Are U.S. banks too big to fail, or too big to save?

Derivative headline for a derivative world.

Was discussing the same idea with a colleague just this morning…

And if another investment bank were to fall like Bear Stearns, there are no more J.P. Morgans to pick up the pieces. In addition, counting on foreign countries’ investment funds may be problematic, as many politicians balk at the fact that all but one sovereign wealth funds are from countries without a democratic system.

For the better part of a year there’s been play with banking shorts. Now there seems to be a lot of money sitting on the sidelines, persistent chatter that the bottom has been reached, and yet continued resistance towards the upside. Uncertainty is the prevailing wind.

The take over here is there are still a lot of writedowns left to go, and even more balance sheet games which will eventually exacerbate the situation. The Fed and the Treasury seem to have “blown their wads” too early. More obvious taxpayer funded/direct bailouts could create downright insurrection (or at least there are going to be a lot of pissed off renters rioting in the streets). The WSJ is correct in their assumption – there just aren’t many J.P. Morgans left to do the bailing. Then there is the offshore money. Politics aside, you have to wonder how much of it will be willing to chase financial assets of a dollar denominated nature – said assets may look cheap to them now, but may get a hell of a lot cheaper in the year to come too.

At the very least I suspect it is going to be an interesting summer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.