Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Moodys, that forward-looking thoughtful ratings agency, has reduced the debt ratings of six European countries including Italy, Spain and Portugal and has revised its outlook on the U.K.'s and France's top Aaa rating to "negative."

A rumor has it that Saudi tanks have approached the Jordanian border, giving a 72-hour ultimatum to Syria.

Today's tweet of the Day is from Hedge Eyes' "Keithy" Keith McCullough: "It appears to me that the old broken glass/economic growth model of Keynes has met its burning buildings #Greece."

The Greece deal is really no deal but rather a slow-motion train wreck to bankruptcy.

Why have all the Cassandras been wrong? Because they ignored the power of central banks to cause credit spreads to narrow. The outcome is reflected in market movements and in certain sectors....

The European Central Bank's ingenious concept of a three-year, 1% loan via LTRO (long-term refinancing operation) worked. It was successful because it allowed the banks to buy their own debt at a higher yield than 1%, book the difference in yield as income, and mark up the value of their own bonds to par. That process functioned as a mechanical way for there to be an addition to the bank's capital. The ECB used a creative way to solve a portion of its eurozone and the Europe-wide banking crisis....

We have replaced meltdown of the type we saw after Lehman/AIG with "melt-up" of the type we have been seeing since March 2009. We have shifted from collapsing leverage and failure at the institutional level to central bank intervention of unprecedented size....

We are going through huge transitional times. Never before have we seen coordinated, global central bank activity of this order or magnitude. By the end of this year, the G4 central banks will have expanded their balance sheets approximately threefold during the financial crisis. The negative and inflationary results of this activity may appear in the future. That remains to be seen. For the present, this is a very bullish construction for asset prices and equities in particular.

-- David Kotok, Cumberland Advisors (Feb. 11, 2012)