Cohen

US Futures Bid On Strong China PMI; Europe Markets Offered On Weak China PMI

Nothing like a solid dose of schizophrenia to start the week, following Chinese PMI news which showed that once again the Chinese economy was both contracting and expanding at the same time. Sure, one can justify it by saying HSBC looks at smaller companies while the official data tracks larger SMEs but the reality is that just like in the US, so China has learned when all else fails, baffle with BS is the best strategy. As a result the media is attributing he drop in European stocks to the weaker than expected China PMI, while the green prints in US futures are due to... stronger than expected China PMI. There were no split-personalities in Japan, however, where Mrs. Watanable's revulsion with recent euphoria led the Nikkei to tumble over 500 points, to closed down another 3.72%, and is now on the verge from a 20% bear market from its May 23 multi-year highs. The fact that the USDJPY reached within 3 pips of the Abenomics "fail" zone of USDJPY 100 didn't help overnight sentiment.

With The Unwind Approaching, Here Are $18.6 Billion SAC Capital's Largest Stock Positions

Nearly three years ago, following the publishing of "Is The SEC's Insider Trading Case Implicating FrontPoint A Sting Operation Aimed At S.A.C. Capital?" which exposed the key aspects of SAC's insider trading strategy, and which linked SAC, and the hedge fund world in general, to expert networks three weeks before virtually anyone outside of the 2 and 20 (or 3 and 50 as the case may be) world had heard of them and before they became a household euphemism for insider trading, we expected the full rabid fury of the world's best paid legal team to fall upon us. It didn't, which meant only one thing: we were correct, or they had bigger fish (to avoid harpooning) on their mind. Turns out it was both.

Frontrunning: May 24

  • The deeper agenda behind "Abenomics" (Reuters)
  • BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda promises to stabilise bond market (FT)
  • Obama Sees Sunset on Sept. 11 War Powers in Drone Limits (BBG)
  • Lower CPMs for everyone: FTC Begins Probe of Google's Display-Ad Business (WSJ)
  • Apple’s Tax Magic Leaves Irish Bondholders Unmoved (BBG)
  • Asia Goes on a Debt Binge as Much of World Sobers Up (WSJ)
  • All hail Gazpromia: UK gas supply six hours from running out in March (FT)
  • Spain’s banks face €10bn more provisions (FT) ... and then more, and more, and more
  • Truck strike may have caused Washington state bridge collapse, officials says (Reuters)
  • P&G Says A.G. Lafley Rejoins as Chairman, CEO (BBG)
  • Five Key Things About the SAC Insider Case (BBG)

Frontrunning: May 21

  • IMF Tells Central Europe to Spend More (WSJ)
  • Tornadoes Blast Oklahoma (WSJ)
  • Frenetic search for survivors as 91 feared dead in tornado-hit Oklahoma (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan investors on edge over vote on Dimon; what if they win? (Reuters)
  • Wealthy bank depositors to suffer losses in EU law (Reuters)
  • Yen Slips as Amari Backtracks (BBG)
  • Japan Ready for More Yen Weakness Despite Recent Comments (WSJ)
  • IRS officials back on Capitol Hill hot seat over targeting (Reuters)
  • Li Keqiang pledges China boost to India trade (FT)
  • Europe's Recession Sparks Grass-Roots Political Push (WSJ)
  • Obama and Xi to meet in effort to calm growing US-China rivalry (FT)
  • Berlin plans to streamline EU but avoid wholesale treaty change (FT)
  • France must reform or face punitive measures - EU's Oettinger (Reuters)

SACked: Cohen Considers Closing

It appears that the noose is tightening and the wobbly-chair that Steve Cohen is standing on is getting wobblier... As Bloomberg reports, after five years under investigation for insider trading Steve Cohen is considering a 'deal' with prosecutors that would shut his $15 billion fund to outside investors and (as we noted this morning) shift a family (friends and employees) office.

