Cohen

2013's Best And Worst: Complete Hedge Fund Performance Update

The time has come for the monthly status check on the performance of the now largely anachronistic hedge fund industry: a 2 and 20 anachronism (whose every phone call is monitored by the FBI nowadays, thanks Stevie Cohen) because in Bernanke's centrally-planned world, risk is verboten, as are any selloffs, and if indeed one does come and the Fed has no "tools" left to counteract it, no amount of hedges will protect an investing community that has now largely eliminated any short positions on their books. So without further ado, here are the best and worst performing hedge funds of 2013.

Frontrunning: November 5

  • China premier warns against loose money policies (Reuters)
  • Brussels forecasts tepid Eurozone growth (FT)
  • SAC Case Began With Informant’s Tips on Cohen, Rajaratnam (BBG)
  • Dirty Munich Home’s Nazi Loot Estimated at $1.35 Billion (BBG)
  • Mortar hits Vatican embassy in Damascus, no casualties (Reuters)
  • India Launches Mars Mission (WSJ)
  • Lael Brainard to leave Treasury, heading to Fed (FT)
  • U.S. Takes Aim at 'Forced' Insurance (WSJ)
  • Wife of Jeff Bezos attacks book about Amazon (FT)
  • Fall of Brazil’s Batista embarrasses President Dilma Rousseff (FT)
  • The One Thing People Still Really Like About BlackBerry (BusinessWeek)

SAC Capital To Plead Guilty To All Counts

While we are sure many will proclamin 'this is just a witch-hunt' - and all the hangers-on will be defending Stevie's decision... the fact is that:

  • *SAC AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY TO END U.S. INSIDER-TRADING CASE
  • *SAC WILL PLEAD GUILTY TO EVERY COUNT IN INDICTMENT, U.S. SAYS
  • *U.S. SAYS SAC AGREEMENT PROVIDES `NO IMMUNITY' FOR  INDIVIDUALS

Seems pretty cut-and-dried to us... As part of the deal, Reuters notes that SAC will terminate its investment advisory business.

Frontrunning: November 4

  • Investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis (WSJ)
  • Kerry hails disgruntled Saudi Arabia as important U.S. ally (Reuters)
  • SAC Capital prepares for a second life (FT)
  • BlackBerry's Fate Goes Down to the Wire (WSJ)
  • Dutch Gamble on U.S. Housing Debt After Patience Wins (BBG)
  • U.S. Wants Broad Divestitures From AMR, US Airways (WSJ)
  • Tensions with allies rise, but U.S. sees improved China ties (Reuters)
  • China berates foreign media for Tiananmen attack doubts (Reuters)
  • China manufacturers squeezed as costs rise (FT)
  • European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth (NYT)
  • Zurich Probe Finds No ‘Undue Pressure’ Put on Late CFO (BBG)

The SEC's Latest Scandal: Demands For Longer Lunch Breaks

There was a time when the only complaint the SEC's 4000 employees had was that some porn sites charge just too much - after all, the SEC's "enforcement" budget is limited, while the worldwide supply of pornography is virtually endless. It's time to add one more grievance to the list of all those overworked regulators who have yet to put someone, anyone, from the big banks in jail as a consequence for nearly destroying the western way of life, or do more than merely wrist slap Steve Cohen with a penalty that costs more than three or four Picasso paintings: lunch breaks.

The Steve Cohen Era Is Over: S.A.C. To Plead Guilty To Securities Fraud, Stop Managing Outside Money

Nearly three years ago, before anyone had heard of expert networks, before the SEC had brought any major enforcement action against any hedge fund and long before anyone had to gall to accuse SAC of insider trading, Zero Hedge started a series of posts commencing with "Is The SEC's Insider Trading Case Implicating FrontPoint A Sting Operation Aimed At S.A.C. Capital?" exposing the fraudulent transactions of Steve Cohne's hedge fund despite fears of violent legal reprisals. We are delighted to inform our readers that this particular chapter is now over: the WSJ has just reported that SAC will plead guilty to securities fraud, pay a final $1.2 billion penalty (still a tiny sum compared to all the ill-gotten gains by Steve Cohen over the years), and most importantly, end the fund's management of outside money.

SAC Shutters London Office; Reduces Capital Allocations

Stevie Cohen's beleaguered 'hedge' fund SAC Capital has decided to shutter its London office:

  • *SAC SAID TO PLAN CLOSING DOWN LONDON OFFICE BY END OF YEAR
  • *SAC SAID TO EMPLOY MORE THAN 50 PEOPLE IN LONDON OFFICE
  • *SAC SAYS IT CUT SIX U.S. PORTFOLIO MANAGER POSITIONS THIS WEEK

But perhaps, even more importantly - and some suggested responsible for the collapses in several major tech/momo names this morning:

  • *SAC SAYS ITS SIMPLIFYING FIRM, REDUCING CAPITAL ALLOCATIONS

With stock prices held up by the marginal levered hedge fund buyer, SAC's size makes their liquidations as big a threat as anything to this fragile market.

