by ilene - November 9th, 2010 4:56 pm
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
Some people want you to believe that the Fed just injected the economy and stock market full of
Before we begin, it’s important that investors understand exactly what “
This is a crucial point that I think a lot of us are having trouble wrapping our heads around. In school we are taught that “cash” is its own unique asset class. But that’s not really true. “Cash” as it sits in your bank account is really just a very very liquid government liability. What is the difference between your checking and savings account? Do you classify them both as “cash”? Do you consider your savings accounts a slightly less liquid interest bearing form of the same thing a checking account is?
What is a treasury note account? It is a savings account with the government. So now you have to ask yourself why you think cash is so much different than a treasury note? What is the difference between your ETrade cash earning 0.1% and that t note earning 0.2%? NOTHING except the interest rate and the duration. You can’t use your 13 week bill to pay your taxes tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a slightly less liquid form of the exact same thing that we all refer to as “cash”. They are both govt liabilities and assets of yours.…
by ilene - August 30th, 2010 5:40 pm
Courtesy of Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge
Anywhere one turns these days, bashing HFT is the new market normal. Having written 150 articles on the topic, beginning in April 2009, we are happy to have brought the world’s attention to this most dangerous of market aberrations. Yet until the SEC finally bans the practices of micro churning, quote stuffing, positive feedback loop chasing, flash trading, subpennying, DMA accessing, and all other aspects conceived merely to provide some market participants with an unfair advantage over everyone else, the fight against HFT must continue.
Which is why we draw your attention to two items: the first is a paper by Bluemont Capital "The Marginalizing of the Individual Investor" in which the authors question if HFT has distorted true market valuation (yes) and to what degree. Some relevant soundbites: "Unfortunately, high-frequency trader interaction with computerized algorithms of large-cap financial institutions is providing opportunities for high-speed, virtually undetectable market manipulation", "At a minimum, computerized high-frequency and algorithmic trading are undermining traditional value investing strategies. Short-term liquidity and data movements are distorting information on real business performance", "Essentially, high-frequency trading platforms function as positive feedback loops. Engineers treat positive feedback loops as inherently unstable, as each positive response generates stepped-up repetition of the same actions. Positive feedback loops result in an ever- expanding balloon, but like all balloons, the risk of bursting increases with the balloon’s size." It concludes that the "continuing advances in computerized trading pose challenges for regulators throughout the world—and leave individual investors marginalized… Regulators should not only seek to assure that markets are able to continue to function under stress, but they also need to devise remedial actions that protect individual investors who have fundamentally different objectives from the high-turnover objectives of high frequency traders and computerized algorithms."
The other notable item is the appearance of our friends at Nanex on ABC radio over in Australia, where firm founder Eric Hunsader discusses the previously highlighted concepts of latency arbitrage as a potential progenitor to the May 6 crash, as well as possible ways that the NBBO arbitrage could have provided for unfair and illegal mispricing opportunities for a select few.
Full August 29 interview with Eric Hunsader on Latency Arbitrage…
“It’s Not A Market, It’s An HFT ‘Crop Circle’ Crime Scene” – Further Evidence Of Quote Stuffing Manipulation By HFT
by ilene - July 31st, 2010 6:40 am
"It’s Not A Market, It’s An HFT ‘Crop Circle’ Crime Scene" – Further Evidence Of Quote Stuffing Manipulation By HFT
Courtesy of Tyler Durden
Recently we posted a required reading analysis by Nanex in which the market trading analytics firm presented irrefutable evidence of quote stuffing by HFT algorithms in tens of stocks, in which thousands of cancelled quotes would reappear each second with a definitive periodicity and regularity, around the time of the May 6 flash crash. Aside from the fact that it is illegal to indicate a quote without a trade intent, this form of quote stuffing is in fact manipulative when conducted by HFT repeaters in specific "shapes" as it actually moves the NBBO actively higher or lower, in cases pushing the bid/offer range up to 10% higher without even one trade ever having occurred, simply by masking a big block order which other algos interpret as bid interest and pull all offers progressively or step function higher (or vice versa, although we have rarely if ever seen the walking down of a stock over the past 18 months). It is as if the HFT lobby has been given the green light by the powers that be that it is safe to activate merely the bid-size quote stuffing algorithms, and not worry: the fact that the market is so one sided in its quote stuffing patterns is sufficient reason to worry of a concerted effort to push stocks higher, initiated from the very top, and effected by not only the Primary Dealer community but by the end-market "liquidity providers."
