Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Hedge Funds Most Short Into Latest All Time High Ramp Since September 2012

As we have repeatedly pointed out, the one surest way to generate profits in these manipulated, broken markets is to take advantage of the one legacy trade that makes zero sense in a world in which the global central banks are the ultimate providers of downside risk protection: i.e., going long the most shorted names. We did just this most recently past Friday, when we listed the latest hedge fund long hotel, as well as the names most shorted by the "sophisticated" investors, saying "anyone going long these names is virtually assured to outperform the market over the next year." One day later and this "strategy" is already generating outsized alpha, with the most shorted names solidly outperforming the market. And as the case may, this latest bout of "most shorted" outperformance is set to continue for one main reason. As the CFTC reported last friday, institutional investors using Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures turned bearish this month for the first time since September 2012.

Frontrunning: February 11

  • Frustrated by Karzai, U.S. Shifts Afghanistan Exit Plans (WSJ)
  • Yellen Testimony Guide From Payrolls Report to Emerging Markets (BBG)
  • Gold hits three-month high, shares up ahead of Yellen (Reuters)
  • Tightfisted New Owners Put Heinz on Diet (WSJ)
  • Senator describes "gruesome" bin Laden photos (Reuters)
  • More reasons for the ongoing economic contraction: U.S. Winter Storm Seen Spreading Snow, Sleet Across South (BBG)
  • Barclays Cuts Up to 12,000 Jobs as Quarterly Profit Falls  (BBG)
  • Boeing Considering 787-Size Medium-Range Jetliners (WSJ)
  • AOL Chief Apologizes for ‘Distressed Babies’ Comment (BBG)

Guest Post: The Smog Of Fraud

Trust is gone and credit is going and debt is sitting between a rock and a hard place with its grubby hands pressed together, praying that it will be forgiven, forgotten, or overlooked a little while longer. By the way, the reason trust and credit are gone is because oil is no longer cheap and world economies can’t grow anymore. They can’t afford to run the day-to-day operations of a techno-industrial society. They can only pretend to afford it. The stock markets are mere scorecards for players who can only lie and cheat now to keep the game going. Somewhere beyond all the legerdemain and fraud, however, there remains a real world that is not going away. We just don’t know what it will look like when the smog of fraud clears.

Blythe Masters Withdraws From CFTC : Furious Twitter Backlash Blamed

Following our post yesterday which included the occasional F-bomb, the reaction was sharp and severe. So severe in fact that less than 24 hours later, Blythe Master has withdrawn from the CFTC. The culprit for Masters' resignation in just 24 hours? A very angry Twitter.

The Farce Is Complete: Blythe Masters Joining CFTC

We thought today's newsflow and "market action" ranked pretty high on the absurd surrealism scale. And then we saw this.


It's almost as if they are explicitly telling the handful of people who still care about this entire charade a resounding "fuck you."

Live Hearing On Financial Stability And Data Security

Moments ago, the Senate Banking Committee started a hearing on the topic of "Financial Stability And Data Security." We assume the topic discussed will be financial stability, the highly diluted final version of the Volcker Rule, Dodd Drank, the London Whale, and other things legislators have no understanding of. As such it will be a complete waste of time, and the only thing that can possibly force anyone to fix the broken system is the next systemic crash, one which the central banks, already all in with their bailout efforts, will be unable to resolve.

Bank Of America Caught Frontrunning Clients

So far in 2013, Bank of America lost money on 9 trading days out of a total 188. Statistically, this result is absolutely ridiculous when one considers that the bulk of bank trading revenues are still in the form of prop positions disguised as "flow" trading to evade Volcker which means the only way a bank could make money with near uniform perfection is if it either i) consistently has inside information that it trades on or ii) it consistently front-runs its clients (the latter incidentally was a topic we covered back in 2009 relating to Goldman Sachs, and which the bank sternly rejected). We now know that when it comes to Bank of America at least one of the two happened.

Volcker Is LOLkered As TruPS CDO Provision Eliminated From Rule To Avoid "Unnecessary Losses"

So much for the strict, evil Volcker Rule which was a "victory for regulators" and its requirement that banks dispose of TruPS CDOs. Recall a month, when it was revealed that various regional banks would need to dispose of their TruPS CDO portfolios, we posted "As First Volcker Rule Victim Emerges, Implications Could "Roil The Market"." Well, the market shall remain unroiled because last night by FDIC decree, the TruPS CDO provision was effectively stripped from the rule. This is what came out of the FDIC last night: "Five federal agencies on Tuesday approved an interim final rule to permit banking entities to retain interests in certain collateralized debt obligations backed primarily by trust preferred securities (TruPS CDOs) from the investment prohibitions of section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, known as the Volcker rule." In other words, the first unintended consequences of the Volcker Rule was just neutralized after the ABA and assorted banks screamed against it.

Frontrunning: December 30

  • Americans on Wrong Side of Income Gap Run Out of Means to Cope (BBG)
  • Michael Schumacher battles for life after ski fall (Reuters)
  • Professors for hire: Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward (NYT)
  • Chinese police kill eight in Xinjiang 'terrorist attack' (Reuters)
  • How to Prevent a War Between China and Japan (BBG)
  • Unemployment Benefits Lapse Severs Lifeline for Longtime Jobless (BBG)
  • Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up (Reuters)
  • China Local-Government Debt Surges to $3 Trillion (WSJ)
  • How unexpected: Britons less inclined to pay down mortgage debt (Reuters)

CFTC Announces It Is Undercounting Size Of Swaps Market By As Much As $55 Trillion

What is $55 trillion between friends? Very little according to the CFTC. In perhaps the biggest under the radar news of the day - to be expected with every watercooler occupied by taper experts - the WSJ reports that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday that technical errors at two so-called swaps data repositories, which collect and supply regulators with transaction data, have led the CFTC to misreport the overall size of the swaps market by undercounting its size. Isn't it curious how all these "glitches" always work out in the favor of preserving market calm and confidence and away from spooking investors and speculators? Either way, a better question is how big was the so called undercounting? The answer: as large as $55 trillion!

Frontrunning: December 17

  • Fed’s $4 Trillion Assets Draw Lawmaker Ire Amid Bubble Concern (BBG)
  • Ex-Goldmanite Fab Tourre fined more than $1 million (WSJ)
  • EU Banks Shrink Assets by $1.1 Trillion as Capital Ratios Rise (BBG)
  • Japan to bolster military, boost Asia ties to counter China (Reuters)
  • China condemns Abe for criticizing air defense zone (Reuters)
  • Insider-Trading Case May Hinge on Phone Call (WSJ)
  • Republicans Gird for Debt-Ceiling Fight (WSJ)
  • Mario Draghi pushes bank union deal (FT)
  • German Coalition Plans More Pension Money (WSJ)
  • Oil Supply Surge Brings Calls to Ease U.S. Export Ban (BBG)