We often hear figures about the 90% (or even more) that lose money on a consist basis. It’s a ‘fact’ often quoted by gurus and a common belief held by traders. The question for professional traders then becomes how do we benefit from this landslide of people on the wrong side of a trade?
Yields are low, unemployment up, CPI numbers are down—in short, everything screams "deflation". Nevertheless, the next leg down in the Global Depression will be a hyperinflation. Here's why it will happen, how it will happen, and what to do about it. - Gonzalo Lira
The quarterly Goldman Hedge Fund Trend Monitor, aka the HF groupthink update, is released, chock full of HF holding trivia, such as that should Apple ever miss its priced to absolute perfection business model, a whopping 181 hedge funds are going to suffer, and 75 HFs, who have Apple as a top 10 holding, are going to get crushed. Also, we uncover the latest top 10 hedge funds ranked by equity assets (DE Shaw, RenTec and Paulson are the new top 3, although with 2,048 and 2,669 holdings for the first two, they are now receiving 2 and 20 for their quant models which as the NYT highlighted recently no longer work). On the other end of the quant spectrum, are the traditional hedge funds, and as of Q2, the typical fund had an average of 63% of its long-equity assets invested in its 10 largest positions, compared to 30% for a typical large-cap mutual fund, 17% for a small-cap mutual fund, 19% for the S&P and just 2% for the Russell 2000. The top 5 most concentrated hedge fund holdings are AutoNation (46% of market cap held by HFs), Sears (45%), AutoZone (32%), Pactiv (28%) and Novell (27%). Also hilarious perpetual LBO candidate Radioshack has hedge funds make up 24% of its market cap. In other words, any bad news here will kill the stock price faster than a HFT can frontrun the exponential pulling of bids. On the other side, or the names most hated by hedge funds, is Brown Forman, where only 0.2% of HFs make up its market cap, followed by Roper Industries, Stericycle, Hormel, and Praxair. From a surprise upside potential perspective, Goldman estimates that the most HF-shorted names is Crown Media, which has a 99 day short interest ratiom followed by Lifeway Foods, Isramco, K-Fed Bancorp, First South Bancorp, and Costar Group. Shorts Squeezes in these names could be violent. Looking at ETFs, the biggest gross long ETF held by HFs is GLD with $8 billion in long ownership, while the most shorted is SPY with $27.6 billion in shorts, indicating that funds are now "hedging" using this proxy for the entire market. Lastly, in confirmation that hedge funds are for the most part worthless "groupthink" contraptions which merely ride a leveraged beta wave, and suck out management fees, Goldman highlights that the "Most Concentrated" basket of stocks has underperformed the "Least Concentrated" stocks materially since February 2007, confirming that HFs have actually destroyed value in both the past 3 years and YTD, by underperforming the market.
Two years ago when I told everyone I knew that the United States was bankrupt and would ultimately default of its debt one way or the other (by inflation or restructuring) I was called crazy and dismissed by 95%+ of the people I met. These days many of the same people still think I am crazy when I say that a political, financial and intelligence elite which has now teamed up with large corporations is attempting to create a global currency and world government (with them at the helm of course), but the notion that the U.S. is bankrupt is now more or less mainstream. Even the corporatist/socialists in power are now unable to merely dismiss questions about the deficit. The public has woken up from its slumber of consciousness and is now starting to see things as they are. This is an extremely positive development and is why as I have said before I think the elite are in their last days as the freight train of consciousness runs them and their twisted illusions of grandeur into the sea. The weakest link in this sick and corrupt financial system that was forced upon many of us before we were even born with its mechanics purposely hidden in the shadows so that we remained ignorant of its preposterousness, is the commodity market. However, within the commodity market the weakest link is gold. - Mike Krieger
Ever wonder why the SEC, FINRA and all other regulators actively continue to ignore the flagrant quote stuffing, frontrunning (yes, Flash trading is still a perfectly accepted practice) and all other destabilizing market activities facilitated and performed daily by High Frequency Trading (when comparable such actions result in jail sentences in Norway)? Hopefully the chart below will explain it...
More insights from "smart money"....
While everybody is dissecting the Fed's latest move ad nauseam, I keep things simple. The Fed will do whatever it takes to reflate risk assets to shore up banks' and pensions' balance sheets, and bring about mild inflation to the economic system. Are there risks to QE 2.0? Sure there are, but the bigger risk is if they do nothing at all.
