LIVE BLOGGING BEAR STEARNS: Bear Stearns Gets NY Fed, JP Morgan Bailout

LIVE BLOGGING BEAR STEARNS:  (in reverse chronological order)Bsclogo

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5:00pm Final Price:  $30 even, down -27.00 (-47.37%) 
Total Volume:  186,986,843  (avg vol = ~12m)

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2:30:  S&P Cuts Bear Stearns’ Rating    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080314/bear_stearns_ratings.html?.v=1
(Talk about late to the party!)

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2:15:   148 million shares in Bear Stearns

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12:54 "bridge" to other solutions including strategic alternatives (they are shopping themselves);  Earnings moved up Monday

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12:40:  Bear Stearns conf call is busy — cant get on call —  800-374-2412 — Live stream anywhere?

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11:00: Whew!  That was fun, but I have work to do — live blogging over
Feel free to play in comments.

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10:59:  CNBC reports that BSC is actively being shopped to JPM and others — if they do get bought, you can expect huge layoffs.

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10:58:  Shameless Self-promotion: Here was our most recent FusionIQ rank on Bear — Sell @ $75 — less than 2 weeks ago.

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10:57:  Dunno why this reminds me of that, but there was a great episode of Coupling on BBC — The Melty Man Cometh  — kinda reminds me of BSC today.  (For more on Coupling, see this post)

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10:56:  My office is 2 blocks from Bear’s HQ. I should walk over and make a bid for their building, which is really nice.

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10:53: Bear hits new low $26.85 at 10am  (late prints everywhere) — BSC at $32
Markets recover somewhat — Dow off 130

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10:49  Some of their directors have options to buy at $79.86

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Bsclogo10:48:  I’ve always really like the Bear logo:
Here’s the firm’s about page

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10:46:  Jim Rogers comments to Short all investment banks looks pretty spot on.

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10:44:  So much for the recovery — Dow off 200

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10:42:  For you numerologists: Bear at $28, down $28 — a two one for one split

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10:40:  Groundhog Day: All we’ve done is guarantee 6 more months of this exact same thing. I hope I am alive when the post-mortem is written on this 50 years hence. I suspect it will be rather  critical.

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10:38:  When I whine about Socialism, this is EXACTLY what I am referring to. Instead of letting Bears Stearns get crushed, and then see the assets and talent pool get scooped up by someone else, we keep a wounded Bear on life support hanging around . . .  My preference is creative destruction.

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10:36:  Welcome to Bailout City!

Now you know: BSC is considered to big to fail.

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10:33: If you are wondering WTF a non-recourse, back-to-back financing is, pull up a chair: 

JPM gets to go the the Discount Window and borrow all the greenbacks
they want;  Then they loan that to Bear.  In the event that Bear
defaults, the NY Fed cannot go back to recover from JPM — hence,
non-recourse.

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10:32  SEC statement   Washington, D.C., March 14, 2008 

The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued the following statement regarding The Bear Stearns Companies:   “The Securities and Exchange Commission has been in close contact with the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during discussions concerning an agreement by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to provide a secured loan facility to The Bear Stearns Companies.  We will continue to work closely together in a way that contributes to orderly and liquid markets.”

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10:32:  Fed Statement  (10:32 release time)

The Federal Reserve is monitoring market developments closely and will continue to provide liquidity as necessary to promote the orderly functioning of the financial system     http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20080314a.htm

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10:31:  Here’s the JPM press reslease

JPMorgan Chase and Federal Reserve Bank of New York To Provide Financing To Bear Stearns
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080314/20080314005430.html?.v=1

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPMNews) announced that, in
conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, it has agreed to provide
secured funding to Bear Stearns, as necessary, for an initial period of up to 28
days. Through its Discount Window, the Fed will provide non-recourse,
back-to-back
financing to JPMorgan Chase. Accordingly, JPMorgan Chase does not
believe this transaction exposes its shareholders to any material risk. JPMorgan
Chase is working closely with Bear Stearns on securing permanent financing or
other alternatives for the company.

~~~

10:29: Here’s the link tot he 9:21 press release from Bear

Bear Stearns Agrees to Secured Loan Facility with JPMorgan Chase
http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080314/20080314005441.html?.v=1

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10:26:   Bear Stearns Press Release:

"We have tried to confront and dispel these rumors and parse fact from
fiction," CEO Alan Schwartz said in a release. "Nevertheless, amidst
this market chatter, our liquidity position in the last 24 hours had
significantly deteriorated. We took this important step to restore
confidence in us in the marketplace, strengthen our liquidity and allow
us to continue normal operations."

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10:25:  Dow off 100 — things seem to be stabilizing — what a wild ride

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10:20 Dow recovers . . .  off 126

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10:15: No NY Fed statement released as of 10:15 yet . . .

Lots  of good quotes on the Bear Stearns site — too mean to post here, but go have some fun clicking around.

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10:12:  Seemed to have stabilized at $35-36  — At 45 minutes into trading, they have traded over 52 million shares

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10:11 No Federal Reserve Press Release on this?  I better check the NY Fed site . . .

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10:08:  Turns out Richard Bove was right — the Fed action on Tuesday ABSOLUTELY WAS to rescue Bear Stearns . . .
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10:05:  Bear = $34 — $7 bucks off the 26.85 low

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10:03:  Thought: Bear denied on CNBC they had any liquidity concern. (Bear Stearns CEO:  No Liquidity Crisis for Firm).  liars.

Financial
institutions have been issuing denials about the credit crunch for for
over 12 months now — all of them full of shit. 
Once again, we learn you cannot trust managements to tell the truth — especially in a crisis!

~~~

10:00:   Amazing freefall

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9:50:  Dow off 300 points, Nasdaq off 58

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9:59:  BSC = $30 Down  $28 off 45%

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9:58:  Bear down $26 — off 40%

Dow off 200

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9:56:  Down $18

Market is down 160 — Goldman, others under pressure

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9:53:  Down $20

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9:51:  Down $19 — its gonna be halted soon — $38.50

As we discussed last night, liquidity concerns about Bear Stearns (BSC) have been validated.

