In the aftermath of yesterday's key market event, the FOMC's $10 billion tapering and elimination of QE with "QualG", not to mention the "dots" and the "6 month" comment, the USD has been on fire against all key pairs, with the EURUSD sliding below 1.38, a 150 pip move in one day which should at least give Mario Draghi some comfort, but more importantly sending the USDJPY soaring to 102.500 even as US equity futures continue to slide, and not to mention the Nikkei which tumbled -1.7% to just above 14,000 overnight. Perhaps the biggest take home message for traders from yesterday is that the Yen carry trade correlation to the Emini is now dead if only for the time being until DE Shaw and Virtu recalibrate their all-important correlation signal algos. The other big news overnight was the plunge in the Yuan, tumbling 0.5%, 6.2286, up 343 pips and crushing countless speculators now that the "max vega" point has been passed. Expect under the radar news about insolvent trading desks over the next few days, as numerous mega levered FX traders, who had bet on continued CNY appreciation are quietly carted out the back door. Elsewhere, gold and other commodities continue to be hit on rising fear the plunging CNY will accelerate the unwind of Chinese Commodity Funding Deals.
Update as things just got worse: TURKISH POLICE CLOSE DOWN GEZI PARK IN ISTANBUL, CNN-TURK SAYS
As we reported previously, on Monday new revelations in the graft scandal surrounding Turkish PM Erdogan in the form of a leaked phone conversation between him and his son, Bilal, detailing plans how to hide huge sums of cash, by some estimates up to $1 billion, brought back the political crisis that has gripped the nation front and center, and led to renewed demands by the opposition party that the PM resign. It also sent the USDTRY surging to levels not seen in weeks. We said: "Somehow we doubt that Erdogan will resign, however, this latest confirmation that the graft scandal that is and will continue to dodge the Turkish Prime Minister is not going away, may just be the catalyst that pushes the TRY, and with it some of the other recently pacified EMs, back into volatile mode." Today the crisis is fully back and so is the predicted volatility, with the Lira blowing out by another 400 pip to a level of 2.240, not seen since the first week of February when the Turkish central bank was scrambling to restore confidence in the imploding currency.
In the aftermath of yesterday's 3 Year auction, which was nothing to write home about except for the surge in Indirect demand (and corresponding plunge in Direct take down), the Treasury just priced it latest soon to be POMO-ed 10 Year paper, $24 billion of it to be exact with a couple of reopenings scheduled in the near future, at a closing yield of 2.795% which was inside the 2.801% When Issued at 1 pm indicating solid demand dynamics during the auction process. That said, the Bid to Cover of 2.54 was well below both the January 2.68, and the TTM average of 2.69, and in fact was the lowest since the 2.44 print from last August. The internals were more solid, as Dealers took down 34.1%, below the 38.4% TTM average, while Indirects - like yesterday - soared to 49.7% of the final allocation, the highest since June's 51.7%. This means that Directs were left with 16.2% of the auction, or just below the 19.8% average. As a result of the auction failing to tail, the Treasury complex popped modestly higher in the aftermath of the announcement, although this bullish sentiment may not last unless DE Shaw links up its bond buying algo to the USDJPY to match its SPOO buying "logic."
Having been the first to warn the world about the perils of high frequency trading nearly 5 years ago, when momentum ignition, layering and quote stuffing were still incomprehensible buzzwords to all but a select few algo traders from Citadel, GETCO and DE Shaw, and warning about such top-down systemic lock ups like flash-crash over a year in advance; as well as the bottom-up impacts of 20 year old math PhDs being in charge of market topology, our crusade from the micro has since shifted to the macro and the primary nemesis of all that is free and fair, the Federal Reserve. In the intervening years, traders such as Haim Bodek opened the HFT kimono even more publicly a few years ago. The following is a must-watch documentary for every investor and trader to comprehend just what it is (and who it is) that drives stock prices day in and day out.
