Posts Tagged ‘Volcker Rule’

Quick Hits: Walking Away from Boats; Philadelphia Demands $300 Blogger License Fee; Birth Rate Lowest in Century; Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders

Quick Hits: Walking Away from Boats; Philadelphia Demands $300 Blogger License Fee; Birth Rate Lowest in Century; Tracks of Bizarre Robot Traders

Courtesy of Mish 

I am traveling this morning will look at ISM and other data this afternoon. Meanwhile here a a few quick hits on propriety trading, bizarre charts of robo trader patterns, walking away from boats, Blogger fees in Philadelphia, birth rate demographics, and other potpourri.

JPMorgan to Shut Proprietary Trading Unit over Volcker Rule

Bloomberg Reports JPMorgan Said to Shut Proprietary Trading to Meet Volcker Rule

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second- largest U.S. lender by assets, told traders who bet on commodities for the firm’s account that their unit will be closed as the company begins to shut down all its proprietary trading, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank eventually will end all proprietary trading to comply with new curbs on investment banks, said the person, who asked not to be identified because JPMorgan’s decision isn’t public. The New York-based bank will shut proprietary trading in fixed-income and equities later, the person said.

Closing the prop trading desk for commodities affects fewer than 20 traders, including one in the U.S. and the rest in the U.K., the person said.

This is a baby step in the right direction.

Developer Sells Zero of 141 Luxury Condos

The Press Enterprise reports Lack of sales spurs developer to lease

After two months of marketing his 141 luxury condos with not one sale, Mark Rubin said he has given up wooing buyers to the Raincross Promenade project in downtown Riverside that cost him $40 million to build.

Prospective buyers kept trying to beat down his prices, even after he shaved $30,000 off the initial list prices ranging from $240,000 for a one-bedroom, one-bath condominium to $475,000 for a two bedroom, 2 ½-bath townhouse. "There were no sales," Rubin said. "Everyone wants a bargain. They read about foreclosures and think they can buy for distress prices."

Rubin paid cash for the property and is now looking to lease units.

Walking Away From Boats

MIAMI - APRIL 22:  Officer Jorge Pino from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission checks on a derelict/abandoned boat on April 22, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Though it is hard for law enforcement officers to determine which boats have been abandoned unless they wash-up on shore or are a navigational hazard the downturn in the economy has shown that derelict/abandoned boats are becoming more of a problem from California to Maine.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 The USA Today reports Abandoned boats litter waters in tough economy

States across the USA are taking steps to deal with an armada of derelict boats abandoned by their owners in a tough economy:

In Massachusetts,Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill this month that gave local governments the

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Bye Bye Blythe: JPM Shutting Down Their Proprietary Commodity Trading Operation

Bye Bye Blythe: JPM Shutting Down Their Proprietary Commodity Trading Operation


Breaking news from Bloomberg…

J. P. Morgan said today that they will be shutting down their proprietary commodity trading operations in reponse to the Volcker Rule in the Financial Reform legislation.

The JPM proprietary commodity trading group is headquartered in London with a few traders located in New York.

Within the past month trading head Blythe Masters had reassured her traders that things in the unit would continue on as they had been despite losses and layoffs.

Employees are being told that they may apply for other positions now.

Speculation is that this is also in response to position limits and other reforms in the Commodity Markets spearheaded by Commissioner Bart Chilton which will make it more difficult for large players to dominate the short term markets through sheer position size.

It is not clear if JPM will be exiting all markets at the same time including gold and silver in addition to other commodities.

We will look for clarification from their official statement which has not yet been issued.

According to a person who has been briefed, JPM will eventually be shutting down ALL proprietary trading in all markets in response to financial reform. This will include fixed income and equities which are much larger departments at the bank.

JPM recently suffered heavy losses in their proprietary commodity trading provoking a high level review by top executives.

JPM may continue to deal in these markets for commercial and private customers. They will cease trading for their own book.

It will be interesting to see what JPM does with RBS Sempra, a commodities company which they acquired earlier this year.

