Tuesday, January 17, 2017
BLOOD IN THE STREETS
Joined Oct 7, 2015
55 Blog Posts

South Korea may seek bilateral FTA with UK after Brexit: trade minister

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SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea may seek a separate free trade deal with Britain in coming years in an effort to minimize the impact of Brexit on the country’s trade with the European Union and Britain, the trade ministry said on Sunday.
It added the more lucrative Korea-EU trade agreement, worth six times the value in exports, will be maintained for the next two years as it will take at least that long for Britain to exit the EU.
“We plan to consult with the EU to reflect appropriate changes on the free trade agreement we have with the bloc after reviewing the possible impact of Brexit,” the ministry’s statement noted.
Following Britain’s decision to leave the 28-country bloc last week, the trade ministry said it expects Brexit would have a limited impact on the country’s real economy.
As of 2015, South Korean exports to Britain amounted to about $7.4 billion, accounting for 1.4 percent of the Asia’s fourth largest economy’s total exports, according to the trade ministry data.
Korean exports to the EU amounted to $48.1 billion, accounting for 9.1 percent of the total exports.

Markets adjust.

Source: South Korea may seek bilateral FTA with UK after Brexit: trade ministr

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Executive Privilege

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The Featured Image is copyright© R. Crumb. There is a ton of Wall St in that cartoon if you deign to look closely . God help me if that sonofabitch Crumb comes for me.

This Blog Entry is pure cut-and-paste, except for my comment that this motherfucker Caspersen should be thrown in Bernie Madoff’s cell for a few decades, but not until he has been put in stocks in the Public Square and subjected to the whims of the townsfolk for three days and nights. followed by the complete evisceration of his inherit wealth. Fat fucking chance, eh. USA! USA! USA!

DISCLAIMER: I’m long PJT and have been since the spinoff from Blackstone (BX). And I am fucking pissed. These Izod-clad fucks need to be brought to heel.

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Prosecutors Bring New Charges Against Andrew W.W. Caspersen

By Christopher M. Matthews

Prosecutors brought new charges Tuesday against Andrew W.W. Caspersen, a former Wall Street executive accused of gambling away investors’ money on stock market bets, alleging he tried to bilk investors, including his own family, out of tens of millions of dollars more than originally thought.

Mr. Caspersen pleaded not guilty to the new charges Tuesday. But during a hearing in federal court in Manhattan, Mr. Caspersen’s lawyer said his client would likely plead guilty in July. Mr. Caspersen told a federal judge during the hearing that he has a gambling addiction and is receiving mental health treatment.

The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and the Securities and Exchange Commission accused the former Park Hill Group partner in March of trying to solicit about $95 million with a sham investment opportunity and then losing nearly $15 million in aggressive stock-options trading.

In new charges filed Tuesday, prosecutors alleged a far larger and more brazen scheme that robbed more than a dozen of Mr. Caspersen’s family members and closest friends of $38.5 million. All told, Mr. Caspersen allegedly tried to solicit $150 million from investors into purported secured loans that he said would yield annual returns of 15% to 20%. The investments included nearly $25 million contributed by a charity backed by Moore Capital founder Louis Bacon.

Instead, prosecutors say, Mr. Caspersen put all of the money into risky stock bets.

According to the complaint filed Tuesday, Mr. Caspersen’s steep financial losses came swiftly. On Feb. 11, his trading account allegedly tallied $112.8 million, the result of his stock options trading and more than enough to pay investors back. But, between Feb. 11 and March 9, Mr. Caspersen lost $108.2 million on stock positions betting the S&P 500 would decline.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported that those who know Mr. Caspersen believe he was feeding a gambling addiction. Paul Shechtman, his attorney, confirmed that Tuesday, saying his client had a “pathological gambling problem.”

“This is not a story of Wall Street greed,” Mr. Shechtman told reporters after the hearing. “This is a story of a person with a serious mental health problem that went untreated until his arrest.”

Mr. Caspersen is cooperating with the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, according to people familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors alleged in the complaint Tuesday that Mr. Caspersen unsuccessfully sought millions more than was known previously, soliciting $110 million using similar misrepresentations about the phony secured loan. It is unclear to whom he turned for those funds, but those people apparently didn’t bite on Mr. Caspersen’s offer.

