Today's special report by Faros Trading summarizes the pathetic, uber-interventionist world we live in "It seems quite obvious that not employing market intervention when the rest of the world is, tends to lead down a lonely path. One where no matter how efficient your technology prowess is, you can never export competitively against the rest of the world. After all, why buy from the US if it is cheaper in Asia? Over time the manufacturing centers of Europe, Japan and the United States have dwindled as jobs have moved overseas. The only way for the US, Europe and Japan to end the spiral of economic pain is for either an end to intervention by developing markets, or for developed markets to join in the physical intervention game. The way this game is played at present can only lead to an unfortunate trade war down the road." Alas, as Michael Pettis pointed out earlier, it is likely too late as Smoot-Hawley for the Central Bank interventionist generation is now just around the corner.
"Do It Yourself" Latency Arbitrage: How HFTs Can Manipulate The NBBO At Whim Courtesy Of NYSE Empty Quote GlutsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/23/2010 - 09:29
Another day, another stunner from the statistical wizards at Nanex. As readers will recall, in our latest piece we discussed the implications of the temporal arbing of the NBBO between the Consolidated Quote System and proprietary pricing tapes, like NYSE's OpenBook, which indicated a major discrepancy in the pricing data in widely held stocks like GE. In summary, at its peak, at 14:45:55 on May 6, the latency between the CQS and OpenBook pricing hit a high of 24 seconds, making a mockery of the NBBO as all those who had premium access to OpenBook were all too aware that 99% of the investing public were seeing pricing data almost half a minute stale, and could trade accordingly on secondary "dark" venues. At the time we were disgusted with the implications this phenomenon had on the NBBO, as this was nothing less than a full-blown NBBO arbitrage opportunity for the haves vs the have nots. Yet today Nanex takes this observation, and our collective blood pressure, to a whole new level, by not only confirming that there is in fact a trigger threshold in terms of quote saturation which immediately causes a latency arbitrage between the CQS and OpenBook, but closes the circle on the ongoing constant presentation of mysterious "crop circle" quote stuffing data. In essence, what Nanex' data implies is that HFTs can create latency arbitrage on demand between the NYSE pricing data dissemination to the CQS, but not to NYSE's own proprietary product, OpenBook, by pushing the consolidated NYSE quote rate beyond a magic number of 20,000/second. This immediately begs the question: just how much of the NYT's as defined "conspiracy theory" for an "on demand" Flash Crash is theory and how much is fact, if the cause and effect of the May 6 events have been inverted, and the NYSE's Liquidity Replenishment Points failed only as a result of HFT quote bombardment.
- Whatever you do, don't call it a bubble - Bond Funds Attracting Cash Like Stocks During Dot-Com Boom: Credit Markets (Bloomberg)
- The latest Ponzi spin - Spain using its social security funds to buy up its bond auctions (Fistful of Euros)
- Michael Pettis: The last chance to avoid a global trading war (FT)
- China Premier Wen Calls for Political Reform: China has to pursue
political reform to safeguard its economic health, Premier Wen Jiabao
said during a visit to the booming town of Shenzhen, the official Xinhua
news agency reporte (Reuters)
- China Sets Strict Rules on Off-Book Loans (NYT)
- Andy Xie- Inflation, not deflation, Mr. Bernanke: World divides into ice-cold and red-hot economies (MarketWatch)
- Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott Launch Bids to Secure Power (Australian)
- Bernanke Must Raise Benchmark Rate 2 Points, Rajan Says (Bloomberg)
- Implementation of Affordable Chinese Housing Construction Plan Urged (China Daily)
- Preparing for the next "Black Swan" - Investors Are Flocking to New Strategies Designed to Profit From a Market Calamity. But Will They Fly? (WSJ)
- Time for Napoleon Dynamite to write another paid for report claiming all is well in Ireland: Ireland Needs ‘Sustainable’ Finances for Recovery, Lenihan Says (Business Week)
- Asian stocks fluctuate amid growth concerns; Miners advance.
- Australia set for hung parliament as elections deliver blow to PM.
- China premier: Political reforms needed for growth.
- FDA to find the cause of a salmonella outbreak.
- Mobile operators predict app sales boom; apps expected to outstrip voice services by 2013.
- Nikkei 225 fell to this year's low on European debt concerns.
- Obama considering overhauling 26 troubled federal technology projects valued at $30B.
- Obama admin: Effects of moratorium on deepwater drilling, would cost 23,000 jobs and freeze up to $10.2B in investment.
- Oil rises above $74 in Asia amid hurricane season.
- Weak economy, volatile markets, regulatory upheaval starting to trigger job cuts on Wall St.