The NY Federal Reserve Bank, and JP Morgan (JPM) have agreed to provide
secured funding to Bear and an initial period of up to 28 days. JPM is working
with Bear to secure permanent financing or other alternatives for
them.

~~~

9:49:  Bear is down 15, $42 and falling fast. 25 million shares traded in 20 minutes

~~~

9:48: Doug Kass asks a good question:  "If Bear Stearns (BSC) requires a temporary bailout, did the company’s management fib in its recent CNBC interview?"

~~~

Quick Headline roundup:

Yes,
Bear Stearns Is Having Liquidity Issues
Wall Street Journal

Bear
Stearns
Options Show Higher Odds Stock Headed for `Zero’
(Bloomberg)

Bear admits its liquidity ‘significantly deteriorated’ (MarketWatch)

Bear
Stearns
In Crisis
Forbes

Bear Stearns gets
Fed funding, shares plummet
Guardian, UK  

Investment
banks down after Bear Stearns gets financing from
CNNMoney.com

Market slides on Bear Stearns liquidity issues Reuters

Should Alan Schwartz Sell Bear Stearns?  (WSJ)

Gold
Futures Rise to Record $1009 on Bear Stearns Bailout
(Bloomberg)

Bear
Stearns
shares plunge as it seeks emergency funding

Bear Stearns to Get Backing From J.P. Morgan, N.Y. Fed (WSJ)

Bear Stearns to Get Backing from J.P. Morgan, N.Y. Fed (Bloomberg) 

Bear
Stearns
Stock Plunges Amid Risk Worries

Bear
Stearns
`Undermines Credibility of Issuers,’ Pollack Says
Bloomberg

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. American ZIRP commented on Mar 14

    Ohhh…look at that domino…it’s falling, falling, falling…

    This bull is going to have to climb a wall of insolvency.

  2. Dee Leverage commented on Mar 14

    As the Phorphet of Margin Calls, I must keep some level of confidentiality. But yes, I did pay a call on Bear Stearns…it wasn’t pretty. A lot of crying and begging. Can’t write more…I have a very busy schedule. Don’t be fooled by JPM either…they have 20 Trillion in derivatives I’m going to look into.

  3. schaz commented on Mar 14

    Doug Kass asks a good question: “If Bear Stearns (BSC) requires a temporary bailout, did the company’s management fib in its recent CNBC interview?”

    umm, yes

  4. Joe Lewis commented on Mar 14

    Damn, PT Barnum was right.

  5. IBH commented on Mar 14

    To anyone bullish who thinks the financial system is secure, think twice. In a matter of seconds, the futues went from up almost 1.5% to down 1%. Counterparty risk is the key here (as you have been blogging about).

    I guess the old expression really is true.

    “Where there is smoke, there is fire”.

    Good job on being on top of this and the FUSION IQ model being generally bearish on the stock for months.

  6. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    The CEO should go to jail. Don’t pass go and don’t get the $200. He was on Tuesday saying no problems and was comfortable with the estimates on earnings. Are you frigging kidding me?

  7. Agoracom commented on Mar 14

    Barry, this is further evidence that markets are losing the one commodity they can not afford to lost – trust.

    I believe investors understand and can handle the fact that financial losses are part of the “game” – but will choose not to play if they can not trust the “players”.

    Regards,
    George

  8. Jordan commented on Mar 14

    Rumor floating around that UBS is in the same situation as UBS, anbody verify or refute?

  9. Eric Davis commented on Mar 14

    I would think we would be up 200 on news like that….. If citi,MS, JPM and S&P can fold… we may be able to get the economy back on track. Stop the Asshatery, on wallstreet.

  10. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    It also begs a question concerning the FED itself. The new auction Facility just announced days ago didn’t take effect until the month’s end. What in the F#CK are the jackasses looking at? They seem as clueless as anyone on these issues.

  11. Ben commented on Mar 14

    If BSC get halted, we always have options to sell the others! But hurry up!

  12. Innocent Bystander commented on Mar 14

    WOW, what a turnaround. I was thinking of switching off my screens until BSC. Its hitting new lows by the second. Yeah I bet they shut it down in a few minutes. The bad news, I sold my LEH shorts last week.

  13. John commented on Mar 14

    Well we better get some more Bail-Out Happy Talk from some of the members of Bush’s economic team, or the CNBS’ers, or the Markets going to Implode– Dow down 280.

  14. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    The Apple Dumpling Gang is running the FED. This is unbelievable. How do you set up an auction facility that is too frigging late to help anyone? Ben, you frigging jackass!

  15. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Barry, the other day you asked about people, companies that had it completely ass backwards. This has to be, hopefully because who the flux knows, the 2008 winner hands down. If someone doesn’t go the jail on this, we are totally scroomed as a country. The statement that things had blown up in the last day are so stupid that even the sheeple are scratching their heads.

  16. Observer commented on Mar 14

    This completely changes the function of the discount window. Hey, the Fed could lend to ME personally this way. So that I could by a yacht (for 28 days). All I need is for JPMorgan to act as a figleaf, a non-recourse conduit in the middle.

    Where do I apply for the loan?

  17. Dee Leverage commented on Mar 14

    The worst thing about this whole episode is that since the Bear CEO appears to have either lied or been clueless, nobody will trust any CEO of any company till further notice…man I am busy.

  18. njdoc commented on Mar 14

    Just like cronyism failed in Japan, it will fail here. No market bottom until transparency. Obfuscation is not a good economic policy. The market is calling the Fed’s bluff, because they know they have a shit hand.

  19. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 14

    Rumor floating around that UBS is in the same situation as UBS, anbody verify or refute?

    Posted by: Jordan | Mar 14, 2008 9:59:01 AM

    _____

    The management team at Bear Stearns says everything is fine at UBS. Your money is safe.

  20. Mikael commented on Mar 14

    parity with swissy, gold well past 1000, USD yen below 100….a beautiful day it is!

  21. Run On Bear Sterns commented on Mar 14

    It is amazing how a rumor caused a run on the bank (run on Bear Sterns)

  22. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Well La Te Da on the FED Statement. Do any of the bright bulbs at the FED get it? Is this how you restore confidence in the financial system? Do we want to talk about inflation FED? This is what goes for an orderly market now? Let’s get Poole the Poodle to talk about inflation worries to get the sheeple’s minds off of the real deal.

  23. gypsy howell commented on Mar 14

    Nevertheless, amidst this market chatter, our liquidity position in the last 24 hours had significantly deteriorated.

    If they’re going to straight out lie to us, they could at least have the decency to make it sound plausible.