JPMorgan Said to End Proprietary Trading to Meet Volcker Rule
By Dawn Kopecki and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen
Aug 31, 2010 4:45 PM ET

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second- largest U.S. lender by assets, told traders who bet on commodities for the firm’s account that their unit will be closed as the company begins to shut down all of its proprietary trading, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The bank eventually will end all proprietary trading to comply with new U.S. curbs on investment banks, said the person, who asked not to be identified because

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Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

By Steven Brill, courtesy of TIME 

government for sale, time

The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010, print and iPad editions of TIME.

Two weeks ago, along a marble corridor in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, I watched about 40 well-dressed men (and two women) delivering huge value for their employers. Except that we, the taxpayers, weren’t employing them. The nation’s banks, mortgage lenders, stockbrokers, private-equity funds and derivatives traders were.

They were lobbyists — the best bargain in Washington. Capitol Tax Partners, for example, is one of 1,900 firms that house more than 11,000 lobbyists registered to operate in Washington. Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), firms like Capitol Tax were paid a total of $3.49 billion for unraveling the mysteries of the tax code for a variety of businesses. According to Capitol Tax co-founder Lindsay Hooper, his firm provided "input and technical advice on various tax matters" to such clients as Morgan Stanley, 3M, Goldman Sachs, Chanel, Ford and the Private Equity Council, which is a trade group trying to head off a plan to increase taxes on what’s called carried interest, a form of income enjoyed by the heavy hitters who run venture-capital and other types of private-equity funds. (Time Warner, the parent company of TIME magazine, is also a client of Capitol Tax Partners.)

Since 2009, the Private Equity Council has paid Capitol Tax, which has eight partners, a $30,000-a-month retainer to keep its members’ taxes low. Counting fees paid to four other firms and the cost of its in-house lobbying staff, the council reported spending $4.2 million on lobbying from the beginning of 2009 through March of this year. Now let’s assume it spent an additional $600,000 since the beginning of April, for a total of $4.8 million. With other groups lobbying on the same issue, the overall spending to protect the favorable carried-interest tax treatment was maybe $15 million. Which seems like a lot — except that this is a debate over how some $100 billion will be taxed, or not, over the next 10 years.

And what did the money managers get for their $15 million investment? While lawmakers did manage to boost the taxes of hedge-fund managers and other folks who collect carried interest as part of their work,…
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Financial Reform Bill Is Like Watching An R-Rated Movie On TNT

Financial Reform Bill Is Like Watching An R-Rated Movie On TNT

Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker 

Just going through the details of the Senate and House’s merged Financial Reform Bill, also known as the Let’s Not Allow Our Largest Donors To Embarrass Us Again Act of 2010.

Wall Street wins this round. The "teeth" of the Volcker Rule have been kicked in and there are enough holes elsewhere for White & Case to exploit on behalf of their clientele til the cows come home.  The Dems unanimously voted for it.  Interestingly, Republicans all voted against it.  They didn’t think the final version was strict enough or that it did enough to prevent Too Big To Fail.

Reading through the bill, I have to say, is a bit like watching Pulp Fiction or Goodfellas on TNT.  The plot is intact but the movie is still somehow rendered meaningless minus the blood, guts and f-bombs.  No, Ray Liotta didn’t just say ‘Fudge You’ and no, banks should not be taking deposits with one hand and rolling the dice with the other.

There will be some limitation to what large banks can do on a proprietary basis, but they will still be de facto giant hedge funds, albeit hedge funds with higher capital reserve requirements.

The ratings agency stuff in the bill was well done in my view – it adds liability into the mix, finally.

Tyler Durden is even, how shall we put this, …
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Wall Street CEOs Are Nuts

Wall Street CEOs Are Nuts

Courtesy of James Kwak at Baseline Scenario 

“Geithner’s team spent much of its time during the debate over the Senate bill helping Senate Banking Committee chair Chris Dodd kill off or modify amendments being offered by more-progressive Democrats. A good example was Bernie Sanders’s measure to audit the Fed, which the administration played a key role in getting the senator from Vermont to tone down. Another was the Brown-Kaufman Amendment, which became a cause célèbre among lefty reformers such as former IMF economist Simon Johnson. ‘If enacted, Brown-Kaufman would have broken up the six biggest banks in America,’ says the senior Treasury official. ‘If we’d been for it, it probably would have happened. But we weren’t, so it didn’t.’”

