dark pools

dark pools

Caught Rigging Gold And Dark Pools, Barclays Begs To At Least Keep FX Manipulation

2014 has not been kind to Barclays: first, the UK bank proved countless goldbugs right when it was first caught rigging the gold market (the first documented case, not the last) and a few short weeks later, the New York Attorney General crucified the bank for misleading its Dark Pool clients, and letting their order flow be, quite lucratively, front run by "aggressive" predatory algos - something it explicitly had stated it won't allow. So with one after another revenue stream crashing before its eyes, what is the Chairman of the scrambling bank to do? Why beg to at least keep the FX manipulation going. What follows is not from The Onion.

VIX-Manipulating HFT Algo Is Booted From Dark Pool, Exposed For Whole World To See

VIX was monkey-hammered lower once again today, lifting stocks vertically to Russell 2000 record highs and The Dow within a point of 17,000. The question is who (or what) is doing it. Nanex seems to have found out who... It appears the un-visible hand of VIX manipulation (that we have shown previously) has been forced into the open public markets as Barclays goes dark. Simply put, massive bursts of 1-lot TVIX orders flood and delay the markets enabling HFTs to manipulate the tail that inevitably wags the market (via VXX, SPX options hedges and leverage) and now that the dark pools are disappearing, we see it all in real-time.

Frontrunning: June 26

  • Minorities Seen Driving U.S. Household Growth (Reuters)
  • GM prepares to recall some Cruze sedans with Takata air bags (Reuters)
  • PBOC Halts Repos as China Money Rate Climbs to Seven-Week High (BBG)
  • Ukraine Optimism Wavers on Peace as Cease-Fire Winds Down (BBG)
  • Economic Rebound Seen Undercut by Weak Pay as Vote Winner (BBG)
  • Cracks Open in Dark Pool Defense With Barclays Lawsuit (BBG)
  • The Survivor: How Eric Holder outlasted his (many) critics (Politico)
  • IBM, Lenovo Tackle Security Worries on Server Deal (WSJ)
  • Militants take Iraqi gas field town, president calls parliament session (Reuters)
  • Carney Surprises Confounding Markets as BOE Manages Guidance (BBG)

Futures Meander Ahead Of Today's Surge On Bad Economic News

Following yesterday's S&P surge on the worst hard economic data (not some fluffy survey conducted by a conflicted firm whose parent just IPOed and is thus in desperate need to perpetuate the market euphoria) in five years, there is little one can comment on how "markets" react to news. Good news, bad news... whatever - as long as it is flashing red, the HFT algos will send momentum higher. The only hope of some normalization is that following the latest revelation of just how rigged the market is due to various HFT firms, something will finally change. Alas, as we have said since the flash crash, there won't be any real attempts at fixing the broken market structure until the next, and far more vicious flash crash - one from which not even the NY Fed-Citadel PPT JV will be able to recover. For now, keep an eye on the USDJPY - as has been the case lately, the overnight USDJPY trading team has taken it lower ahead of the traditional US day session rebound which also pushes the S&P higher with it. For now the surge is missing but it won't be for longer - expect the traditional USDJPY ramp just before or as US stocks open for trading.

How Barclays Got Caught Red-Handed With "Pernicious HFT Fraud"

First it was gold, now it is HFT - poor Barclays just can't get away with any market rigging crime these days: "In sum, Barclays’ courting of high frequency traders, and its willingness to falsify the extent of high frequency trading activity in its dark pool, was contrary to Barclays’ representations to clients that Barclays operated with “transparency” and provided a safe venue in which to trade. As described by one former senior Barclays Director:  “there was a lot going on in the dark pool that was not in the best interests of clients. The practice of almost ensuring that every counterparty would be a high frequency firm, it seems to me that that wouldn’t be in the best interest of their clients . . . It’s almost like they are building a car and saying it has an airbag and there is no airbag or brakes.”

NY AG Sues Barclays For HFT Fraud - Live Feed

In what appears to be the first real action post-Flash Boys, NY AG Eric Schneiderman will announce at 4pm ET that Barclays will be sued over fraud allegations related to its Dark Pool's preferential treatment of high-frequency traders. As Bloomberg notes, Barclays runs one of the market's largest dark pools. This comes 2 months after the NY AG sent requests for information to various major HFT shops. It seems, just as we noted here, that a potential scapegoat is being primed 'just in case' this 'market' can't withstand the Fed's pullback.

