Now that both the FBI and the DOJ have woken up from a half-decade slumber realizing there was riggedness, RIGGEDNESS going on in these here stock markets courtesy of Michael Lewis' book, it wasn't long before those most impacted by the frontrunning startegies of HFTs spoke up - anyone who has lost money in the stock market since Reg NMS was conceived. Sure enough, in a lawsuit that was just filed by lead plaintiff William Charles Braman, seeking class-action status, and filed on behalf of all users of real-time futures market data and futures contracts listed on the CBOT and CME from 2007 to now, the CME is allegd to have sold order information to high-frequency traders ahead of other market participants.
The Fed Engaging In Quantitative Easing Until Unemployment Falls Is Like a Medieval Doctor Bleeding a Patient with Leeches ...Submitted by George Washington on 05/01/2013 19:19 -0400
While 88% of hedge funds underperformed in 2012, no doubt relying on tried and true analysis of fundamental valuation, macro-economic trends, and flows (as opposed to a 12-inch ruler), it would appear one young chap by the name of Ken Griffin is doing rather well. As Bloomberg reports, the Citadel LLC fund founder (now gated since 2009) just purchased his second luxury oceanfront property in Palm Beach Florida in less than two months. In fact, Griffin bought the two lots for a total of $79.6mm. The compact-and-bijou house of a mere 6,055 square feet was built in 1988 and previously sold for $29mm in May 2011, was Zestimated at $33.75mm (by Zillow), meaning Mr. Griffin only 'overpaid' by a mere $8mm as he snipped it up a smidge under $42mm. The grander house, of a perfectly reasonable 9,111 square feet previously sold for $20mm in May 2000, was Zestimated at $21mm, and was bid at $38mm by the deal-making Citadel founder. It seems, given Citadel's 21% return through November, that being the Fed's alleged willing HFT-router-of-last-resort in times of 'market' need, has its handsome rewards - though all that sand would just get annoying.
On the surface, the fact that NYSE short interest was just reported today to have risen to 13.1 billion shares as of April 30 could be troubling for the bears, as this just happens to be the highest short interest number of 2012. Indeed, an increase in short interest into a centrally-planned market is always disturbing, as it opens up stocks to the kinds of baseless short covering melt ups that simply have some HFT algo going on a stop hunt as their source, that we have seen in the past several weeks. Naturally, it would be far easier to be short a market in which Ben Bernanke managed to eradicate all other bears, especially when considering that a year ago the Short Interest as of April 30 was virtually identical.
Meet "Ben Pu" - The Aleynikov Sequel: Quant Powerhouse Citadel Arrests Former Employee For Stealing "Alpha" CodeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/13/2011 12:18 -0400
Chicago hedge fund Citadel may not have the best of luck when it comes to running traditional financial businesses (it's recent disastrous foray into advisory and capital markets - nuf said), but when it comes to picking up nickels and dimes ahead of slower traders (yes there is a name for it, but for lack of immediate legal retaliation by an uber-sensitive Ken Griffin we will leave it to our readers' imagination) by virtue of faster computers and a massive collocated infrastructure, Citadel is second to none (well, except maybe now infamous Latour Trading). Which explains why it is so sensitive to any former employees "borrowing" its special sauce, aka the computer code that is the only thing that gives the hedge fund its fro... er, superior trading execution. It was only last year that the fund went all Friend-O on Misha Malyshev, whose Teza technologies was implicated as the future employee of one now legendary Sergey Aleynikov. Well, it is time for a redux. As Dow Jones reports, "a former technology employee of hedge fund manager Ken Griffin's Citadel LLC was arrested for allegedly stealing sensitive computer trade secrets from the company for his own personal use, the Department of Justice said. According to the complaint affidavit, 24-year-old Yihao Pu, also known as "Ben Pu," was found by Citadel's information technology department to have "downloaded several unauthorized programs," which allegedly allowed him to bypass Citadel's security protocols and transfer files or data from his Citadel computer to an external storage device."
Tuesday is my 40th birthday so please be kind as you read through my comment on life, health, work, markets and friendship. I'm also soliciting advice and donations for my blog...
