As we warned last week, stockpiles of iron-ore have reached record levels in China as end-demand slumps but, as Bloomberg notes, this is potentially creating massive dislocations in other markets. Record imports of iron ore and copper, driven by traders who use them as loan collateral, risk repeating the vicious cycle of repayment difficulties and falling prices already seen in the steel-trading market. A stunning 40 percent of the iron ore at China’s ports are part of finance deals (having replaced copper after China's last shadow-banking crackdown) and with the glut, prices drop (driving down the value of collateral on loans) and "borrowers, forced by their bankers to repay loans or to top up collateral, will have to sell the metals, sinking market prices even further and begetting a vicious cycle."
“This is different" and "this location is different" is the mantra of every property bubble. We will soon see if the London property bubble is truly different or will suffer the fate of the bubbles throughout history. Of the four charts in our market update today, which ones do you think show characteristics of a bubble? Those diversifying and buying gold in the UK will be rewarded in the coming years. The smart money is reducing exposure to overvalued London property and increasing exposure to undervalued gold.
Subsistence farming never worked because being self-sufficient was firstly nigh-on impossible and secondly limited as well as being dependent on the climate.
"Mr. Martin-Artajo thought that the market was irrational."
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, US Senate, Report on JPM Whale Trades: A Case History of Derivatives Risks and Abuses, p. 104
Just like Breaking Bad, the most exciting trading drama of 2012 is coming to an end.
It has been almost 2 years since FINRA started to get 'serious' about thinking about looking into an investigation of (get our point) high-frequency trading and dark pools but it seems, as the WSJ reports, this time they are more specific. In Sept 2011 FINRA noted "there's something that's troubling us in the marketplace," and it seems now that FINRA has spent the time since understanding the jargon they have some questions, "who is responsible for the automatic shut off or kill switch," asking firms how they avoid "quote bursts and stuffing" that create confusion for other investors and potentially distort the market, and approving a plan to force dark pools (15% of all stock trading) to disclose and detail trading activity on their platforms. Of course, we've seen this kind of bluster before and they did nothing then but hope springs eternal.
This a fairly broad topic, and any "rules" would be vague at best, so i'll use recent trading activity as an example. Often markets (and traders) are described as schizophrenic...and perhaps that should even be part of the job description....here's an example why...
“We’re just building a bigger and bigger time bomb.”
Buy PHYSICAL Gold. NOW: The Discount of a Lifetime: Or Why You Must Abandon the Fake Paper Gold MarketSubmitted by Gordon_Gekko on 04/17/2013 07:00 -0400
It's time to go in for the kill. Buy as much physical Gold as you can.
Back in 2012, amid "intense pressure from Obama" including an appeal for its passage in his 2012 State of the Union address, Congress passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act (with 96-3 theatrical votes in the Senate, and 417-2 even more theatrical votes in the House) - a bill prohibiting the use of non-public information for private profit, including insider trading by members of Congress and other government employees. It is unclear why until 2012 it was perfectly legal for congress to trade on inside information, something we pointed out in May 2011 when we wrote that a "A Hedge Fund Comprised Of Junior Congressional Democrats Should Outperform The Market By 9%" as it turned out flagrant insider trading abuse occurred mostly within the democrat ranks of the House (compared to a mere 2%+ outperformance by Congressional stock trading republicans). It turns out that any cynical skepticism regarding Congress' ability and willingness to police itself was well founded, as last night the House eliminated a "key requirement of the insider trading law for most federal employees, passing legislation exempting these workers, including congressional staff, from a rule scheduled to take effect next week that mandated online posting of financial transactions."
Below are portions of a comment letter submitted by R.T. Leuchtkafer to the SEC on April 16, 2010, just 3 weeks before flash crash. The second paragraph in the excerpt below, unknowingly describes exactly how the flash crash was started. The letter goes on to alert the SEC on the dangers of High Frequency Trading (HFT), phantom liquidity and other concerns.
Back in late August, we presented a chart whose foresight and accuracy turned out to be so spot on, it scared even us. We asked: "With Apple overtaking Microsoft's 'peak-market-cap' and becoming the most 'valuable' company ever traded, we thought a reflection on what humans (as opposed to machines programmed by humans) did the last time a world-changing technology company went ubiquitous. Comparing AAPL's last few years to the run-up in MSFT's peak in 1999..." Or, in other words, "is it different this time?" Turns out, the answer is, No. It was not different this time. It never is.
"what you realize is that the lessons of ’08 will actually result in a much quicker process, a process that I would describe as a “black hole” if and when there is the next financial crisis.... Nobody in America has actually seen, or most people probably can’t even contemplate, what an actual loss of confidence may look like. What I’m trying to struggle with as a money manager, who really seriously doesn’t like to lose money, is how to protect our capital and how to think about the next crisis."
For those who want to imitate what is once again the world's largest hedge fund (reclaiming the spot from Apple's own prop trading vehicle, Braeburn, first exposed here), Ray Dalio's Bridgewater, which at last check had $138 billion in AUM ($76 billion Pure Alpha, $63 billion All Weather), the path is simple: just recreate the performance shown on the chart below over a period of two decades. (Oh and stop "trading" on Twitter and do some real trading).
It will come as no surprise to any ZeroHedge readers but High Frequency Trading (HFT) deeply concerns Erik Hunsader, founder of Nanex. He worries that today's investors, our regulators, -- heck, even the HFT algorithms themselves -- don't fully understand the risks market prices face in the brave new era of bot-dominated trading. For instance, Hunsader estimates that HFT algorithms are responsible for 70%(!) of all completed transactions on our exchanges, and for 99.9%(!!!) of all exchange quotes. The pictures of trading floors you see on TV, where the people in bright jackets appear frantically busy in making their trades, have no bearing -- claims Hunsader -- on the actual trading action. The real action happens across fiber-optic cables, on racks of servers in cooled rooms; where an arms race defined by cable length and switching speeds is being waged. The reality is that the machines have taken over.
It was fun (not really) while it lasted, but America's habitual gamblers have finally grown tired of the theta sucking monsters known as uberlevered ETFs. End result: Direxion is announcing it is closing nine 3X levered ETFs. The casualties are: Direxion Daily Agribusiness Bull 3X Shares (COWL), Direxion Daily Agribusiness Bear 3X Shares (COWS), Direxion Daily Basic Materials Bear 3X Shares (MATS), Direxion Daily BRIC Bull 3X Shares (BRIL), Direxion Daily BRIC Bear 3X Shares (BRIS), Direxion Daily Healthcare Bear 3X Shares (SICK), Direxion Daily India Bear 3X Shares (INDZ), Direxion Daily Latin America Bear 3X Shares (LHB) and Direxion Daily Retail Bear 3X Shares (RETS).