Economic principles explain why the Saudis began, in late 2014, to pump crude as fast as they could – or close to as fast as possible. In fact, there is a good reason why the Saudi princes are panicked and pumping.
While Wall Street is certainly free to broken record that Michael Lewis' hugely popular story about HFT and market rigging did not impact the natural course of events, the reality is it did: the collapse in Barclays' dark pool LX (shown in the bolded red line on the chart below), in the aftermath of the NY AG case against the British bank, has been documented in the past, and is just one example. An even more vivid case study comes from the surge in popularity of upstart dark pool IEX (green dotted line below), the protagonist of Lewis' Flash Boys book, and which out of nowhere, has just tied with Lavaflow's dark pool for fourth spot in ATS trading with just over 200 million shares in the week ended October 27. The catalyst? Norway's sovereign wealth fund just said not to HFT parasites.
As Europe gets hungrier and hungrier for a feel-good story, as Brussels longs more and more for a poster child for its 'crisis management' efforts of 2008-2013, as Dublin politicians get closer and closer to facing the crisis-hit electorate, the sunshine being lavished by politicians and the media onto Ireland's economy is likely to get only brighter. It might not feel much warmer, though, on the ground. Nor will it stave off the onset of winter.
Success in investing, in other words, comes not from over-reach, in straining to make the winning shot, but simply through the avoidance of easy errors. There is now a grave risk that an overzealous commitment to benchmarking is about to lead hundreds of billions of dollars of invested capital off a cliff. When a sufficient number of elephants start charging inelegantly towards the door, not all of them will make it through unscathed.
These people know the gravy train is about to run off the rails and they’re looking for safety. They don’t care if they miss out on another 5% gain in the stock market, they want to get out of stocks NOW.
In essence it’s all just a pretend game, and the fish in today’s investment world are probably far more aware of their own identity than the fish at a real life poker table. But it doesn’t matter. They’re still fish, and everybody knows they’re going down. And therefore so are your pensions and your other institutional investments. What are they going to do, stop playing? They can’t. So who are the solid players in this game, you ask? Why, Wall Street, of course. They’ve had their eye on your remaining cash all along.
Few are the market makers that make money no matter what the market does (especially since HFT firms, long since exposed for merely frontrunning big order blocks instead of providing liquidity, are now disappearing at an accelerating pace), and there are those who, rigged casino analogies notwithstanding, still want to place their money in the market betting on either more upside or downside. For their benefit a few days ago we posted "The "Crazy Ivan" Playbook: How To Time A Near-Term Market Bottom" however, we realize that most people are visual learners, so for them, here is the Investor Business Daily's compendium of the most notable market tops and bottoms in recent market history.