Earlier today, the SNB which is perhaps the most transparent hedge fund of all central banks and actually lays out its financial statements in a respectable manner every quarter, released its results for the second quarter (and first half) of 2015. The result: another absolutely epic loss, amounting to €50.1 billion ($51.8 billion) of which €47.2 billion on currency positions - a whopping 7% of Swiss GDP - meaning that in Q2 the SNB lost another €20 billion. This happened despite the SNB having invested 17%, or $94 billion, in foreign - mostly US -stocks.
On a day when market participants will care about only one thing - how hawkish (or dovish) the FOMC sounds at 2:00 pm (no Yellen press conference today) - Chinese stocks provided the usual dramatic sideshow and traded unchanged or modestly negative for most of the day despite the latest $100 billion injection, the close of trading on Wednesday was a mirror image of what happened in the last hour on Monday, as various Chinese "plunge-protection" mechanism went into a furious buying frenzy and government-backed funds rushed to buy anything that trades in the last 60 minutes of trading in what may be the most glaring example of banging the close yet.
The real reason why retail investors weren't impacted by the NYSE's halt is a hard truth... to retail investors, the NYSE is always dark
Where Do Retail Investor Orders Go? The simple answer: to the highest contracted bidder. Stock "wholesalers" or internalizers like Citadel or Knight pay retail brokers lots of cash to execute retail trades, essentially creating a "third market". Why? Because in a high frequency trading world, where stock prices have never been more fuzzy to the end user, but crystal clear to those that spend enormous sums on colocation and PhD employees, it's never been easier to print money (not unlike Bernie Madoff's scheme in the 90's). But that is the subject of a much, much longer story. Someone should write a book.
"If in the short run, to paraphrase Benjamin Graham, equities are a voting machine, then it seems many of these votes are being coerced by interventionists.Central bankers the world over have become obsessed with asset prices, to the extent that the notion of central banks making outright purchases of equities is no longer confined to the lunatic fringe."
But... but... they just provide liquidity.
Futures opened 33 points lower a little over 12 hours ago because, well, nobody has any idea how the Greek fiasco would play out. And then, moments ago the entire gap lower was closed as ES stormed into the green...
The number everyone's been waiting for all afternoon is finally here: moments ago ES opened for trading after the holiday weekend and it's not pretty, down 1.5% to 2035 in early illiquid trading.
With a DoJ probe having predictably gone nowhere, a group of pensioners and retirement funds are suing Wall Street and Markit for colluding to monopolize the CDS market. Amusingly, Citadel has been subpoenaed to discuss how it was shut out of creating a CDS trading platform by the "oligopolistic" activities of TBTF banks, even as the firm looks set to dominate the market for IR swaps.
Strong Conviction + Low Volatility + High Levels/Low Costs of Leverage [irrespective of Dodd-Frank] + More Absolute Capital at Risk + Increased Concentration of “At Risk” capital + “Doing the Same Thing" = combustible market cocktail.
Moments ago the Fed's latest Flow of Funds report confirmed what the Philly Fed noted recently (and what blogger and Citadel trader Ben Bernanke vehemently denies): that the Fed keeps making America's uber rich ever richer, when in the first quarter thanks mostly to yet another $1.1 trilion increase in the value of financial assets (read stock market), the asset holdings of US households (or at least a very small subsection of them) rose by $1.6 trillion to a record $99 trillion.
From Greek lobbyists to Silicon Valley VCs and from Goldman BSDs to FT reporters, The Bilderberg Group will meet later this week in Tirol to discuss what happens next to the rest of the world... here are the participants...
When Draghi warned traders yesterday that "markets must get used to periods of higher volatility" boy was he not kidding.
The first step in any 12-step imperial-overstretch recovery program would involve accepting the fact that American power is limited and global rule an impossible fantasy. Accepted as well would have to be this obvious reality: like it or not, the U.S. shares the planet with a coterie of other major powers -- none as strong as we are, but none so weak as to be intimidated by the threat of U.S. military intervention. Having absorbed a more realistic assessment of American power, Washington would then have to focus on how exactly to cohabit with such powers -- Russia, China, and Iran among them -- and manage its differences with them without igniting yet more disastrous regional firestorms. But for any of this to happen, American policymakers would first have to abandon the pretense that the United States remains the sole global superpower -- and that may be too bitter a pill for the present American psyche (and for the political aspirations of certain Republican candidates) to swallow. From such denialism, it’s already clear, will only come further ill-conceived military adventures abroad and, sooner or later, under far grimmer circumstances, an American reckoning with reality.
One might be predisposed to thinking that monetary policies aimed explicitly at inflating prices for the assets most likely to be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy would have a high likelihood of exacerbating the wealth divide. Not so, says Ben Bernanke in a new blog post. "Certainly, inequality and lack of social mobility are issues of first-order significance for economic policy in general. Should they also be first-order considerations for the making of monetary policy? I have my doubts."