According to Moody's semi-annual European Sovereign Outlook report, published earlier, the rating agency is once again on track to destabilize Europe, by firing the latest warning shot. In the report the agency, which at last check is still without a sovereign research head after the current one left some time ago, said that slower economic growth in Europe might spark downgrades to credit ratings for countries on the continent, as any slowdown could weaken the ability of individual countries to absorb additional shocks to the system, as cited by Dow Jones. "The ratings agency said that the fiscal and economic adjustments necessary to stabilize government debt ratios are likely to be difficult and painful." In other words more than magic may be required to keep the insolvent continent together (and for the very unshocking observation that Spain has been using its social security fund to buy up its bond to keep the false impression that all is good, read today's Frontrunning). In other words, the latest currency devaluation race is once again on. And for the time being the AUD seems to be taking its overnight mispricing from much lower fair values in stride.
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 23/08/10
In an interview by Likud Knesset Member Danny Danon, speaking with WND senior reporter Aaron Klein, who hosts an investigative program on New York's WABC 770 AM Radio, the Israeli said that "Israel is preparing for a time of war...We are ready for all scenarios, and we are able to defend our civilian population. I cannot tell you how long we can wait more. But we prefer to wait and see if the international bodies are acting, or [whether] it will be only the burden of Israel, like it was in the early '80s, when the great leader, Menachem Begin, [made] the great decision to bomb the nuclear reactor in Iraq." He concluded: "We don't want this to be a war of Jews against Muslims. It should be a war of Western civilization [against] Iran." Good luck explaining that to 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.
After Finally Covering The Massive Retail Outflows, The NYT Also "Discloses" The Nanex Crop Circle MysterySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2010 - 21:18
Reading the NYT these days sure is enlightening: first, one gets news about some odd phenomenon, previously unheard of, that for 15 straight weeks retail investors have been pulling money out of retail funds (hmm, where has one seen this before), and now, with much fanfare, the NYT brings the Nanex Crop Circles to the center stage. At least unlike the former story's 15 week delay, it took the NYT a mere 3 weeks to rehash what Zero Hedge readers had known since July. Nonetheless, it is satisfying that the criminal stock churning activity reported on first by us, has finally gone mainstream. Of course, the NYT conclusion is typical: "The idea that shadowy computer masterminds were trying to disrupt the nation’s stock trading struck many people as ridiculous. Wall Street experts generally characterize it as a conspiracy theory with little basis in fact." Interesting: yet a mere 4 minutes ago we pointed out that Finra is starting to ferret out illicit HFT trading practices... Maybe the NYT can put two and two together (in real-time this time).
It couldn't happen to a nicer group of pirates. After a year-long campaign by Zero Hedge warning about the ongoing threat to market structure by the HFT plague, culminating in a the May 6 crash, whose incipient conditions exist to this day, the FT reports that the even more worthless regulator, FINRA, is beginning a clampdown on broker dealers who allowed high-frequency traders to have access to the markets without undertaking proper checks. As this means all of them, there is about to be a huge change in market structure as arguably more than half of the market "participants" are suddenly excluded from constant daily churning activity. What the outcome of this will be is anyone's guess, but definitely expect strange things if this is truly a first step towards reverting to some form of normalcy.
At £4.8 Trillion In Total Debt Including Unfunded Liabilities, UK Debt Is Six Times More Than The Official NumberSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2010 - 18:40
Everyone knows that the total US debt is over $120 trillion when accounting for such underfunded liabilities as Medicare and Social Security. Well, it appears that the bankrupt US welfare state is not alone. According to the UK's Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the country's national debt is £4.8 trillion once state and public sector pension liabilities are included, or £78,000 for every person in the UK. This number translates to about 330% of UK's GDP. Which of course is nothing compared to the total US adjusted debt-to-GDP number which when accounting for all off balance sheet items is roughly 10x the US GDP of $13.6 trillion, a number which is Rosenberg and Bridgewater are correct, may decline quite soon.