Following the release of Bill Dudley's daily schedules from the beginning of 2009, through September 30, 2010, there have been some amusing, if not very surprising, disclosures. Among them: Dudley's penchant to meet with Jamie Dimon, Vik Pandit and, of course, former boss Lloyd Blankfein. Other meetings include Sullivan and Cromwell chairman, and the banking cartel's personal chief attorney H. Rodgin Cohen. Those are to be expected: after all Dudley has to conduct the New York Fed policy exactly in accordance with Wall Street's expectations, and per Wall Street's recommendations. What is a little more surprising is that on February 9, 2009, Bill Dudley hosted a lunch roundtable with hedge fund SAC Capital... Perhaps now Dudley knows almost as much about the chances of various Phase II/III drugs to make it to market as ole' Stevie himself. Additionally, on May 14 Dudley invited Ken Griffin and Adam Cooper from Citadel into his office at about 2:00 pm. One wonders just what the quid pro quo between the New York Fed and Citadel may have been, over and above of the traditional dark pool securities purchasing relationship between the two entities of course. Where it gets a little confusing is why Dudley had to have two informal meetings with the man who singlehandedly determines US fiscal and monetary policy: Goldman's Jan Hatzius, first on March 11, and then, less than a month later, on April 6, both times as the Pound and Pence. And where it gets downright bizarre, is trying to explain why Bill Dudley on June 11, 2009, had to bring over one still unknown Brian Sack, now pervasively known as the head of the Fed's Open Market Operations Committee, to not only walk over to Goldman Sachs for a meet and greet (as opposed to Goldman coming over to the NY Fed), but specifically "introducing Brian Sack to the Goldman FX Committee" between 4:00 and 4:30 PM on that day. Just which of Brian's myriad functions is the one that requires the participation of Goldman's FX team? Last time we checked, purchasing bonds and MBS in POMO operations had little if any impact on Goldman's FX trading flow...
No, it is not that redemption gates are coming up again, or that the firm has lost half (or all) of any given team to some other firm that actually doesn't think it is an investment bank-HFT-options-distressed debt conglomerate (ironically Citadel is one of the last investment banks that is not a bank holding company.... when everyone else is a bank holding company...that's ok - Kenny has the balance sheet... until he doesn't), or that it may actually be above its high water mark for the first time in over 2 years... Instead, Ken Griffin recounts the wise words of his first investor and Citadel founding inspiration - grandma Gratz: "While Citadel is remarkably different from what it was 20 years ago, my core vision remains the same, defined by the attributes that my grandmother exemplified - strong character, courageous action, and honor in all her business dealings. These enduring values have underpinned our success and will carry us into the decades to come." Well, when you can't boast with P&L, which is what you actually are paid for, you can at least regale them with stories of your great grandfather's mustache.
Putting a cheery on top of one of the best days in capital markets history, FOX Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino is reporting that Citadel Investment Group, the giant hedge fund run by Ken Griffin, has received a subpoena from the Department of Justice. It is unclear if the Chicago's fund long-rumored 'dark pool' dealings with Brian Sack's Open Market Group will be exposed as a result. From Charlie: “They got a subpoena. It’s the same subpoena that sources tell FOX Business Network that Steve Cohen over at SAC Capital got. It’s a wide ranging subpoena and it dates back to 2008 asking for information on certain stocks. From what I understand, it’s not just healthcare stocks, which has been a primary focus. FOX Business Network has learned two other hedge funds have received subpoenas. We have put calls into Millennium Capital Management and Maverick Capital Management and we are waiting to hear back to them.”
Bill Gross: More QE Will Lead To A "Declining Dollar And A Lower Standard Of Living; Druckenmiller Departure Is End Of Old Normal"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/28/2010 08:42 -0400
Some very troubling observations from Bill Gross. In summary: "What the U.S. economy needs to do in order to return to the “old” normal is to recreate nominal GDP growth of 5%, the majority of which likely comes from inflation. Inflation is the classic “coin shaving” technique of government since the Roman Empire. In modern parlance, you print money faster than required, pray that the private sector will spend it to generate investment and consumption, and then worry about the consequences in a later decade. Ditto for deficits and fiscal policy. It’s that prayer, however, which the financial markets are now doubting, resembling circumstances which in part are reminiscent of the lost decades in Japan since the early 1990s. If the private sector – through undue caution and braking demographic influences –refuses to take the bait, the reflationary trap will never snap shut. Investors will likely not know whether the mouse has grabbed for the cheese for several years forward...The most likely consequence of stimulative government policies that strain to get us there will be a declining dollar and a lower standard of living. Stan Druckenmiller is leaving, and with good reason. A future of low investment returns, and a heap of trouble for those expecting more, is what lies ahead."
