Market Sends Scary Signals; Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow Forecasts Anemic 1.3% Growth

Yield on U.S. 10-Year Treasury Note, October 1, 2017 through May 23, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 24, 2019 ~ Most stock owners of J.C. Penney never thought they’d see the day when it traded as a penny stock. But that’s what happened yesterday when shares of the large retailer closed at 91 cents, a loss of 9.79 percent on the day. The macro picture is that J.C. Penney employs 95,000 people and operates 864 stores across the United States. Its future will have an impact on jobs and commercial real estate prices in the United States. At 91 cents a share, those prospects aren’t looking too good right now. The broader markets fared better than J.C. Penney yesterday but were, nonetheless, a sea of red. After being down more than 400 points intraday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a loss of 286 points or 1.11 percent at 25,490. The Nasdaq, laden with tech losers, lost 122.5 points … Continue reading

Hearing Profiles Treasury Secretary Mnuchin as Dark Villain to Rule of Law

Vice President Mike Pence Swears In Steven Mnuchin as U.S. Treasury Secretary on February 13, 2017. President Donald Trump and Mnuchin's Fiancée, Louise Linton, Look On.  Mnuchin Wiill Have to Deal This Year With a Likely Doubling of U.S. Treasury Net Issuance.

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 23, 2019 ~ U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin appeared yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee. You know it was a bad day for the Secretary when the low point was not Congressman Stephen Lynch’s request to the Chair, Maxine Waters, to have Mnuchin held in contempt for not following the statute that calls for the IRS to turn over tax returns on any American when requested by an authorized Committee of Congress. Mnuchin has said he will not turn over the tax returns of the President of the United States, which are under subpoena by Congress. (The Internal Revenue Service, which holds these tax returns, is an agency of the U.S. Treasury.) Waters said she will seek the advice of the Committee’s counsel on the contempt request. A number of Democratic members of the Committee intensely questioned Mnuchin on  his myriad deregulatory … Continue reading

Head of Anti-Money Laundering Agency Tells Senate Hearing He Hasn’t Read the Times Bombshell on Trump, Kushner and Deutsche Bank

Kenneth Blanco, Director of FinCEN

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 22, 2019 ~ Reading the New York Times is apparently now seen as being disloyal to the President of the United States if you’re a Federal employee. Just holding the newspaper in one’s hands might be enough to become an early pensioner in the Trump administration. Yesterday it became crystal clear at a Senate Banking hearing just how terrified people are in the Federal government of getting on the wrong side of the President and ending up being publicly bashed on his Twitter page. The Senate Banking hearing on Tuesday was called to get answers from the witness panel on how to combat money laundering in the United States by shell companies that keep their real owners a secret. But it quickly became a hearing also about the bombshell report from the New York Times on Sunday. That article, by David Enrich, describes … Continue reading

How Bad Are Things on Wall Street? JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs Offer No Minimum Accounts

Piggy Bank Thumbnail

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 21, 2019 ~ After chasing the super rich for a century, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs are now offering no minimum accounts. As we will explain shortly, their motives may not be all that altruistic. In March of 2016, the Wall Street Journal’s Emily Glazer reported that clients of JPMorgan Chase’s Private Bank “will be required to have at least $10 million in investible assets, twice the current minimum of $5 million.” What smells like real money to Goldman Sachs has also been eight-figures and higher. In 2013, the New York Times reported that Goldman had a $10 million minimum to manage private wealth and was booting out its own employees’ accounts if they were less than $1 million. High net worth individuals are what each of the mega Wall Street banks look for since the more money the bank invests, the more fees it generates … Continue reading

Trump, Kushner and the Times Bombshell: What You Should Know About “Private” Banking in New York City

Jared Kushner and Donald Trump

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 20, 2019 ~ Yesterday, every U.S. television network carried the New York Times bombshell that Deutsche Bank employees had flagged suspicious activity in the bank accounts of President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, involving foreign money flows, but their superiors at Deutsche Bank did not allow the reports to be filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a unit of the U.S. Treasury that is mandated under law to receive and investigate such reports. From there the news went viral around the globe, landing on cable news, Reuters and in European newspapers. (Shortly after trading opened this morning on the New York Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank’s stock traded at an all-time low of $7.39. This was a $120 stock in 2007.) There is no disputing the fact that this is a critical development, for the following key reasons that we will … Continue reading

