Melees And Suicide Missions

Predictably given the circumstances, Monday was a market and media melee. I imagine every day this week will be a similarly disorganized affair. As I mentioned Sunday evening, it's obvious that US officials, regulators and many in the financial community believed the spark from the second-largest bank failure in US history did, in fact, have the potential to cause a conflagration. The FDIC, Fed and Treasury invoked the "systemic risk exception" to backstop depositors, and the Fed is determined

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15 thoughts on “Melees And Suicide Missions

  1. And here is exactly why the rich always get richer. Because the rich never have to suffer consequences when they make bad investments. With Fed thumbs on the market’s scales it’s impossible for an intelligent investor to ever make any gains. Value investing is dead.

    1. Everyone’s holdings (including rich people) of Silicon Valley Bank stock has gone to $0. Holders of any Silicon Valley Bank bonds are also getting hit and may also end up at $0. Same may be true for Signature Bank. So those rich people are not getting richer from this gov’t action.

  2. The Fed created the liquidity facility (Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP)) and yields on treasuries fell. Financial conditions eased and inflation (especially in stocks) might be higher as a result. Mortgage rates might fall?? Banks are now protected by BTFP. It would be asinine for the Fed to pause now!! Will this be Jay Powell’s “G. William Miller moment” to pause or will the Fed hike? History wants to know.

  3. I’m taking the other side of this move. I expect the 2-Year to start selling off again in the near future. Does anyone know about an inverse 2-Year ETF? I see plenty of long end inverse US Treasury ETFs but not 2-year/short end. Thanks

  4. I’ve been generally correct in my assumptions about what the Fed would do over the past year thanks to two simple hueristics:

    1) The Fed means what they say.
    2) The Fed wants to be a source of stability.

    The second point has been the real defining characteristic of Fed actions and statements. The greatest illustration of that was when data released during the fedspeak blackout window necessitated raising rates at a faster than anticipated pace. Rather than surprise markets, the Fed communicated the information via a link to Nick T. They didn’t need to leak that. If indeed the Fed had “surprised” markets, it would have likely been celebrated by most pundits. It would have showed seriousness about the inflation fight and a major step towards restoring Fed credibility.

    “Restoring Fed credibility” has been a major theme recently, so for the Fed to choose predictability over credibility is instructive. For over a decade they were the supplier of convexity through low rates and large asset purchases. Now that they can no longer supply convexity through those channels, they instead provide it by being as absolutely predictable as possible. In other words, they mean what they say (and then they do it).

    Now for the first time, we find points 1 and 2 in conflict. The Fed has said they will prioritize the inflation fight above all else. They also want to be a source of stability. Stability requires a strategic pause in acknowledgement that a years’ worth of tightening has strained elements of the banking sector to the breaking point. The inflation fight suggests the very tightening which, 3 trading days ago, was priced into rates.

    It will be interesting to see how Powell and company resolve this dilemma.

    1. I agree that this a real Volcker moment: ideally they’ll raise 25 bps so that the markets (and especially banks) get the message that inflation is still not yet under control. (And loudly explain how the new SaveBanksTools solve liquidity/depositor concerns).
      That being said I’m personally gambling there’s at least a month bull run by the markets as speculation “this is the end of rate hikes” runs wild.

  5. So they raise rates until they “break” the venture capitalists and zombie companies, then they bail them out. Then they continue raising rates to crush mainstreet and “ conquer” inflation?
    Wouldn’t it be more equitable to let the speculators take the hit, let the zombies go under, tank the stock market, get the damn recession started.
    Inflation solved!
    The fed saw this coming, been financing these VC regional banks for the last year, we all know who has to pay the price…..main street

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