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."
It is time for another sacrificial gold market manipulation crackdown (the same gold market, mind you, which CFTC commissioner and HFT lobby sellout extraordinaire Bart Chilton said was completely unrigged). Only it's not Barcalys, JPM, Virtu, Citadel, the NY Fed, the Bank of England, or even the PBOC - i.e., the real market manipulators - who is the receiving end of the CME's special breed of "justice." It is another "trade from his parents' home" Indian.
Today, Virtu released its first public financials since going public, and our speculation has been proven correct: FX is now the largest revenue generator for VIRT, amounting to 28.4% of revenues in the quarter ended March 31, at $42.2 million, well above the $29.1 million generated from trading America Equities and the $34.7 million from global commodities. In fact, as the chart below shows, on an LTM basis, FX is now not only the biggest revenue item for the world's dominant HFT firm at $131.1 million, but is also the fastest growing source of profit, rising 103% on a year over year basis!
For the first time in 4 years, Appaloosa Management's David Tepper is not the highest-earning hedge fund manager in the world. Plunging from No.1 to tied-for-11th (with a mere $400 million earned last year) Tepper appears to have suddenly found investing difficult now that The Fed has stopped printing money (up just 2.2%). What is more ironic, perhaps, is that the other alleged beneficiary of Fed largesse (and recent hirer or blogger Ben Bernanke) - Citadel tops the list with Ken Griffin making $1.3 billion last year.
If yesterday's laughable lack of volume (helped by the closure of Japan and the UK) coupled with hopes that the end of the buyback blackout period was enough to send stocks surging if only to end with a whimper below all time highs despite what is now looking like three consecutive quarters of Y/Y EPS declines according to Factset, today's ramp will be more difficult for the NY Fed and Citadel to engineer, not least of all due to the headwind of the overnight "incident" by China's stock bubble which saw the Shanghai Composite tumble by 4%, the most since January.
It seems yet another hero of the recent cyclical bull market, resp. echo bubble, may be in danger of falling from grace. This has already happened to his predecessor Alan Greenspan, who has been gradually demoted from “Maestro” to “irresponsible bubble blower”. In this sense the somewhat less praise-laden verdicts that are lately emerging with respect to Ben Bernanke could be seen as an early warning sign.
According to the latest SNB financial release, 18%, or CHF 95 ($102 billion) of the assets held on the SNB's balance sheet are, drumroll, foreign stocks! In other words, the SNB holds 15% of Switzerland's GDP in equities!
Suddenly, and with no catalyst whatsoever, "someone" decided to sell JPY, buy EUR and USD and aggressively bid for US equities and European peripheral bonds... just as they headed for an ugly day... Paging GPIF?
PIMCO Names Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke To Serve As Senior Advisor
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) April 29, 2015
While preserving the farce of the S&P's relentless rise no matter the earnings recession, the 1% GDP or the negative funds flow, has been entirely a central bank mandate in the past month (one which will soon inlude the PBOC), the good news for the BOJs and the NYFeds of the world is that the stock buyback hiatus is almost over, and starting this week the bulk of companies can come right back and proceed to repurchase their stocks at all time highs. And what a come back it will be. According to Goldman, the pace of buybacks is now absolutely off the charts, with nearly $1 trillion in buyback announcements expected in just this calendar year, a mindboggling number, one which is the same size as the largest annual Fed Quantiative Easing amount in any one year going back to the great financial crisis.
It has been a story of two markets so far, with China's Shanghai Composite up another 3% in today's continuation of the most ridiculous, banana-stand driven move of the New Normal (and there have been many ridiculous moves in the past 6 years) on the previously reported hints that the PBOC is gearing up to start its own QE, while Europe and the Eurostoxx are lagging, if only for the time being until Citadel and Virtu engage in today's preapproved risk-on momentum ignition, on Greek jitters, the same jitters that last week were "fixed"and sent Greek stocks and bonds soaring. Needless to say, neither Greek bonds nor stocks aren't soaring following what has been the worst week for Greece in months.
Today, we find precisely how and why Sarao was singled out: he not only ratted out the parasitic trading strategies of the real culprits behind the broken market, the massive HFT firms (such as Virtu which just went public just a day before the Sarao charges were filed) which gave the "regulators" no choice: one of them had to be put away for good, but found a way to capitalize on the algos' stupidity, and actually make money by beating them at their own game. As such, regulators and exchanges such as the CFTC and CME had no choice but arrest him and prevent him from trading ever again!