  24. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    It is amazing how a rumor caused a run on the bank (run on Bear Sterns)

    Posted by: Run On Bear Sterns | Mar 14, 2008 10:27:00 AM

    Joke of the day, right? LOL! You think a rumor did this? ROFL! I guess we should see more rumors that turn out to be fact, but we should be surprised when it happens? Is that you Dennis?

  25. Stuart commented on Mar 14

    All those denying this the past few days… ahem, Hank Greenberg, are now proven liars.

  26. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    “The FED will provide liquidity for the orderly functioning of the markets.”.

    I thought they were already doing this? Isn’t this what we hear every time something blows up?

  27. Dee Leverage commented on Mar 14

    Great job Fed!!! (Mostly Greenspan’s fault)…1000 gold…110 oil…Bear collapsing.

    Hey Cramer says we are oversold.

  28. Strasser commented on Mar 14

    In case anyone was wondering, Bloomberg headlines say, the Fed is “monitoring market developments closely”. Whew… I feel much better! Is that like “we believe in a strong dollar” and all is “contained”?

  29. MitchN commented on Mar 14

    Insana (?), calling in to CNBC, just said the only way the credit crisis will be solved is for the Fed to buy outright bad debt. It’s a great country, eh, comrades?

  30. rj commented on Mar 14

    So I’m thinking the Fed will cut interest rates early again, maybe next week?

  31. steve brophy commented on Mar 14

    Fibbing? Doug Kass is too kind. The CEO is a damn liar. (And I could use other descriptors as well)

  32. JAN commented on Mar 14

    Yesterday I was going to pose to this group the question “can the Fed let Bear go under?”

    I thought I knew the answer, and I was right.

  33. jd commented on Mar 14

    regardless of what the fed does today or in near term. this is an issue of confidence.
    if your a cfo and you see a major financial
    institution on its knees. what do you do?
    first you ask your self what else is out there that i do not know? second you freeze spending. with business and consumer confidence shot i do not know how companies will make thier earnings in the coming quarters.

  34. N commented on Mar 14

    I wonder what else is the government and the plunge protection doing behind the scene?! Denying something on the outside, while supporting it from behind, to protect this empire built on steroids and pyramid schemes. Perhaps the $ has a still has some more room to go on the downside.

    I really feel bad for the averge Joe who is putting his/her money in stock market that is totally rigged by these pot-smoking CEOs, Hedge Funds and PE guys. BIPOLAR moral values is the new norm in the world I guess! Help the wall street drunkards and put the average drug sellers behind bars.

    I would look for taking out these CEOs before I think about taking out dictators outside. (NO wait, they are accredited/institutional investors and they know what they are doing…leave them alone) Bunch of crazy dead-enders I guess. Oh well, we are all filthy human-beings after all!

    Wouldn’t be surprised if we get a mini-crash today, next week or later. Now that these guys have made their money for their 10 generations, made lives hard for average savers and Joes…and it is clean up time & goverment is here to do the clean up job.

    HAIL free market capitalism.

  35. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    So JPM will make out like a bandit with BSC assets. Man is this a great country or what? The BSC shareholders will get killed but the elites will once again do just fine. How convenient that the new auction facility doesn’t go in place till month’s end. I’m sure it’s just blind luck for JPM.

  36. njdoc commented on Mar 14

    Bernanke and Paulson should be fired immediately! We are watching the destruction of our great country for sake of the Wall Street elite. P.S. I believe the CEO at Bear deserves a 150 million dollar severance package.

  37. Jay commented on Mar 14

    If the Fed provided a non-recourse loan to JPM, why not direclty lend to BSC?

  38. Phil commented on Mar 14

    put a sickle on the stars and stripes

  39. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    I must be at the nexus of the universe on 1st and 1st just like Cosmo. The lawsuits are gonna fly on this one kids.

  40. Rob commented on Mar 14

    This story is just so encouraging! This is just another hidden tax on the American people. How much money is going to be sunk into this money vortex we call our financial system. Soon we will can use all these crazy dollars to heat our home. Anyone have a match?

  41. Ben commented on Mar 14

    Why JPM price down if people think they have a good deal on BSC! Hey……..I’m just asking!

  42. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Jay, because then JPM wouldn’t get to legally steal from BSC shareholders. This is much for convenient for the theives.

  43. bob commented on Mar 14

    If something cannot go on forever, it will stop

    — Stein’s Law

  44. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Ben, it has to play out in a certain way is all. We can’t rush the theives because it wouldn’t be polite.

  45. Dee Leverage commented on Mar 14

    Why JPM price down if people think they have a good deal on BSC! Hey……..I’m just asking!
    _______________________________________

    20 TRILLION IN DERIVATIVES!!!!!!!! BWAHAHAHA

  46. Vermont Trader commented on Mar 14

    Looking at the book here, it looks to me like someone (PPT?) is supporting BSC today at 30.00

    Fascinating.

  47. Ace Greenberg commented on Mar 14

    Based on respect, integrity, meritocracy, innovation and a commitment to philanthropy, these guiding principles serve as blueprint for the way that we do business.

  48. John Borchers commented on Mar 14

    Interestingly enough JPM was the bank that tried to save the depression from occuring by getting the banks together.

  49. VennData commented on Mar 14

    “No bailouts,” Paulson yesterday. So watch for the next time he says it…

  50. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Get ready for the commercials this weekend. “If you are a BSC shareholder, and you feel like you have been lied to, please call 1-800-we-crooks for legal advise.”.

  51. Michael Covel commented on Mar 14

    Ace’s ‘Memos from the Chairman’ was good!

  52. Mr. Beach commented on Mar 14

    Anyone have an update on e-mini S&P futures? Is the PPT out buying?

  53. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Dee, it’s why I keep saying deflation. There is no way in Hell to bail any of this out, but we can play the game awhile longer. Bring forth Poole the Poodle to tell us how worried they are about inflation. 20 TRILLION DOLLARS indeed!

    Anyone who believes that the FED can print it’s way out of this is smoking the good stuff.

  54. mj commented on Mar 14

    now we are living with “demons of our own design” and even the bankers dont know what these monsters are going to do next.

  55. Jay commented on Mar 14

