Those of our readers focused on the state of the housing market will undoubtedly remember this chart we compiled using the data from the largest mortgage originator in the US, Wells Fargo. In case there is some confusion, as a result of rising interet rates (meaning the Fed is stuck in its attempts to push rates higher), the inability of the US consumer to purchase houses at artificially investor-inflated levels (meaning housing is now merely a hot potato flipfest between institutional investors A and B), and the end of the fourth dead-cat bounce in housing (meaning, well, self-explanatory), the bank's primary business line - offering mortgages - is cratering. So what is a bank with a limited target audience for its primary product to do? Why expand the audience of course. And in a move that is very much overdue considering all the other deranged aspects of the centrally-planned New Normal, in which all the mistakes of the last credit bubble are being repeated one after another, Reuters now reports that the California bank "is tiptoeing back into subprime home loans again."
Market fragmentation in combination with the maker-taker market model, and in conjunction with a dramatic period of exchange “innovation,” had resulted in a new form of artificial edge.
Having been the first to warn the world about the perils of high frequency trading nearly 5 years ago, when momentum ignition, layering and quote stuffing were still incomprehensible buzzwords to all but a select few algo traders from Citadel, GETCO and DE Shaw, and warning about such top-down systemic lock ups like flash-crash over a year in advance; as well as the bottom-up impacts of 20 year old math PhDs being in charge of market topology, our crusade from the micro has since shifted to the macro and the primary nemesis of all that is free and fair, the Federal Reserve. In the intervening years, traders such as Haim Bodek opened the HFT kimono even more publicly a few years ago. The following is a must-watch documentary for every investor and trader to comprehend just what it is (and who it is) that drives stock prices day in and day out.
What politicians want from their regulatory efforts is a world of pure beta and zero alpha. This is the ultimate “level playing field”, where no one knows anything that everyone else doesn’t also know. The presumption within regulatory bodies today is that you must be cheating if you are generating alpha. How’s that? Alpha generation requires private information. Private information, however acquired, is defined as insider information. Insider information is cheating. Thus, alpha generation is cheating. QED. Why would politicians want an alpha-free market? Because a “fair” market with a “level playing field” is an enormously popular Narrative for every US Attorney who wants to be Attorney General, every Attorney General who wants to be Governor, and every Governor who wants to be President … which is to say all US Attorneys and all Attorneys General and all Governors. Because criminalizing private information in public markets ensures a steady stream of rich criminals for show trials in the future. Because the political stability of the American regime depends on a widely dispersed, non-zero-sum price appreciation of all financial assets – beta – not the concentrated, zero-sum price appreciation of idiosyncratic securities. Because public confidence in the government’s control of public institutions like the market must be restored at all costs, even if that confidence is misplaced and even if the side-effects of that restoration are immense.
- Troops Forage for Food While Golfers Play On in Shutdown (BBG)
- Police suspect dental hygienist Miriam Carey was behind the wheel of Capitol chase (WaPo)
- Italian Senate committee starts Berlusconi expulsion process (Reuters)
- Swiss Regulator Probing Banks Over Foreign-Exchange Manipulation (WSJ)
- GOP Begins Search for Broad Deal on Budget (WSJ)
- No Jobs Report Means Economists Chew on Football Instead of Data (BBG)
- U.S. default seems unthinkable but investors have options (Reuters)
- Citigroup fined $30 million after analyst sent report to SAC, others (Reuters)
- FBI Snags Silk Road Boss With Own Methods (BBG)
- Recession Warnings Found in Asset Price Falls (BBG)
- Bank of Japan warns of severe global impact from U.S. fiscal standoff (Reuters)
News? Who needs news when the New York Fed shares, allegedly, a direct trading connection with HFT momentum ignition behemoth Citadel.
Today is the second time in three months that someone, or something, either leaked the Non-farm payroll data just ahead of its official release, or if not leaked then a trading algorithm manipulated the bond market ahead of the official data release by launching a "momentum ignition" (see here, here and here for much more on how HFT uses this strategy over and over to set trading bands) launch higher just ahead of the official data release at 8:30:00:0000 am that desperately needed to push 10 Year yields, already on the verge of a 2 year breakout, lower.
Ramp the futures for a green cash close in the Dow Jones... then pull the rug on the futures.
