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.
As today's latest example of pervasive, apparently endless criminality at the world's largest banks, where once again the shocked public is exposed to a culture of sociopathic, unchecked greed and perpetual raping of clients, showed, one is either part of the all too literal "cartel", or one loses money. However, for those who are unfamiliar with the nuances of FX trading, one doesn't even have to be on the other side of the world's most criminal, above the law, cartel of bankers to have no P and only L: the fundamental premise of currency trading, whereby one can and will be stopped out thanks to leverage as high as 50x - by others but mostly by one's own brokers as we learned today courtesy of JPM, Citi, RBS, HSBC and UBS - is the very same reason why as retail FX trader Dan Gratton, a 71-year-old retiree who lives on Social Security in Kingman, Arizona has found out: "Probably the most consistent thing is losing."
The last time we wrote about the number 125% it was in the context of the return of that old Subprime 1.0 staple home loans that cover more than the purchase price of the home (because one must always have some leftover cash for improvements), i.e. 125% loan-to-value loans. Today 125% comes back and again it is in the context of subprime, only this time it is about the second coming of the credit bubble when, as Bloomberg writes, a certain group of distinguished individuals is now offering loans to troubled Americans at the whopping annual interest rate of 125%.
"Compared to the ones I ran into," noted former-SEC chief, John Babikian's 'AwesomePennyStocks' fraud "is the biggest on ever." As Bloomberg reports, short-sellers and stock promoters have puzzled for years over who operated one of the largest penny-stock websites. A U.S. lawsuit points to a Bugatti-driving 26-year-old from Montreal. The SEC is freezing Babikian’s assets, including two homes and the proceeds of selling a fractional interest in a plane. "The traditional Stratton Oakmont has been replaced by the opt-in newsletter... the world of pump-and-dumps occurs in the shadows." Welcome to the new 'get-rich-quick' bubble euphoria...
Even if you don’t buy that QE and ZIRP will lead to a dollar collapse, you do have to admit that these Fed policies have severely brainwashed investors. The Federal Reserve is the boiler room operation that has pumped up the equities market by way of QE and ZIRP. You are investing in a pump-and-dump scam. And like in all such scams, you will lose. Clear enough for ya?
- China cash injection fails to calm lenders (AFP)
- European Union Stripped of AAA Credit Rating at S&P (BBG)
- Last-Minute Health-Site Enrollment Proves a Hard Sell (WSJ)
- Bernanke’s Recession-Fighting Weapon Developed by 1900s Banker (BBG)
- Asia Stocks Are Little Changed Amid China Funding Concern (BBG)
- Regulators' Guidance on Volcker Rule Gives Banks Little Relief on Debt Sales (WSJ)
- On one hand: Man Who Said No to Soros Builds BlueCrest Into Empire (BBG); on the other: Michael Platt's BlueCrest Capital Poised for Rough Close to 2013 (WSJ)
- BOJ Keeps Record Easing as Fed Taper Helps Weaken Yen (BBG)
- Bank of England becomes more cautious on economic predictions (FT)
- Gold Climbs From Lowest Close Since 2010 as Goldman Sees Losses (BBG)
Company founders routinely get shafted by "promoters" and get sold on taking their pride and joy public. Watch out for them!
Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip club - where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers, a NY Post investigation found. From Bronx strip clubs to gay dive bars in the East Village, US taxpayer-sponsored EBT cards have been inserted into ATMs and food stamp 'cash' has presumably been used to feed another need. The Post found dozens of pubs, nightclubs and tobacco shops where welfare dough was dispensed - and presumably spent. We should not worry too much though as Hilda Solis put us straight on how many millions of jobs these EBT-card fund recipients are creating and while we pass no judgment on those receiving and using the funds in whatever they see most fit, Cato's Michael Tanner summed it quite succinctly: "This is morally scandalous, I have nothing against strip clubs, but that’s not what benefits are for. I don’t blame [recipients]. If you are poor, it’s a crummy life and you want to have a drink or see a naked woman. I blame the people who are in charge of this." 32oz sodas made us gulp; rare steak tough to swallow; but take away the strippers and liquor - anarchy.
A Journey Through Vogelsang: Once USSR's Massive East German Nuclear Military Base, And Now A Ghost TownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/08/2012 14:30 -0400
And now for something completely different. Instead of scary tales of horrifying Math 101 (soon to be banned in one of the many upcoming Eurosummits), which confirms that no matter how it is spun, the global reality is ugly and getting worse (and ever more diluted in paper format), courtesy of Spiegel we present a photographic journey through Vogelsang: formerly one of the biggest Soviet military garrisons housing nuclear weapons and numerous nuclear launch pads, home of the 25th tank division protecting the USSR's most prized external asset, located in the forest near Berlin and housing over 15,000 people. It is now a surreal ghost town, and as haunted as any of the "cities" one can find deep in China.
You should be out there pushing
Webistics Zero Hedge.
A must read piece in The National Review Online from Richard Epstein, director of the law and economics program at the University of Chicago. Despite its legalese tint, the article focuses on the two most troubling developments for private market players as a result of flawed policy after flawed policy: i) the notion that the government may be permitted to disrupt financial transactions between parties in ways that frustrate the unambiguous expectations of the parties and ii) the idea that the government need not honor its own promises in dealing with private individuals.