Archive for 2009

Is Goldman's Selective Trading Disclosure A Legal Way For Preferred Clients To Front Run The Market?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge has long been discussing the impact of selective informational disclosure, be it in the context of trading or research asymmetries, which promote a two-tiered market, where privileged accounts of major broker dealers receive “tips” ahead of “everyone else.” The quid’s pro quo is that these “privileged” few end up executing the bulk of their trades with the broker-dealer, thus ramping up riskless agency revenues. In essence the clients’ capital risk is mitigated, while the return to the “perpetrator” is augmented by collecting a disproportionate share of the bid/offer spread in the given security. Whether this tiering mechanism occurs via Flash orders, SLP provisioning, actionable IOIs, advance selective notice of a large flow order, a phone call, a limited Bloomberg blast, or an Instant Message, the ethics of the practice are undoubtedly shady, and potentially borderline criminal. But no one is the wiser, as both sender and receiver of information know to keep their mouth shut. Until today, when the WSJ blows one aspect of this practice out of the water, by focusing on Goldman’s selective informational disclosure to preferred clients, and is likely to create much more headache for Goldman’s PR department and its staunchest CNBC-based supporter.

In a long-overdue article titled “Goldman’s Trading Tips Reward Its Biggest Clients” author Susanne Craig brings much of the firm’s dirty laundry to the front page. While a must read for anyone interested in how Goldman Sachs “cultivates” its key client relationships, the summary is as follows:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. research analyst Marc Irizarry’s published rating on mutual-fund manager Janus Capital Group Inc. was a lackluster “neutral” in early April 2008. But at an internal meeting that month, the analyst told dozens of Goldman’s traders the stock was likely to head higher, company documents show.

The next day, research-department employees at Goldman called about 50 favored clients of the big securities firm with the same tip, including hedge-fund companies Citadel Investment Group and SAC Capital Advisors, the documents indicate. Readers of Mr. Irizarry’s research didn’t find out he was bullish until his written report was issued six days later, after Janus shares had jumped 5.8%.

This pretty much summarizes the “magical” performance that many hedge funds generated in Wall Street’s golden age: Goldman (and other firms, many of which however now…
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Boston Fed On The Panic Of 1907 ( Or Is That 2008?)

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Spot the 10 differences (if any) between this text and the one historians (hopefully not Fed bankers)  will write about our time period in 2109.

Some interesting comparisons, demonstrating that even as one hundred years pass, nothing really changes (except for the Fed Chairman’s printing press, which luckily, did not exist in 1907). Then and now:

  • New York Clearing House Committee -  FDIC
  • New York City’s clergy – CNBC
  • Knickerbocker Trust Company – Lehman Brothers
  • New York bankers – New York bankers
  • J.P. Morgan – J.P. Morgan (of course)
  • Cold – Swine Flu [TBD?]

MONDAY OCTOBER 14: The stock of United Copper Company soars past $62 a share.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 16: United Copper closes at $15 a share after bank owner/speculator F.A. Heinze fails in his attempt to corner the company’s shares.

THURSDAY OCTOBER 17: Shortly after midnight, Heinze resigns as president of Mercantile National Bank. Later that morning, prompted by the fear that Heinze’s stock market losses might affect the bank, Mercantile National’s depositors scramble to withdraw their money.

During the day, Heinze’s Butte (Montana) Savings Bank fails as does the brokerage firm of Otto Heinze & Co., which is owned by the brother of F.A. Heinze.

That night, the New York Clearing House Committee declares that Mercantile National is “perfectly solvent and able to meet all its indebtedness.” The Committee’s acting chairman also announces that
the Clearing House will stand by the bank in the event of a run by depositors.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 18: Nine banks form an emergency pool of funds to aid Mercantile National. But depositors at Knickerbocker Trust Company begin to withdraw their money. They are concerned because
Knickerbocker’s president, Charles T. Barney, is an associate of F.A. Heinze.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 19: Charles W. Morse, a banker and speculator who was involved with Heinze in the disastrous copper corner, announces he will resign official positions at nine banks and trust companies.

MONDAY OCTOBER 21: Charles T. Barney resigns as president of Knickerbocker Trust Company. Depositors withdraw $8 million in less than four hours before Knickerbocker suspends operations.

TUESDAY OCTOBER 22: J.P. Morgan refuses to aid Knickerbocker Trust, wtiich does not reopen for business. A headline in the Neap York Times announces that Morgan will organize support for Trust Company of America, which is deemed to be in much better condition than Knickerbocker.

