$25 Billion Hedge Fund Manager Explains 'How To Be A Great Trader'

Every money manager makes mistakes in the course of a career. Sometimes the mistakes are isolated, and sometimes they come in bundles or waves. The fact that the vast majority of investors and traders cannot (with rare exceptions) beat the markets over long periods of time is not an argument for efficiency. Rather, the reason is that they are mostly doing the same thing sharing the same set of assumptions, and following the same impulses.

Goldman Busts The Narrative: The New Oil Order Is "Blessing In Disguise" For Russia

With S&P facing billion-dollar fines for defying the narrative, Goldman Sachs just dared to go even further against the US government by suggesting that the new oil order may be a blessing in disguise for Russia's oil industry. Simply put, the impact of the lower oil price and sanctions on the Russian economy increase the importance of oil industry tax reform, which could provide stimulus for upstream investments and commercialisation of the country’s vast oil reserves. An acceleration of upstream/downstream tax rebalancing could incentivise the development of substantial new basins in Russia, leading to a production capacity increase and a reduction in refining volumes to levels necessary to supply the domestic market. As a result, in Goldman's view, Russian crude exports would increase, improving the country’s current account, government revenues would grow, and upstream would attract material incremental investments.

A Chapter In Trading History Closes: CME Ends The Open-Outcry Pit

Scenes like this one from the iconic movie Trading Places will henceforth be forever entombed in the annals of trader history, a history in which man is thoroughly replaced by machine, following news earlier today that the CME will close most of its futures pits in Chicago and New York. "The move deals a death blow to trading floors that grew in the 20th century alongside America’s agriculture, mining and energy industries and were once synonymous with capitalism."

Abegeddon: Speculators Are Net Short Japanese Stocks For First Time Since Abenomics

Despite increasing the scope of QQE, it appears the most crucial part of Abenomics has been lost... speculative faith that Abe and Kuroda have a clue what they are doing. With JGB yields spiking higher and now CFTC net speculative positions in Japanese stocks bearish for the first time since 2012, it looks like time's up for the 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th arrow...

 

Venezuela Runs Out Of Condoms: A Pack Now Costs $755 (If You Can Find It)

Unfortunately, the country whose president two weeks ago said that "Venezuela Must Deepen Socialism To Improve Economy", which is the political equivalent of "we must do even more QE to fix record wealth inequality", may have just hit rock bottom when Venezuelans, who already must line up for hours to buy the simplest of daily necessities (which they can obtain without being arrested in the process if they are lucky) now have to pay $755 for a pack of condoms. “The country is so messed up that now we have to wait in line even to have sex,” lamented Jonatan Montilla, a 31-year-old advertising company art director. “This is a new low.”

Paul Singer Warns "The Consequences Of Monetary Manipulation Are Unknowable"

The world believes it is in a sweet spot. There is global consensus that central banks know what they are doing and are in control, and that if economies falter, a bigger dose of QE or ZIRP or NIRP (negative interest rate policy – we just made that one up) will keep it from getting out of hand. Additionally, there seems to be a universally held belief that the U.S. is unquestionably the safe haven for the foreseeable future, that its financial crisis and long recession are behind it and that China has complete control over its own destiny. It may not surprise you to learn that we either disagree with or remain unconvinced about every one of the foregoing propositions.

President Of Euro Parliament Warns Greece Risks National Bankruptcy; Varoufakis Replies: "Greece Already Is Bankrupt"

With the ECB escalating matters this afternoon, the craziness of European leaders talking past one another in an effort to create the next headline-driven narrative continued to gather pace today. That idiocy was nowhere more obvious than when EU President Martin Schulz warned ominously that Greece risks national bankruptcy if it continues down the path of non-agreement when Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has previously explained quite clearly that "Greece is already bankrupt."

Meet The Man Behind The Scenes: The "Pro-Market Socialist" Banker Who Will Shape "Europe's Financial Future"

While the media world follows every step of the new Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (or "YV") with morbid fascination, and for good reason - he is so subdued it makes him flamboyant to a media world unaccustomed with modesty -  the truth is that, for all his best intentions, Yanis as well as the Prime Minister, are merely frontmen for popular consumption. The real brains behind the latest Greek attempt at tearing away the hated "oppressive" shackles of debt (which nobody had a problem incurring originally when everything was going smoothly, but that's a topic for another day) is a banker who sits 3000 kilometers away, on Paris' Boulevard Hausmann, and who is a self-described "pro-market socialist", and fan of The Clash. Meet Lazard's Matthieu Pigasse, the banker, whose actions in the next few days, as the WSJ puts it, will shape  "Europe’s financial future."

The Long View: Is The Bull Market In Bonds Almost Over?

There has been much debate about the current low levels of interest rates in the economy today. The primary argument is that the "30-year bull market in bonds", due to consistently falling interest rates, must be near its end. Of course, this debate has devastated the "bond bears" who have consistently been frustrated by lower interest rates despite their annual predictions to the contrary. However, just because interest rates are currently low, does this necessarily mean that they must rise?

Baltic Dry Down 90% Of Days Since Cramer "Stressed Its Importance"; Crashes To New 29-Year Low

And the collapse just keeps going... since Thanksgiving, The Baltic Dry has fallen on 43 or the 47 days, down over 60% from the "China growth is back and all-is-well" hope-filled days of late October (when Jim Cramer "stressed the importance of watching the Baltic Dry Freight Index," as his bullish thesis confirmation). At 569, The Baltic Dry is inching ever closer to what will be the lowest level ever (554 on 7/31/1986) for the global shipping cost indicator...

 

Here's A Startling Fact About President Obama's New Budget

As politicians know, dead people don’t vote. In fact, politicians today routinely steal from the dead... specifically the unborn. Children that won’t even be born for decades will inherit enormous debts that have been racked up today on drones, bombs, and wars that were waged in our era. President Obama’s most recent budget makes this abundantly clear...

Turkish Lira Plunges To Record Low After Erdogan Lambasts Central Bank "Independence"

"The honeymoon is over," warned SocGen overnight as "the trade of the year" turned into carnage after, essentially, a big policy error on the part of the central bank in the context of serious political pressures. Just today President Erdogan explained to whoever would listen that "interest rates are the cause of inflation," and "some are trying to hold Turkey back with interest rates," adding that "you can't decide interest rates based on inflation." However, his conclusion was what really sent the Turkish Lira spiralling... "unfortunately, this is the result of an independent central bank."

Chocolate Is The New Gold: Corporate Bonds Have First Ever Negative Yield Thanks To Nestle

You know the world has gone truly mad when... For what we believe is the first time, a Euro-denominated corporate bond yield has gone negative. Aa2-rated Swiss chocolate-maker Nestle saw its 2016 bonds close at -0.2bps yield follows the swing to negative yields among covered bonds (bank debt backed by loans) that started in September. As Deutsche Bank opines, maybe chocolate is the new Gold!!