- Fed likely to reduce bond buying, pass policy milestone (Reuters)
- Fall in Home Loans Pushing Fed Away From Taper in Mortgage Bonds (BBG)
- Russia says U.N. report on Syria attack preconceived, political (Reuters)
- China House Price Surge Raises Prospect of Steps to Cool Market (FT)
- Cyprus Plans to Complete End of All Capital Controls... some time in 2014 (FT)
- GOP Reworks Budget Terms (WSJ)
- U.S. Navy was warned that Washington shooter 'heard voices' (Reuters)
- Berlusconi Impeachment Vote Looms (WSJ)
- Ageing could weaken central banks, spur rate volatility (Reuters)
BlackBerry All But Finished Following "Dismal" Sales, "Virtually No Demand" For Keyboard-Equipped Q10Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/29/2013 09:14 -0400
Research In Motion BlackBerry may have to rename itself again. Or Thorstein Heins will have to do a Vogue cover spread. Or the company will have to take a page from the Amazon playbook and revel in its losses (with the help of a few DE Shaw algos of course). Or, worst case, Carl iCahn will have to tweet that his breakfast plans include checking his email on a BlackBerry. Because operationally the company is set to become the functional equivalent of JCP, especially following the latest news from the WSJ that sales of the company's Hail Mary product, the keyboard-equipped Q10, have been "dismal."
Nearly three years ago, following the publishing of "Is The SEC's Insider Trading Case Implicating FrontPoint A Sting Operation Aimed At S.A.C. Capital?" which exposed the key aspects of SAC's insider trading strategy, and which linked SAC, and the hedge fund world in general, to expert networks three weeks before virtually anyone outside of the 2 and 20 (or 3 and 50 as the case may be) world had heard of them and before they became a household euphemism for insider trading, we expected the full rabid fury of the world's best paid legal team to fall upon us. It didn't, which meant only one thing: we were correct, or they had bigger fish (to avoid harpooning) on their mind. Turns out it was both.
A peculiar trading session, in which the usual overnight futures levitation has not been led by the BOJ-inspired USDJPY rise (even as the Nikkei225 rose another 0.6% more than offset by the Shanghai Composite drop of 0.86%), which actually has slid all session briefly dipping under 99 moments ago, but by the EURUSD, which saw a bout of buying around 5 am Eastern, just after news hit that the UK would avoid a triple dip recession with Q1 GDP rising 0.3% versus expectations of a 0.1% rise, up from a -0.3% in Q4 (more in Goldman note below). Since the news that the BOE will likely delay engaging in more QE (just in time for the arrival of Carney) is hardly EUR positive we look at the other news hitting around that time, such as Finland saying that the euro can survive in Cyprus exits the Eurozone, and that Merkel has rejected standardized bank guarantees for the foreseeable future, and we are left scratching our heads what is the reason for the brief burst in the Euro.
Brian Sack, he who held the fattest finger on the Fed's green buy button until Simon Potter and his young protege Kevin Henry stepped into those prodigious shoes, has landed a role at mega quant fund D.E.Shaw. As Reuters reports, the former head of the Fed's Market Group will be the co-Director of Global Economics. The fund, with its reputation for mathematical modeling and computer-driven trading over short-term horizons will, we are sure, benefit from Sack's empirical ability to stomp on the throat of the VIX and tinker with VWAPs, though we hope he lasts longer than Larry Summers did. Of course, this almost guarantees that former-D.E.Shaw alum Jeff Bezos' Amazon.com share price will continue to surge as its fundamental performance plunges. The Plunge Protection Team, it appears, is in strong demand, though we hope someone explains that maybe D.E.Shaw does have a MtM policy (and not unlimited balance sheet).
The most cartoonish stock of all time just came out with results that can only be characterized as ugly. To wit:
- Q4 revenue of $21.27 billion missed expectations of $22.23 billion
- Q1 EPS of $0.21 missed expectations of $0.27;
- The firm guided top-line lower, seeing Q1 sales of $15-$16 billion, below the estimate of $16.5 billion
- The firm guided operating income much lower, seeing Q1 op income of ($285)-$65 Million on expectations of $261.4 MM
- The firm said the its physical books sales had the lowest growth in 17 years
- Total employees grew by 7,000 in the quarter and 32,200 Y/Y to a record 88,400
- Worldwide net sales Y/Y growth was the slowest in years at 23%, down from 30% in Q3 and 34% a year ago
- And, last and certainly least, LTM Net Income is now officially negative, or ($49) meaning as of this moment the firm with the idiotically high PE has an even more idiotic N/M PE.
