Insider Trading

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"Our Industry Is Absolutely Crazy": The Subprime Wolf Of Wall Street In 125% Interest Clothing

The last time we wrote about the number 125% it was in the context of the return of that old Subprime 1.0 staple home loans that cover more than the purchase price of the home (because one must always have some leftover cash for improvements), i.e. 125% loan-to-value loans. Today 125% comes back and again it is in the context of subprime, only this time it is about the second coming of the credit bubble when, as Bloomberg writes, a certain group of distinguished individuals is now offering loans to troubled Americans at the whopping annual interest rate of 125%.

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Frontrunning: May 16

  • Bank of England sees 'no housing bubble' (Independent)
  • ‘If the euro falls, Europe falls’ (FT)
  • India's pro-business Modi storms to historic election win (Reuters)
  • Global Growth Worries Climb (WSJ)
  • Bitcoin Foundation hit by resignations over new director (Reuters)
  • Blackstone Goes All In After the Flop (WSJ)
  • SAC's Steinberg loses bid for insider trading acquittal (Reuters)
  • Beats Satan: Republicans Paint Reid as Bogeyman in 2014 Senate Races (BBG)
  • Tech Firms, Small Startups Object to Paying for Internet 'Fast Lanes' (WSJ) - but they just provide liquidity
  • U.S. Warns Russia of Sanctions as Ukraine Troops Advance (BBG)
  • Major U.S. hedge funds sold 'momentum' Internet names in first-quarter (Reuters)
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Frontrunning: May 13

  • EU Court: Google Must Remove Certain Links on Request (WSJ), people have right to be forgotten on Internet (Reuters)
  • Harsh weather: German Investor Confidence Drops for Fifth Straight Month (BBG)
  • More harsh weather: China Slowdown Deepens (BBG)
  • Harsh weather as far as the eye can see: China’s New Credit Declines (BBG)
  • "Alien" artist, surrealist H.R. Giger dies aged 74 (Reuters)
  • Pfizer urges AstraZeneca to talk as UK lawmakers slam offer (Reuters)
  • Property sector slowdown adds to China fears (FT)
  • Russia says EU sanctions will hurt Ukraine peace efforts (Reuters)
  • U.S. Considers Relaxing Crude Oil Export Restrictions (WSJ)
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Goldman Bails Out Steve Cohen (Again) With Art-Backed Loan

It seems Goldman Sachs is willing to do pretty much anything when it comes to maintaining SAC Capital (now Point72) Steve Cohen's liquidity. On the heels of last year's "stand by your man" moment in the midst of the insider-trading scandal, Goldman has kindly offered to provide Cohen another lifeline of liquidity - this time backed by his $1 billion art collection. As Bloomberg reports, Cohen pledged “certain items of fine art” under a security agreement which didn’t specify how much money was borrowed. As one art "investor" noted, this is not unusual, "hedge fund guys who manage their money wisely... look to put their art collections to work... If you can get liquidity out of your collection and pay only 250 basis just makes sense." Sense, indeed!

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Leaked Documents Show How Blackstone Fleeces Taxpayers Via Public Pension Funds

The following story by David Sirota at PandoDaily is simply excellent. It zeros in on the secretive and rapidly expanding relationship between private equity firms and the public pensions that invest in them. It shows a crony capitalist love affair greased by lobbyist influence peddlers known as “placement agents”, as well as non-public agreements between PE firms and public pensions chock full of conflicts of interest, extremely high fees and underperformance. Unbelievably, in many instances the trustees of the public pensions are not allowed to know what funds the “fund of funds” invest in. This makes due diligence impossible, and in one particularly egregious example it led the Kentucky Retirement Systems to unknowingly invest in SAC Capital despite the fact it was under SEC investigation at the time.The chief villain in this article will be no stranger to readers of this site. It is Blackstone...

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Frontrunning: April 25

  • Russia raises interest rates to 7.5% (FT)
  • Shanghai to Allow Raw Material Exchanges in Trade Zone (BBG)
  • US, Japan Fail to Clinch Trade Deal (WSJ)
  • 'We don't have a magic wand', says ECB's Constancio (Reuters)
  • Tokyo Inflation Quickens to Fastest Since 1992 (BBG)
  • Demand for Home Loans Plunges (WSJ)
  • EU banks urged to grasp chance to raise capital (FT)
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Frontrunning: April 23

  • Ukraine's leaders say have U.S. backing to take on 'aggressors' (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs Stands Firm as Banks Exit Commodity Trading (BBG)
  • Obama reassures Japan, other allies on China as Asia trip begins (Reuters)
  • China Challenges Obama’s Asia Pivot With Rapid Military Buildup (BBG)
  • Google’s Stake in $2 Billion Apple-Samsung Trial Revealed (BBG)
  • No bubble here: Numericable Set to Issue Record Junk Bond (WSJ)
  • 'Bridgegate' scandal threatens next World Trade Center tower (Reuters)
  • Supreme Court Conflicted on Legality of Aereo Online Video Service (WSJ)
  • Barclays May Cut 7,500 at Investment Bank, Bernstein Says (BBG)
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Obama Administration Encouraged Insider Trading

Over the past week the Obama administration leaked material information, in effect allowing and encouraging frontrunning of public data, when it told "asset managers last week that it was planning additional sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine."Bloomberg reports that the meeting, convened a week before talks with Russia in Geneva that ended yesterday, left managers grappling with the question of whether the government intended to follow through, or was trying to trigger asset sales through the threat of sanctions, said the person. Former administration officials have said forcing Russia out of global financial markets is the strongest tool President Barack Obama has at his disposal in trying to defuse the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

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Frontrunning: April 11

  • Sensitive Market Data Leaked After Government Phone Call (WSJ)
  • This is a actual Bloomberg headline: China Fake Data to Skew More Export Numbers (BBG)
  • This is another actual BBG headline: U.S. as Global Growth Engine Putt-Putts Instead of Purring (BBG)
  • Ukraine wants to buy European gas to boost energy security (Reuters)
  • JPMorgan Profit Falls 19% on Trading, Mortgage Declines (BBG)
  • Record Europe Dividends Keep $2.8 Trillion From Factories (BBG)
  • Why is Goldman shutting down Sigma X: SEC eyes test that may lead to shift away from 'dark pools' (Reuters)
  • Ebola Outbreak Empties Hotels as West Africa Borders Closed (BBG)
  • Australian PM says searchers confident of position of MH370's black boxes (Reuters)
  • Gross Says El-Erian Should Explain Reason for Exit (BBG)
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DoJ Confirms "Insider Trading" Probe Of HFT

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.

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Presenting America's 20 Best And Worst Paying Jobs

While we fail to see any occupations listed for "insider trading hedge fund managers" or "high frequency market manipulators" in the just released list by the BLS listing the number of workers and wages earned for all official US occupations, we supposed it will have to do, incomplete as it may be.

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Frontrunning: April 3

  • Russia says expects answers on NATO troops in eastern Europe (Reuters)
  • Dealers say GM customer anxiety rising, sales may take hit (Reuters)
  • China Unveils Mini-Stimulus Measure (WSJ)
  • Londoners Priced Out of Housing Blame Foreigners (BBG)
  • New earthquake in Chile prompts tsunami alerts (Reuters)
  • Ukrainian Billionaire Charged by U.S. With Bribe Scheme (BBG)
  • Chinese Investments in U.S. Commercial Real Estate Surges (BBG)
  • Old Math Casts Doubt on Accuracy of Oil Reserve Estimates (BBG)
  • US secretly created 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest (AP)
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