As Regulators Squirm in their Seats at Hearing, JPMorgan and Citigroup Get Slapped with More Rigging Charges by EU

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 17, 2019 ~ At a House Financial Services Committee hearing yesterday, Republicans attempted to marshal arguments for why U.S. banks needed more relief from regulatory oversight. Those arguments weren’t helped by the news of the day. As the hearing got underway, headlines were being promulgated around the globe that JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and three foreign banks had been fined $1.2 billion by the European Commission for rigging foreign exchange markets. The U.S. Department of Justice leveled criminal felony charges on the same two U.S. banks in 2015 for rigging the same market. Both banks admitted to the charges at that time. A decade after the greatest financial crash in the United States since the Great Depression; after the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation has failed miserably in stopping the ongoing crime spree by Wall Street’s largest banks; and as radical right-wing members of Congress … Continue reading

Here’s Why You Can’t Trust the Federal Reserve’s Financial Stability Report

Randal Quarles

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 16, 2019 ~ What the United States desperately needs is less Financial Stability Reports and actual financial stability – rather than the Wall Street Casino in drag as Federally-insured banks. The Office of Financial Research (OFR), created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, publishes a Financial Stability Report; the Financial Stability Oversight Council (F-SOC), also created under Dodd-Frank legislation, publishes an annual report to call attention to any emerging threats to financial stability; and, not to be left out, the Federal Reserve has decided it needs to have its own say in its own Financial Stability Report – ostensibly to make it appear that it’s on top of the threats emanating from its charges on Wall Street – which it decidedly is not. Another reason the Fed may want its own Financial Stability Report is to create the illusion that things … Continue reading

Wall Street’s Sleeping Cops Head to the Hill Tomorrow

U.S. Capitol With Storm Clouds

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 15, 2019 ~ The House Financial Services Committee, Chaired by Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, has been doing the heavy lifting for Congress when it comes to oversight of the mega banks on Wall Street. After grilling the CEOs of these banks on April 10, the Committee will convene again tomorrow to grill the Federal regulators of these serially charged mega banks. The witness list includes: Rodney Hood, Chairman, National Credit Union Administration; Jelena McWilliams, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Joseph Otting, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); and Randal Quarles, Vice Chairman of Supervision, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Committee has released a very impressive Memorandum, which lays out the Frankenbank framework that exists in the United States today. For example, consider this one sentence from the Memorandum: “U.S. G-SIBs [Global Systemically Important Banks] made … Continue reading

JPMorgan Chase Owns $2.2 Trillion in Stock Derivatives; Two-Thirds the Total for All Banks

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Testifying Before Congress on the London Whale Trading Losses at His Bank

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 15, 2019 ~ According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulator of national banks, as of December 31, 2018 JPMorgan Chase Bank NA (the Federally-insured bank backstopped by U.S. taxpayers) held $2,212,311,000,000 ($2.2 trillion) in equity derivatives. Equity is another name for stock. The OCC also reported that all commercial banks in the U.S. held a total of $3.374 trillion in equity derivatives at the end of last year, meaning that for some very strange reason, JPMorgan Chase holds a 65.5 percent market share of bank trading in this derivatives market. Those trillion dollar figures are notional amounts, meaning the face value. The OCC defines “notional” like this: “The notional amount of a derivative contract is a reference amount that determines contractual payments, but it is generally not an amount at risk. The credit risk in a derivative … Continue reading

Trade Wasn’t the Only Problem in the Market Yesterday: Citigroup Tanked 5.18%

May 13, 2019

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 14, 2019 ~ Allow us to set the stage for what happened in yesterday’s market rout which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 617 points. The easy answer is that the market is unnerved by the ongoing trade war between the Trump administration and China. And, clearly, that’s part of the problem. But the market is also keenly aware that there are a handful of mega banks on Wall Street that have monster exposure to derivatives and are systemically interconnected to the counterparties on the other side of those trades. The problem is that nobody, including the regulators, has clarity on which counterparty is in over their head and may have failed to reserve adequate capital if it has to pay out on too many losing derivative trades. That’s what happened in 2008 when a unit of the giant insurer, AIG, had … Continue reading