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shipping - Salem, Mass shipping in the 1770sCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Excellent article here on the shipping industry and the problems that the recession has caused and continues to cause:

The global economic crisis is wreaking havoc on shipping: Demand and prices have collapsed and ports are filling up with fleets of empty freighters. The crisis has fueled cut-throat competition and not all companies will survive. Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd alone needs 1.75 billion euros to stay afloat.

the global financial and economic crisis has stifled the boom in container shipping, and it has happened almost overnight. For the first time in its history, the industry has stopped growing and, in fact, is shrinking. In the first six months of this year alone, the shipping industry declined by close to 16 percent.


The new giant ships are now much too big for the cargos they transport by sea, and often they sail half-empty — if at all. Billions are being spent to expand ports to handle a boom that no longer exists. Leading shipping line operators are on the verge of bankruptcy, as are shipping banks and charter shipping companies. The industry, once one of the biggest beneficiaries of globalization, now threatens to turn into one of its chief casualties.”There has never been a crisis like this before,” says Reinhard Lange, the CEO of Kühne + Nagel, the world’s largest sea-freight forwarder. Shipping line operators alone are expected to suffer combined losses of $20 billion in 2009.

Drewry Shipping Consultants, the world’s top consultant to the industry, warns: “The industry is looking at the edge of a deep abyss.” And industry publication Lloyds List writes: “Container shipping was thrown into a full-scale panic.”

This sense of panic is more palpable in Hamburg than almost anywhere else in the world.

Read the fully story here


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Larry Flynt: Obama Can’t Stand Up To The Bankers

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Larry Flynt: Obama Can’t Stand Up To The Bankers 

Courtesy of John Carney at Clusterstock

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Joe Saluzzi On The Stock Market And The Broader Economy

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

And no, no discussion of HFT, predatory algos or flash orders. Tune in for a broader, comprehensive market analysis.

Guest Post: The Spirits Are About To Speak. Are They Friendly?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Submitted by Contrary Investor. A highly recommended read.

The Spirits Are About To Speak. Are They Friendly?...And of course we are referring to “animal spirits” as you might have guessed. Time for a little compare and contrast with current cycle margin debt trends relative to past meaningful cycle equity lift off periods. You may remember that in the past we have looked at margin debt at stock cycle inflection points very much being a corroborative indicator at the birth of many a historical equity bull market. History tells us that margin debt balances bottom literally within a month or so of past major market low points. And sure enough, we saw margin debt bottom for the current cycle (so far) in February of this year – right on schedule! So, yes, at least at this point, a bottom in margin debt balances confirmed the bottom in equities. The chart below will give you a feel for exactly what we are talking about in terms of this directional synchronicity between equity market and margin debt rhythm.

Ok, trying to corroborate equity market bottoms by watching the rhythm of margin debt is fine. But what happens next? By that we mean what has been the character of margin debt growth as equity markets have continued on their historical bull market journeys? We’ve put a table of numbers together below to help give us some perspective. You know the financial media simply cannot stop trumpeting the fact that equities in general are up 40%+ from the March lows of this year. Just the kind of media taunting to make folks feel as if they are idiots for having potentially missed it. Of course the headline financial media has absolutely no recollection at all that they had been screaming buy all the way down while the equity markets dropped over 50% in the first place. Selective memory works every time, right? Anyway, to compare and contrast current circumstances to prior cycles, we went back and looked at the first 40% move of each major post recession equity bull market since the early 1970’s. We looked at just how much margin debt had already increased by the time the S&P had risen 40% from cycle lows. Have a look.

Notice anything funny? Of course you do. The current…
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The Statistical Recovery, Part Three

The Statistical Recovery, Part Three

green shoots, statistical recoveryCourtesy of John Mauldin at Thoughts from the Frontline

The Statistical Recovery, Part Three
Capacity Utilization Set to Rise
A Real Estate Green Shoot?
The Deleveraging Society
Some Thoughts on Secular Bear Markets
Weddings and Ten Years of Thoughts From the Frontline

This week we further explore why this recovery will be a Statistical Recovery, or one that, as someone said, is a recovery only a statistician could love. We look at capacity utilization, more on housing, some thoughts on debt and deflation, and some intriguing charts on volatility in the last secular bear-market cycle. This letter will print a little longer, but there are lots of charts. I have written this during the week, and I finish it here in Tulsa, where Amanda gets married tomorrow. (There is no deflation in weddings costs!)

Thanks to so many of you for your enthusiastic feedback about my latest Accredited Investor Newsletter, in which I undertook to examine the impact of last year’s dramatic increase in volatility on the performance of hedge funds and to ascertain those elements that led to success in the industry, such as select Global Macro and Managed Futures strategies, as well as the challenges. If you are an accredited investor (basically anywhere in the world, as I have partners in Europe, Canada, Africa, and Latin America) and haven’t yet read my analysis, I invite you to sign up here:

For those of you who seek to take advantage of these themes and the developments I write about each week, let me again mention my good friend Jon Sundt at Altegris Investments, who is my US partner. Jon and his team have recently added some of the more successful names in the industry to their dedicated platform of alternative investments, including commodity pools, hedge funds, and managed futures accounts. Certain products that Altegris makes available on its platform access award-winning managers, and are designed to facilitate access for qualified and suitable readers at sometimes lower investment minimums than is normally required (though the net-worth requirements are still the same).

