Archive

April 7th, 2014

CEO Of Liechtenstein Bank Frick Murdered In Broad Daylight

Over the weekend the world was gripped by the drama surrounding the mysterious murder-homicide of the former CEO of Dutch bank ABN Amro and members of his family, and whether there is more foul play than meets the eye. However, that is nothing compared to what just happened in the tiny, and all too quiet Principality of Lichtenstein, where moments ago the CEO of local financial institution Bank Frick & Co. AG, Juergen Frick, was shot dead in the underground garage of the bank located in the city of Balzers.

Stock Selling Continues as Biotechs Near Bear-Market (Negative Year-To-Date)

UPDATE: V-shaped recovery in stocks as 103 USDJPY marks line in the sand...

BTFD failed and momentum has broken. Growth stocks and Biotech dreams are lying shattered in a pool of margin calls once again this morning. Nasdaq being dragged by another more-than-1% drop in Biotechs (now negative year-to-date) and nearing the 20% high-to-low drop of a bear market. Bonds are bid as JPY carry unwinds drag broad US equity markets lower... The USD is weaker (led by EUR strength) and precious metals are down modestly (gold at $1300)

High Frequency Trading: All You Need To Know

In the aftermath of Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys" there has been a renewed surge in interest in High Frequency Trading. Alas, much of it is conflicted, biased, overly technical or simply wrong. And since we can't assume that all those interested have been followed our 5 year of coverage of a topic that finally has earned its day in the public spotlight, below is a simple summary for everyone.

 

The Chinese Ponzi Continues: Property Developers Buy (Piggy) Banks

"Whatever it takes," appears to have become the new mantra across global financial systems and with Chinese shadow banks under increasing pressure (as cash-for-commodity deal financing dries up and "hedge" losses mount on 'surprise' Yuan weakness), property developers are increasingly desperate for liquidity. The solution, as The FT reports, Chinese property companies are buying stakes in banks and raising fears that the country’s already stretched developers are trying to cosy up to their lenders. 10 Chinese developers, who have been active in recent bank IPOs, have invested an 'unprecedented' $3bn in their potential lifeline lenders.

And The Next Big Thing Is... Degrowth?

The Grand Narrative of the past few centuries goes something like this: from religious authority to secular authority, from agriculture to industrial, from rural to urban, from local to global, from periphery to center, from decentralized to centralized, from low-density energy to high-density energy (from wood to coal to oil/natural gas), from industrial to communication technology, from gold to fiat currencies, from linear to non-linear (complex/fractal), from local scarcity and high cost to global abundance, from islands of prosperity to continents of prosperity, from cash to credit, from collateral to leverage,from productive to consumerist and from sustainable to unsustainable. Many of these linear trends are running out of oxygen or reversing. This is not doom-and-gloom for society--it is only doom-and-gloom for the current unsustainable arrangement (Plan A).

Key Events In The Coming Week

There is a reasonably quiet start to the week before we head into the highlights of the week including the start of US reporting season tomorrow, FOMC minutes on Wednesday and IMF meetings in Washington on Friday. On the schedule for today central bank officials from the ECB including Mersch, Weidmann and Constancio will be speaking. The Fed’s Bullard speaks today, and no doubt there will be interest in his comments from last week suggesting that the Fed will hike rates in early 2015.

Frontrunning: April 7

  • The counter-HFT-attack begins with first target - dark pools: Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading (Reuters)
  • Malaysia Jet Team Hears Pings Consistent With Black Box (BBG)
  • At Toyota as Humans Steal Jobs From Robots (BBG)
  • ‘Reverse Auctions’ Draw Scrutiny (NYT)
  • Death knell sounds for Brazil’s economic strategy (FT)
  • Technology Traders Head for the Exit as Put Trades Surge (BBG)
  • NSA Uses Corporate News to Spread Propaganda and Silence Dissent (TruthDig)
  • Holcim, Lafarge agree to merger to create cement giant (Reuters)
  • Any minute now: Investment Jump Seen From Macy’s to Berkshire After 2013 Fizzle (BBG)
  • India kicks off world's biggest election in remote northeast (Reuters)

Crimea 2.0: Donetsk Activists Declare Kiev Independence, Request "Temporary Peacekeeping" Support From Putin

Update with Ukraine's take: SEPARATIST ACTION IN EAST UKRAINE SHOWS "SECOND STAGE OF RUSSIAN SPECIAL OPERATIONS AGAINST UKRAINE" IS UNDERWAY-UKRAINIAN ACTING PRESIDENT - RTRS

Less than a month after the Crimean referendum which pulled the region away from Ukraine and ceded it to Russia, another east Ukraine regional city, Donetsk, has just declared its independence from Kiev following the previously reported mini coup yesterday in which pro-Russia activists seized the government building in the city, as well as the other two regional capitals. Specifically, as RT reports, today at 12:20 local time, a session of the people's Council of Donbass (Donetsk region) took place in the main hall of the Regional Council and without the police (whose allegiance to Kiev also appears to be non-existent) intervening, unanimously voted on a declaration to form a new independent state: the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

As The Hedge Fund Slaughter Continues, Here Is Who Is Unwinding And What Stocks To Watch

The hedge fund slaughter continued for a second week in a row, and now we know at least one of the parties that was liquidating - curious which hedge fund is unwinding (the first of many)? Here is the answer: "On an investor call Thursday, Mr. Citrone said Discovery had reduced the amount of risk it was taking and that he remained confident that U.S. growth was accelerating." More importantly, for those curious where the pain will continue to be focused as the HF unwind accelerates, here are the most held long hedge fund positions which if indeed the unwind has begun, will be slaughtered in the coming days.

No BTFD In Overnight Yen Carry/Spoos Means Momo Confusion Continues

No Yen carry levitation overnight and, naturally, no Spoo levitation, with the futures struggling following the Nikkei's -1.7% drubbing (pushing it back to nearly -10% on the year) and down well from Friday's closing print. Risk averse sentiment following on from lower close on Wall Street on Friday, NASDAQ 100 (-2.7%) marked the worst session since 2011 dominated the price action in Asia, with JGBs up 32 ticks and the Nikkei 225 index (-1.7%). The Shanghai Composite was closed for a market holiday. Overall, stocks in Europe have recovered off lows but remain in negative territory (Eurostoxx50 -0.64%), with tech sector under performing in a continuation of sector weakness seen in the US and Asia, however Bunds remained under pressure as speculation of QE by ECB continued to undermine demand for core EU bonds. No major tier 1 releases scheduled for rest of the session, with focus likely turning to any policy related comments from ECB’s Weidmann, Constancio and Fed’s Bullard.

April 6th

Government Confiscation And Lifting The Veil On "The 401(k) Scheme"

From Presidential edicts of 'MyRA' being for your own good and "will never go down in value" to Poland's 'precedent-setting' confiscation of public pensions funds for the good of the nation's debt load; and from the IMF's "one-off" wealth tax 'idea' to Europe's recent consideration of 'wholesale savings confiscations and enforced redistribution', it appears Marc Faber's warning that "from now onwards, the bailouts will also be at the expense of the asset holders, the well-to-do people. So if you have money I am sure the governments will one day take away 20-30% of my wealth," is becoming more likely every day. As the following mini-documentary explains, confirming Ron Paul's warning that "there is more chaos to come," Jim Rogers' fear that "they won’t take our bank accounts...they will take our retirement accounts," is coming true.