Monday, August 22, 2011

US Banking Sector Flattened as Secret Fed Loans Are Revealed

If you're fond of following foreign markets (and who isn't in today's meltdown environment?), the oddest of patterns emerged as planet Earth spun East to West.

Most Asian markets opened with gains, though ended up sporting losses by the end of their trading sessions. As the focus turned to Europe, gains were seen across the board early, though those faded late in the day, with the German DAX finishing slightly in the red.

When it was America's turn, the futures pointed to a bright open following a dismal end to the prior week and the Dow burst to an early 200-point gain. After that initial boost of enthusiasm, with the major indices hitting their highs of the day in the opening minutes, it was mostly downhill as investors sold the rally and the markets ended essentially flat for the week's opening session.

To the surprise of almost nobody, financial stocks were hard hit again, led downward by old, reliable Bank of America (BAC), which is facing a serious liquidity/solvency/honesty/continuity crisis after announcing on Friday that it intended to cut 3,500 jobs in the third quarter, with perhaps as many as 10,000 job cuts by the second quarter of 2012. Bank of America closed down 55 cents, at 6.42. The funeral dirges should begin any moment for the nation's largest bank by deposits.

While that news was certainly a disheartening blow to the non-productive paper-shufflers in the financial cesspool sector, a story that has gone largely unreported by the mainstream media was quite possibly the underlying cause for much of the weakness in the banking business.

Bloomberg reports that the Federal Reserve secretly doled out as much as $1.2 trillion to US banks, foreign banks and other financial and non-financial firms - including McDonald's and Caterpillar - from 2007 to 2010. Not of word of the story was spoken on CNBC, though the news spread rapidly through the blogosphere and the web's alternative media.

Reactions ranged from disgust to contempt, with a healthy dose of outrage from most astute followers of the Fed's financial foibles. It is unprecedented that the Fed would stoop to such lows as to attempt to conceal transactions from the prying eyes of the press and the American public, though it is hardly unexpected.

What may be worse than the contemptible actions by the Fed is the depth of the subterfuge within the halls of congress and the White House. The bulk of these secret loans were being made while the public was languishing over the absurdity of TARP and the Obama stimulus in early 2009. How many congressional members and presidents - Bush and Obama - knew of the skullduggery while it was being undertaken are questions to which the American people deserve answers, though judging by how many firms received loans over such a long period of time and with a Justice department that is loathe to issue subpoenas to anyone connected in any way with the financial services industry, the wait for such answers may be a long time in coming, if ever.

The information was obtained by Bloomberg through a Freedom of Information Act request that was continually blocked, challenged and evaded by the Fed. Now that it is out, it's evident that most of the popular media wants no part of the story, focusing instead on the fall of Tripoli and the end of the reign of Colonel Gaddafi in Lybia. The implications of tis story are breathtaking in scope and what it means for democracy and freedom, not only in America, but in the rest of the world, against an increasingly desperate global banking oligarchy.

Of course, with the media hitting the ignore button on the story and most Americans less-than-concerned with the fate of their own country, it's likely that the thievery and secrecy will continue unabated without even a hint of impropriety at the highest levels of the government.

One more story caught the attention of traders late in the day, that being reported first by Reuters with about 20 minutes remaining in the session. Apparently, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein - yes, the very one who equated the business of Goldman Sach's with "doing God's work" - has hired, along with other executives at the firm, attorney Reid H. Weingarten, a partner with Steptoe & Johnson in Washington D.C. amid accusations that his firm acted fraudulently leading up to and during the 2008 financial crisis.

Goldman Sachs (GS) ended the day off 5.25 points (nearly 5%) on the day, with all of the losses occurring in the final fifteen minutes of the session.

Speculation will almost certainly run rampant with this news, but it could be yet more evidence that the global banking system has run completely afoul of the totally-corrupt political system and the long knives are about to be unsheathed. Should Blankfein and others from his firm be criminally charged, the end of fiat money could be at hand in short order with many undetected and unknowable circumstances to follow.

Corruption at the highest levels of government has been a feature in America for many years. The only remaining question is when Americans will finally have had enough of it.

Dow 10,854.65, +37.00 (0.34%)
NASDAQ 2,345.38, +3.54 (0.15%)
S&P 500 1,123.82, +0.29 (0.03%)
NYSE Composite 6,980.62, +10.52 (0.15%)

On a day in which volume was repulsively weak, declining issues led advancers, 3562-3027. New highs on the NASDAQ numbered just nine (9), with 244 stocks reaching new 52-week lows. On the NYSE, a similar story, with just 13 new highs and 247 new lows. The combined tally of 22 new highs and 491 new lows is a screaming sell signal.

NASDAQ Volume 1,983,095,500
NYSE Volume 5,436,260,000

While it was expected that oil prices would decline upon the fall of Lybia, since that nation's supply would soon go back online again, Brent crude fell, though the other oligarchy - that of the oil barons - managed to tighten its grip on the American consumer a bit, raising WTI crude futures $1.86, to $84.12 per barrel.

The largely unguided public is fighting back against the perception of fraud and debauchery and the failure of the global economy by buying precious metals with gusto. Gold set yet another record, rising $39.70 on the COMEX, to $1,891.90, though being reported at at $1907.20. Silver gained 89 cents, to $43.32, but, as of this writing, was quoted at $43.85.

Events are moving a breakneck speed, despite Wall Street attempting to cool off prior to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech on Friday. While many pundits await the all-clear signal from the chairman for another round of quantitative easing (money printing), the evidence is clear that the first two rounds - QE1 and QE2 - did more harm than good in the overall scheme of things, plus, in light of the breaking news by Bloomberg, the chairman and his cronies in the banking business and politics will do as they please, the public be damned.

This is the environment in which we must now tread. It is one of complete disregard for laws, principles of economics or even the most simple forms of common decency, honesty and principle.

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