Did the world forget about the Flash Crash?
On Monday, in "High Frequency Trading: Why Now And What Happens Next" we predicted that "the high freaks are about to become the most convenient, and "misunderstood" scapegoat, for when the market finally does crash. Which means that those HFT-associated terms which very few recognize now, especially those on either side of the pro/anti-HFT debate who have very strong opinions but zero factual grasp of the matter, such as the following:
- Layering: multiple, large orders are placed passively with the goal of “pushing” the book away
Of course, another name for "layering" is "spoofing" which is precisely the term that the SEC used today when it announced that it charged the owner of a New Jersey-based trading firm and several other defendants "in a scheme to manipulate the market through an illegal practice known as "spoofing."
And all it took for the FBI, the SEC and now the DOJ to figure out the casino was rigged all along, was for a Michael Lewis book to do their job for them.
- DOJ PROBING HIGH SPEED TRADING FOR INSIDER TRADING: REUTERS
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirms Justice Department investigation into high-frequency trading. http://t.co/ERuwcHcGLt
— WSJ Breaking News (@WSJbreakingnews) April 4, 2014
Just buy the book Damnit, it’s all in there.
Fort Hood Shooter, Three Others Reported Dead, 14 Injured, Obama Says "Will Get To The Bottom Of What Happened"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/02/2014 20:02 -0400
The Fort Hood shooting appears to be over, with the shooter reportedly dead of a self-inflicted wound and according to the latest CNN update, three other people dead, and as many as 14 others injured, some in critical condition. Reports of a second shooter are so far unconfirmed. CNN also reports that the name of the shooter is 34 year old Ivan Lopez. The shooting is also said to not be terrorism-related, but instead a "solider on solider" attack.
BREAKING: Obama says he's following Fort Hood shooting closely, US will get to bottom of what happened.
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 2, 2014
The Nikkei shot up last night because the Yen was weak and, best of all, Japan's $1.25Tn pension fund will be handing money to the Banksters to put into the stock market.
To think all it took to wake up not only the FBI (which generously provided a phone number to all interested parties so others could do its work for it) but the porn-addicts at the most corrupt, complicit and clueless, not to mention bought and paid for, "regulator" in US history, the SEC from a five year slumber - yes, we started warning about HFT in April of 2009 - was one Michael Lewis book. Moments ago we learned that the SEC, with a five year delay, has opened several investigations into HFT.
While the topic of HFT-assisted "price discovery" has been beaten to death on these pages, and courtesy of Michael Lewis is now a household, and soon FBI, topic, what is more notable is that in addition to a better than expected jump in March car sales, GM also confirmed that the post-bankurptcy company has never had a greater difficult in liquidating warehoused inventory. As the chart below shows, dealer inventory of GM autos on US lots, aka Channel Stuffing, just rose to a new all time high, of 815,492 units, up from 805,769 last month, and up 15% from the 743.8K units parked at dealer lots a year ago. So 15% increase in unpurchased inventory vs a 4% increase in sales. Someone smarter than us can probably do the math here.
- GM enters harsh spotlight as Congress hearings begin (Reuters)
- Facebook's Zuckerberg earns $3.3bn through share options (BBC)
- Sheryl Sandberg has sold more than half her stake in FaceBook (FT)
- Chinese Dragnet Entangles Family of Former Security Chief, Zhou Yongkang (WSJ)
- NHTSA chief: GM did not share critical information with U.S. agency (Reuters)
- Citigroup uncovered rogue trading in Mexico, fired two bond traders (Reuters)
- Corporate America’s overseas cash pile rises to $947bn (FT)
- Thai anti-government protester killed, rekindling political crisis (Reuters)
- China Milk Thirst Hands U.S. Dairies Record 2014 Profits (BBG)
- Caterpillar accused of ‘shifting’ profits (FT)
- New iPhone 6 screens to enter production as early as May (Reuters)
Among the key overnight events was the February Euro area unemployment report, which was unchanged at 11.9%, lower than the 12% median estimate; in Italy it rose to a record 13% while in Germany the locally defined jobless rate for March stayed at the lowest in at least two decades Euro zone PMI held at 53 in February, unchanged from January and matching median estimate in a Bloomberg survey HSBC/Markit’s China PMI fell to 48 in March, the lowest reading since July, from 48.5 in February; a separate PMI from the government, with a larger sample size, was at 50.3 from 50.2 the previous month NATO foreign ministers meet today to discuss their next steps after Putin began withdrawing forces stationed on Ukraine’s border Gazprom raised prices for Ukraine 44% after a discount deal expired, heaping financial pressure on the government in Kiev as it negotiates international bailouts.
First HFTs took over capital markets courtesy of "legal" orderflow frontrunning which is, for the sixth years in a row, confused with "providing liquidity", and which has allowed such pending IPOs as Virtu to boast 1237 profitable trading days out of 1238 while making their owners multi-billionaires. And now, courtesy of Michael Lewis, the high freaks have also taken over the Amazon bestselling books list.
For all the talk about how High Frequency Trading has rigged markets, most seem to be ignoring the two most obvious questions: why now and what happens next?
As the day began with every Joe, Jim, and Harry claiming to be an expert in HFT and having prophesied all of this long ago, we thought it would be intriguing to track just how well the retail investor was edumacated on the 'rigging of markets'. It didn't take long before Bob "I'm not trying to be an apologist for HFT, but..." Pisani explained that investors should not be concerned and another talking-head popped up on CNBC to proclaim, "being a little bit front-run is not a problem... remember, it's legal." Henry Blodgett made his 'takes one to know one' bubble perspective adding confidently that "the concept that the market is rigged is crazy." Crazy indeed - until the FBI gets involved. But we leave it to Rick Santelli who summed it all delightfully in a death-match with Pisani, "I'm sorry but if a large group of people can take that one cent all day long, day-in and day-out, then there's a problem."
It is perhaps little wonder that Virtu was in such a hurry to use the cover of the JOBS Act to IPO itself before the whole HFT 'game' was exposed. Just 5 years after we first drew the world's attention to the potential damage that HFT could do; and mere minutes after we posted our article on how HFT is being set up to be the scapegoat for all that is broken with the market and conveniently distracting from the Fed, and god, or perhaps his agent on earth Goldman Sachs, 'completely unexpectedly' sends in the FBI:
- *FBI SAID TO PROBE HIGH-SPEED TRADERS OVER ABUSE OF INFORMATION
- *FBI Working With SEC, CFTC in High-Speed Investigation
- *FBI Investigating Whether High-Speed Firms Trade on Nonpublic Information
Now, the question is: how many HFTs will stop trading for fear that any further trading on 'non-public information' will be deemed criminal from this point... or keep trading and lobby/hope that "a reasonable man" will believe their liquidity-providing lies.
Filed under 'most ironic story of the day', California Senator Leland Yee, who authored gun control legislation, has been busted by the FBI for conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms. As AP reports, Yee is also accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and cash payments to provide introductions, help a client get a contract and influence legislation. House of Cards much?