Securities and Exchange Commission

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The Hidden Leverage In "Shiny Objects" - Banks Sell Record Amount Of Equity-Linked Structured Notes





Banks are selling a record amount of U.S. structured notes tied to the stocks of fast-growing, volatile technology companies such as Facebook and Twitter. As Bloomberg Briefs reports, sales of securities linked to Facebook soared to $457.6 million this year, more than double the $204.2 million issued during the same period of 2013. Bloomberg notes that investors are flocking to products tied to social media companies, where more volatile share prices help banks improve structured-note terms that have been hurt by low interest rates... and issuers are "trying to put shiny objects in front of the client," as the BTFD mentality gets increased leverage (and downside risk). Investors have purchased $1.88 billion of structured notes linked to the 10 most popular technology stocks so far this year - 31% more than the same period in 2013 - and $32.7bn equity- and commodity-linked notes this year alone (up ~10% YoY). As we warned last week, counterparty risks are rising.

 

 
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Frontrunning: December 12





  • Oil slide hits European stocks, safe-haven assets sought (Reuters)
  • IEA Cuts Global Oil Demand Forecast for 4th Time in Five Months (BBG)
  • Cue constant pro-Abe propaganda out of Japan: Japan’s Secrecy Law Takes Effect as Abe Seeks Fair Vote Coverage (BBG)
  • As if it has a choice: Japan’s GPIF Bets on Abenomics-Driven Recovery (WSJ)
  • Heather Capital: How a $600 Million Hedge Fund Disappeared (WSJ)
  • Senate Panel Votes to Authorize U.S. War on Islamic State (BBG)
  • Japan’s 28 IPOs in 11 Days Give Abe a Lift as Startups Boom (BBG)
  • U.S. authorities face new fallout from insider trading ruling (Reuters)
  • Greek Stock Rout Means ASE Is 2014 Worst After Russia (BBG)
 
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How Wal-Mart Fabricated And Lied About Its "Strong" Chinese Sales For Years





For many, if not most, companies and especially retailers, the great wildcard that is the "massive" Chinese market with the potential of hundreds of millions of buyers in the country's nascent middle class, has been a slam dunk when it comes to boosting stock prices. After all, what can go wrong? America's largest retailer was one of those hoping to capitalize on just this shareholder euphoria for Chinese exposure, and just like everyone else, it milked its Chinese exposure for many years. And then, unexpected everything did go wrong: as Bloomberg explains, "After years of heralding China as one of its best markets, Wal-Mart in August said its performance there was among the worst in its major countries." How is that possible? Read on to find out how Wal-Mart fabricated, lied and misled investors for years using every single trick in the book and then some.

 
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Frontrunning: December 11





  • Shale operaters Goodrich, Oasis Petroleum cut spending for 2015 as oil slides (Reuters)
  • Greece to hold elections in January if president vote fails (Reuters)
  • Norway’s Shock Rate Cut Drives Krone to Lowest Since 2009 (BBG)
  • ‘Severe Downturn’ Threatening Norway, Central Bank Governor Says (BBG)
  • Russia’s Fifth Rate Increase Fails to Halt Ruble Slide to Record (BBG)
  • SNB Says Deflation Risks Increased as Franc Cap Maintained (BBG)
  • China eases bank lending restrictions, PBOC targets 10 trillion yuan in loans for 2014 (Reuters)
  • Mobius Says China’s Bull Market Is Just Getting Started (BBG)
  • How Wal-Mart Made Its Crumbling China Business Look So Good for So Long (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: December 10





  • New Normal headlines: Global stocks up on hopes of China policy easing (Reuters)
  • China inflation eases to five-year low (BBC)
  • U.S. Lawmakers Agree on $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill (WSJ)
  • U.S. Braced for Blowback as CIA Report Lays Bare Abuses (BBG)
  • CIA tortured, misled, U.S. report finds, drawing calls for action (Reuters)
  • CIA Made False Claims Torture Prevented Heathrow Attacks (BBG)
  • Oil Resumes Drop as Iran Sees $40 If There’s OPEC Discord (BBG)
  • OPEC Says 2015 Demand for Its Crude Will Be Weakest in 12 Years (BBG)
  • Greek yield curve inverted as politics raise default fears (Reuters)
 
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Citi Shutters Lavaflow - 5th Largest 'Dark Pool' In America





When the 5th largest dark pool trading venue (by volume) in America is shuttered, as Citi notes because its "capital, resources and efforts would be better redeployed elsewhere," you know there is a problem in US stock trading volumes and liquidity. Everyday we get 'glimpses' of this collapse - most recently yesterday's AAPL flash-crash - as human traders (who provide the 'fish' for the machines) disappear and HFT liquidity-providers pull liquidity in a flash. Crucially, as we hinted previously, we wonder if the large firms are exiting the dark pool business before some engineered market collapse is pinned on these opaque 'markets' who have come under increased regulatory scrutiny.