    “Black Tuesday, 1929. A wind came by and blew a few cards off the house of said cards. People saw stocks were actually falling (something they hadn’t done in a long time) and the trend reversed. People hurried to get out of stocks and minimize their losses. As this happened, more people did the same which exacerbated the situations. J.P. Morgan made a valiant effort to save the economy by putting the modern equivalent of tens of billions of dollars into certain banks, but to no avail. Folks wanted out quickly at whatever cost. ”

    http://www.essortment.com/all/causeofthegre_rbtv.htm

  56. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Barry, thanks for the live blogging, it was fun although the circumstances weren’t. :>)!

  57. Marcus Aurelius commented on Mar 14

    We can’t rush the theives because it wouldn’t be polite.

    Posted by: SPECTRE of Deflation | Mar 14, 2008 10:52:57 AM

    ___

    Exactly. We’re holding the door while they steal the furniture.

  58. Joe Isuzu commented on Mar 14

    I have a hard time believing that greed is at the root of all this. My bet would be on ‘control’.

    When you hear the “please, please, just fix it” chorus across the land, when the “economy” has everyone’s attention….watch out….that’s where they spring the trap.

    In the mean time the Patriot Act will do exactly as it was designed to do…keep all us peons from organizing against “the system”

  59. Alfred commented on Mar 14

    I guess this proves one thing, you can not avoid the impact of asset price deflation (bursting bubbles) with monetary easing and dropping dollars from helicopters. All the Fed has done is at best postponing the day DAY OF RECKONING. Thank you Greenspan and his Washington friends. The good thing is a HF managers was able to buy a piece of dirt in the Hamptons for 200M last year.

  60. Stuart commented on Mar 14

    “Got Gold?”

    yes, lots!

  61. Alan Greenspend commented on Mar 14

    Dang, just woke up after a long night partying with my niece and nephew from SF. Very sad I missed all the drama/slapstick. Totally hilarious. Unless of course you have offspring that will be paying the bill for all this.

    Expat life is becoming more and more alluring…

  62. wedwards commented on Mar 14

    I was watching CNBC yestday morning and their resident guest who watches over the options market was talking about a significant amount of put option activity at the $30 strike price for this March. There were some 32K in put options traded on Wednesday at this price when the day before < 100. Somebody obviously knew something and made a killing on it!

  63. interested_bystander commented on Mar 14

    “If unsuccessful hedge funds are not allowed to fail, if brokerage firms believe they
    will somehow be protected from the effects of far too liberal margin requirements, if
    banks believe help will be forthcoming should loans go sour during unsettled market
    conditions, how will we discipline future decisions of investors and lenders? Will
    such intervention make our financial system even more fragile later? By offering a
    helpful hand to hedge funds, will their activities in speculating against certain
    currencies, such as the Brazilian real, make the international financial system even
    more fragile?
    Anything that weakens the effect of market discipline and that lessens the punishment
    the market affords speculators when they have made incorrect decisions is likely in
    the long run to lead to more instability”
    – JP Mei in the WSJ, 29 Sep 1998, following LTCM’s bailout.

    Dont people ever learn?

  64. Pat G. commented on Mar 14

    Had enough? Corporations and our government continue to smile as they deceive us into believing all is well. How can anyone take money that they’ve worked hard for and invest it and sleep well at night? I’m glad I own no stocks at this point. This is like a shell game. It has been setup for only one purpose; to separate you from your money. Anyone but me notice that gold is trading well over $1000? Why is this not being heralded on TV like the run up in oil to $100 was? That’s because corporate America doesn’t make money when you buy bullion or coins and who’s going to take delivery on barrels of oil? Wake up and smell the con game.

  65. wally commented on Mar 14

    The government of the US is populated by lying bastards who will make the rest of us pay any price to bail out their greedy friends.

  66. MitchN commented on Mar 14

    Joe Isuzu said:

    >> In the mean time the Patriot Act will do exactly as it was designed to do…keep all us peons from organizing against “the system”

    Huh?

  67. Ross commented on Mar 14

    Change the pivot point under the lever and Archimides gets flung to the infinite.

    Greed and fear. Investment banking is all about confidence. Fed monitizes bad debt=inflation. Sorry Spectre, stagflation is the order of the day. When the ECB finally caves, and they will, it’s $20 beans and $1,500 gold.

  68. Ben commented on Mar 14

    Oh! I see! I wish JPM everything the best! Hey, listen to what the President speaks! The economy is strong and healthy :)

  69. BDG123 commented on Mar 14

    Creative destruction refers to the economic concept of innovative replacement. Not a banking crisis that brings down the entire global economy for years or decades. If we want to let all of Wall Street fail, and that is what would happen at this point in this cycle, you would be unemployed. Now, realistically, do you really want that? Of course you don’t Barry.

    ~~~

    BR: There is a difference between a systemic banking crisis, and a bank crisis.

    What does this accomplish? Aren’t we better off letting them fall to pieces, then someone else — better capitalized, smarter, or just luckier — comes along and buys the pieces pennies on the dollar?

  70. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    El Presidente’ now on telling us it’s all OK. LOL! How about we fire every single one of the elitist politicians with someone who has to raise a family by flipping hamburgers? THEY ARE ALL LIARS! It’s about damn time for some plain talk instead of this happy-happy BS by all concerned.

    I read this AM that Mexican Truck Drivers are taking their English Exam in Spanish. You can’t make this shit up folks.

  71. DC commented on Mar 14

    So, what will Jimmy Cayne be smoking now?

    That Warren Spector dude should be counting his blessings that he got pushed last year. Maybe he bought those $50 puts?

  72. Stuart commented on Mar 14

    too funny. The dollar was rallying back for no apparent reason. I thought to myself, Hmmm, somebody must be about to speak such as Paulson or Bush. Can’t have bucky falling while one of the head honchos on at the podium… Sure enough.. Bush was about to step up. Too funny. OMG so predictable now.

  73. Karl Smith commented on Mar 14

    I think the Bailout label is totally inappropriate. What is the discount window for if not to be tapped in times of liquidty crisis.

    This is an existing facility being used for the purpose it was designed. JPM is being protected because the Fed has said that it will accept Bear’s assets as collateral.