  • *COHEN SAID TO HAVE DISCUSSED DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT
  • *COHEN SAID TO CONSIDER RETURNING OUTSIDE INVESTORS' MONEY
  • *COHEN SAID TO CONSIDER CONTINUING AS A FAMILY OFFICE

The deferred prosecution is intriguing as "when a company enters into a DPA with the government, or an NPA for that matter, it almost always must acknowledge wrongdoing..." and the clock is ticking with the statute of limitations up at the end of July.

Steve Cohen's SAC May Face Criminal Charges

The longest ongoing government "sting" operation against a hedge fund, possibly in all of history, that which absolutely everyone has known about for years now i.e., against Steve Cohen's SAC and its Bernie Madoff-esque series of profitable years (at least until recently that is, when "expert networks" no longer accept any calls originating out of Connecticut or New York), may be coming to an end, following what the WSJ reports may be an imminent filing of criminal charges against the hedge fund. "U.S. prosecutors are considering possible criminal charges against SAC Capital Advisors LP as a result of the government's insider-trading investigation of the hedge-fund firm, according to people familiar with the matter.  It isn't clear what led prosecutors to warn the Stamford, Conn., hedge-fund operator that it could be charged criminally. But the move is the strongest sign yet that prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are trying to ratchet up the pressure as a five-year deadline looms to file the most serious charges related to trading that allegedly involved Mr. Cohen."

Lack Of Overnight Euphoria Follows Japan Yen Jawboning In Light Trading Session

A quiet day unfolding with just Chicago Fed permadove on the wires today at 1pm, following some early pre-Japan market fireworks in the USDJPY and the silver complex, where a cascade of USDJPY margin calls, sent silver to its lowest in years as someone got carted out feet first following a forced liquidation. This however did not stop the Friday ramp higher in the USDJPY from sending the Nikkei225, in a delayed response, to a level surpassing the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time in years. Quiet, however, may be just how the traders at 72 Cummings Point Road like it just in case they can hear the paddy wagons approach, following news that things between the government and SAC Capital are turning from bad to worse and that Stevie Cohen, responsible for up to 10-15% of daily NYSE volume, may be testifying before a grand jury soon. The news itself sent S&P futures briefly lower when it hit last night, showing just how influential the CT hedge fund is for overall market liquidity in a world in which the bulk of market "volume" is algos collecting liquidity rebates and churning liquid stocks back and forth to one another.

From Petrodollar To Petrogold: The US Is Now Trying To Cut Off Iran's Access To Gold

The US is moving to broaden its 'blockade' efforts of Iran to the movement of pure gold into the Islamic Republic. The US-led embargo of Iranian crude succeeded in slowing the flow of petrodollars into the nation but as Foreign Affairs committee chairman Edward Cohen remarked, there is "no question that there is gold going from Turkey to Iran." While the official line from US elite such as Bernanke remains that 'gold is not money' it appears that increasingly other nations would disagree, as Cohen admitted, "in large measure what we're seeing is private Iranian citizens buying gold as a protection against the falling value of Iran's currency." It would seem somewhat self-evident that the US is admitting, by attempting to embargo this gold flow, that outside the US, the Dollar is becoming increasingly irrelevant (see China's gold demand); and that for many countries the petrodollar no longer exists, having been replaced by 'Petrogold'.

