Back in 2009, when aside from a few insiders, nobody had heard of HFT, Zero Hedge launched its crusade to expose the algorithmic scourge that has since then caused an equity, treasury and now US Dollar flash crash, and has been the subject of a Michael Lewis bestseller and resulted in countless market halts and failures. More importantly, there is now roughly 50 pages of just bibliography citing the evidence-based, academic research that has shown just how pervsavibely, maliciously and premeditatedly HFTs manipulate, destabilize, impair and otherwise destroy every single market in which they participate.
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The Fed has been supporting the market since the late 1980s. But there is an important difference between the actions of the Fed under Yellen versus Greenspan and Bernanke. In 2008, the Fed allowed Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to fail. Given the massive wipeout that followed, this decision is now viewed as a dangerous mistake. Having learned their lesson, the Fed is now rushing in to support the market in response to even routine 20% drops. In this way, the Fed is acting like a value investor who demands a small margin of safety before investing.... Since 2010, however, the Fed has changed tactics. The Fed is now reacting far more quickly. Small market selloffs are followed by immediate responses. By quickly riding to the rescue, the Fed is effectively front-running value investors.
Here's why bankers are the ones driving Lamborghinis and not farmers as Jim Rogers has been saying
"As humans struggled to understand what nuance, if any, existed between the two catch phrases, the automated computer programs that do so much of the trading these days immediately reacted and so stocks and Treasuries shot higher in tandem. Did the machines start a buying binge after a simple, successful search for “considerable time?” It’s possible, according to Paul Tetlock, an associate professor at Columbia Business School, who has researched how stocks react to news stories."
By now everyone has heard of the NY Fed's most famous employee (who did not work at Goldman Sachs previously): Kevin Henry, who according to his latest LinkedIn profile was recently promoted to Senior Associate at the Capital Markets desk at the NY Fed (and if they haven't, a refresh can be found here, here and here). Which is fine: Kevin deserves all the recognition and accolades that are due to anyone who manages to centrally-plan the world's biggest bond market. Because after all that's what the Fed does: it intervenes in the bond market. Nothing strange about that. And yet we have one question: why does Kevin seem to exhibit an absolute fascination when it comes to equity ETFs?
This is the first installment in a series of HFT War Stories, submitted anonymously by high frequency and algorithmic traders highlighting the perils of their profession. Today we look at a $2 Billion near miss that never made the news. The public only hears about these types of SNAFUs if they blow up a firm. Hundreds more go unnoticed by anyone but the traders who lived through them.
Goldman FX Trader Fired For Participating In Currency-Rigging Cartel Even As Goldman Avoids Any ChargesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/18/2014 16:35 -0400
Moments ago the WSJ reported that Goldman Sachs - which managed to go unscathed in the recent currency market rigging settlement - just fired a currencies trader who "allegedly was involved with the misconduct before he joined the firm." So how is it possible that Goldman, which housed one of "The Cartel's" (or was it Bandits?) riggers, was never busted in the first place? Because apparently Goldman had no clue of his impeccable FX-rigging chat room credentials when it hired him from HSBC back in 2012, credentials which he allegedly never again used while employed by Goldman because the moment he walked through the door at 200 West, he was a changed man, doing merely god's work and nobody else's.
"It's important to remember that a little gold goes a long way. If you had 5-10% allocation in your portfolio from 2000 to 2010, you wouldn't have suffered a lost decade" ... “I believe that now is a good time to take advantage of negative short-term trading sentiment,” Wickwire of Fidelity Investments said.
We finally have the answer, courtesy of the FCA's partial and very much selective disclosure of FX rigging findings by "The Cartel", the "Bandits" and so on, as part of its wrist-slapping settlement, just how the big boys make millions in FX on every single fix. Hopefully one day the regulators, who are as corrupt and conflicted as the banks they quote-unquote police, will reveal all the documents in their possession and let the public decide what is important and what isn't. But in the meantime, for all those curious just why the Too Big To Fail are also Too Big To Prosecute, here is the blow by blow.
Rarely are we speechless, but this occasion, when UBS made $513,000 from just one fix, as the FCA's complaint against the criminal Swiss bank reveals, is the rare exception. "In the immediate aftermath of the ECB fix, UBS was congratulated on the success of its trading by Firms A, B and C (“hes sat back in his chaoir [sic]…feet on desk…announcing to desk…thats why i got the bonus pool” and “yeah made most peoples year”)."
The bottom line: $513,000 from one trade.
"FINMA has also instructed UBS to limit bonuses for traders of foreign exchange and precious metals to 200 percent of their base salary for two years."
The horror, the horror.
Another day, another HFT firm busted for manipulating the market. Today's participant: Athena Capital, which did what every other algorithmic, HFT firm does - rig the market of course, but at least it had a sense of humor about it: Athena called the market-rigging algorithm that "manipulated the closing prices of tens of thousands of stocks during the final seconds of almost every trading day during the Relevant Period" by the very amusing name "Gravy." But remember: HFTs are really your friend - they just provide liquidity and stuff.
Gold bullion in Singapore climbed $9.29 to $1230.29 and gold was on track for a gain of almost 0.8% for the week prior to concentrated and continual selling in London and then on the COMEX pushed gold lower. Trading action had all the hallmarks of the Gold Anti Trust Action Committee's (GATA) 'gold cartel' and their determination to keep gold prices capped and "animal spirits" low in the gold market.
As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Yet one question had remained unanswered: just how does Citadel manipulated stocks? We now know the answer, and perhaps more importantly, it also links in to the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash, no not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing. Most importantly, the revelation that for Citadel quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, is that none other than the Nasdaq has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy."