Monday, February 24, 2014

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 02/24/14

I can't imagine a life without sarcasm.  Maybe other people can manage that but I can't relate to them.  I don't write for the inattentive or unimaginative parts of the human race.  This blog of mine isn't their cup of tea.

The SEC is studying whether changing the tick size of trades will improve liquidity for small cap companies.  Tick sizes are a non-issue.  Changing a trading increment doesn't add liquidity; only attracting more participants to a market adds liquidity.  I can't believe the SEC hasn't figured this out.  I need to lower my expectations even further.  These people must have nothing better to do.  Oh wait, I know, they could prosecute all of those financial executives who falsified mortgage documentation prior to the 2008 crisis.  They could also go after Libor and currency traders who colluded to fix the market.  Nah, that's not as rewarding as changing tick sizes.

Deutsche Bank thinks the Australian dollar is headed for a price collapse.  Well, that's just great, since I'm using that currency to hedge the US dollar.  Actually I don't care much for what Deutsche Bank thinks.  Their derivative exposures to European markets are so bad that they could easily collapse themselves before the Australian dollar hits bottom.  A cheaper Aussie dollar just means I'll buy more FXA.  I can't say the same about any European banks.

The NAR notes that existing home sales are at 18-month lows.  The real estate sales pros never let facts get in the way of their sales pitch.  It's always a great time to buy a house, even in their mushy heads.  I don't expect them to connect the decline in home sales with the Fed's reduced commitment to purchase mortgage-backed securities.  The math on higher real interest rates is inevitably a negative for people who borrow to buy a house.  Note further that I've said "house" and not "home."  People who missed out on the flipping craze ten years ago jumped back in, and I'm pretty sure it will end the same way.  Private equity shops borrowing to buy existing homes in all-cash offers are going to get flushed.

I've got a pretty busy week ahead with a few meetings and social events.  This gives me several audiences to entertain, live and in person, with my sarcasm.  I expect attractive women to swoon with every sarcastic financial utterance I generate in San Francisco.