March 14: Daily Contrarian Reads

Wall Street Has Found Its Next Big Short—–Securitized Commercial Real Estate

In recent weeks, firms such as Alder Hill Management — an outfit started by protégés of hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper — have ramped up wagers against the bonds, which have held up far better than the shares of beaten-down retailers. By one measure, short positions on two of the riskiest slices of CMBS surged to $5.3 billion last month — a 50 percent jump from a year ago.  The trade itself is similar to those that Michael Burry and Steve Eisman made against the housing market before the financial crisis, made famous by the book and movie “The Big Short.” Often called credit protection, buyers of the contracts are paid for CMBS losses that occur when malls and shopping centers fall behind on their loans. In return, they pay monthly premiums to the seller (usually a bank) as long as they hold the position.

Stockman Releases Urgent Warning About Tomorrow

David Stockman, Reagan’s former budget director, has issued a major market warning for TOMORROW. He’s recorded a brand new 1-minute video describing a perfect storm happening this week. The historical evidence he’s provided going back to 1919 show a disturbing market pattern that’s proceeded every crash for 100 years.

Global Debt Update: $21,714 For Every Man, Woman and Child on the Planet

According to the International Monetary Fund, global debt has grown to a staggering grand total of 152 trillion dollars.  Other estimates put that figure closer to 200 trillion dollars, but for the purposes of this article let’s use the more conservative number.  If you take 152 trillion dollars and divide it by the seven billion people living on the planet, you get $21,714, which would be the share of that debt for every man, woman and child in the world if it was divided up equally. So if you have a family of four, your family’s share of the global debt load would be $86,856.

“Who Hit The Brakes?” —–Bank Loan Creation Suddenly Tumbles To Five Year Low

Here are facts: total loans and leases by U.S. commercial banks are currently rising at an annual pace of about 4.6%, based on weekly Fed data. That is down from a 6.4% pace for all of last year and peak rates of around 8% in mid-2016. This is the slowest pace of debt creation since the spring of 2014. While the deceleration has been broad-based across business, real estate and consumer lending and, as the WSJ notes, “is at odds with the idea of a stronger economy and rising sentiment.”  But the slowdown has been especially acute in the all important for growth Commercial and Industrial loan category, which after growing at a pace of 10% in the first half of 2016, has suddenly and unexpectedly tumbled to just 4.0% as of the latest week, nearly 50% lower than the 7% growth notched at the start of the year.  This was the lowest pace of loan growth since July of 2011.

The ‘Red Guards’ of 2017—-How Democratic Pols And Progressives Succumbed to the Hysteria of Lost Identity

The Democrats reduced themselves to a gang of sadistic neo-Maoists seeking to eradicate anything that resembles free expression across the land in the name of social justice. Coercion has been their coin of the realm, and especially in the realm of ideas where “diversity” means stepping on your opponent’s neck until he pretends to agree with your Newspeak brand of grad school neologisms and “inclusion” means welcome if you’re just like us. I say Maoists because just like Mao’s “Red Guard” of rampaging students in 1966, their mission is to “correct” the thinking of those who might dare to oppose the established leader. Only in this case, that established leader happened to lose the sure-thing election and the party finds itself unbelievably out-of-power and suddenly purposeless, like a termite mound without a queen, the workers and soldiers fleeing the power center in an hysteria of lost identity.

Why The Ides of March could be a Critical Turning point for the Stock Market

As much as Julius Caesar’s assassination on the Ides of March signaled an inflection point in Roman history, March 15 may also mark a watershed moment for the U.S. stock market with the Federal Reserve poised to seek closure to its loose monetary policy regime. “The coming week has the potential to be huge for trading opportunities,” said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, in a note. “Everything centers around the Ides of March…with a number of key developments coming out both on [March] 15 and 16.”

The Nightmare Dream Is Back—Pentagon Theories of “Winning” A Nuclear War

A frightening new analysis for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — by three eminent strategic arms experts at the Federation of American Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, and MIT — provides evidence that U.S. nuclear planners have “implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal,” giving it for the first time in decades “the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.”

Subprime Auto Loan Losses Reach Highest Level Since the Financial Crisis

U.S. subprime auto lenders are losing money on car loans at the highest rate since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis as more borrowers fall behind on payments, according to S&P Global Ratings. Losses for the loans, annualized, were 9.1 percent in January from 8.5 percent in December and 7.9 percent in the first month of last year, S&P data released on Thursday show, based on car loans bundled into bonds. The rate is the worst since January 2010 and is largely driven by worsening recoveries after borrowers default, S&P said……Recoveries on subprime loans fell to 34.8 percent in January, the worst since early 2010, S&P data show.

When The ‘Art Of The Deal’ Meets ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

For anyone paying attention a sudden ominous warning or writing appear within the walls of the U.S. congress. And it appeared written in political “blood” rather than paint……..The “Empire” (i.e., the entrenched political elite) seemed to strike, and all but killed, any chance for further political maneuvering (on anything) outside of their purview and wishes. Why? The President appeared so eager to fulfill his expectations of a campaign promise seems to have blindly walked right into a trap. The reasoning? His own words of praise and his actions. i.e., Both himself along with others (V.P. Mike Pence has already done so in KY) are going to go out campaigning for it and its passage. The real issue? Those who have laid eyes or heard what’s proposed are aghast at what’s contained within. i.e., It’s all just more of the same putrid slop served up by a different set of chefs with a few less or different ingredients wrapped in used papers tied with a filthy ribbon that states – bon appétit. Everyone from business owners, to the business minded knows intuitively and precisely what it really is: Sh_t on a Shingle.

February Restaurant Sales And Traffic Tumble—Weakest in 4 Years

Quite unlike the rosy picture of consumer spending painted by various other macroeconomic data points such as consumer spending, or even alleged wage growth, looking at one of America’s favorite pastimes – eating out – the situation has rarly been more gloomy. While the silver lining to the latest RPI report was a surge of hope in the near-term futures as a result of the “animal spirits” unleashed by Trump, which have impacted everything from the stock market to the jobs report (recall the January-February plunge in people out of the labor force was the biggest on record), the latest, just released report by TDn2Kquickly doused those hopes in its latest, February, Restaurant Industry Snapshot which found that “Restaurant Sales and Traffic Tumble in February.” Same-store sales fell -3.7 percent in February, with traffic declining -5.0 percent. Unfortunately, January’s improved results were not a turning point in declining industry performance. Trends are hard to discern since weather, holiday shifts in Valentine’s Day and President’s Day and winter breaks distorted weekly results.

Why RyanCare Would Be An Insurance Disaster

Whenever the government is giving away money, people always game the system to get it. Think about the wide-spread fraud in welfare, food stamps, disability, and even cell phone credits. Trumpcare will be no different. Many people will buy catastrophic plans with extremely high deductibles just so they can pocket the difference between the tax credits and the costs of the plans. If they actually incur a medical condition that results in a high out-of-pocket expense, they can just switch their coverage to one with a much lower deductible. Such a switch may even be possible without the 30% premium for lapsed coverage……If Trump and the Republican leadership can push this monstrosity through, despite the obvious mathematical shortcomings, look for them to make similar efforts on infrastructure and defense spending. All this adds up to uncounted trillions in new debt, and a giant step closer to the utter bankruptcy of the nation.