• Bruce Krasting
    12/18/2014 - 21:42
      The one thing that Jordan can't do in this war is appear to be weak.

Michael Lewis

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Oil Slumps To 4 Year Low Ahead Of OPEC, Eurozone Yields New Record Lows: Summary Of Overnight Events





While the US takes the day off after another near-record low volume surge to a new all time high in the S&P500, a level which is now just 125 points away from Goldman's year end target for 2016, the rest of the world will be patiently awaiting to see if oil's next step, as a result of today's OPEC meeting will be to $60 or to $100. For now at least the answer is the former (see more here from the WSJ), with Brent recently touching a fresh 4 year low in the mid-$75s, as WTI doesn't fare much better and was down 2% at last check to $72.20 after touching a low of $71.89. It appears the prepared remarks by the OPEC president to the 166th conference have not eased fears that despite all the rhetoric OPEC will be unable to get all sides on the same story, even though the speech notes "ample supply, moderate demand and warns that "if falling price trend continues, “long-term sustainability of capacity expansion plans and investment projects may be put at risk."

 
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"Failed" Bund Auction At Record Low Yield And All Other Key Overnight Events





While there has been no global economic outlook cut today, or no further pre-revision hints of "decoupling" by the appartchiks at the US Bureau of Economic Analysis,  both European and US equities are pointing at a higher open, because - you guessed it - there were more "suggestions" of "imminent" QE by a central bank, in this case it was again ECB's Constancio dropping further hints over a potential ECB QE programme, something the ECB has become the undisputed world champion in. The constant ECB jawboning, and relentless central bank interventions over the past 6 years, led to this:

  • GERMANY SELLS 10-YEAR BUNDS AT RECORD-LOW YIELD OF 0.74%

The punchline: this was another technically "failed" auction as it was uncovered, the 10th of the year, as there was not enough investor demand at this low yield, and so the Buba had to retain a whopping 18.8% - the most since May - with just €3.250Bn of the €4Bn target sold, after receiving €3.67Bn in bids.

 
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Why Tony Robbins Is Asking The Wrong Questions





Looking for answers to both financial safety as well as financial freedom in the same light or viewpoint where it seems one only needs to “think like a billionaire” or “tweak” or “slightly modify” perceptions on how one approaches these financial markets today – will hurt more than it will help. The Wall Street everyone believes they are dealing with today is just in name and memory. What made sense just 6 years ago not only doesn’t but rather if you try to apply any sense that resembles “common sense” you might as well be asking the Cheshire cat for a more straight answer. "How exactly are you handling the stresses and strains having to basically push sound fundamental theories or market underpinnings aside and now trade and position money at risk based solely on what some Central Bank will do next?" This is the avenue I wish Tony had driven or sought.

 
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Head Of "Holy Grail" HFT Firm Chief To Become President Of HFT-Beloved BATS Exchange





In a dramatic example of the unprecedented collusion between predatory (HFT) client and predator-enabling (and HFT-pandering) exchange, in which the prey is any naive, witless order block that makes its way onto the exchange only to be frontrun with impunity and assure Virtu even more flawless trading days, we now see just who calls the shots for America's exchanges. "Virtu Financial LLC executive Chris Concannon will be appointed as president of BATS Global Trading Inc., an upstart Kansas City, Mo., firm that has grown into one of the country’s top stock-exchange operators, BATS said."

 
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As Monday Looms, Experts Warn Japan's Half-Trillion Dollar Fat-Finger-Trade "Could Absolutely Happen" In The US





Just over a week ago, the Japanese stock market participants were stunned when stock orders amounting to a whopping $617 billion (yes Billion with a B) - more than the size of Sweden’s economy - were canceled for reasons still unknown in what was one of the biggest 'fat finger' trading errors of all time. Since then, US equity markets have suddenly become notably more volatile - and fallen significantly, VIX has seen odd intraday 'spikes', S&P futures saw the very odd 'satan signal', and USDJPY has suffered its worst losses in 3 years. This raises the question of whether US market microstructure is any better than Michael Lewis' Flash Boys' book describes.. (as we head into a bond market holiday, dismal liquidity, and a potential Black Monday), “That could absolutely happen here,” Tabb Group's Larry Tabb warns Bloomberg.

 
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How Goldman Controls The New York Fed: 47.5 Hours Of "The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes" Explain





I don't want to spoil the revelations of "This American Life": It's far better to hear the actual sounds on the radio, as so much of the meaning of the piece is in the tones of the voices -- and, especially, in the breathtaking wussiness of the people at the Fed charged with regulating Goldman Sachs. But once you have listened to it -- as when you were faced with the newly unignorable truth of what actually happened to that NFL running back's fiancee in that elevator -- consider the following:

  1. You sort of knew that the regulators were more or less controlled by the banks. Now you know.
  2. The only reason you know is that one woman, Carmen Segarra, has been brave enough to fight the system. She has paid a great price to inform us all of the obvious. She has lost her job, undermined her career, and will no doubt also endure a lifetime of lawsuits and slander.

So what are you going to do about it? At this moment the Fed is probably telling itself that, like the financial crisis, this, too, will blow over. It shouldn't.

