First it was gold, now it is HFT - poor Barclays just can't get away with any market rigging crime these days: "In sum, Barclays’ courting of high frequency traders, and its willingness to falsify the extent of high frequency trading activity in its dark pool, was contrary to Barclays’ representations to clients that Barclays operated with “transparency” and provided a safe venue in which to trade. As described by one former senior Barclays Director: “there was a lot going on in the dark pool that was not in the best interests of clients. The practice of almost ensuring that every counterparty would be a high frequency firm, it seems to me that that wouldn’t be in the best interest of their clients . . . It’s almost like they are building a car and saying it has an airbag and there is no airbag or brakes.”
Remember when in January 2014, Q1 GDP was expected to rise 2.6%? Well, here comes the final Q1 GDP revision and it's a doozy: at -2.9%, far below the -1.8% expected and well below the -1.0% second revision, it is an absolute disaster, and is the worst print since Q1 2009.
Obamacare, the Stimulus, TARP, Fast and Furious, support of the Egyptian regime change, Libyan Leading from Behind, four American killed in Benghazi, blaming a video for the Benghazi attacks, the IRA targeting, NSA email and phone file storage, Syrian Red Line, the Russian takeover of Crimea, the VA handling of veterans, release of Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo, the onslaught of children crossing the Mexican border, two years of lost emails of the key IRS individual and now Iraq. I can’t imagine any previous U.S. President having so many scandals attributed to his administration and virtually none of them adequately answered or resolved.
Forget Maradonna's "Hand Of God", and Luis Suarez' "Jaws Of Doom"; Goldman Sachs just issued their latest set of updated predictions for the FIFA World Cup and unleashed a "kiss of death" on USA. The bank (whose win rate on predictions so far has been a lowly 30%) forecast the odds of USA making it to the 2nd Round (the knockout stage) is 81.6% (with Portugal a lowly 5.3% likely). Given the variance of results so far, we hope they are right; but their odds seem a little long (and they have Belgium beating USA in the next round).
Spend more than a few minutes watching CNBC (yes all 2,000 of you) and you will be told how great things are, how great things will be, and how (no matter how bad the immediate 'event' is) the hockey-stick of future exceptionalism will always be there. In the interests of full disclosure, that is wrong and these four charts show why... a friendly reminder of the state of the union...
Against a background of having lost control of all western border crossings, Iraqi officials are concerned that ISIS fighters are advancing on the Haditha Dam, the second-largest in Iraq. With militants pouring in from the north, the northeast and the northwest, The NY Times reports, army officers told employees to stay inside and to be prepared to open the dam’s floodgates if ordered to do so. "This will lead to the flooding of the town and villages and will harm you also," warned one worried employee but this would not be the first time that the Iraqi government and ISIS have engaged in dam warfare, as the closure of the Falluja dam earlier in the year starved areas downstream in the provinces of Najaf and Diwaniya of water needed for crops. The situation is growing more grave as Maliki rejected calls for a caretaker government and has forced Iran's hand to help. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia noted "the Iranians are playing in a big way in Iraq."
"No" is not a word one hears very often in the new normal centrally-planned, no consequence world in which the world increasingly finds itself. As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, there is good reason not to scare people off as the power of the word “No” in human interaction shows its psychological heft is inversely proportional to its length. From early childhood, Colas points out, we learn that “No” signifies a negative outcome, and that wiring stays with us the rest of our lives. Studies using brain-imaging scans show this in detail. Subjects who hear the words “Yes” and “no” exhibit dramatically different brain activity. “No” gets processed slightly more slowly, but with powerful negative emotion. The result is less trust and cooperation from the person who hears “No”. If that is your desired result, “No” is your word of choice. But if it isn’t, try something else.
Just imagine how strong the rally would have been if US GDP had contracted by 5%? The early weakness in US equities was instantly dismissed the moment US stock markets opened for trading to the general algo public (and POMO began to be disseminated). The S&P retraced a perfect Fib 61.8% of its losses of yesterday's highs and absolutely decoupled from the reality of FX (USDJPY for example) and bond (Treasury) markets suggesting today's low-volume levitation (after big volume pre-open plunge) is nothing but a dead cat bounce. Of course, the ammo for the magical ramp was a short-squeeze and a "VIX-Smash" but even that could not keep pace with the idiocy in stocks. Gold, silver, copper, and oil all rose along with stocks. Late-day VIX-slam lifted the S&P to unch on the week (same as "most shorted" stocks) but was unable to extend. As we 'joked' before the open, "If the complete collapse of the US economy doesn't send the S&P to new all time highs, nothing will."
Iin Q1, US total Federal debt rose by $250 billion, to a record (duh) $17.6 trillion. This debt "bought" a negative $74 billion in GDP, which declined to $17.0 trillion. Said otherwise, this was the first quarter since the end of the recession when debt rose (by a whopping amount), and when GDP declined sequentially in nominal terms.
In what appears to be the first real action post-Flash Boys, NY AG Eric Schneiderman will announce at 4pm ET that Barclays will be sued over fraud allegations related to its Dark Pool's preferential treatment of high-frequency traders. As Bloomberg notes, Barclays runs one of the market's largest dark pools. This comes 2 months after the NY AG sent requests for information to various major HFT shops. It seems, just as we noted here, that a potential scapegoat is being primed 'just in case' this 'market' can't withstand the Fed's pullback.
"An Unforgettable Winter" - Bank Of America's "Explanation" For The 17th Worst GDP Print In US HistorySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2014 - 13:03
And so the polar bears penguins come out of hibernation, "explaining" today's disastrous GDP print. Randomly selected for your reading pleasure, here is Bank of Frigid America's Ethan Harris spiking the Kool Aid with an above Surgeon General recommended dose of hopium.
Well, at least someone gets it. While just about every other central bank on the planet is giving everyone two thumbs up on the economy, the deputy chair of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Lim Hng Kiang) said last night at a dinner that “an uneasy calm seems to have settled in markets” and that “we remain in uncharted waters.” It was quite surprising to see such pointed language from a central banking official. Mr. Lim jabbed at the “obvious” risks and said there would be “bumps on the road” ahead.