Saturday, June 28, 2008

Leader of the Pack

Last year we had a lot of housing bubble bloggers and a many of them have fallen by the wayside. No longer do we hear references to "Canaries in coal mines," "Seating on the Titanic" or "The roller coaster getting near the top--- to the downward plunge." On another note, there were so many participants in the Real Estate Hand Basket to Hell Event, that it will take a while to sort that one out. You could say it was a Country Wide sponsored event.

The dynamic duo running the Federal Reserve and the Treasury wants everyone to believe that the financial markets are in great shape. Bear Stearns and Countrywide were what was wrong with the market???? It’s all fixed and we can go home now??? (If you still have one).

Tell me that no one is shorting the financial markets. This stale chart from Deutsche Bank from last November kind of shows how combining two smaller problems makes for a bigger one later. J P Morgan has absorbed Bear Stearns.(Double click for a larger view)

Bank of America has taken over Countrywide (maybe). There is one bank that stands out among all of them, Citigroup, leader of the pack. Is this a list you want to be at the top of?

The news gets worse, the three biggest credit card issuers are, Bank of America, J P Morgan and Citigroup. The main reason we have a real estate mess today, is because in the past, anyone could qualify for a loan. I wonder what makes credit cards different. I guess the banks are happy if you never pay them off, just pay every month.

Several large banks are in serious trouble, Citigroup trading at $17, UBS trading at $22, J P Morgan trading at $35 and Bank of America trading at $24.

This is where we are at, the solution is simple, the problem is a mind boggler. It will fix itself if left alone. The trouble is Congress; the Duddly-Do-Right of the Canadian Mounties is riding to the rescue. God help us, it’s a little like mixing Preparation H with pepper spray. After one application, your eyes will be so wide open, that you’ll never blink again.


watchtower said...

What do you think about the Royal Bank of Scotland, the BIS, Barclays, and Fortis all talking about a possible collapse of the system within months?
Is it uncanny that they should all come out at relatively the same time speaking of this?
Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
I respect your level-headedness.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Watchtower

A lot of times some people have information that is not public knowledge. For example, my June 14th article on the securities auction by FIDAC(a private company, not to be confused with the FDIC). They were pretty tight lipped on the results. What if the auction was a disaster and no one bid on the toxic waste? Just knowing that and the bank that put the securities up for sale, gives you a head start for the exit.

There is going to be a major bank failure somewhere in the next few months. The EU is the weakest link. They can't print their way out of this mess like we can.

The real estate mess is still on its trek traveling from bad to worse. We still have 20 months to go to get to that place in time.

To think that one major bank collapse will solve this whole mess is a pipe dream. It's going to get a lot worse.

I sure would like to be proven wrong on this; the future doesn't look so good. I can't see how the banks can keep this mess from unraveling for another 3 months. July 1 is the end of another quarter and the banks are not running out of red ink. So I'm in agreement with your sources.

watchtower said...

Thanks Jim, not just for answering my questions but for keeping your site up and going.
Best regards.

Brian said...


I'm here in Temecula and have noticed an interesting phenomenon in the last month or so. My mail box used to be routinely stuffed full of junk mail every day. If I forgot to get the mail out one day, the postman could barely fit the next day's mail in. As of late, the amount of junk mail has nearly disappeared. Today I received only one letter, and yesterday it was just two pieces of mail.

Have others in the area noticed this?

Thanks for your blog.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Brian

You have to wonder, where's the first place you cut when running a business. Advertising could be one of the first to go.

I'm in San Marcos which isn't far away and I haven't noticed a real drop in junk mail.

The advertisers are smart, they know when an area is dead and don't send to it. I learned this when I lived in Glendale California 20 years ago. I asked the postal carrier why I got so much junk mail. He said it was because of the zip code. If I had a zip code for a black area, I would have gotten none.

I don't think that race was an issue as much as a return on the advertising invested dollar. You don't advertise unless there is a good prospect of a solid return.

I think that we are all going to notice that the junk mail drops off sooner or later. Its a sign of the times

Take care and thank you for your comments

Anonymous said...

I would jump for joy if junk mail stopped arriving at my home. I literally keep a trash can right underneath my mailbox so I can drop that crap inside before entering my abode. It's such a waste.

JMS said...

I actually use my junkmail. I put it in the shredder and use the shredded pieces to cover the bottom of my parrots cage. So not only do I throw it out but it gets shit on first.

Take that mastercard!

Brian said...

Good point about advertisers targeting by location. Things in Temecula have changed a lot even in the last six months. Commercial RE here has fallen off a cliff, with every center having large numbers of vacancies and some older shopping centers nearly vacant. Hundreds of houses new and used stand vacant in the Temecula/Murrieta area. I guess with the drying up of the MEW, nobody has any money to spend shopping here anymore.

I'm Not POTUS said...

The Pepperation H made me squirt milk through my nose. But back to the topic.

You notice the homes of those banks are in the EU. They know that that the ECB is not going to go to the matresses for them like Ben and Paul will for BofA.

This is a polite way of the EU telling Benny to start dragging out US banks in the good ol' NAM style of summary public execution. They don't want all of them to go at once but an eye for an eye, is the least we can do. In my worst impression of Sean Connery."He sends one of yours to the hospital you send one of his to the MOOORRGGGG. That's the Trichert way."

The American public might abide the great con of the FED, but no one else will.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi I'm not Potus

I think your right. The European Central Bank can't print money without all the member countries agreeing. Nationalism is the key here. Italy and Spain need financing now and probably will get zip. When you hear statements like "Why bail out the lazy Italians, drunken Spaniards, the greedy Germans or the shiftless French"---you begin to realize that this is a union headed for a divorce court. So they will never get together and agree to print more currency for a bail out.

People here in the US think that this bail out money is coming from some magical place.

Of the two approaches, the EU's is more sound. It faces the reality of the situation. Sadly though the EU could fall apart because of its strength.

Interest rates could go up drastically in the near future, that would put the Treasury in a real bind, not to mention home owners.

What the Fed and the Treasury are doing make me feel very uncomfortable. It kind of like watching a fox eat chicken after chicken in your hen house. Does he get to eat them all? Our government is taxing our savings by printing money. This is one time where front row seats suck.

Thank you for your comments

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hey Potus

I finally caught the "Pepperation H" --I'm slow. I guess that we could market it as a hemorrhoid cream and sell it to Congressmen. It would be one of the few things that delivered more than it promised.