Frontrunning: January 19

Tyler Durden's picture
  • The Fed's HFT price manipulation code stolen? U.S. Charges Programmer With Stealing Code (Reuters)
  • One million homeowners may get mortgage writedowns: U.S. (Reuters)
  • In MF Global, JPMorgan again at center of a financial failure (Reuters)
  • China's Money Rates Slump After PBOC Injects Money (Reuters)
  • Athens closes in on bondholder pact (FT) - or not
  • Hedge Funds May Sue Greece If Loss Forced (NYT)
  • China Said to Weigh Easing Constraints on Banks as Growth Slows (Bloomberg) - But wasn't a rate cut already priced in on Monday?
  • Obama Under Attack Over Keystone Rejection (FT)
  • Chinese Economy Heads for Soft Landing in 2012 (China Daily) - don't really expect "China Daily" to tell you otherwise
  • Brazil Cuts Interest Rates Further to 10.5% (FT)
  • India to Launch $35bn of Public Investments (FT)

Press digest:


* Goldman Sachs, facing declining revenue amid a slump in capital-markets activities, has turned its focus to expense controls and managing the size of its divisions.

* The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined Citigroup's capital-markets unit $725,000, alleging that it failed to disclose some conflicts of interest.

* General Motors Co is revamping its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle to meet California emissions requirements, aiming to juice sales after failing last year to qualify for state incentives that helped fuel the rise of Nissan Motor Co's rival Leaf.

* AT&T Inc is raising prices by as much as 33 percent for the data plans sold with its smartphones and tablet computers.

The Dallas-based carrier said that effective Jan. 22, new customers on its least-expensive smartphone plan will pay $20 a month for 300 megabytes of data, compared with the current 200-megabyte plan at $15. Smartphone or tablet users needing more data will need to pay $30 for a 3 gigabyte plan, up from $25 for 2 gigabytes.

* A pending settlement of an investigation into U.S. banks' foreclosure-processing problems would benefit about one million families with cuts in the amount they owe on their home loans, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said Wednesday.

* The entertainment industry moved to counter growing opposition to antipiracy bills that seemed certain to be laws just weeks ago. But its efforts appeared to have little effect as a number of congressional leaders dropped their support for the legislation.

* The Obama administration rejected the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, saying there isn't enough time to review the project's environmental impact.

* Blasted by the opposition as the man who lost France's triple-A credit rating and lagging in the polls, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday said he would use the last three months of his mandate to focus on quelling unemployment and making French companies more competitive



European regulators are convinced that two of the continent's banks, Commerzbank and Monte dei Paschi , will fail to produce credible plans to plug capital deficits by Friday's deadline, exposing both to the risk of full or partial nationalisation.


David Cameron's pledge to curb executive pay and stop "rewards for failure" is set to face its biggest test, as Royal Bank of Scotland prepares to offer a bonus of more than 1 million pound to its chief executive, even though the state-controlled bank's share price has almost halved in a year.


Some of the biggest shareholders in Cairn Energy, the oil group, are marshalling support to vote down a pay award worth nearly 2.5 million pounds for the Edinburgh-based oil group's chief executive-turned-chairman Bill Gammell.


The London Stock Exchange plans to shift the trading system used for trading Italian stocks back to Milan after complaints from Italian banks and brokers that their trades had been slowed down by taking place in the UK capital.


WPP saw a stronger than expected finish to 2011, according to Martin Sorrell, chief executive, as the marketing services group looks forward to improving conditions in the U.S. ahead of a lucrative period of election campaign spending.


Seven hedge fund portfolio managers and analysts have been charged in a $61.8 million insider trading scheme as U.S. authorities escalate their crackdown on Wall Street corruption.


The International Monetary Fund has asked its member countries for an extra $500bn in firepower to combat the world's spreading fiscal emergencies, which it estimates will generate demand for bail out loans totalling $1 trillion over the next two years.


Germany's central bank is set to sell almost 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of property loans left over from the collapse of Lehman Brothers, in a deal that marks the latest sign of the growing appetite for distressed real estate debt.


Ebay reported strong revenue growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, driven mainly by its payment arm, PayPal, which the company expects to be at the centre of its innovation in the coming year.


* Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday, after the 131-year-old film pioneer's efforts to adapt to a world of digital cameras ran aground.

* EBay's net income soared in the fourth quarter, in large part because of the sale of its remaining investment in Skype and continued success of PayPal.

* Above-average temperatures across the United States thus far are hurting retail sales, and retailers are running out of time to sell their winter inventory.

* The International Monetary Fund announced Wednesday that it was seeking as much as $500 billion more to lend as it prepared to slash its forecasts of global growth. The fund, based in Washington, estimated that the world would need $1 trillion in the coming years for loans to countries with short-term difficulties paying their bills or because of concerns about prospective trouble in the volatile bond markets.

* Several funds have plans to go to the European Court of Human Rights if Greece doesn't make good on its bond payments.

* A federal jury decided that TD Bank owed an investment group $67 million for its role in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme operated by a former lawyer.

The verdict came in a lawsuit filed by Coquina Investments, based in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was the first to go to trial of several pending lawsuits filed by wronged investors against the bank and others.

* The Web buzzed with protests large and small on Wednesday as the tech industry rallied against Congressional legislation to curb Internet piracy.

Some sites blacked out - among them, the English-language Wikipedia, though it was possible to access the encyclopedia through several clever workarounds - while others, including Google and Craigslist, draped their pages with information about the bills, or restricted access.