... And the stock is soaring in the after hours. Thank you DE Shaw.
Another Flashing Red Light: Euro Liquidity Shortage Leads To First ECB Sterilization Failure Since November 2011Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/28/2012 10:35 -0400
The ECB's original bond monetization program (the SMP) may now be defunct, having been replaced with the mythical OMT which will work as long as it never has to be used (see Spain), but its aftereffects linger on. Specifically, the aftermath of the SMP manifests itself in the weekly sterilization of accrued SMP bond purchases, which at last check amounted to some €208.5 billion. Why do we bring this up? Because a few hours earlier, the ECB failed, for the first time, to find enough demand and interest to sterilize the full amount of rolling peripheral bond purchases, and was instead able to find only enough bidders, 43 of them or the lowest in a year, to "sterilize" just €197.6 billion of the total weekly allottment. The last time the ECB failed in a sterilization action? November 29, 2011, one day before the coordinated global central bank bailout of 2011.
Instead of uttering one more word in a long, seemingly endless tirade that stretches all the way to April 2009, we will this time let such dignified members of the credible, veritable status quo as Credit Suisse, who have released a two part primer on everything HFT related, with an emphasis on the broken market left in the wake of the "high freaks", which is so simple even a member of congress will understand (we would say a member of the SEC, but even at this level of simplicity its comprehension by the rank and file of the SEC is arguable). As Credit Suisse conveniently points out "market manipulation is already banned", but that doesn't mean that there are numerous loophole that HFT can manifest themselves in negative strategies that have virtually the same impact on a two-tiered market (those that have access to HFT and those that do not) as manipulation. Among such strategies are:
- Quote Stuffing: the HFT trader sends huge numbers of orders and cancels
- Layering: multiple, large orders are placed passively with the goal of “pushing” the book away
- Order Book Fade: lightning-fast reactions to news and order book pressure lead to disappearing liquidity
- Momentum ignition: an HFT trader detects a large order targeting a percentage of volume, and front-runs it.
After tumbling to lows of 1.2735, and dragging the entire 100% correlated risk complex down with it, the EUR has since seen a straight line push higher despite the sad reality that for all expectations, Europe was embarrassingly simply unable to come to a resolution over Greece and has kicked the can to November 26, leaving Greece with zero cash to fund obligations to European banks, and if anything is left over, to fund domestic operations. The reason for the move up? The market, in all its wisdom, hopes that 6 short hours after saying "9", Merkel has already softened her stance and that a deal in 5 days is inevitable. Of course, these are the same people who said a deal last night was inevitable. These are the same people who also said that Washington is this close from a reconciliation on the Fiscal cliff, despite this thing called reality (see Rough start for fiscal cliff talks from Politico). Adding to the surrealism was a French spokesman who said the country would "do everything to reach a Greek accord." Since a recently downgraded France will "do" nothing (that's Germany), but will "say" everything, it is safe to say that France is now the comic relief typically attributed to Jean-Claude Jun(c)ker. Finally, and wrapping up the bizarro surreality of central planned markets, the recent spike in Brent on Gaza re-escalations has been interpreted by those uber-complex DE Shaw algorithms as a risk on move, and pushed all risk indicators to overnight highs. With volume today set to be abysmal as trading desks will be empty around noon, expect some more absolutely insane zero volume moves in the SkyNet battleground formerly known as the "market."
First Meredith Whitney highlighted the insult facing the banking industry this quarter as a result of the dearth of trading volume. Now quant hedge fund extraordinaire DE Shaw, which prides itself on hiring something like one in a thousand math geniuses, and only after they sign an NDA during interviews, has added the injury, by being the canary in the hedge fund coalmine, and letting 150, or 10%, of its highly paid workforce, go. And that's not all: after finally unlocking its "gates" the fund's AUM has plunged by $7 billion to $28 billion. This can not be good, as it means that the fund has had to unwind tens of billions in hedged positions over the past weeks. And if the fund's slant was bearish previously it may well have been responsible for the rapid move in the stock market, as its semi-forced liquidation would have seen it need to cover an abnormal amount of shares in a thin market, in which players like SAC and DE Shaw already account for a material fraction of total volume.