It has been a deja vu session of that day nearly a month ago when the Banco Espirito Santo (BES) problems were first revealed, sending European stocks and US futures, however briefly, plunging. Since then things have only gotten worse for the insolvent Portuguese megabank, and overnight BES, all three of its holdco now bankrupt, reported an epic loss despite which it will not get a bailout but instead must raise capital on its own. The result has been a record drop in both the bonds (down some 20 points earlier) and the stock (despite a shorting ban instituted last night), which crashed as much as 40% before stabilizing at new all time lows around €0.25, in the process wiping out recent investments by such "smart money" as Baupost, Goldman and DE Shaw. The result is a European financial sector that is struggling in the red, while adding to its pain are some large cap names such as Adidas which also tumbled after issuing a profit warning relating to "developments" in Russia. Then there was European inflation which printed at 0.4%, below the expected 0.5%, and the lowest in pretty much ever, and certainly since the ECB commenced its latest fight with "deflation", which so far is not going well. The European cherry on top was Greece, whose dead cat bounce is now over, after May retail sales crashed 8.5%, after rising 3.8% in April.
With all other operating holdcos having already declared bankruptcy, the anxiety over Banco Espirito Santo is growing (despite DE Shaw and Goldman Sachs recommending investors buy the shares). Despite Bank of Portugal reassurance last night that "BES is able to raise capital), the stock is plunging on news of "unexpected facts" this morning...
*BANCO ESPIRITO SANTO SAYS SHAREHOLDER MEETING WAS CANCELLED DUE TO "UNEXPECTED FACTS''
*BANCO ESPIRITO SANTO FALLS MORE THAN 13% IN LISBON TRADING
Remember, this is systemic (as the Portugues President has warned), and the contagion is potentially global... not "contained."
Despite an impressive ramp by USDJPY in the last two hours of trading (thank you Nomura and BOJ) whose purpose was to get the DE Shaw and all other correlation algos to push spoos higher, today's trifecta of the ugly guidance by Visa (which dominated the DJIA), very ugly earnings by Amazon (which dominated the Nasdaq) and the CME ES margin hike just proved too much, and while Friday may have been the new Tuesday following 11 "green" DJIA Fridays in a row, today's 123 point drop stopped the trend before lucky 12 out of 12.
Curious why Portugal's second largest bank is in dire straits on the verge of default and as we reported yesterday, is threatening to impact - adversely - Portugal economy should the bankruptcy chain that has already claimed two of its HoldCos continue further? Then perhaps ask the following man: Richard Salgado, who until last month was CEO of Banco Espirito Santo and as of moments ago has been detained in a money laundering investigation.
From 1998 to 2013, Barclays and Deutsche Bank sold 199 basket options to hedge funds which used them to conduct more than $100 billion in trades. The subcommittee focused on options involving two of the largest basket option users, Renaissance Technology Corp. LLC (“RenTec”) and George Weiss Associates. The hedge funds often exercised the options shortly after the one-year mark and claimed the trading profits were eligible for the lower income tax rate that applies to long-term capital gains on assets held for at least a year. RenTec claimed it could treat the trading profits as long term gains, even though it executed an average of 26 to 39 million trades per year and held many positions for mere seconds. Data provided by the participants indicates that basket options produced about $34 billion in trading profits for RenTec alone, and more than $1 billion in financing and trading fees for the two banks.
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).