We all know the difference between reality and wishful thinking. Many of us know just how quickly the jaws of reality can crush the life out of unicorn and fairytale stories when fiction is used to cover the facts. Where the businesses and happy customers that are supposedly represented on an income statement turn out to be little more than the Non-GAAP application of a fairy’s wand and pixie dust. However, this doesn’t stop people from buying in (literally) to the illusion. And what has far more onerous consequences is when the story tellers themselves begin to believe their own works of fiction.
With HFT algos now firmly entrenched in FX markets we weren't surprised to learn that volatility is rising, bid-ask spreads are blowing out, and liquidity is vanishing. Expect things like last October's algo-driven, Fed-assisted Treasury flash crash to become par for the course in FX markets as well, with harrowing USD, EUR, JPY, [fill in the blank] ramps and flash crashs becoming the norm and leaving panicked central bankers desperately trying to figure out what happened after the fact.
"Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants to take from the rich in order to make public college tuition-free for everyone else. On Tuesday, the Vermont senator will hold a press conference in the nation's capital at which he will introduce a plan to use a so-called Robin Hood tax on stock transactions to fund tuition at four-year public colleges and universities," Bloomberg reports.
Angela Merkel is attempting to head off staunch opposition from lawmakers concerning further coddling of what they perceive to be a belligerent Greek government. As we reported earlier this month, the German Chancellor has been under pressure from members of her Christian Democratic bloc to essentially cut Greece loose. Now that pressure is building, leaving Merkel with the unenviable task of selling yet another Greek bailout to an increasingly hostile audience.
There’s an old saying that “numbers don’t lie.” However, when we apply simple common sense to the way we hear numbers spun across the financial media what doesn’t add up is precisely that: the numbers.
"... some stressed more than others about it but all concluded that the last few weeks in rates were eye-opening. No-one really knew how to hedge or price for it in a world where you need to hit short-term performance targets. This supports my view that liquidity premiums will never be properly priced in this cycle and investors will stay in assets too long in order to maximise short-term performance.... when this cycle does end there is likely to be savage moves in markets where either investors need to sell or where they are able to sell."
Water, water everywhere,but not a drop to drink
"What most traders have said though is that liquidity is awful. Big moves are possible on relatively low or average volumes. What has become increasingly clear over the last couple of years is that the combination of high money liquidity (ZIRP and QE) and low trading liquidity (regulation and bank capital constraints) creates air pockets. The former encourages investors to move in a similar (positive) direction until overheating occurs with the latter then creating problems when they want to collectively lighten up. However that this is increasingly spreading up the top of the capital structure is a worry. It’s also a worry that these events are occurring in relatively upbeat markets. "
Today, Virtu released its first public financials since going public, and our speculation has been proven correct: FX is now the largest revenue generator for VIRT, amounting to 28.4% of revenues in the quarter ended March 31, at $42.2 million, well above the $29.1 million generated from trading America Equities and the $34.7 million from global commodities. In fact, as the chart below shows, on an LTM basis, FX is now not only the biggest revenue item for the world's dominant HFT firm at $131.1 million, but is also the fastest growing source of profit, rising 103% on a year over year basis!
- ‘Flash Crash’ Overhaul Is Snarled in Red Tape (WSJ)
- ECB Considers Tighter Noose on Greek Banks (BBG)
- Dollar Falls as U.S. Data Cast Doubt on Fed Policy Tightening (BBG)
- Market U-Turn Rams Hedge Funds (WSJ)
- Greece makes 200 million euro IMF payment due Wednesday (Reuters)
- Greek unemployment was 25.4 percent in February (Reuters)
- J.P. Morgan’s Barista-Turned-Banker Sees Good Things Brewing (WSJ)
As is almost always the case, the price of gold was leaned on at the standard PLAN A time in London when The Gold Cartel traders reported for work, but their nudge was thwarted pretty quickly. Gold took off again going into the Comex trading hours and managed to reach $1200 where it was stopped dead in its tracks. James Mc early this morning…
It's not easy being a millionaire in the New Normal.
"I think we have to blame central bank intervention. How can we not? It’s all around the world. They’re setting interest rates at a ridiculous level. Quantitative easing is distorting all sorts of prices of assets. How do you price things anymore when you have such a giant manipulator out there?"