• Tim Knight from...
    01/26/2015 - 21:16
    "Oh, he's there to make sure high school kids don't jump in front of a train to kill themselves", I would reply. And you, assuming you come from a place that isn't insane, would be puzzled and...

Securities and Exchange Commission

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Frontrunning: January 22





  • ECB to decide on bond-buying plan to revive euro zone (Reuters)
  • Draghi Is Pushing Boundaries of Euro Region with QE Program (BBG)
  • Investors Wonder Whether ECB Will Do Enough (WSJ)
  • Treasuries Drop With Bunds Before ECB; U.S. Futures Rise (BBG)
  • European shares hit seven-year high (Reuters)
  • At least eight civilians killed in shelling of Ukrainian trolleybus (Reuters), both sides blame each other
  • OPEC Will Blink First in Battle With Shale Drillers, Poll Shows (BBG)
  • China Injects $8 Billion Into Banking System (WSJ)
  • New York says Barclays not cooperating in 'dark pool' probe (Reuters)
 
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Day After SEC Charges HFT Trader With Spoofing, Another HFT Spoofer Sends S&P Soaring





Just yesterday, the SEC charged Canadian Aleksandr Milrud with orchestrating a lucrative market manipulation scheme that relied on "layering" in which a trader places orders solely to trick others into buying or selling at artificially inflated or depressed prices... So we found it ironic that twice today, Nanex exposed examples of the "spoofing" manipulation in crude oil futures (which soared) and S&P 500 e-mini futures (which soared)... These are your "most liquid and transparent capital markets in the world."

 
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Harold Hamm Pledges Almost 20% Of Continental As Collateral To Cover Divorce Loan





It's not been a good six months for Harold Hamm. The billionaire CEO of Continental Resources has seen his massive stake in the company cut in value by almost 60% since the start of September and - maybe even more distressing - agreed the largest divorce settlement ever. Hamm's divorce lawyers recently said he took out a personal loan to fund the $1 billion settlement with ex-wife Sue Ann Arnall, but as Reuters reports, a regulatory filing by the company today reveals Hamm pledged 68.7 million of his company shares as collateral for the loan on Jan. 9, or around 18.5% of the outstanding shares.

 
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Wednesday Humor: Maxine Waters Takes On HFT Rigging And Broken Markets





Yesterday was a bad day for the HFT lobby, after not one but two incidents which exposed the high frequency parasites doing what they do best, and perhaps only: rigging markets.  And since it would be laughable if its wan't tragic, we decided to make it even more laughable, by noting that none other than intellectual titan in the House of Representatives, Maxine Waters, had a few choice words to say about the latest HFT rigging busts. That's right: Maxine Waters now opines on market microstructure issues.

 

 
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Meet The Person Who Will Determine If The Market Is "Fair





A week ago, we were surprised to learn that one of the most prominent critics of HFT, Joseph Stiglitz, had been barred from an SEC Panel that will "advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets."  Today, a day after the SEC busted DirectEdge for failing to "accurately describe the order types being used on the exchanges" namely the infamous Hide not Slide, even after said order had repeatedly made the front page of the WSJ, the SEC finally announced the full list of members of the "New Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee" which will focus on the structure and operations of the U.S. equities markets. Alas most of the committee members are, sadly, placeholding figureheads. Because there is only one person on the list whose participation matters, and whose presence is not at all surprising...

 
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Frontrunning: January 13





  • Oil Drops Below $45; U.S. Stockpiles May Speed Collapse (BBG)
  • Pound Drops as Traders Write Off Higher Rates on Inflation Slump (BBG)
  • Oil prices down again as UAE defends holding production (Reuters)
  • The Politics Behind the ECB's Threat to Cut Greece Funding (BBG)
  • France dispatched thousands of police and military personnel to protect synagogues and Jewish schools, as the government warned of continued terror threats after three days of deadly violence (WSJ)
  • Chinese Car Dealers Find Days of ‘Printing Money’ Ending (BBG)
  • Gold Rises to Highest Since October as U.S. Rate Outlook Weighed (BBG)
  • Divers retrieve crashed AirAsia jet's cockpit voice recorder (Reuters)
 
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The Real Cause Of Low Oil Prices: Interview With Arthur Berman





"We’ve read a lot of silly articles since oil prices started falling about how U.S. shale plays can break-even at whatever the latest, lowest price of oil happens to be. Doesn’t anyone realize that the investment banks that do the research behind these articles have a vested interest in making people believe that the companies they’ve put billions of dollars into won’t go broke because prices have fallen? This is total propaganda."

 
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Even The Regulators Are Rigged: Prominent HFT Critic Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel





That markets are rigged, at both the macro level, through central banks, and micro, through HFTs, dark pools and purposeful market fragmentation, should be painfully obvious to everyone by now. But when even the regulators engage in "jury rigging", or in this case blocking prominent HFT-critic Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel prize winning economist (a prize which doesn't count for much on these pages but should - at least on paper - impress such statist cronies as the SEC), has been blocked from a government panel that will advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets, it becomes clear as day that the rigging is not just in the markets: worse, it is openly involves the market's "regulator" and "enforcer."

 
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Frontrunning: January 5





  • Economists sceptical ECB bond-buying would revive eurozone (FT)
  • Indonesia naval captain says may have located missing plane's tail section (Reuters)
  • Oil hits five and a half year low under $55 (Reuters)
  • Samaras Warns of Euro Exit Risk as Greek Campaign Starts (BBG)
  • The death of active investing: Vanguard Sets Record Funds Inflow (WSJ) - thank you Fed
  • Oil Downturn Has Many Wondering How Lone Star State Will Weather a Bust (WSJ)
  • Hollande Says France Must Exceed 1% Economic Growth to Spur Jobs (BBG)
 
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There "Is" Blood: Energy Services Firm Civeo Cuts Headcount 45% & Guidance By 30%, Suspends Dividend





In what we suspect will be the first of many, Houston-based Civeo (which provides workforce accomodation to the oil industry) has crashed over 20% after-hours (after being down over 65% since September already) following the total carnage of its earnings report.

  • *CIVEO HAS CUT U.S., CANADA HEADCOUNT BY 45%, 30% FROM EARLY '14
  • *CIVEO SEES 2015 REV $540M-$600M, EST. $817.3M

Apparently having not only (Jana) but two (Einhorn) activist hedge funds is not nearly sufficient to send a stock soaring to all time highs, especially when said stock can no longer afford to buy back its own stock.

 
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Frontrunning: December 23





  • Christmas rally enters sixth day in Europe (Reuters)
  • Downing North Korea's Internet not much of a scalp (Reuters)
  • North Korean Internet Access Restored After Hours-Long Outage (BBG)
  • At U.N. council, U.S. calls life in North Korea 'living nightmare' (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Cuts Gold Reserve to Nine-Year Low as Russia Buys (BBG)
  • De Blasio Seeks to Heal Rifts With Police After Officers Slain (BBG)
  • Oil steady around $60 on hopes of strong U.S. data (Reuters) - so it fell below $60 because...
  • Australian Dollar Hits Four and a Half Year Low on Chine Growth Worries (Reuters)
 
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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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