The Untold Story of the Paul Weiss Internal Investigation that Didn’t Catch a Massive Stock Fraud

Scales of Justice

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 13, 2019 ~ The legal press has been having a field day with how the U.S. Department of Justice, funded by U.S. taxpayers to conduct its own serious and unbiased investigations, has been outsourcing its investigations to the criminal target and its outside counsel – specifically, the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The case making the headlines involves Deutsche Bank. But another Paul Weiss internal investigation that has escaped meaningful scrutiny by mainstream media involves China Medical Technologies. The U.S. Department of Justice now describes this company as a massive securities fraud that dates back to the time that Paul Weiss conducted one of its internal investigations and came up empty-handed – or, at least, that’s what China Medical Technologies told the Securities and Exchange Commission in an official filing document. China Medical Technologies went public in the U.S. in … Continue reading

These Two Charts Show the Shocking Truth Behind the Sanders/AOC Plan to Cap Credit Card Interest Rates

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 10, 2019 ~ Calling 20 and 30 percent credit card interest rates “extortion and loan sharking,” Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez yesterday introduced the ‘‘Loan Shark Prevention Act’’ which would set a Federal cap of 15 percent on interest rates that can be charged to consumers. In introducing the new legislation, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez singled out the mega Wall Street banks, writing the following in a white paper they released simultaneously with the proposed legislation: “Today’s modern-day loan sharks are no longer lurking on street corners, threatening violence to collect their payments. Today’s loan sharks wear expensive suits and work on Wall Street, where they make hundreds of millions of dollars in total compensation by charging sky-high fees and usurious interest rates, and head financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and American Express… “Despite the fact that … Continue reading

Could Trump’s Jones Day Lawyers End Up in Deutsche Bank-Gate?

Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 9, 2019 ~ Lawyers from Jones Day have been functioning like a Praetorian Guard around the president since the day he took office. How the firm landed so many of its partners into key positions in the Trump administration has baffled the media, especially since its partners were big supporters of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. According to Bloomberg News, Jones Day’s lawyers contributed $7,422 to Trump’s campaign while showering Hillary Clinton’s campaign with $267,899. Wall Street On Parade has previously reported that Jones Day lawyers in Trump’s White House Counsel office had previously represented Freedom Partners, the front group of Koch Industries, the giant fossil fuels company majority owned by the billionaire Koch brothers. Freedom Partners had quickly provided the Trump administration with a list of regulations it wanted gutted – like the Paris Climate accord (which Trump revoked on June 1, 2017) and numerous EPA rules. … Continue reading

A Troublesome Thing Happened in Yesterday’s Market Selloff

NY Stock Exchange Trading Floor-150pix

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 8, 2019 ~  For years now, Wall Street On Parade has been pointing out to our readers that the Wall Street mega banks remain dangerously interconnected, despite the fact that those interconnections stopped banks from lending to one another in 2008; resulted in the largest government bailout of Wall Street in U.S. history; and ended up taking down the U.S. housing market and global economy. Whenever there is a major selloff in the broader stock market, the Wall Street mega banks typically bleed far more than the major stock indices. Yesterday, however, something curious and potentially noteworthy happened. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 473.3 points or 1.79 percent and the following Wall Street banks traded in line with that decline: JPMorgan Chase actually lost a little less than the Dow with a decline of 1.63 percent. Bank of America and Goldman Sachs … Continue reading

Judge Issues Scathing Rebuke of DOJ and Law Firm, Paul Weiss

Chief Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the SDNY

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 7, 2019 ~  If you needed more proof that the United States is heading in the direction of a dystopian authoritarian state, it arrived last Thursday, May 2, when the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote a decision finding that the U.S. Justice Department had outsourced a criminal investigation to the target of the investigation – Deutsche Bank – and Deutsche Bank’s outside law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Making the matter all the more interesting, the Chief Judge who wrote the decision, Colleen McMahon, formerly worked for Paul Weiss for 19 years, rising to the rank of partner. She remains, according to this profile, close friends with a number of former and current Paul Weiss lawyers. Judge McMahon’s takedown of the government’s cozy relationship with Deutsche Bank and Paul Weiss has … Continue reading

