What more can we say here that we have not said for 12 times in a row already. Retail investors are dunzo. The latest update from ICI shows that the week ended July 28 saw a record 13th consecutive outflow from domestic mutual funds as stocks bloody surged. Good thing the HFT algos can now essentially communicate with each other in the actual unique flow patterns of cancelled stock bids, thereby announcing to all other participants the plans of one which promptly become those of all, in the most under the radar concerted effort to "club" the market's HFT participants as one big trading force. As for retail: it is all over. We won't even chart the latest move. Figure it out: nearly $50 billion in outflows YTD as the market is well green. When the coordinated computerized front running game (of stupid carbon based lifeforms) in which one Atari machine sells to another, and repeats into infinity, while all book liquidity rebates, comes to an end and the theater is finally perceived to have been burning all along, watch out for the binary stampede.
But don't take our word for it. According to the FT, banks are starting to panic that as a result of collapsing trade volumes, profit target misses and massive layoffs are just around the corner.
US banks with Wall Street operations are bracing for a slump in trading profits this year after the third quarter got off to a poor start, with global economic uncertainty and Europe’s sovereign debt woes leading to a slowdown in market activity in July.
Executives said volumes and profitability last month were even lower than during the sluggish second quarter, with hedge funds particularly reluctant to take big bets on equities and debt.
“July was a miserable month for trading,” one senior banker said. “If August and September don’t rebound sharply, banks will be forced to cut jobs.”
The squeeze in trading profits highlights the rising importance of groups’ consumer and commercial banking operations, whose performance is improving as the economy heals.
The lack of activity led many banks to miss internal targets for trading revenues in both fixed income commodities and currencies – a key recent driver of profitability – and equities.
John Brady, senior vice-president at MF Global, said: “A lot of the drop we have seen in trading volumes during June and July follows violent changes in markets during the preceding months.”
Retail investors have also shunned stocks. US equity mutual funds have been hit by 12 straight weeks of outflows totalling $40.7bn, says the Investment Company Institute.
Better make that very unlucky 13.