Frontrunning: June 13

  • Tea Party struggles to repeat Cantor-style shock in Tennessee (Reuters)
  • Iran Deploys Forces to Fight al Qaeda-Inspired Militants in Iraq (WSJ)
  • Oil Rallies as Militant Advance in Iraq Threatens Crude (BBG)
  • Gold Set for First Back-to-Back Weekly Gain Since April (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Get Stung by Slow Markets (WSJ)
  • Sterling nears 5-year high after Carney speech (FT)
  • Britain Warns Boom in Real-Estate Prices Threatens Economy (WSJ)
  • East Europe Leaders Urge EU Unity to Counter Russia (BBG)
  • Formula One Said to Be Valued at $8 Billion as Malone Seeks Stake (BBG)
  • Dumb and dumber: Abe Plans Company Tax Cut in 2015 as Kuroda Warns on Budget (BBG)

Sorry, You're Not Allowed: Capital Segregation and Rising Inequality

If capital is not treated equally, political equality is an illusion, for capital buys political influence and power. Capital that can buy political power gains political protection of its extraordinary privileges to control rentier income streams, income which furthers its political power.

Frontrunning: June 10

  • Ukraine, Russia Fail to Reach Deal in Natural-Gas Talks (WSJ)
  • Boko Haram Kidnaps More Girls in Nigeria (WSJ)
  • Déjà vu: echoes of pre-crisis world mount (FT)
  • Money market rates hit new low as ECB moves gain traction (Reuters)
  • 'Dark Pools' Face New SEC Probe (WSJ)
  • Buffett Ready to Double $15 Billion Solar, Wind Bet (BBG)
  • White House-Congress rift over Bergdahl deal deepens (Reuters)
  • Taxpayers Face Big Medicare Tab for Unusual Doctor Billings (WSJ)
  • Lean Retirement Faces U.S. Generation X as Wealth Trails (BBG)
  • Employers’ skills gap claim does not show up in US wage data (FT)
  • He is holding out for the Zuckerberg overbid: Donald Sterling says LA Clippers not for sale (WSJ)

Small Caps Surge To Best Week In 2014

The US Dollar, gold, and oil closed the week unchanged... Treasury yields rose 6-8bps on the week... and the Russell 2000 had its best week in 2014... Sure, why not? VIX was crushed back to a 10-handle as managers lifted hedges and the Tepper-induced short-squeeze from yesterday followed through (+2.5% against a 1% rise in the S&P). The Dow and S&P 500 both closed at record highs (notably rich to the Fed balance sheet). Volume was 20% below average (and that was a payrolls day!). Copper tumbled over 2% - its worst week in 3 months as China's warehouse probe continues.  VIX closed at its lowest close since Feb 2007 (and once again the strange shadowy figure of massive after-0hours volume spikes in VXX appeared).


SEC's Mary White Pays Lip Service To "Rigged" Market Structure Changes

Committees, investigations, concerns... but no actions. The SEC's Mary White spoke about market micro-structure this morning but mereley asked a lot of questions - as opposed to answered any. Two things she did mention of note: increased transpraceny for dark pools and internalizers; and forcing more high-frequency traders (and prop shops) to register as broker-dealers (and thus come under closer regulatory scrutiny). However, by the time any of this becomes 'law', we suspect the lobbyists will have created loopholes the size of Draghi's ego for HFTs to walk through. As WSJ reports, the SEC's enforcement division is investigating whether some high-speed traders are using order types - commands exchanges provide that determine how traders' buy and sell orders will be handled - in ways that can give them an advantage over less-savvy investors. We apologize for not seeing this 'investigation' as a positive but we've been here before with every other regulator... vested interests remain strong.

Wall Street Has Always Been Corrupt Or About To Be Corrupted

When obnoxiously wealthy pricks with the ability to bribe stock exchanges to place their trading computers on the floor of the exchange and financially induce the Wall Street banks to funnel trades through their dark pools in order to know what is happening a nanosecond before everyone else, and use this information to front run unknowing investors to generate risk free profits, it’s wrong. It really is black and white. I don’t care that it is supposedly “legal”.  By complying with Regulation NMS the smart order routers of institutional investor firms like Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab simply funneled naïve investors into various snares laid for them by the unscrupulous high frequency traders. The bad guys always win and the good guys always lose on Wall Street. And no one does anything because they are all on the take. Lewis puts it in terms the average person can understand.

Furious Selling Slam Sends Silver Red For 2014: No Limits Triggered

With gold holding gains over 6% year-to-date (and the best performing asset-class), this morning's silver slamdown has taken the precious metal notably into the red for 2014 (-2%) and makes it the worst performing asset-class. Silver is back under $19 and near its lowest price since July 2013. Of course, it all started with the futures market where the sudden fiduciary need to dump over 2000 contracts 0505ET sent the complex collapsing, sending the gold-to-silver ratio to its highest since 2010.

"Timestamp Fraud": A Rigged Market Explained In One Simple Animation

The topic of High-Frequency-Trading quickly dissolves into a smorgasbord of mnemonics and 'inside-baseball' technical terms - just complicated enough to lose everyone that matters or should care about its implications. Despite the fair-and-balanced defense from the mainstream media business channels (sponsored by the belief in the status quo fair markets that 'America the free' is known for), the fact is that HFT does front-run (perfectly legal under the umbrella protection of Reg NMS) order flow, but there may be one more wrinkle - one which would cement the Michael Lewis (accurate) allegation that the market is rigged.