Today, courtesy of Nanex we demonstrate that this type of illegal stock manipulation continues rampant to this very day, and the SEC still fails acknowledge that it is precisely the HFT market participants that persist in destabilizing stock prices, which have given up responding to fundamentals and merely move up or down based on quote stuffing interventions by those who plead innocence and claim to only be providing liquidity. Well take a look at the millions in fake, and thus illegal, bids demonstrated below and tell us just how any of this manipulation is "providing liquidity" – the second the patterns break, the algos responsible for the churn pattern disappear, thus eliminating numerous levels of so called bid liquidity below the NBBO: break enough patterns and you have another flash crash…
by ilene - July 15th, 2010 3:18 pm
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
There is a determined seller of gold over 1215.
This is not profit taking. One does not smash price rallies down to obtain profits from selling actual positions.
This is price manipulation, pure and simple, from hedge funds and bullion banks in not only in the gold and silver markets, but in stocks and most other dollar denominated financial instruments.
Most recently Karl Denninger gave clear evidence of the manipulation in the SP futures market. The US is caught in the grip of financial fraud, and it is becoming increasingly blatant, almost arrogant.
And when their scheme breaks, as it will again, we should have no consideration for their default, and insolvency. If the word ‘bailout’ is even mentioned in this regard, that would be the time for the people to stand up say, ‘no more.’
Audits, investigations, indictments, prosecution, punishment, and restitution. This is foundation of justice, and financial reform.
by ilene - July 5th, 2010 4:45 am
Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker
Rarely does it get this blatant….. this sort of crap goes on every day, but once in a while it’s just "in your face."
Tonight was one of those examples.
How HFT Quote Stuffing Caused The Market Crash Of May 6, And Threatens To Destroy The Entire Market At Any Moment
by ilene - June 23rd, 2010 7:35 pm
How HFT Quote Stuffing Caused The Market Crash Of May 6, And Threatens To Destroy The Entire Market At Any Moment
Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge
Even as the idiots at the SEC mope about cluelessly, confirming they deserve not one cent of taxpayer money to fund their massively overbloated budget, and should all be summarily fired to collect tarballs in the Gulf of Mexico (and soon Maine), our friends at Nanex have conducted an exhaustive analysis (must read for everybody concerned about market structure), in which they identify the various parties responsible for the market crash, and, drumroll please, High Frequency Trading stands at the pinnacle of culprits for the 1,000 point Dow drop. From their findings: "While analyzing HFT (High Frequency Trading) quote counts, we were shocked to find cases where one exchange was sending an extremely high number of quotes for one stock in a single second: as high as 5,000 quotes in 1 second! During May 6, there were hundreds of times that a single stock had over 1,000 quotes from one exchange in a single second. Even more disturbing, there doesn’t seem to be any economic justification for this. In many of the cases, the bid/offer is well outside the National Best Bid/Offer (NBBO). We decided to analyze a handful of these cases in detail and graphed the sequential bid/offers to better understand them. What we discovered was a manipulative device with destabilizing effect."
