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BlackRock Liquidates Its Macro Hedge Fund Following Worst Loss Since Inception, Surge In Redemptions

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, is winding down a global macro hedge fund after losses and investor redemptions eroded assets. The reason for the liquidation: losses of 9.4% this year, cited by Bloomberg according to an October investor document, leading to the worst year for the asset manager since inception in 2003. The fund, which had $4.6 billion in assets just two years ago, has shrunk to less than $1 billion as of Nov. 1.

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Frontrunning: November 10

  • Bonds Rise as China Drags Down Metals, Selloff in Stocks Resumes (BBG)
  • European Stock Rally Runs Out of Steam Amid China Growth Concern (BBG)
  • Obama's immigration action blocked again; Supreme Court only option left (Reuters)
  • Ukraine: Cyberwar’s Hottest Front (WSJ)
  • With $170.4 Million Sale at Auction, Modigliani Work Joins Rarefied Nine-Figure Club (NYT)
  • IEA Sees OPEC Market Share Growth in 2020 as Rivals Stagnate (BBG)
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The Liquidations Begin: Three Hedge Funds Shut Down After Summer Rout

"As you know, the environment for global macro fundamentals-based trading continues to be challenging. That factor, combined with the lack of certainty over when a recovery will take hold, led us to conclude that the time was right to return capital to you."

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Cargill Buys One Of World's Largest Aqua-Feed Producers

The nation’s largest privately held company, Cargill, has agreed to purchase Norwegian-based EWOS, one of the world's largest suppliers of feed and nutrition for farmed fish. The $1.5 billion deal signals Cargill’s entry into salmon and trout markets and is the company’s second aquaculture deal in the past two months after it announced a $30 million shrimp feed facility project in Equador with Naturisa. 

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Toys'R'Us Bonds Crash As Suppliers Set To Tighten Credit Lines

Just two years after Toy'R'Us attempted (and failed) to IPO, Bloomberg reports that insurance companies are cutting back on their coverage of the firm's suppliers. Without this 'insurance', which protects suppliers in case a retailer fails to pay them for merchandise - as in the event of a bankruptcy - the risks of shipping to the retail chain soar. Toys'R'Us bonds have collapsed to lows as investors recognize that credit insurers sometimes cancel existing policies if a company’s performance declines precipitously enough to place its ability to keep operating in doubt. That occurred in the months before bankruptcy filings at RadioShack, Borders, and Circuit City.

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The American Nightmare: The Tyranny Of The Criminal Justice System

Justice in America is not all it’s cracked up to be. On paper, you may be innocent until proven guilty, but in actuality, you’ve already been tried, found guilty and convicted by police officers, prosecutors and judges long before you ever appear in a courtroom. Chronic injustice has turned the American dream into a nightmare.

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Was Greece Set Up To Fail?

What have the bailouts achieved? Well, the Greek economy is doing worse than ever, and the people are poorer than ever; and both have a lot more bad ‘news’ to come. The bailouts needed to be as big as they were to 1) successfully make the international banks ‘whole’ that had lent as much as they had into the Greek economy, 2) get the IMF involved, 3) and absolve the notorious -and cooperative- domestic oligarchy from any pain. And make all the usual suspects a lot more money in the process. It therefore doesn’t look at all unlikely that Greece was saddled with an artificially raised deficit, and that the intention behind that, all along, was to get the Troika ‘inside’ for the long run. So the country could be stripped of all its assets.

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"Ms. Wantanabe" Bets On Resurgent Yen As PE Cashes Out

"Japanese day traders, colloquially and collectively known as 'Mrs Watanabe', are buying the yen as it nears eight-year lows," Nikkei reports. For their part, private equity firms are cashing out at what they figure may be the top for Japanese stocks.

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Frontrunning: April 14

  • Shale Oil Boom Could End in May After Price Collapse (BBG)
  • Oil above $58 on U.S. shale output report, Mideast (Reuters)
  • Ackman Says Student Loans Are the Biggest Risk in the Credit Market (BBG)
  • Alibaba Disputes U.S. Group’s Claim it Tolerates Fake Goods on Taobao (WSJ)
  • Petrobras takes steps to avert a technical default (FT)
  • Yen’s Drop Is Approaching Its Limit, Says Abe Adviser Hamada (BBG)
  • 'Slicing and dicing': How some U.S. firms could win big in 2016 elections (Reuters)
  • Fed official warns ‘flash crash’ could be repeatedv (FT)
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Frontrunning: February 12

  • 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
  • Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
  • Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
  • Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
  • Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
  • In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
  • AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
  • Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)
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Frontrunning: February 11

  • Methodology change sees Indian economy grow faster than China's (Reuters)
  • Can Greek Businesses Even Survive? (WSJ)
  • Putin to travel to Minsk talks raising hopes of a deal over Ukraine (Euronews)
  • Ukraine contact group representatives deny ceasefire deal in Minsk (Reuters)
  • Moar buybacks! Hedge Fund-Backed Investor Puts Himself Up for G.M. Board (NYT)
  • Ukraine peace summit overshadowed by some of war's worst fighting (Reuters)
  • Time for non-non-GAAP excluding China: Tesla CEO threatens firings after dismal China sales - sources (Reuters)
  • Jon Stewart leaving Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show' (Reuters)
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The End Of Guitar Center (And An Irrational Addiction To Growth & The Scourge Of Unregulated Structured Finance)

The fact is, the die is cast. In a couple of weeks, Guitar Center will need to report its Christmas performance to its bondholders. If things do not look good, its bonds will be ripped apart like RadioShack’s. Here’s what this really means: it’s the end of big box retail, an irrational addiction to growth, and the scourge of unregulated structured finance. For a few years, unwise urban planning and unregulated banks created a new bubble in the American suburbs. The objective truth is that the growth of the last decade was financed by banking fraud, and that financial trickery of this sort only fools people in the short-term. Eventually, you must have a product people demand, sold by competent people who care about the business, financed in a way that makes sense.

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Frontrunning: January 28

  • Fed seen remaining patient with rate guidance amid global turmoil (Reuters)
  • National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss (CBS)
  • Greek PM Tsipras pushes on with radical change, markets tumble (Reuters)
  • Obama Drops Plan to Raise Taxes on ‘529’ College Savings Accounts (WSJ)
  • Hard Choices on Easy Money Lie Ahead for Fed Chief (Hilsenrath)
  • Debt That Once Boosted Its Cities Now Burdens China (WSJ)
  • Skymark Said to File for Bankruptcy After Airbus Deal Flops (BBG)
  • Heavy Fighting Drains Ukraine Government’s Options and Finances (WSJ)
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Meet The Person Who Will Determine If The Market Is "Fair

A week ago, we were surprised to learn that one of the most prominent critics of HFT, Joseph Stiglitz, had been barred from an SEC Panel that will "advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets."  Today, a day after the SEC busted DirectEdge for failing to "accurately describe the order types being used on the exchanges" namely the infamous Hide not Slide, even after said order had repeatedly made the front page of the WSJ, the SEC finally announced the full list of members of the "New Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee" which will focus on the structure and operations of the U.S. equities markets. Alas most of the committee members are, sadly, placeholding figureheads. Because there is only one person on the list whose participation matters, and whose presence is not at all surprising...

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