_Signs_Fire

Now, all of this excerpt above was written BEFORE Tropical Storm Sandy hit the east cost. Now, its a whole difference ball game in terms of combined ratios and operating losses. Exactly how are those operating losses are going to be paid once the truth becomes widespread, re: Germany vs the periphery?

First: See FIRE Burns From Hurricane Sandy - Fear The Insurance Companies, Twice Over - Just Ask the ECB, Greece, Spain & Portugal

Second: Go long magic wands and Harry Potter paraphenalia!!! 

The damage to banks will probably be worse due to the higher level of leverage in European institutions. This is saying a lot since Italy's Generali is truly levered up the ASS! As excerpted from our professional series (subscribers see File Icon Bank Run Liquidity Candidate Forensic Opinion:).. (click here to continue reading)

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WSJ.com reports: The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is investigating alleged unauthorized trading at Rochdale Securities LLC

Daniel Crowley, Rochdale's president, said Finra, a Wall Street self-regulator, was investigating trading that has put the company in a precarious financial position, adding, "The firm is recapitalizing and should be talking to the market shortly." He declined to offer more details on the trading or the investigation.

A person familiar with the thinking of Rochdale executives said a trader at the firm received an order for stock in Apple Inc. AAPL +0.63% but bought 1,000 times the number of shares requested. The trader is saying the extra shares were ordered by mistake, the person said, but the firm is alleging the actions were intentional. The company suspects the trader was working with an outside party to execute the trade and profit at the firm's expense, according to this person.

This is bullshit no matter which way you look at it. If you can mistakenly place an order for 1,000 times your intended purchases, then the risk management systems of this so-called institutional brokerage is less robust than grandma's retail web page at E-trade! If the trader did it on purpose, then he likely did it with management's consent and they didn't subscribe to BoomBustBlog - travesty within itself since all who subscribed knew it was time to short Apple! See The Blog That Could Have Saved Institutional Broker - Or - Beware Of Those Poison Apples!!

aapl research accuracy copy

Rochdale, based in Stamford, Conn., is an institutional broker and equity-research firm that employs prominent bank analyst Richard Bove. As of the end of 2011, Rochdale had $3.4 million in capital, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. On Saturday, Mr. Crowley said the errant trading had left the company with a "negative capital position."

Amazingly enough, very few (if any) queried as to why Rochdale, with a capital base of $3.4 million dollars could execute a trade worth a billion dollars. Let's take an off the cuff measure of the leverage involved here... $1,000,000,000/$3,400,000 = roughly 294x the trader levered up the firms capital base, give or take. Who was the idiot(s) on the other side of the trade and more importantly where the hell was FINRA before this tiny bank had the nerve to go against BoomBustBlog research with a 294x levered trade? Methinks FINRA was a little less than effective here, no? Dick Bove, the rosk star bank analysts paid by Rochdale Securities (and probably paid nearly as much as Rochdale's capital base), should have alerted Rochdale to the risks therein, no?

Dick seems like a nice guy, but we don't always see eye to eye, reference CNBC Favorite Dick Bove Admits To Being Wrong On Banks, But For The Right Reasons, But Those Reasons Are Still Wrong!!!:

Last week I posted a rather scathing diatribe, basically ridiculing the fact that Dick Bove get's so much MSM airtime for his virtually consistently wrong calls and analysis:, as excerpted: A BoomBustBlog Deep Dive on Dick

... Now, speaking of Europe, particular Dexia (France, Belgium Wrangle About Dexia Deal: Reports), this brings to mind another highlighted headline focusing on the oft quoted sell side banking analyst US Stress Tests Not Worrying: Bove... Dick Bove is one of the, if not most oft quoted sell side bank analyst in the mainstream media. I disagree with him, regularly. As the uber independent investor/analyst that I am, I will never be accurately accused of kissing [up to] Dick - regardless, let's grab Dick by the base [of his assumptions] and see if we can yank something usable out of it, shall we?

Okay, I admit I was a bit harsh, and it appears as if Mr. Bove may have read said diatribe and used his cache with the MSM to post a response - very professional one at that - and one to which I must give him credit - alas, he was still wrong! To wit:

Bove: Why I Was Wrong on Bank Stocks

With a month left in 2011 and—barring a miracle—bank stocks headed for a negative year, Dick Bove is admitting he was wrong.

This is both commendable and respectable. It is honorable and healthy to admit when you are wrong, and we all have the opportunity to do so since nobody is right all of the time!...

It is my belief that this country idolizes Wall Street, and does so foolishly. Attempting a trade on Apple which is obviously on decline at 294 times leverage with no apparent risk management mechanisms rivaling that of a mere eTrade account is silly, and does not connote "Masters of the Universe" status. In closing, keep in mind that as I drove from my apartment shortly after the Sandy storm, I noticed that the Goldman Sachs HQ had lights and electricity almost immediately. Why? Because it was triple sandbagged against the elements with underground vents properly sealed. Notice that the surrounding hospitals and schools failed to receive similar attention. Where exactly are our resourced flowing and for what reason. Happy voting on this historical election day.

Subscribers expect fresh research and content later this week.

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