Slowly, the fund that made "information arbitrage" a household name, and almost singlehandedly created the expert network industry (first exposed on Zero Hedge in 2009 before the broader public had ever heard of them up on Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and all of which was summarized in Are Expert Networks About To Be Exposed As The Ringleader In The Biggest Insider Trading Bust In History?) only to watch it go up in insider trading flames (as we warned years prior), and which no regulator had dared to touch for decades, is coming unwound. The latest details in a story which once again began on the pages of Zero Hedge in 2010 come from Bloomberg, where we learn what everyone already knew, namely that when working for Stevie Cohen "it was “understood” that those assigned to give their best trading ideas to founder Steven A. Cohen would provide him with insider information." Because one doesn't generate 10-20% 'Alpha' (a term which no longer has any meaning in a market exposed to have been driven exclusively by insider trading in the pre-New Normal, and entirely by central planning in the post-New Normal era) year after year and charge 3 and 50 for being just smarter. Being first apparently counts too, but cheating beats all.
- China carrier a show of force as Japan tension festers (Reuters)
- Draghi Rally Lets Skeptics Dump Spain for Bunds (Bloomberg)
- China’s Central Bank Injects Record Funds to Ease Cash Crunch (Bloomberg)
- Obama warns Iran on nuclear bid, containment 'no option' (Reuters)
- When Would Bernanke’s Successor Raise Rates? (WSJ) that's easy - never
- Italy's Monti Downplays Sovereignty Risk (WSJ)
- Portugal swaps pay cuts for tax rises (FT)
- Madrid faces regional funding backlash (FT)
- Berlin Seeks to Push Back New Euro-Crisis Aid Requests (WSJ)
- Race Focuses on Foreign Policy (WSJ)
- China Speeds Up Approvals of Foreigners’ Stock Investment (Bloomberg)
It is always amazing to observe how people become less risk averse after risk has markedly increased and more risk averse after it has markedly decreased. The stock market is held to be 'safe' after it has risen for many weeks or months, while it is considered 'risky' after it has declined. The bigger the rally, the safer the waters are deemed to be, and the opposite holds for declines. One term that is associated in peoples' minds with rising prices is 'certainty'. For some reason, rising prices are held to indicate a more 'certain' future, which one can look forward to with more 'confidence'. 'Uncertainty' by contrast is associated with downside volatility in stocks. In reality, the future is always uncertain. Most people seem to regard accidental participation in a bull market cycle with as a kind of guarantee of a bright future, when all that really happened is that they got temporarily lucky. Perma-bullish analysts like Laszlo Birinyi or Abby Joseph Cohen can be sure that they will be right 66% of the time by simply staying bullish no matter what happens. This utter disregard of the risk-reward equation can occasionally lead to costly experiences for their followers when the markets decline.
- Germany Can Ratify ESM Fund With Conditions, Court Rules (Bloomberg)
- Obama Discusses Iran Nuclear Threat With Netanyahu (Bloomberg)
- Stocks, Euro Gain as Court Allows ESM; Irish Bonds Climb (Bloomberg)
- U.S. cautions Japan, China over escalating islands row (Reuters)
- Draghi alone cannot save the euro (FT)
- 'New York Post' Runs Boldest Anti-Obama Ad Yet (Bloomberg)
- Another urban legend: Fish Oil Pills Don’t Fix Heart Ills in 24-Year Data Review (Bloomberg)
- Troika Says Portugal’s Program is ‘On Track’ (Bloomberg)
- Russia Wants to Steer Clear of 'Gas War' (WSJ)
- U.S. Said Set to Target First Non-Bank Firms for Scrutiny (Bloomberg)
- Wen Says China’s Policy Strength Will Secure Growth Targets (Bloomberg)
- UK faces clash with Brussels on City (FT)
We live in insane times. I mean this sincerely.
The reason they don't seem insane is because we have been led here, bit by bit. We are like the proverbial frogs in the pot full of water; the temperature has been turned up very gradually, and we don't notice what a dire situation we're in.
Let's just step back and look at the facts: the entire financial world is breathlessly awaiting the words of a lifelong academic who couldn't successfully manage a Burger King. The most powerful position in the financial universe has been given to The Bearded One, and while all the chatter this week is going to focus on whose Jackson Hole is going to get reamed, the real fireworks will be on September 13th.
With central bankers increasingly eclipsing even the most famous TV, music, and movie stars for the headlines, it appears the lengths we will go to in order to become 'famous' know no bounds. To wit, how to become famous? Appear famous!
