And so it continues: since we first posted Nanex' report on quote stuffing two months ago, and the follow-up analysis, the firm's images of visualizable HFT algorithmic "crop circles" have appeared everywhere, from the pages of Huffington Post to The Atlantic. Which is terrific, as it further raises public awareness of the fact that no matter what one does, the market is now merely a computerized playground in which human traders have no chance of even breaking even in the long run, as the adversary uses consistently illegal means (intentional bid stuffing) to extract every last penny from whoever is left trading. In order to keep the public's, and the SEC's ADD-addled attention on this matter of major significance, we present the latest patterns of illegal computerized quote stuffing as further glaring evidence that the regulators have given up trying to restore any sort of credibility in the market (and people wonder why ICI reports 13 consecutive weeks of mutual funds outflows). Our only hope is that someone will be clever enough to reverse engineer the pattern generators in these algos, and to punish the HFT operators who day after day leave their fingerprints all over the biggest crime in capital market history with complete impunity.
Oil prices were higher on Monday, after advancing in trading overnight. Traders were handicapping the [possibility of the Fed, which meets on Tuesday, finding new forms of “quantitative easing,” a catchall term that generally means finding ways of getting more liquidity into the system or promoting lending or borrowing. In other words, the argument was that things are so bad that the Fed will find a way to make the world better. Once again, oil prices were living vicariously through equities and the euro. Both were higher on Monday, and there was a rise of 45.19 points to 10,698.75 in the DJIA. As far as the fundamentals go, though, the oil complex continues to ignore factors that only seem to be getting more bearish. At some point, the fundamentals may be important again. - Cameron Hanover
It's official - KKR has pulled its US Offering (S-1). It appears distribution is actually a relevant metric when it comes to pricing overbloated, DOA PE corpses (especially when the memory of BX and FIG is still fresh). HFTs get an F for pushing the market up 10% on next to negative volume. And since when is a parabolic move up of almost 10% considered "Unfavorable Market Conditions." Just how much bullshit is going on behind the scenes of this market?
Chris Martenson, whose opinions have appeared on Zero Hedge many times previously, was on Tech Ticker recently, presenting the case for why we are currently experiencing both inflation and deflation in various sectors of the economy concurrently. On the deflationary front, Martenson claims that with the 2 Year yielding 0.5% "the Fed can't continue to go forward and expand its balance sheet and so far they've been able to get away with it." As a result Martenson is convinced that once having embarked on counter-deflationary course, the Fed will have no choice but to commit itself to the fullest. Yet the reality is that courtesy of already rising commodity prices various segments of the economy already experiencing an inflationary push. Martenson acknowledges that too: "I am absolutely in the camp that we are seeing inflation in some areas and deflation in others. The continuous commodity index is absolutely screaming inflation at this point in time, but at the same time we are seeing houses decline in price, we are seeing a number of other thing decline which I think is what the Fed is most concerned about at this point in time. I think we are going to see both." So stagflation? "England is already in stagflation and we are dangerously close to it ourselves. We are experiencing both inflation and deflation, and that is squeezing workers even harder than any other condition you can experience because wages are stagnant while the price of goods and services rises" and the biggest asset of the working American, his home keeps declining. It will be up to the Fed to push the needle definitively into either side of the inflation/deflation debate tomorrow, or the whispers over the imminent arrival of stagflation will just keep getting louder.
Gallup presents some troubling statistics for the democrats as we approach mid-term elections (a mere three months away). In a nutshell, the party of a president who has a sub-50% rating into midterms, has lost, on average, 36 seats since 1946. Alternatively, presidents with a popularity rating over 50%, lose just 14. As Gallup says: "The clear implication is that the Democrats are vulnerable to losing a significant number of House seats this fall with Barack Obama's approval rating averaging 45% during the last two full weeks of Gallup Daily tracking. The Republicans would need to gain 40 House seats to retake majority control."
