American International Group
"One might argue there was no Fed bailout involved with Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill Lynch, but I am not the one to make that argument. Merrill’s purchase by Bank of America at a premium price seems to only make sense with the huge assist of the Fed’s largesse in suddenly agreeing to accept lower quality collateral for its loans."
"The main beneficiaries are the insiders who have Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on speed dial. The Fed has undertaken a massive bailout using U.S. taxpayer dollars."
- Janet Tavakoli
Hilarious. Unemployed bums now becoming expert "daytraders". Two days in a row, during my lunch break at Starbucks, I found young, slacker, unemployeds huddled around a table with their laptops daytrading stocks.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: AIG
All you ever wanted to know about one of the top High Frequency Trading firms.
My ramblings on how the banking system is broken and what to do about it.
In what can only be attributed to a rogue computer blowing a vacuum tube, virtually all the names in the credit universe were wider over the past week, despite an equity market ripping, or, more specifically, AIG, FNM and FRE ripping and everyone piggybacking for the ride in a few bankrupt companies. In the meantime, loans were wider on average 5 bps while bonds saw their firsts widening in over 2 months at 58 bps.
The Federal Reserve's and Treasury's actions have become the new catalysts for market movement, as they flood and drain the system with liquidity. An analysis of their options looking forward, particularly in the realm of the high interest rates that QE and the constant equity market bid have left us with, may be a better indicator than any in regards to future market direction.
After some interesting disclosures over the past week -- including the fact that a large percentage of the U.S. market volume is comprised of just five financial stocks -- let us review new information and take a look at the week ahead, in order to make some sense of the train wreck already in progress.
- Argentina to offer swap for $2.3B of inflation-linked debt, as export revenues slump.
- Asian stocks advance on recovery hopes, strong earnings lend support.
- Auto worker retirees may get help from $10 billion in U.S. Health Proposal
- Average price of regular gasoline at filling stations slipped to $2.6417 a gallon
- China commercial-property sales in H1 worth more than US, UK deals combined.
- Crude oil futures in Asia continued to consolidate on Friday's gains
CNBC's Parent Station General Electric Is Q2's Top Lobby Spender With $7.2 Million, A 60% Increase From Q1Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2009 22:05 -0500
The good old cash-for-favors system, known as lobbying, is in full swing again, with General Electric valiantly leading the pack of beltway brown-nosers, having spent $7.2 million in Q1 for various lobby purposes. This represents a 60% increase over the $4.5 million spent in Q1 and $1.8 million over Q2 of 2008. Ironically, General Electric, which with AIG, is at the forefront of hobbled companies who continue existing solely thanks to generous taxpayer bailouts in various forms, was by far the biggest lobbying contributor, with only Chveron spending over $6 million in Q2 of 2009. GE's $7.2 million represents a recycled taxpayer spend to promote private interests of $160,000 for every single day that Congress was in session.
Since the beginning of July, the most prominent feature of the market has been the divergence in volume between financials and "all other" stocks. While overall stock market volume has been flat if not down over the past two months, and a continuation of a long-term downward trend since the March ramp up, the volume in financial stocks has staged an unprecedented pick up.
I heard an incredible thing yesterday. Apparently, mutual funds are being stolen from by algorithmic traders.
Late in the day "The Narrator," one of our dedicated public relations gurus, spoke for almost an hour with a reporter who called in to talk about high frequency trading, dark pools and topics of similar ilk. I talked with The Narrator for a couple of hours after the encounter. I paraphrase: What, the reporter asked, do we make of the argument that "predatory algos" (a brand of algorithmic trading) cost large mutual funds billions a year by sniffing out "iceberging" (the practice of breaking up of large orders into smaller blocks to avoid swinging the price significantly in response to a large block of demand or supply)? What did we make of the TABB Group's estimate that $20+ billion in profits stem from certain algorithmic trading strategies. Are algorithms evil?
In a word: no.
Spreads ended this tempestuous week mixed with breadth generally weak (wideners outpacing tighteners by over two-to-one) and curves flattening more than steepening in single-names. HY outperformed IG as both IG and HY managed gains on the week (Friday-to-Friday close) and even more so from Monday's gap wider openings as the intraday ranges increased as the week progressed.
A new proposal by MIT professors seeks to involve the Fed directly in the wholesale selling of CDS. According to recent TIC data, perhaps the Fed is doing this already.