Elizabeth Warren: The Woman Who Knows Too Much about Wall Street

Senator Elizabeth Warren Questions SEC Chair Jay Clayton During Senate Banking Committee Hearing, September 26, 2017

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 6, 2019 ~ In May 2012 when New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote his severely factually-challenged analysis of whether the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act had led to the Wall Street collapse in 2008, he seemed to have an agenda of undermining Elizabeth Warren, then running for her first U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts, in her push to restore the Glass-Steagall Act. That legislation, which was formally known as the Banking Act of 1933, created Federal insurance on deposits held in commercial banks while barring those banks from being under the same roof with the Wall Street casino – that is, high risk securities underwriting and trading firms known as investment banks and broker-dealers. The legislation grew out of two intense years of Senate investigations from 1932-1934 which concluded that the “unsavory and unethical” practices by Wall Street securities trading firms … Continue reading

Fed’s Powell Says Financial Risks Are “Moderate”; These Charts Don’t Agree

Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 3, 2019 ~ During the question and answer period of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference on Wednesday, Michael McKee of Bloomberg News asked the Chairman the following question: “I’m curious about the financial conditions that you see out there. The minutes of the March meeting tell us a few officials worried about financial stability risks. Was there a broader discussion at this meeting? Any consensus on whether such risks are growing as the markets hit new highs and we do see some instability in short-end trading. Is it possible that rates are too low at this point?” Powell answered the first part of the question as follows: “…I’d say that the headline really is that while there are some concerns around nonfinancial corporate debt, really the finding is that overall financial stability vulnerabilities are moderate on balance and, in addition, I … Continue reading

Sullivan & Cromwell’s Rodge Cohen: The Untold Story of the Fed’s $29 Trillion Bailout

Rodgin Cohen Speaking at a Bloomberg Conference in 2015

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 2, 2019 ~  There is a little noticed audio tape of an interview conducted on August 5, 2010 by investigators for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), a body convened under the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act of 2009 to investigate the 2008 financial collapse on Wall Street. The interview is with Rodgin (Rodge) Cohen, Senior Chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, the preeminent go-to lawyer on Wall Street. Cohen makes a number of eyebrow-raising admissions during his interview. First, in response to a question, Cohen concedes that he was personally involved in the amendment contained in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act (FDICIA) that changed the Fed’s emergency lending powers under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. That one-sentence amendment to Section 13(3) was interpreted by the Federal Reserve from December 2007 to mid-2010 as giving it carte blanche to shovel $29 … Continue reading

Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner Wrap Themselves in the Heroic Garb of Firefighters to Lobby for Another Wall Street Bailout

Geithner, Paulson, Bernanke

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 1, 2019 ~ Could Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner have possibly picked a more self-serving title for their latest revisionist history of their secret $29 trillion bailout of the most insidiously corrupt industry in America? Their new book is titled Firefighting: The Financial Crisis and Its Lessons. Every municipal and volunteer firefighter in America should come together to file a class action lawsuit against the three for invoking an honorable profession in their dishonorable gambit to set Wall Street up for another obscene heads-we-win, tails-you-lose bailout. What the shameless trio – former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke; former Treasury Secretary under G.W. Bush and Ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson; and former New York Fed President and Treasury Secretary under Obama, Tim Geithner – are up to is to provide cover for the Wall Street lobbyists who are trying to bully Congress into repealing the … Continue reading

Reuters Drops a Bombshell: The Big Short Doomsday Machine Is Back

Margot Robbie-iii

  By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 29, 2019 ~ In what can only be described as a new low in defining deviancy down on Wall Street, Thomson Reuters’ International Financing Review (IFR) reported this past weekend that some of the biggest names on Wall Street have returned to creating and/or trading synthetic collateralized debt obligations (Synthetic CDOs). The products were a major factor in bringing the U.S. financial system to the brink of failure in 2008. Synthetic CDOs also resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and reputational damage to these same Wall Street behemoths as investigators found that the firms were allowing hedge funds to pick “crap” subprime mortgage bonds to stuff in the CDOs in order to make windfall profits for the hedge fund, which shorted (bet against) the CDOs. The Wall Street firms had full knowledge of what the hedge funds were doing … Continue reading

