First the Chairman Marcus Agius, and now both Barclays' CEO Bob Diamond and the COO del Misser are quitting. Full sweep.
It's escalating. Following the resignation of Barclays' Chairman this morning, the government announced a twin probe into the Libor system and banking standards; and Bob Diamond (Barclays CEO) is threatening, according to the FT, to reveal potentially embarrassing details about Barclays' dealing with regulators if he comes under fire at a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday over Lie-borgate. Unlike his almost-namesake Jamie Dimon who suffered through the indignity of a congressional probing, Bob has gone all Mutually Assured Destruction with confrontational tactics that could further aggravate the fraught relations between the bank and the authorities. "If he is attacked, he will fight back" seems to be well understood and the key aspect - as we have pointed out - is that if this is pursued too vehemently then the whole house of cards could come down as [regulators and politicians] "likely knew perfectly well those rates were not the ones where banks were prepared to lend to each other". So much was made at the time of several of these short-term liquidity measures as indicative of 'no' stress to the ignorant investing public when credit market participants were well aware of the dismal state of interbank reality - perhaps it is worth a glance at the current levels of Lie-bor (especially relative to EUREPO and CDS curves) to get a sense of just what could happen if the truth was ever allowed out into the public eye. M.A.D. indeed.
With Europe, the BBA, and virtually everyone shocked, shocked, that the global bank cabal schemed and colluded for years to manipulate interest rates, so far only America appears relatively blase, and totally ignorant, about the issue. Perhaps it is because the first bank exposed in the manipulation scheme so far is European, perhaps because it is just tired of all the endless crime coming out of the criminal complex known as Wall Street. It is unclear. Then again, America will soon have its own manipulation scandals to deal with: and if it is not the US BBA member banks, all of whom were just as guilty as Barclays, and the only question is which bank will be the sacrificial scapegoat whose CEO will have to demonstratively depart (to warmer, non-extradition climes), it will be the following story from Bloomberg which will likely pick up much more steam over the next weeks and months, detailing how the bank which just barely avoided a triple notch downgrade (wink wink) has had previous dealings with the very same rating agencies seeking to, picture this, artificially inflate ratings! So to summarize: Fed manipulates capital markets, HFT manipulates bid ask spreads, "self-policing" CDS pricing market groups fudge the prices on trillions in Credit Default Swaps, bank cabals collude and manipulate short-term interest rates, and now banks are confirmed to have manipulated the ratings on tens of billions of bonds using monetary incentives and threats. Is there anything in this "market" that was fair over the past several decades, and was actual price discovery ever actually possible? Because by now it should be very clear going forward all the things that actually make a free and fair market are forever gone, and that without endless fraud and manipulation by all the market participants who realize that anyone defecting the ponzi group means immediate and terminal losses for all, and all those calls for an S&P 400 would actually prove to be overly optimistic.
Mike Krieger is relieved. Another terrorist attack thwarted. Another protest crushed. Take that Al Qaeda!
Agents on scene claimed a backpack abandoned on a sidewalk was a “suspicious package,” closing the Pennsylvania Avenue pedestrian mall in front of the White House, and the adjoining Lafayette Park, from protesters and tourists. All pedestrian traffic, including media, was forced to retreat to side streets.
You know the Obama goons couldn’t stand this photo. You know, since their only rebuttal to any criticism to the fact this entire Administration appears to be complete and total criminals is to yell “racist!”
Let’s face it – Europe is a cool place. In addition to being cool, Europe is also without a doubt the most creative and imaginative place outside of Middle Earth. Its ability to consistently baffle itself certainly warrants valuable space in IceCap’s global market outlooks. Financially speaking, Europe is broke - it no longer works. Figuratively speaking, Europe has entered its golden age. Unworkable solutions dreamt by an unworkable political system is consuming all real and electronic ink known to mankind. A day doesn’t go bye where local newspapers are not bursting with news on Greece, Spain and their Euro-cousins. This sudden love-in with Europe has surely removed America from the global spotlight. But, be patient as this will change later during the year. To demonstrate the absurdity of this place called Europe, one has to understand nothing else except the legalities behind Europe’s rules for selling cabbage to each other.