In other words: enough with all the bullshit about HFT as a liquidity provider mechanism: in reality this is just a facade for the most insidious, computerized market manipulative device ever created. Nanex’ conclusion: "What benefit could there be to whomever is generating these extremely high quote rates? After thoughtful analysis, we can only think of one. Competition between HFT systems today has reached the point where microseconds matter. Any edge one has to process information faster than a competitor makes all the difference in this game. If you could generate a large number of quotes that your competitors have to process, but you can ignore since you generated them, you gain valuable processing time. This is an extremely disturbing development, because as more HFT systems start doing this, it is only a matter of time before quote-stuffing shuts down the entire market from congestion. We think it played an active role in the final drop on 5/6/2010, and urge everyone involved to take…
by Chart School - May 21st, 2010 5:25 am
Courtesy of JESSE’S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN
Having broken lower from the first decision point, the US equity market has continued lower, presumably towards the support at the lower end of the long term trend channel.
As a reminder, option expiration is tomorrow for stocks, and next week for Comex precious metals options.
Did the Flash Crash probe the way lower? Traders, and I am one, are notoriously superstitious and suspicious about such unexplained movements, suspecting that they are exploratory and will likely be retraced.
Well, we’re there. Wash and rinse. Wax on, Wax off. Make it on the way up, and on the way down. As long as you are fleecing the sheep. That is how you gain a perfect trading record, if you are dealing the cards, playing with guaranteed house money, and peeking in everyone’s hands, if even only by milliseconds before they make their plays. Get them buying hope, and then selling panic. It’s all good if you can keep the money moving across your tables.
If that support does NOT hold, we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto. But some sort of bounce seems more likely at the moment. Ben has not yet begun to print. I think they’re just negotiating terms and turf right now.
Later: Here are the NDX June Futures going into the NY close of trading. The futures were selling off HARD led by the financials. The SP futures were looking for traction again around that key 1070 support and barely hanging on, with a similar story around 1800 support on the big cap tech NDX. The SP futures have a definite shot at the prior lows in the overnight trade.
Gold and silver spot was holding the exact levels where I would have expected them to find something to hang on. Let’s see stocks go into option expiration tomorrow. There are a lot of calls that are going to be expiring worthless. I wonder if they will try and jam the puts for a little whipsaw action.
I will be a little surprised if they let gold up for air before its own expiration next week.
On the Edge with Max Keiser & David DeGraw: Goldman Sachs, AIG, Hank Paulson and Market Manipulation
by ilene - May 10th, 2010 12:33 pm
On the Edge with Max Keiser & David DeGraw: Goldman Sachs, AIG, Hank Paulson and Market Manipulation [Video]
Courtesy of David DeGraw of AmpedStatus
David DeGraw was On the Edge with Max Keiser. They discussed the unreported underlying elements of the SEC’s case against Goldman Sachs, Hank Paulson’s background and role in causing the economic crisis, the Federal Reserve’s illegal activities, the epidemic of accounting fraud on Wall Street, and expose clear examples of trillions of dollars stolen through market manipulation.
How much more earth-shattering news can you squeeze into one 25-minute interview?
Part 1: How the SEC and Congress Can Bring Down Goldman Sachs and Expose the Financial Coup
“It’s going to blow up again. The trip down the next time is going to be even worse. Right now we have $610 trillion in this phony derivative market. Goldman Sachs has a derivative liability of 34,000% of their assets right now. This is totally insane…. This is a time bomb waiting to go off again.”
Part 2: The Looting Continues with Zero Accountability and Austerity Measures Are Coming to the United States
“If we had real lawmakers and a real president, these people would be held accountable. This is absurd. How can you flaunt the rule of law like this and not have any repercussions at all?… This is criminal activity across-the-board and nothing is being done to hold them back.”
Part 3: Hank “Pentagon-Sachs” Paulson: From the Pentagon to Watergate to Derivatives to Oil to the Bailout
“… Paulson was completely disgraced in this [Watergate], and then he moves out of the Pentagon and the Nixon Administration and he starts working for Goldman Sachs…. Anyone who looks at this knows that you don’t work for [former Defense Secretary] Melvin Laird, who also was a board member of SAIC, which is as powerful as it gets in US intelligence, and then… you become CEO of Goldman Sachs and then Bush and Cheney make you the Treasury Secretary right as the economy collapses…”
by ilene - May 8th, 2010 6:59 pm
Courtesy of Steve Randy Waldman of at Interfluidity
Regular readers know that I have few nice things to say about Goldman Sachs lately.