Gallup Polls Show America Is Dangerously Moving in the Wrong Direction

Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 26, 2019 ~ The Gallup polling organization was out with another new study yesterday that shows America is dangerously heading in the wrong direction. Gallup’s latest poll found that Americans were more likely to be stressed and worried than much of the world. The 55 percent of Americans who said they had experienced stress the prior day was one of the highest rates out of the 143 countries studied. The global average was 35 percent. With a 55 percent stress rate, the U.S. now ranks even with Albania, Iran and Sri Lanka. Only Greece, the Philippines and Tanzania rank higher at 59, 58 and 57 percent respectively. The highest stress levels were reported among Americans aged 30 to 49, where 65 percent reported experiencing stress the prior day. The figure was just one percent lower for Americans aged 15 to 29, where 64 … Continue reading

Deutsche Bank Merger Talk Ends – Now Comes the Pain

Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 25, 2019 ~ Anyone who thought that Commerzbank was going to agree to a merger with Deutsche Bank while the latter was under multiple investigations in the U.S. for money laundering and questionable loans to the President of the United States, a man who was himself under a criminal probe until last month, was likely off their meds. Why Commerzbank allowed the speculation of a merger to proceed this long is the real question. At any event, both banks confirmed this morning that merger talks have ended with a spokesperson for Commerzbank saying this: “After careful analysis it became apparent that such a combination would not be in the interests of either bank’s shareholders or other stakeholders.” The breakdown of merger talks comes on the heels of a report on CNN last evening that Deutsche Bank has “begun the process of providing financial … Continue reading

The Criminal Case Against Merrill Lynch: “Sinister,” “Whores,” “Beards”

Michael Lewis

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 24, 2019 ~ What the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) wanted to see the U.S. Justice Department pursue was a potential criminal prosecution of Stan O’Neal, the CEO of Merrill Lynch in the leadup to the financial crisis, and its then CFO Jeffrey Edwards, for “making materially false and misleading representations and omissions about (a) Merrill’s exposure to retained CDO positions, (b) the value of those positions and (c) the firm’s risk management.” The FCIC also believed that Merrill had lied “in the offering documents for its $1.5 billion Norma CDO that was sold to investors in March of 2007.” A CDO is a Collateralized Debt Obligation which can be stuffed with about anything but during the 2006-2007 period was typically stuffed with subprime mortgages or synthetics linked to subprime mortgages. It was Wall Street’s cash cow and through what amounted to pay-to-play … Continue reading

Maxine Waters Needs to Subpoena Details of the Fed’s Dirtiest Bailout

Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 22, 2019 ~   Based on data that Wall Street On Parade has newly compiled, there is a strong suggestion that the Federal Reserve conspired with at least three of the largest Wall Street firms to hide their teetering condition from the public during the financial crisis, despite the fact that these were all New York Stock Exchange listed companies with a duty to reveal material, adverse financial information to the public in a timely fashion. If Maxine Waters wants to leave her mark in history as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, she will subpoena records from the Federal Reserve on its biggest and dirtiest bailout program, known as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF). She and her colleagues must then demand answers from Fed witnesses during the hearing Waters has scheduled for May 16 at 10:00 a.m. The upcoming hearing … Continue reading

Dark Pools Traded 791% More Boeing Stock During Week of 737 Max Crash

Dark Pools

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 18, 2019 ~ Lily Tomlin once famously said “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.” When it comes to Wall Street, that particularly rings true. Just take the case of what happened to the trading of Boeing’s stock by Dark Pools the week after the second crash of its new 737 Max 8 jet in a nose-down dive on March 10. The biggest Wall Street banks are (insanely) allowed by Federal regulators to own and operate unregulated quasi stock exchanges called Dark Pools where they trade New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq listed stocks between themselves, in the dark. The only speck of sunshine comes three weeks after the trading when the banks’ self-regulator, FINRA, posts totals for the week for each Dark Pool. There is no information on who’s on the buy and sell side or what … Continue reading