Here’s a really wild hypothesis: if the LIBOR rate was under manipulation in 2008, is it not possible that the inter-bank lending rate spike (and resultant credit freeze) was at least partly a product of manipulation by the banking cartel? Could the manipulators have purposely exacerbated the freeze, to get a bigger and quicker bailout? After all, the banking system sucked $29 trillion out of the taxpayer following 2008. That’s a pretty big payoff. LIBOR profoundly affects credit availability — and the bailouts were directly designed to combat a freeze in credit availability. If market participants were manipulating or rigging LIBOR, they were manipulating a variable directly tied to the bailouts.
Joe Saluzzi, expert on algorithmic trading -- also known as high-frequency trading, or HFT -- returns as a guest this week to explain how the players behind this machine-driven process act as parasites that are destroying our financial markets (and, increasingly, even themselves). Since Joe first spoke with us last year, HFT firms have only increased in size and share of market activity. Here are some staggering statistics on how influential they have become:
- HTFs make up between 50-70% of the volume seen across market exchanges today
- 2% of the traders on many exchanges (HFTs, specifically) represent 80% of the volume
- a single large HFT firm (referred to as a Direct Market Maker) can account for 10%+ of a market's volume on a given day
- Large HFT firms make between $8 to $21 billion a year
- HFT trades occur in milliseconds (i.e. a small fraction of the time it takes your eye to blink)
With such scale, speed and profitability, HFTs have turned the market away from being an efficient price-setting mechanism and perverted it into a casino where the clientele (i.e. human investors) gets fleeced. And our regulators are so outmatched by the scope, complexity and funding of these titanic HFT players that at moment, there are pretty much zero consequences for bad actors.
Three weeks ago we noted that Goldman Sach's Global Leading Indicator (GLI) and its Swirlogram had entered a rather worrying contraction phase. Today's update to the June GLI data suggests things got worse and not better as momentum is now also dropping as well as the absolute level. This continued deterioration in momentum suggests further softening in the global cyclical picture. Of particular concern is the broad-based deterioration in the GLI’s constituent components in June. Nine of ten components weakened last month, only the second time this has occurred since the depths of the recession in 2008Q4. The June Final GLI confirms the pronounced weakening in global activity in recent months. Goldman has found elsewhere (as we noted here) that this stage of the cycle, when momentum is negative and decelerating, is typically accompanied by deteriorating data and market weakness.
High-frequency trading became so competitive that on a truly level playing field no one could make money operating at high volumes. Starting in 2008, there had been a frantic rush into the high-frequency gold mine at a time when nearly every other investment strategy on Wall Street was imploding. That competition was making it very hard for the firms to make a profit without using methods that Bodek viewed as seedy at best. And so a complex system evolved to pick winners and losers. It was done through speed and exotic order types. If you didn’t know which orders to use, and when to use them, you lost nearly every time. To Bodek, it was fundamentally unfair—it was rigged. There were too many conflicts of interest, too many shared benefits between exchanges and the traders they catered to. Only the biggest, most sophisticated, connected firms in the world could win this race.
As US Closes June With $15,856,367,214,324.44 In Federal Debt, US Debt/GDP Hits Post WWII High Of 101.5%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/02/2012 16:28 -0400
Last week's bond auctions have finally settled and the numbers are in. As of the last day of June, the US had a record $15,856,367,214,324.44 in debt, a $75 billion increase overnight, and a post World-War II high Federal debt/GDP ratio of 101.5%.* That is all.
Who cares about healthcare? Thanks to the SCOTUS decision, Little Suzie Newsykins decided on her Summer job working for Democracy and 'Free-Speech' as there are plenty of jobs there. Free-speech is such a growth industry, "its on track to hit two billion 'speech-units' this campaign". The delightful young lady in this brief cartoon got her dream summer job because corporations are people; money is free-speech; and some people have more free-speech than others.
Twitter Reports 679 US Government User Information Requests In The First Half Of 2012, Folding On 75% Of ThemSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/02/2012 17:09 -0400
In the first of its kind action, Twitter has unveiled its first Twitter Transparency Report, in which it says that as "inspired by the great work done by our peers @Google, the primary goal of this report is to shed more light on: government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders." Is it something Americans should be concerned about? Well, with 679 out of a total of 849 user information requests by various governments, or the most by a margin of nearly 700% belonging to the US, we would say so. This also translates into 948 of all users/accounts specified. But most troubling is that Twitter has folded on a 75% of all such demands when it comes to the US government demanding information. It has provided information to only 6 other governments: Australia, Canada, Greece, Japan, Netherlands and the UK, but at a far lower "hit rate." You gotta give it to Uncle Sam: he sure can be persuasive.