The S&P 500 is at its 2012 highs, and rapidly approaching all time highs, even as nothing has changed over the biggest near-term challenge facing America: the fiscal cliff. Ironically, with every tick higher in the market, the probability that Congress will come to a consensus over what would be a haircut of up to 4% to next year's GDP as soon as January 1 2013 gets smaller. Why - the same reason that Spain is unlikely to demand a bailout now that its 10 Year bond is back to the mid 6% range (ironically on expectations it will demand a bailout!): complacency - both by investors, and by politicians. After all, it's is all a matter of perception, and the market is seen to be "perceiving" an all clear signal. It means that the impetus to do something constructive simply does not exist, as we explained recently in the case of Spain (and Italy). It also means that Congress has no reason to be proactive about the biggest threat facing the economy: just look at the S&P - it sure isn't worried, and the market is supposed to be far more efficient than elected politicians. At least on paper. This line of thinking is also the reason why Goldman's head of equity strategy David Kostin (not to be confused with the person he replaced: permabull A Joseph Cohen, who off the record sees the S&P rising to 1600 or more) refuses to raise his year end forecast for the S&P, which has remained firmly at 1250 for the entire year. More muppetry, more dodecatuple reverse psychology, or is Goldman telling the truth? You decide.
Former Defense Secretary Says US Will Probably Enforce "No Fly Zone", "Take Aggressive Action" Over SyriaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/10/2012 19:24 -0500
Three months to the election? Check. Which means war-mongering rhetoric, once considered a staple of the GOP, may very soon become action, first in Syria, and soon, everywhere else. From Bloomberg: "The U.S. and allied forces probably will impose a “no-fly zone” over Syria and take other “more aggressive action” against the Syrian regime, former Defense Secretary William Cohen said. While the U.S. has been leery of another military intervention after a decade of wars, “We’re coming to the point, however, where the violence is getting so severe, I think, that you’ll see a movement towards setting up those no- fly zones,” Cohen said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend." Is war and immediate geopolitical escalation guaranteed? Not yet: "The former Pentagon chief and Maine senator, now chairman and chief executive officer of the Cohen Group consulting firm in Washington, said any U.S. military action would depend on participation and support from allies." Although desperate times, and by that we mean unfavorably trending popularity ranking, will certainly require desperate measures. Such as the continued massive build up of US naval assets in the middle east.
- German court may delay ESM bailout fund ratification (Reuters)
- New dangers lurk for rudderless Spain (Reuters)
- SEC Said to Depose SAC’s Cohen in Insider-Trading Probe (Bloomberg)
- With Europe broke, Asia is Wall Street's new dumb money: Riskier Bets Pitched To Asia's Rising Rich (WSJ)
- Spain expected to request bank aid after debt test (Reuters)
- Lawmakers Push for Overhaul of IPO Process (WSJ)
- Israel: "all options" open after Iran talks fail (Reuters)
- Canadian housing boom to grind to a halt (Financial Post)
- Italians Dodge Property Tax in Test for Monti’s Austerity (Bloomberg)
- ORCL earnings must have been good: Oracle CEO Ellison to Buy Most of Hawaiian Island Lanai (Bloomberg)
DAVID BIANCO NO LONGER WORKS AT BOFA, SPOKESWOMAN SAYS
Now, we are even more delighted to bring you the following breaking news:
BLACKROCK CHIEF EQUITY STRATEGIST BOB DOLL TO RETIRE
And then there were three...
Two days ago we made a simple observation: back in September 2011, Weinstein's firm SABA Capital hired one of the key JPMorgan prop traders - Maitland Hudson - who "ran JPMorgan’s proprietary trading of derivatives tied to commercial-mortgage bonds" and whose future job at Saba would "focus on relative value trades" - such as, perhaps, IG9 10 Year versus a basket of tranched trades... Our suggestion was that instead of being a brilliant credit trader as he has been called by Bill Ackman, and his antics while in charge of the DB prop desk certainly put theory in jeopardy, perhaps Weinstein is merely a wonderful headhunter: one who knows just whom to hire and when (kinda like Steve Cohen hiring key Pharmaceutical company R&D personnel in a perfectly legal transaction now that expert networks are done, but that is a topic for another day).
A reader sent me a link to a video of Slope mascot AJC. I didn't want to watch it, but I glanced at the text summary, which stated:
"Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman Sachs' senior investment strategist, says shares are set to hold value for the long run but may cheapen over the summer."
OK, so this lady (it's a lady, right?) gets paid millions upon millions of dollars for observations like this. So let's disect this a bit. She (again - sorry to trouble you - we're talking about a she, correct?) says that shares are set to hold value for the long run butmay cheapen over the summer.
When the situation gets so ridiculous not even TheOnion is fit to describe it, in walks Sasha Baron Cohen and puts everything back into perspective.
In one of the most complete documentaries undertaken on the financial crisis, PBS Frontline's "Money, Power, & Wall Street" series stretches from the origins of the credit derivative business with a bikini-clad pool-side Blythe Masters and her JPMorgan colleagues to the scary (but absolutely true) fact that the financial crisis never ended. The four-part series (of which we present the first two below) continues tonight at 730ET and the entire set of 20 in-depth interviews with the various players (from Sheila Bair to Rodgin Cohen with a smattering of Jared Bernstein and Dick Fisher in between) can be found here. A must-watch series from beginning to end to get a grasp of how we got here (despite what Chairman Greenspan told us all this morning), where exactly we are now (in spite of today's FTMFW ISM print), and what we can expect in the next few years.
9 Torture Myths DeBUNKED