Frontrunning: May 3

  • U.S. Bulks Up to Combat Iran (WSJ)
  • Taking sides in Syria is hard choice for Israel (Reuters)
  • Gold Traders Most Bearish in Three Years After Drop (BBG)
  • It's a Hard Job Predicting Payrolls Number  (WSJ)
  • EU economies to breach deficit limits as economic picture darkens (FT)
  • IBM Says U.S. Justice Investigating Bribery Allegations (BBG)
  • At Texas fertilizer plant, a history of theft, tampering (Reuters)
  • SAC Sets Plan to Dock Pay in Cases of Wrongdoing (WSJ) - "in case of"?
  • EU to propose duties on Chinese solar panels (Reuters)
  • Billionaire Kaiser Exploiting Charity Loophole With Boats (BBG)
  • SEC Zeroing In on 'Prime' Funds (WSJ)
  • Apple Avoids $9.2 Billion in Taxes With Debt Deal (BBG)
  • China April official services PMI at 54.5 vs 55.6 in March (Reuters)

Frontrunning: April 18

  • Apple reportedly stops placing Mac component orders (DigiTimes)
  • Apple Ordered to Remove Obscene Content From China Store (BBG)
  • Texas Ammonia-Plant Blast Kills as Many as 15 People (Reuters)
  • Boston Probe Said Focused on Person Dropping Bag at Site (BBG)
  • The Chinese cold trade war comes come to roost: US becomes Japan’s top export market (FT)
  • Berlusconi, Bersani back Marini in presidential vote (Ansa)
  • German parliament backs Cyprus bailout (Reuters)
  • China Vows Wider Yuan Movement (WSJ)
  • Morgan Stanley Sees Core Earnings Weaken (WSJ)
  • Gold Miners Lose $169 Billion as Price Slump Adds ETF Pain (BBG)
  • G-20 Draft Affirms Pledge to Avoid Competitive Devaluations (BBG)
  • IMF warns on risks of excessive easing (FT)
  • The battle for the Swiss soul (Reuters)

Goldman Activates The Magic 8 Ball, Can Now See The S&P 500 In 2015 (At 1900)

Just because Goldman's track record at predicting the near-future is so fantastic (Abby Joseph Cohen "forecasting" in March 2008 the S&P would close the year at 1500, or about 40% off), the firm that spawned a thousand central bankers and ambassadors, has decided to try its hand at really long-term stock predictions. As in "three years over the horizon" long. And, of course, it's only uphill from here. To wit: "We develop a new framework for forecasting equity returns over the medium term using a consistent approach globally. We extend our forecast horizon to the end of 2015."And the punchline: "With a 2015 horizon all regions look attractive on an absolute basis"

They Came, They Saw, They Got The Hell Out Of UBS In 7 Days

Housing is recovering. The Fed has your back. The consumer is healthy. All things that would suggest the commercial-mortgage bond business should be on the cusp of a renaissance. So the question is - what did Brett Ersoff and John Herman see, seven short days after being promoted to run the UBS real-estate finance division, that made them depart the venerable Swiss firm with the paintball sized Stamford trading floor?

Senior SAC Trader Arrested, Given Perp Walk

Hopefully the $155 million purchase of Picasso's "Le Reve" by Steve Cohen coupled with his splurge on a $60 million East Hamptons pad comes with a 30 full day money back guarantee, because very soon he may have more practical and immediate uses for the money. If the SAC head was hoping that the recent $602 million settlement his firm had reached with the SEC was enough to put all his troubles behind him, he may want to think twice. First, yesterday, New York District Judge Victor Marrero pulled a "Judge Rakoff", when he balked at the SEC’s use of the “neither admit nor deny” provision (the same argument used by Rakoff when he rejected an SEC settlement with Citigroup in 2011). Marrero also asked what would happen if Martoma, who has pleaded not guilty to related criminal charges, is convicted. “How would it look if in the settlement before it, the parties were allowed to say ‘We did nothing wrong?’” Marrero asked. “The ground is shaking, let’s admit that,” said Marrero. “This court is in the same position that Judge Rakoff was some months ago." But in the end we are sure that Marrero, just like Rakoff, will fold to pressure, and money. However, where things got interesting is that moments ago the Feds arrested long-time SAC suspect and PM Michael Steinberg, giving him a perp walk out of his Park Avenue apartment. This was the highest profile arrest so of any SAC employee and means that while the SEC may be trying to close the book on Cohen, the Feds are only now getting started.