We’re all Dr. Evil today, thinking that one million dollars is a lot of money, or that one second is a short period of time, or that we are individually smart or capable in a systemically interesting way. We use our small-number brains to make sense of an increasingly large-number investment world, and as a result both our market fears and our market dreams are increasingly out of touch with reality.
"August Sucks," concludes MIT Quant guru Andrew Lo, reflecting on the systematic-trading strategy effects on markets, and it's not going to get better any time soon. As he explains to Bloomberg, "algorithmic trading is speeding up the reaction times of these participants, so that’s the choppiness of the market. Everybody can move to the left side of the boat and the right side of the boat now within minutes as opposed to hours or days." As we have noted many time, Lo explains how "crowded trades have got to the point of alpha becoming beta," warning that volatility-targeting strategies (such as Risk-Parity) are not only "exaggerating the moves," but he cautions omniously reminiscent of the August 2007 quant crash, "I think they are creating volatility of volatility."
As an investor, you have enough to be concerned about just taking into account factors like inflation, deflation, Fed policy and the overall state of the economy. Now you have another major threat looming – financial warfare, enabled by cyberattacks and force multipliers. What can you do to preserve wealth when these cyberfinancial wars break out? The key is to have some portion of your total assets invested in nondigital assets that cannot be hacked, wiped out or disrupted by financial warfare. The time to take defensive action by acquiring some non-digital assets is now.
Attempts to explain exactly what happened last Monday when prices for a whole host of ETFs and mutual funds diverged markedly from fair value abound and while there's no way to know for sure exactly what went wrong, FactSet has drawn some tentative conclusions after conducting a bit of "voodoo, tea-leaf reading."
It doesn't get more flagrant than this: the full HFT criminal monty exposed for all to see.
Shortly after we reported the latest market-rigging scandal, in which ITG was busted for frontrunning sellside clients in its dark pool in what has been since dubbed a "trading experiment" (because it sounds better than criminal conspiracy to defraud clients), and which will cost the company a record for a private Wall Street firm $22 million settlement, we had one question for AQR's Cliff Asness yesterday morning: "Hi @Cimmerian999, is Hitesh Mittal the AQR employee who was formerly at ITG and is part of the SEC settlement?" We got no answer from the AQR head, but luckily Bloomberg noticed, and as it turns out the answer to our question was a resounding yes.
Earlier this week the FISA court ruled the NSA can continue the bulk collection of phone metadata until November 29. This comes after Congressional gridlock allowed for Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the legal cover for the collection program, to expire on June 1.
For a glimpse of what happens next, look no further than Sweden.
And just like that, Goldman wins again.
"I think we have to blame central bank intervention. How can we not? It’s all around the world. They’re setting interest rates at a ridiculous level. Quantitative easing is distorting all sorts of prices of assets. How do you price things anymore when you have such a giant manipulator out there?"
Why Sarao Is The Flash Crash Patsy: He Threatened To Expose The "Mass Manipulation Of High Frequency Nerds"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/23/2015 17:27 -0400
The CME contacted Sarao about his trades after concluding he appeared to be significantly swaying opening prices. Sarao explained some of his conduct to the CME in a March 2010 e-mail as “just showing a friend of mine what occurs on the bid side of the market almost 24 hours a day, by the high-frequency geeks.” And the reason why nobody touched Sarao until just days before the 5 years statute of limitations following the Flash Crash had run out, is the following: "He then questioned whether CME’s actions regarding his activity meant “the mass manipulation of high frequency nerds is going to end."
The answer was no.
In the end, there are only two real drivers for the price of gold...
In response to questions posed by Santelli, former Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher made two points which were both salient if not downright prophetic. The first: “Well, what worries me is how totally lazy investors have gotten, totally dependent on the Federal Reserve and I find this to be a precarious situation.” The second: “Are we vulnerable in my opinion to a significant equity market correction? I believe we are. Not only has the Fed painted themselves into an even tighter corner – they’ve left no clear path as to now kick the empty can.
US Treasury Warns Investors Underestimate "Potential For A Market Reversal", Take "Low Volatility For Granted"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/04/2014 14:26 -0400
"Investors may have taken low volatility for granted and underestimated the potential for a reversal. While quantitative easing policies are intended to encourage investors to buy risky assets, there is also a risk that the perceived reversal of such policies will lead investors to turn the other way, triggering market instability.... Similarly, investors may have become too sanguine about the availability of market liquidity — the ability to transact in size without having a significant impact on price — during both good times and bad. Accommodative global monetary policy, coupled with the Federal Reserve’s purchases of large amounts of low-risk assets and changes in risk sentiment, helped to compress volatility and risk premiums. "