The arrests or investigations targeting the finance industry in the aftermath of China’s summer market crash have intensified in recent weeks according to Bloomberg, creating a climate of fear among China’s finance firms and chilling their investment strategies. As one professor of Chinese economy noted, "some in the political leadership sought to find scapegoats to blame" for the market crash which along with massive intervention "created uncertainty and anxiety that can only undermine the effort to make these markets work better."
We would argue the main reason for Blackrock’s attempt to persuade the exchanges to adopt its recommendations on trading halts is that Blackrock itself is inconvenienced by downside volatility. Presumably the company is no stranger to leverage (how else can it squeeze out large returns with a portfolio this large in a ZIRP world?) and is therefore forced to exercise stop loss orders itself when the market declines fast. Such attempts to “regulate” everything, even the price swings markets are allowed to make, are attempts to stem oneself against nature.
This is the story of a veteran NYSE specialist who noticed manipulation in the NYSE market open Imbalance, loudly complained to the NYSE, was ignored, then decided to profit from said manipulation himself... and got busted. And that's where the story begins...
Following yesterday's flip-flop on TPP, Hillary Clinton has unleashed some new financial system 'policies' this morning, the most crucial of which includes the provision of a transaction tax which will dramatically penalize high-frequency traders (gratifying critics of HFT's instability-creating market structure). The question is, who is she trying to appease with this 'policy'? The answer is simple - Follow the money... once again.
It doesn't get more flagrant than this: the full HFT criminal monty exposed for all to see.
"...risk management is not another component... it is THE component of trading! Everyone goes broke because their trading size is wrong... Any fool can take a profit. It takes a lot of character, discipline and commitment to take losses and continue going – and that is the only way one can succeed. The lasting trader will always reduce trading size in order to continue trading and come back."
For students of history, the China stock market crash looks eerily familiar. It’s playing out much like the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929. One of the factors fueling the soaring stock market of the 1920s was an influx of new, financially unsophisticated investors who saw the rising numbers and saw an opportunity for quick and easy profits. And that’s exactly what’s happened in China over the past year or so.
Tomorrow at 8pm, we’re adding an extra second to the day. Over the past 200 years, the length of a day has increased by two milliseconds, which is all well and good, but the insane accuracy of the atomic clocks we’ve been using since 1967 doesn’t account for that, so we’ve had to add leap seconds 25 times since 1972. Tomorrow, however, is the first time a leap second will be added during trading hours since markets went electronic.
Q: How do you make a small fortune on Wall Street?
A: Start with a large fortune.
~ old investing adage
As Nanex's Eric Hunsader pointed out, while the well-paid HFT-lobbyists proclaim their rigging clients "knit together liquidity from all markets," it appears BATS' new CEO (since the lying old one left) disagrees. The exchange that caters significantly to the front-running HFTs believes it knows how to improve the market for thinly traded stocks... it will stop handling them.
While the last trading day of 2014 will be important if only to see if Dow 18,000 can be recaptured on what is sure to be the lowest volume in years, don't expect much help from Brent which continues to slide and was down nearly 3% at $56.20 or WTI which is also flirting with the $53 level, down almost 2% overnight both set to cap the worst year for the commodity since 2008. Not much should be expected from Treasuries either, set to return over 6% in 2014 - the best performance since 2011 - crushing the latest hoard of bond shorts all of which got the Treasury move in 2014 epically wrong, which will close early at 2 pm. Which means that the HFT algos will once again be driven off the illiquid USDJPY correlation, where low volume will mean 5-10 pip moves today should be the norm, as well as European stocks, whose Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3% earlier on the latest round of jawboning by an ECB member, this time Dutchman Peter Praet, who said in an interview with German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung that lower oil prices increasingly risk de-anchoring inflation expectations, indicating that quantitative easing is becoming more likely.
Blind faith in policymakers remains a bad trade that’s still widely held. Pressure builds everywhere we look. Not as a consequence of the Fed’s ineptitude (which is a constant in the equation, not a variable), but through the blind faith markets continuing to place bets on the very low probability outcome – that everything will turn out well this time around. And so the pressure keeps rising. Managers are under pressure to perform and missing more targets, levering up on hope. Without further delay we present our slightly unconventional annual list. Instead of the usual what you should do, we prefer the more helpful (for us at least) what we probably wouldn’t do. Five fresh new contenders for what could become some very bad trades in the coming year.
Just because Russia has managed to stabilize its currency, that certainly does not mean the soaring dollar tantrum-cum-crude crash episode is anywhere near over, nor that stability has returned to the rest of the oil-exporting countries. Case in point, crude-exporting powerhouse Nigeria, where things are going from worse to #REF! Bid and ask prices for the naira were quoted from 162 to 190 per dollar with only 16 trades by 1 p.m. in Lagos [yesterday], compared with more than 170 by the same time yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The naira fell 12 percent against the dollar this quarter, the worst among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg after Malawi’s kwacha. Investors dropped Nigerian assets as the outlook for Africa’s biggest oil producer worsened with Brent crude prices almost halving since late June. “The banks can’t stop trading because of the circular,” the Deputy Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sarah Alade said. “It is not supposed to close the market. We have told them we’ll continue intervening in the market, so there is no need to panic.”
Moments ago, Bloomberg released a stunning update that Europe's largest bank is exiting the single-name, both IG and HY, CDS product line, which for years was one of its biggest revenue generators and a product in which DB was for a long time one of the best and deepest CDS trade axes. As Bloomberg reports, Deutsche Bank AG will stop trading investment-grade and high-yield credit default swaps on single credits and will instead focus on trading corporate bonds, according to a spokeswoman.