June 13th, 2011
Remember, stocks tanked 16% after QE 1 ended in 2010. So far, we’re already down 6% and QE 2 hasn’t even ended yet! If we match last year’s post-QE correction, the S&P 500 will be at 1,144 soon after QE 2 ends. And given the numerous disasters (economic and financial) occurring in the world today, we could easily drop a lot further than that.
The biggest problem with investing the markets today, is that we’ve entered a period in which not one country, but most of the developed world is entering a currency Crisis. Of the countries that back major currencies the Europe, the US, and Japan all face major debt restructuring issues. In different terms, we are witnessing the slow-motion collapse of the entire paper-money based financial system, as well as the unbridled credit growth such a system fosters.
The inaugural GOP presidential debate will begin shortly in New Hampshire. The sevan candidates who will be exchanging shots over all sorts of irrelevant matters will be Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. For those who are not watching the Stanley Cup which is concurrent with this game show, this muppet spectacle should provide for at least an hour of delightful entertainment.
How many residents of Japan, Hawaii and the West Coast have tasted this?
Do Zero Hedgers agree?
Greek Parliament Preparing Evacuation Tunnel Ahead Of Wednesday Vote On IMF Bailout, General Strike And Parliamentary BlockadeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/13/2011 18:50 -0400
June 15, the day of a general strike in Greece, is also the day when the critical "mid-term agreement" between the insolvent country and the Troica will be voted on by the general assembly. "The agreement includes tax increases, slashing of
wages and pensions and the lay-off of approximately more 100,000 civil
servants in the next few years." Already the blog Occupied London has called for a blockade of the Athens parliament: "Last night (June 11th) the popular assembly of Syntagma square
announced a call to blockade the Greek parliament ahead of the voting of
the so-called Mid-term agreement between the Greek government and the
troika (IMF/ECB/EU). The call-out for the blockade below is one of the most important acts
we have seen by the Syntagma assembly so far. June 15th is gearing up
to become a historical day in Greece, a crucial chance to block off the
charge-ahead of neoliberalism here. Don’t be a spectator to this – translate and disseminate the text
below; organise a gathering where you are, or come join us at Syntagma.
This is the struggle for and of our lives." Needless to say, should the vote pass, and should the Parliament be blockaded, which it will be, the chances of politicians to leave general assembly unscathed may be compromised. Which is why we were not surprised to learn, courtesy of Covering Delta, that the Greek parliament has hired foreign workers to clean out the underground tunnel which leads from the parliament to the port of Piraeus (soon to be privatized) in order to avoid what some fear may be the popular lynchings of MPs by the disgruntled masses.
After a major hack of the IMF's website over the weekend promptly scrambled the FBI, just as Operation Empire State Rebellion announced it was taking its attack of the Fed Chairman to the next level (we have yet to see anything here more than just rhetoric), today, the competing hacker group, the one implicated in numerous Sony breakins as well as a recent defacing of an FBI-affiliate, LulzSec, has proven it broke into the Senate's SPARC server and exposed everything that admin email@example.com apparently was unable to hid sufficiently well. On its website, LulzSecurity left the following preface to the several hundred thousand code-long data dump of everything located in the Senate server: "We don't like the US government very much. Their boats are weak, their lulz are low, and their sites aren't very secure. In an attempt to help them fix their issues, we've decided to donate additional lulz in the form of owning them some more! This is a small, just-for-kicks release of some internal data from Senate.gov - is this an act of war, gentlemen? Problem? - Lulz Security." And what is completely not surprising, following a Dow Jones inquiry, "a Senate representative said she was unaware of any breach of the body's web site." Well it has been breached- anyone curious what is contained in the server can do so here. A cursory investigation does not reveal the exposition of any sensitive data.... This time. Yet one thing LulzSec most certainly acquired was the user/pass combinations of all individuals affiliated with the Senate, and are likely currently actively downloading all their emails. We continue to wonder just how safe the Fed's email server is...
Have €121,000 lying around? Enjoy hiking in smallish central European countries with picturesque villages? Then this deal is for you. While its new European banker overlords are pushing Greece to sell off, pardon, "privatize" the bulk of its most monetizable assets, Austria has already seen the writing on the wall, and in a very proactive step, iss offering to see two mountain peaks in the Austrian Alps. From AP: "Two 2,000-metre (6,500-feet) mountain peaks in eastern Tyrol -- the "Grosse Kinigat" and the "Rosskopf" -- are up for sale for just 121,000 euros ($175,800) for the pair. On its website, Austria's federal real estate company, the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft or BIG, proudly boasts that the two peaks offer the "most stunning views of the Carnic Alps and are popular destinations for mountain climbers and hikers"." As to why Austria is suddenly scrambling to sell mountains, nobody really knows: ""It's a mystery to me why they're wanting to sell the peaks right now," the mayor of the tiny village of Kartitsch, Josef Ausserlechner, told the Austrian news agency APA. "In Greece, they're selling off islands. In Austria, it's the mountains," he fumed." Lastly, the reason doesn't matter. What is certain is that some Goldman dodecatuple secret shell holding SPV will end up being the buyer. And where Greece and Austria have already ventured, so shall the rest of Europe boldly go very soon as the banking syndicate soon ends up owning literally everything.