Oh, well.

That’s one passage from John Heileman’s juicy article in New York Magazine. It provides a lot of background support for what many of us have been thinking for a while: the administration is happy with the financial reform bill roughly as it turned out, and it got there by taking up an anti-Wall Street tone (e.g., the Volcker Rule), riding a wave of populist anger to the point where the bill was sure of passing, and then quietly pruning back its most far-reaching components. If anything, that’s a testament to the political skill of the White House and, yes, Tim Geithner as well.

There are two other things in the article I thought worth commenting on. Here’s one:

Cupid holding heart box of Valentine candy

“Obama could be forgiven for expecting greater reciprocity from the bankers—something more than the equivalent of a Hallmark card and a box of penny candy. He had, after all, done more than saved their lives directly by continuing the bailout policies formulated by Paulson and Geithner. He and his team could credibly claim to have kept the world economy from falling off a cliff. Yet with the unemployment rate still near double digits, Obama had (and still has) received scant credit from the public for what was arguably his signal accomplishment. At the same time, the one thing that almost every slice of the electorate would have applauded wildly—the sight of the president landing a few haymakers on Wall Street’s collective jaw—was an opportunity that the president had largely forsworn.”

This is a theme you hear a lot these days — the idea that Obama (or Geithner)…
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Merkley for Main Street

Merkley for Main Street

By Bryce Cover, courtesy of New Deal 2.0

Senator Jeff Merkley took to the Senate floor on Tuesday, complete with fist pounding, to air his frustration over the blockage of the Merkley-Levin amendment that would fortify the Volcker Rule. The rule restricts banks that have access to FDIC insurance from speculative trading. What he wanted to know: “Why is Wall Street winning and Main Street losing tonight in the US senate?” Watch his passionate speech:


See also: Merkley-Levin Amendment Can’t Get a Vote 

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10 Things You Need To Know That Are Going On This Weekend

SPECIAL EDITION: 10 Things You Need To Know That Are Going On This Weekend

Courtesy of Joe Weisenthal, at Clusterstock 

It’s a Saturday, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it, because there’s a heck of a lot going on. 

Here’s what you need to be paying attention to this May Day.

  • Greece/IMF/EU talks continue. According to Greek government officials, some kind of announcement may be made today. The market is hoping to hear something that’s orders of magnitude stronger than any bailout announcement we’ve gotten so far, or otherwise the feeling will be that it can and will fall through again.
  • Of course, there are fresh violent, anti-austerity protests going on today in Athens. The fact that it’s May Day, a day for celebrating anti-capitalism only adds to the tension.
  • New reports suggest the criminal probe into Goldman Sachs is not just a perfunctory follow-on to the SEC charges, but rather a truly separate thing that’s wider than Abacus, and that started before the SEC’s investigation. HUGE.
  • With just five days before the election, UK’s The Guardian has endorsed the Liberal Democrats, the country’s biggest third party. Its leader, Nick Clegg, has surged thanks to a string of strong debate performances, Gordon Brown’s disastrous campaigning, and a lingering sense of unease with the conservatives.

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    Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

    Famed investor George Soros is calling for a break-up of the banking oligopoly in the United States.  His recent comments were made in reference to the big four U.S. banks that have come to dominate the banking sector.  CitiGroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo now dominate the overwhelming majority of the U.S. bank market.

    As regular readers know, I believe this oligopoly is part of the problem and that Ben Bernanke has likely increased the potential risks in the U.S. economy by further consolidating the sector.  Perhaps most important, however, is the risks these four banks (and all banks for that matter) are allowed to take.  Soros is in favor of the Volcker Rule which would segregate deposits from a bank’s risk taking operations such as hedge funds and prop trading.  This appears like a no-brainer after what we just experienced, but unfortunately, with consolidated banking came consolidated lobbyists and that’s a recipe for even further power over Congress. The likelihood of the Volcker Rule passing is close to nothing at this point.

    Soros has made a career out of being right.  I am guessing he’ll be right again about the U.S. banking system, but it appears as though little will be done about it….