It's been a long, hot summer for hedge funds and things aren't looking up. Why are so many hedge funds struggling?
Pension funding relief could provide between $19 billion and $63 billion reduction in required contributions over five years. And the Fed is also taking notice of states' pension woes. This means that the reflation trade will continue well into 2011.
July was a sizzling month for stocks, which posted the best return in a year (or some other stupid soundbiting data point). However, the only ones who seem to have taken advantage of this surge are 401(k) funds which will soon be mandatory anyway courtesy of imminent capital controls, and corporate CEOs, who merely are presented with a higher level from which to sell their stock to the general public. July for the "smart money" hedge fund community was a total wash, as the latest HSBC hedge fund performance data indicate. Below are the top funds and their MTD performance (thru July 23 for most): alas, the picture is less than pretty. Does this mean hedge funds will now all go on the same side of the trade like they did in March and April as they all seek massive beta upside, only to unwind at some point and have a flash crash repeat with or without the benefits of the HFT theft brigade?
- Ratings Understate ‘Dangerous’ Chinese Local Government Risks, Dagong Says (Bloomberg)
- Arcelor Mittal warns on pace of global recovery (FT)
- Portugal Takes Eurozone Derivatives Set-Aside Decision (FT)
- Ready for the Next Trillion-Dollar Bailout? (Heritage Foundation)
- Drip after drip of deflation data (Telegraph)
- Atlas Didn't Shrug; He's just sitting on his hands while he confronts regulatory and tax uncertainty. (Barrons)
- Gold bears are wrong, smart money isn't selling (Minyanville)
Without buyers stepping in, extremes in bearish sentiment will be just that - extremes in bearish sentiment.
European Stress Tests: "All Is Not Well" - ECB Likely To Delay Liquidity Unwinds Until Next Year Causing EUR Lift OffSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/06/2010 10:45 -0400
How many more European trips will it take for Tim Geithner to explain just how the "stress tests" work to those damn ECB bureaucrats? Apparently they still haven't realized that the whole point of this sham is to make it seems that all is well, and pump billions of dollars into failing banks, all the while pretending that it is really the "smart money" doing the buying. To quote Market News: "Even as European Central Bank officials lobby for full disclosure of bank stress tests, they worry privately that publication of the details could show many banks in significant trouble, particularly in the periphery of the Eurozone, well-placed sources told Market News International." This should certainly help explain the parabolic, confidence "inducing" move in the EURUSD.
We continue to hear pundits describe gold as a bubble. Certainly it will turn into a bubble before this is all over but we are hardly in the bubble stage yet. In order for a bubble to form you need the public to come into an asset class. The public is pretty dim and it can take 15-20 years before they "catch on". It took 18 before they noticed the tech bubble. Once they do start to "get it" we will have about a year to a year and a half as gold enters the parabolic stage before the bubble pops. See the Nasdaq chart below from late 98 to March of 2000. At gold's top, half of your neighbors will be buying gold (not selling like they are doing now). At the top there will be lines outside the the local coin dealer waiting for the next shipment of gold to come in. At the top 7 of 10 billboards you see driving down the highway will have something to do with precious metals. At the top the guy standing next to you in the grocery store will tell you how many thousands of dollars he made last month off his gold coins. At the top everyone will have become convinced the dollar is toilet paper and will only continue to decline until it has become worthless.
Are you ready for interesting times and an exodus from the United States? A possibly apocryphal ancient Chinese curse goes "May you live in interesting times." Those words may derive from an authentic Chinese proverb: "It is better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in chaos." Either way, the message is easy to understand for anyone living in the summer of 2010. As I look over at Lucky, my golden retriever whose only concerns are when do we eat and when do we go back in the ocean to play ball, I can see the advantages of being a dog. But as a man I know it is time to defend my freedom and secure my wealth for myself and for my posterity. The U.S. is wandering through a fake recovery, an expanding sovereign debt crisis, a stock market downturn and a double-dip real estate collapse. Meanwhile, the Swiss franc is moving to historic highs to the euro. And what does the conventional press want to tell us about? The "strong" dollar, who's to blame for the oil disaster, the newest episodes in a host of foreign and domestic political soap operas and – a fresh diversion – which politicians are telling the biggest lies about their military records.