State Street

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Gold consolidated after the gains of last week when gold rose 0.25% from $1324/oz to $1328.80/oz. Indeed, it was gold’s second consecutive weekly higher close which is bullish from a technical perspective. Markets being sentiment and momentum driven this could mean the recent correction is over as technical driven traders are likely to take signal from this and go long gold.

Reuters Floats Disturbing Trial Balloon: "The ECB May Be Forced To Buy Stocks"

On the verge of running out of bond to monetize, the ECB has engaged in something fed had expected: it is buying bonds from itself. But according to a troubling Reuters "trial balloon" that may be just the beginning: as Reuters writes, the "ECB may soon be forced to follow the Bank of Japan's example and buy equities as part of any expanded stimulus programme."

Bad Earnings, Balance Sheet Rot, & The "Brelief" Rally

Despite mainstream economists hopes that somehow “this time will be different,” the ongoing massaging of economic data through seasonal adjustments to obtain better headlines did not translate into actual prosperity.  Of course, “reality” is a cruel mistress and despite ongoing hopes and overstatements, “fantasy” eventually gives way.

Stress Test 2016: Fed Says All 33 Banks Can Surive 70 VIX Without Needing Outside Capital

While hardly coming as a surprise to anyone, moments ago the Fed announced that all 33 banks have enough capital to withstand a severe economic shock, though Morgan Stanley trailed the rest of Wall Street in a key measure of leverage, Bloomberg reports. The biggest bank cleared the most severe scenario handily, with the exception of Morgan Stanley whose projected 4.9% leverage ratio tied for last place alongside a Canadian bank’s U.S. unit, falling within a percentage point of the 4 percent minimum. As a result of today's "test result" many banks will likely win regulators' approval next week to boost dividends.

HSBC’s London Gold Vault: Is This Gold’s Secret Hiding Place?

HSBC’s main gold vault in London regularly comes under the media spotlight for a number of reasons. These reasons include: a) the HSBC London vault stores a very large amount of gold on behalf of the well-known SPDR Gold Trust (GLD); b) along with the Bank of England vaults and JP Morgan vault, the HSBC vault is one of the 3 largest gold vaults in London; c) the location of the HSBC vault in London is not publicised and so the secrecy creates intrigue; d) HSBC every so often throws out some visual or audio-visual media bait about the vault, most famously in the case of CNBC’s Bob Pisani; Despite all of the above, no one seems to have ever tried to figure out where this gold vault is actually located. Until now.

Gold "Flight To Safety" Surges Amid Biggest Junk Bond Outflows In History

Something happened this week that has never happened before. While outflows from equity ETFs soared, the $3.6 billion redemptions from high yield bond ETF HYG this last few days is the largest ever - almost twice as big as the previous largest outflows (seen in May last year). As Bloomberg reports, the withdrawals from equity and credit funds highlighted the lack of faith in the rally that helped stocks briefly erase their annual losses last month. Equity traders have remained on the sidelines, with volume down in recent weeks as investors sought safer assets such as gold.

The Fed Sends A Frightening Letter To JPMorgan, Corporate Media Yawns

Yesterday the Federal Reserve released a 19-page letter that it and the FDIC had issued to Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on April 12 as a result of its failure to present a credible plan for winding itself down if the bank failed. The letter carried frightening passages and large blocks of redacted material in critical areas, instilling in any careful reader a sense of panic about the U.S. financial system. The Federal regulators didn’t say JPMorgan could pose a threat to its shareholders or Wall Street or the markets. It said the potential threat was to “the financial stability of the United States.”

Federal Regulators Accuse Banks Of Not Having Credible Crisis Plans, Would Need Another Bailout

We were not surprised to read this morning that federal regulators announced that five out of eight of the biggest U.S. banks do not have credible plans for winding down operations during a crisis without the help of public money. Which is precisely the point: now that the precedent has been set and banks know they can rely on the generosity of taxpayers (with the blessing of legislators) why should they even bother planning; they know very well that if just one bank fails, all would face collapse, and the only recourse would be trillions more in taxpayer aid.

"The Liquidity Just Dries Up In A Stressed Market" - How HFT Killed FX Trading

Collin Crownover, head of currency management at State Street Global Advisors Inc., which oversees about $2.4 trillion,  who during a panel presentation said that "we are concerned. During volatile periods, market participants are backing away until conditions settle down, making it harder to complete large orders."“A lot of the electronification of the market, which by and large is a good thing, has led to kill switches on a lot of that algorithmic-provided liquidity,” Crownover said. “The liquidity just dries up in a stressed market.”