Frontrunning: October 21

  • FHFA Is Said to Seek at Least $6 Billion From BofA for MBS Sales (BBG)
  • Record Pact Is on the Table, But J.P. Morgan Faces Fight (WSJ)
  • Magnetar Goes Long Ohio Town While Shorting Its Tax Base (BBG)
  • Mini-Wall Street' Rises in Hamptons (WSJ)
  • Obama to call healthcare website glitches 'unacceptable' as fix sought (Reuters)
  • Starbucks Charges Higher Prices in China, State Media Says (WSJ)
  • Cruz Is Unapologetic as Republicans Criticize Shutdown (BBG)
  • Berlusconi struggles to keep party united after revolt (Reuters)
  • SAC Defections Accelerate as Cohen Approaches Settlement (BBG)

Frontrunning: October 17

  • Congress Vote Ends Impasse to Be Revisited in January (BBG); Congress Passes Debt, Budget Deal (WSJ)
  • House GOP extracts no concessions (Politico)
  • Washington becomes the biggest risk to the U.S. economy (Reuters)
  • Debt Deal Seen Boosting U.S. Consumers as Holidays Approach (BBG) - only thing missing: disposable income
  • Federal Employees Head Back to Work (WSJ)
  • Regulator Suggested Shift for Dimon at J.P. Morgan Unit (WSJ)
  • Twitter hires Google ad exec ahead of IPO (CNET)
  • Teens can now post publicly, but posts are friends-only by default (WaPo)
  • Germany Moves to Finalize Coalition Deal (WSJ)
  • Draghi Turns Judge on EU Banks as ECB Studies Accounts (BBG)
  • UK nuclear deal with China a ‘new dawn’ (FT)

"What Politicians Want Is A World Of Pure Beta And Zero Alpha"

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.

Frontrunning: October 14

  • Headline of the day: U.S. Risks Joining 1933 Germany in Pantheon of Deadbeat Defaults (BBG)
  • As Senate wrestles over debt ceiling, Obama stays out of sight (Reuters)
  • The "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" that threatened to gum up traffic in the capital was a dud as of Friday afternoon (WSJ)
  • China New Yuan Loans Top Estimates as Money-Supply Growth Slows (BBG)
  • Vegetable prices fuel Chinese inflation (FT)
  • China Slowing Power Use Growth Points To Weaker Output Data (MNI)
  • London Wealthy Leave for Country Life as Prices Rise (BBG)
  • Gulf oil production hits record (FT)
  • Every year like clockwork, analysts start out bizarrely optimistic about future results, then “walk down” their forecasts  (WSJ)
  • Weak Exports Show Limits of China’s Growth Model (WSJ)

Frontrunning: September 24

  • Iran Icebreaker Set at U.N.  (WSJ)
  • Chrysler Feud Triggers IPO Filing  (WSJ)
  • JPMorgan Chase, 12 More Banks Said to Be Sued Over Libor (BBG)
  • Regulator sues Morgan Stanley, eight others over faulty securities (Reuters)
  • Monte Paschi Seen Boosting Cost Goals to Meet EU Demands (BBG)
  • Here we go again - "not enough funds": CFTC chair Gary Gensler warns on fund cuts to police derivatives (FT)
  • Congress Fuels Private Jails Detaining 34,000 Immigrants (BBG)
  • KKR, Sycamore looking to buy Jones Group this week (NYPost) - take with lots of salt
  • Fiat rethinks alliance with Chrysler after IPO filing (Reuters)
  • Young Invincibles Caught in Crossfire Over Obamacare Cost (BBG)
  • Mayfair Office Squeeze Spawns New London Real Estate Hubs (BBG)

The Surest Way To Spot Trouble: When Even The CBO Says There's A Problem

In light of this morning's Obama-Boehner volleys, we thought a reflection on the facts was useful. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook yesterday morning, and its government debt projections are dismal... But the CBO’s featured chart only tells a small part of the story. The baseline scenario happens to be bogus. Even as it shows our addiction to debt worsening, it doesn’t do justice to the severity of that addiction. (You may want to show the chart to your children. After all, they’ll be the ones who’ll have to deal with the debt we’re piling on today.)

Is This A Reason To Like Larry Summers... Or When 313 Economists Can Certainly Be Wrong

There is a saying: if in doubt, ask an economist, and do the opposite.

There is also consensus among the people inhabiting the real world -the one that is found outside the ivory towers of the economics departments of all US and global Tier 1, 2 and 3 universities - that the only reason the world is currently in its sad, deplorable and deteriorating economic state (which however keeps making the rich richer), is precisely due to these same economists, whose tinkering and experimentation with DSGE models, differential equations, curved lines, and all such things all of which have no real world equivalent, and specifically due to economists like Greenspan and Bernanke. These two men, both of whom barely have seen the real world for what it is or held a real job outside of their academic outposts, who surround themselves with brownnosing sycophants and who do the bidding of Wall Street, are the primary reason for the current centrally-planned quagmire. Which is why we wonder: is the fact that some 313 economists (and counting) have signed a petition pushing for Janet Yellen (aka Freudian slip "he" if you are the president), and against Larry Summers, sufficient grounds to actually like the outspoken former Harvard head?