Exchange Traded Fund

SEC Starts Going After ETFs... With A Job Search For Someone Who Actually Knows What An ETF Is

Yesterday we reported that following the SEC's long overdue porn-laced sabbatical, the "regulator" has launched a massive fact-finding and enforcement-information gathering mission to not only curb those vile HFT frontrunners, but is also seeking to cut off momentum accentuating strategies such a ETFs, aka synthetic stock CDOs, at the knee. This is great, there is only one problem: the SEC has no clue what an ETF is. But all that is about to be remedied. As the attached job search notice indicates, the regulator will generously spend between $126,661 and $198,333 of taxpayer money to finally get someone who actually knows something about basket creation, gamma, convexity, and the 3:30pm daily ETF-induced market ramp. The preamble: "Do you want to perform challenging work in a collegial environment, while enjoying quality of life and a competitive compensation package? Invest in your career at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)!" Note: not one mention of non stop midget porn: truly a politically correct development.  And since the position is for a senior special counsel, you can bet, lots and lots of money, that the SEC is about to start suing everyone in the ETF space. Starting with such Wall Street visionaries as Larry Fink... who also happens to run Wall Street. We just can't wait.

UK And US Data Shows Stagflation Threat Deepening - Asian Gold Demand Remains Very High

U.K. unemployment claims rose in April at the fastest pace since January 2010, showing the very fragile nature of the recent tentative economic recovery. Government spending cuts, austerity measures and accelerating inflation are clearly beginning to impact embattled consumers. In the U.S., stagflation is also an increasing, if unacknowledged, threat as the classic symptoms of inflation - slow growth, high unemployment and inflation are present. Weak U.S. factory output and home building data yesterday suggests that the world's largest economy is slowing down again. Official inflation figures in the U.S. remain benign but hedonic adjustments and many adjustments to the methodology of calculating inflation in the last 20 years mean that that the Consumer Price Index is no longer an accurate measure of real inflation in the economy. This macroeconomic risk coupled with continuing geopolitical risk is supportive of gold continuing to receive safe haven demand. The launch of the new Hong Kong Commodity Exchange will result in Asia having an even bigger say in prices of commodities and precious metals. The exchange is backed by China’s biggest bank and a Russian tycoon and will challenge established markets and exchanges in Europe and the U.S.

Soros Sells Gold ETF While Paulson Buys - PIMCO Favour Gold As A “Protection Against What Can Go Wrong”

The confirmation of George Soros ETF gold sale has again garnered much media comment. Soros’ $28 billion fund decreased its holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the exchange traded fund. Soros had bought gold to protect against possible deflation, though his fund now believes there is a reduced chance of such a condition, the Wall Street Journal recently said, “citing people close to the matter”. Should Soros and his fund think that inflation is now a greater risk than deflation then it is curious that they would sell all their ETF holdings. It is also curious as Soros is on record regarding having serious concerns regarding the outlook for the euro and the dollar and the dollar as reserve currency of the world. There is of course the precedent of other hedge fund managers , such as David Einhorn, who have also sold their gold ETF holdings but bought physical bullion in allocated accounts due to a concern about counter party and systemic risk. This would allow Soros to discreetly accumulate bullion away from the public and media spotlight that result from SEC filings. Paulson & Co., the $36 billion hedge fund founded by John Paulson kept its largest holding - $4.41 billion in the SPDR Gold Trust. Paulson’s belief in gold is seen in the fact that those who buy his fund can have their stakes denominated in gold rather than in dollars, meaning the value of their investment rises and falls with the price of bullion – lessening exposure to the dollar. Paulson, unlike Soros, is on record as having purchased gold to protect against inflation. PIMCO, the largest bond fund in the world, are also increasingly allocating funds to gold in their global equities portfolio. “The largest position in [our] fund is gold, which we think is a very good form of protection against what can go wrong,” said Anne Gudefin, PIMCO’s global equities portfolio manager, told Fortune magazine May 12.

The Top 10 Reasons For Surging Asset Correlations

"Wax on, Wax off", "risk on, risk off", whatever you want to call it, the most prevalent phenomenon in capital markets over the bear market rally of the past year has been the gradual yet relentless rise in cross asset correlations. As we reported earlier, hedge funds are now openly returning capital due to their inability to properly hedge positions and execute on traditional long/short strategies, which in turn is wreaking havoc on the entire 130/30 or 130/70 model (which also means gross leverage for most rational hedge funds is reduced as those who do gross up, are effectively betting the farm on market moves with an increasingly shorter and more volatile even horizon). Long before this became a daily topic on CNBC, we were warning about the dire implications of alpha extinction, and the impact it would have on hedge funds. And with the opportunity to diversify away risk increasingly taken away from investors, we expect that this trend will result in ever more capital fleeing the stock market. Yet the question remains: what has caused correlations to surge to current levels? If these reasons can be identified, it should be easy to eliminate them one at a time until some semblance of a rational market returns (at least on paper). Luckily, Nicholas Colas of BNY has once again beaten us to the punch, and has compiled a list of the top 10 reasons for increased asset price correlations. So without further ado...