His former employer, PJT Partners, which owns Park Hill, has said an internal review of Mr. Caspersen’s dealings found he conducted a number of unauthorized and unlawful transactions beginning in late 2014 through March 2016. Prosecutors said Mr. Caspersen had begun placing stock options bets with investor money by at least November 2014.

Mr. Shechtman said Tuesday that Mr. Caspersen’s gambling addiction had gone untreated for years, and that he had begun placing sports and casino bets during his time at Harvard Law School.

He had also gambled away some $20 million in family inheritance, Mr. Shechtman said.

Mr. Caspersen came from a privileged background. His father, Finn M.W. Caspersen, ran consumer-finance company Beneficial Corp. for nearly two decades, and he pocketed a fortune when it was sold for $8.6 billion in 1998. His father committed suicide in 2009 while battling liver cancer.

Following his gambling losses, Mr. Caspersen began turning to his family and friends for loans, Mr. Shechtman said, among them, the family of Cat MacRae, his fiancée who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Mr. Shechtman said Mr. Caspersen was remorseful but relieved that his family was standing by him, including his wife, Christina.

Write to Christopher M. Matthews at christopher.matthews@wsj.com

> Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2016 11:59 ET (15:59 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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Chinese company suing Apple is bankrupt

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In another example of the absurdity surrounding anything Chinese, the company suing Apple for alleged patent infringement does not answer the phones.

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“The company still plans to push forward with its case”

 

BEIJING–When a Beijing regulator recently ruled against Apple Inc. in a patent dispute, it handed a victory to a Chinese company that barely exists.

Phone calls to the company, Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co., ring unanswered. Its websites have been deleted. Visits to its three registered addresses found no company offices.

Baili and its parent, Digione, are part of a rapid boom and bust in China’s new wave of smartphone makers. When Baili took on Apple (AAPL) in December 2014, telling Chinese regulators that the Cupertino, Calif., company’s new models infringed on its smartphone design patents, it had bold aspirations, a big-name investor in Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc. (BIDU) and a team of experienced executives.

By the time regulators reached a decision this year, Digione had collapsed, brought down by buggy products, mismanagement and fierce competition, according to former employees and investors. Digione has been absent from China’s mobile-phone market for at least a year and Baidu has accused it of squandering its investment.

Baili, its unit that registered the phone patents, will continue to battle Apple in court, said Digione lawyer Andy Yang, of Beijing Wis & Weals. “Shenzhen Baili is still operational in its necessary functions,” he said. Mr. Yang declined to comment on queries on Digione’s relationship with Baidu.

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Source:Marketwatch

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Investing in China? Why would you do such a thing?

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The Big News in my feed this morning is the story on the obscure Beijing bureaucrats who have caused a 2% drop in Apple shares by banning the sale of ancient iPhones in the old city, phones that Apple is currently phasing-out of their sales channel.

I am a long-term holder of shares in AAPL, otherwise I would be buying on this dip, but I try to adhere to strict Principles of Allocation in my portfolio. I am Most Comfortable as my cost basis in AAPL is a mere fraction of it’s current “depressed” asking price.

I have already written of my aversion to investing in things Indian so let’s move further Eastward into this morass that is Asian Finance. Or at least my limited experience with it. Years ago, while it was still fashionable and in a Moment of Weakness, I “invested” in a coal-mining company in fucking Inner Mongolia. The Maven is not proud of this but it was long ago and illegal substances as well as copious amounts of legal alcohol could possibly have been involved. Things were going smoothly for awhile, quarterly reports came in with steadily increasing earnings, astute acquisitions were made, the coal industry was booming, and goddammit I was going to do pick up the White Man’s Burden and help the fine people of Inner Mongolia obtain cheap fuel and electricity.

And then it all vanished, literally overnight, in a frenzy of financial chicanery not seen since the days of the river boat gamblers fleecing rubes on the Mississippi. The CEO was accused of Crimes Against the State and apparently whisked into the gulag never to be seen again until properly reprogrammed.