In the face of increasing liquidity in the system and a quasi consensus that the Fed and the government will do just about anything not to let financial markets relapse, at least not until November, I remain bearish. The sell zone in S&P futures remains identified as 1,126/1,147. As long as that cluster of resistance holds I stick to my latest bearish recommendation (1,126 last week) - Nic Lenoir
One of the saving graces of the burgeoning US Federal debt was, for the majority of the post-crisis days, its composition, split between short-term (Bills), and long-term (Coupons) debt. As Bills have on average yielded well below 0.5% (and recently even less, now that the 2 Year is yielding 0.5%), a sizable portion of the US debt, was for structural reasons, paying essentially no interest. Since in early 2009, over a third of total US debt consisted of Bills, due to massive foreign (especially China) and domestic demand for ultra short-term US paper, nearly a third of US debt was "free" to the US. However, as Morgan Stanley points out recently the Bill portion of total marketable debt (which today closed at a record $8.777 trillion) has plunged to just 22%. The balance, as the debt portfolio has rolled in time, has logically been filled by much higher interest paying coupon debt: from a low of just 55% in early 2009, this has risen to 72% currently, or roughly $6.3 trillion. This is troubling for the Treasury as it means that due to ongoing rolling of Bill debt, there is no longer an easy way to issue "interest-free" debt. In summary, the average maturity of US Treasury debt is now 58 months from just 48 months at the end of 2008, and as Morgan Stanley points out, is directly in line with the average since 1980. The conclusion is simple: very soon what the Fed does on the front end will have increasingly less of an impact on the interest rate the US pays on its borrowings.
Kurt Brouwer highlights something that may substantiate the claims of those who claim there is a treasury bubble in the forming. Using the suddenly all too popular ICI data (which we have been presenting for well over a year), JPMorgan has tallied the total flows into stocks in advance of the tech bubble (April 1998 through March 2000) and compared it to the period since the Lehman collapse (July 2008 through June 2010), the result is surprising: there has been over $50 billion more allocated to bonds in the past 2 year period ($476 billion), than to stocks in advance of the biggest market bubble pop before the housing/credit bubble popped in 2007/8. Is this indicative of anything more than just everyone going on the same side of the trade? Not at all, however even that in itself should be sufficient for bond bulls to reconsider pushing every last cent of capital into what at least on the surface has all the makings of a an even bigger bubble than tech stocks in 2000.
RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 09/08/10
Ric Burns documentary about Goldman Sachs is imminent. Because as the WSJ revealed previously, the fact that Ric Burns is paid by Goldman Sachs to make a film about the discount window backed hegde fund, in which Goldman Sachs maintains complete editorial control, sure seems like yet another PR fiasco waiting to happen, on par with Goldman making money every single trading day in Q1 (at least they learned their lesson there, and theatrically let a few losses slip in). Just like you, we can't wait for the final product to finally boost our opinion of the fixed income OTC market monopolist. In the meantime, we present this appetizer as to what the final video will most likely be, courtesy of Minyanville.
China Takes The Property Bubble To A Whole New Level: An Explosion Of (Vacant) Inland Cities Is ComingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2010 15:38 -0400
As if documentary material of what happens when China builds one ultramodern city in the middle of nowhere (hint: it exists in a ghastly void, where it remains completely empty - but that's ok: at least it kept a few million Chinese construction workers employed and "boosted" the country's GDP courtesy of another trillion in underwater loans) was not sufficient, Reuters has prepared an exhaustive special report on how China plans to move forward with the next leg of its housing market titled: "China bets future on inland cities." It is a stunner, and it demonstrates that far from tackling its housing bubble, which as we disclosed previously has already resulted in about 65 million vacant homes, is pushing on blindly without regard for the consequences, and is on the verge of taking bubble mania to a whole new, previously unseen level.
San Francisco Fed: "A Recessionary Relapse Is A Significant Possibility Sometime In The Next Two Years"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2010 14:58 -0400
From the San Francisco Fed: "An unstable economic environment has rekindled talk of a double-dip recession. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index provides data for predicting the probability of a recession but is limited by the weight assigned to its indicators and the varying efficacy of those indicators over different time horizons. Statistical experiments with LEI data can mitigate these limitations and suggest that a recessionary relapse is a significant possibility sometime in the next two years...the likelihood of a recession is essentially zero over the next 10 months but that the odds deteriorate considerably over the following year." And the market rips.
A quick look at market volume: in a word - deplorable. It confirms what Gillian Tett said last week piggybacking on our ongoing fund outflow observations, that there is "a loss of confidence – not merely in the idea that the future will be a brighter place, but also, most crucially, about whether anybody is able to predict that future at all." She concludes: "it is bad for investors to feel confused about the outlook for government regulation or deflation; but it seems that nobody really understands how the basic mechanics of the equity market work any more, it is hard to trust that the stock markets are a good destination for your money. Little wonder, then, that those US equity mutual fund outflows have accelerated." Presenting exhibit A of precisely this phenomenon: today's ES volume is about the worst it has been in, well, ever, at 50% below average!
John Taylor was on Bloomberg TV Friday, and in this extended version of his interview, the head of the world's largest currency hedge fund said that the euro will fall, equities could head lower, credit spreads will widen sharply and government bonds will rally.