    What’s wrong with that?

    Also, some people are picking up on the non-recourse part to indicate that the Fed is taking the equivalent of an equity stake in Bear. This is false. If they default they still loose the collateral. It is just that the Fed is not going to force them into bankruptcy if the collateral declines in value.

  74. Ben commented on Mar 14

    We are all LIARS, it is only matter of size. LOL!!!!

  75. Quill commented on Mar 14

    Yesterday a phone in asked Cramer if she shouls take her money out of Bears Stern. Cramer went on a rank that she shouldn’t, praised Bears Stern to the hilt…..

  76. zot23 commented on Mar 14

    Someone cursed us with living in interesting times. Hopefully, we’re not cursing my young children as well.

    Got rope?

  77. wally commented on Mar 14

    The cost to Americans in terms of lost dollar value far, far, far outweighs any consequences of a BS failure. Let them fail, and the faster the better.

  78. Shayre commented on Mar 14

    Barry,

    I think I’m getting a man-crush on you.

    Love your work. Love your sense of humour!

    You, Mish, and Yves are like the three wise men (in a “secular” bear kind of way).

    Cheers,

    Have a great weekend.

  79. Alfred commented on Mar 14

    The liar in chief is out talking. In June Last year BSC’s announcement of a collapse of two HF started the credit rout and spoiled the happy talk of the Goldilocks crowed. This time it is again BSC collapse. Bush wanted to leave the White House through the front door under cheers, now he has to sneak out through the back door. Isn’t life just. Unfortunately we the people have to pay the price.

  80. TimDawg commented on Mar 14

    “Creative Destruction”–perfect term and I fully agree. Let them fail. That is the only way people will learn their lessons and make sure that the remaining companies shore up their balance sheet and are 100% accountable. As for all of Wall Street failing, if it happens the phoenix that would rise from the ashes would be stronger, better, more efficient. Funny, how the “pure capitalists” on Wall Street retreat from the pure capitalism concept when their income is on the line. If you are good at what you do, you will find another opportunity somewhere.

  81. ivy_dropout commented on Mar 14

    This plays into Carl Icahn’s “reverse Darwinism” theory of CEO succession. “Ace” to Cayne to Schwartz; thrifty to stupid to outright liar. BSC shouldn’t survive and somone smart(er) will buy the useful pieces and auction off the rest. RIP, just like Bankers Trust, Cowen, etc. etc.

  82. Rated….ehhh commented on Mar 14

    I think I will put my $600 rebate check into BSC.. About the same odds of putting it in a savings account.

  83. Alfred commented on Mar 14

    Karl Smith wrote:
    Also, some people are picking up on the non-recourse part to indicate that the Fed is taking the equivalent of an equity stake in Bear. This is false. If they default they still loose the collateral. It is just that the Fed is not going to force them into bankruptcy if the collateral declines in value.

    I think you get it wrong. Who is they? BSC/JPM? I suppose its BSC. The issue is not if they lose their collateral – BSC is bankrupt- they lost it already. So the FED gets stuck with it and they have to find a buyer, and good luck with that.

  84. rj commented on Mar 14

    “I think the Bailout label is totally inappropriate. What is the discount window for if not to be tapped in times of liquidty crisis.

    This is an existing facility being used for the purpose it was designed. JPM is being protected because the Fed has said that it will accept Bear’s assets as collateral.

    What’s wrong with that?

    Also, some people are picking up on the non-recourse part to indicate that the Fed is taking the equivalent of an equity stake in Bear. This is false. If they default they still loose the collateral. It is just that the Fed is not going to force them into bankruptcy if the collateral declines in value.”

    If the collateral declines in value, we as taxpayers pay for it by definition. Don’t bring up some convoluted excuse about the Fed and they can print money at no consequence, it is our money being paid out by our government, and hence is ours.

  85. kk commented on Mar 14

    Schadenfreudefest Friday here at the Big Picture.

  86. John commented on Mar 14

    I have to wonder if that 400+ point MoonShot we had Tuesday did Bear Stearns more harm than good…

    From Bloomberg on Feb 8:

    Bear Stearns spokesman Russell Sherman said the New York-based firm’s subprime trades are a “hedge” against potential losses on investments in higher-rated mortgages, he said.

    “We are using short positions to offset other long positions in our mortgage inventory,” Sherman said. He didn’t provide details on specific trades.

    Well like some folks have pointed out above we’ll start getting all the Acquisition Happy Talk now of Banks/Brokerages that may be in trouble…”remember though it doesn’t have to be true..it just has to sound reasonable..” All ‘Good News for the Markets’ (and CNBS).

    My guess is we close roughly flat for the day. Fed meeting next week with .75bps cut expected (although likely priced in already) plus Earnings/Guidance from Major Brokerages…

    One almost has to wonder at this point how long it will be before the Fed exercises it’s ‘Nuclear Option’ and takes All of the Bad MBS Debt out there onto it’s books (at the risk of even more Moral Hazard, further depreciating the dollar, and creating more Inflation-Tax)…

    Then we have Goldman and Morgan Stanley on Currency Intervention watch by the G-7 (meeting in April but likely to act/Jawbone before then if things continue to deteriorate) as the falling value of the dollar puts pressure on other economies…I think this will amount to only a Temporary FIx at best, should they act, but it should send commodity prices lower for a while…

    JMHO

  87. Innocent Bystander commented on Mar 14

    The longer Bush speaks, the more agitated Dylan Ratigan must get. He must be in full lather right now, pacing the floor, his arms jerking up and down, and applying lip gloss to his hair. “I must go back on the air” he mutters, “I feel the need to stutter and sputter”.

  88. michael schumacher commented on Mar 14

    market only down <200 and coincidentally teetering on 12k.

    What bag of tricks does BSC have in 30 minutes?

    Or what BS excuse will they give that will give the "all clear" signal to pump via the SPY.....

    Such crap.........

    Ciao
    MS

  89. Stuart commented on Mar 14

    “Schadenfreudefest Friday here at the Big Picture.”

    Watching the Pigmen slip on, and eat some of their own slop for once. Yes, a certain satisfaction that the public is, finally, starting to recognize their undeserved luster is tarnishing.

  90. billbill commented on Mar 14

    E-Trade cannot short BSC.
    Can not borrow shares?
    Over 50 million traded so far!
    Doesn’t make sence to me.

  91. rj commented on Mar 14