    Read the full story at BusinessWeek.

    Picture credit: Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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    Are Pig Farmers Doing All The Trading? “The Top Five Prop Desks Are Buying And Selling Securities With Leverage … To Each Other!”

    Are Pig Farmers Doing All The Trading? "The Top Five Prop Desks Are Buying And Selling Securities With Leverage … To Each Other!"

    Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

    Swine Flu Threat Reaches Indonesia

    A suitable follow up to our earlier post on domestic equity fund flows (which have been negative year to date), and our conclusion that Primary Dealers are merely taking advantage of the ZIRP carry trade, is Rosie’s observation that the only entities doing any relevant trading are the prop desks of the Big Five TBTFs. If that is indeed the case, the market, which Rosenberg concludes optimistically is 25% overvalued will certainly face a Black Monday-type correction as soon as the elusive "unpredictable" occurs and the Prop desks as always scurry for cover, with no volume consolidation to the upside.

    It would be such a wonderful time to truly implement the Volcker Rule as the bank’s prop desks, if David is correct, are about to cause some major damage to the market… Of course, it is these very prop desks that are the staunchest opposition to the Volcker Rule and its negative implication on prop trading.

    From David Rosenberg and Gluskin-Sheff:

    Well, well, the theory that the stock market has turned in a double top may not have gone the way of the Dodo after all, following the reversals we saw in the last two trading days of last week. Negative reversals and distribution days in three of the last six sessions is something to be concerned about if you are long this market — and volume remains tepid at best.

    The market is now overvalued by over 25% but is also extremely overbought having gone 24 sessions without a decline of 1% or more, and 89% of the stocks in the S&P 500 are now trading above their 50-day moving averages (see page M3 of Barron’s). The Dow has advanced in 17 of the past 21 days. I mean, even if you are bullish on the outlook, one would have to admit that such a parabolic move is vulnerable to at least a modest pullback… or more. I know what a broken record sounds like and this has been a confounding and confusing market — for both the bears and many (though not all) of the bulls.

    Looking at the fund flows, there is only one conclusion that can be reached:
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    Senator: Which Part Of “Too Big To Fail” Do You Not Understand?

    Senator: Which Part Of “Too Big To Fail” Do You Not Understand?

    Courtesy of Simon Johnson at Baseline Scenario

    When a company wants to fend off a hostile takeover, its board may seek to put in place so-called “poison pill” defenses – i.e., measures that will make the firm less desirable if purchased, but which ideally will not encumber its operations if it stays independent.

    Large complex cross-border financial institutions run with exactly such a structure in place, but it has the effect of making it very expensive for the government to takeover or shut down such firms, i.e., to push them into any form of bankruptcy.

    To understand this more clearly you can,

    The Citigroup situation is simple.  They would like to downsize slightly, and are under some pressure to do so.  It is hard to sell assets at a decent price in this environment, so why don’t they just spin off companies – e.g., quickly create five companies in which each original shareholder gets a commensurate stake?

    The answer is that Citi’s debt is generally cross-guaranteed across various parts of the company.  US and foreign creditors have a claim on the whole thing, more or less (including the international parts), and you can’t break it apart without upsetting them.  The cross-border dimensions make everything that much more knotty.

    Senator Kaufman explains what this means – essentially the “resolution authority” proposed in the Dodd legislation is meaningless.  How would any administration put a huge bank into any kind of “resolution” (a FDIC-type bank closure, scaled up to big banks) when it knows that doing so would trigger default across all the complex pieces of this multinational empire?

    You could do it if you are willing to accept the costs – and if you understand there are big drawbacks to providing an unconditional bailout of the 2009 variety.  But will a future administration be willing to take that decision?  The Obama administration was not – and big finance will only become bigger and more complex as we move forward.

    If you look into the eyes of the decision-makers from spring 2009, they honestly believe that taking over Citi or Bank of America would have caused greater financial trouble and a worse recession.  You can argue about their true motivation all you want; this…
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    Zero Hedge

    Saudis Mull Launch Of Regional War As Russia Pounds Targets In Syria For Fourth Day

    Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

    Submitted by Tyler Durden.

