In The News Today

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Merrill got 20 cents on the dollar. Lehman got less than 10 cents.

Only numb-nuts can fluff that off.

Attorneys are in a bull market among the financial specialists.

What the OTC derivatives did not suck out of financial firms litigation will.

Lehman debt auction gives clue to potential losses
Friday October 10, 3:20 pm ET
By Stephen Bernard, AP Business Writer

Pricing for Lehman debt provides guidance on potential bank losses tied to credit swaps

NEW YORK (AP) — Sellers of insurance on bonds issued by bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. are now likely to face demands that they pay out more than 91 cents on the dollar to buyers of those insurance contracts.

That’s the upshot of an unusual auction process Friday that established the price for defaulted Lehman debt, and in turn potential claims payouts on insurance protecting that debt, known as credit default swaps.

Certainly, some firms will take a hit because of the pricing, potentially amounting to billions of dollars in combined losses. In the Lehman auction, participants included most major financial firms from around the world. But it’s too early to tell which companies will be on the hook or for how much.

“Where this is helpful is this is the first real-world situation where we see how market participants handle settling CDS,” said Barry Silbert, chief executive of SecondMarket Inc., a marketplace for trading illiquid assets.

In a best-case scenario, Silbert said, financial firms who sold CDS contracts would make their payouts in the coming weeks, have enough capital to cover all the positions, and take their losses and move on. In a worst-case scenario, sellers of the swaps would not have the cash to make the payments and would have to liquidate their assets to cover their positions.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Today is paper gold. Here is what is real gold.

Germans Stockpiling Gold Amid Market Panic

German gold dealers have stopped taking new orders for the precious metal as demand has skyrocketed. Gold is seen as a safe investment during the market turmoil.

In uncertain economic times, Germans are dumping stocks and shares to take refuge in precious metal, accoring to a Wednesday article in a Berlin newspaper.

German gold dealers report running low on stocks of gold bars and coins.

Heiko Ganss, head of the Berlin branch of gold merchant Pro Aurum, told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper that most gold traders were refusing new orders, as they couldn’t meet the current demand.

“Demand is running well above our capacity to supply,” he was quoted saying, saying retail banks in Germany were also unable to meet demand.

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Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

As goes Motors so goes the USA.

GM, Ford May Face Bankruptcy on Slowdown, S&P Says (Update3)
By Jeff Green and Marco Bertacche

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC may be forced into bankruptcy by slowing economies and dwindling U.S. auto sales, Standard & Poor’s analyst Robert Schulz said.

“Macro factors could overwhelm them at some point” even as the three biggest U.S. automakers vow to stick with their turnaround plans, Schulz, S&P’s lead automotive credit analyst, said today in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. The companies said they have no plans for a bankruptcy filing.

His assessment underscored the pressure on GM, Ford and Chrysler as the worsening global credit crisis makes it harder for buyers to get loans and dealers to finance their operations. S&P said yesterday it may further trim credit ratings for GM and Ford on forecasts for 2009 auto demand falling to the lowest level since 1992.

With all three companies working to boost cash, any bankruptcy filing would be a last resort, not a “strategic” decision, Schulz said.

“We don’t see that as something they would choose,” he said. Schulz said the “trigger” for a forced restructuring under bankruptcy protection would be based on the automakers’ ability to preserve liquidity as sales decline. Industrywide U.S. sales slid 27 percent last month, the most in 17 years.

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