August 3rd, 2012
Friday Humor: "I Am Pledging To Cut The Deficit We Inherited By Half By The End Of My First Term In Office"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2012 17:48 -0400
"If we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road as our interest payments rise, our obligations come due, confidence in our economy erodes and our children and grandchildren are unable to pursue their dreams because they are saddled with our debts. That's why today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office... That means taking responsibility right now in this administration, for getting our spending under control."
It was fun (not really) while it lasted, but America's habitual gamblers have finally grown tired of the theta sucking monsters known as uberlevered ETFs. End result: Direxion is announcing it is closing nine 3X levered ETFs. The casualties are: Direxion Daily Agribusiness Bull 3X Shares (COWL), Direxion Daily Agribusiness Bear 3X Shares (COWS), Direxion Daily Basic Materials Bear 3X Shares (MATS), Direxion Daily BRIC Bull 3X Shares (BRIL), Direxion Daily BRIC Bear 3X Shares (BRIS), Direxion Daily Healthcare Bear 3X Shares (SICK), Direxion Daily India Bear 3X Shares (INDZ), Direxion Daily Latin America Bear 3X Shares (LHB) and Direxion Daily Retail Bear 3X Shares (RETS).
James McShirley of Ohio who has documented numerous repetitive market activities which could never occur time and time again in a freely traded market. Just this past week gold completed its 2% up, 1% up, sideways, down hard pattern, which is only one of many trading anomalies James has tracked.
By now even 5 year olds know that the one asset class driving the general stock market is the highly leverageable EURUSD: where the core pair goes, everything else follows, especially if the direction is up (when the EURUSD slides lately it is assumed to be a confirmation that the ECB will print; when it goes up, the agreed upon explanation is that more Fed easing is imminent). As such a key variable has been the amount of net shorts in the pair, as exposed every week by the CFTC in its COT report. And where two months ago, the net short position in the EUR hit an all time record, north of -200K contracts, in the interim this number has contracted by over a third, and as of minutes ago was revealed to be "just" 139K in the week ending July 31, a 10% drop in shorts in one week. Why is this important? Because while short covering rallies have long been yet another narrative to keep shorts on the sidelines, the probability of such an event has declined dramatically now that the bulk of the weak hands have been kicked out, and the net exposure is back to January 2012 levels. In other words, 8 months later we have completed one full shorting circle when it comes to the euro., which however now is 700 pips lower than where it was back then. The Jack in the Box potential of further squeezing is rapidly declining with every move such as today's when no news and mere rumor drives the pair up by 200 pips (only to be faded of course).
S&P Downgrades 15 Italian Financial Institutions, Says Country Faces Deeper Recession Than Previously ThoughtSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2012 15:38 -0400
It is late in the afternoon on a Friday, which means one thing: it is time to dump all left over bad news under the rug. Sure enough, here comes S&P. From Bloomberg:
- S&P CUTS RATINGS ON 15 ITALIAN FINL INSTITUTIONS
- S&P TAKES RATING ACTIONS ON 32 ITALIAN FINL INSTITUTIONS
- BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA SPA CUT TO BBB-/NEGATIVE/A-3
- BANCA POPOLARE DI MILANO SCRL CUT TO BB+/NEGATIVE/B BY S&P
- S&P SAYS ITALY FACES POTENTIAL DEEPER RECESSION THAN IT THOUGHT
What a difference a revisionist market rally makes. Remember when everyone was involved in Libor manipulation? No? Curious what a few hundred DJIA points will do especially when the corporate revenues and supporting them simply are not there, and one goes all in on multiple expansion. One entity which, however, has not forgotten about Lieborgate is Pimco parent and Europe's largest insurance firm, Allianz. And they are not happy: "Europe's biggest insurer, Allianz, is worried about the role central banks may have played in an interest rate rigging scandal that has enveloped some leading international lenders, the insurer's chief financial officer said on Friday. "We do not find it funny, what has happened, in particular the arising implication that it is not just the banks but central banks being involved in this," Oliver Baete told a conference call with analysts. "That really gives us cause for concern," Baete added." Of course, neither the ECB nor the FED could care much, considering that Allianz would be immediately insolvent if the same central banks who manipulated Libor stopped manipulating interest rates... which is implicitly what Allianz is unhappy about.
TD Ameritrade Resumes Trading With Knight Hours Before Credit Line Expires; $440 MM Cash Outflow LoomsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2012 14:33 -0400
Knight's credit line expires in 90 minutes. All day it has been a dark box, with virtually no trades coming in or leaving. The company is scrambling, so what happens: some much needed good news finally hits the tape following a TD Ameritrade announcement it has resumed trading with KCG. Will others piggyback as the credit lifeline that is keeping Knight alive expires at the end of the day, and the liquidity runs out, or will firms who explicitly are Knight's competitors in a market which has ever less volume leave it out to hang in hopes of picking up its business on the cheap. A 90 minute difference between life and death for a firm in desperate need of many more such press releases.