    While the US has certainly made some epic strategic blunders in Syria that raise serious questions about just how “intelligent” US intelligence actually is, there’s little doubt that if one were to look behind all of the media parroting, the Pentagon and Langley understand all too well what’s going on in the Middle East. 

    That is, the significance of the Russia-Iran “nexus” in Syria isn’t lost on anyone in the US military and you can bet there have been quite a few high level discussions over the past 72 hours about the best way to counter Moscow and T...

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    Market News

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    Financial Markets and Economy

    Taking Intelligent Risks: How To Stay In The Trading Game (Trader Feed)

    You have to risk money to make money.  You have to make sure you don't risk so much money that you can lose your stake and go out of business as a trader.  Bet too little and you never make a good return on your capital.  Bet too much and you court career risks.  So much of trading success boils down to taking intelligent risks.

    Here is a useful calculation tool that can tell you the probability of hitting a drawdown threshold.  


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    Trump vs. Fiorina vs. Obama on Isis; Fiorina and the "Law of Bad Ideas"

    Finally, one of the top republican candidates said something intelligent about Syria while the dreadful Fiorina explained how we need to defend our,...yes, OUR territory in the middle east by engaging Russia in a war. Yeah, something like that. 

    Courtesy of Mish.

    Carly Fiorina Seeks No-Fly Zone

    In the Fox interview show below, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina says the US should enforce a no-fly zone in Syria, even if it means shooting down Russian aircraft.

    Quote of the day: "Russian jets have been basically conducting dangerous and unpredictable maneuvers around our waters and our borders and our territory".

    Can I have a definition of "our" territory please?


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    Chart School

    SP500 Wyckoff Review

    Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

    Review of the SP500, pre Oct 2015, fire fighting the technical damage.

    More from RTT Tv

    NOTE: does allow users to load objects and text on charts, however some annotations are by a free third party image tool named

    Investing Quote...

    .."Your goals are to select only stocks that move soonest, fastest and farthest in bull or bear markets. Limited losses and let profits run."..

    Richard D Wyckoff

    ..“Don’t try to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. It can’t be done except by liars.”..


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    Kimble Charting Solutions

    Opportunity Friday…What would you do with these Opportunities?

    Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

    Opportunities are knocking at our door friends! I’ve been sharing the Power of the Pattern with customers for the past 20-years. In my humble opinion, some really nice opportunities (based on price, momentum and sentiment) are forming for investors around the world. Below is two of the dozens of rare patterns I am seeing, that I wanted to share with you today.

    What would you do with this opportunity?


    As shared above, this asset has fallen around 35% of late. The decline has taken it down to its 4-year rising channel support l...

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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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    Swing trading portfolio - week of September 28th, 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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    Sector Detector: No rate hike translates into heightened wall of worry

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

    Courtesy of Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

    The Fed’s decision to not raise the fed funds rate at this time was ultimately taken by the market as a no-confidence vote on our economic health, which just added to the fear and uncertainty that was already present. Rather than cheering the decision, market participants took the initial euphoric rally as a selling opportunity, and the proverbial wall of worry grew a bit higher. Nevertheless, keep in mind that markets prefer to climb a wall of worry rather than ride a crowded bandwagon, and I continue to envision higher levels for the markets after further backing-and-filling and testing of support levels (perhaps even including the August lows).


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    Some Hedge Funds "Hedged" During Stock Market Sell Off, Others Not As Risk Focused

    By Mark Melin. Originally published at ValueWalk.

    With the VIX index jumping 120 percent on a weekly basis, the most in its history, and with the index measuring volatility or "fear" up near 47 percent on the day, one might think professional investors might be concerned. While the sell off did surprise some, certain hedge fund managers have started to dip their toes in the water to buy stocks they have on their accumulation list, while other algorithmic strategies are actually prospering in this volatile but generally consistently trending market.

    Stock market sell off surprises some while others were prepared and are hedged prospering

    While so...

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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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    Watch the Phil Davis Special on Money Talk on BNN TV!

    Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene


    The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below. 

    Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets) Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies) Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...

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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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    About Phil:

    Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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    Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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