There’s an old saying that “numbers don’t lie.” However, when we apply simple common sense to the way we hear numbers spun across the financial media what doesn’t add up is precisely that: the numbers.
If the DOJ and CFTC is going to be consistent, then they have to indict the entire financial community from the CME, Exchanges, Brokers, Institutions, Investment Banks, Hedge Funds, Management Funds and High Frequency Trading Firms.
A five sigma event signifies extreme conditions, or an extremely rare occurrence. To bring this discussion from sports and weather to the financial world, we can relate a 5 sigma event to the stock market. Since 1975 the largest annual S&P 500 gain and loss were 34% and -38% respectively. A 5 sigma move would equate to an annual gain or loss of 91%. With a grasp of the rarity of a 5 sigma occurrence, let us now consider the yield spread, or difference, in bond yields between Germany and The United States. As shown in graph #1 below German ten year bunds yield 0.19% (19 one-hundredths of one percent) and the U.S. ten year note yields 1.92%, resulting in a 1.73% yield spread. This is the widest that spread has been in 30 years.
I am not sure how long Mario Draghi can carry on this QE Charade, but it is quite obvious that there is nothing more to be gained from the program.
Not just one 25 basis point rate hike, taking a look at that chart, several rate hikes have already been priced into the US Dollar Index.
"The ECB could move to cutting the depo rate further to maintain loose financial conditions and especially to prevent a taper tantram forcing EURUSD higher," Citi says, commenting on steps the central bank may be forced to take in the event some core countries (i.e. Germany) are unable to source enough eligible assets to meet purchase targets under PSPP. Just two days in, speculation is growing about the viability of the program.
Mario Draghi is forced to buy "small" amounts of EGBs on first day of QE, casting further doubt on the viability of PSPP. If the ECB is unable to meet its monthly asset purchase targets expect chaos, as the market has spent the last several months front running the program and would be absolutely horrified if DOMO has to be downsized.
Pensioners are under attack. With yields depressed across asset classes, public pension funds in the U.S. are diving into risky investments in order to justify clinging to unrealistic investment rate assumptions. In Europe, low rates are causing corporations to adopt lower discount rates to determine the present value of their pension liabilities, dramatically increasing EU pension deficits. While in Greece, the government is robbing the public purse to make good on its commitments to the IMF.
Greece has been borrowing its way to disaster long enough. For its part, Greece stands at a fork in the road. Syriza can move aggressively to recover Greece’s democratic sovereignty or it can desperately cling to the faltering currency and financial machinery of the Euro zone. But it can’t do both. Now and again history reaches an inflection point. Statesman and mere politicians, as the case may be, find themselves confronted with fraught circumstances and stark choices. February 2015 is one such moment.
Long ago, Keynes himself pointed out, perhaps inadvertently, the profound difference between GDP and wealth. If we merely want a higher GDP print - which measures spending, not wealth - governments should handout spoons so that millions of citizens can dig holes and millions more refill them. It would appear that the statesmen of Brussels are fixing to try the modern day equivalent of just that.
"This last 1900 point Dow Jones push upwards - and the Ebola events leading into it - it was so orchestrated and heightened at critical points but the ascent and push straight up in price, and sideways nonreaction after was completely unlike anything I've seen before. After going up for a record-breaking amount of time the last five or so years, in a nonlinear exponential mania type of ascent, there should normally be tremendous volatility that follows... After this year and especially this last 1900 point Dow run up in October, and post non-reaction, that I am 100 percent confident that that one buyer is our own Federal Reserve or other central banks with a goal to "stimulate" our economy by directly buying stock index futures."
Anti-HFT Revulsion Grows: IEX Ties For Fourth In Dark Pool Trading Thanks To World's Largest Wealth FundSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/17/2014 15:56 -0400
While Wall Street is certainly free to broken record that Michael Lewis' hugely popular story about HFT and market rigging did not impact the natural course of events, the reality is it did: the collapse in Barclays' dark pool LX (shown in the bolded red line on the chart below), in the aftermath of the NY AG case against the British bank, has been documented in the past, and is just one example. An even more vivid case study comes from the surge in popularity of upstart dark pool IEX (green dotted line below), the protagonist of Lewis' Flash Boys book, and which out of nowhere, has just tied with Lavaflow's dark pool for fourth spot in ATS trading with just over 200 million shares in the week ended October 27. The catalyst? Norway's sovereign wealth fund just said not to HFT parasites.
Further proof of manipulation of gold and silver prices - if any were needed - came overnight as Switzerland’s financial regulator (FINMA) found “serious misconduct” and a “clear attempt to manipulate precious metals benchmarks” by UBS employees in precious metals trading, particularly with silver.
Maybe overzealous bond investors might want to rethink that Yield Chasing Strategy for 2015.
This seems to be the biggest question in financial markets for me right now because the math just doesn`t add up any way you slice it.