    “One almost has to wonder at this point how long it will be before the Fed exercises it’s ‘Nuclear Option’ and takes All of the Bad MBS Debt out there onto it’s books (at the risk of even more Moral Hazard, further depreciating the dollar, and creating more Inflation-Tax)…”

    How would that work long-term?

    I’m listening to videos from this morning from CNBC, and Jim Cramer is spewing and pissed off about the Fed buying Bear Stearns’ worst collateral.

  92. Al Czervic commented on Mar 14

    Bear Sterns – “Too big to fail”

    The average American – Too small to matter.

  93. Karl Smith commented on Mar 14

    QUOTE
    The issue is not if they lose their collateral – BSC is bankrupt- they lost it already
    ENDQUOTE

    First of all Bear is not bankrupt – yet. Second, even during bankruptcy the recovery is usually not zero. Third, the structure of these loans puts the Fed at the front of line when it comes to the posted collateral.

  94. Whammer commented on Mar 14

    Barry, bless you for your new comments policy. Otherwise surely this would all be blamed on the liberal media by now…….

  95. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Alfred, they are ALL Liars in Chief. We should kick all the bums out because we have been had by the entire political machine of this country. Throw them out and replace with someone who has to raise a family by flipping hamburgers because these new people can do no worse than the current polical class/elitists running this country. Democrats and Republicans suck…Republican and Democrats suck. Isn’t it obvious yet?

  96. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Whammer, you don’t seem to understand that both groups are stealing us blind while they sprinkle the fairy dust of ruination for our children and grandchildren while they do it. No politicians care about J6P, or someone who has to raise a family doing the hamburger flip.

  97. BG commented on Mar 14

    Well, I guess now I understand why the markets did not drop further on previous days when it looked like there was no way the market could possibly go any way but down; but somehow magically went up.

    It went up because it HAD to go up! We were already into the margin call region and a further turn down would have escalated the rate of margin calls.

    It looks like the line in the sand is a Dow $12K. I bet the Market Protection Team is currently doing anything they have to do to keep the market up (bar nothing); otherwise, the entire market will spiral downward with selling begetting more selling.

    Dow $12K is the precipice. We had better hope it holds. If it doesn’t, it will make all previous meltdowns miniscule in comparison of scope, monetarily, financially and politically.

    It just seems that my generation seems to think that they are smart enough to circumvent well intentioned rules and do their own thing, no matter how stupid or short-sided. It’s kind of like your mother telling you that a lit match will burn you; but, you choose to ignore her advice only to strike the match and burn your own finger when you knew better but did it any way?

    Maybe our whole financial system is on crack. Their decision making is CLEARLY delusional. There is only one last (familar) statement to make: “How could they let this happen?” As you can see….I am looking on down the road a few days, weeks or years; but, things are so inter- twined the ultimate outcome is inevitable.

    The whole thing is based on confidence and trust. We have watch both decline significantly over the last few years and now we have dropped below the point of criticality. No one believes anything anyone says now. We’re in trouble.

    I read somewhere years ago that watching financial media did not improve investing performance and should be viewed strictly as entertainment. That is so true today!
    It’s not very funny though.

  98. Douglas Watts commented on Mar 14

    No politicians care about J6P, or someone who has to raise a family doing the hamburger flip.

    That’s as untrue as saying that all stocks are bad.

  99. Alfred commented on Mar 14

    Karl,
    The point I tried to make is that in the case of bankruptcy the Fed will be stuck with the paper. ‘Non-recourse’ means JPM does not have any money on the line. If you want to get a glance at the Future look to Northern Rock.

  100. Ben commented on Mar 14

    We need more printing machine to print the bill, we need energy(oil) to run those printing machine! As the money supply will go to the all time high, stimulate the inflation…higher oil prices….commodity prices………urgh….too tired to keep on thinking!

    Seriously speaking, we are in a big crisis…..shh………although I really hate to say it!

  101. Eric commented on Mar 14

    With David Malpass as Chief Economist does this surprise anyone?

  102. small investor commented on Mar 14

    Regarding 10:38 post.
    As a generalization of those in Business/the financial industry,they bray like jackasses about free markets when they’re making money; when it involves moving business offshore and closing U.S. facilities, cutting costs, benefits and wages. But, they bleat like sheep when times get tough or mistakes are made and they need a bailout.

    Perhaps I should give them credit for maintaining a flexible attitude and keeping enlightened self-interest as the prime directive. I consider this a Corporatist, not a Socialist policy. This has been espoused in the WSJ and elsewhere over the years.

  103. SPECTRE of Deflation commented on Mar 14

    Douglas, are you crazy? We are 60 TRILLION Dollars worth of unfunded liabilities in this country. Every F###ing politician on any oversight committee did shit, save Ron Paul, on this credit bubble. They were ALL tickled shitless when the Federal Coffers were overflowing due to ficticious aaet appreciation that is now deflating.

    By all means please keep lapping up their BS until it no longer matters. You won’t have long to wait.

  104. DC commented on Mar 14

    > With David Malpass as Chief Economist does this surprise anyone?

    Larry Kudlow is a former Bear Stearns Chief Economist. Says it all

  105. cinefoz commented on Mar 14

    Correct me if I am wrong, but this is just an old fashioned run on the bank, isn’t it? Since they are invested in assets that are not especially liquid, then they have to borrow to support the demand for cash.

    Here’s a serious question. Please no smartass answers. My suspicions mind is going into high gear.

    Actually, I would like to know the genesis of the cash run. Why BSC? Is this a matter of bad luck and bad management in a poor environment?

    Or is this a calculated attempt to crash the entire US economy by using BSC as the foundation stone? If the Fed were not supporting the liquidity problem, there would probably be bank runs beginning in other places. They might snowball into a depression like crash of the entire stock market out of a chain reaction panic.

    The world is filled with people who don’t like the US very much and a lot of them have huge reserves of cash. Is it possible that this run is a calculated attempt to run down the prices of US assets, using the subprime mess as cover?