If you haven’t spoken with them in a while, it’s worth checking out their new lineup of world-class managers. Jon also tells me they just added yet more brilliant minds to their research team, making it,…
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Sprott On Beyond The Stimulus

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

Beyond the Stimulus by Sprott Asset Management


h/t Joel

Attachment Size
Sprott comment August 2009.pdf 44.74 KB

On Blogging Brawls and Bragging Rights

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

A couple of days ago Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism posted a comment, Who Is Tyler Durden? The post generated over 187 comments (and still counting), most of which were infantile swipes from morons claiming that one blog is better than the other one.

I got carried away too and used language that I shouldn’t have, but after sleeping on it, I want to offer you some of my thoughts on these blogging brawls and bragging rights.

First, while I defended Yves from the vitriolic attacks in the comments, her post was stupid and probably done to stir up shit in the blogosphere. As I stated in the comments, who cares who Tyler Durden is? Whether it is one person or a group of people posting anonymously, is irrelevant. As long as Zero Hedge keeps delivering interesting comments, people will read it and make up their own minds as to accuracy of what they are reporting.

That brings up my second point. Everyone has an agenda, including yours truly, and so does Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism. Everyone has their “schtick” and they want to be heard. The thing that gets me is that some people are a lot more transparent than others in their agenda. I use my real name, you can read all about me on my profile, I tell you my agenda right at the top of my blog. I say this because I just found out yesterday that Yves Smith is Susan Webber of Aurora Advisors.

[Note: Admittedly, I am an idiot because when I first started reading Naked Capitalism, I thought Yves was a guy. She then sent me an outline of her new book and I still couldn't figure out who she is. She even emailed me once or twice as Susan Webber and I never put two and two together because at that time, I thought it was someone else. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of her blog to see Aurora Advisors. No problem, I wish she told me right off the bat in clear English or posted it on her blog clearly so I can add her company to my list of advisors on my blog, which I gladly did last night.]

Third, your credibility is only as good as what you…
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Beating a Dead Horse

Beating a Dead Horse

Courtesy of Vitaliy Katsenelson’s ContrarianEdge and Active Value Investing 

“'Beauty Samba' is by my father Naum Katsenelson" - VitaliyI know, I may sound like I’m beating a dead horse – how much printer cartridge can one spill over China?  – but I have a very high burden of proof to overcome.  Let me demonstrate it by this analogy:  Let’s rewind 20 years.  It is 1989 and I am writing that the Japanese economy is on the verge of severe decline.  I’m facing a lot of skepticism.  Most people are calling me crazy and throwing heavy objects at me.  After all, the Japanese are on top of the world.  Their economy has been a consistent grower for decades, with a rate of growth that trumps that of the US and Europe.  Japan has the manufacturing thing nailed – they are simply better and more efficient at it than us. 

Magazines and newspapers swarm with stories about Japan, how hard working they are, how unique their culture is (we of course, feel inferior, as lazy Americans).  Japanese exports significantly exceed their imports, generating huge capital-account surpluses – they are swimming in dollars and buying up America. Every other restaurant in Hawaii serves sushi and menus are in English and Japanese (not Spanish).  I may be exaggerating with the last part, a little, but not much.
So, in 1989, who am I to poke holes in Japanese grandness and predict their malaise.  Japan could do no wrong.  Of course, we know how that story played out: a bust of a major banking/real estate bubble, a contracting economy for almost two decades, accompanied by deflation, ballooning debt, etc. 
Fast-forward, and China today is where Japan was in the late ’80s, except with the greater political instability that comes with a semi-controlled economy and the lack of a social safety net (read: jobless, hungry people don’t write angry letters, they riot). 
china olympics opening ceremonySince China can do nothing wrong, everything I write about it is met with skepticism.  Today China projects to the world a similar image as Japan did in the 1980s.  My personal favorite is the incredible spectacle of the Chinese Summer Olympics opening ceremony: the elegant, wonderfully choreographed performance by fifteen thousand people, the marvels of modern technology (the 500-foot LCD screen comes to mind here), the…
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Zero Hedge

Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Russia's Sergey Lavrov is not one foreign minister known to mince his words. Just earlier today, 24 hours after a Russian plane was brought down by the country whose president three years ago said "a short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack", had this to say: "We have serious doubts this was an unintended incident and believe this is a planned provocation" by Turkey.

But even that was tame compared to what Lavrov said to his Turkish counterparty Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier today during a phone call between the two (Lavrov who was supposed to travel ...

