This is a guest post by Zero Hedge.
Many readers have expressed their incredulity, frustration and, at times, outright anger, with what can be classified simply as a mutual circle jerk among Wall Street’s financial analysts, rushing to upgrade each others’ stocks with impunity. These analysts have been operating with an S&P and Moody’s like tendency to ignore any and all pitfalls associated with skyrocketing loan losses, coupled with tepid increases by the banks’ taking on necessary reserves to account for what will likely be a collapse in the CRE market, which we at Zero Hedge have been documenting for the past nine months. Hereby we demonstrate the circular nature of all these activities: the attached graphic shows just how prevalent the ponzi upgrade game has become – among the top 7 banks which have staggering (and in many cases taxpayer subsidized) balance sheets and hold all the keys for the next major leg down, there is just one sell rating (and even that is simply between a European analyst and a European firm). Which begs a new spin on an old question: if a ponzi scheme develops before our eyes and everyone is blissfully ignoring it, has a ponzi ever occurred (we refer you to the SEC for the answer)?
And please don’t be fooled by the red lines: virtually all of them emanate out of CLSA iconoclast Mike Mayo, who has not only always been a lone voice of sanity on Wall Street, but with his harsh language (he has a sell rating on all major US banks except Goldman), Mike has become the defacto new Meredith Whitney. Whether or not he is proven right will be determined by the outcome of the generational confrontation currently in play between the printing presses of the Federal Reserve (and China’s desire to assimilate the US middle class as its latest vassal extention) and the rest of the formerly free markets. For a good summary of Mike Mayo’s contrarian approach to Wall Street we recommend the following WSJ article.