    This isn’t a tin foil hat question, although it may appear as one on the surface.

    The subprime mess could provide a logical cover explanation for bad behavior instigated by a third party.

    Understanding the details of BSCs plight from the onset to the freefall might be a case study for management amd economics schools or might shed insight into a new way to express avarice or wage war.

    Fortunately, the Fed will not let this happen, and the rest of the market is falling in a sympathetic association, not supported by fundamentals.

  106. rob commented on Mar 14

    Interesting that LEH and BSC were the two ib’s to refrain from the LTCM bailout in 98.

    hehe

  107. Donkei commented on Mar 14

    Okay,

    Everybody that thinks that fannie and freddie wouldn’t get this same treatment or better, please stand on your head.

  108. Crazy Idea commented on Mar 14

    Accidentally posted this in the wrong comment section before.
    Could this have been a bear run on Bear? The March 30 puts have had unusual activity all week. Bear says that the liquidity issues came from a bunch of unexpected redemptions, coincidentally, the day before option expiration. It wouldn’t take too many phone calls and veiled comments to put together. And this is the end of a truly awful q1 for many hedgies……. I generally don’t like conspiracy theories, but I think this is a worthwhile issue to explore.

  109. GDM commented on Mar 14

    I’ve got the prefect solution.

    Schwartz is helping MSFT stalk YHOO, right?

    Why not have MSFT buy BSC? They’ve got plenty of cash sitting around. They could put down $6B today and walk away with BSC for $51/share. And there wouldn’t be any antitrust concerns, either, unlike the YHOO bid.

  110. Jonathan Garber commented on Mar 14

    I must say for Bear Sterns getting bailed out the market is taking it pretty well. Something’s gotta give.

  111. Darkness commented on Mar 14

    >If they default they still loose the collateral. It is just that the Fed is not going to force them into bankruptcy if the collateral declines in value.

    What collateral? At the core they are an inflated set of IOUs. Unless you propose that every current and past-five-years employee is forced into slave labor until the debt is repaid. I’d be for that.

    >Anyone who believes that the FED can print it’s way out of this is smoking the good stuff.

    And they aren’t sharing. Scumbags.

    >> In the mean time the Patriot Act will do exactly as it was designed to do…keep all us peons from organizing against “the system”

    >Huh?

    I think he means that since they are listening in on your telephone calls, if you and some friends decided you were going to, you know, start an alternative money system or, like Quest, refuse an illegal wiretapping order, the Feds would come and make your life miserable… they’d find something on you to put you away with. I understood the comment, but I’ve read too much sci fi most likely. If the power is there, be assured someone is using it.

  112. AG commented on Mar 14

    Who owns the FED? Self service?

  113. cinefoz commented on Mar 14

    Crazy Idea,

    If this were a calculated attempt to profit by short selling after setting up the unexpected redemptions and rumors problems, what securities laws would be broken, if any? If it were done by a sovereign wealth fund, what would be the next step?

  114. Fred commented on Mar 14

    Crazy Idea – next stop for the bubble, maybe 2009 is the options markets. the spreads these guys make is tantamount to full service brokerage back in the 80s. the bubble in my opinion will be regulatory driven, not liquidity or counter party driven. there is so much that occurs with options it isn’t even funny. that said, all of those puts caught my eye too – but they were so well calculated, you have to believe that BSC was at least experiencing significant pressure and that the news had leaked.

  115. cinefoz commented on Mar 14

    To put my question in tin foil hat verbiage …

    1) Is BSCs problem the logical continuation of the subprime mess and their bad management?

    2) Were the above mentioned redemptions, rumors, and short selling the activities of creative and avaricious investors?

    3) Was BSC seen as the weak link in an interrelated system of financial institutions and this is a sophisticated 9-11 style attack that was using the subprime mess as cover (with the Fed acting as hero)?

    Real tin foil hat stuff, to be sure. But, to me sitting here, this one looks a little odd. Maybe it’s just an overactive imagination. If so, it would make a good movie script.

  116. Chief Tomahawk commented on Mar 14

    My friend shorted 1,000 shares of BSC yesterday at $56. Because he had to work a night shift, he put a limit order on to cover at $51. He awoke late this morning to learn the news and is kicking himself…

  117. Jonathan Garber commented on Mar 14

    Nice of a bond insurer to finally make a downgrade. Good job S&P. These guys are the next to go broke.

  118. Crazy Idea commented on Mar 14

    It is a fact that there has been unusual activity in the 30 puts for the last couple of weeks. Open interest much higher than would be expected for instruments so far out of the money. This fact was actually used as a justification to dismiss rumors coming out about problems at Bear as just a bunch of hedgies trying to talk it down. I think it’s highly suspect that this would happen on expiration day. If this run had happened on Monday all these puts are worthless. I don’t think it’s a sovereign wealth group doing it, I think it’s March and fund managers gotta make money and the quarterly performance ain’t looking too hot right now so why not blow up Bear make a couple bucks on the suicide puts and the Fed will keep it from going completely belly up anyway. This seems just as likely as the president of Bear lying on TV for the last few weeks.

  119. BDG123 commented on Mar 14

    So, are you telling me we don’t have a systemic banking crisis? How do you make that judgement? What needs to happen before you are convinced of that fact? How many banks need to start failing before you might recognize it as systemic? And, by that point in time when you are ready to admit someone might need to step in, are you confident it won’t be too late? What are the counterparty risks of letting BS fail? Would it possibly start a domino effect? Not only for the banks but for the economy. Are you willing to take that chance? Short term treasuries aren’t at 80 year lows because this is a run of the mill slow down.

    We haven’t even seen the financial markets in many economies feel the brunt of this. They will. Because everyone relies on the U.S. primarily and Europe for liquidity. What happens to the industrial economy and its impact on banks and nonbanks when global demand weakens? To their financing? Debt responsibilities?

    The impact to date is that trillions have been taken out of the economy. How many more trillions before you are convinced?

  120. Crazy Idea commented on Mar 14

    oops I just realized today is not expiration. perhaps my conspiracy theory is flawed.

