Cohen

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?

Meet (And Follow) The US Naval Forces Breathing Down Syria's Neck

With a US attack on Syria now seemingly inevitable, it is useful to get familiar (and in some cases follow in real time using their "social networking" sites) the US Naval forces amassing around Syria, ready to deliver either a lethal payload of Tomahawk cruise missiles (carried by the four destroyers listed below), a deployment of marines (located in the USS Kearsarge big-deck amphibious warfare ship), or one or more squadrons of airplanes sitting on the deck of the Truman and Nimitz aircraft carriers.

Julian Assange Reveals "Google's Covert Role In Foaming Uprisings"

It has been revealed, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system. So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy?

"Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do"

That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people’s data comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google itself got big and bad.

SAC Gating?

Think the market is liquid? Think again, especially if you are one of the unlucky ones who bought into the SAC get rich quick dream and now just want to get your money out of the world's most notorious hedge fund. According to Bloomberg, the CT firm that has been branded by the government as a "veritable magnet for market cheaters," has "refused clients’ requests that the firm speed up payouts on the billions of dollars earmarked for withdrawals, according to three people familiar with the discussions."

Frontrunning: August 13

  • U.S. Regulator Subpoenas Banks Over Long Warehouse Queues (BBG)
  • Apple Said to Prepare Holiday Refresh of IPhones to IPads (BBG)
  • Fed's Yellen Says Stance on Banks Hardened (WSJ)
  • Mexico opens up its energy sector (FT)
  • Spin: Greek GDP marks gradual deceleration of recession (FT) ... spin aside, it dropped 4.6%, and in reality, probably over 10%
  • Made-in-Canada Solution For BlackBerry Avoids Nortel Fate (BBG)
  • America's Farm-Labor Pool Is Graying (WSJ)
  • Video of 'lame' cattle stirs new concern over growth drugs (Reuters)
  • Paulson Bid for Steinway Trumps Kohlberg Offer (WSJ)
  • Egyptian government yet to decide on pro-Mursi vigils (Reuters)

Obama Meets Security Advisors Over "Most Specific, Credible Terrorist Threat In Years"; US Forces On Alert

The time has come to remind Americans that "you can't have 100-percent security and also have 100-percent privacy and zero inconvenience" or, in other words, why only the government can provide a veil of impenetrable protection, and why such things as personal privacy in an age of murderous Al Qaeda (the non-US funded variety, supposedly) terrorists lurking behind corners, are not only unnecessary but unpatriotic. According to CBS, the "terrorist threat prompting the U.S. government to close nearly two dozen embassies and consulates Sunday is the most specific, credible threat information in years" (even more credible than the Boston marathon bombers?) Specific but lacking the actual date, or timing, of an alleged "terrorist attack." Information which, however, can not be shared with the general public for obvious reasons - just trust the government and ignore that spy drone peeking into your window to see if you are dutifully spending your daily quota of "confident consumer" fiat on Amazon.com.