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Primary Dealers are Dead – Part 2 – Springtime Coming for Hibernating Bears

The Primary Dealers always hedge their fixed income portfolio positions in the futures markets. Looking only at their bond portfolio positions may not give us an accurate picture of how screwed they are, or are not.

We have data for their futures hedging. It’s called the COTS- the weekly Commitment of Traders. Every Friday, the CFTC publishes the positions of various players in the futures markets. Among those reports is the dealer positions.

The rest of the world focuses on the specs, mostly the big specs—the hedge funds. I say, who cares! I want to know how the dealers are positioned. After all, they’re the ones who run the games. The big specs are just the whales at the tables. Some of them are good players, for sure, but they’re not the House. The dealers are the House. We want to know how the House is positioned.

We need to know this information so that we can make a swag on just how impaired Wall Street might be. We want to do our own stress analysis of what’s happening to the dealer portfolios as bond prices move one way or the other.

We know that, since last August, the trend isn’t going well for them. I can’t quantify exactly where the breaking point is, but I think we’re close, if not already past it. In this report, I continue laying out the circumstantial case.

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Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also publish, and was lead analyst for Sure Money Investor, of blessed memory. I developed David Stockman's Contra Corner for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs since 1972, including a stint on Wall Street in both sales, analytical, and trading capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I was a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I was considered an expert in the analysis of failed properties that ended up in the hands of bank REO divisions, the FDIC, and the RTC. Remember those guys? I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. I'm not some Ivory Tower academic, Wall Street guy. My perspective comes from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches, as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, trader, account rep, and analyst. I've watched most of the games these Wall Street wiseguys play from right up close. I know the drill from my 55 years of paying attention. And I'm happy to share that experience with you, right here. 

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