  121. RedCharlie commented on Mar 14

    Don’t worry!

    A “Surge” from the Fed will fix things just like the surge in Iraq!

    (And if you believe that, after I sell you on a sweet deal on a bridge, there’s a recruiter who wants to talk to you now!)

  122. mikkel commented on Mar 14

    Cinefoz it’s quite simple and what lots of people have been talking about for a long time:

    Bank run implies liquidity crisis. i.e. the assets are good but people just panic or the company is caught on the wrong side of leverage and needs to dump.

    Solvency crisis implies that the backing assets AREN’T worth nearly as much as they are supposed to be.

    The Fed can only protect against liquidity crises, and if it is a liquidity crisis then lowering interest rates, opening up the discount window, etc. should work wonders. The problem is that the banks don’t need any more debt, they have projected that there is really no one that they can lend to and they already have enough bad debt, so they are just hoarding cash, making margin calls, etc. This is a systemic solvency crisis and is partially the reason for the freak out. (Supporting evidence is the huge spread increase in mortgages and commercial spreads, for an actual solvency worry, not liquidity worry.)

    I’d say that this is a liquidity panic brought on by the beginning of mass insolvency, and if you’ve read what I’ve written before, it should go away in a month or two once there is a flush out and all the margin calls come through and everything. I have no idea what the extent of it will be though.

    Then there should be a huge rally and calm before the storm…but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

  123. v commented on Mar 14

    Hey cinebunz, how’s the portfolio doing?

    lol.

  124. Alfred commented on Mar 14

    It is rumored by CNBC that BSC will be bought possibly by JPM as of this coming Monday. Has everybody gone crazy, or do the rules of finance not apply to big Wall Street firms. Who other than the Fed (by printing money or using taxpayers money) is willing to commit capital at this point? I still believe BSC will go the painful way of Northern Rock, but London is not Wall Street and maybe there is a free lunch after all.

  125. Alfred commented on Mar 14

    They said there is a run on BSC. If the Fed finds a buyer literally overnight, what the hell did they run from.

  126. Francois commented on Mar 14

    “If the Fed provided a non-recourse loan to JPM, why not direclty lend to BSC?”

    Ahem! It is called politics. This would be intolerable to the Bush administration, since it would signal a failure, a phenomenon that has never took place since Dubya took over the White House.

    Hence, it was absolutely out of the question that the FED be allowed to directly help BSC..that would not be a bailout, but an overt nationalization.

    When that happen, the government takes over, something intolerable under Bush 43; free-market has all the answers and all that grade-AAA BS. You terminate shareholder’s equity, (not a good thing in an election year right?) and you fire management, who happen to be important contributors to your party; again, not a good thing.

    So, following the outsourcing model that has worked sooooo well in Iraq (sardonic comment of course!) you outsource the “nationalization” effort to the private sector and Voila! No nationalization took place, (by technical definition) a private sector (my a$$!) solution was implemented, and plausible deniability is politically feasible.

    Obfuscate, spin, deny and distort…does this motto sounds familiar?

  127. DesiDude commented on Mar 14

    Hey! Great Blog. Your quote again made a headline. This time on MarketWatch.com. You are the reason I have 25% of my portfolio in cash right now. ummm.. maybe that’s too little.

  128. Pat G. commented on Mar 14

    Is there anyway of finding out WHO traded those 22M shares of Bear the other day? Cause that was 7X the 13 week trailing volume average.

  129. curmudgeonly troll commented on Mar 14

    headlines should be… Fed moves to attempt to gracefully unwind Bear Stearns.

    I don’t think the Fed signalled an intention to bail them out permanently, but to give them a 28-day window to unwind without generating a catastrophic counterparty failure domino effect.

    March 11 – Fed has special meeting, allows primary dealers like Bear to repo mortgages and flimsy collateral. No notice of how much lent to whom.

    March 12 – Bear CDS spreads blow out. Lenders refuse to roll over repos and short-term financing.

    March 14 – Bear apparently maxes out repo facility, and runs out of cash. To prevent immediate crash, Fed provides debtor-not-in-position financing, and JPMorgan adds on, taking first dibs on picking up pieces at fire sale.

    this weekend, they either do a deal, or the stock is worth 0 next week as clients and counterparties jump ship. Trading is based on credit and you can’t trade if you’ve admitted you’re insolvent and are only going to be in business as long as the Fed allows you to.

  130. Winston Munn commented on Mar 14

    I have one simple question: what in hell is the Fed doing bailing out a broker-dealer?

    This is an investment bank, not a commercial bank. They made the choice of risk over safety. There was no compelling reason for a Fed bailout, nor a mandate to do so. If the Fed felt compelled to prevent their collapse, it must mean that an entire house of cards would have collapsed along with it.

    Not a pleasant thought.

  131. mw commented on Mar 14

    I think this is a new TBBOF from the Fed– TEMPORARY BEAR BAIL OUT FACILITY–

  132. 49er commented on Mar 15

    Dennis Kneale belongs on Sesame Street, not Wall Street.

  133. thebigkill commented on Mar 15

    Another post involving the decicisioning logic behind the BSC situation:

    The reality is that Bear Stearns was carrying more than $28 billion in ‘level 3’ assets on its books at the end of fiscal 2007 versus a net equity position of only $11.7 billion. In other words, the company’s balance sheet was highly leveraged to many untradable and potentially worthless assets. It is this pitiful balance sheet that had Bear in the fetal position, and when investor and lender confidence finally evaporated it was this balance sheet that forced Bear to call the New York Fed.

    http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_08/willettalway031408.html

  134. DavidB commented on Mar 16

    5:00pm Final Price: $30 even, down -27.00 (-47.37%)
    Total Volume: 186,986,843 (avg vol = ~12m)

    In case anybody was wondering. That is how you cram an elephant through a small hole

    And I guess the puts the lie to bed that the government hates bears. They only hate certain types of bears

  135. Mike commented on Mar 17

    All this because of the greedy bastards who wrote the loans and the greedy bastards who took them out. Hell with them all! Why should Uncle Sam buy aone of them out? Lets let the market tank and sort the winners from losers.

Read this next.

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