Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Another day, and here we are looking at the same old to-and-fro with Greece. Someone leaks a story that the EU is discussing aid, which the Germans angrily deny...after which the Greeks themselves lambaste speculators and claim that they don't really need any help, anyways. Yaaawwwwnnnnn. And here's the euro, caught in the same tepid range of the last 4-5 weeks. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when a Wham! song most aptly describes the state of the market.

How the Olympic gods must look down in despair. Zeus, Athena, Apollo....one can only imagine them shaking their heads in disbelief at this sordid and sorry display. Indeed, this whole saga leaves Macro Man wondering if the entire Greek pantheon needs a little modernization; religion, after all, has always moved with the times.

And so, dear readers, allow Macro Man to suggest a few updates for inclusion in the next edition of Edith Hamilton's classic Mythology:

ΠΙΓΣ: Descendents of Bacchus, these brothers defy the Olympian mandate of moderation, only to encounter difficulties once the party ends and the hangover kicks in.

Σιυιλ Σερυαντσ: Gods of laziness.

Μερκελ: The Goddess of hard work and rectitude, who is famously unwilling to help those who do not sacrifice to her.

Παπανδρέου: A hapless mortal who is caught in the midst of a deadly combat between Μερκελ and the Σιυιλ Σερυαντσ.

Τιτλοσ: Latter-day underworld where the turds and detritus of the latter-day Hellenes are deposited.

ΙΜΦ: Legendary givers of aid to the needy who demand frequent sacrifices in return for their help.

Γολδμαν: God of good works such as, for example, helping one move loads of dodgy debt off the national balance sheet for only a modest fee.

Τριςηετ: The God of strong vigilance.

Σαρκο: Comic dwarfish character who flits about Olympus, annoying all of the other gods. Also, the god of philandering.

Βέρνάνκε: The God of bailouts, who unfortunately really belongs to another pantheon...and thus does not answer Greeks’ prayers.


Redundant CityBoy said...

Humerous, though slightly leftfield, post! Γολδμαν..... took all my GCSE Greek to decypher that one. Cheers

Manc Trader said...

Nice, needed something to smile about this AM.

Jorge said...



For those with less time in their hands (if I may, no offense if you delete this cheat sheet):


Σιυιλ Σερυαντσ: Civil Servants

Μερκελ: Merkel

Παπανδρέου: Papandreou

Τιτλοσ: Title

ΙΜΦ: IMF (hey, I didn't even have to look this one up!)

Γολδμαν: Goldman

Τριςηετ: Trichet

Σαρκο: Sarkozy?

Βέρνάνκε: Bernanke

Best trading,


Macro Man said...

One correction: "Titlos" is the SPV used by the Greek Treasury and National Bank of Greece to shunt some of the liabilities off balance sheet....

Jorge said...


OK, this Titlos, not Titles. :O



Leftback said...

Nice one. I cracked the code fairly quickly once I got Merkel and Sarko.... another amusement for another day of the markets drifting upwards...

karen said...

Wonderful amusement! and much appreciated jolt to my lazy, disillusioned, and wondering mind.

karen said...

wandering! not wondering.. blame that on weak coffee or my accent..

Nemo Incognito said...

Anyone read this CS piece by Dong Tao on the UDICs? Thoughts anyone?

Yup..... I'm absolutely amazed by this upwards drift, especially as housing continues to look ropey. Zions Bancorp - f me.

Deniz said...

10yr swap spread negative !

k1 said...

Love the sentiment today, MM.

Regarding the meltup, I'm still looking for a justification for the flows of funds. The market action suggests "liquidity bubble" to me, but I wonder if the deleveraging gnomes are helping as well?

Two ideas leading me this way. First, Annaly's analysis (posted on PragCap yesterday) showing decreasing loan levels at commercial banks. Though I get conflicting information out of the Fed data when I go look, their chart shows delevering going on. Second, Merkel's discussions of reaching for yield. (And gotta give props to folks on this blog for similar weighty observations).

I propose the mechanics are these: the Fed's money pump appears to be going entirely to excess reserves, which themselves are going into treasuries. So the reach for yield works its way into riskier stuff as each tier of investor gets priced out. In addition, ordinary borrowers chip away at their debt, forcibly retiring investments in securitized loans and similarly driving the reach-for-yield forces.

My point? This reach-for-yield thing could go on as long as ordinary folks feel the need to pay stuff off, long after the Fed stops the pumps.

Disagree? It's just a hypothesis, please prove me wrong. I'd love to short this market big big big, but that seems to be unwise so far.

Brian said...

Funny stuff! Love the references to Greek mythology. Didn't see the God of war in there. Hopefully that's a good thing :)

Leftback said...

k1: Reaching for yield is a powerful force and can certainly continue indefinitely, until an event occurs that reminds investors defaults and bankruptcies can occur and haircuts and losses are possible. Remember haircuts and losses?

Agreed with all your points - until someone is allowed to take losses and experience write-downs, the equity market is a massive game of chicken. Bond markets and FX reflect a more balanced view, although the reach for yield is still evident in the AUD etc..

Nic said...

Vολδεμoρτ - another one who did not answer the Greek prayers ...

Maximum maximorum said...

MM i am a long time lurker but since i am Greek also let me make some minor punctuation corrections to your wonderful as always post.
Σιυιλ Σερυαντσ -> Σιβιλ Σερβαντς
Τιτλοσ -> Τιτλος
ΙΜΦ -> actually it's ΔΝΤ in Greek
Τριςηετ -> Τρισετ
Σαρκο -> Σαρκοζι
Βέρνάνκε -> Μπερνάνκε.
Apart from that my scenario for "The Plan" is that:
A "committee" of some kind from EU is about to undertake the Greek solution.Eurogroup is about to provide 15 billion and IMF 10 billion but not directly to Greece but to the above committee. Greece will attempt by the end of the month to borrow 10 billion and depending on the spread < 6 or 6.20 will decide if it enables the above package of 25 billion.
Everybody is relatively happy (even Μερκελ).
What do you think is the market reaction to such a plan?
Opinions are very welcome.

deke said...

It is starting to look like the whole curve may move below treasuries... corporates are swapping to try to take advantage of low rates and those looking for wider spreads are being hammered, but it is starting to look like the markets are downgrading US debt to AA.

SPX 1172 is the 89 month MA... 1172 was also the final hurrah in January 2002, the headfake in 2004 with final breakout in May 2005, retested in October of the same year, and was resistance in October 2008


지호 said...

This is hilarious