Your Maven shound have been risk-averse to anything remotely Chinese at that point – and I was, for years. Yet I watched, forlornly, as company after company debuted with IPO’s worth tens of billions of dollars. Billionaires created by the hundreds with many, many hopeful speculators not far behind. I had to get back in the game, as Cramerica is always exhorted on that CNBC thing.

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As you can see by the chart, the Chinese have been pouring money into their exchanges, mostly money flowing into IPO’s. Yet the average investor there will pull his money out just as quickly as he threw it in, as evidenced by the dramatic swings we have seen over the past 18 months. And the communists have been Most Helpful as they have made investing in IPO’s dramatically more efficient:

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Yet the results for many enthusiastic speculators has been less than stellar. I am being kind:

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And the communists hold a tight rein on your Dreams of Early Retirement when you might least expect it:

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“Get back in the game”. So I did. I researched and I researched and I decided on Trina Solar (Ticker Symbol TSL). I waited for a drop, and drop it did, from dizzying heights all the way down to the teens and then into single digits. Yet the fundamentals were strong, there was growth with little debt, analysts were falling all over themselves. So I jumped in. But this time I traded it rather than treating it as a long-term play. And it worked, for the better part of a year I made good money buying dips and selling a short time later for decent, sometimes even great, returns.

Perhaps the burn from my coal debacle tempered my enthusiasm, as I am lucky that I never bought a large number of shares at one time nor held them for long periods. Yet my final buy and sell left such a taste of bullshit in my mouth that I swore off anything Chinese, forever. Read on…

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You see just as it seemed TSL would rocket higher, the CEO, Jifan Gao, formed a cabal to take the company private via ADS in December 2015. Long-time holders, and there were many, who had bought at much higher prices over a few years, got rat-slapped as the price to acquire was set at about $11.60 – far below what most analysts at the time regarded as the fair price of company shares. I believe the Consensus at the time was about $18-$21/share, although Chinese co’s do tend to have depressed pricing (I wonder why). Now at the time, I was holding shares that I had bought in the range of $7-$8 so I could not complain too loudly. But the sheer timing of the announcement pretty much destroyed the capital of those bagholders who believed (rightly, according to the data) that they would not only recoup their losses but would be handsomely rewarded for their unwavering support of this leader in the solar panel industry.

And TSL was, and is, a leader in the industry as they also embarked on an ambitious and quite successful expansion into becoming not only a manufacturer but also an installer, and sometime operator, of large solar-power projects all over the globe. They also steadily announced dramatic gains in panel efficiency as well as impressive cost-cutting to maintain margins as selling prices continued to drop. They even won awards for environmental improvements in what is a pretty green-unfriendly manufacturing process.

So the whole thing just stinks to high heaven from the perspective of western traders accustomed to at least some semblance of rules and fairness. There is just too much uncertainty surrounding the idea of throwing greenbacks at a bunch of unsavory communists. The word unscrupulous, resurrected from an old Charlie Chan flick, should be added to any sane investor’s lexicon.

We note that Alibaba is once again mired in various allegations of flim-flammery and Shenanigans. We tend to notice these things. Have a wonderful weekend.

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The Eye of Kaplan turns towards Texas banksters

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imageDallas Fed’s Kaplan swings his gaze to the local banksters. The vaunted “Texas Premium” is being stripped naked and exposed.

 

Banks in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico are setting aside more money to guard against loan losses as the energy companies they serve struggle amid still-low oil prices, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said in a report Thursday.
Banks in the district supervised by the Dallas Fed are also getting additional scrutiny for their commercial real estate loans, the regional Fed bank’s president, Robert Kaplan, said in the report, which characterized commercial real estate as an “emerging area of concern.”

Source: Texas banks face increasing risks from low oil prices: Dallas Fed By R

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India is a hell-hole. Let’s invest there.

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The pundits on the internets tell me that China is fucked. They see India as the Next Great Growth Engine. They cite major investment by Apple and others.

I am wary. I have my reasons. Let’s start with the Caste System, shall we?