Citadel is no stranger to headlines: in late 2008, the firm was a prominent fixture in the news, typically mentioned in the same paragraph as some (now long former) LP who had attempted to redeem capital from Ken Griffin's firm only to hear redemptions were indefinitely, and without warning, halted, followed up by an expletive laden tirade. After all it is only called a hedge fund: in reality it is merely a levered bet that Moody's assumption that nothing can ever go lower, is correct. Well it wasn't, and as a result in 2008 Citadel lost more than half of its assets. The net result is that with profits of 62% in 2009 and 4% YTD, the firm (and, incidentally most other funds) has no chance of hitting its high water mark for a second year in a row. Which brings us to today's surprising news that Ken Griffin (allegedly perceived in the industry as arrogant beyond comparison, so this must hurt overtime) has finally decided to eat humble pie and to lower its management fee. As hedge fund veterans know too well, this is often the first step of the beginning of the end, as it may indicate either a i) liquidity shortage, ii) a surge in redemptions, iii) a performance that is far worse than officially represented, iv) a megalomaniacal dictator at the head of it all, or v) all of the above. Most of all, it indicates that very soon every LP in Citadel will demand the same terms, making profitability for the hedge fund turned market market turned investment bank turned FRBNY collaborator into a living hell of razor thin margins. As for the title, it is rhetorical.
News tidbits from the MSM tainted with actual facts, figures and smart ass opinions from yours truly.
" We have taken testimony from dozens of witnesses and reviewed tens of thousands of documents .... We have looked at the silver market like we never have before and I think there is a window of success that has been opened for understanding about what has been going on and why .... In 35 years, there has been only one successful prosecution for manipulation. So if you ask me if the manipulation standard in the law is working, I'd have to say no .... We need to be more like the police department and less like the fire department. We need to deter and prevent things from happening, rather than merely responding. "
GATA must be gulping hard as Goldman, GETCO, Citadel, MS, UBS & DRW announce the purchase of minority stakes in NYSE Liffe U.S., which administers 100 oz. gold futures, 5,000 oz. silver futures, options on gold and silver futures, and mini-sized 33.2 oz. gold and 1,000 oz. silver futures. The long-suspected ringleader of silver futures short-sided shenanigans, JPM, was conspicuously absent from today's NYSE press release. David Simon himself (The Wire) couldn't write a seedier script of flagrant fraud and regulatory remiss.
- Must read, and word of the day is, as always, Collateral: the NY Fed's secret choice to rape America by taking no haircut on AIG toxic crap "Part of a sentence in the document was crossed out. It
contained a blank space that was intended to show the amount of
the haircut the banks would take, according to people who saw
the term sheet. After less than a week of private negotiations
with the banks, the New York Fed instructed AIG to pay them par,
or 100 cents on the dollar. The content of its deliberations has
never been made public." (Bloomberg)
- The great lobby war by the cephalopod continues: Goldman tells SEC dark pools and short sales are the market manipulator equivalent of unicorns and rainbows (Bloomberg)
- Hypocrisy 101: Ken Griffin op-ed - "It is shameful that the citizens of Main Street were forced to “bail out” Wall Street" (FT)
- Goldman mutedly realistic, while Merrill blatantly stupid on housing recovery, Drew Matus must have at least 5 "dramatically affordable" Hamptons' properties lined up in escrow (Bloomberg)
- Lending to companies in Eurozone falls for first time on record (BBC)
- Goldman Conviction Buy Textron reports revenue falls 27%, profit down 98% as business-jet deliveries "plunge" too bad Goldman does not have double secret ultra turbo buy category which these results would prompt an upgrade to (MarketWatch)