European economic news:

  • UK Nationwide Consumer Confidence 38 – in line with expectations. Consensus 38. Previous 40.
  • Eurozone Current Account n.s.a. for November EUR1.0B. Previous EUR1.7B. Revised EUR2.6B.
  • ECB Euro-Zone Current Account Net w.d.a. s.a. for November EUR -1.8B. Previous EUR -7.5B. Revised EUR -6.6B.

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idea_hamster's picture

The Fed's HFT code disclosed:


10 Print "Benjamin"

20 goto 10

toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

...and you get if your printer is fast enough.

lolmao500's picture


BREAKING: #EU governments to impose sanctions on #Iran's Central Bank and oil sector on Monday - Alain Juppé says.!/SarhanNews

sudzee's picture

The last thing the eurozone needs is 10.00 per litre/38.00 per gal petrol. But, but, i guess that will be a positive for markets.

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Would that be the same Monday that the Europeans finally fix the PIIGS debt problems?

Why should additional sanctions be placed on Iran when their economy is in melt down mode? Their currency has dropped ~ 50% in the last few weeks and their population is turning to using other currencies on a local scale. Mullahs have introduced draconian measures to stop street transactions in currencies.

Easiest, safest method is to sit and wait till a popular uprising brings down the Mullahs. When people get hungry due to soaring food prices, the shit will hit the fan... it always does, always will.

BTW, you're hair is on fire.

smlbizman's picture

after reading the homeowner plan with that completly incompetent douche bag in the picture...

i am starting to feel like japan and iran where the american fucking assholes ruining, i mean running our givernment i mean government are trying to get us to respond like japan did at pearl harbor and like iran did (not yet) when they attacked (false flag) when of our battle ships....honestly, how much more can people playing by the supposed rules take before they act out...

got ron paul?

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

RE: "Hedge Funds May Sue Greece If Loss Forced (NYT) "


Good luck with that one. Hedge fund vampires are hoping for anything that will trigger a CDS event so that the hedgies can collect on their bets.

They best be careful what they hope for. A CDS triggering event could cause another AIG CDS event only on a scale of unimaginable proportions.

If this happens... Think economic WW3... better yet, think entire world financial meltdown.

All of you 'smart institutional investors' out there... best get your collective heads out of your asses and get into assets that lack counterparty risk.

Got PMs?

RagnarDanneskjold's picture

PBOC repurchases were the first in 5 years and clearly failed for the first three days.

LongSoupLine's picture

Front running today:


1) HFT rampfest

2) CB printing

3) MSM/govt's/etc rumor mills at full boar at strategic time points to support #1

Irish66's picture

I call the top today, just for fun.

Hobbleknee's picture

But.. but... but... how could they prosecute the programmer without SOPA?

Manthong's picture

"The Fed's HFT price manipulation code stolen? U.S. Charges Programmer With Stealing Code :

Maybe presented "tongue in cheek", but it wouldn't suprise me.

The article states the code was owned by the U.S. Treasury Department.


boiltherich's picture

Interesting case, I hope to see more about it, but I am thinking this will be quietly buried.  I do know that when I worked for the government every six months we had to calculate the fair rental value of 650 healthcare facilities using about 12 different variables and decimals eight places out to the right of the decimal point, using old fashioned calculators and a lot of scratch paper, one interruption or typo and you had to start over, it was such a cumbersome process, it took so much time and left no checkable record of how calculations were done I decided to write up a spreadsheet application to automate it, you input four numbers in their appropriate boxes and ticked a couple of yes/no boxes and the spreadsheet did the whole thing with a full record of your work automatically recorded in a memory page, it even assigned case and date number automatically.  We used to average about five facilities per day each but with this application you could easily do 50 and still have time for a long lunch at the mall.

When I left I copied the application to a floppy because I thought when I got to New York I could show this program to prospective employers as a tangible example of my spreadsheet ability as well as my initiative, coming from the sticks I was naive, I did not know that all the jobs worth applying for in New York are reserved for some rich guys kid when they get done with their post college romp through Europe or Asia.  Not only that but the application functions were really cool, bells and whistles, yet so simple to use.  I was curtly reminded that anything I wrote or created on duty or off while employed by the government belonged solely to the government, by that they meant my spreadsheet app. 

If you were to look at the spreadsheet instructions you would easily know exactly what we were using it for, and how we functioned in the process of making our calculations, in our case it was a simple matter of automating what had been a flawed and laborious set of calculations requiring many man hours.  Nothing to see, in the case of the Fed it sounds to me as if it could be a case of a guy who was unpopular or unhappy at his job and wanted a little whistleblower protection insurance.  If what we had been doing were ethically questionable or outright illegal the spreadsheet would have been all the proof I needed that it was being done on a systematic level.  Not only that, but by owning the spreadsheet they could have claimed a value at any level, even though I mostly created it at home in my own time off. 

I can tell you something though, illegal or not, a disgruntled employee of the government/Fed out in the cold cold world on his own up against the power of the government is a very lonely place to be.  If your former employers want it so you will be lucky to temp in your field again, and if they so want it you can be pulled over by cops on a random stretch of road one day and drugs or other contraband "found" in the trunk of your car.  Incarcerated awaiting trial that takes years to come it is funny how many inmates are fatally shanked each year eh?  The government does not take the prospect of whistleblowers well and it does not tolerate threats of whistle blowing at all. 

Mercury's picture

The WSJ echos Mercury's oft repeated assertion that Food Stamps are a stealth entitlement:

toomanyfakeconservatives's picture

1975 North Vietnam defeats the U.S.

2012 Obama White House and the Taliban preparing to kiss and make up.

The war is lost... you can candy-coat it all you want.