What we have now is an economy that is almost entirely driven by Banking Interests so, if we want our markets to be strong, we need to do what is good for the banks. At the moment, that means keeping the Dollar as weak as possible.
Very weak day in credit land, despite some strength in stocks. Significant sell-off in short-dated HY (cash and synthetic), financials net sold all day, and European sovereign risk spurts higher once again. Dip buyers notably absent in credit for now.
On a very slow trading day, some big picture observations from Russ Certo of Gleacher: "Good afternoon. The S&P 500 slid for a sixth straight week, its longest swoon since July 2008. The Dow closed below 12,000 for the first time since March, and 6.7% off the highs and has been bantering around all day today. Declining stocks outpaced advancing ones by 4-to-1 ratio on Friday. Stock, money market and muni funds had a weekly net outflows averaging $4.2 billion, $1.1 billion and 141 million respectively, in the latest four weeks. Investment grade corporate issuance fell to its slowest pace of the year last week spooked by a host of global, sovereign and geopolitical items. Just $6.3 billion in new investment grade bonds were sold last week in this climate. The “Sell in May and walk away” mantra is on trader’s minds as last year the Dow receded nearly 14% from late April through early July. Remember the calls to attention to the Hindenburg formations which cast a cloud over markets before they climbed a wall of worry since?"
A snapshot of the US Afternoon Briefing covering Stocks, Bonds, FX, etc.
Market Recaps to help improve your Trading and Global knowledge
The basic dynamic is profound: the political and financial tyranny of Wall Street and the "too big to fail" banks is fueled by our own participation. "Reformers" both within the Central State and outside its halls of delirium-inducing power, keep hoping that some tweaking of policy or regulations will relax the grip of Wall Street and the big banks on the nation's throat. They are willfully blind to the obvious: that with enough money, any rule can be bent or evaded. Just look at the thousands of pages of tax codes which are supposed to impose "fair and equal" taxation on the citizenry. Yet the Power Elites pay less than half (around 18%) of what self-employed entrepreneurs pay (a basic rate of over 40%--15% self-employment tax and 25% Federal tax). For example, Hedge funders pay a mere 15% on their $100 million earnings because they bought a law in Congress which declares their earnings, regardless of source, as "long-term capital gains."...As for loading up on debt with the intent of defaulting as a political action against financial tyranny: it may well hasten the downfall of our financial overlords, but it may also expose the defaulter to various forms of harassment and the possibility that the impaired banking sector would transfer collection to a Police State or private proxy. Harassment of debtors is already at tyranny levels.
While everyone is focusing on the by now default (pardon the pun) assumption that Greece will default, it may be time to redirect attention to the core of the Eurozone, where tomorrow will mark the 6 month anniversary of S&P's threat that it will downgrade a still government-less and AA+ rated Belgium. From December 14: "If Belgium fails to form a government soon, a downgrade could occur, potentially within six months." Newsflash, at least for S&P which appears to need reminding of what garbage it has published in the recent past: tomorrow is the 6 month anniversary of this report. And the conditions for the downgrade are still there. So instead of continuing the "high and mighty" charade with now weekly downgrades of Greece, perhaps it is time to really throw the Eurozone in a loop and remind the world that the line between the PIIGS and the "developed" nations is relaly non-existent.
While many have speculated that the May 6 flash crash was a combination of High Frequency Trading (primarily), quote stuffing, ETF participation, and overall liquidity reduction, few, and certainly not the SEC, have been able to pinpoint the participation of HFT in disruptive ETF movements. Indeed, HFTs have been isolated in individuals stocks (best seen in the infamous "crop circles" images from last summer here and here) and specific futures contracts (most recently the NG NYMEX contract which experienced a truly bizarre algo driven sine wave pattern before flash crashing with no fundamental input) but rarely in actual ETFs. Perhaps this has been due to the relatively high volume of trades in some of the most popular ETFs such as the SPY, where the impact of one single algo would rapidly get lost in the noise. Well, a few days ago, Nanex once again was the first to catch the NatGas "sine wave" in action in what is possibly the most actively traded product in the stock market: the SPY or Spider ETF. Today, Nanex once again brings something very jarring to popular attention by focusing not on the most trafficked "synthetic CDOs" but on numerous ETFs that have not been front and center in the public's eye, yet which could serve as a great practice springboard to total market manipulation via HFT strategies - strategies that if taken beyond their reasonable limit, could crash the overall market very much how the NatGas algo crashed the price of gas by 8% in seconds. Presenting the RETF algo....whose purpose is currently unknown, but whose presence in the market should be known by everyone who trades stocks.