The quarterly Goldman Hedge Fund Trend Monitor, aka the HF groupthink update, is released, chock full of HF holding trivia, such as that should Apple ever miss its priced to absolute perfection business model, a whopping 181 hedge funds are going to suffer, and 75 HFs, who have Apple as a top 10 holding, are going to get crushed. Also, we uncover the latest top 10 hedge funds ranked by equity assets (DE Shaw, RenTec and Paulson are the new top 3, although with 2,048 and 2,669 holdings for the first two, they are now receiving 2 and 20 for their quant models which as the NYT highlighted recently no longer work). On the other end of the quant spectrum, are the traditional hedge funds, and as of Q2, the typical fund had an average of 63% of its long-equity assets invested in its 10 largest positions, compared to 30% for a typical large-cap mutual fund, 17% for a small-cap mutual fund, 19% for the S&P and just 2% for the Russell 2000. The top 5 most concentrated hedge fund holdings are AutoNation (46% of market cap held by HFs), Sears (45%), AutoZone (32%), Pactiv (28%) and Novell (27%). Also hilarious perpetual LBO candidate Radioshack has hedge funds make up 24% of its market cap. In other words, any bad news here will kill the stock price faster than a HFT can frontrun the exponential pulling of bids. On the other side, or the names most hated by hedge funds, is Brown Forman, where only 0.2% of HFs make up its market cap, followed by Roper Industries, Stericycle, Hormel, and Praxair. From a surprise upside potential perspective, Goldman estimates that the most HF-shorted names is Crown Media, which has a 99 day short interest ratiom followed by Lifeway Foods, Isramco, K-Fed Bancorp, First South Bancorp, and Costar Group. Shorts Squeezes in these names could be violent. Looking at ETFs, the biggest gross long ETF held by HFs is GLD with $8 billion in long ownership, while the most shorted is SPY with $27.6 billion in shorts, indicating that funds are now "hedging" using this proxy for the entire market. Lastly, in confirmation that hedge funds are for the most part worthless "groupthink" contraptions which merely ride a leveraged beta wave, and suck out management fees, Goldman highlights that the "Most Concentrated" basket of stocks has underperformed the "Least Concentrated" stocks materially since February 2007, confirming that HFs have actually destroyed value in both the past 3 years and YTD, by underperforming the market.
Now that Morgan Stanley has officially thrown in the towel in fighting the Fed (and, paradoxically, deflation), and has abdicated the steepener bandwagon (which can only mean it is time to start selling bonds), the firm's rates analysts are once again focusing on what they do best: provide advice on how to front run the Fed. As we pointed out, Igor Cashyn was virtually spotless in his first two attempts to predict just which Treasuries the Fed was going to purchase. We present his latest cheat sheet for the upcoming POMO operations for Tuesday and Thursday of this week, and for the September 1st operation. In a nutshell for those who want to pick some virtually 99.99% risk-free money, here are the suggested trades: Buy 1.375% 02/15/2013 / Sell on-the-run 3y - this positions investors for the August 24 Fed operation; Buy 8.0% 11/15/2021 / Sell on-the-run 10y - this positions investors for the August 26 Fed operation; Buy 1.375% 01/15/2013 / Sell on-the-run 3y - this positions investors for the September 1 Fed operation.
Who thought one could write 2000 words to describe the beneficial and very transitory impact of a currency plunge in a fiat world where everyone's goal is now to devalue their own monetary equivalent. Yet that is precisely what Goldman's European analyst Erik Nielsen has done in his weekly recap of European events past and future. Below are the just released views of Chiswick's perpetually cheery resident.
As another leg down to the economy is starting to be telegraphed by even the official data set, particularly in unemployment, and housing, and with industrial production slowing down, Goldman is once again beating the QE 2 "non-lite" drums. As such, all eyes turn to this week's Jackson Hole Kansas City Fed Economic Symposium (the same Kansas City where the sole dissenter to the Fed's ZIRP "bubbles4eva" policy, Tom Hoenig, rules over rational thought with an iron fist, even as other Fed intellectual midgets scribble pre-paid papers describing how stable the economy of soon to be bankrupt countries is). As we pointed out in the days following Hatzius' reduction in GDP estimates, the Goldman strategist was hoping for a $1 trillion QE announcement. The Fed decided against it, and the market sold off. Which is why at this very public Fed venue (and last) before the September 21 FOMC meeting, many will be focused on Bernanke's speech to see if he will telegraph the purchases of even more securities, which as Hatzius highlighted before, could include more "exotic" credit, including private label MBS, munis and even corporates. As Sven Jari Stehn says, "it will be worth watching whether Fed Chairman Bernanke will comment in
his opening remarks on the recent data disappointments and/or the
ongoing debate on the appropriate stance of monetary policy." And nobody is more concerned than Angela Merkel - now that the EUR has finally started to dip once again to the delight of an insolvent Europe, Germany will do all it can to keep the USD on its upward trend, as the ECB would prove much harder to manipulate into another round of QE. Or maybe not - all it would take is for Greece to be declared bankrupt again. Which is why the next big geopolitical instability cycle may start off anew depending on the first few sentences uttered by Bernanke in the August 26-28 meeting. And finally something quite odd about this year's meeting - as Bloomberg's Scott Lanman points out, the head of the FRBNY's trading desk, better known as the PPT, Brian Sack, is not invited to this meeting for the first time. We will keep a close eye on this very peculiar regime change.