Things have not changed very much for the poor slobs who are born into the lower castes. The poverty in the country is apalling, basic sanitation is nonexistent. Ancient hatreds between Muslims and Hindus fester. The Authorities appear completely ok with this and have shown a willingness to lie about things such as the prevalence of gang rape – there are many documented cases where gang rapes have been denied because the victims are from lower castes. The Untouchables are real.image

Toilets are only for the upper castes, apparently. And the response of the Authorities, rather than upgrading infrastructure, is to foster an environment where antibiotics are prescribed for just about anything from the common cold to a small scratch on the arm. India is now one giant Petri dish of drug-resistant bacteria, threatening the entire planet as hospitals everywhere grapple with pathogens that laugh at penicillin, ciproflaxin and other drugs that have protected us from dying horrible deaths for the past century.

Now, every Indian, Bangladeshi, and others from the area that I have met here in the States and in the UK are wonderful people. Smart, hard-working and trustworthy folk. And they have that wonderful cuisine. I can only assume this is due to the fact that they have escaped hell and are very happy about it.

At the same time, as one who has spent my life in Information Technology, I have nothing but loathing for that overly-friendly yet clueless person on the other end of the phone who I am forced to deal with on a tech support call. I miss the olde days, when the person on the other end of the line could actually be understood and did not need to read from a prepared script in a lame attempt to fix my problem.

Call this a rant, I suppose. I just do not feel comfortable investing money with the threat of instability and social upheaval on the table.

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Valeant takes another dive, Crude oil holds $50

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VRX – I’ll leave that one for The Fly.

WTI Crude Oil trades at 50.10, early this morning, with Brent pushing 51. Now we will await the is week’s API scam numbers to show us the way forward.

You will excuse me for the scam comment, Dear Reader, as the API numbers have been wildly diverging from the “Official” EIA numbers due Wednesday, even though they both use the same data.

I will instead lean on my Powers of Observation to predict the short-term trend based on the time I sat in NY Metro-area traffic so hideous that it alone should have affected the amount of gasoline in storage on the East Coast. Rebels blowing up the entire infrastructure of the Nigerian oil industry does not hurt the trend, either.

It is time for WTI to hover above 50, at least for a little while. The markets are swarming with speculators eager to ride the next wave of this bullshit bull move up – on mildly bearish comments from Grandma Yellin. The Dow Jones “Industrial” Average has a symbiotic relationship with the price of crude lately and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

I tend to do my oil trading in equities rather than futures, so I have been quietly accumulating MRO for the couple of weeks. Exodus has just flagged MRO as overbought, so I tread lightly and have put in a stop loss which has been steadily adjusted upwards. However, MRO is up another 3% in premarket this morning.
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The recent numbers coming from the automobile industry lend support to my recent bullish stance on oil as Idiot Americans who until recently were buying every fucking Prius they could get their hands on are now buying every F-150 that Ford can produce. Car sales are down and light truck/SUV sales are soaring.

 

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Lufthansa Says Venezuela Owes It More Than $100 Million

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CARACAS, VENEZUELA: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) hugs Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud during the official photo session at the end of the OPEC II Summit of oil producing countries in Caracaas 28 September, 2000. AFP PHOTO OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)
CARACAS, VENEZUELA: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (L) hugs Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud during the official photo session at the end of the OPEC II Summit of oil producing countries in Caracaas 28 September, 2000. AFP PHOTO OMAR TORRES (Photo credit should read OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images)

Your Socialist Utopia goes awry when your good pals the Saudis fuck you by flooding the market with cheap, light Arabian Goodness. But don’t let that stop you from praising the guy who took the country towards dictatorship via intimidation and silencing of political opposition. Writes Communist blogger Glen Ford:

In assessing Chavez’s “legacy,” the global bourgeois media cite the “divisions” that plague Venezuelan society and, in the words of Business Week, an economy in “shambles.” But, Chavez and his comrades would have been abject failures – and been tossed from office – had they not drawn lines between the oppressed majority and the privileged exploiters. Division is good and necessary. Consequently, the economy has succeeded in reducing the proportion of households in poverty from 44 percent in 1998 to 27 percent in 2011. Chavez has served the people.

Source: http://www.issuesandalibis.org/030813.html

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“What we want is to keep the place connected. Venezuela’s economic difficulties will only get worse if they are isolated even more and unable to participate in trade because airlines aren’t flying there any more,” IATA Director General Tony Tyler said on Monday.

Source: Lufthansa Says Venezuela Owes It More Than $100 Million

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