While overnight US equity futures have done nothing notable, what everyone's attention has been fixed on, in addition to the GBP and the read-through to all things UK-ish ahead of the Scotland independence referendum, is the sudden flare up in USDJPY trading and volatility, which exploded by some 100 pips in the past 24 hours hitting fresh post-2008 highs, on what appears to be a major capital reallocation move (it surely is not driven by any news) and/or forced squeeze. What is more perplexing is the change in correlations signals, because while until recently the USDJPY was synonymous with the E-Mini, and thus the S&P, as of late the USDJPY pair has moved tick for tick with the 10Year yield: almost as if the NY Fed's favorite HFT trading shop was instructed to change its vast array of signal inputs away from the S&P and to force a gentle levitation in the 10Y.
Today the entry-level position has morphed into something far different when you talk to anyone who's never owned or run a business. It's no longer thought of as "entry-level," as - faced with a government-mandated 50% minimum wage pay rise in some cases - businesses may decide their choice is to either leave – or eliminate the need for - those positions all together? And the technology, along with the acceptance of it, might be farther along the development curve than many believe to foster such dramatic changes.
Back in 2009 we first warned that the market is now just a "market" where between the direct manipulation of all asset-prices by the firehose Fed and its peers, and the explicit rigging of stock prices by the HFTs, there is no such thing as a market left. Back then, we were called tinfoil something or another. Now that everyone admits the Fed's only purpose is to push asset prices higher, and the topic of HFT's rigging of markets is now a blockbuster book, those accusations have grown silent. In fact, the only thing that remains are the very loud screams as increasingly more often, some unknown or well-known trader and/or investor, with a several year delay, stumbles on our conclusion and realizes that the game (i.e., market) is so rigged, manipulated and broken, that the only winning move was not to play in the first place. Today's case in point Andrew Cunagin, the founder of Rinehart Capital Partners LLC, a hedge fund backed by hedge-fund veteran Lee Ainslie and specialized in emerging-markets stock-picking, and who as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier, is closing. The closure is not news: what Cunagin blames the closure on, however, is.
Encouraging and supporting asset bubbles is essentially the only force remaining to keep the system intact as we know it.
As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Recently we discovered that the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash was not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. The most recent revelation for Citadel is that quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, as none other than the Nasdaq has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy." The following 2 clips give a sense of what goes on from day to day inside the firm that trades more volume than the NYSE every day...
While in July margin debt did dip modestly from near all time highs hit back in June when total margin debt was virtually tied with the previous record, at $464 billion, it was that other metric tracked by the NYSE, namely Investor Net Worth, calculated by subtracting margin debt from the notional represented in free credit cash accounts and credit balances in margin accounts, that was the notable highlight in the July report: at a negative $182.1 billion, a decline of $6.3 billion from the prior month, investor Net Worth has never been lower.
It's been one of those days. First, the CME broke for 4 hours due to what some suggested were HFT connectivity issues, then Russia announced it would send a second humanitarian convoy into Ukraine (a big risk off move the first time it was announced, now not even an algo stirred), then Germany reported that the IFO Business Confidence/Climate dropped for the fourth consecutive month to 106.3 from 108.0, below the 107.0 expected, with the IFO chief economist stating that German GDP expectations are likely to be cut to 1.5% from 2.0% later in the year, and finally the French government collapsed due to disagreement over policy between finance minister Valls and economy minister Montebourg. All in all, a typical day in Europe's slow-motion implosion. So why are Spanish and Italian bank stocks soaring and European bond yields reaching new record highs? Simple: following Draghi's speech on Friday at Jackson Hole, which at initial read was hardly as dovish as many had expected, the FT and various other media outlets promptly changed the narrative and made it seem as if the ECB head was about to unleash QE.
As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Yet one question had remained unanswered: just how does Citadel manipulated stocks? We now know the answer, and perhaps more importantly, it also links in to the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash, no not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. Most importantly, the revelation that for Citadel quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, is that none other than the Nasdaq has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy."
Direct Edge wasn’t the only exchange, nor the first exchange, to do what it did, which was the creation of symbiotic relationships between exchanges and HFTs.
"The risk sell-off we've seen in recent weeks frustrates us a little as the chart we've published most this year has pretty much predicted that tougher times would come around July. We've been paying it a lot of attention for over a year now but decided to wait until the autumn before we raised the warning flags. The chart in question (included in today's pdf) is the one showing the Fed balance sheet and the S&P 500 (as a proxy for risk generally). As you can see, since the Fed balance sheet was used as an aggressive policy tool post-GFC, the graph suggests that the S&P 500 is well correlated with the size of the Fed balance sheet... This is important as virtually all of the mega rally in the last 5 years has come in the Fed balance sheet expansion periods." - Deutsche Bank
On July 7, Bart Chilton, a former commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, wrote an article about high-frequency trading for the New York Times's DealBook. He argued, in effect, that because high-frequency trading has become so central to the stock market, it must be serving some necessary purpose. This is false...
Manipulation of the silver market was covered in a just released ‘Get REAL’ Special on Silver. Key topics discussed in the interview include * The fix is in: Old boys, pints of beer, big cigars and top hats, * the risk of manipulation through HFT, computer trading and ‘dark pools,' * “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss,' * The importance of owning allocated and especially segregated silver
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