Banks are selling a record amount of U.S. structured notes tied to the stocks of fast-growing, volatile technology companies such as Facebook and Twitter. As Bloomberg Briefs reports, sales of securities linked to Facebook soared to $457.6 million this year, more than double the $204.2 million issued during the same period of 2013. Bloomberg notes that investors are flocking to products tied to social media companies, where more volatile share prices help banks improve structured-note terms that have been hurt by low interest rates... and issuers are "trying to put shiny objects in front of the client," as the BTFD mentality gets increased leverage (and downside risk). Investors have purchased $1.88 billion of structured notes linked to the 10 most popular technology stocks so far this year - 31% more than the same period in 2013 - and $32.7bn equity- and commodity-linked notes this year alone (up ~10% YoY). As we warned last week, counterparty risks are rising.
Despite the authorities' best efforts to keep everything orderly, we know how this global Game of Geopolitical Tetris ends: "Players lose a typical game of Tetris when they can no longer keep up with the increasing speed, and the Tetriminos stack up to the top of the playing field. This is commonly referred to as topping out."
"I’m tired of being outraged!"
And it's not only a higher gold price we are looking for...
The simmering cold war involving the NYPD and various elements of New York's population just went nuclear when just over an hour ago, reports hit that two NYPD officers were shot in their patrol car, and subsequently died, in what has been dubbed an "execution style" ambush in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy area. The alleged shooter was chased by police and subsequently died of a self-inflicted gun wound.
Say what you want about the gold price languishing below $1200 (or not, as the case may be, after this week), and say what you want about the technical picture or the “6,000-year bubble,” as Citi’s Willem Buiter recently termed it; but know this: gold is an insurance policy — not a trading vehicle — and the time to assess gold is when people have a sudden need for insurance. When that day comes - and believe me, it’s coming - the price will be the very last thing that matters. It will be purely and simply a matter of securing possession - bubble or not - and at any price. That price will NOT be $1200. A “run” on the gold “bank” would undoubtedly lead to one of those Warren Buffett moments when a bunch of people are left standing naked on the shore. It is also a phenomenon which will begin quietly before suddenly exploding into life. If you listen very carefully, you can hear something happening...
Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."
Epic Bot Fraud: Up To 50% Of All Publisher Traffic Is From Fake Clicks; Billions In Ad Revenue At RiskSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/19/2014 11:39 -0500
Up to 50% of publisher traffic (!) is bot activity, just fake clicks from automated computing programs.
Bots account for 11 percent of display ad views and 23 percent of video ads.
Between 3 percent and 31 percent of programmatically bought ad impressions were found to be from bots, with an average of 17 percent.
More than half of traffic from third parties claiming to lift publishers' traffic numbers comes from bots.
- Icahn, Paulson Suffer Large Losses as Energy-Related Bets Sour (WSJ)
- Oil Investors Keep Betting Wrong on When Market Will Bottom (BBG)
- U.S. to sell final $1.25 billion shares of Ally Financial from bailout (Reuters)
- Ally Financial Gets Subpoena Related to Subprime Automotive Finance (WSJ)
- Russia's parliament rushes through bill boosting banking capital (Reuters)
- How a Memo Cost Big Banks $37 Billion (WSJ)
- ECB considers making weaker euro zone states bear more quantitative easing risk (Reuters)
- How the U.S. Could Retaliate Against North Korea (BBG)
4 seconds before the close, one super-bullish algorithm exuberantly bought a massive $200 million worth of the S&P 500 ETF up to a 2,130 level on the index in one second... and no - it was not a fat finger!! It was 1,147 trades! Now who do we know that is an 'expert' in ETF trading?
Greenspan was criticized by some for keeping the loose monetary policy far too long leading to the housing bubble. Chairwoman Yellen would be prudent to learn from history and not to repeat the similar missteps.
No obvious catalyst yet, aside from pure triple-witching anticipatory stop runs, but:
WTI CLIMBS AS MUCH AS 5.5%; BRENT GAINS AS MUCH AS 5.8%
Lifting WTI over $59 and Brent over $63. In fact, the $9 surge from the lows is the biggest move in crude since April 2009!
President Obama "Normalizes" Relations With Cuba, Opens Diplomatic Channels; USAID Chief Resigns - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/17/2014 11:50 -0500
“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba,” White House says in statement. So sanctions don't work?
Rajiv Shah, the administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, oversaw secret US programs aimed at regime change in Cuba, abruptly resigned on Wednesday after US and Cuba announced plans to normalize relations and exchange prisoners.