 
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Presenting The Two-Tier Market: Mapping Europe's Microwave Tower Network





The image below is a screen capture of the Google Earth map file which will be released officially tomorrow on his blog, with public documents linking each tower to its owner. The creator of the map thinks that it "should make some noise," although considering the vast financial resources and power over politicians the HFT lobby has, we wouldn't be surprised if, quite quickly, this latest story is promptly disappeared. After all, the last thing retail investors need to be reminder of every day, is that there is a rigged market for frontrunning, predator HFTs, and then a market for everyone else, i.e., the prey.

 
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Flash Boys' Katsuyama Blasts Back At Ex-CFTC Chilton's "Incorrect Claims"





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...

 
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Market Rigging Explained





Michael Lewis probably said it best when he told 60 minutes that the stock market is rigged. To the fantastic claims made by HFT that they provide liquidity, perhaps we should ask, what kind of liquidity? To the now obviously ludicrous claim that "everyone's order uses the same tools that HFT uses", we'll just say, the data shows otherwise. ... What is shown here is as close to automatic pilfering as one can get. It probably results in a few firms showing spectacularly perfect trading records; it definitely results in people believing the market is unfair and corrupt.

 
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Top 5 Surprises For 2014





The last six months have not run according to anyone’s plan.  Who would have thought that equity market structure would yield a best-selling book, after all?  As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, on the fundamental side of things, interest rates across the developed world are lower, not higher – counter to the consensus view just 180 days ago. Mutual fund investors first bought U.S. equities earlier in the year, then in the last 6 weeks have begun to liquidate in earnest. Exchange Traded Fund investors are buying more fixed income products than those dedicated to U.S. stocks. Large cap stocks are trouncing small caps in terms of performance. And as for volatility – well, Elvis has clearly left the building on that one. So which of these surprises has staying power into the back half of 2014?

 
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FINRA Unleashes Dark Pool Fury On Goldman Next With Whopping $800,000 Fine





In case there is still any confusion on whose behalf the US regulators work when they "fine" banks, the latest announcement from Finra should make it all clear. Recall the spectacle full of pomp and circumstance surrounding NY AG Scheinderman's demolition of Barclays after it was announced that the bank had lied to its customers to drive more traffic to Barclays LX, its dark pool, and allow HFT algos to frontrun buyside traffic. Yes, it was warranted, and the immediate result was the complete collapse in all buyside  Barclays dark pool volume, meaning predatory HFT algos would have to find some other dark pool where to frontrun order flow. Such as Goldman's Sigma X. Which brings us to, well, Goldman's Sigma X, which moments ago, in a far less pompous presentation, was fined - not by the AG, not by the SEC, but by lowly Finra - for "Failing to Prevent Trade-Throughs in its Alternative Trading System."  The impact: "In connection with the approximately 395,000 trade-throughs, Goldman Sachs returned $1.67 million to disadvantaged customers." The punchline, or rather, the "fine": $800,000.

 
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Famous "Big Tobacco" Lawyer Launches Class Action Lawsuit Against HFT





In 1994 a lawyer did what most thought was impossible: he took on big tobacco on behalf of the state of Mississippi and won a record $368.5 billion judgment paid out by the 13 biggest tobacco companies to cover the cost of treating illnesses related to smoking. 20 years later he is trying the impossible again, this time launching a class action lawsuit against High Frequency Traders, and specifically 13 stock exchanges and subsidiaries on behalf of Harold Lanier "individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated". Ironically, the lawyer behind the lawsuit is also named Michael Lewis, no relation to the famous author whose book simplifying just how rigged the market has become as a result of HFT (and of course the Fed, but that is the topic of the forthcoming "Liberty 33 Boys").

 
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The Purchase Of Our Republic





The massive consolidation of wealth, combined with the removal of any limits on money in campaigns, has allowed for the purchase of our government. Americans know that something is wrong, deeply wrong. They see signs of the problem everywhere: income inequality, growing concentration and power of mega corporations, political donations/corruption, the absence of jobs with decent salaries, the explosion of the US prison population, healthcare costs, student loan debt, homelessness, etc. etc. However, the true causes and benefactors behind these problems are purposely hidden from view. What Americans see is Kabuki Theater of a functioning form of capitalism and democracy, but beyond this veneer our country has devolved into the exact opposite.

 
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Kyle Bass On China's "Contraction" And "The Fed's Worst Nightmare"





With the Fed tapering and both China “I don't think the markets are discounting what’s really happening in China,” and Japan’s currencies likely to weaken, the net impact on the U.S. will be deflationary, Kyle Bass warned in a recent presentation. That trend will be accelerated by the improvement in the balance of trade for the U.S., which had its current account deficit shrink due to increased hydrocarbon production. Bass warns, the crucial moment will come when the U.S. reports a sub-6% unemployment rate, meeting the target it has set for normalizing its monetary policy by ending QE and raising rates. He predicted that will come in July. That will be the Fed’s “worst nightmare,” he said. Raising rates would stifle growth and recreate unemployment problems, which would be disastrous politically, according to Bass.

 
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