 
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Frontrunning: November 28





  • Oil Seen in New Era as OPEC Won’t Yield to U.S. Shale (BBG)
  • Alberta Producers With World’s Cheapest Oil Face Cascading Woes (BBG)
  • Bundesbank’s Weidmann Rejects Calls for German Stimulus Plan (WSJ)
  • Google Should Be Broken Up, Say Euro MPs (BBC)
  • Calm comes to troubled Ferguson; protests dwindle across U.S. (Reuters)
  • Russia’s Banks Feel Capital Squeeze in Grip of Sanctions (BBG)
  •  Italian Unemployment Rate Rises to Record, Above Forecasts (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: November 26





  • National Guard, police curb Ferguson unrest as protests swell across U.S. (Reuters)
  • Ferguson Reaction Across U.S. Shows Complex Racial Split (BBG)
  • Democratic senator Schumer: Democrats Screwed Up By Passing Obamacare In 2010 (TPM)
  • Veto threat derails Reid tax deal (Hill)
  • Justice Department Investigating Possible HSBC Leak to Hedge Fund (WSJ)
  • Merkel hits diplomatic dead-end with Putin (Reuters), and yet...
  • Merkel Said to Reject Ukraine NATO Bid as Rousing Tension (BBG)
  • HSBC, Goldman Rigged Metals’ Prices for Years, Suit Says (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: November 7





  • The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare (Matt Taibbi)
  • Explains the midterm results: Optimism precedes job data (Reuters)
  • EU Dream Ebbs Amid Weak Growth, Putin's Jets, 25 Years After Wall Came Down (BBG)
  • SEC Probing Trading Activity at Apple Supplier GT Advanced (WSJ)
  • Boehner touts bills to repeal Obamacare, build Keystone (Reuters)
  • China Gold Buying Means Price Floor to Standard Chartered (BBG)
  • High-Speed Ad Traders Profit by Arbitraging Your Eyeballs (BBG)
  • Central Banks Can’t Be ‘Only Game in Town’ Boosting Economies (BBG) - less talking, more getting to work
 
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Bank Of America Finds It Did Some More Crime In Q3, Revises Previously Released Earnings Lower By $400 Million





Between Q4 2011 and Q3 2014 Bank of America produced "Net Income" of $15.9 billion. However, the amount of added back "one-time, non-recurring" legal expenses is a stunning $28.9 billion: two of every three dollars, non-GAAP as they may be, comes from Bank of America engaging in criminal activity... and that's just the stuff it got caught for.  And now we can add another $400 million of evil bank misdeeds because there was no actual carbon-based person behind these crimes. And as everyone knows by now, actually goes to jail for financial crime upon crime upon crime. Which also means that BofA has spent some $29.4 billion in just the past three years, to keep its 229,500 employees, but most the executives, out of prison: an insane amount of $128,104.57 per person.

 
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FBI To Probe Accounting Fraud At Multi-Billion REIT





While the Fed and the BOJ were by far the biggest news of the past week, explicitly admitting that the world simply can not exist without one central bank passing the monetization torch to someone else, a surprising, and scare for its shareholders, development took place when REIT American Realty Capital Properties, with a then-market cap of over $10 billion, announced, under the cover of the Fed ending QE3, that it had overstated its adjusted funds from operation, a cash flow key metric used by REITs, from the first- and second-quarters of 2014.As the WSJ reminds us, while the amount of money involved, some $23 million, was "relatively small", the irregularities resulted in the resignation of the company’s chief financial officer, Brian Block, and chief accounting officer, Lisa McAlister.The result: a crash in the stock that wiped out nearly 30% or nearly $4 billion in market cap.

 
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Shadow Banking Assets Increase By $5 Trillion To Record $75 Trillion, 120% Of Global GDP





We are not exactly sure which is scarier: that total financial assets amount to about 500% of world GDP or that about $75 trillion in financial leverage is just sitting there, completely unregulated and designed with one purpose in mind: to make billionaires into trillionaires (with taxpayers footing the bill of their failure).

 
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Frontrunning: October 30





  • "Soaring consumer confidence" - How the Economy Is Stoking Voter Anger at Incumbent Governors (WSJ)
  • Euro zone deflation worries shield German Bunds from upbeat Fed (Reuters)
  • Greece’s Euro Dilemma Is Back as Minister Sees Volatility (BBG)
  • Ukraine gas supplies in doubt as Russia seeks EU payment deal (Reuters)
  • Sterling Lads Chats Show FX Traders Matching Fix Orders (BBG)
  • NATO Tracks Large-Scale Russia Air Activity in Europe (WSJ)
  • U.K. SFO Charges Ex-Tullett Prebon Broker in Libor-Rigging Probe (BBG)
  • Jerusalem on edge after shooting of rabbi (FT)
  • Israeli police kill Palestinian suspected of shooting far-right activist (Reuters)
  • Samsung seeks smartphone revamp to arrest profit slide (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: October 29





  • Fed set to end one crisis chapter even as global risks rise (Reuters)... you mean, for the third time?
  • Insider-Trading Probe Focuses on Medicare Agency (WSJ)
  • He's sorry: Rajoy Apologizes as New Wave of Graft Allegations Hits Spain (BBG)
  • China could 'punish' Hong Kong over protests, says ex-HK central bank chief (Reuters)
  • Dubai Insists the Boom is Not a Bubble This Time Around (BBG)
  • Bank-Data Sharing Accord Expands Push to Find Tax Cheats (BBG)
  • Deutsche Bank Sinks to Third-Quarter Loss on Legal Costs (BBG)
  • Kim Jong Un Executes 10 Officials for Watching Soap Operas (BBG)
  • French drugmaker Sanofi sacks CEO Viehbacher (Reuters)
 
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