Why Record Stock Correlations Are An Adverse Feedback Loop To Market Participation

The ongoing retail abandonment of stocks is well into record territory, which may occur for any of a variety of reasons (need for cash via redemptions, focus on return of capital than on and shift into fixed income, market distrust, etc.), yet the resulting increasing relative participation by electronic feedback loop chasers and by beta levered players, and the subsequent increase in implied and absolute stock correlations may be a vicious circle that will make future retail participation increasingly more difficult. We have been warning about the threat of lack of stock diversification for many months, although have not been able to explain it as succinctly as BNY's Nicholas Colas succeeds in a recent note, titled "Looking for diversification in all the wrong places", in which he concludes: "If you cannot use diversification to manage incremental risk, then why would you take on risk in the first place?" This hits the nail on the head in terms of the ongoing and future lack of stock inflows, since in simple terms in makes the ever greater correlations between various asset classes a barrier to entry for all those very rational investors who seek to diversify bullish or bearish bets with a matched trade. In other words, the market is receptive only to those who blindly wish to bet it all on black or red (with or without leverage). And with ever more people chasing ultra short term return horizons (think numerous underperforming hedge funds that only have one month left to generate some returns in Q3 before their LPs send in the redemption notices), and placing all their bets on just one side of the line, those who wish to pursue rational trades, and generic long-short funds, increasingly obsolete and redundant. All in all, this is a perfect storm for a feedback loop that selects only for those who are willing to bet on an ever more one-sided, and thus unstable, market. Have we gotten to the point where only another market crash will provide retail with suitable speculative entry points?

madhedgefundtrader's picture

Retail investors are getting fleeced when playing the agricultural and commodities ETF’s. A harsh lesson about contangos. An entire sub industry of hedge funds has arisen to take advantage of this spread, at the expense of the ETF investor. Morgan Stanley is now chartering more tankers to take delivery of crude than Chevron. Gaming the published “roll dates.”

Guest Post: GLD And SLV: Disclosure In The Precious Metals Puzzle Palace

This article was inspired by a conversation in January 2010 with fellow directors of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee: Chairman Bill Murphy, Secretary/Treasurer Chris Powell, and Directors Adrian Douglas and Ed Steer. In speaking about the growing role of the exchange traded funds in the precious metals market, it was clear that the disclosure that the precious metals ETFs described below were providing to investors was inadequate. However, was there a material omission under securities law? I found the issues complex. Understanding the commodities markets can seem daunting to someone like myself with a securities background. Meanwhile, the securities markets and related legal and regulatory issues can be unfamiliar to those with a background in commodities. I decided to ask my attorney to help me gather the relevant information into one document to make it easier for GATA supporters and other interested parties—whether from the commodities or securities markets—to examine these issues and to better understand and price these securities. - Catherine Austin Fitts, Solari Report

Guest Post: Technical Setups On Gold, Silver, Oil & Natural Gas ETF’s

This week has been playing out as expected with prices grinding their way higher and lots of sharp intraday sell offs and rallies which is indicative of a market getting toppy.

Seems like the masses feel as though they are getting left behind which is why we are starting to see the panic buying in the market (new money buying at these lofty overbought prices).

Each time there is a new intraday or daily high on the major indexes there is a renewed bullishness created as breakout traders and novice traders buy into the market hoping for the next surge in price. It is these volume surges of new money entering the market which the big guys (smart money) are selling into. You can see it clear as day light on the intraday charts as new money gets sucked into the market new high and then 2 minutes later larger waves of selling hit the bids.

Let The Churn In QQQQ, Citi And Bank of America Hit Infinity: ISE To Offer Special Rebates For Liquidity Providers In These Three Names

Today, one quarter of the volume in the market is attributable to trading in Citi shares. This is simply a ridiculous statistic, and shows that the broader equity market, which merely trades based on the momentum of one stock, is and has been busted for about a year, when we first wrote about this phenomenon. Yet this insane churn is not enough for some: The ISE has just announced it is introducing a "Modified Maker/Taker Fee Schedule" for the three most actively traded options products on its exchange: QQQQ, C, and BAC. In essence, the ISE will provide even greater rebates to "liquidity providers" in these three stocks. The entire market will soon consists of exactly two companies (both of which are wards of the state) and one ETF, as liquidity finds the path of least resistance and greatest (evaporating) profit margins. This is what "liquidity" in the market has become. And all the while, the latest DMM, GETCO, which is certainly not frontrunning its prop positions based on massive NYSE flow traffic, is laughing all the way to the bank.

asiablues's picture

New York crude has been trading in the $69-$83 range since late September as uncertainty over the global economy has contributed to several failed rallies. The close above $81 last Friday sparked speculation that oil could be targeting $85 in the near term. Now, some traders and analysts say currency movements may play an important role in pushing prices beyond those limits.... or will they?