Goldman fully deserves the attention that the SEC has brought to it, and the attention that the Department of Justice may soon bring to it. The conduct that the firm is trying to defend is inexcusable, and its unwillingness to acknowledge that even more so.
However, it is unlikely that bad conduct was limited only to Goldman. The fact that others were misbehaving is no defense. A high crime rate doesn’t make burglary okay. But I fear that Goldman Sachs may have become a shield and lightning rod, deflecting scrutiny from other firms also in need of disinfection.
Financial firms are fragile in at least three different ways. They are financially leveraged, so they are vulnerable to deteriorating asset values. They fund illiquid assets with short-term money, so they are vulnerable to runs. A less widely appreciated fragility has to do with the degree to which the boundaries of the state and financial institutions blur. A financial institution that is at odds with the state is a freakish, frightening thing. It may suffer a loss of confidence for reasons that can’t be fully explained in economic terms. Famously, “no major financial firm has survived criminal charges.“
I think it entirely possible that Goldman could go the way of Arthur Anderson or Drexel. If so, the firm will have no one to blame but itself.
Nevertheless, there is a danger that we will make a ritual sacrifice of Goldman and pretend to have exorcised our demons, while other firms that have engaged in similar conduct continue undisturbed. It would be a sad irony if, in single-minded pursuit of Goldman Sachs, we not only let other perps escape unscathed, but also hand them the windfall of a less competitive industry. Rather than forcing traumatic self-appraisal and reform at surviving banks, Goldman’s fall might lead managers elsewhere to congratulate themselves for savvy positioning, for playing the system. Competitors would swallow the corpse of Goldman Sachs, thinking they had eaten what they’d killed.
I have no reason to think that the government’s focus on Goldman is motivated by anything other than having discovered particularly bad conduct there. Nevertheless, the cynic in me cannot help but notice that, according to media reports, Jamie Dimon and the Obama Administration…
by ilene - May 4th, 2010 1:30 pm
Arguably, the Hollywood human casino will give derivative traders the incentive and means to play with people’s lives very directly. So will they put their unproductive energies into destroying the hopes and dreams of others? If economic (recent) history tells us anything, they will. Max Keiser, who developed the virtual forerunner to the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX) computer technology, predicts that if his technology is approved for use with real money, Hollywood will go the way of Enron and Lehman within two years. – Ilene
Courtesy of Ellen Brown, at Web of Debt
As if attacks from paparazzi and star-crazed fans weren’t enough, Hollywood stars may soon have a literal price put on their heads by investors in the Cantor Exchange, a real-money trading platform where people can bet on the gross profits of upcoming movies. Sales of The Dark Knight skyrocketed after Heath Ledger died unexpectedly, and so did sales after the deaths of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. Will greed-driven investors now be laying in wait for the stars of movies they have bet on?
The Cantor Exchange (CE) is based on a virtual trading platform called the Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX), a web-based, multiplayer simulation in which players buy and sell “shares” of actors, directors, upcoming films, and film-related options. The difference is that where the HSX uses virtual money, CE will turn the game into a real casino using real dollars.
On April 21, Cantor Exchange reported that it had just received regulatory approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which oversees futures exchanges. “This is a significant step forward in achieving our ultimate goal,” it said in a letter, “which is to launch a market in Domestic Box Office Receipt Contracts.”
Having “contracts” out on movies and movie stars, however, has an ominous ring; and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) apparently doesn’t like the sound of it. The Cantor letter said that its tentative launch date of April 22 was being delayed because the MPAA and others “raised concerns about the economic purpose of this market and its usefulness as a hedging vehicle.”