Moments ago AIG stock was halted with many scratching their heads as to the the reason why. Here it is, courtesy of Bloomberg:
- TREASURY TO OFFER $4.5 BILLION OF AIG COMMON SHARES
- AIG TO BUY BACK UP TO $3 BILLION OF SHARES SOLD BY TREASURY
Full release as we get it. Bottom line: another $1.5 billion in AIG shares are about to hit the market. Of course, in this broken market this will be seen as bullish. At least initially. Then the selloff.
While the attached interview between the Casey Report and HFT expert Garrett from CalibratedConfidence will not reveal much unknown new to those who have been following the high frequency trading topic ever since ZH made it a mainstream issue in April of 2009, it will serve as a great foundation for all those new to the topic who are looking for an honest, unbiased introduction to what is otherwise a nebulous and complicated matter. We urge everyone who is even remotely interested in market structure, broken markets and the future of trading to read the observations presented below.
In light of yet another tech driven blowup yesterday at Knight Capital, perhaps someone, anyone, outside of ZH and Themis should look into this nonsense.
Even Orwell Underestimated the Ridiculousness ...
One didn't think that an economic event could come and go without some commentary from the WSJ's resident "Fed mouthpiece-cum-economist" who has rapidly become a caricature of himself, and is solely known for his heretofore programmed leaks of Fed policy, which tended to work until it didn't. In a normal day when newsflow or fundamentals actually mattered, we would focus on far more important things. However, since we are caught in the manic phase of the market's daily bipolar gyrations, and nothing can make a dent in sentiment at least until Monday when the market suddenly decides it was 100% wrong in its re-interpretation of Draghi's comments (last we checked there is still no press release from the Bundesbank saying it has agreed to any bond buying, let along short-dated) and decides to plunge all over again, here is Jon with more propaganda that today's NFP beat, which is still well below the 200+ needed to maintain the declining unemployment rate trendline, means nothing for the Fed.
John Tamny of Forbes is one of the more informed contributors in the increasingly dismal state of economic commentating. Tamny readily admits he is on the libertarian side of things and doesn’t give into the money-making game of carrying the flag for a favored political party under the guise of a neutral observer. He condemns the whole of the Washington establishment for our current economic woes and realizes that government spending is wasteful in the sense that it is outside the sphere of profit and loss consideration. In short, Tamny’s column for both Forbes and RealClearMarkets.com are a breath of fresh air in the stale rottenness of mainstream economic analysis. Much to this author’s dismay however, Tamny has written a piece that denies one of the key functions through which central banks facilitate the creation of money. In doing so, he lets banks off the hook for what really can be classified as counterfeiting. In a recent Forbes column entitled “Ron Paul, Fractional Reserve Banking, and the Money Multiplier Myth,” Tamny attempts to bust what he calls the myth that fractional reserve banking allows for the creation of money through credit lending. According to him, it is an extreme exaggeration to say money is created “out of thin air” by fractional reserve banks as Murray Rothbard alleged. This is a truly outrageous claim that finds itself wrong not just in theory but also in plain evidence. Not only does fractional reserve banking play a crucial role in inflationary credit expansion, it borders on being outright fraudulent.
Promises Of More QE Are No Longer Sufficient: Desperate Banks Demand Reserves, Get First Fed Repo In 4 YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2012 12:03 -0400
While endless jawboning and threats of more free (and even paid for those close to the discount window) money can do miracles for markets, if only for a day or two, by spooking every new incremental layer of shorts into covering, there is one problem with this strategy: the "flow" pathway is about to run out of purchasing power. Recall that Goldman finally admitted that when it comes to monetary policy, it really is all about the flow, just as we have been claiming for years. What does this mean - simple: the Fed needs to constantly infuse the financial system with new, unsterilized reserves in order to provide bank traders with the dry powder needed to ramp risk higher. Logically, this makes intuitive sense: if talking the market up was all that was needed, Ben would simply say he would like to see the Dow at 36,000 and leave it at that. That's great, but unless the Fed is the one doing the actual buying, those who wish to take advantage of the Fed's jawboning need to have access to reserves, which via Shadow banking conduits, i.e., repos, can be converted to fungible cash, which can then be used to ramp up ES, SPY and other risk aggregates (just like JPM was doing by selling IG9 and becoming the market in that axe). As it turns out, today we may have just hit the limit on how much banks can do without an actual injection of new reserves by the Fed. Read: a new unsterilized QE program.