When we tapered our coverage of HFT manipulation and stock market abuse some time ago, we thought that the message had been heard loud and clear: high frequency trading is a sophisticated market manipulating parasite, whose only real function is to abuse market structure and integrity, by making conventional market manipulation practices more difficult to spot and identify. It turns out some, i.e., Newedge, thought they could still get away with traditional manipulative practices such as spoofing, layering, momentum ignition, wash trading, bypassing, and others, if only they were wrapped in an HFT blanket. It did so for four years from 2008 until 2011. As it turns out it was wrong, and in a stunning example of actually doing its job, FINRA fined Newedge, which is one of the largest futures brokers in the world and ranks third in terms of U.S. customer assets on deposit, a record $9.5 million.
The Fed Engaging In Quantitative Easing Until Unemployment Falls Is Like a Medieval Doctor Bleeding a Patient with Leeches ...Submitted by George Washington on 05/01/2013 19:19 -0400
It was only a week ago that Iran was shaken by a major 6.1 earthquake, striking just 100 km away from the Busher nuclear power plant: a location so "opportune" some, so inclined, saw in this phenomenon anoter demonstration of the HAARP's capabilities. Those same people will then hardly be surprised to learn that moments ago the entire middle east, from Dubai to Delhi, shook in the aftermath of yet another massive earthquake, this time measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, which once again was located as the USGS reports, some 86 km East South East of Khash, Iran. According to preliminary reports, the USGS says there is possibility of heavy damage in area of epicenter, and an estimated 359,000 people felt very strong to severe shaking. USGS also estimates that 16K may have felt 'severe' shaking, 343K 'very strong' shaking, 1.7M 'strong' shaking; 1.1M 'moderate' shaking. An Iranian official was promptly on the tape saying hundreds of dead expected from quake in southeast of country, even as the Russian company that built the Busher NPP saying there was no damage from the quake. How much more shaking can either the existing Iranian nuclear power plant, or the much maligned nuclear facility in Fordow, sustain before they go off in a big glowing mushroom cloud: that is the
It's that time of the month again when, with little fanfare, the NY Fed discreetly discloses on which days of the upcoming month shorting is unadvisable, because on the other end of every sale or short will be none other than Kevin Henry & Co., and some $45 billion in buying power-cum-short stop loss triggers (not to mention every possible Citadel HFT algo operating at a less than arm's length from the Liberty 33 trading desk). In short: we get the advance monthly schedule of POMO days. And as everyone knows, one should never fight the Fed (unless, of course, one is the European Central Bank, the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, and pretty much every other central bank now that the entire world has devolved to outright currency warfare, but let's ignore that particular weak link in the media's propaganda narrative for the time being). So how does April look? In short: for anyone seeking to short the market in order to take advantage of the inevitable end of the Fed's despotic central-Ponzi planning regime (for reference, please see Bernie Madoff): not good.
While everyone awaits in stunned silence to see what Citadel, GETCO and of course the NY Fed will do with stocks in the aftermath of the shocking Cypriot decision, which nobody has any idea how to respond to because as Europe made it very clear ahead of the vote, there is no "Plan B", here is some comic interlude. The name Jerome Cahuzac should be familiar to our readers: he is the French Budget minister who had been tasked with battling tax fraud. Well, technically it is not is but was: moments ago Monsieur Cahuzac resigned, for the same reason he had been investigated several months ago. Namely, having an "undisclosed" Swiss bank account. Minister in charge of battling tax fraud... resigns for having a secret Swiss account. We'll let that sink in for a bit before we go back to that other farce in the eastern Mediterranean.
Because having legal authority to buy corporate bonds, ETFs and REITs, in addition to everything else the Fed now buys, is apparently not enough to crush, mangle and suicide its currency, the BOJ is now considering adding yet another "asset" to its cocktail of eligible securities for purchase: those which Buffett once declared weapons of mass financial destruction - derivatives.
Below are the expectations of the biggest banks for today's Nonfarm Payroll number to be announced in just over two hours:
- Morgan Stanley +135K
- Barclays Capital +150K
- Goldman Sachs +150K
- Bank of America +160K
- JPMorgan +165K
- HSBC +179K
- Deutsche Bank +180K
- UBS +190K