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Market News

News You Can Use From Phil's Stock World


Financial Markets and Economy

25 Years of Stock Market Milestones for China (Bloomberg)

This year has been a wild ride for Chinese stocks, something that long-time investors have come to expect from a country that's seen 55 bull and bear markets since the ruling Communist Party first allowed equity trading in 1990. As the Shanghai Stock Exchange celebrates it's 25th anniversary on Thursday, here's a look at some of the key milestones on China's path from equity-market upstart to $7 trillion behemoth.

Oil rig count falls (Business Insider)

The US oil rig count ...

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Phil's Favorites

Kiss Christmas and Retail Stocks Goodbye


Connecting the Dots: Kiss Christmas and Retail Stocks Goodbye

By Tony Sagami

In my article from November 17, I touched on the growing number of retailers that report shrinking traffic and disappointing sales:

Our consumer-driven economy is not getting any help from suddenly sober shopaholics. In the most recent report, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose by a measly 0.1% in September. And it didn’t matter whether you wear Gucci loafers or Red Wing work boots.

Since then, the retail landscape has gotten even muddier.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased by a miserly +0.1% in October, be...

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Chart School

Status Quo Maintained - Happy Thanksgiving!

Courtesy of Declan.

Holiday trading kicked into gear, although volume for the S&P managed to push into a technical accumulation day. Things are likely to remain quiet through to next week and any sharp moves at this stage have a high risk of failure.

The top performing index on the day was the Russell 2000. It managed to add another decent gain o keep the string of higher closes running. It didn't quite close above 1,200, but it may do so Friday (with the aforementioned caveat of holiday trading). Overall action in this index has been positive, and relative performance to other indices continues to improve.

The Nasdaq is also ready to break higher. ...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

S&P 500 – Dangerous for bull case, if prices turn weak here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.


The S&P 500 remains inside of a rising channel that has been in place since 2010. The 5-year trend is up.

The 5-month trend is a different story, at this time.

Over the past 5-months, the S&P 500 has created a series of “falling weekly closing highs,” which is represented by line (1) above.

The S&P is testing this falling resistance line at (2) above.

If weakness takes place at (2) above, at falling resistance, it would be concerning price action for the bullish case!


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Sector Detector: Bulls wrest back control of market direction, despite global adversity

Reminder: Sabrient is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Some weeks when I write this article there is little new to talk about from the prior week. It’s always the Fed, global QE, China growth, election chatter, oil prices, etc. And then there are times like this in which there is so much happening that I don’t know where to start. Of course, the biggest market-moving news came the weekend before last when Paris was put face-to-face with the depths of human depravity and savagery. And yet the stock market responded with its best week of the year. As a result, the key issues dominating the front page and election chatter have moved from the economy and jobs to national security and a real war (rather than police ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of November 23rd, 2015

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's Computing Network is More Powerful than 525 Googles and 10,000 Banks!

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

I've decided to build our startup - Veritaseum, a peer-to-peer financial services platform, directly on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Many queried why I would voluntarily give up a lucrative advisory and consulting business to chase virtual coins in cyberspace. That's exactly why I decided to do it. That level of misunderstanding of what is essentially the second coming of the Internet gave me a fundamental advantage over those who had deeper connections, more capital and more firepower. I was the first mover advantage holder.

You see, Bitcoin is not about coins, currency or price pops. It is a massive computing net...

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PSW is more than just stock talk!


We know you love coming here for our Stocks & Options education, strategy and trade ideas, and for Phil's daily commentary which you can't live without, but there's more! features the most important and most interesting news items from around the web, all day, every day!

News: If you missed it, you can probably find it in our Market News section. We sift through piles of news so you don't have to.   

If you are looking for non-mainstream, provocatively-narrated news and opinion pieces which promise to make you think -- we feature Zero Hedge, ...

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Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli


Whitney Tilson On LL, EXACT, And Martin Shkreli

Courtesy of Value Walk

1) The shares of one of my largest short positions (~3%), Exact Sciences, crashed by more than 46% yesterday. Below is the article I published this morning on SeekingAlpha, explaining why I think it’s still a great short and thus shorted more yesterday. Here’s a summary:

  • The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Draft Recommendation issued yesterday is devastating for Exact Sciences’ only product, Cologuard.
  • I think this is the beginning of the end for the company.
  • My price target for the stock a year from now is $3, so I shorted more yes...

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Baxter's Spinoff

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).

The Baxalta Spinoff

By Ilene with Trevor of Lowenthal Capital Partners and Paul Price

In its recent filing with the SEC, Baxter provides:

“This information statement is being ...

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Mapping The Market

An update on oil proxies

Courtesy of Jean-Luc Saillard

Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself. 


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Help One Of Our Own PSW Members

"Hello PSW Members –

This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible.  Feel free to contact me directly at with any questions.

Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts.  After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.)  Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.

Thank you for you time!

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